Let me echo the other commenters and thank you for finding the time to chronicle your journey. I may not read every article published by Serious Eats, but I made sure I never missed one of yours. It's been a fascinating read and every episode left me craving BBQ hog and great beer! (Also, wishing I owned a waffle iron.) Please continue sharing with your readers and fans this window into the restaurant world!
I'm pretty sure that Trader Joe's fire roasted tomato salsa is a clone of either the mild roasted tomato salsa or the medium double roasted tomato salsa. I've never done a side-by-side taste test/label comparison, but they're pretty darn close to identical (and the TJ's version is a few $$ less expensive). Knowing how many deals TJs has with gourmet food companies (Amy's, Terra Chips, Vosge, etc.), it wouldn't surprise me if they are one and the same.
Where have you looked? If you search LTHForum for "pork belly suppliers" you'll find an entire thread with sources.
I'm a Chicagoan and the only food tour I'm aware of is a Michigan Ave. chocolate tour. I could Google others, but I'm sure you've already done that.
Where do you live and where are you staying? If you can't find a food tour, we might be able to point you toward one or two neighborhoods that are worth checking out, or help you with a self-guided tour.
There's a good chance that Schwa will cancel on you, so the wise choice might be to keep both and cancel GATG if Schwa doesn't bail. That said, they're very different restaurants, so it's hard to say that one is "better" than the other.
I'm late to respond, but love a challenge. Any further parameters re. location, ambiance, per-person budget, guests' palettes, etc.? A few ideas:
* Some of the Chinese restaurants (Phoenix, Lao Sze Chuan) could accommodate you in private rooms.
* Balena, Balsan, Embeya, GT Fish & Oyster, Nightwood and Vivo all have private dining rooms that could hold you.
* Places like Ditka's and Harry Carey's could certainly accommodate you and out-of-towners will think of them as quintessentially Chicago (even if most of us Chicagoans don't eat there).
* Also, you might want to consider private clubs like the Metropolitan Club or University Club. Stunning rooms (and views, in some case) even if the restaurants aren't necessarily Chicago destination places.
Where in the Midwest do you live? I have not had Kuwaiti shawarmas, but I lived in Saudi Arabia as a kid. Here in Chicago we have a several Middle Eastern places that are pretty good substitutes for the real thing (and I have other expat friends who agree). If you get to Chicago, try Al-Khaymeih on N. Kedzie.
Was your complaint primarily that they were broken? Or that they were outdated? If they were broken, complain to the store manager or the manufacturer. If they were spoiled, complain to the health department. Either way, exercise your right as a consumer and spend your dollars with another grocer.
Oyster Casserole (aka Oyster Stuffing) is a mainstay on my family's holiday table, but Onions in Onions and Brussels Sprouts in Goose Fat sound pretty damn good, too. Also, here's a tip: Remove the skin before carving the turkey, put it on a baking sheet and stick it under the broiler until it's really crispy. Amazing.
Great recipe, Kenji! At the risk of being one of "those people," I cooked up some bacon, used the rendered fat instead of vegetable/canola oil, and then threw in the crumbled bacon when the entire thing went into the oven. A terrific dish!
I'm going to take a completely different tact.
* Anything restaurant by Brendan Sodikoff rocks. Maude's, Au Cheval, Bavette's, you can't go wrong. http://www.chicagomag.com/Chicago-Magazine/June-2012/Brendan-Sodikoffs-Chicago-Food-Empire/
* Ditto for Chef Tony Hu's restaurants. http://www.tonygourmetgroup.com/chef_tony.aspx
* Yeah, deep dish pizza, hot dogs, Italian beef & chicken vesuvio are what Chicago's known for, but does the hands-down best food in Chicago fall into one of those categories? No way.
* The sandwich a day series on Serious Eats highlights some awesome meals.
* We're also well-known for our regional Mexican food, Thai food and Polish food. Worth seeking out examples of one or several of these.
