Hidden Gems

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Hidden Gems: Old Town Social Sets the New Standard for Bar Food in Chicago

Charcuterie is getting increasingly popular in Chicago, and some of the best is coming from chef Jared Van Camp at Old Town Social. There are 16 different housemade offerings, most of which are made from heritage pork, and all are accompanied with a tangy mustard piccacilli and crunchy grilled bread. Throw in the massive bourbon selection, and you're left with a bar that's setting a new standard for bar eats in Chicago. More

Hidden Gems: The Fountainhead in Chicago

No longer does a good neighborhood bar just mean a welcoming atmosphere and a few beverage and food options. These days, more and more of us are lucky enough to live in neighborhoods where the local tavern has been revolutionized into a gastropub with seriously good food. Aaron Zacharias, owner of Bar on Buena, opened The Fountainhead earlier this year. He turned the menu over to Robyn Marfurt, a culinary school grad who has crafted a menu that's a fine example of what food ought to be in a 21st century neighborhood tavern. Even without the food, The Fountainhead would do a booming business thanks to massive drink offerings including one of the better beer lists in the city and 24 different bourbons. More

East Side King: Beet Fries and More from a Food Cart in Austin

Beet fries. That's all Robyn and I needed to hear to get us to East Side King when in Austin recently. The food cart, covered in a brightly-painted cyclops design, is nestled in the backyard of an East Austin dive bar, The Liberty. It's yet another mobile food business launched by restaurant chefs: in this case sous chef Paul Qui and sushi chefs Moto Utsonomaya and Ek Timrek from Austin's much raved-about contemporary Japanese restaurant Uchi. It opens nightly from 7 p.m. to 1:45 a.m. and a good chunk of the menu involves the word "fried." Like those beets. More

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