This post is bittersweet in more ways than one. Firstly, because this is the first and presumably last time I will go to Johnnie's Beef, and I'm here to persuade you to not make that same mistake.
This sandwich shows up looking like it's about to drive you to prom. Tidy, clean-cut, with nary a dribble of beefy, fatty goodness on its collar, it even wears a corsage of lettuce and tomatoes.
Making top ten lists is never easy, especially when food is involved. The bars I frequented in Chicago ranged from hip brewpubs to German comfort food. It's all a delicate balance, plugged into a very unofficial, highly subjective formula. But when I return to Chicago, if I were to go back to ten bars, it would be these.
Brasserie 54 is an LM "neighborhood French restaurant and bar" in the heart of Andersonville that offers solid French fare in a very approachable setting
Some places re-invent, others re-imagine; Owen & Engine serves British pub food, re-perfected.
It's fitting that "evolution" is part of the name, because this place is quite a few steps removed from the industrial park/cement garage/questionable legality days of brewery visits.
It's all about the pork at The Publican. While Paul Kahan's place features just as much seafood, there's no hanging artwork of an oversized fish on the walls, I'm just saying.
Not nearly as ubiquitous as dogs or Italian beef, jibaritos are more the cult classic of Chicago originals.
Behind an entrance that would give your average abbot door envy, Old Oak Tap is an altar where Ukranian Village brunchers come to pray.
Maybe I've just been extremely lucky with my sandwich picks, but I really haven't run into one I didn't finish, until now.
Better known for heartiness over refinement, Wisconsin cuisine evokes images of summer sausage, curds, brats, and other beer soaker-uppers. Probably fried, with butter on top.
Going to Superdawg and not ordering the eponymous offering (which still rates as my favorite in town) is much like going to Egypt and not seeing the pyramids.
Fork invites you to sit down and have some good food paired with good drinks. A little of this, a little of that, with friendly, knowledgeable staff, and no pretenses. I'm still not 100% sure that's upscale casual, but it's certainly worth checking out.
That buttery, toasted roll is just dandy, but here it's like a piccolo showing up at a death metal show; beautiful instrument, just the wrong concert.
Largely a Venetian thing, cicchetti are essentially Italian tapas, small shared fare to linger over, preferably with a glass of white wine. However, if Venice is not in your immediate future, you can find a nice rendering of the concept right here in Chicago, at Ombra.
The jerk chicken sandwich ($5.99) sandwich tastes like the rich, moist chicken has been slow-cooked for hours in peppery jerk spices.
A little beer nerd outpost smack in the nucleus of the yupster bubble of Ukrainian Village, Small bar attracts moustaches the way puddles attract rain.
The secret to the beef shawarma is the Meat to Other ratio, which is about 10:1
A friendly rockabilly/punk/hipster-esque neighborhood joint, with an almost speakeasy feel, a pool table in back, and a menu of tatted-up Italian fare that may cause some double-takes.
Robert Duvall liked the smell of napalm in the morning. I might also suggest a late-morning stroll up Clark Street in Andersonville, where you can instead find yourself inhaling the aromas of fresh kebabs lapping up open flames pouring out of Reza's.
Since browsing the aisles for sea-salted capers and fresh mozzarella is known to stimulate the appetite, luckily they are fully prepared with a deli counter that turns out great, no-frills sandwiches
The distinction of neighborhood bar means the place is physically located in a residential neighborhood, and is frequented by said residents. And then also by outsiders like me, who come just for the food.
It is the Goldilocks of tuna sandwiches—not too creamy, not too dry, not too salty, not too oniony, and, ultimately, not too exciting.
Great food doesn't open its door to suggestions; good food, however, leaves that door slightly ajar.
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.
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