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Even when we’re away from the airport we often find ourselves longing for one of those Rick Bayless sandwiches for lunch, and now it looks like our lunchtime dreams might just become reality. You already know that Rick Bayless and his crew serve up some of the best tortas in the airport, and now the Mexican sandwiches are available without a trip through the metal detector.
We’re hoping that this is just the first of many locations, but the celeb chef has now brought Tortas Frontera into the Windy City. The restaurant popped up last week inside Urban Market of Chase Tower in downtown Chicago, so now hungry office workers can depart their cubicles to satisfy their lunchtime cravings. If you’re going to check it out today—can we come?—it’s located in the Loop at 10 South Dearborn Street.
Airport News / Airports / Chicago Travel / American Airlines / ORD / Green Travel / Airport Restaurants / Rick Bayless / → All Tags
Back in September 2011, the Aeroponic Garden at Chicago-O'Hare Airport was still just getting off the ground (literallythe plants grow in vertical columns). Now, almost six months later, the greenery has grown and the airport is showing off the newest, freshest addition to Terminal 3 (mezzanine level), which houses most American Airlines/oneworld flights, plus JetBlue and Spirit.
Now, finally, we have an image of the progress along with the news that, indeed, Rick Bayless' Tortas Fronteras will make use of the fresh produce grown at ORD:
The vegetables harvested from the garden will be used at HMSHost’s O’Hare restaurants including Tortas Frontera, Wicker Park Seafood & Sushi, Blackhawks Restaurant and Tuscany. Produce growing in the garden includes Swiss chard, sweet basil, purple basil, cilantro, dill, parsley, chives, Bibb lettuce, gourmet lettuce mix, habanero peppers, edible viola flowers, edible nasturtium flowers, thyme, oregano, red lettuce, and green beans.
Chicago's fancy futuristic airport garden is actually the first and only aeroponic garden in an airport. Take that, Singapore-Changi!
Okay, wow. It's May 3 already. Have you made your Cinco de Mayo plans yet? Thursday is going to be crazy, as in crazy fun and crazy tasty and crazy awesome, so long as you know where to go to properly celebrate. Obviously some of the US' big cities will have a range of public parties happening, so here's a few to consider if you're in or around...
· Pilsen is the epicenter for Chicago's Mexican community and one of its best art districts, so you know that this lower West Side nabe will have the most hopping Cinco de Mayo shindig. Follow the crowds to the divey bars serving everything from margaritas to micheladas (beer cocktails with lime juice, salt, Worcestshire sauce, soy sauce, Tabasco, powdered chilies, tomato juice and ice), taquerias slinging real-deal Mexican food or just grab a bite at a tamale cart and watch the drunken revelers.
We knew celebrity chef Rick Bayless had arrived at Chicago-O’Hare, but only recently did we get to indulge in his latest offerings. We expected to rush through the airport in order to make our connection—but thanks to a flight delay—we were able to take in a little airport lunch. After trying Tortas Frontera, we were actually glad our flight was less than on-time.
The quick service restaurant is located in Terminal 1, so if you’re flying on United—a great possibility if you're heading through ORD—you’re all set. Otherwise, it might just be a little bit of a walk.
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While Chicagoans are coming out of hibernation after the crazy Chizzard earlier this week, Chicago Restaurant Week will get them—and the tourists—out and chowing down all over the city from February 18 to 27. More than 200 restaurants will participate, offering prix fixe lunches for $22 and dinners for $33 or $44.
See the full list of participating restaurants here, and get booking--reservations are open!
Check out our top five Restaurant Week picks this way:
ORD is really making quite the airport food court, with offerings from beloved local eateries like Berghoff Cafe, Billy Goat Tavern and Grill, Garrett Popcorn, Vosges Haut-Chocolat and Goose Island Brewing Company. But it just upped its game with the recent opening of Rick Bayless' Tortas Frontera in Terminal 1 with another eatery coming for Terminal 3.
The "Top Chef Master," whose trademark is gourmet Mexican eats, will have from-scratch tortas as the menu star. Travelers can also partake in breakfast molletes (open-faced sammies), soups, salads, a yogurt bar, a make-your-own guacamole bar and freshly made margaritas.
After winning Bravo's first Top Chef Masters, Rick Bayless didn't sit around resting on his 27-ingredient mole. Instead, he went to work and recently opened Xoco (pronounced "Shoh-koh"), Mexican slang for "little sister." It's a fitting name, since the Mexican street food restaurant sits next to its upscale big sisters, Frontera Grill and Topolobampo, in Chicago's River North 'hood.
The line to get in the no-reservations restaurant is out the door for lunch and dinner, so we decided to avoid the crowds and get some breakfast chow. It was a good decision, since there weren't too many people there and we didn't have a problem snagging our own table in the 40-seat cafe, which has mostly bar-like seating.
We experience the flavor, after the jump.
For oenophiles in search of a good grape escape, you have options other than Napa. Top Chef Master Rick Bayless suggests heading to Baja California, specifically Adobe Guadalupe, a winery in the Guadalupe Valley near Ensenada. Bayless tweeted that it was one of the best of the 50 wineries in the region.
Adobe Guadalupe's 60-yard vineyard produces varietals like Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Malbec, Tempranillo, Nebbiolo, Syrah, Cinsault, Mourvedre, Merlot and Viognier. The winery, which makes 5,000 cases of vino each year, names its blends after archangels, such as Gabriel, Serafiel and Uriel.
If you tried re-creating Rick Bayless' delish queso fundido burger with the trio of guacamole from Bravo's Top Chef Masters at home, but it ended up looking more like Hamburger Helper, head to Chicago for your Bayless fix. It's the only place you can get a triple dose of the newly crowned Top Chef Master's upscale Mexican eats, and one of the few spots in the country that offers Mexican fine dining.
Sample the dishes you drooled over while watching TV at the two-time James Beard Award winner's three Chicago restaurants: