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Serious Jamaican Jerk Smoked & Grilled on North Side

I’ve had jerk chicken and pork from the source – Boston Beach, Jamaica – but I’ve rarely had jerk in Chicago that matched the flavor profile of those spicy, tongue-blistering, sweat-inducing memories. Thankfully, a former food truck has expanded to a full-time brick-and-mortar operation on the city’s Near North Side, now cranking out Jamaican food … Continued

Cabbie Cuisine on Chicago’s North Side

Sometimes, curiosity gets the best of me. It’s one of the hazards of my job, driving around the city, rubber-necked, looking at interesting awnings and neon signs that beckon from beyond the sidewalk. What is it that makes someone pull over, pay the meter and walk into an unfamiliar space? Unless you’re going based on … Continued

Poutine at The Bad Happy Poutine Shop

  At first glance, it looks like a mound of something your 16 year-old cousin would throw together after a late-night run through a fast food drive-through lane. But poutine is revered with almost religious fervor in the Canadian province of Quebec. And while the Olympic team might not be training on it this week, … Continued

Charcuterie at 676 Restaurant

  While the nose-to-tail ethos tends to flourish at neighborhood places like The Bristol and The Publican, you wouldn’t think a tourist destination like the Omni Hotel would be a source for bold, in-house curing and aging. But no one was more surprised than myself, when I got a tip that the chef at 676 … Continued

Tuna Tartar from Bistronomic

Martial Noguier never quite settled into his previous assignments. At one sixtyblue, his cooking would veer into French territory, but the fact diners were there for Michael Jordan’s connection as much as anything, probably limited his creativity. At Café des Architectes, inside the Hotel Sofitel, he explored his roots a bit more, but still, he was a … Continued

Top 5 Salads in Chicago

Warm weather always results in the same sort of lunch, during the week at least. I guess that’s why everyone in L.A. is so thin. It’s the salads! (Easy on the dressing, of course.) In Chicago, there’s nothing better than a thick, tender hunk of shortrib over a mound of polenta in December, but come … Continued

Top 5 Italian Restaurants in Chicago

I realize the sheer number of Italian restaurants in our area makes this a somewhat daunting proposition. After last week’s “overrated” edition, I’m turning to my top 5 this week, and all of these places have a few things in common: for one thing, they make pretty much everything – from the grissini and focaccia, … Continued