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Celebrating Chicago’s Classics All Month Long

Much of the food media’s gaze tends to focus on what’s new or hot. But I wanted to show some appreciation for the classics. So all month long, I’m going to be visiting some local legends, who’ve been quietly keeping the city’s culinary flame alive; in some cases, paving the way for other entrepreneurs.

Hagen’s Fish Market Going On 80 Years

With Fat Tuesday and Ash Wednesday behind us, the season of Lent is underway. Catholics traditionally abstain from meat on Fridays until Easter, and that means more demand for seafood. I visited a seafood specialist in Portage Park this week, approaching 80 years in business.

Cleo’s Southern Cuisine in Bronzeville

Black History Month begins today, and I wanted to dig into a restaurant with Deep Southern roots, located in a South Side neighborhood with its own storied past. The menu traces its recipes to both Mississippi and Louisiana… partly a result of the Great Migration, and a granddaughter’s commitment to carrying on her family’s traditions. … Continued

Döner vs. Cag Kebab

Part 2 of my Turkish food exploration this week. Today I’m talking about döner vs. cağ kebab. The former is known around the world (aka gyros) as a vertical spit of lamb & beef. But few realize cağ was first – from Erzurum in Northeastern Turkey – as a horizontal stack of lamb only. Both … Continued

Eating Like a Local in Istanbul

Shortly after the devastating earthquakes in Turkey that killed some 50,000 people, I took a previously planned trip back to Istanbul I had been organizing for a few months. The area where the quakes were is about a two-hour flight from Istanbul, so I felt completely safe, but obviously there was a kind of PTSD … Continued