Monday, May 3, 2010


Image from rickbayless

Rick Bayless is a culinary rockstar. I'll admit that I was rather skeptical about him when I first moved to Chicago. After all, my idea of good Mexican food was the polar opposite of gourmet. Thank you, Texan roots. I am the girl who hates the idea of veggies in an enchilada... seriously zucchini and spinach do not belong in an enchilada. Dinner at a Mexican restaurant in Texas consists of cheese and onion enchiladas bathed in ranchero sauce with a side of refried beans and mexican rice for $5.95. And get this, chips (the really thin kind) and salsa are free. To even think of charging for chips and salsa is an atrocity.

When I moved to Chicago, a fellow Texan and I tried several Mexican restaurants around town and were utterly disappointed. About a year later I ate at Frontera. I was blown away. I wanted more Rick Bayless in my life. I was willing to wait for hours to eat at Frontera (which at times drove my dinner companions crazy). If I found myself in the loop during lunchtime, I would grab lunch at Frontera Fresco on the 7th floor of Marshall Fields Macy's on State St. Ever since Xoco opened last fall, I have been anxiously waiting to try the Mexican street food inspired cafe around the corner from Frontera and Topolo.

It was so worth the wait. Recently two of my girlfriends took me to Xoco to celebrate some good news. Yes, my friends are awesome. I had a woodland mushroom torta from the wood-burning oven- wood-roasted mushrooms with garlic, goat cheese, arugula, and avocado on warm crusty toasted bread with 3 chile salsa. It was soo good. When I placed the order the server asked if I was vegetarian and subbed in avocado for the black beans because they are cooked in pork. The garlic mushrooms were jam packed with flavor and the goat cheese added a nice tanginess to the mix. As an added bonus, you can order Frontera's guacamole at Xoco! Is your mouthwatering yet?

To finish we ordered hot just made churros... golden brown loops topped with sugar and cinnamon and served with a side of homemade vanilla ice cream. These churros will change your life. Thank you, P for taking a picture!

449 N. Clark St.
Chicago, IL 60654

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