—Rick Bayless' tortas, caldos and churros are back in River North, as XOCO reopened yesterday after shuttering for more than a week from a fire. Bayless flexed his comedic muscles in his newsletter, saying that, "Turns out, replacing ducts is a really big deal and it took way longer than expected to get our...wait for it...ducts in a row." No one was hurt in the fire.
—Following helping to open il Porcellino, LA-imported cocktail stalwart Julian Cox is now the beverage director for all of Lettuce Entertain You. Cox will launch a new menu at tiki temple Three Dots and a Dash in early May, so stay tuned to see how it changes.
—In other Rick Bayless news, Chicago Gourmet tapped him to be the festival's "host chef," according to the Tribune, where he'll help to choose chefs and events. A limited number of tickets will go on sale on April 14 at 10 a.m. via the website.
—Garrett Popcorn Shops is offering a buy one-get-one-free special all month long between 4-6 p.m. at all shops for small bags of Garrett Mix, according to Time Out Chicago.
—Remember how Forbidden Root was planning to offer elixirs—flavor syrups to drop in the beer and sodas? The new botanical brewpub finally started offering them yesterday in three initial flavors: "Woodmaster," "Cherrytree," and "Robear."