Date of Last Visit: Saturday, March 19
The Victim: Me
The Damage: About $10
The Background: Most asked question since I arrived back in the States in August?
“Have you been to XOCO?”
Well no, I haven’t. But I’ve been to Rick Bayless’ Tortas Frontera in O’Hare. And you know what?
They serve pretty much the EXACT SAME MENU at XOCO as they do at O’Hare. And you don’t have to wait in line for over an hour to eat something.
Over an hour. Yes, I was stupid and got into line around 12 noon. I should have aimed for 11:15 or 11:30 a.m. But I had nothing better to do so I waited. And waited and waited and waited. Until finally, I placed my order for the Pepito — braised short-rib, carmelized onion, jack cheese, and black beans. Once I placed my order, I was shown to my seat. You would think that the restaurant would be PACKED given that there had to be 40+ people queuing.
THE BACK OF THE RESTAURANT WAS EMPTY. Maybe it’s a pacing thing. Maybe the kitchen can only make sandwiches so fast. Or maybe their cashier is REALLY slow. Something was off. I was kinda pissed.
My sandwich arrived within 10 minutes of ordering — and 50 minutes of queuing — but I was so worn out by this part that very little would make me happy. The bread was really good, that I am sure of. But the meat was strangely flavorless. Even the pickled jalapenos were flavorless. The only saving grace was the salsa verde there on the side.
Things continued to go downhill for me. I start talking to the guy sitting next to me. He’s just finished off his sandwich and ordered some dessert. He asks me how long I waited. I explain 50 minutes in the queue. He smiles. Handsomely, as he’s a handsome man. He asks if I speak Spanish. I say no.
He says he entered XOCO about 20 minutes earlier. He told one of the servers in Spanish that he was by himself, and he asked if he really had to wait in the queue.
They let him place his order at the take-out counter, and then they gave him a seat IMMEDIATELY in the back of the restaurant. And they brought his sandwich to him a few minutes later.
I am annoyed. Highly annoyed.
The Verdict: Did not go ga-ga over my Pepito. And was totally annoyed by waiting in the queue for so long only to have some guy walk in off the street and get seated immediately because he worked around the system and was handsome and spoke Spanish. And the restaurant facilitated this. That’s just not right.