The Secret Menu of IXCA: Irvington Historic District
“Secrets, secrets are no fun…
Unless they’re shared with everyone!”
Every old, quiet town whispers secrets of the past. Lying deep within its structures, its tired walls and walkways, its age-old trees are stories of moments come and gone.
Nestled just five miles east of downtown Indianapolis is one of Indy’s most historically protected neighborhoods. Irvington Historic District is one of the city’s original suburban towns. Founded in 1870, Irvington was quietly tucked away along quaint winding roads and beautiful architecture among a romantic landscape. It was home to artists, intellectuals, politicians, military generals, and community leaders.
Listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1987, this family-friendly neighborhood boasts wonderful examples of Italianate, French Second Empire, Victorian Gothic, Queen Anne, Colonial Revival and Tudor Revival style architecture. It’s also home to the Irving Theatre, built in 1913, and many wonderful churches - one of the oldest is the Irvington Baptist Church founded in 1887.
This revitalized, budding area along Washington Street was part of the route along the historic National Road that many immigrants used to travel west. Now it consists of a handful of locally owned restaurants as well as a small brewery and taproom. Irvington is also famous for its annual Halloween Festival.
The Historic Irvington Halloween Festival is a celebration of the community’s heritage and includes many events such as a street festival, themed movies, live theater, and haunted ghost tours that pay homage to those secrets of the past.
But not all secrets are rooted in days gone by…
A new restaurant recently opened during Irvington’s 2017 Halloween Festival …and they have a secret menu. Shhhhhhh…
You won’t find these offerings listed on the menu at IXCA (pronounced, “eesh-kah") which features new modern Mexican cuisine like carnitas (little meats simmered slowly in savory spices), mole made from scratch (a Mexican sauce with a hint of chocolate!), and tamales made with yuca rather than the typical corn base (which offers a rich, sweet and spicy flavor). But, luckily you’ve come to the right blog! Because I’m going to share these secret items with you….BUT… you have to promise to keep it between you and me!
Ok. Here are the secret menu items:
1. Tacos Chorizo & Tacos Carnitas
These tacos are special because the meats have simmered for 6 hours in a seasoning that includes lime, garlic, and other secret ingredients (sorry, I can't spill all the beans!). Both of these mouth-watering tacos are simply topped with fresh onion and cilantro, with the savory meats taking center stage. One taco contains chorizo which is a Mexican-style sausage, and the other is shredded pork.
2. Torta Cubana
Don't be fooled! This is NOT a burger! It's a torta (Mexican-style sandwich). This Torta Cubana is a fusion inspired by the classic Cuban sandwich...and is packed with four different meats! Plus an egg over-easy! It's also packed with lettuce, onion, avocado, jalapeño, and chipotle mayo. It comes with fries, veggies, or a side of rice. The meats include: carnitas, ham, sausage, and milanesa (fried steak). Think you can handle it?
Come to IXCA and eat your tacos with Frida Kahlo! Let this famous Mexican painter inspire you to create chalk art on the wall of the restaurant!
At the Bar:
Antonio, one of the owners and food designer, pours a cerveza Modelo Especial - a crisp and refreshing pilsner-style lager brewed in Mexico. It's characterized by an orange blossom honey aroma with a hint of herb.
IXCA has a bar with all the favorites like classic margaritas and micheladas, as well as Mexican beer and local craft brews!
Michelada is a cocktail made with beer, lime juice, and assorted sauces, spices, and peppers. It's served in a chilled, salt-rimmed glass. It's kind of like a Bloody Mary except with beer instead of vodka. There are several variations. This michelada was made with Bohemia beer - a popular Mexican pale lager with light, subtle flavors and a hint more of hops than the usual Mexican lager. Its abv is 4.7% ...much lower than vodka. So, if you love a Bloody Mary but want something less intense, this is a great option. It doesn't really taste like beer. Michelata is delicious and surprisingly refreshing!
Amy is a food and beverage writer with a focus on diverse cultures. She loves telling stories and creating experiences as a city guide. Her greatest inspiration is travel: Thailand and Prague are her two favorite places outside of her home in Indianapolis. In her free time, she enjoys exploring the city on her bike, trying new restaurants, visiting museums, and of course ... drinking beer!
IXCA Mexican Kitchen
5537 E Washington St.
Indianapolis, IN 46219