Food

Red Hot Tamales and Vases Full of Rum

A Taste of the Deep South on North Avenue

By Sarah Freeman ·
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Photo: Francis Son

Forget everything you know about the Delta.

Or maybe you don't know much about the Delta to begin with.

Either way, this Wicker Park gem pays tribute, in both name and likeness, to that very region of western Mississippi. It's open now and looks like this.

The Delta is a quaint little place, filled with all the mason jars and pineapple lamps one would expect. A few tables sit opposite the open kitchen below a wall covered in knickknacks from black-and-white photographs to stalks of cotton, and a clandestine back patio is adorned with hanging plants.

It's on that patio where you might learn a little bit about antebellum Mississippi, and where you'll definitely learn about the traditions of tamale. They're serving them up Delta red hot-style, stuffed with spicy brisket in bundles of three. Or gussied up with pastrami and giardinera, better known as the Jim Shoe.

And the drinks also take their cues from the South, with a menu of Smashes that combine sherry and strawberry or gin and thyme. Or go big with the spiced rum and black tea Regent Punch. It's served in a vase, so it doubles as a lovely centerpiece.

As all proper rum drinks do.

Sarah Freeman is often accused of hiding secrets in her hair. She can make any cocktail, as long as that cocktail is a rye Old Fashioned, and has never met a saison she didn’t like.

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