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#1
Posted March 3rd 2011, 9:51am
As I was at the airport a little early yesterday and it was lunchtime, I thought it would be a perfect chance to try out Rick Bayless' new spot in Terminal 1 (Gate B11): Torta's Frontera.

The items on the menu are very close to the tortas offered at XOCO (I even saw one of my favorites, the Cubana). You can order and take it with you, or sit down at one of 4 tables or the bar. I ordered the beer braised short rib sandwich with picked peppers, cilantro and cheese for $11. I was told it would take about 10 min to make, so I made my way over to the bar to have a beer. I ordered a Goose Island Mirisol beer (made just for Rick Bayless...but I think it's just Sofie under a different name) the waitress asked for my credit card without telling me how much it was, swiped it, and showed me a recipe for $9.50 for a 8oz. beer. Yikes. I told her I wasn't paying that much for a beer you can get for almost half that at the real Frontera and she told me she already poured it and swiped the card. Alrighty then...

The positive? The sandwich was fantastic, made even better as it was in the airport...the land of sub-par food. The shirt rib was tender, moist, and very tasty. Unlike at XOCO, where the torta bread can be overcooked and hard, this bread was soft and easily eaten. Very very good.

I would order the sandwich again, but be careful at the bar...the service is not up to XOCO/Frontera standards!
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#2
Posted March 3rd 2011, 12:00pm
For what it's worth, Marisol is different from Sofie (for one thing, Marisol doesn't spend any time in barrels). You can learn more about it here:
http://www.hop-cast.com/?p=1187

Goose also plans on releasing bottles of Marisol but no word yet (I think) if it will be an on-premises only release like with the 2010 '3 Sisters' or if it will see wider distribution.

Having said that, $9.50 for 8oz.? Even by airport standards that sounds outrageous.
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best,
dan
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#3
Posted March 4th 2011, 8:37am
danimalarkey wrote:For what it's worth, Marisol is different from Sofie (for one thing, Marisol doesn't spend any time in barrels). You can learn more about it here:
http://www.hop-cast.com/?p=1187

Goose also plans on releasing bottles of Marisol but no word yet (I think) if it will be an on-premises only release like with the 2010 '3 Sisters' or if it will see wider distribution.

Having said that, $9.50 for 8oz.? Even by airport standards that sounds outrageous.


Fair enough danimalarkey...to me at least Marisol and Sofie are very similar. I like both beers (that's why I ordered it at ORD) but at $9.50 I thought it was a rip off.

The food there was fantastic though...and at ~$11 the sandwich was a bargain compared to the beer!
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#4
Posted March 6th 2011, 9:51pm
Here's a picture of one-half of the cochinita pibil sandwich I enjoyed Friday:

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The bread was great - fresh, crisp on the outside, and soft but strong enough on the inside to hold up the sandwich. The pork was very flavorful and there was just enough of the pickled onions. The habanero salsa was served on the side in a small cup and was as fiery as it should be. About the only thing that could have made this a better cochinita pibil sandwich would have been wood roasted pig - I'll cut them some slack. Probably the best airport food I've had in the US.

But beware the drink prices - I think I paid about $3 for a small sized Diet Coke - I should have bought my drink at McD's and brought it there. Also, it would help if they had plates for eating there. The sandwich was a wee bit messy and balancing it on top of the take-away container required a bit of skill.

On the plus side, there was not a long line and it was less than 5 minutes from order to food delivery.
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#5
Posted March 9th 2011, 11:41pm
I ended up in the B terminal twice today - around 6am and then again at 5pm. Yes... I had Tortas Frontera twice in the same day. The breakfast sandwiches are a little too much food for me that early in the morning, but delicious nonetheless. Chorizo, eggs, poblano rajas and Chihuahua cheese - could have used a little more kick to the chorizo, but overall fantastic. Cochinita pibil as an early dinner was exactly as BR described above - a little on the greasy side, but delicious.

Over the past month I've been to Tortas Frontera once or twice a week and I can honestly say that it's been a boon. I'm stuck in airports a lot, and they're normally the culinary low point of my week - Tortas Frontera is cranking out food so good that I'd happily eat it outside the airport.

