Eater's Digest: Chicago 2

Previously on Adam Riff™:

Bon Appétit: "Chicago is the 2017 Restaurant City of the Year."

August 2017
girl and the goat / little goat diner / harold's chicken / irazu / weber's bakery / pequod's pizza / split rail / sultan's market / fat rice / cafecito / arbor / the doughnut vault / the ruin daily / half acre tap room / taco bell / the riot feast / jeni's / city mouse / longman and eagle / wyler road / split rail / orange / frontera grill / giant / bang bang pie and biscuits / fat rice bakery / mi tocaya antojería / emporium arcade bar / emporium popups: the upside down / panes bread cafe / piece brewery and pizzeria / sultan's market / dimo's pizza / wyler road

(Fat Rice) is Macanese cuisine, generally described as Chinese-Portuguese fusion.

Arroz Gordo (Fat Rice)
jasmine rice laced with sofrito, chorizo, and salted duck; topped with curried chicken thighs, char siu pork, linguiça sausage, chilli prawns, steamed clams, chicken fat-fried croutons, and olives; served with mushroom soy and diablo hot sauce

^ The celebratory dish of Macau, reminiscent of paella.

Curry Cabbage (Fat Rice)
turmeric, mustard seed, curry leaf
—Golden kimchi.

Pastel de Nata (Fat Rice)
egg custard, puff pastry, love and secrets
—I don't care for egg tarts, but if you like them, you should seek out (Fat Rice)'s.

Macau Rice Crisp (Fat Rice)
pork floss, nori, fish sauce caramel

^ On its own, it was an unexceptional, savoury-skewing Rice Krispies treat. Dipped in the fish sauce caramel, it was oddly enjoyable.

"The Donettes" (Girl and the Goat)
blue​ cheese caramel, cashew praline ice cream, fresh fig compote

Smoked Pork and Toffee Crunch Shake (Little Goat Diner)
—Sickeningly porky.

Wood Oven Roasted Pig Face (Girl and the Goat)
sunny-side egg, tamarind, cilantro, red wine maple, potato stix

Duck Tongues (Girl and the Goat)
tuna and black bean poke, piri piri

^ Fried tongues and raw fish.

Blueberry Pickled Pepper Corn Bread (Girl and the Goat)
honey butter, cherry relish
—Its accompanying cherry relish [cherries in olive oil and balsamic vinegar?] was bomb.

Blue Corn Bread (Arbor)
coffee butter
—Its accompanying coffee butter was sublime.

Tucked away on the second floor of an office building, the Midwestern Omakase at (Arbor) is a garden-to-table experience at the whim of the kitchen.

Tomato Cobbler (Arbor)

^ Like a Greek salad, but hot.

Feel Good Salad of the Summer
zucchini, squash, tomato, olive oil, feta ch-ch-ch-ch-ch-ch-cheese

^ Ecstasy.

(The Riot Feast) is pop-up restaurant with a Riot Fest-inspired tasting menu:

Jon: Oh! MxPx!
Chad: No, it's Less Than Jake.
Jon: Blimey, you're right.

Have Mercy! Cornbread (The Riot Feast)
john stamos butter

Never Mind the Chicken, Here's the Funnel Cakes (The Riot Feast)
chicago-style hot chicken, sport pepper hot sauce, pickles, celery salt, poppy seed funnel cake, destroy

^ A chicken and waffles-inspired play on a Chicago-style hot dog.

♫ "History of a Boring Town"
Jon: Okay, this is Less Than Jake.
Chad: Is it?
Jon: Dude, this was a radio single!
Jon: My problem with this song is that they don't reprise the chorus after the bridge. The chorus is the best part!

Party Hard Potion (The Riot Feast)
shaved ice, orange red bull syrup, sweet comb honey, vanilla
—I ordered this as a drink, not expecting it to be a snowcone – a foul one, spoiled by vanilla.

Mac and Beer Cheese (Wyler Road)
fried sage, buttercrumb

Plain Housemade Chips (Wyler Road)
Spicy Housemade Chips (Wyler Road)
—Addictive, thick potato crisps.

