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Don't Miss Lunch at Cellar Door Provisions

Cellar Door Provisions is the sort of place I never want to leave, and they make it easy to stay all day: Fresh bread and breakfast dishes are available at 8am, pastries start hitting the counter at 9, and the day's butcher paper scrawled lunch offerings are available at 11. More

Looking for a Horseshoe Sandwich in Chicago? Visit 6 Degrees in Bucktown

Though prolific downstate, it seems the only real place to find a horseshoe in Chicago is at Springfield ex-pat owned 6 Degrees, a nondescript bar on a sleepy stretch of Damen. I like a big pile of cheesy meat fries as much as the next person, but the horseshoe is so much more than that. Deftly ordered with the proper protein, it's a surprisingly balanced beer soaker of a dinner. More

Chop Shop Does It All, But Does It Have The Chops?

Chop Shop has everything—a butcher counter that serves sandwiches by day, an upstairs restaurant with a seasonal menu by night, and on the evening we visited, a purple-hued, and possibly dry ice filled, event space in the back roughly the size of a city block. My grandpa, the butcher (God rest his soul), would be amazed at just how far the humble meat counter has come. More

Joe's 10 Best Bites of 2013 in Chicago

I broadened my fried-food-only focus a little over midway through the year and hit the two year mark as a contributor in November. But whether I was slogging through french fries, fried chicken, top notch doughnuts, or beyond, I was continually struck by just how good it is to eat in Chicago. More

Forget Al Dente: Braised Green Beans Are Where It's At

@ardubs81: that sounds like a brilliant idea!

@kenji: could this be made start to finish in advance and be reheated in the oven day of?

The Food Lab: How to Make Jerk Chicken at Home

@dalecooper: !! Thank you so much for passing this along! I would've never thought of that, but it makes perfect sense... Looks like jerk chicken needs to be in my very immediate future.

BTW, what is the name of that place in Indy? I'll be heading there in a little over a month, and I'd love to check it out!

Everything You Need to Know to Start Baking Awesome Bread

Thank you for this post, Max! Looking forward to many more.

Maybe you'll get to this, but I have a question: I've been experimenting with baking loaves in a 13 x 4 x 4 pullman pan, and I've been trying to scale a basic recipe like this one to fit... The problem is, I don't know what total dough weight I should be using for such a pan. I've seen everything from 1.5 to 3 lbs online, so I settled on a 2.5 lb dough, or 1,134 grams. It rises to the top nicely, but it seems a little dense...

Do you know what dough weight I should use for a 13 x 4 x 4 pullman pan?

Here's a link to the one I'm using for reference: http://www.amazon.com/Pans-Pullman-Aluminized-Steel-Americoat/forum/Fx1G4MPT9JPGPYA/-/1/ref=cm_cd_dp_aar_ql?_encoding=UTF8&asin=B002UNMZPI&cdSort=best

Thank you!

Manner Matters: How to Order Pizza for a Group

Everything I know about proper pizza etiquette, I learned from Home Alone: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H4uDVMpKG_A

The Elements of Barbecue: The Case of Sauce

Chicago has been curiously absent from these barbecue posts, and it's not for want of its own distinct, celebrated regional style. There's a big divide in the city between the heavily sauced rib tips & links/spare ribs of the South Side and the more purist "sauce on the side" proponents on the North Side.

Barbecue is alive and well in Chicago, and it would be informative to hear what the many well-regarded pitmasters here have to say on the subject.

How to Make Chicago-Style Italian Beef at Home

This is epically amazing! Can't wait to give this a try ASAP.

For Now, Stick to the Sausage at Gyros on the Spit

@CatScan: we're talking about two different things here. You're absolutely right that schawarma/doner kebab/gyros are Mediterranean dishes— here, I'm talking about "American gyros": the preformed cones of emulsified pork and lamb meat that you find all around Chicago and beyond. Those gyros, sold by brands like Kronos and Olympia, were invented in Chicago in the 1960s or 70s and are more like giant sausages popsicles than the individually stacked slices of seasoned meat that makes up a schawarma spit. Of course, no one can agree who started making them first, but in their current mass produced form, gyros are as Windy City as Italian beef, Chicago dogs, and deep dish pizza.