-Dan
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#6
Posted March 10th 2011, 12:31am
I grabbed a pepito before boarding my flight last Friday. The line was long, but the service is efficient. I didn't eat my sandwich until an hour or so after I ordered it, and it held up very well. I think those seated around me were definitely jealous when I opened up my box. The salsa was not nearly as spicy as the one I have had at Xoco, but the sandwich didn't really need it either. Probably the best airport food I've had in the US.
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#7
Posted March 10th 2011, 6:19pm
Does this place also serve breakfast? I recall going to a Rick Bayless place for breakfast at O'hare. I got scrambled eggs and something else, don't remember what it was. It was quite bland.
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#8
Posted March 10th 2011, 7:55pm
They do serve breakfast sandwiches. Their online menu has the lineup.

As mentioned upthread, I had eggs, poblano rajas, chorizo, Chihuahua, and avocado breakfast torta earlier this week. I've also had the egg, Nueske's bacon, chipotle, and Chihuahua cheese sandwich in the past. Both were quite good. The bread they uses for the breakfast tortas is different than the lunch ones, and lacks a bit of the chew and structural integrity.

-Dan
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#9
Posted March 13th 2011, 7:45pm
Here's a photo of my breakfast mollete (an open-face sandwich) from Tortas Frontera. I was a bit wary, as it wasn't freshly made, but grabbed from the case and re-heated for me. While the bread did taste a bit dry and reheated the toppings turned out just fine, and it was a delicious, pretty hearty breakfast. Oh, and only $4.50, which I consider a steal for airport food!
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Bacon y queso mollete - bacon, black beans, chipotle, Chihuahua cheese
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#10
Posted April 10th 2011, 8:45pm
I had the pepito (beer-braised beef short ribs) torta here the other day. It was very good. Took about 15 min to prepare.
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#11
Posted December 1st 2011, 2:54pm
Do you need a United ticket to get into the terminal where Tortas is? How long/far is the distance to the AA international terminal? Im hoping to get a breakfast Torta tomorrow morning.
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#12
Posted December 1st 2011, 2:57pm
Apie wrote:Do you need a United ticket to get into the terminal where Tortas is? How long/far is the distance to the AA international terminal? Im hoping to get a breakfast Torta tomorrow morning.


There is one in the AA (domestic) terminal, which is where most international flights depart from. If you are arriving in the international terminal, it's a bit of a hike to the other terminal, and the "restaurant" is through security, so probably not a viable choice.
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Steve Z.

"Why should I eat a carrot when I can eat pizza?" - Dan Janssen
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#13
Posted December 1st 2011, 4:10pm
BR wrote:But beware the drink prices - I think I paid about $3 for a small sized Diet Coke

Thanks for the warning. When I fly out next week, I think I'll get there a little early, buy the torta and take it to the Admirals Club, where the sandwiches are lousy but the drinks are free.
Win win!
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#14
Posted December 1st 2011, 8:24pm
when i flew back from new york to chicago last week, i was looking forward to grabbing a torta from the airport tortas frontera. i've never been there, and don't like to eat just before getting on a plane, but after getting off is fine. unfortunately, i found out after claiming my baggage, that the restaurant is inside security. i'm trying to think of a good reason why it'd be there, rather than where everyone can access it..... justjoan
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#15
Posted December 1st 2011, 8:53pm
justjoan wrote:when i flew back from new york to chicago last week, i was looking forward to grabbing a torta from the airport tortas frontera. i've never been there, and don't like to eat just before getting on a plane, but after getting off is fine. unfortunately, i found out after claiming my baggage, that the restaurant is inside security. i'm trying to think of a good reason why it'd be there, rather than where everyone can access it..... justjoan


All of the restaurants at O'Hare are inside security, save one lonely Starbucks in the AA baggage claim area. That's where the customers are.
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Steve Z.

