this was part of a road trip, from dallas to boston. our first time to the windy city. chicago provided us with some great eats:
SUPERDAWG (chicago). i totally fell in love ("from the bottom of my pure beef heart") with this place, starting with the woman's voice: "hiya! thanks for stopping!" other than the goofy characters and goofier boxes, the superdawg was very good -- juicy, plump, and a very tasty bun. the bright green relish was a bit scary. we also tried the whoopskidog, just as good but with a bit of a kick in the polish. mmm. the strawberry supermalt was great (smooth, thick, rich, with real strawberries), as were the superonionchips (onion chips are better than onion rings because you get more onion than batter). i like how everything is super. coolest thing about this stop was that we saw a ford fairlane convertible. well, that and the blinking hot dog on top of the restaurant.
WALLY'S (chicago). polish grocery store. picked up some marinated wild mushrooms, a 1L-carton of blackcurrant juice, a bottle of quince juice, and three polish kinder surprise eggs.
GARRETT'S POPCORN (chicago). got the caramel crisp popcorn. tasty popcorn, but the line was long; i don't think i'd wait that long again for the snack. the huge popcorn popper is cool to watch.
TRIO (evanston). looks like estufarian beat me to the menu write-up (thank goodness!). i went two weekends ago, and there were two changes: rabbit instead of the frog legs and a strawberry ice insetad of the moroccan milk. highlights include the "cheese 'n cracker"
(a cracker pillow filled with milky, cheesy love that just exploded in the mouth), "pizza" (1/2" square of vegetable paper with pepperoni, cheese, and tomato powders -- amazing),
crispy strawberry (like a cigarette cookie upon first introduction but got stuck in your
teeth like a fruit roll-up), and capsule of mango (same sort of crispiness as the crispy strawberry but shaped like a cylinder/capsule and filled with yuzu powder). the only thing i didn't really enjoy was the few menu items in quotes, just like at the french laundry. well, that and the lavender-salt chip (with the white pekin duck) which tasted like soap.
nothing really tasted out of place (such as the passionfruit-mustard lozenge). very innovative combinations. the use of more than one foam irked me a little, as if the chef was trying too hard to be el bulli-esque. the most amazing thing, however, was the service. we thought they had a two-way speaker above our table to hear our conversations ("hey! our candle went out!" candle was replaced within a minute. "gosh, i had frog legs last week." frog replaced with rabbit. the staff was simultaneous in presentation to the table, and being the youngest table that night, we were treated with the same respect as the oldest people
there! we should have expected it, though, especially with the high price we paid for our four-and-a-half hour meal. we had no idea it'd be that long, and we left at 1:45am. it was nervous fun at first, but when we were the last table in the dining room, the staff let up a bit and was more casual with us. it was a fun meal, full of culinary surprises and waiting to see what the waitstaff had up their collective sleeve.
LE PEEP (evanston). after a night of extravagant eating, a comfort breakfast was just what we needed. i had the blueberry granola pancakes, and i enjoyed them quite a bit, with the just-right crunch of the granola and berries. mmm.
MAXWELL STREET MARKET (chicago). we unfortunately arrived about an hour before they were closing. i was trying to look for a woman hand-tossing tortillas at one end of the market, but no dice. i did find, however, some eyeball tacos (thanks to a previous post here). the cook pointed to his own eye to make sure i understood what i was ordering. his friends even laughed at me! the taco was great, though. mostly meat and one lamb's eyeball were inside a warm corn tortilla. i didn't look inside, but the texture of the filling was somewhat gelatinous, not unlike oxtails. great with a little salsa verde.
SOME POLISH/BURGER/PORK CHOP SANDWICH STANDS (chicago). about a 10-minute walk west (on roosevelt) from the maxwell street market are two stands facing the highway, both serving the exact same things: polish dogs, hamburgers, and pork chop sandwiches. the dog was very tasty (big, fat, juicy, nestled in a warm bun), and the pork chop sandwich was huge and
very good -- no dry or chewy parts. mmm.
SMAK-TAK (chicago). a homey little polish restaurant with a basic menu. we got the pierogies (sweet and savory fillings -- how can you not eat more than one?), stuffed cabbage rolls (not too shabby -- a flavorful filling), potato pancakes (more like thin mashed potato cake. definitely a comfort food.), dessert special of cake with cream, and sweet cheese
blintzes. overall a welcoming restaurant. no complaints.
MEDICI BAKERY (chicago). we got the almond croissant, chocolate croissant, strawberry turnover, and sour cream roll. best: chocolate croissant. driest: roll. messiest: strawberry turnover (it turned over onto my
one of the biggest food-filled weekends for me. the trip was worth it.