For Now, Stick to the Sausage at Gyros on the Spit

@jackattack: I'm sorry if you think I'm being too harsh here, but I think you may be missing the point of this post. GOTS isn't a greasy gyros shaved off the Kronos cone sort of place: they proudly make their own gyros blend from a family recipe, which automatically makes them (a) more interesting than all the other places around the city that don't go to the trouble, and (b) more deserving of a thorough, contemplative review of their food. GOTS isn't "fast food" as you claim— it's a casual sit down restaurant whose menu happens to overlap somewhat with those other places you're talking about.

GOTS make most everything from scratch and cooks it to order. Their prices reflect that. Comparatively speaking, $9.00 is pretty steep for a gyros sandwich here in the city that invented and mass produces them, though I'd gladly spend that sort of money on a from scratch version that is better than other, less expensive, options. Unfortunately, it's not— which is why I'll be going back for the amazing sausage sandwich instead.

Including the good with the bad in these posts is what makes them valuable to readers. Being satisfied with the "norm" is for people that aren't charged with giving an honest assessment of an establishment's merits.

As far as the address goes, I'm sorry it wasn't included in the post. It's 2826 N Lincoln Ave Chicago, IL 60657, for what it's worth.

For Now, Stick to the Sausage at Gyros on the Spit

@Fsizzle: It means cooked past the point of structural integrity, to where the rice has disintegrated and individual grains are a thing of the past. Sorry for any confusion!

Staff Picks: What's the Most Underrated Restaurant in Chicago?

@lisawhite1213: you're right— that's totally my bad on the waffle fries. It was pretty late the last time I stumbled in, so I must have just imagined them... Needless to say, the Cajun and ranch fries are both amazing. I haven't been since they revamped the menu, and I don't see the wrap anymore... Looks like I need to stop in to check on the place ASAP!

Experience a Friday Fish Fry Done Right at Steve's Lounge

Awesome write up, Titus! I stopped into Steve's a few years back when I was putting together a Lenten fried fish guide for SE. I really dug it, and I'd be a regular if I lived even remotely nearby. They didn't have the bluegill the night I came, but that's what I grew up eating on Friday nights, and it's still my fried fish of choice.

I appreciate the fish and chips v. fish fry distinction, too. I think that's a tough one to explain to people that didn't grow up with the tradition, but it's an important one. When I'm in the mood for a fish fry, fish and chips doesn't scratch that itch. Cod is generally too thick, too flaky, and too mild: I want crunchy edges and fish that tastes like fish.

Also, it's a damn shame that there aren't more places around on the north side to find a proper fish fry. I went to college in Bloomington, IN, a city lacking in Catholics. Those were four lonely, fish fry less years. Given how many Catholics are in Chicago, I expected it to be the fish fry land of milk and honey when I moved here. I'm still blown away by how few options there are around here up north.

Anyway, apparently I have a lot to say on the subject... Thanks for shining a light on Steve's— I can't wait to go back!

Like it Or Not, Twin Anchors' Baked Ribs Are Here to Stay

cpd007: Thank you for the kind words! "Good BBQ, but in a different way," is a great way to put it. And it sounds like I need to check out Russell's sauce, too!

Like it Or Not, Twin Anchors' Baked Ribs Are Here to Stay

@Coogles: Thanks for the comment! I think you summed up the place pretty perfectly. I'd stop in and stumble home all the time if I lived nearby, but I don't think I'd go out of my way to make a trip here. Knowing that you can get the Prohibition sauce at the bar may be a game changer for barbecuing this summer, though...

Uncle John's Barbecue Legacy Lives On in Richton Park and on 47th Street

@plazmaorb: Absolutely not! These are aquarium smoked ribs, which are cooked relatively fast and hot. Fat renders out and they take on plenty of smoke, but you're still working for each bite. Stay tuned for a look at the classic "Chicago Style" barbecue of which you speak...

@amgross: Hmmm, an appropriately pointed question. Even though the sauce is a bit off at this point, I'd still say the combo at Uncle J's. It's the closest out there to the original, which was my benchmark for South Side style barbecue. Uncle John's in Richton Park is a great option for those south of the city, but with Uncle J's serving damn close to what they were doing at the original spot on 69th, it's no question for me. Without the context of the original, this is all very confusing...

@illone: True dat. It's never the same trying to shake some iodized life onto the dish tableside. The worst transgressors are places that don't season fish/chicken before battering or breading and deep frying. It really makes a difference to season the meat directly. Anyway, I could talk about salt all day...