"Why should I eat a carrot when I can eat pizza?" - Dan Janssen
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#16
Posted December 1st 2011, 9:30pm
stevez wrote:
justjoan wrote:when i flew back from new york to chicago last week, i was looking forward to grabbing a torta from the airport tortas frontera. i've never been there, and don't like to eat just before getting on a plane, but after getting off is fine. unfortunately, i found out after claiming my baggage, that the restaurant is inside security. i'm trying to think of a good reason why it'd be there, rather than where everyone can access it..... justjoan


All of the restaurants at O'Hare are inside security, save one lonely Starbucks in the AA baggage claim area. That's where the customers are.


well, i think my post just showed that sometimes customers have arrived at o'hare and wanna eat. i can't believe i'm the only one. jj
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#17
Posted December 1st 2011, 9:41pm
justjoan wrote:
stevez wrote:
justjoan wrote:when i flew back from new york to chicago last week, i was looking forward to grabbing a torta from the airport tortas frontera. i've never been there, and don't like to eat just before getting on a plane, but after getting off is fine. unfortunately, i found out after claiming my baggage, that the restaurant is inside security. i'm trying to think of a good reason why it'd be there, rather than where everyone can access it..... justjoan


All of the restaurants at O'Hare are inside security, save one lonely Starbucks in the AA baggage claim area. That's where the customers are.


well, i think my post just showed that sometimes customers have arrived at o'hare and wanna eat. i can't believe i'm the only one. jj

People at O'Hare are generally about to clear security to catch a flight - they eat on that side of security. Flying in to O'Hare, why eat at the airport? Most folks would rather go home, or to their hotel. If one needs to eat on arrival, why not eat before you head out to pick up your baggage. its one less thing to juggle.
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#18
Posted December 1st 2011, 10:09pm
The terminal was designed before the current security regime. You could go to the gate without a ticket, to meet someone getting off a flight. Didn't matter where the shops were. Back in dinosaur days.
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#19
Posted December 1st 2011, 10:23pm
Just another OT post about what side of security restaurants are on. My logic is that I never know how long it will take to get through security, so I rather get in line early, then have time to waste on the other side. Usually, it takes a lot less time than planned to break on through to the other side, so I have time to waste on the secured side. I remember flying out of Seattle(?) on the first day of the new security regs, and it took more than 3 hours to get through the line. People were actually throwing their carry-on bags in the trash, so they could get into a faster "no carry-on" line.
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#20
Posted December 2nd 2011, 7:32am
justjoan wrote:
stevez wrote:
justjoan wrote:when i flew back from new york to chicago last week, i was looking forward to grabbing a torta from the airport tortas frontera. i've never been there, and don't like to eat just before getting on a plane, but after getting off is fine. unfortunately, i found out after claiming my baggage, that the restaurant is inside security. i'm trying to think of a good reason why it'd be there, rather than where everyone can access it..... justjoan


All of the restaurants at O'Hare are inside security, save one lonely Starbucks in the AA baggage claim area. That's where the customers are.


well, i think my post just showed that sometimes customers have arrived at o'hare and wanna eat. i can't believe i'm the only one. jj



So you grab a sandwich before you head to baggage. You end up standing around waiting for your baggage anyway.

Think of how many people have connections at a place like O'hare....they aren't going to go outside of security to get a torta.

kinda surprised this conversation is even happening...
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#21
Posted December 2nd 2011, 2:39pm
Ziggy, you aren't thinking like a typical LTHer who might consider going to O'Hare just to eat. :wink: But, yeah, even at newer terminals the big food courts are always past security. I only makes sense to have food in the area where people wait idly or make connections. One exception I deal with regularly is LaGuardia, and it's a pain. Some of the OK dining in Reagan is before security too, if I remember right.
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#22
Posted December 2nd 2011, 3:43pm
Excited to give Tortas Frontera a try in a couple weeks... flying AA to Puerto Vallarta. Of course, knowing I'm off for 2 weeks of actual Mexican food dampens the enthusiasm a little. Still not enough to miss a chance for a torta. And for once we're not on a crack of dawn flight that departs before the food places even open.
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#23
Posted December 2nd 2011, 7:29pm
Both Portland Oregon and San Diego have significant restaurant options outside of security. In fact, it's annoying, because one of them (I think Portland) has a Jamba Juice, which I love, but you can't get one and then go through security. On the other hand, if you're there waiting to pick someone up and their plane is delayed, you have somewhere to sit and eat while you wait.

