Check out the upcoming food-friendly events in Chicago.
I didn't stop by Owen & Engine with steak on my mind. But I can't remember the last time I enjoyed a steak as completely as the dry-aged ribeye steak here.
I was obviously saddened to hear that all of Grub Street's city sites except New York closed to today. Mostly, I'm just upset that I won't be able to read what current editor, Mike Gebert, has to say about the dining scene.
I'm pleased to announce a new addition to the team! Molly has written for a number of other publications in Chicago and started writing for us a few weeks ago. Currently, she's covering the downtown sandwich scene, but that's only the beginning of her food obsessions.
When it comes to convenient pantry staples to have on hand for a quick meal, a can of good Thai curry paste ranks up there with bacon and kimchi. Grab a can of coconut milk and whatever happens to be in the fridge, and twenty minutes later you have a stunningly spicy dinner waiting for you.
It's insane that we haven't yet written about the Wild Boar Sloppy Joe at Longman & Eagle. How could we have skipped its most popular and well known offering?
It was clear from the moment I moved here that Chicago cared about its hot dogs more than any other place I'd ever been. And after five years of searching, here are my ten favorite Chicago-style hot dogs.
If you're in the mood for some gut-busting adventure, this is your sandwich. Just make sure to load it up with some spicy giardiniera, which nobly tries to cut through the grease.
Owner Jeni Britton Bauer chats about what to expect Jeni's Splendid Ice Cream's upcoming location in Chicago.
What do you need to know about Milt's Barbecue for the Perplexed in Lakeview? As the only Kosher barbecue restaurant in the city, it is perpetually packed, even if you decide to go at 5:30 p.m. on a weekday. But does the barbecue actually hold up?
Remember the rumor about the potential Shake Shack location in the old Harley-Davidson store in Chicago's River North? Looks like it's official now.
Though located just off the most chaotic and touristy stretch of the Magnificent Mile, Deca Restaurant + Bar feels like a world away. Of course, one must pay for all this pleasantry.
The cucumber and carrot salad provides a crisp and acidic counterpoint to the kimchi and bacon, and it's all housed in a steamy and super soft bun, which is "airy" in a way few foodstuffs can ever hope to be.
While Chicago is associated with one particular style of hot dog, in practice we're more of an equal opportunity hot dog admirer. Honestly, we'll try pretty much anything on top of a sausage—just so long as it's good. That's especially true now, as chefs around town have decided to experiment with the hot dog, topping it with ingredients we'd never even consider as possibilities.
Between the housemade charcuterie and other fried delights, you can't blame me for never sticking around for dessert at Old Town Social. But after trying the warm doughnuts, I'll have to remember to always save a little room.
This complex vegetarian curry has a multilayered profile and a genuine kick from the cumin seeds, cardamom, cinnamon, fresh garlic, ginger, onion, paprika and cayenne pepper.
If you haven't been introduced, meet the meatball sub at Freddy's Pizza. It's a monster of a sandwich. Each meatball is the size of a fist and served on a roll as long as a forearm (hey, I didn't have a tape measurer, and my arm was close).
The Hanger Steak Sandwich at Atlas Brewing Company is topped with a fried egg. When you bite in, the yolk bursts, coating the pieces of meat, which means the dish is basically steak and eggs in sandwich form.
In a city where most stands serve the exact same brands in exactly the same way, Parse's deserves a visit. The northwestern stand serves an incredible Polish sausage from nearby Harczak's Sausage shop.
After five years in Chicago, I've tired more than my fair share of Mexican restaurants (probably in the hundreds right now). So with Cinco de Mayo coming up on Sunday, I decided to pick out the essential Mexican dishes in Chicago.
It all began after devouring a crisp and tart Brussels sprout and apple salad at Sylvain in New Orleans. While great on its own (as was everything at the charming restaurant), I couldn't help but wonder how the salad would work as a refreshing counterpoint to a hunk of meat, particularly a thick, bone-in pork chop.
You don't have to be a White Sox fan to appreciate Schaller's Pump in Bridgeport, but it sure helps.
Gene & Jude's has been closed since mid-April due to flooding, but there was finally some good news over the weekend, when it announced that it was renovating the space.
There are tourist sites that Chicagoans love to hate (looking at you, Navy Pier), and then there are those we simply love. Millennium Park is definitely in the latter camp.
The Cheesy Italian ($9.50) is Ground Control's play on an Italian beef—that meaty, messy, Chicago original, which I have a serious weakness for. But since this Logan Square establishment is meat-free, the beef is replaced with strips of seitan.
You will watch this animated short featuring a floppy blob of a dog making an omelette for its exhausted, depressed owner, and you will enjoy it. Thank you, Madeline Sharafian (a BFA2 character animator at CalArts) for these two-and-a-half minutes of heartswelling cuteness.
