Serious Eats: Chicago
A Sandwich a Day: Egg and Chorizo Torta from Tortas Frontera in O'Hare International Airport, Chicago
In this great nation of ours, one could eat a different sandwich every day of the year—so that's what we'll do. Here's A Sandwich a Day, our daily look at sandwiches around the country. Got a sandwich we should check out? Let us know. —The Mgmt.
Rick Bayless, the respected patron of haute Mexican cuisine, has plenty of well deserved achievements and accolades in his trophy case. And he can add another for this egg and chorizo torta ($9) at his Tortas Frontera restaurant in Terminal 1 (near gate B11). While eating it, I was actually glad to be subjected to a one-hour layover in O'Hare airport.
One could mistake the menu signboard for a gate information display. You'll see locations named like, Sioux Center, IA; Milwaukee, WI; St. Joseph, MI—but these aren't the departures or arrivals. They're actually purveyors and their respective locations where Bayless sources his organic proteins, stone ground corn tortillas, seasonal fresh fruit and local dairy, a rare practice for any restaurant, let alone one in the bustling United terminal.
Also rare for airport restaurants is food that's made from scratch, and made to order. However, a caveat—the food may take around 10 minutes to prepare during lulls and easily twice that during busy periods.
The eggs and chorizo torta recalls familiar breakfast sandwiches, perhaps one found with the clown or the king further down the terminal but this one sports eggs that are fluffy, pork chorizo that's hearty and spicy, Chihuahua cheese with character, poblano rajas with bite, and warm, good, ever-so-crusty bread.
Unless your final destination takes you from ORD to LAX or PHX, Bayless may have achieved the best Mexican flavors that you'll taste during your journey.