It all started with a carrot soup in the autumn of 2004.  Or more accurately, a carrot star anise soup—sweet, sunny, and tasty—that, as if out of a chapter from a Laura Esquivel novel, helped transform a friendship into a romance, and a romance into a culinary venture.

Yo Soy Founders Brian Riggenbach and Mikey Corona

Yo Soy Founders Brian Riggenbach and Mikey Corona

If you missed out on last week’s Mexican Independence Day festivities, you get a second chance this Sunday, as Yo Soy, an underground supper club specializing in Mexican-Chinese fusion, hosts their monthly event in tribute to la patria. Calling it The Longest Grito,” Yo Soy founders Mikey Corona and Brian Riggenbach are hosting their special Independence Day dinner a little late, on September 25th.

Restaurantes de puertas cerradas (as they’re called in Latin America) and underground supper clubs are not a novel concept. World cities, like Buenos Aires, have been hosting secret dinners for decades. But in a city with a history like Chicago’s, where speakeasies were once as popular as corner stores, it’s not surprising that diners still enjoy the intrigue of eating in a stranger’s home, or in this case, Corona and Riggenbach’s home.

Yo Soy has been hosting monthly, space-limited dinner parties out of Lakeview for more than two years. However, unlike some underground supper clubs who feed off exclusivity, mystery and allusiveness, the duo seems to thrive more on their love of food (their Sunday menus have featured items like seared scallops with sweet and sour plantains, and corn and the cob chilled soup with pickled ginger and shiitake mushrooms); of hosting (both have extensive experience in the service industry); and of a need to create a sense of intimacy amongst their guests.

Soup for the Soul

Soup for the Soul

“Yo Soy brings together everything that I believe should be part of culinary experience,” said 32-year-old Yo Soy patron Micaela Diaz-Sanchez. “Good company and music framed by intricately and creatively crafted (not to mention DELICIOUS) food. Mikey and Brian have begun such a fiercely sophisticated gathering but with such profound warmth.”

There are still seats available for the September 25th meal. And who knows, perhaps you’ll get to sample their carrot star anise soup and spark your own love affair. “That was the soup that made me fall for Brian,” said Corona. “We share that soup once a year with our diners, and it’s usually around October.”
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Can’t make it to this weekend’s dinner? Yo Soy graciously shares one of their recipes:
Marinade for steak; arrachera con cuero

1 cone, (80g)  pioncillo grated

1 bu., (160g) green onion, white and green parts, chopped

1/3 bu., (20g) garlic chives, chopped

6 cloves,(36g) minced garlic

2/3 C light soy sauce

4 stalks, (8g) rosemary

3 stalk,(1g) thyme

1/3 bu.,(20g) cilantro

1/2 (180g) vidalia onion, minced

2tsp. ground cumin

1 tsp chili flakes

1/3 C rice wine vinegar

2 tsp. black pepper

1 lime zest and juice

14 lb. outer skirt steak usda choice, arrachera con cuero

Combine all ingredients, pour over steak and rub into meat to ensure proper distribution of marinade. refrigerate overnight or at least 6 hours.