Polish Sausage Sandwich // A Proprietary Blend of Just The Right Spices. A Juicy, Crunchy, and Sweet Smoked Polish Sausage Served the Same Way Since the 1940's, on a Hot Bun with a Layer of Yellow Salad Mustard, Topped with a Mountain of Sweet Colossal Spanish Onions Grilled to Perfection and with an Abundance of Spicy Hot Sport Peppers. A Bag of French Fries Is Included FREE. This is the often imitated, never duplicated Maxwell Street Polish Sausage. I can literally eat this sandwich morning, noon, and night (because they are open 24/7 including holidays) but also because it's just one of my favorite sandwiches. The simplicity of the sandwich (bun, sausage, mustard, onions) in relation to the quality and deliciousness beats just about any sandwich I know. It's also one of the cheapest, most filling sandwiches you can get anywhere. The blend of spices in the sausage pairs so well with the sweet, caramelized onions and mustard. I also enjoy the hot peppers that accompany the sandwich to give that acidic kick that I'm always looking for. I've tried polish sausages at various establishments around the city, baseball games, etc., but nothing compares to the sausages and fries you get at Jim's. You also get the nostalgia of a true hot dog stand. Literally no where to sit. You just walk up and eat at an outdoor countertop or in your car, or take it home. Jim's Original is a true Chicago classic.
Chicago Beef // house roasted beef, shaved and swimming in a robust au jus with roasted bell peppers served with mild giardiniera and a cherry pepper relish at request When I found out I could get a copycat Italian Beef in St. Louis, I had to try it out. I decided to order it dipped like back home. While the sandwich was tasty, I'm glad they didn't try to name it an Italian Beef because it was not a true Italian Beef. The bread was not the correct bread, and the au jus was simply too salty. If I had not ordered it dipped, the saltiness would not have been as overpowering as it was. The peppers, giardiniera, and cherry pepper relish added some balance to the richness of the beef and au jus. I will say the beef was cooked just right, nice and tender. Next time, I'll probably stick to my usual Italian Beef spots back home, but I can't wait to come back to Good Buddy's to try all their other sandwiches on the menu.
Lunch Special // Fish Fry, Fries, Cole Slaw, and a Fountain Drink What a great deal for a lunch special! I was staying near the Albany Airport and found this fish fry spot within walking distance from my hotel. Now it's not the most amazing fish fry I've ever had, but for $10 you won't receive any complaints from me! The generous portion size was much appreciated, with the fish to batter ratio being well balanced. The batter could have been better seasoned and the fries were pretty average, but overall the quantity of food for the price was well worth it. If you're near the Albany Airport and need a legit lunch special, Ted's is probably your spot.
Clucker’s Famous Chili (GF) //rich broth, beans & veggies, topped with scallions, gruyere cheese & sour cream. Vegetarian or chicken I was randomly in Libertyville, IL and stumbled into this place for dinner. I had little expectations, but was happy to see the place fairly busy on a weekend night. I was looking for some low carb options on the menu and decided on the "famous" chili. I'm not sure how famous it is, but I can say that it's one of the better chicken chilis I've ever had. Every bite was so flavorful since the shredded chicken soaked up the broth and spices so well. The gruyere cheese and sour cream provided just enough rich, creamy balance to the kick from the spices. I'm not sure if I'd drive all the way to Libertyville for another bowl, but if you're in the area, Clucker’s is definitely a quality, reasonably priced establishment for chicken everything.
Daily Special // a bowl of tortilla soup, taco plate, and drink Now this is my kind of hole in the wall kind of spot. The daily special was so filling and cost less than $10. The soup was one of the best tortilla soups I've had. Simple ingredients of broth, chicken, fresh avocado, cheese, and tortilla strips coming together to make an awesome bowl of Mexican comfort soup. As if the large bowl of soup wasn't enough, they followed up with two crispy beef tacos, beans and rice. The taco shells were homemade with the right amount of crunch. The shredded beef was moist enough to balance the crunch of the crispy tortillas. Washing down both dishes with my large horchata completed the trifecta. When in El Paso I had to eat Mexican food right??? I wish I had a car to try out some other places away from the airport, but this joint definitely hit the spot.
