Thursday, May 05, 2011

Rick Bayless' XOCO in Chicago

Wood-Roasted Chicken Pozole

Every time I watch Mexico: One Plate at a Time on TV, I can't stop myself from salivating. So it was fortunate when I realized that I wasn't too far from Rick Bayless' outfits in Chicago today. And while my initial intention was to go to his famous Frontera Grill (or even alleged Obama family favorite Topolobampo), something about his casual shop XOCO next door appealed to me tonight, so I went there instead (449 North Clark Street, 334-3688).

Actually, I know exactly what it was that appealed to me: he had Mexican soups there. I grabbed a pozole, which was surprisingly conservative when it came to garnishes, but the light broth was strikingly tasty, while the heat from the ground chili peppers provided a nice lingering burn after I was done. Rock on.

I'm definitely coming back to his shops next time I'm in town. There were so many things that I noticed tonight that looked amazing, be it the churros and chocolate, big selection of local craft beers, or even some kind of a Mexican vanilla soft serve. Besides, any shop that provides you with sparkling water on tap clearly knows how to resonate with my heart. That was awesome - and not just because today is Cinco de Mayo.

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