Chicago lived up to the food hype I'd heard so much about. There wasn't a dud bite over the 5-day stretch, from the stunning hibiscus-lemongrass agua fresca at XOCO, to the harissa and prune pork pate at Publican Quality Meats, to the dreamy pies I ate (for breakfast!) at Bang Bang Pie Shop and Hoosier Mama Pie Company.
'Girl and the Goat' on Serious Eats
It could be that the flavors here are more resolute, or that they're painted with broader strokes. Whatever it is, I was continually struck throughout the meal with just how often, and how inventively, the kitchen utilized the deep fryer.
The wood oven roasted pig face at Girl & the Goat is exactly what it sounds like: parts of a pig's face are roasted in a wood fired oven. I couldn't wait to get behind the scenes to document how this dish is made from scratch.
If there is one lesson to learn from Anthony Bourdain's recent visit to Chicago for an episode of his new show, The Layover, it's that restaurants need to play it cool. When Budacki's Drive-In attempted to offer a discount to attract a crowd to the taping, Bourdain canceled the shoot, writing that he was "unhappy that shoot was advertised as a 'personal appearance' and marketing device."
Last night, some of the best chefs in Chicago set up shop in Lincoln Park for the Green City Market's Chefs' BBQ Benefit, which helps raise money for educational initiatives at the market. The original plan was to try and eat every single dish, but considering there were over 80 restaurants at the event, I had to make do with sampling as much as I could. I did pretty well.
After struggling for years with a sensitive stomach, I was diagnosed as gluten intolerant. Initially I assumed I could never enjoy a traditional restaurant visit again. Fortunately, I was wrong. Very wrong. I'm continually amazed and impressed by the number of Chicago restaurants that cater to food allergies. Here's my list of unexpected spots for gluten-free dining.
If you could only have one last bite in Chicago, what would it be? It's a completely hypothetical question, one that is obviously meant to get a reaction, but it's something worth thinking about every now and again. We asked all the contributors on Serious Eats: Chicago to come up with one dish they'd eat if they only had one last meal in Chicago.
Stephanie Izard is a Top Chef winner, and her restaurant Girl & the Goat in Chicago is regularly booked for months out. She is known for her affinity with unusual flavor combinations that you'd never think would work—which is exactly what drew me to this dish. Sure, shellfish and cured pork almost always go well together—something I learned from Bill Buford's book Heat, a point he drives home over and over again. But then you take crème fraîche and mix in horseradish, then amp up the whole thing with spicy sambal paste? Too intriguing to pass up.
Sure, shellfish and cured pork almost always go well together—something I learned from Bill Buford's book Heat, a point he drives home over and over again. But then you take crème fraîche and mix in horseradish, then amp up the whole thing with spicy sambal paste? Too intriguing to pass up.
With the holiday season now in full swing, we've put together a little collection of some of our favorite products from the Windy City, including a collection of food, t-shirts, cookbooks, and other products that we'd enjoy receiving in the mail (hint, hint). So, whether you currently reside in the city or live far away and want a little taste of home, check it out and let us know what you think.
Barrel-aged cocktails are all the rage, so it would make sense that one of the hottest restaurants in America, Top-Chef winner and Food & Wine Best New Chef Stephanie Izard's Girl and the Goat, would be jumping on the bandwagon. But, with mixologist Ben Schiller at the helm, simply following a trend isn't enough. It has to be done right. We got a chance to help Schiller prepare one of the first batches of G&TG's barrel-aged Manhattans.