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

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

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

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


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.

Mushroom panisse with grapefruit, chervil, and shellfish emulsion

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

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

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

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

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

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

Amaro and fennel sorbet with pomegranate and thyme tapioca

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



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