Now that the intense Top Chef Masters hype has died down (not by much) we decided to make the trek over to Rick Bayless' new 'street food' restaurant, Xoco, which appropriately means 'little sister'. For Bayless, the timing of Xoco couldn't have been better - coming off of his Top Chef win, and with diners spending less in restaurants but still caring about the quality (food and star), as well as service, this place has done it right - and it's LEED certified to top it off!

We did have to wait in about a 45-minute line, but watching the organization and care with which the staff was handling everything and everyone was really a joy to watch - plus we got to ponder all the options on the menu. Just because Xoco is the lower priced sibling of Frontera Grill or the haute Topolobampo, the quality of ingredients does not suffer a bit. From the organically raised meats to the gorgeous handmade tortas, elegant caldos (soups), churros and exotic drinking chocolates - simply, we were very impressed from start to finish.

Open for breakfast, brunch, lunch and dinner - brave the crowds and go to Xoco. The food, atmosphere, price and staff will not disappoint. Xoco; 449 North Clark Street, Chicago; M-Sat 8am-10pm, Closed Sunday.
Images via Chicago Tribune, Leisure Blogs

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