ERROR – I had previously stated that my roommate had eaten the first 30 of a list of 50 sandwiches. This was a mistake – he ate every sandwich from a list of 30. To repair this error, I will treat him to not one but TWO sandwiches in the course of my quest.
I came home a couple weeks ago to see Chicago magazine on our kitchen table, the headline “50 Best Sandwiches” staring me in the face. I was excited, to a possibly unreasonable degree. You see, my roommate took a similar list – just before I moved in – and ate all 30 sandwiches on the list, each with a different friend, and wrote a little review of each on facebook. I felt a lot of things about this undertaking, foremost being sadness that I hadn’t thought of it. Second was that I hadn’t met him early enough to be a participant.
So when I saw this year’s list, my first thought was to do the same thing, but with all 50. It’s a great chance for me to live out my dream of being a professional food reviewer, as well as spend time with friends, some of whom I don’t see as often as I should. There are no rules, just try to eat every sandwich with a different friend (even if I have to get creative with the definition of “friend”), and keep you posted here.
1. Woodland Mushroom Torta, XoCo – Max Lollar
My first sandwich was the magazine’s number 3. I was glad to get one of the veggie sandwiches out of the
way early, but was surprised by how hearty and delicious it was.
Max and I already see each other a bunch – he’s the driving creative force behind our sketch group, Orphan Bikini Party. We spent most of the evening talking about scripts, but he was definitely the right choice for the first sandwich because he gets dragged to these sorts of things all the time by his girlfriend Kelsey, who blogs at Ready, Set, Feast! He picked XoCo because a) it was close to his house, and b) “they have incredible layered flavors”, a phrase I’m sure he picked up from Kelsey.
It was a pretty accurate description of what I got, though. The wood-fired torta bread was crunchy outside and gooey inside – you could have put anything in it and it would have been good. The bold garlic on the mushrooms was smoothed by fresh goat cheese, something I’ve only recently discovered I like. Possibly the best part was the salsa on the side. A lot of restaurant salsas are a little bland for me. Even “hot”
is often just burn with no flavor. This one was rich and robust, and added to the whole meal.
I’m a meat guy. When I go back to XoCo (and I will), I’ll probably usually go for something a little porkier (hello Ahogada), but the mushroom will sneak in there from time to time. This was a sandwich done to perfection on every layer. And while we’re at it, I have to recommend the XoCo margarita. It’s maybe a little overpriced at $10, but it’s as good as I’ve had. This Rick Bayless guy has a future.