I've also arrived at an airport and been about to embark on a longish drive that isn't going to take me past any good meal options. I want to get my checked bags first, and then get a meal because I don't want to leave my bags for someone to steal. Airports without good options outside security thwart that.

So there are good reasons to have good options both inside and outside security.
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SAVING ONE DOG MAY NOT CHANGE THE WORLD, BUT IT CHANGES THE WORLD FOR THAT ONE DOG.
American Brittany Rescuealways needs foster homes. Please think about helping that one dog.
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#24
Posted December 2nd 2011, 8:18pm
It seems a bit strange that the only sit-down options in the International terminal at O'Hare are outside security. Sure, no one's at the international terminal to catch a connecting flight, but I'd rather have a better option than pre-packaged drek from a newsstand once I've been through security at that terminal.
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#25
Posted December 2nd 2011, 10:23pm
nr706 wrote:It seems a bit strange that the only sit-down options in the International terminal at O'Hare are outside security. Sure, no one's at the international terminal to catch a connecting flight, but I'd rather have a better option than pre-packaged drek from a newsstand once I've been through security at that terminal.

I was appalled at the drek inside security at the international terminal -- plus they want you to arrive super early, we were taking off for Istanbul about 7:30, so it was dinner time, but no food on the plane for about an hour after takeoff. Clearly there need to be decent restaurants inside security at this terminal.
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#26
Posted December 3rd 2011, 10:50am
Judy H wrote:
nr706 wrote:It seems a bit strange that the only sit-down options in the International terminal at O'Hare are outside security. Sure, no one's at the international terminal to catch a connecting flight, but I'd rather have a better option than pre-packaged drek from a newsstand once I've been through security at that terminal.

I was appalled at the drek inside security at the international terminal -- plus they want you to arrive super early, we were taking off for Istanbul about 7:30, so it was dinner time, but no food on the plane for about an hour after takeoff. Clearly there need to be decent restaurants inside security at this terminal.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel won approval today of a 25-year deal that will replace a clout-heavy concession operator at O’Hare Airport’s international terminal with a company that’s pledged to invest $26.2 million to improve the quality of shopping and restaurants. http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/poli ... 4448.story
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"Health food may be good for the conscience but Oreos taste a hell of a lot better." -- Robert Redford, actor/director
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#27
Posted December 3rd 2011, 11:19am
There are plans to improve Terminal 5 (International) but they only got the contracts in place this past summer, so it may be a while -

(I can't find the article where it was approved, this is the announcement that it is going to vote)
http://www.cityofchicago.org/city/en/de ... ogram.html

(this is the site from the awardee)
http://www.chicagot5.com/main/transforming-t5/
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Leek
SAVING ONE DOG MAY NOT CHANGE THE WORLD, BUT IT CHANGES THE WORLD FOR THAT ONE DOG.
American Brittany Rescuealways needs foster homes. Please think about helping that one dog.
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#28
Posted December 5th 2011, 10:23pm
As long as you plan ahead, getting a torta to go upon arrival at O'Hare Terminal 1 is easy enough. Even if you are in concourse C, take the escalators up to concourse B, turn left, get your torta, then you can go right back down to baggage claim across from the restaurant. From baggage claim its two quick escalators up to the parking garage/people mover walkway, into my car, and outta there. I find that easier than walking the long length of concourse B to the only departures-level exit from the secure area, down by the walkway to terminal 2. I have done this drill many times and only regret that my travel on United is often international, arriving instead at the dreck terminal.
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#29
Posted December 6th 2011, 9:50pm
I grabbed a torta (the non-breakfast chorizo one - they stop serving breakfast relatively early) in the AA terminal and was waiting for my order when who walked up but the man himself. I eventually got my torta (had to wait 10-15 minutes...beware), sat down at their little bar and started eating. It was very good. Rick walked over and stood about two feet away from me. I wanted to compliment him on serving airport food that wasn't a complete horror show, but he was clearly conducting business and I didn't want to interrupt. At least we know he's keeping an eye on the place. It's worth showing up a few minutes early to the airport.
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#30
Posted February 22nd 2012, 6:01pm
Anybody know what time they stop serving breakfast items at the Terminal 3 Location?
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