You may not know this about me. I love food. Approximately 70 percent of the reason I work out is so that I can eat more [people say they like stats in blogs]. Tasting my way through a city is one of my favorite ways to tourist. Here’s a selection of some of our favorite Chicago eats.
The Classic Hot Dog
No matter how many times I visit Chicago, I always get a Portillo’s hotdog. It’s like a little package of meat dragged through the garden and lovingly wrapped in a poppy seed bun. I say dragged through the garden, because this $2.99 hot dog comes with mustard, super green relish, celery salt, chopped onions, slice red ripe tomatoes, a pickle spear, and sport peppers. The world is a better place with these in them.
That’s My Jam
Brunch is my favorite meal, as I’m sure most 20-something women would self-report. But it’s true. I love breakfast eats around lunch time. It’s like a special violation on the order of foods and is a free pass to take a casual approach to your day. And it’s socially acceptable to order alcohol at this particular meal. I’ve heard of Jam in Logan Square for several years now, so I was delighted when we headed over there during one of our weekends in Chicago.
We started with a round of bloody mary’s with beer backs. I opted for a corpse reviver, which is filled with elderflower liqueur, lemon juice, and other delicious concoctions.
Per our waiter’s recommendation, we got an order of the Malted Custard French Toast with macerated stonefruit jam, lime leaf cream, and pink peppercorns for the table. Do not skip this step. It is a melt-in-your mouth moment that you should savor.
I ordered the eggs benedict with perfectly poached eggs, crisp pork belly, dried pineapple and al pastor hollandaise. Josh got the hot chicken and waffle with bread and butter rhubarb and pimento gastrique. I’m sure you’re starving now. So feel free to pause and got get a snack. Or plan a trip here.
Logan Square’s Little Havana
Best empanadas ever. Truly. Crunchy and filled with tasty morsels like chorizo and goat cheese. And I really enjoyed the atmosphere here, sitting in the middle of the city beneath a set of string lights at 90 Miles Cuban Cafe catching up with good friends after a hilarious show at The Annoyance. Make sure to save some room for the tres leches cake. Its BYOB, so plan accordingly.
A Super Cheap Date
After a night of climbing at Chicago’s First Ascent, a really fantastic rock gym in Avondale, Josh and I were hankering for some delicious and super cheap Mexican food. Enter, L’Patron. This cash-only burrito joint is in an unassuming part of town, but you walk into a brightly lit joint with Mexican music blaring and a line winding its way through the entire restaurant. We made the rookie mistake of skipping the chips and guacamole order. You’ll want to do this as it does take a while to get your food. I recommend the al pastor burrito. It is cooked in a pork-pineapple layered spit. It’s juicy and piled into a burrito with expertly cooked beans, lettuce, tomato, and avocado. It is cash only, but you get an amazing burrito for $5. This place is also BYOB, but you can opt for an horchata or a limonada as well and it is unlikely to disappoint.
Bacon. Brats. Beers. Bocce ball. Bags.
Oh and ping pong! What more could you want? A loaf of meat that is meant for Vikings? Yeah, they’ve got that too. Grab a picnic table beneath the market lighting and order up some mac n cheese – with bacon, of course – bacon wrapped dates, bacon-wrapped sausage, or a chorizo burger. This is exactly what we wanted after a day of touristing all around Chicago. Make sure to check out Kaiser Tiger, one of the many amazing places cropping up on Chicago’s restaurant row.