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Sweet home Chicago

May 16, 2013

We’re headed to Chicago this weekend to spend some time with family and friends. T and I lived in Chicago for more than seven years before we moved out to Boston. It still feels like home. We miss loads of things about Chicago — people first and foremost — but also the vibrant personality of the city, the interesting neighborhoods, the summer street festivals, the Cubs, and — of course — the food. Chicago has some of the best restaurants in the world. We used to love trying out new places. But when we return, our eating is not about new places at all; instead it’s about old favorites.

Here are some of the old favorites. Unfortunately, we won’t get to hit all of these in the three day weekend. But that’s why we have to go back.

Mexican: Frontera Grill and Topolobampo. Ah, good Mexican food. How I miss you so. Chicago has so many wonderful Mexican restaurants. Frontera Grill and Topolobampo top them all. Both restaurants, housed in the same location, are from renowned chef, Rick Bayless. Frontera, the casual side of the restaurant, is always a long wait. Topolobampo, Frontera’s “quiet, sleek, classy sister” according to the restaurant website, requires reservations made weeks in advance. Both are well worth it. Frontera is Mexican “street food” at its best: guacamole, ceviche, queso fundido, any of the tacos. Topolo is Mexican at its most refined. In addition to the lovely entrees, try the guacamole which comes with no chips, just jicama and cucumbers, which lets the taste of guac itself really shine.

[image via www-nmgastronome-com]

BBQ: Smoque. Smoque is a bit off the beaten path, but we get there for a meal almost every time we’re in Chicago. It’s not fancy; just really, really good food. You stand in an astonishingly long line and stare at a room full of crowded tables. But somehow, by the time your food is ready, there’s a spot ready for you, too. I love the pulled pork sandwich. T always gets the baby back ribs.

[image via 3.bp.blogspot.com]

Sandwiches: Lucky’s. If you’re from Pittsburgh, you’ll know that Lucky’s is a copy. The thick sliced bread, skillet warmed meat, fries and coleslaw (note the fries and coleslaw are on the sandwich) are a copy of Primanti Brothers in Pittsburgh. But the idea is so good, it begs to be copied. The Chicago version was featured on Man vs. Food. The host attempted the “Lucky’s Challenge.” I have not yet attempted, and probably won’t try this weekend. But I will order a turkey with everything.

[image via chicago.seriouseats.com]

 [top image of Chicago via here]

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. May 17, 2013 2:45 pm

    Have fun! Also, I want one of those sandwiches!!

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