Starting off Chicago with a hell of a lot of good eats, thanks to my incredibly familiar Chicago-loving Sister. My biggest trouble with visiting a new city has always been relying – a tedious amount – on Yelp, then ending up with a dish infront of me that was way below the hype! My biggest key in life, is not to expect too much, but Yelp twists these expectations for me way beyond my ideal. Big examples, are extended to (of course) my soiled trips around the U.S. Xoco is one of Rick Bayless’ three beautiful restaurants, situated on the single strip in Chicago on North Clark St. Xoco focuses on a good ol’ spot for Takeaway, Breakie, Lunch, and Late Night options, filling the menu with a heap of Street Food – both sweet and savoury – by the dish!
The first bite to invite my descent into falling in love with Chicago, Xoco was definitely the right place. Bold flavours ooze into your mind as you go over the menu – Chipotle Catfish, Iced Mint Chocolate, Wood-roasted Suckling Pig….. Holy moly. This was just too much for me to imagine, we went with a few good intros. Being sick for the first week in Chicago, we stayed clear of anything fried, which was a pity since we really wanted to have a go at a good platter of their House-made and Fried Tortillas and Guac.
1. Ahogada ($10)
Golden Pork Carnitas, Black Beans, Tomato Broth, Spicy Arbolchile Sauce & Pickled Onions
Skipping the Tortillas and Guac to ensure our speedy flu-recovery, the Ahogada had the same concept of dip-and-eat. The sauce provided a very tangy and sour-spicy taste, it’s a must try! The Pulled Pork was a tasty helpful amount.
2. Pork Belly ($12)
Dark Salsa Negra Glaze, Bacon, Arugula & Queso Anejo Cheese
Xoco’s Wednesday special here! The Pork Belly was full of flavour, one that I’ve never experienced before. It had a strong dark sauce, saved by the slight bitterness of the load of Arugula.
3. XOCO Salad ($11.50)
Romaine, Arugula, Marinated Black Beans, Crispy Tortilla Threads, Avocado Lime Dressing & Grilled Onions (+ Golden-Crispy Chicken [+$2])
This was a great salad! Not so much worth the price like the other menu items – but, it was very inspiring how simple it was. Also, the Tortilla Strings that it’s topped with was a small sample of what their in-house made Tortillas taste like, mmhm! The Marinated Black Beans were a great protein-fit, while adding the extra bit of Crispy Chicken was definitely not worth it – there were only a few scrawny pieces.
The service was friendly and speedy, it’s such a great place for a quick snack! They also have a tiny, tiny high-bench seating patio out. I was to come back for their dandy Bacon-sprinkled Soft Serves, but we didn’t find the time. Definitely want to try out their sweets another time, the Churros are calling my name!