Born on the Bayou Pizza (Dimo's Pizza)
andouille and blackened chicken on top of a seafood gumbo base topped with a creole aioli

Breakfast of Champions Pizza (Dimo's Pizza)
scrambled eggs, chorizo, and home fries on a white sauce base topped with green onions and spicy mayo

^ Interesting, but bland pizzas.

Hot Doug's, and the very idea of it, was a cosmic event. We will never again in our lifetime see a restaurant where devotees stand in line for 12 hours to sample a hot dog. [source]

Hot Doug's Atomic Sausage Pizza (Piece Brewery and Pizzeria)
red pizza with pepper jack cheese, caramelized onions, and hot doug's famous atomic sausage [pork with habaneros, serranos, and jalapeños]

^ Tasty, but for its price, should feature more sausage.

Slagel Burger (Longman and Eagle)
widmer's cheddar, bacon, beef fat fries
—A no-frills burger served with a heap of fries.

Slagel Meatballs (Longman and Eagle)
polenta, smoked potato
—A weird appetizer. Meatballs in a bowl of polenta?

Hibiscus Churro (Longman and Eagle)
lime curd, micro cilantro, brûléed goat's milk rice pudding, cajeta, hibiscus and goat's milk ice cream, pepitas

^ A weird, savoury-skewing dessert. The churros are red-violet inside.

Peanut Butter y Lengua (Mi Tocaya Antojería)

^ Peanut-chile sauce and braised beef tongue. I couldn't really discern peanut butter.

Fideos Secos (Mi Tocaya Antojería)
cauliflower, chintextle

^ Bewilderingly unpalatable.

Campechano Taco (Mi Tocaya Antojería)
cochinita, chorizo, carne asada
—Three of my favourite meats in one.

Chucho's Pollo Taco (Mi Tocaya Antojería)
smoked beer can chicken, xoconostle

BBQ Brisket Burrito (Half Acre Tap Room)
smoked beef brisket, buttermilk biscuit, arugula, cheddar and jack cheeses, fried onions
—The crumbled biscuit inside didn't add anything.

(Irazu) is Costa Rican cuisine.

Casado (Irazu)
tender skirt steak; succulent chicken breast, seasonal mixed veggies, grandma's gallo pinto [traditional rice and beans combo], caramelized plantains
—This steak was fucking delicious.

Fajitas, Reimagined (Split Rail)
charred prime sirloin, creamy masa, fajita flavours

^ Masa approaching a Cream of Wheat texture forms a [tortilla] canvas for dollops of pureed onion, avocado, and red pepper and a fan of seared sirloin slices draped with pickled jalapeño.

An admirable, if unsuccessful, play on fajitas. Dug the char on the sirloin, though.

Loaded Baked Potato Gnocchi (Split Rail)
house bacon, sour cream, hook's five year cheddar, crispy potato skins

^ This re-imagining of a loaded baked potato, however, is a winner.

Aunt T's Pretzel Surprise (Split Rail)
whipped topping, strawberry-orange jell-o, salted pretzel

^ I dreaded trying this, but it is scrumptious.

Its strata:
more pretzel + some more whipped cream
most whipped cream [not pictured]
pretzel [not pictured]

Banana Split Torte (Weber's Bakery)
a layer of banana cake, banana custard, fresh bananas, whipped cream, a layer of chocolate cake, fresh strawberries, another layer of banana cake, more whipped cream

^ Also known as "Atomic Cake."

The Atomic Cake has been the centerpiece of choice at birthday celebrations and other rites of passage, from first to last, for generations of Chicagoans on the South Side. [source]

Frushi (Orange)

^ Fresh fruit and sweet rice.

(Orange) also offers a themed Pancake Flight of four stacks of silver dollar pancakes. Themes change weekly. I wonder if I just drew a mediocre theme: Smoothies.

1. Pineapple-Mango (Orange)
pancakes with diced pineapple, mango yogurt, whipped cream, and fresh mint

2. Wildberry (Orange)
pancakes with raspberry sauce, blueberry yogurt, and fresh blackberries

3. Chocolate-Banana (Orange)
chocolate chip pancakes topped with banana-yogurt whipped cream, lightly drizzled with chocolate sauce

4. Almond-Plums (Orange)
pancakes with cooked plums topped with almond cream sauce, whipped cream, and toasted almonds

The Upside Down is a Stranger Things pop-up bar.

