Archive for the ‘O Hare’ Category

Torta Sign

It is not always easy to find anything decent to eat at Chicago O’Hare airport, especially if you are flying from one of the smaller airlines on one of those tiny bare concourses that are bereft of any reasonable dining options. I was fearing the worst when I was flying back with British Airways and I found myself heading towards Terminal 5. This time though I was to be pleasantly surprised as they were renovating the terminal and one of the bright new features was a ‘Tortas Frontera by Rick Bayless’ concession. I have had one of the Tortas at one of his other O Hare outlet before in Terminal 3 and it was one of the better offerings available, so I was really feeling quite hopeful.

Cazulas menu options

Just for once we found ourselves with a bit of time to kill so I was able to have a proper meal and not just a sandwich. I started to peruse the larger plate sections of the menu and my eyes alighted upon the Cazuelas described on the tagline as ‘slow-simmered Mexican casseroles served with grilled artisan bread’. Fair enough I am happy to give that a whirl.

Pork Tinga

I had the Chipotle Pork Tinga which was an inspired selection (even if I do say so myself). It was basically pork belly, chorizo and roasted potaoes in a thick smoky stew full of tomatoes and caramelized onions. It was quite a hearty meal and probably the best thing I have found at the airport for a while. It was topped with crumbled cheese and some neat slices of avocado. It also apparently had chipotle en adabo and some cilantro (coriander) too. It wasn’t that spicy, it was just about right for me, I wasn’t really looking for heartburn while sitting on the plane so I had kind of played it a little safe. I like the bread which was really needed to mop up the sauce. I could have probably done with a little more for my $12.39,  but I had no real complaints apart from more bread, and even that is just me being mildly gluttonous. I found a recipe for this dish by Rick Bayless in the Food and Wine magazine (Read more here) and it tickled my fancy so much that I might try and make this myself.

Green Chile Chicken

My companion had the Creamy Green Chile Chicken which was Roasted chicken, mixed with poblano rajas, roasted zucchini and spinach in a tomatillo sauce. I didn’t know what ‘poblano rajas’ was or were, but apparently this is Rick Bayless’s ‘combination of roasted poblano chile strips and sautéed onion flavored with garlic and herbs’. There is a recipe for them on his website in the Salsa and Condiments section (Check  it out here). The whole bowl was covered in a scattered pile of arugula (rocket) leaves. The server warned us in advance that the dish was quite spicy and it was, he was not exaggerating. To ease the dining experience he brought us extra sour cream which really did help. This was another good dish and was well worth the $11.99.

Tortas Sign

The good thing about finding Tortas Frontera in Terminal 5 by Gate M12 was that at least now I know there is something decent to look forwards to foodwise next time I choose to fly out from that terminal. This is one of three Tortas concessions at O’Hare International Airport, the others being located at Terminal : Gate B11, and Terminal : Gate K4.


I don’t usually look for any breakfast when I am passing through O’Hare but this week I was going from terminal 3 over to New York and I had an hour to spare. Walking up towards the Food Court somewhat fearful of what might await my tastebuds and early morning stomach I was pleased to see the sign for Rick Bayless’s Tortas Frontera. I knew it was there, but I just had not remembered until that moment.

I was quite tempted by the Mollettes that were protected by some drool resistant glass, but to be honest they looked to be a bit rich and cheesey for a pre plane flight snack, and I was looking for something a little plainer. Something plain for the plane. That could be an advert for some really awful food court at the airport. “Bland Burgers and Bland Bagels” – “Something Plain for the Plane” OK I am copywriting that one.

As this was breakfast time it seemed more sensible to have a breakfast Torta, What’s that? I heard myself ask, well it is a griddle-baked Mexican sandwich. There was quite a selection but I was playing this very safe and I ordered an Egg and Bacon Torta,  comprising scrambled egg, Nueske’s bacon, chipotle, Chihuahua cheesea and avocado for the sum of $9. I dont think that they were that impressed when I asked them to leave out the chipotle, but it was still pretty early and I did not need any early morning kick to my senses. Well was it any good? I will say that apart from the fact that it was way too big and I could have easily shared one between two, yes it was good. The bread looked hard but it was nice and soft, the eggs were perfectly creamy and not dry, the bacon had a nice smoky taste andwas a little bit salty just as I like it.

The other nice feature of this establishment, that I really like, is that they have a board telling you where the ingredients were sourced from. The applewood smoked bacon came from Wittenberg, Wisconsin, the Chihuahua cheese came from V&V Supremo in Chicago. There is a full list on the website as well if you want to check out the full details of your meal, well lets face it, it is much better than checking your departures on your iphone or watching the departure boasrd screens for your delayed flight.

I would eat here again when I am waiting for my plane, lets hope I am at the same terminal next time.

There are two locations at Chicago O’ Hare airport, this one was at Terminal 3 K4, there is a second at Terminal 1 B11. If you dont want to use a plane to get there you can ride to the end of the Blue Line to O’Hare and if you have a ticket you can stop by.


Tortas Frontera by Rick Bayless on Urbanspoon

O’ Hare is right at the end of the Blue Line and it is not that often that I have had a chance to knock this one off on my el stop blog list. Sadly for me I have to travel to New Jersey for work this week the only upside being that I get to spend next weekend in New York and the opportunity to get some good muching in. I had about 20mins before boarding to Newark. I spotted La Tapenade and I was able to get a seat within view of the gate so I took a chance.


The toasted paninis looked to be the best option, although I was not sure how long they had been there, I selected a portobella melt purely on the basis that I thought it might help my hangover.

It was a good choice, lots of gooey cheese falling out, tasty mushrooms and a hint of pesto and some red peppers.

Usually it is a bit of a struggle to get that much decent food at the airport but La Tapenade was not too bad at all, apart from the $11 price tag I was quite satisfied. What was better was that it cured my grumbling hangover laden body and I was able to stroll easily to get my flight with no problems.

Located at O’Hare International Airport, 10000 West O’Hare, Terminal 1, Gate B5, nearest el O Hare Blue line.