I know it’s impossible to come up with just five experiences, considering I just spent 10 days devouring more ramen, sushi and kimchi than most people do in a year, but such are the limitations of this space, and the ridiculous Top 5 corner I’ve backed myself into. As the images swirl in my head, it’s pretty easy to come up with my top 5. Here they are, in no particular order:
Exactly one year ago this week, I embarked on a magical, fatty/crispy sojourn to Beijing, in search of the real Peking duck. Nearly every great restaurant I visited had their own procedure – be it air hose between skin and meat, large fan for blowing on and drying out the ducks or poaching in hot water for 30 seconds – as well as unique methods for preparing (brush with maltose, sugar, honey?), roasting (over jujube or apricot woods?) and serving (in thin pancakes, with or without garlic sauce and/or plum or hoisin? What about fresh cucumbers and the all-white Chinese scallions?) Your choices in Chicago are far more limited – no one, as far as I know, has a wood-burning oven roasting their ducks out in the dining room – although I hear Tony Hu is going to have that feature at his soon-to-open Peking duck restaurant in the Nordstrom building on Michigan Avenune. But you can still find some decent duck here; just be sure to call ahead, to make sure they have one for you.
By Camille Izlar
So you want to eat the most amazing thing Chicago has to offer as long as it doesn’t cost more than $10? You must be a tourist. Or, as is more likely the case, constantly hosting tourists. Fortunately for you, me and your second cousin’s boyfriend’s little brother, you live in a great city with talented chefs who don’t need to charge $100 a head for a great meal. Here are my top five. Feel free to comment with your own! Read More
Nearly every culture has its go-to winter comfort soup. The “Jewish penicillin” is matzo ball soup; Mexicans have their hominy-and-pork-jammed pozole, while the Poles are usually seen huddled over mammoth bowls of borscht this time of year. In the Vietnamese community, the beefy noodle soup known as pho (pronounced “fuh”) is ubiquitous in Chicago, especially along Argyle Street. I’ve had good pho as far away as Glendale Heights and Glen Ellyn, but for sheer convenience, it’s hard to beat a stroll along Argyle, where several good options beckon. Read More
LOUISVILLE, KY – First things first. It’s pronounced LOU-uh-vull. And this mid-sized city along the Ohio River – known more for its horse race than anything else – is also the perfect base of operations for a tour of Bourbon Country. You can visit most of the major distilleries within an hour’s drive, and even though I was only in town for a few days, we managed to hit a few highlights.
In case you missed it, I headed south about a week ago, engaging in a food trip for the ages we affectionately referred to as Austin BBQ Armageddon. We tackled nine places in three days – hitting one of them twice – with a doughnut shop and a modern Mexican stop to boot. There’s no question they love brisket in Texas; everyone serves it, typically with a rub as simple as salt and coarsely-ground black pepper. But there were plenty of other slow-smoked goodies to love – turkey, short ribs, hams, etc. and I felt it was my duty to recall some of the highlights for you. Read More