Coffee & Treats in Old Irving Park

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4272 W Irving Park Rd
Chicago,
IL
US

4229 W Irving Park Rd
Chicago,
IL
US

The number 13 has gotten a bad rap through the years, but the Pineda clan is attempting to turn that around. Thirteen members of the Pineda family run Thirteen Asian Tapas + Bar, with four crafting meals in the kitchen while Gary Pineda leads the pack as general manager. All of their recipes are sourced from Filipino culinary traditions, themselves a fusion of Asian and Latin influences, as evidenced by dishes such as soy-sauce-infused adobo chicken and the roasted and fried lechon, or pork, topped with achara, a traditional pickled papaya garnish.

The kitchen calls on overseas recipes in selections such as pancit, a traditional Filipino birthday dish comprised of thin rice noodles sautéed with cabbage, carrots, and meat that diners unwrap to reveal a miniature band of singing party guests. On some nights, live jazz fills the intimate dining room, where purple walls and exposed brick surround a bar that begets nine specialty martinis that mirror the cuisine's manifold influences with flavors of ginger, mint, tequila, and imported Philippine gin.

4202 W Irving Park Rd
Chicago,
IL
US

4660 W Irving Park Rd
Chicago,
IL
US

4102 N Pulaski Rd
Chicago,
IL
US

Peru is the cradle of modern cuisine—a fact that Ay Ay Picante's owners, Don Jaime Bardales and Doña Chamuca Bardales, haven't forgotten. Native to the nation are now-common staples such as potatoes, corn, tomatoes, avocados, and chilies—all of which blend with traditional spices throughout the Peruvian chefs' extensive board of fare. The signature ceviche, for instance, marinates tilapia in lime juice and rocoto chilies. A marinade of fish sauce similarly enlivens the grilled shrimp and salmon kabobs. But the global influence of Andean cooking makes itself known in the fried-rice dishes, which bring out the flavors of peruvian peppers and mushrooms with a dollop of soy sauce and garlic. This blend of customary and contemporary has garnered respectful nods from both WTTW's Check, Please! and ABC7's "Hungry Hound".

History doesn't just influence the menu at Ay Ay Picante. It also influences the very walls of the dining room. As diners sip BYOB beverages, they can examine pre-Columbian murals from the Peruvian Nazca culture. These hark back to the giant images the Nazca created in the desert sand, which can only be seen when flying in an airplane or soaring between a human cannon and a landing pad.

4569 North Elston Avenue
Chicago,
IL
US

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