Is it just me, or do a lot of restaurants that advertise healthy meals always reference California in some way? I mean, I get it, a lot of you are healthy, sun-kissed, and attractive, so your food probably has at least a little to do with it. And the avocado thing. There's a lot of avocados in California, but does every sandwich with an avocado in it belong to the state of California?
Sushi Sai doesn't have a street-facing sign, which makes it a little more secretive-looking. But once I stepped in, it turned out to be a typical sushi lunch bar, serving mostly sushi items and a few hot dishes.
The night we went to was titled "The Food Porn Party." Yes, you read that right. Check out some of the bites, shenanigans, and jorts. Yes, jorts.
Sure, Ba La serves an exceptional bánh mì, but did you know it also had pickled chicken feet on menu?
I couldn't even eat half of the Big King, Burger King's clone of the Big Mac.
The 36th Annual Restaurateurs for Education Gala celebrates chefs from across Chicago, while raising funds for students who are interested in working in the restaurant and hospitality industries. This year's had a theme, which was fire and ice.
If you're in the neighborhood and you're craving a burger, 25 Degrees puts out a reliable option.
My search for a good slice of pizza in the Loop continues. Paulys Pizzeria is located right by Columbia College on South State St, which makes sense because college kids and pizza are good friends, especially after a night of utter mayhem.
It is a monster of a sandwich, so don't feel bad if you can only eat half of it. Share it with a friend, your mother, or a very hungry small child, even, because sharing is caring.
If you're up for it and want to try something more along the wild side of things, go hang out at Shan Restaurant and give brains and feet a crack. Don't worry. You won't become a lamb zombie.
Chicago chocolatiers and pastry chefs gave demos, while other chefs exhibited ornate sugar and chocolate sculptures. Basically, the show was pretty much covered in delicious, delicious, chocolate.
Last Sunday was the 9th Annual Bucktown Apple Pie Contest here in Chicago, and this year, they titled it "The Clash of the Pietins." For me, it's one of the more fun events every year because the contest showcases home cooks rather than professional ones.
Fast food restaurants stick out like a sore thumb, with their zany bright colors and familiar logos, but a lot of restaurants blend into the scenery. So if you're not careful, you can walk right by Toni Patisserie and Café and not even know it. And that's what I'm here for—to slap the bad food out of your hands and to deliver the good directly into your face.
Frankly, corn smut (otherwise known as huitlacoche) can look a little scary, because it's jet black and mushy, and an infected corn kernel doesn't always scream "eat me!" But in Mexico it's a delicacy, and what's good for Mexico is good for me.
The food might not be the greatest in the world, but it brings back memories for me, plus you can tell your coworkers you ate a dish the size of your forearm for lunch.
The Vendy Awards are self-described as "The Oscars of Street Food," and they've made their way to Chicago.
I tried almost every burger at this year's Hamburger Hop, a battle of the burgers between 15 restaurants in Chicago. Check out all the burger action in the slideshow.
If you head down south along the Gulf Coast, you might see people serving up alligator. Here in Chicago, you'd probably see a Ninja Turtle before you saw an alligator running free, because it's not a meat you can just wrangle out of Lake Michigan.
More than 175 Chicago chefs were on hand for cooking demos, seminars, more wine than a person could drink in a lifetime, and, oh yeah, maybe there was a little bit of food, too.
Most of the people visiting Rosebud Express for lunch seemed like they were coming for the convenience of a fast lunch. If that's what you need, it's a pretty serviceable place to eat with no surprises. The problem is, I like surprises.
Chef Richard Blais was here to promote his new book, Try This at Home, and he showed the attendees how to make a "surf and turf" taco as well as a nitrogen-frozen margarita.
Unless you work in Printer's Row, Chicago Curry House might be a bit of a haul for you office workers, but if you're playing lunch hooky (you know who you are, you troublemakers), it's worth the long walk or short cab ride. There's really only one thing you'll need to get—a plate at the buffet ($10.95). I know there's some serious buffet haters out there, but you hold your wiggly tongues!
Duck chins are tough to eat, because there's just not that much meat on them, so dismantling the jaw and chewing on the bits results in a mess. I like to think of it as aggressively making out with a duck, except at the end, you eat its face.
If you're interested in experiencing a Japanese and American burger mashup, stop in at Gabutto Burger.
When I heard that a brand spankin' new restaurant in Lakeview, Four Belly, was serving up things like silkworms, I knew I had to try them and share my experience.
I've been waiting a while for Lunch in the Loop to be established before I unleashed my introduction of Burrito Buggy to you all. Burrito Buggy easily serves the strangest combination of food I have ever seen in the Loop.
Here's the thing: Most people think that the Chicago dog has an inflexible formula, one set down from on high, which mandates a certain seven toppings that must be included or the whole deal is off. But the reality I've encountered over the many years I've been searching for the best hot dog in Chicago is far more varied and interesting. Here's the guide to make sense of it all.
Paella gets most of the glory when it comes to must-eats in Valencia, but if you're visiting, be sure to also try fideuà, esgarrat, and horchata, among other foods listed in this slideshow.
