Sunday, February 21, 2016

Breakfast Sandwich #51 - Xoco aka Gas Up The Car You're Gonna Need to Take A Drive

Sandwich: Chorizo-Egg Torta
Location: Xoco (Chicago, Ill.)
Date: February 20, 2016
Cost: $8.00

I had a trip to Chicago planned and naturally started my pre-research for breakfast options. I looked at two lists online and both included Xoco which happened to be close to my hotel. Xoco sounded familiar and it took me a minute to remember that Serious Eats had made a list of Must-Eat Breakfast Sandwiches Across America which I had referenced in March of 2015. That made the choice easy as there were several enticing options. Chicago Eater also posted a list of 15 breakfast sandwiches that includes Xoco but I didn't see it until today.

Xoco is a Rick Bayless restaurant and is next door to his Frontera Grill which I went to about 12 years ago and might be the first place I tasted mezcal. None of this is important although Rick Bayless is probably one of only a handful of famous chefs I can name. After Julia Childs and Aunt Jemima I start to run out of ideas. I had no idea until this writing that 7 different women filled the role of Aunt Jemima and one, Rosie Hall, had her grave declared a national landmark. Other not-important-information is that Rick Bayless is the brother of Skip Bayless.
If you need some lousy photos of a menu, I'm your guy.

Everything about these looked enticing and I was leaning towards getting a blood orange margarita until I saw that Xoco has "bean to cup" hot chocolate. I know that sounds like some pretentious hipster garbage but I ordered one and it turns out its the best damn cup of hot chocolate I ever had.

Oh my goodness. What a fine, fine looking sandwich. 
The Sandwich - Chorizo-Egg Torta. I while back I reviewed a chorizo based breakfast sandwich which at the time struck me as odd, mostly because it was not at a Mexican style restaurant. Chorizo makes more sense at this place and I already knew I was ordering this at least a week before I got there. I'm just going to cut to the chase and say there was nothing wrong with this sandwich and I couldn't find a single thing I would have changed about it. The bread was toasted and a little crunchy on the outside, but chewy and soft beneath the crust. The chorizo was fantastic, not too cinnamonny or greasy or fatty. Fluffy eggs, perfectly ripe avocado, a nice compliment of cheese, and tomatillo salsa to drizzle on every bite. Perfect. After I was done I used my fork to clean up the little bits that had fallen in the basket, then I licked the wax paper it had been on, then I ate the wax paper. I had spilled a tiny bit on the table so I ate the table and when the kid sitting next to me started looking at me funny I told him he was throwing his youth away on a stupid order of French Toast. Dumb kid. He didn't even have a hot chocolate.

I should note that I had several bites of the Zucchini-Egg-Poblano Torta and that also was fantastic. It had a little tarragon or thyme flavor to it. Something tasty was happening there but I was too caught up in my own sandwich to focus on that.

The Result - 5 primo hot chocolates out of 5 primo hot chocolates. Some people don't believe in true love and I don't know what you can say to those people. They have to find out on their own. I considered giving this sandwich a 4.99 simply because it's 146 miles from my house - but that's not fair to the sandwich. We strive to provide fair and accurate research here. 


Saturday, February 13, 2016

Breakfast Sandwich #50 - Waypoint Public House aka Back In The Saddle

Sandwich: Pork Belly Sandwich
Location: Waypoint Public House
Date: January 24, 2016
Cost: $12, comes with brunch potatoes or tossed greens

Holy crap. I went almost 4 weeks without consuming a breakfast sandwich. This behavior would have been unheard of in 2015. It's a whole new year though and after I published the year end wrap-up/ranking list I needed to slow down a bit. There are several spots I meant to get to in 2015 but circumstances prevented me from doing so, which means I have an excuse for continued research. It's good to be back in the saddle, so to speak.

Waypoint Public House is the new(ish) place in Monona that the southeast side of Madison (and Monona) has been buzzing about. I've heard a lot of comments about how this part of town needed something like this and a few folks asked if I had been there for brunch yet, so I knew I had to get there.

Not only did I go 6 weeks without having a breakfast sandwich, but the gap between my sandwich consumption and this writing is about the same. This is shoddy journalism folks, if it can even be considered journalism.

Waypoint is bigger than I thought it would be and it's laid out as two rooms with a large L shaped bar. They have a really good looking beer list that I'll sample some other time. That's something else that this area of town was lacking. (I know Mr Brews is across the street but I'm not sure which place opened first.)

I haven't lost my touch - I can still take a crappy photo of a menu.

This one turned out pretty damn good.

Getting to the heart of the matter. 
The Sandwich - the singular breakfast sandwich option at Waypoint is the Pork Belly Sandwich (I'm not counting the Breakfast Burger although that is a breakfast sandwich by definition). I went with the tossed greens on the side even though the sandwich has arugula on it. I like the English Muffin as the bread although this could have been toasted more. The chicken egg was cooked just how I like it. Then there is the pork belly. Crispy, but less salty than bacon, it was a subtle and refreshing change from bacon. I remember enjoying the tossed greens but I didn't take any notes and that was 6 weeks ago. How much could there be to say about tossed greens other than its the nutritious option when compared to the potatoes? I did try my companions potatoes and they were tasty and crispy, and the bloody mary was good too.

The Result - 3.95 saddle sores out of 5 saddle sores. This was a fine sandwich but it didn't have enough going on to really wow me. At $12 I felt it could have been a little more substantial. I guess thats my main beef. The aioli didn't quite make up for the sandwich not having cheese. I'm not sure but this might have the first sandwich reviewed that didn't have cheese on it. Is that possible? It might be. All said, It's a good sandwich and I like the space. I'll definitely be back to have cold beers on the patio and maybe try a lunch or dinner option.