Ladies Who Brunch


Second Chances: XOCO by Benjamin
June 10, 2010, 9:12 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

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After braving the Saturday afternoon line soon after XOCO opened (1hour and 15 minutes, and the line barely reached outside), the Ladies were hardly impressed. Our cochinita pibil was too small a portion, on hard over baked bread, and without much flavor. The traditional accompaniment for cochinita pibil, bright orange habanero salsa, was unbalanced and too spicy to enjoy (it is supposed to be extremely hot, but this was ludicrous-see Mixteco grill for a far superior example). Hot chocolate was sludgy and mouth puckeringly tanic.

We swore we would not return, but when a craving for Mexican struck in River North and Mercadito looked like too much of a meat market, we were left with little choice. This time, we visited later in the day, which offered major benefits: no line and the availability of steaming caldos in addition to the tortas served all day.

We chose the caldo de carnitas, slow cooked tender pork swimming in a green chile-tomatillo broth with avocado, arugula, and potato masa dumplings. This dish was far better composed than the dissappointing torta from our previous visit. The super fresh, herbaceous, and peppery arugula showed how Mexican food can be enhanced with local ingredients, even in the frigid north, and the dumplings leant the soup a satisfying, rib sticking quality that carried us through the rest of the day.

We still feel XOCO is over priced and its claims of serving authentic Mexico city street food are ridiculous, but we may yet return for a third visit.

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