Lettuce Entertain You is kind of a juggernaut of restaurant groups in Chicago. It’s hard to throw a stone in the city without hitting one of their many successful restaurants, and their empire goes beyond just the Second City. Yet, while in that city my sister booked us a table at RPM Italian, which I can only assume stands for Rotations Per Minute Italian. Oh and the super skinny lady from E! News is somehow involved, but I’m guessing she doesn’t eat much of the food.
In need of breakfast in Chicago, we took a walk to Elly’s Pancake House in Old Town. It turned out that Elly’s was a lot more than a pancake house and was actually a lot like a greasy spoon diner given its plethora of choices. Nonetheless, something caught my eye immediately and didn’t let go despite my perusing of the entire menu. It was the Breakfast Burrito and I intended to see if this pancake house could handle it.
To those in the know (or from Chicago), the city has more food claims to fame than just deep dish pizza. After all, the second city was pretty much the meat capital of the country for the better part of its existence. Out of this rose a place called Portillo’s, serving up Italian beef and hot dogs to match up with the city’s non-meat inhabitants. To be honest, I didn’t know much about Portillo’s growing up and spending time in Chicago, but a year or so ago I had a boss originally from Chicago that loved the place and alerted me about a location of theirs in Buena Park, just outside of Anaheim.
While I was in undergrad, a sandwich shop called Potbelly made its way onto campus in Ann Arbor. I appreciated its existence, but definitely didn’t take as much advantage of it as I should have. Potbelly still hasn’t made its way out west, but on a recent layover at Midway Airport in Chicago, I found myself reacquainted with that college delight.
A long, long time ago, I was a fledgling meat blogger just getting his bearings. In a desperate attempt to eat Giordano’s and get it on the blog, I bought a half-baked pie in Chicago, packed it in ice and brought it back to LA to finish the baking myself. The result was delicious, and while I reviewed it, I always felt that it was unfair to judge a restaurant in which much of the cooking was up to me. Since those days, very little has changed, but my desire for Giordano’s has only grown stronger. So on my last visit to Chicago, I made sure to hit Giordano’s for real, or to at least have some of my family pick it up for me in Evanston.
And now you may be wondering why an unvegan such as myself would choose to leave sunny Los Angeles for a December weekend foray into the Windy City. With very good reason, in fact, to celebrate the 30th anniversary of my sister’s birth. Yes, it makes me feel old to have a sister so old. But I was delighted at the opportunity to spend a special event with her and a good portion of my family. For the celebration, we headed to a restaurant called Province in downtown Chicago.
In the Windy City for a cold and lovely weekend, some friends, family and other converged upon a brunch place called Yolk in River North. On such a cold day, I was surprised to find such a long line of people waiting to get a piece of Yolk’s action. Despite claiming to have a 20-minutes wait, it was a good 35 minutes until we were seated. It was not a good sign of things to come, but a quick glance at the menu made me immediately forgot the wait it took to get there.
Given that you are taking the time to read this food post on this meat blog, I’m going to assume that you enjoy eating delicious meals with great company. We all have friends and family members with whom it is an absolute pleasure to share great meals and last night I had the special opportunity to do just that.
My friend Raffi and I bond greatly over very important things like food and football. Last night, he, his co-worker, and I went to a pizza restaurant in Chicago called Bricks. Bricks is located on a stretch on Lincoln Ave. with few other businesses and, as opposed to having a window-front, simply has an arched red awning over a staircase that leads down to the restaurant. Raffi and I are firm believers that you can judge a restaurant by its cover and even though the outside of Bricks is inconspicuous, it calls out at you and makes you think and/or say, “DAMN, this place is going to be GREAT!”
We all cherish those moments in life where we have the privilege of basking in luxury and feeling like we are rich. Last night, I was extraordinarily lucky to eat with one of my best friends at Smith & Wollensky in Chicago and got to enjoy luxury without any of the drawbacks because, well, he has the hook up.
With seats outside overlooking the Chicago River and downtown skyline on a beautiful night, we were ready to indulge. Immediately after sitting down, our drink orders were taken (I ordered a Diet Coke because I prefer soda paired with food to alcohol), and we were brought a plate of warm, fresh bread. The bread was outstanding, seasoned with salt and garlic, and it took every ounce of our willpower to turn down a second round when we finished the plate. We were voraciously hungry and there for a feast but this would be a marathon, not a sprint. More bread now would come at the expense of stomach room for steak later, so we begrudgingly delayed gratification.
The last time I was in Chicago, about three years ago, the only thing on my mind was pizza, pizza, and more pizza. However, on my most recent visit it was all about the beef. Burgers, of course.
I arrived in Chicago from Los Angeles at 7 in the morning after no sleep, because this wasn’t some ordinary red-eye. You see, I had a four hour layover in Las Vegas, where I left the airport, watched the fountain show at the Bellagio, placed $20 on black and WON while slurping down a few cocktails before returning to the airport, only to realize that I forgot to do one of the most essential things: EAT. So upon my arrival to Chicago, I declared to the only person listening – my cousin Jesica – that this wasn’t just a trip for me, but also my taste-buds and, to that, Jesica and many others directed me to a burger joint called DMK Burger Bar.