I’ve been in Ann Arbor about five months or so, and I can’t say that there’s too much about the city of Chicago that I miss. Maybe it’s because I’ve been back almost a handful of times since I’ve moved, with the next one already on the books, but I’m more inclined to think it’s because life is just so easy here. It is. Big city life is easy in albeit more practical ways, but small city life is easy in more mental ways. It’s not stressful to just exist here, and I like that very much.
However. HOWEVER, the one that that I really really miss is the food. Like, Chicago has SUCH GOOD FOOD. You can’t walk out of your house without eating something mind blowing, probably because with such good food options, mediocre ones simply do not survive. They just can’t.
I will admit that I’m likely not giving A2 the fairest shake yet because I just don’t eat out a ton, and without my blog/Instagram community to force me out of the kitchen, I simply eat at home way, way more often than not. Some things that I really do miss though: good French fries, good donuts, good tacos.
I have two places on my list that I have to try yet here, but I miss my fave neighborhood Taco Joint. Their tacos were some of my faves in the city (also, Big & Little’s) and one of my always get, go-to flavors was their Mole-Q: Mole + BBQ, what’s not to love?
Since I won’t be getting my Mole-Q fix anytime soon from the Joint, I had to make my own, so I did. The result was great and quite easy. I pretty much made my original mole sauce and combined it with the base flavors of BBQ sauce and voila! Done. I slathered that marinade on some chicken thighs, broiled (or grilled), tossed in some more and then topped the whole thing off with a fresh corn salsa-salad type thing.
It was delicious, and I actually liked it better than my original mole sauce mostly because I’ve never been super impressed with regular mole. This version, while not authentic Mexican, wins for sure, and with so much extra Mole-Q sauce leftover in the freezer (in ice cubes), I’ll be able to get my TJ fix right here at home, until I find myself heading west again.
- 6 large dried chilies (pasilla, ancho, poblano or any combination thereof)
- 1 cup hot water or stock
- 1/4 tsp ground cloves
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/8 tsp coriander
- 1/8 tsp allspice
- 1/4 tsp smoked paprika
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 1 tsp black pepper
- 1/4 cup sesame seeds, toasted lightly in oil
- 1/4 cup almonds, slivered, toasted lightly in oil
- 1/4 cup dark chocolate chips
- 8 ounces tomato sauce
- 1/4 cup light brown sugar
- 2 TB Worcestershire sauce
- 2 TB white vinegar
- 8 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs
- 2 ears fresh corn, cooked (boiled)
- 1/2 cup fresh cilantro
- 1/2 red onion, diced (about 1 cup)
- 1 lime, juiced
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp pepper
- 12 corn tortillas, toasted
- Work with the chiles. Clean and seed the chiles, and dry toast them until fragrant, about 10 minutes. In a separate small saucepan, place the toasted chiles and cover with the hot water (or stock). Set aside for 30 minutes.
- Once the chiles are done, add them (leaving the water in the saucepan), the seeds and nuts to a blender or food processor and puree until mostly smooth. Add this puree back to the water. Add the spices, sugar, chocolate chips, tomato sauce, vinegar, Worcestershire and sugar to the saucepan over medium heat and let reduce to desired thickness (about 30 min). Continue stirring until the sauce is nice and smooth.
- Put the chicken thighs in a bowl, cover with some sauce, and let marinate at least 1 hour, or overnight.
- Once the chicken has marinated, preheat the broiler.
- Place the chicken in a single layer and broil on high heat for 20 minutes, flipping over and finishing up for another 12-15 until the chicken is done.
- Meanwhile, make the corn salad. Cut the corn off the cobs and toss with the diced onion, chopped cilantro and lime juice. Set aside.
- Once the chicken has finished cooked and has rested about 10 minutes, remove from the bone and toss in additional mole sauce. Any extra sauce can be frozen (I did in mine in ice cube trays).
- Assemble the tacos with mole-q dressed chicken and top with the corn salad.