Broiling salmon in this Rick Bayless recipe results in a great crust, while leaving the fillets juicy inside. The asparagus ended up in that great spot between crisp and tender, and the pungent dried red chile salsa helped tie both parts together.
while Macau may be known now as a mecca for gamblers, Fat Rice is not playing games of chance when it comes to pairing and building flavors. And therein lies the fun of eating this food: there are so many unfamiliar tastes to discovery anew, and the chefs have done the hard work of refining their dishes, that diners can freely submit to the strongest pull of their curiosities.
Don't let En Hakkore's simply titled panini ($7.50) fool you; the name is hilariously insufficient for a creation containing kimchi, onion, mushroom, green onion, mozzarella, provolone, and cheddar on pressed bread.
Is it wrong to compare something favorably to cheesy puffs? That's the position I'm in trying to describe the awesomeness of the white cheddar chicharrones ($5) at Trenchermen.
Tasting sort of like mini-burritos, two of these make for a solid meal. The skirt steak is cooked in the broiler to get a great char on the beef, while nailing the desired medium-rare.
In this month's version of "We Drink All the Hot Chocolate at..." we go on a little soul-warming vacation south of the border with the five hot chocolates at Xoco (just kidding: this is not actually a new column we're starting...or is it?).
Rice cakes are odd little things. Straight from the package they look sort of like plastic cylinders; raw, they sort of taste like them, too. But sauté rice cakes and they develop a crackly crust, while the insides become tender and almost creamy. Best part? The transformation takes about a minute, making this a great base for a quick meal.
Still sparkling from its makeover, Lula is pulling off the impressive: it's the neighborhood veteran that also feels brand new.
Here's a tasty meat-light chili that will fill you up and taste like it took far longer than an hour to make.
If pickled ginger works so well with sushi, there's no reason it can't help out all kinds of other dishes, too. As I found, it manages to add some serious perk to a bowl of fried rice.
Though it stuns me to say so, L' Patron's carne asada tops the very good offerings of nearby Las Asadas by a wide margin.
Whiskey and Pecans seems like a logical enough combination, but you don't realize just how perfectly these two flavors pair until that first buttery spoonful of Whiskey & Pecans by Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams.
It's Friday afternoon, and if you're lucky you've got about 60 hours before you have to think or speak for anybody else again. Time for the Whiskey Sour--the comfortable T-shirt of drinks.
Oh, the Shamrock Shake. Invented right here in the 1970s, and symbolically dumped into the Chicago River for the past few years, the Shamrock Shake and Chicago have a long history together. But relationships change. Luckily, you don't have to go this whole week without trying one from McDonald's. Here are a few restaurants that are make their own versions.
Salty and sweet is the best of both worlds, right? That's just what you get with "Chicago Mix," a cheese and caramel corn-filled bucket of joy. Championed by Chicago fave Garrett Popcorn, it's actually pretty easy to make at home.
The result is an honest-to-goodness taco salad that has all the flavors of a classic one, minus the seasoning packet. That isn't to say it's a particularly healthy salad—sour cream and shredded cheddar cheese still make an appearance—but now there is a lot more lettuce, and grilled steak has been substituted for the ground beef.
The adobado tacos ($1.75) at this Logan Square taqueria feature juicy hunks of caramelized pork that have an intense and deep chile flavor. Just don't call them al pastor.
Birria tatemada, which at Zaragoza translates roughly to "roasted goat," reflects the family's inspired adaptation of Jalisco's native birria, one that followsa devoted cooking process
I've spent more than forty years looking for the best eats in Chicago, so it should come as no surprise to anyone that our first city site (besides our hometown of New York) is the food-blessed Windy City.
I've probably watched the Egypt episode of Anthony Boudain's No Reservations at least four times at this point, but this is the first time that watched him eat koshary and decided I had to have it. To be sure, the dish sounds slightly off. You might have read about it here on SE last month. It's a combination of rice, lentils, and pasta (!), which is then topped with a vinegary tomato and garlic sauce, and caramelized onions. It looks slightly ridiculous, but apparently the carb fest is one of the most popular dishes in Cairo.
Like the infamous Fatty Melt (that's a burger made with two grilled cheese sandwiches as a bun, the brainchild of our own Adam Kuban), the Grilled Cheese Eggsplosion is a hybrid sandwich, combining elements from two or more sources into a single glorious dish. In this case, it's a simple grilled cheese sandwich between two eggs-in-a-hole (or bullseye eggs, eggs-in-a-basket, whatever you want to call it) replacing the plain old bread.
Though it's not nearly as famous, there is a non-New-England kind of clam chowder out there. Instead of the heavy cream or milk, this one is laced with tomatoes and a healthy abundance of other vegetables. It's a lighter option, but still very comforting.
One of the best burgers in Chicago, easily. That's-A-Burger 2134 E. 71st Street, Chicago IL 60649 (map); 773-878-9898 The Short Order: Perfectly proportioned burgers griddled to order. Want Fries with That? These delicious, highly seasoned fries come with every order....