Some restaurants are guaranteed good-time places that act like a buffer against whatever’s stressing you out that day. Like what you’re going to do with all that imaginary lottery money, or the red light ticket you just found out about after checking your mail for the first time in two months. When that kind of heavy stuff is on your mind, you need a place that’s just plain enjoyable. You need a place like Mi Tocaya, which serves creative Mexican food in an upbeat environment, and will definitely make you happy - or at least put you in a better mood than before.
This place is crowded, decorated with bright artwork, and has a liveliness that’s contagious instead of annoying. It’s the kind of spot where you’ll see the chef come out, check in with customers, tell people a little about whatever they’re eating, and then rush back to the kitchen. You’ll feel like you’re eating her favorite foods, and that’s the point.
The small-plates menu includes different takes on regional Mexican food, so you might be surprised by how some familiar-sounding dishes arrive at your table. “Enchiladas” for example, are “enchiladas potosinos,” which resemble fried empanadas filled with cheese. They’re awesome, and the unexpectedness is what makes coming here fun and interesting, so just go with it.
Actually, a “go with it” attitude will help you embrace everything about the menu, which gives no descriptions for any of the dishes. You’ll see a dish like “Peanut Butter Y Lengua,” presented without any further information (it’s beef tongue on a bed of a spicy peanut salsa, and it’s absolutely delicious). If you need guidance, the servers at Mi Tocaya are more than happy to help, although we’ve found they don’t always tell you everything about a dish - you may still find some things on your plate you weren’t expecting. Again, go with it.
One of the best things we’ve tried here was an elevated comfort food dish: the espaghetti con crema poblana, or toasted fideo noodles tossed in a poblano sauce with crab and topped with an egg. It’s very rich, but the spicy poblana creme balances it out perfectly. Another interesting interpretation of a classic dish is the pork albondigas nogada - pork meatballs in a walnut cream sauce. They do serve some more straightforward classics here, like tacos and a steak burrito, and they’re good, but the best move is to stick with more creative dishes. Preparations change all the time, so you want to try them while you can.
Mi Tocaya is a force field of a restaurant that will protect you from whatever might be on your mind. Navigating the menu, eating interesting Mexican food, and hanging out in this fun environment will just make you feel good - no matter what you end up deciding to do with your Powerball winnings.
This dish has tender pieces of beef tongue served with a spicy peanut sauce and pickled onions. The acid from the onions cuts through the funk of the tongue, and the peanut sauce is awesome. Even if tongue gives you the willies, we encourage you to try it here.
The preparation of this dish changes - sometimes it’s made with a different meat, or another sauce - but when we were there last it was pork meatballs in a rich cream sauce with cranberries and pecans. It was fantastic, and we hope it’s there for you, too
This dish has fideo noodles that are fried before being tossed in a poblana cream sauce with crab and an egg. It’s rich and incredible.
These are made with a fried chili-infused dough, stuffed with cheese, and topped with sour cream. If there’s anything about them that you don’t like, we can’t be friends.
This is a rich cactus stew topped with burrata. It kind of reminds us of of a vegetarian chili, and the cheese gets all melty and fantastic.
Basically a pozole (a traditional Mexican soup), with mussels. The broth is light, tasty, and full of hominy.
The particular fish and mole in this dish aren’t always the same, but some variation of it is always on the menu. When we were there, it was perfectly-cooked salmon in an amazing mole verde.
We understand why you’d want to get a taco here, but you’re better off trying some of the other items on the menu. If decide to go for it anyway, get the campechano - a spicy blend of pork and beef.
A very good burrito, but again, order something more interesting unless you really want a burrito.
There are only two desserts on the menu: a flan and a tres leches cake from a bakery in Pilsen. Go with the flan - it’s rich, creamy, and topped with a little cheese and caramel.