Xoco Photos & Favorites

At the corner of Clark & Illinois sits the newest restaurant to the Frontera family, Xoco.  Open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, I have sampled a variety of menu items and would recommend all of them.  Depending on the time of day there will be either be no line or one that reaches to the door.  The open kitchen creates a welcome distraction and a chance to see how the tortas or caldos (soups) are made.  Everything is a la minute...meaning, nothing is prepared ahead of time.  I like that each item that I order comes to my table individually rather than all at once.  Watch as the pastry station carefully crimps the empanadas or assembles fresh fruit tarts.  Smell the churros as they come out of the fryer.  Check out how each bean-to-cup of chocolate is hand created for a customer.

Go with an open mind and leave with a full stomach. This isn't your average torta stand.  

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Aztec chocolate: fresh-ground chocolate, chile, water, all-spice; drinkable, hot but not scalding, poured table-side into a white ceramic mug; pure indulgence and satisfying and will be a welcomed treat come winter time
Churro: Mexican chocolate & sugar sprinkling; not overly fried and a perfect accompaniment to the bean to cup chocolate
Open-faced breakfast torta: gently poached egg, tomato broth, sprinkling of cilantro and jalapeno, black beans

Choriqueso torta: homemade chorizo, roasted poblanos, artisan Jack cheese on a roll toasted in a wood-burning oven with a side of tomatillo salsa 

Mexican chocolate cookie

More details & the full menu can be found here: http://www.xocochicago.com

Terzo Piano: a dream of a three course dinner

(note: photos taken from the Modern Wing opening day in May 2009)

Terzo Piano, the new restaurant in the Art Institute's Modern Wing, offers a three course prix fixe dinner Thursday nights only -- the museum stays open late on this night of the week only.  Make a reservation and just go!

My food & wine choices:

NV Brut Rose, Cesarini Sforza, Trentino, Italy
2006 Whispering Angel Rose, Chateau d'Esclans, France

amuse:
crostini with smokey eggplant puree and goat cheese with herbs

first course:
hand rolled gnocchi with eggplant, summer squash, tomato, herbs, Carr Valley Marisa sheep's milk cheese

second course:
grilled Nettesheim Farms beef short ribs with braised romano beans, tomato, San Giacomo 5 year aged balsamic vinegar

third course:
red plum upside down cake with ginger and chocolate ice cream

mini-chocolate macaroons
cappuccino