* Last but not least, Paul Kahan (Blackbird, Publican, Big Star, Avec, Publican Quality Meats) was just named the co-winner of the Outstanding Chef in America. Stephanie Izard (Girl & The Goat, Little Goat) won for the best chef in the Midwest. The Aviary won for best bar program in the US. All Chicagoans. Last year, Bruce Sherman (North Pond) won for best chef in the Midwest, Next won for best new restaurant and Mindy Segal (Hot Chocolate) won for best pastry chef. Also Chicagoans. http://www.jamesbeard.org/sites/default/files/static/pdf/2013-jbf-winners-site.pdf http://www.jamesbeard.org/sites/default/files/attachments/050712-JBF-WINNERS(1).pdf
I think meatntaters is joking...the Green Bay Packers are the biggest rivals of the Chicago Bears, and Chicago isn't known for deep-fried cheese curds.
You will be in Chicago for part of Craft Beer Week, so if you're a beer lover that will give you an opportunity to try a lot of fantastic local and not-so-local brews. (I'd also suggest skipping the Old Style.)
What neighborhood will you be staying in? What's your food budget per meal or per trip?
Upload your photos to Flickr, Photobucket or some similar site. That should generate a permalink for each image.
I was in Japan in the summer of 2010 and baumkuchen were everywhere. All of the department stores with food halls were making them and people stood in huge lines to get a piece. Starbucks in Japan were even selling prepacked slices. Not sure how long baumkuchen had been all the rage in Japan, but it felt like the US cupcake craze.
A roast chicken
Caramelized onions, figs & rosemary!
A BLT with fresh bread and a tomato straight from the garden.
One more tip: If money is an issue, you may want to think twice about parking at your hotel. If you're staying around Michigan Ave., you could easily spend $50 on overnight parking. You'd probably be better off looking into some nearby lots to find a place that's less expensive.
Consider driving or taking the El to the Argyle St. station, which is our "new" Chinatown (though really more of a Vietnamese neighborhood). I'd strongly recommend banh me sandwiches at Ba Le. It's a cheap (but delicious) eat. For a bigger Vietnamese meal, head to Nha Hang Viet Nam.
For a great gastropub experience, I usually send people to Owen & Engine. Again, you'll need to drive, but it's well worth the trip. (Many say it's the best burger in Chicago.)
My go-to Korean place is San Soo Gap (sometimes spelled Gab) San. Another one that's a drive, but a fantastic cheap eat.
On second thought, I'm going to withhold Thai recommendations. TAC Quick has always been my go-to spot, but the chef recently left to open a new restaurant (Andy's Thai Kitchen). I haven't been to TAC since he left or his new spot, so I can't speak to the quality.
Chicago isn't expensive compared to NYC, Miami and LA, but it's not inexpensive. Your budget limits you a bit. Will you have a car? Not surprisingly, restaurants near Michigan Ave attract a touristy crowd & can be a bit overpriced.
My first budget suggestion is that you eat Sunday breakfast or lunch at Maxwell Street Market. As you probably know, Chicago has some of the best regional Mexican food in the US. This outdoor street market (only held on Sundays and, despite the name, not located on Maxwell Street) features a number of Mexican food vendors who serve food on paper plates to patrons sitting at picnic and folding tables. Pick the place with the longest line or best-looking food...it's hard to go wrong. Two people can easily eat for $5-10 per person.
Some of my favorite cheap eats in Chicago aren't necessarily iconic (pizza, hot dogs) by traditional standards. Would you be interested in Vietnamese, Korean, Thai or a gastropub?
Budget? Atmosphere? Favorite types of cuisine?
Caramelized onions with blue cheese and fresh figs
There are a lot of great threads on SE from people who have asked similar questions. I'm happy to make some new suggestions, but would need a few more parameters: Price point? What can you find at home that you don't want to eat in Chicago? Where are you staying? Will you have access to a car? How far are you willing to travel? Does "good Chicago food" mean Chicago-style pizza, hot dogs and Italian beef, or are you looking for great food in Chicago regardless of whether it's a dish that's closely identified with the city?
@Sobriquet: If you're like me, the reason brown bread ice cream overshadows all other memories is because you ate it every day of the trip! ;)
A scoop of sea salt ice cream and a scoop of milk or dark chocolate ice cream was my runner-up favorite from Murphy's.
I was there a year ago, so my suggestions aren't particularly recent, but we loved The Pig's Ear and Rustic Stone for dinner.
The Dublin Tasting Trail, which is a foodie walking tour, was a lot of fun. It led us to one of our favorite discoveries: Brown bread ice cream at Murphy's Ice Cream. (Dingle Sea Salt ice cream was also fantastic.)
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