Carne Asada Burrito // beans, lettuce, cheese, sour cream What a great little 24 hr spot. This no frills, affordable for the city, Mexican joint was quite tasty. I'm not saying it's the best Mexican spot in the city, but if you're looking for a late night, after the bars, always open spot that is reasonably priced close to downtown, this is your spot. Service was quick and the restaurant was quite clean. I went when I was sober and thought it was pretty good. I can't imagine how amazing it would taste if I was tipsy lol Can't wait to try them again for breakfast as well!
Truffle Mushroom Pasta // handmade pappardelle, black truffle, parmesan I was excited to try this speakeasy since they are affiliated with Union Sushi around the corner. Their food and service did not disappoint. They were able to accommodate our party of ten comfortably on a Friday night and sat us down even though two of us were running late. If you like whiskey then this is definitely a place for you. The house old fashioned was so smooth and tasty. Even my wife who doesn't like whiskey enjoyed it. I wanted to try all the food on their menu, but I ended up with this mushroom pasta. It was so simple, yet so delicious. It's all about the hand made noodles. I can't wait to come back to try everything else on the menu!
Crispy Pork Belly Tacos // guacamole + pickled pepper & onion + guajillo diablo salsa + cilantro My crew and I were blown away by this place! What a great place for tacos and cocktails in downtown Indianapolis. I asked the server which tacos were the most popular and he said hands down the pork belly tacos. He also said to try one with an egg on it. As you would imagine, adding pork belly to any dish instantly makes it better in my book and these tacos were no exception. The sunny side egg with the cracked yolk added another level of savory to the taco. It was like eating a ridiculous breakfast taco. I highly recommend Nada to anyone and everyone looking for a place to eat in downtown Indianapolis.
Edamame Dumplings // dashi, white truffle oil, asian herbs I was so happy to finally try this amazing chain of restaurants at the only location in the Midwest. Thankfully it's within walking distance from where I live because I'll definitely be coming back! I loved the menu and the environment. There's something for everyone here. Vegans, vegetarians, gluten free, and even carnivores like me. One of the signature starters that everyone seems to recommend is the Edamame Dumplings and they did not disappoint. Served in a dashi based broth, the white truffle oil is really complimented well with the rest of the Asian herbs. It's as if pho and miso soup had a baby and gave you edamame stuffed dumplings instead of noodles. I could eat these dumplings morning, noon, and night they were so good! But don't be confused, this is not an Asian restaurant. They have pizzas, burgers, poke, quinoa bowls, salads, etc. It's no wonder this place appears on the Michelin guide. True Food = True Love!
Chaca Oaxaca // beef and chorizo, avocado, pico de gallo, fried egg, queso fresco, tabasco mayo This burger bar was so legit. I literally wanted to try every burger on the menu, and there were so many craft beers on the menu that I couldn't pick just one! It definitely helped that it was happy hour too. The place was super chill with communal tables and booths as well. My kind of casual spot that I'd come back to for happy hour. I was looking for something with a bit of a kick and decided on the Chaca Oaxaca. The natural juices from the burger patty mixed with the spices from the chorizo and tabasco mayo gave me the kick I was looking for. The freshness from the pico de gallo and avocado balanced the savory fried egg well. I can't wait to come back to try more burgers at this place!
1/4 Bird Fried Chicken Meal // Served with two sides Thanks to Cheap Eats Chicago for recommending this place. You first choose your chicken seasoning (mild, spicy, or Nashville hot). I'll definitely be going back to try Nashville hot as the spicy was not spicy to me. You then pick if you want white meat, dark meat, or mixed. I went with a mix. The chicken was as succulent and juicy as you'd expect from a quality chicken joint. The chicken was perfectly breaded and used the right amount of seasoning. As far as sides, I went with the creamy mac and cheese and the roasted green beans. The beans were cooked in vinegar based sauce which provided acidity to the meal. I'm glad I paired it with the creaminess of the mac and cheese for balance. Next time I'm going to try the homemade chips and cucumber cole slaw. Overall, I still like Honey Butter Fried Chicken better, but this spot is definitely a great spot for fried chicken if you're in the neighborhood.