Looking for a Horseshoe Sandwich in Chicago? Visit 6 Degrees in Bucktown

FredipusRex: Tabasco has always tasted sweet to me, and it's one of the least used hot sauces in the family fridge. Don't judge, but the only time I ever really use it is in conjunction with green can Parmesan cheese on top of my mom's Midwest (ground beef and kidney bean packed) chili. It sounds weird, but it totally works. As far as Frank's goes, that's my favorite go to vinegary hot sauce. Different strokes, huh? :)

Back to the horseshoe: the sauce is definitely made with real cheese, but it's pretty mild otherwise. I've read that some recipes are made with beer (like a traditional Welsh Rarebit), but I can't confirm if the beer notes were from the cheese sauce or the two Daisy Cutter tallboys I washed the horseshoes down with.

Learning the Ways of the Crawfish Boil at Toon's Bar & Grill

@kalirugo: makes sense... concentrating on anything besides what all that orange goop inside is made the experience way more enjoyable.

@Mike Gebert: thank you! I'm already planning my next visit.

This Valentine's Day, Get More Than Your Just Desserts at Margie's Candies

@marinelm: you're not wrong, and in fact, my daughter agrees. She refers to it as "that place with the weird smell by the cash register." We had a dusty old place just like this back home, so maybe I'm just immune to it...

Grilling Steak at Home? Pick Up Some Dry-Aged Steaks at Joseph's Finest Meats in Dunning

@Titus: What a blast from the (not too distant) past! I used to drive by this place on the way to work in the burbs when I first moved to the city. I stopped in a few times for pepperoni, etc, but I'll be back for the steak for sure. Thanks for the post!

Bring an Extra Helping of Strategy to China Buffet in Avondale

@cpd007: be careful— one you start, it's hard to stop. I just got done circling the Sbarro knock-off in the Sears Tower basement like some sort of crazed, low-expectationed wolf...

Easy 30-Minute Pressure Cooker Chicken and Chickpea Masala

@J. Kenji López-Alt: thanks, Kenji! This is going down next week!

Easy 30-Minute Pressure Cooker Chicken and Chickpea Masala

@J. Kenji López-Alt: Can I be a huge pain? I know that this can probably be adapted to a dutch oven (increase covered cooking time, etc), but my question is this: do you still think the chicken could be added without searing it first? Thanks!!

Bring an Extra Helping of Strategy to China Buffet in Avondale

@RealMenJulienne: I can see it now: "Stand and deliver" you say to the shaky-handed, paper hatted worker at the carving station, greed in your eyes and your plate already buckling from the excess...

One promise my best friend and I made in high school: we would never take a date to a buffet. Not a promise you'd think you'd have to verbalize, but back then... To my knowledge, I THINK I've kept that oath, but I think my wife would need to weigh in to be sure.

Bring an Extra Helping of Strategy to China Buffet in Avondale

@Double_J: I don't know about any official SE Chinese Buffet theme, but yeah- total coincidence. Nostalgia pulls pretty hard, huh?

@BeavisPeters: I've never seen/tasted one, so I can't comment...

@guycooking: Thank you! I'm in the same boat; 12 year old me would be ashamed of my 2.5 moderate-sized plates, and I was spent for the rest of the day. If I do buffet these days, though, the hot food rule always holds true. Even at that, though, that was little consolation at the Vegas hotel buffet...

Bring an Extra Helping of Strategy to China Buffet in Avondale

@RealMenJulienne: Thanks so much for the comment! I had a hunch that there wouldn't be many buffets in the city, but I was pretty surprised to find that most if not all are in Avondale. I kinda want to try New China Buffet- if only for the "over 80 items!" on the sign.

Smallish world: I'm from Fort Wayne originally, and I spent my high school years going to one call Lon Sen. No real Chinese, but they DID have AYCE crab legs a few days a week, so 6 of one, right? The buffet of my youth, I will proudly admit, is Old Country Buffet... A trip to next door DZ Discovery Zone followed by dinner at OCB was just about the perfect Saturday growing up. Apparently there's one in the city, so a visit might be in order, if only for that Stauffer's style mac and cheese.

Sorry for the length; apparently I feel strongly about buffets...

Rib-Sticking Polish Food Done Right at Smak Tak

I thought writing was all about slipping in jokes only I think are funny... ;)