Monthly Archives: March 2013

Pacific Daylight

jonathan xoco 3rdarm

Man I love Au Cheval despite another rough start. I had to get up and ask for service. The server said he was fooled by the way I set my silverware, side plate and napkin into thinking the other server had started our table. I believed him.

au cheval chicago 3rdarm

The service was so good after that, but what was really on point was the burger that night. It was pretty unbelievable how strong the definition of each flavor was. The meat was meaty, the pickle was pickly, the fat was fatty, and the burger was balanced. That’s not just hunger talking- before the burger I ate a bowl of matzoh ball soup, a large sausage, and super rich mashed potatoes.

Paula’s Donuts

paulas donuts buffalo 3rdarm

The donuts here are large, the size of a softball. Paula’s was only established in 1996, but these are old school donuts. And not in a bad way. I asked for a box of the ones with fillings and toppings, but I got a couple plain ones too. The Boston cream was the first one I ate. I made the mistake of putting the box of donuts in the back seat when I drove home to Chicago.

Q2CTF Lan Buffalo

Lan buffalo q2ctf 3rdarm

My friend Rusty rented out the meeting room and we LANed. There was plenty of power, and a TV on a rolling rack. The internet was not fast. The room was clean, and also had a TV. I played Quake 2 capture the flag in the dark with lasermines. I played Left 4 Dead 2 on a netbook.

q2ctf lan buffalo 3rdarm rusty target cartman

I bought a box of peanut brittle from a young African American boy in a parking lot, and opened it back at the hotel. It was all one big chunk, the size of a baseball, and I ate it. The front desk staff was on point. I went atomic in Scorched Earth.

Duff’s Famous Wings

target shirt duffs wings 3rdarm buffalo

Duff’s teeshirts say something like regular is hot, regular plus is super hot and hot is wicked hot. I may be a chile head but none of the above is true. In fact, the opposite may have more truth- hot is regular. The wings were crispy and the heat builds and the blue cheese helps.

Rusty at the airport 3rdarm buffalo

There were photos of President Obama. This is the place everyone told me to go, established 1969. Next time I’m going to go atomic.

Ted’s Hot Dogs

teds buffalo 3rdarm

I went with friends to Ted’s, known for their charcoal grilled hot dogs. Ted’s was first established as a horse drawn hot dog cart in 1927. I got a chili cheese dog, a regular dog, and cheese fries. The regular dog was halfway Chicago style, with relish, mustard and a pickle. I added Ted’s custom hot sauce for kick. No ketchup.

teds buffalo 3rdarm

The fries were handcut and the cheese was creamy. To drink I had loganberry juice, originally a Lake Erie summer drink. Loganberry is a hybrid raspberry blackberry. It is a mutant but it makes for a refreshing beverage. I had a good time and saved my placemat.

Ulrich’s Tavern

ulrichs buffalo 3rdarm

I drove from Chicago to Buffalo, NY for a Quake 2 Capture the Flag LAN. I had never met the guys, Rusty, Target and Cartman in real life. We went to Ulrich’s the first night for birch beers, sausages, sweet potato pancakes, and my request, beefs on weck.

ulrichs sweet potato pancakes 3rdarm buffalo

Ulrich’s is buffalo’s oldest continuously operated restaurant, since 1868. I tried Weber’s horseradish mustard, popular in NY state since 1922. The food was excellent, but the service really put it over the top. The woman who served us is married to a man who games, and she related to us on that level. She related to us as human beings.


yuzu sushi chicago 3rdarm

I found out that the trip my aunt, sister, mom and I made to Mexico back in the day when I was in middle school was actually to the state of Oaxaca. We went to the Club Med in Huatulco. Later on at the end of high school I visited another resort area in Mexico- Cancun. It should be revealing to travel back to Mexico as an adult and eat in the country.

chicken tamal experiment 3rdarm xoco

Etta and I spent the whole day in the apartment this Sunday. Today we had lunch at Yuzu, a sushi and robata grill place in the neighborhood. Grey clouds covered the sky and it was snowing outside. The best part was the warming miso soup, and the price. Ten dollars for soup and a bento box with two types of sushi and a salad.

Torta Ahogada

roly poly cat chicago 3rdarm arthur robert mullen iii

I organized my clothes and now Roly Poly can climb up deep into the bedroom closet. He made a nest on the blankets and pillows stored on the second highest shelf. I have been eating a lot of bad hotdogs, for the sake of convenience, at Donald Duk’s across the street from the apartment.

taqueria traspasada 2 torta ahogada mexican chicago 3rdarm

My other non-work non-home standard in the neighborhood is Taqueria Traspasada 2. They have a six dollar torta ahogada that’s full of flavor- the twenty minute burn reminds me that I’ve eaten.

Jeff and Lucia

xoco chicago 3rdarm

When our mutual friends Andrea and Julie moved to San Francisco, we got together with friends Lucia and Jeff for dinner a couple times at the beginning of meteorological spring. They were the first friends of mine to come in for dinner at XOCO.

fideos 3rdarm jeff and lucia mexican food chicago

Two weeks later Lucia and Jeff invited us out to their home for a Sunday night dinner. Lucia cooked Mexican food from her family’s recipes. She made earthy spicy beef colorado, fluffy fideo noodles, crunchy bright jicama salad, and her mother’s flavorful caramelized lengua (beef tongue). My favorite was the soup of greens and fresh cheese.

jeff and lucia 3rdarm chicago mexican food

Their three level house on the West Side is warm and welcoming. It was great to have dinner with friends on a still-cold (meteorologically spring) evening. Jeff the drummer did the dishes and turned me onto El Malo by Willie Colon. We took home leftovers and ate well for 2 days. Thank you guys!

Bill Blair

bill blair victoria bc artist 3rdarm

Today is Casimir Pulaski day. He was a Polish cavalryman in the Revolutionary War who is honored every first Monday of March with a state holiday in Illinois and Wisconsin. My grandfather Bop Bop was an officer in the cavalry. Aunt Judy described his code of honor- Take care of the animals first, they can’t take care of themselves. Then take care of your fellow cavalrymen. Finally, take care of yourself. I plan to integrate this code into my management of XOCO- take care of the guest first, then the staff, and finally myself.

bill blair canada 3rdarm

Bill Blair is great artist from Victoria, B.C. He created pieces of arte Mexicana that became part of Chef Rick’s collection and have been on display at XOCO since we opened. He also does Canadian art as well. The three pieces above are from the series, Twin Totems- 1/”Naturists from around the globe enjoy the breathtaking beauty of Nudie Cove, with its springtime blossoms and lush mossy banks.” 2/”The annual Deer Festival is a three-day event featuring masked dances, picnics, and special games.” 3/”Proprietors George & Myrtle offer professional hairstyling for women. Their pet coyote, Wilmont, adds – We do pets too!”

-for more wild Mexican and Canadian art visit artist Bill Blair’s Flickr photostream