chilam balam.

the official second stop on "halley's 2012 chicago top chef restaurant tour" was chilam balam, chef chuy valencia's super tasty mexican spot. unfortunately, the chef was not there the night we went... but that doesn't mean the food wasn't absolutely delicious.

this menu isn't that of a typical mexican joint... so i was a little concerned about what might be vegan... but our waiter, luis, was very careful that nothing i ate contained any animal products... so i felt very comfortable with everything i sampled. here's what i had:

chunky guacamole with classic garnishes and crispy tostadas.
the guac was delish... it had a bit of a kick to it, which i loved (of course). 

young greens, roasted poblano dressing, jicama, oranges, avocado and pepitas (pumpkin seeds).
a great salad. the dressing was outstanding. i think there were some other roasted items in there too... maybe carrots and pears? it was great either way.

corn masa memelas, black beans, arbol salsa and dressed shoots.
mmm. the salsa was super smokey : another favorite flavor of mine. 
i had never had memelas before... and i think the ones at chilam balam were the perfect introduction. 

sweet empanadas, peanut butter filling, fig compote, oaxacan chocolate.
luis assured me that these were dairy free -- which i was super excited about because they were fantastic. like really truly deliciously fantastic. i could have eaten about 20 of them. the one food group i think is lacking most for vegans is dessert... in my opinion, it's just hard to make vegan desserts taste the same as non-vegan desserts. that being said, these empanadas blew me away. 
a bit of saltiness in the empanadas + peanut butter + thick chocolate syrup = amazing. 

chilam balam was fantastic... and i will certainly be back... if only for the peanut butter empanadas. tan rico!