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Top 5 Pho in Chicago

The past few days, we’ve laid out our methodology and procedure for finding the best bowls in Chicago and the contenders at play.  Now the moment you’ve all been waiting for. After tasting 31 bowls of pho and countless weeks of crunching numbers and pouring over notes with my Pho Consigliere – Paul Nguyen – … Continued

Top 5 Italian Beefs in Chicago (City)

1. Bob-O’s Hot Dogs 8258 W. Irving Park Rd.; 773-625-9840 $4.95 for sandwich + .50 for sweet peppers + .50 for hot peppers (pictured, above) Bread: Gonnella Don’t let the title fool you. Yes, Bob-O’s started as a literal hot dog cart/trailer (like Portillo’s) in the Northwest suburbs. But they also make their beef in-house, and they … Continued

Top 5 Italian Beefs in Chicago (Suburbs)

1. Johnnie’s 7500 W. North Ave., Elmwood Park; 708-452-6000 (second location at 1935 S. Arlington Heights Rd, Arlington Heights; 847-357-8100) $4.32 for sandwich + .37 for sweet peppers + .37 for hot peppers Total: $5.06 Bread: Gonnella Opened in 1961, the legendary store in Elmwood Park typically has a line snaking out the side, especially in the summertime. … Continued

Top 5 Sweet Ideas for Valentine’s Day

I don’t want to sound like Debbie Downer, but doesn’t Valentine’s Day qualify as a Hallmark holiday? I always thought the intention was to give greeting card sales a bump and let restaurants build 3-course tasting menus at slightly higher prices for the night. If it truly is a holiday, it’s a high-stress one, because … Continued

Top 5 Pho in Chicago

NOTE: Just in case you’ve landed here from a Google search, there is a newer, updated Top 5 Pho post. I ranked all 32 of the pho joints in Chicago, complete with statistical analysis and maps. Published January of 2017.   Nearly every culture has its go-to winter comfort soup. The “Jewish penicillin” has always … Continued

Top 5 Peking Ducks in Chicago

Two years ago, 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 … Continued

Top 5 Cuban Sandwiches in Chicago

Like all great sandwiches, the Cubano is a remarkable creation marrying flavorful proteins, satisfying condiments and crunchy textures. But unlike its Vietnamese cousin, the banh mi, or its Italian brethren – featuring slow-roasted beef slammed between sturdy loaves and draped in a bracing giardiniera – the Cuban sandwich has something the others don’t: griddled bread.

Top 5 Chicken Sandwiches in Chicago

So much for Chicago being a pizza and Italian beef kind of town. I had no idea last week’s post about my Top 5 Fried Chickens would stir such a passionate discourse. With more than 40,000 views from my Facebook page alone, all of the sudden interest crashed my website briefly the next morning. As … Continued

Top 5 Fried Chickens in Chicago

It’s not like I’m choosing sides in a NYC bagel war, or somehow claiming to know which joint in L.A.’s Thai Town makes the best khao soi, but when you start ranking fried chicken, I know the haters are waiting in the wings, so to speak, ready to pounce. Although I’m not sure I’m going … Continued

Top 5 Eating Experiences in Japan & Seoul

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, … Continued

Top 5 Things I Ate/Drank in Louisville

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 … Continued