Quiote, the vibrant Logan Square Mexican restaurant from Chicago food truck pioneer Dan Salls, will host a special pop-up dinner in April featuring the staff from Caldo de Piedra, a restaurant in Tlalixtac de Cabrera, Oaxaca. They’ve been cooking foods from pre-Hispanic Mexico for the last 22 years. The restaurant’s name refers to its signature dish: a unique soup cooked by dropping hot river stones into a hollowed gourd full of broth.
The soup represents an ancient piece of history and heritage dating back to 5,000 B.C. The Gachupín Velasco family owns Caldo de Piedra and they’ll be hauling with them river stones from Oaxaca to Quiote. It’s their first time in Chicago. The soup’s made of shallots, onions, cilantro, epazote, peppers, fish, and shrimp. The recipe has been passed along through generations showing how this specific area of Mexico has provided for its inhabitants.
Diners at Quiote will have a hollowed jicara (gourd) filled with those ingredients and water sitting at their tables. Restaurant staff will then drop a hot river stone or two into their gourd and they can watch the soup cook for three to four minutes. The stones are only used once, as they break easily. Traditionally, it takes about 30 minutes to heat the stones using a riverside fire. They’ll be using Quiote’s wood-burning oven instead in Logan Square.
It’s a rare opportunity to try the soup which is a symbol of perseverance to those who speak Chinanteco, one of the remaining languages spoken by indigenous peoples from Oaxaca and Veracruz. It’s a language that predates the arrivals of Spanish conquistadores. It’s not prevalent in U.S. other than in Staten Island, New York. Caldo de Piedra also did a pop-up in 2016 in New Orleans. Quiote’s Paul Biasco isn’t sure how the restaurant found them. Caldo de Piedra reached out and emailed Biasco a few months ago to measure interest.
The dinner will take place on April 10 with seatings at 6 p.m. and 8 p.m. Dinner includes a Quiote appetizer, soup, mezcal, and dessert. Tickets cost $35 and customers can RSVP at the link. The soup will also be available on Quiote’s regular menu on April 11 and 12.