photo: jeni wahl

The Cuban slow-roasted pork tamal at Dia de los Tamales.

The couple Sam and Jeni Wahl and their business partner Keith Carlson own Día de los Tamales (939 W. 18th St., 312-496-3057), a Pilsen takeout counter with a sugar-skull motif inspired by the Mexican Day of the Dead (a.k.a. Día de los Muertos). The kitchen doubles as the epicenter of the trio’s Get Off the Couch Catering, which specializes in food for touring musicians.

Let's let a few of their tamales shed some light on the rock star catering business.

Chicago Beef—with slow-roasted Italian beef, provolone, house-made giardiniera.

“We do a lot of rider fulfilling, like some musician might want four bottles of water, chilled, and green M&Ms,” Jeni Wahl says. “[and for catering, one request was for] giardiniera hummus. We make the giardiniera and the hummus from scratch.”

Roasted Pepper & Goat Cheese—also with red-pepper crema.

“The biggest show we did backstage was for K.D. Lang,” Jeni says. “She is a vegetarian. It was probably about 25 people for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. We did some roasted vegetable enchiladas, [these] tamales, and my grandmother’s Cuban black beans.”

Cuban Slow-Roasted Pork—naranja-agria- (bitter orange) and garlic-seasoned pork with salsa.

“I would say we are porkcentric,” Jeni says. “Pork rillettes was a request that we now do all the time. Same with maple-bacon cheesecake. We also have five different kinds of pork in the garbanzo beans.”

Dia de los Tamales opened two weeks ago, and the team plans to introduce seasonal specials soon. Watch for a dessert tamal with all those leftover non-green M&Ms.