Piñatta spooky squash taco

Back in October 2015 Burger King’s limited edition black-bunned Halloween Whopper provided an unanticipated spooky surprise: it turned people’s poop green.

Such a thing never would have happened in October 1492 when most people in the western hemisphere were mostly eating plants—and didn’t eat artificial food coloring. Or burgers.

Such a thing will not happen on October 23, 2023, at Ludlow Liquors, even though there will be tempura squash tacos on pitch-black corn tortillas flying out of the kitchen like a swarm of bats. That’s because Piñatta is returning to Monday Night Foodball, the Chicago Reader’s weekly chef pop-up series.

Piñatta cashew cheese quesadilla

You know Piñatta, the precolonial Mexican pop-up fronted by the Brothers Guerrero, Emilio and Santiago. Their first Foodball was back in the fall of ’22 at the late, great Kedzie Inn. The cashew cheese–stuffed yellow corn masa tetelas with toasted pumpkin seed mole still haunt me.

But the brothers are no strangers to the mysterious and mischievous spirits that haunt Ludlow’s kitchen either. That’s where they just wrapped up a monthlong summer residency, an indigenous-inspired taqueria that will live another day in eldritch Avondale.

Headlining the menu is that squash taco on Masienda heirloom blue masa, tinted naturally black, the way ancient Mesoamericans might have done it, with natural vegetable dye. Spooky execution? Yes. Spooky evacuation. No.

They’re also throwing down their best-selling cashew cheese quesadilla on a blue corn tortilla with their housemade salsa macha (also available for purchase by the jar along with Piñatta hot sauce). There’s arroz y frijoles and salsa and chips for the side; plus a pumpkin flan with guajillo caramel and spiced pepitas.

It’s all vegan, the way it once was, from 5 PM until sellout at 2959 N. California.

Meanwhile, we have Chubby Boy’s Burgers and Rafa Esparza on deck October 30 and November 6, respectively, followed by a brand new November/December Foodball schedule.