At Amor y Sofrito, her vegan Latin fusion pop-up, Karla Morales stuffs tacos with adobo-marinated potatoes or cactus and poblano peppers and makes tinga by stewing hibiscus flowers and cabbage in chipotle sauce. But the chef didn’t learn to cook until she was 21, when she decided to stop serving her two young boys prepackaged food and schooled herself in the kitchen with help from family members, YouTube videos, and cooking shows. She hasn’t stopped since: Five years ago, rather than work a day job that would keep her away from her kids, she started selling meals out of her Pilsen home.
When customers asked about vegan options, she began experimenting, and it clicked with her. “I have been mostly vegan all my life — I just didn’t know there was a name for that diet,” she says. “It feels good to my soul to make vegan food.”
Amor y Sofrito’s menu is constantly changing, and Morales often creates tacos, empanadas, and burritos. A recent dish included collard green leaves filled with garlicky white bean spread, roasted curried cauliflower, tofu feta, and spicy peanut sauce. To order, email firstname.lastname@example.org or send a direct message to @amor_y_sofrito on Instagram.
Three More Underground Spots to Try
Each weekend, Bahamian chef Jeffrey Crittenden whips up $20 plates of spiced braised goat, tamarind grilled chicken, coconut curry stew with shrimp, and other “island tings.” Plates are available for delivery and pickup. @chefjeffreycrittenden
Chef Jasmine Sheth runs Tasting India, which offers a rotating menu of dishes like chicken moilee hand pies that you’d be hard pressed to find at most local Indian restaurants. The Mumbai native also collaborates with other restaurants around town for in-person dinners. @tasting_india
Hot Box Sushi
This take-and-bake sushi casserole is an offbeat, family-style experience. The pan comes layered with rice, crab mix, and a sprinkle of furikake. To enjoy, heat it, then scoop up with seaweed sheets. Pickups are every Friday and Saturday in Riverwoods; drops in Chicago occur monthly. @hotboxsushi