Chicago – 12/7/14 – XOCO Wicker Park and Blackbird

XOCO Wicker Park
XOCO has been my favorite lunch spot ever since I started to visit Chicago regularly. Until recently it was also my first stop after arriving in town and checking into my hotel. So of course I had to check out the new location to see how it compared. Just based on location I will likely stick to the original, but I am very happy to have this option for my Sunday cravings. Another great addition to Wicker Park!

Sikil Pak – pumpkin seed, roasted tomato, sour orange, habanero w/ cucumber, jicama and tortilla chips

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Fully dressed guacamole – spicy roasted poblano & Serrano, chicharron, pepitas, smoky bacon, queso fresco, crunchy-spicy kohlrabi, grilled onion, sun-dried tomato

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Wood roasted chicken Pozole – gunthorp chicken, Pozole, crunchy garnishes, crushed red chile, lime

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Short rib red chile caldo – braised short ribs, red chile broth, roasted vegetables, epazote, wild arugula, lime

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Blackbird
I didn’t plan it at the time, but as I’m writing this I realize this was old favorites day. I’m not sure how many years ago it was, but Blackbird is the first Chicago restaurant that I really remember visiting. But with every subsequent trip I’ve always been trying new places and have put out of mind the oldies but goodies. So when a friend who had never been suggested it I was more than happy to revisit this old favorite. It was fairly quiet so I hope only because it was a Sunday and not because others have forgotten about Blackbird as well.

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Mushroom panisse with grapefruit, chervil, and shellfish emulsion

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Ivory char crudo with smoked char roe, turnip, green grape, pearl onion, and pumpernickel

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Celery root soup with grilled lobster, preserved lemon, celery and marigold

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Oil poached walleye with parsley root, hazelnut, radish, chickweed and spicy coppa

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Smoke brined chicken breast and black truffle-taleggio sausage with carrots, pecans and dill

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Grilled lamb loin with cucumber, trumpet mushrooms, mustard, chickpea and sorrel

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Milton creamery ‘prairie breeze’ cows milk white cheddar with toasted sourdough crumpet, horseradish butter, quince and amaranth

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Amaro and fennel sorbet with pomegranate and thyme tapioca

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Grilled pear with brown butter oat cake, quark ice cream, hazelnut trail mix, and ginger

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