The Hot Brown Sandwich // Roasted Turkey Breast, Toast Points, Mornay Sauce, Pecorino Cheese Baked Gold Brown, Finished with Bacon and Tomatoes This culinary legend is featured in the New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Southern Living Magazine, The Los Angeles Times, NBC’s Today Show, ABC News with Diane Sawyer, and Travel Channel’s Man v. Food. It's really a treat whenever I get to order this open faced sandwich. You definitely don't eat it like a sandwich though...it's definitely more like a casserole. Nothing beats having it late night, at the lobby bar with an Old Fashioned in your hand. I love the textures and richness in every bite. The crunch from the toasted bread meets the moist, roasted turkey breast and then is covered in the creamy, mornay sauce. You simply have to try it yourself at The Brown. They definitely do it right!
Two Meat Combo Plate // Sliced Brisket, Pulled Pork, Hand Cut Fries , Homemade Chili , Sweet Tea Not sure if it's the best BBQ I've ever had (meat was a little dry imo), but it was definitely tasty. Since I love vinegar based BBQ, my favorite sauce was the White BBQ. Alabama-style white sauce, which gets a kick from just the right amount of horseradish and vinegar. The sauce went so well with my brisket and pulled pork. I was ready to get the baked beans as a side but the chili was one of the rotating sides that was calling my name to pair with the wonderful, crunchy, salted fries. I mean it was like having chili fries with my BBQ. The sweet tea perfectly balanced the salty and savoriness in this combo plate. If you're ever in downtown St. Louis and craving BBQ, I can easily recommend Sugarfire.
Rabbit Arepa // Tamarind Braised Rabbit, Liver Crema, Olives, Market Salad, Rabbit Jus If you're not familiar, arepa is ground maize dough or cooked flour prominent in the cuisine of Colombia and Venezuela. I'm so used to seeing arepas served with shredded beef, chicken, or pork. I was pleasantly surprised to see Beatnik serve it with braised wild rabbit. The meat was so succulent and flavorful. To me, it tasted like intensely flavored chicken meat. The liver crema provided the balanced, creaminess you seek while the arepa soaked up the rabbit jus nicely. Topped with the market salad, it provided the right amount of roughage to complete every bite! Every time I go to Beatnik it's a winner every time! Don't forget to order one of their amazing cocktails as well!
Assorted pizza slices // (L to R) meatballs with bell peppers | soppressata, mozzarella, parmigiano | crostino calabrese sausage, pepper | porchetta sandwich with mushroom and parmigiana It was my first time going to the world famous Bonci, and it definitely did not disappoint. The style of pizza is “Al Taglio” which is a large, rectangular pizza loaded with toppings, cut with scissors into quadrilateral slices and sold by weight. I loved the concept because it allowed us to pick and choose the size of each kind of pizza to allow you to try different kinds. Bonci is known for the quality of its ingredients and you could definitely taste the difference from your local, Chicago neighborhood joint. Bonci is a welcome addition to the Chicago pizza scene. If you're looking for some fancy, Roman style pizza that you can't get anywhere else, look no further than Bonci! Anthony Bourdain reviewed it best: “It’s amazing … You want it. You want it bad. Your life would be so much better if you have this right now. Leave your family. Abandon your children … You know you want it.”ANTHONY BOURDAIN WHILE EATING BONCI PIZZA, THE LAYOVER, SEASON 1, EP. 7
Steak and Gorgonzola Nachos // Cajun potato chips, seasoned steak, Applewood smoked bacon, jalapenos, garlic, shallots, gorgonzola, pepper jack, four cheese sauce, green onions Wow! Definitely came here for the beer, but ended up eating these amazing nachos! Thankfully the server suggested that we order half chips and half fries. It was a game changer. The steak was nicely seasoned and the four cheese sauce with the gorgonzola was to die for. I can't wait to come back and order them again!
Chicken Lunch Special // grilled chicken, falafel, rice, salad, and pita bread This is probably my favorite lunch special in all of Chicagoland. The price for quantity and quality is unsurpassed. I could literally eat this every day. No matter which meat you order, you will be satisfied, and the taste is always consistent. They also have one of my favorite hot sauces. Not sure what they put in it but it definitely enhances every bite. When on the north side, I always go to Pita Inn for Middle Eastern food.