Claire's Korner, on the west side of Evanston, serves up a cafeteria line of Jamaican classics six days a week. There's just a few seats, so the assumption is you're taking it to go and either way it comes in a styrofoam container.
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When I first heard about Al's Deli, I imagined some kind of kitschy version of a French deli, one with more polish than personality. In fact, it's just the opposite. Al's is the kind of idiosyncratic place that most neighborhood sandwich shops only wish they could be.
Lettuce, tomato, onion, pickles...and maybe a squirt of mayo, mustard, or ketchup. The standard toppings will never cease to be tasty, but sometimes, you want a burger with a bit more personality. For those occasions, here are a dozen creatively-topped burgers that really work. Check out the slideshow to see all of the unique burger toppings.
Wiener & Still Champion has been on my list since I started writing about fried food, and I finally bit the bullet and braved the Kennedy and Edens the other night to see what all the fuss was about. Since it's such a jaunt for me, I decided to go all out and order every house made fried item, because why the hell not?
Sarkis Cafe is often confused with Sarks in the Park in Lincoln Park, but they aren't the same thing. Sure they serve some similar sandwiches and breakfast all day, but Sarkis doesn't deliver and it's been around forever.
Feast & Imbibe is an underground restaurant juxtaposing a casual atmosphere with a multi-course tasting menu presented by chef D'Andre Carter and beverage pairings by sommelier Heather Bublick.
The salty brine of the oysters is cut by a subtle sweetness in the cornbread dusting, and they are fried up nice and crunchy, then piled high on a French roll.
Cross-Rhodes, a Greek diner in Evanston, serves lemon-bathed, feta-showered fries, plus other brightly flavored Mediterranean musts.
The most glamorous entree at Pensiero is not a meat dish, but pasta. Your server will wheel a cart tableside and toss housemade tagliatelle along with a mix of wild mushrooms and pistachios in a wheel of Grana Padano, scraping off plenty of the grainy hard cheese to incorporate into the pasta.
Upon first glance, it might appear that this sandwich would require a knife and fork to eat. It is, after all, listed under "knife and fork sandwiches" on the menu. I am proud to report that I managed to eat this with my hands without getting messy.
If you're looking for meatless options at Crêperie Saint Germain, you could order a colorful beet salad or perhaps sweet potato gnocchi. But this is a crêperie, so naturally, you must order a crêpe.
With all that's on offer, it's easy to overlook the tamales on Frontera Fresco's menu.
Most sandwich places now offer vegetarian options, whether that be a simple grilled cheese or a slightly more exotic Caprese or portobello filling. However, never have I had as tasty and hearty a vegetarian sandwich as the squash and mushroom with kale tofu pesto ($9) at Amy Morton's new restaurant, Found, in Evanston.
Soulwich in Evanston specializes in Southeast Asian-inspired sandwiches—think bánh mì with a twist. All sauces are made in-house, and there are eight different sandwiches ranging from wasabi teriyaki to sesame chili tuna.
Mustard's Last Stand is one of a number of hot dog joints in Chicago with a questionably funny name. Though this time it also functions as a fair warning. Sure, it proudly announces our city's love of the yellow condiment over its more famous tomato-based cousin. But more importantly, this is also your last chance to fill up before catching a football or basketball game at Northwestern University in Evanston.
Our College Tour series continues with Northwestern University. With a main campus in Evanston and a downtown campus in Streeterville, there are loads of options.
When we asked Eddie Lakin, founder and chef of burger joint Edzo's, to share his top five burgers in the city, he selected a sample that represents the ultimate classics as well as some surprising new-school hits. For a multi-napkin extravaganza, check out Eddie Lakin's favorite burgers in Chi-town.
When George Motz asked if I wanted to go on a burger tour, I had to say yes. I mean, wasn't I practically required to go? How could I turn down the chance to eat an inordinate amount of ground beef around Chicago with the man that literally wrote the book on the subject?
After a slow first few months, bopNgrill has established itself among the top tier of burgerias in the Chicago area for their quality griddled burgers made with freshly ground beef and innovative toppings.
Wiener and Still Champion might be one of the more innovative burger and hot dog stands around. And that's not even taking into account specials like the Luther Burger (bacon cheeseburger with a doughnut bun) and the weekly innovative dipping sauces ranging from Candied Ginger Balsamic to Spring Dill. But as appealing as the specials are, the regular menu is so diverse and exciting, there's little reason to even get to the specials.