churros Cuban sandwich English Rick Bayless Xoco


Months after they opened, with tons of media buzz and fuss, I finally got to dine at XOCO, the latest Rick Bayless franchise. Being a foreigner sometimes lessens my reaction to people who are very famous here, but mainly unknown in the rest of the world, Oprah being the main example (she is hardly known in Spain). It would be the case with Bayless too. He is huge in Chicago, even more since the Obamas listed Topolobambo as one of their favorite restaurants. But he is completely unknown in my home country, so I wasn’t in a rush to wait three hours for a couple of churros.
I’m glad I waited, because on the day we went, a Wednesday around 8 pm, there wasn’t a queue, and we were even able to sit on a table without wait. I ordered the carnitas soup and a Cuban sandwich, and both were delicious. I have to warn that the soup was so spicy that it made me cry. But I still ate it, because it was great, with clear broth and fresh little pieces of fresh avocado which helped me handle the heat. I have to say that the sandwich was the best Cuban one I have had since they closed the Che Café on Taylor. If you have never tried a Cuban sandwich, head out right now, and try one. They are hearty, warm, and fulfilling, a whole meal on their on.
Of course, we couldn’t leave without trying the chocolate con churros. The chocolate wasn’t bad, but I still think the one at Angel Food bakery is the best in Chicago (I will write about it the next time I have brunch there). But the churros, oh my, the churros were perfect. They were the same kind of churros you can find for breakfast in Madrid, thinner and shorter than the Mexican version you usually find in the streets of Chicago. The only Mexican touch they had was the cinnamon, which I could live without. But still, thy are the best churros in town.
My take? Even thought it is a little bit over the price of your usual soup and sandwich place, it’s definitely worth a visit, and I’m sure I will be back soon. It’s a great place to go with friends. You could go on a date, but it’s not particularly romantic. Still, the food was fantastic. Choose your timing wisely, though, if you don’t want to wait for hours. Oh, and since a lot of people asked… No, Rick Bayless wasn’t there. But since I didn’t have any intention of eating him on a sandwich, that wasn’t a problem.

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