OK...these are tough times...even shopping at ALDI is beginning to set me back on my retirement goals...but I still gotta work, and my job is in that great Chicago culinary wasteland, the Loop
Quite a bit has been written in these posts on this matter and all I hear about is that Oasis. I don't mind bumping into eloping couples shopping for zirconium engagement rings as I make my way to the back of a jewelery store to inhale 4 falafels stuffed into a pita- it is absolutely delicious, but why does the store security guard always stare me down as I make my descent to the ordering counter!!!
But what else is there outside of the Oasis....it behooves me how the masses wait in line at Potbelly for their Wrecks on wheat...I enjoy an occasional Wreck myself because I am, but I do not like having to scream my order when I'm still 15 feet away from the counter- it's nobody's business that I may choose to have double meat today!!! and every-time I order that chicken salad salad salad salad salad, the order never gets to the salad salad maker who is usually flirting with the milkshake maker maker...
And that Wow Bao...oh Wow....loved you at first, but I finally came to the stark realization that too much dough...not enough filling...and I wonder how many calories per Bao? hmmm...
And you can't even get a decent slice of Pizza north of Madison...well there is Sbarro, but when was the last time you saw them in a list of Chicago's best pizza??? but I am privy to their cucumber, tomato, red onion salad... I really miss the Ricobene's at Lake and Wabash..why did they have to leave??? only to be replaced by a KFC/Pizza Hut combo that has some of the worst service I have ever experienced.....There also used to be a Mr. Sub next door... repulsively delicious...nothing like a Mr.Sub regular for $1.99
Chinese Food??? If I want to see a Panda, I'll go to Peking- I can certainly spend my remaining years without those Zig-Zag carrots and celery shoots...I'll take Wow Bao over Kung Pao anyday
Under 55? You know that basement food court on Wabash... I almost never came up...I helped myself to the salad bar and a taco and it was close to $55..they made me wash dishes!!!
Does there really need to be a Dunkin Donuts on every block?
Why can't Portillo's open an outlet in the Loop???? They'd make millions!!!! I don't have the time to walk to River North!!!! America's Dog is NOT Portillo's!!! sorry
Enough ramblings..... Here are my favorites:
1) Pizano's- great pizza in the tradition of Lou
2) Catch and Carry- in the Leo Burnett Building- try the Blackened Chicken Salad , and the Thai Noodle Salad with grilled chicken- good stuff- and their desserts are wicked cheap and delicious $1.50 Brownie, $2.50 cheescake
3) Burrito Beach- it's a small local chain but they do it right
4) Jaffa Bakery- The turkey sandwich is top notch- it's the real mcCoy!!! carved right off the carcass!!
5) Ponte Fresco in the 233 N. Michigan Bldg- Great salads made to order and every other restaurant owner in the Loop should visit that store and see how friendly, well-trained and professional every staff member is...this restaurant exemplifies excellent service
It's fun to go out to lunch, but it does add up...there's still nothing like a homemade tuna, cold meatloaf, egg salad, ham and swiss/havarti sandwich, or self-prepared sub..it doesn't take much to prepare..get creative with bread/rolls, toppings, throw in some fruit, slice some veggies with a little HUMMOUS and then if you have a sugar craving, head over to Potbelly for a fresh-baked cookie!!!
The nice thing with a brown-bag lunch is that you avoid the food coma...you can actually be productive the rest of the day!! try it sometime!!!
Gotta get back to the Cubs Game....think I'll head over to the Weiner Circle..it's getting late