At first glance, Hot Diggity Dogs looks like the kind of place that has been open for 40 years or so. The menu doesn't help. The stand, located underneath the Wellington Red Line station, specializes almost exclusively on the trinity of hot dogs, Italian beefs, and burgers. But, in fact, it has only been open for little over a year, making it one of a number of places that have popped up in the wake of Hot Doug's immense success.
Years ago, a friend introduced me to a mildly hilarious unofficial off-menu dessert at McDonald's: an apple pie and a vanilla ice cream cone, smashed up in a cup together to make the best McFlurry McDonald's doesn't know about. This concoction doesn't have an official name (yet) but it got me thinking: if it was that easy to improve upon the pie, there must be other undiscovered treasures hiding within plain sight. The only logical next move was to find out.
When I heard that Jerry's Sandwiches was offering a special Mardi Gras-themed menu this week, I immediately put their address in my calendar and scheduled a deliciously artery-clogging appointment for myself.
Lindsey has a sweet tooth, which is something you probably already knew thanks to her countdown of peppermint desserts in the city. But even if you didn't get a chance to catch up with that post (which you should) this picture of her hugging a Kitchen Aid should explain a lot.
Ever since I started this Lunch in the Loop column, everybody's been harping on me to put up a post about Chicken Planet.
Blake is a part of the old school. In the blog world, that means he's been writing for Serious Eats since early 2007—years before he even thought about living in Chicago. But in a general sense, it's also true. Sure, he's made his own bacon before, but how many other people have had to butcher the pig first?
Admittedly, we don't spend a lot of time here talking about what's coming up with Next. Unless, of course, a burger happens to be involved. But this is just so...cool.
Gapers Block threw its first annual barbecue contest this past Saturday. The competition pitted seven great local barbecue joints against each other.
To kick off Knockout Noodles, I'm starting with a visit to Cho Sun Ok, the small, yellow-signed Korean BBQ in Lincoln Square; in addition to meats and fish pan-seared at the table, Cho Sun Ok also specializes in naengmyeon, or cold noodle dishes.
After the wild success that was Burger Day 3000, the boys of Burger Day are back for their fourth beef patty tour of Chicago by visiting five restaurants in one day. The quality wasn't as good this time around, but the day was every bit as fun.
Most of you will doubt recognize Dennis Lee as the man behind The Over 21 Club and Lunch in the Loop. What you probably don't know is that besides making jokes about oddly named restaurants and trying to feed stuffed bears, he's really a very serious and quiet guy. Okay, not really, but I'll let him do the introduction.
Diner Grill is a 24-hour joint inside of a beat-up old train car, and it's pretty much known in Chicago for serving what I like to call "belligerent drunk people food." They serve breakfast, burgers, and fries, at all hours of the day, but most people show up around 2 a.m. looking for something greasy to fill their post night-of-mayhem hunger pangs.
I've only been writing TGI Fry-Day for about a month and a half, which means I've barely dipped my toe into the bubbling fry pot that is Chicago. But that doesn't mean I just started eating fried food. If I'm wet behind the ears, it's only because I had an itch in the middle of my order of fried pickles. Submitted for your approval, here are my top five fried obsessions from 2011.
Ever since I was outed as Serious Eats commenter Fart Sandwich earlier this year, I couldn't believe my luck when Ed and the gang asked me to write for the site. It's been just about six months now, and writing for Serious Eats has really given me the opportunity to explore food in the city I love so much.
As I've mentioned a few times this week, Serious Eats Chicago has only been going for a month and a half. So, it's best not to look too hard at the numbers and try to come up with some grand thesis. Regardless, here's our best shot: Chicagoans love fried chicken. And ramen. And any story that mentioned Hot Doug's. I know, earth-shattering stuff, right?
As ubiquitous as they may be, I'm not sure if there is a Chicago food less appreciated and understood than the tamale. Great ones are located all over the city, from Roger's Park to Gage Park. I could have kept going, but 16 felt like a good number.
We've done all the hard work and scouted out 14 of the most beloved fried chicken places in Chicagoland. These are the places you'll be dreaming about for days to come. Check them out in our slideshow.
I knew the main reason Ed wanted to have a launch party in Chicago was so that he would have an excuse to get as many of his favorite Chicago restaurants together in the same room as possible. Picking one was an impossibility, but our preliminary list quickly grew to the point where there were almost as many restaurants as potential guests. In the end, we settled on four amazing places .
In any big city, tacos are a great representation of what the local food scene has to offer. Small, simple, and versatile, this is street food at its finest. Or it's a popular chef (ahem, Paul Kahan) doing tacos at their cheffiest-finest. There's quite a bit of diversity on this list: from the homey, traditional carne asada and carnitas to kalbi (Korean short rib) to a crunchy fish taco.
Most people who have only heard of The Wiener's Circle probably know it for the screaming insults that are part of the late night routine. But those who have actually been to the place will tell you this small stand puts out some very solid burgers.