Hit the ground running with a first bite after arriving at O'Hare yesterday at new Bayless spot, Cruz Blanca Cerveceria. Food ordering is at the counter and a buzzer alerts you when its ready to pick up. Drinks purchased separately at the ground floor level bar or upstairs in the taproom.
Oaxacan-style Tlayudas are new on the menu, and I had to try it, picking beef tasajo (skirt steak) as the meat topping, $13.95. Wow! So impressive in the balance and quality of the ingredients. The giant crispy corn tortilla base is made in house and so much fresher than the ones I've had back home that are imported from Oaxaca. Juicy, very beefy cubes of meat, picante salsa verde, savory grilled cebollitas, melted cheese and queso añejo layered on a very thin painting of black bean puree, all applied with excruciating precision that made each bite a complex and balanced mouthful.
We also tried the Nopal salad, made with smoky grilled cactus strips that still had some tooth to them, sweet red onions, and queso fresco. A little undersalted, but that was easy enough to take care of at the table.
To drink, the blonde La Guardia, a French style Bieres de Garde, brewed in-house and Tocayo hominy ale for him. La Guardia was refreshing but rather blank and became too boring after a bit. However, the guest beer, Tocayo knocked us out.
Then to top off my delicious first encounter with a Bayless restaurant, the man himself walked in and I had a chance to stammer something to him!