(Emporium Popups)

(Giant) is "the sixth best new restaurant in America."

A Little Biscuit (Giant)
jalapeño butter
—Damn good biscuit.

Thai Chili Sweet Corn (Giant)
tiny shrimp and peanuts

^ A crackin' corn dish.

Jonah Crab Salad (Giant)
waffle fries, cocktail sauce

^ Pleasantly light and fresh.

Pici, with Chew (Giant)
jalapeño and bacon

^ Unusual, fat, chewy spaghetti.

Black and White Babka (Giant)
banana ice cream, peaches and blackberries


Chocolate Pecan Pie (Frontera Grill)
with kahlúa whipped cream

Guava and Cheese Pastry (Cafecito)

Cubano (Cafecito)
roasted pork, ham, swiss, pickles, mustard
"The best Cuban sandwich in Chicago."

Gym Shoe Sandwich (The Ruin Daily)
sliced lamb, corned beef, roast beef, tzatziki mayo, giardiniera, shredded lettuce, italian baguette

Gas Station Sandwich (City Mouse)
hash brown, egg, cheese, grape jelly, sausage, michigan-grown fruit
—The Michigan-grown fruit is its side, not part of the sandwich.

Mocha Coconut Crunch Old Fashioned Doughnut (The Doughnut Vault)
Apple Fritter (The Doughnut Vault)

Sweet Cream Biscuits and Peach Jam Ice Cream (Jeni's)
Mocha Black Cherry Ice Cream (Jeni's)


Hot Dog Bun Chicago-Style (Fat Rice Bakery)
vienna beef, classic fixin's

^ Alas, the hot dog buns available when I visited were not Chicago-style.

(Kimski) is dubious Korean-Polish fusion.

Maria's Standard (Kimski)
house recipe, soju mustard, buns from spoken bird in pilsen, kraut chi made with co-op, scallions, sesame seeds, and side of fries

Mizeria Chap Chae (Kimski)
sweet potato starch noodles dressed in a salted cucumber sour cream salad with dill, lemon zest, scallions, sesame seeds, micros

Phozole (Spotted Monkey)
beef-based pho broth cooked with star anise, cinnamon, and cloves and infused with a mix of mexican mild chilies; served with rice noodles and garnished with bean sprouts, cilantro, and basil; pork or chicken

(Saucy Porka) and its sister restaurant (Spotted Monkey) are Latin-Asian fusion.

Asian Style Paella (Saucy Porka)
served with chinese lap chang pork sausage, spicy sausage, pork carnitas, edamame, bean sprouts, scallions

Ropa Vieja Banh Mi (Spotted Monkey)
shredded beef marinated in orange juice with ancho and pasilla chilies served in french baguette and topped with kimchi and mayo

Guatemalan Donuts "Rellenitos" (Spotted Monkey)
filled with asian red beans

Pineapple Pork Fried Rice Burrito (Half Acre Tap Room)
roasted pork loin, fried rice, peppers, scallions, broccolini, grilled pineapple salsa, ginger, cilantro

Kimchi and Oaxaca Empanadas (Mott Street)
masa shell served with chimichurri crème fraîche

(Taco in a Bag)

Everything Wings (Mott Street)
crispy wings glazed with soy, jaggery, and dried chilis; tossed with sesame, poppy seed, fried shallots, and served with tzatziki

Pastrami-Spiced Carrots (The Kennison)
kraut, beets, horseradish, caraway

Bread (Mott Street)
potato and onion bread, leek-curry butter, soft baked egg

Guava-Q Sandwich (Cafecito)
roasted pork or chicken, caramelized onions, guava bbq sauce, jicama slaw

All-Day Breakfast Sandwich (Wyler Road)
pork belly, egg, hook's cheddar, persimmon salsa, chicharrón, brioche

Peach Chutney Broccoli (Giant)
with pine nut and crescenza cheese

Bowl of Awesome (Mott Street)
chlorophyll, yogurt, raw honey, bee pollen, hemp seeds, sprouted buckwheat, amaranth

(Protein Bar)

Oatmeal Shake (Irazu)

Japanese Whiskey-Glazed Doughnut (Kitsune)

Bacon Tempura (Twisted Spoke)
deep-fried bacon in tempura batter with ponzu sauce for dipping

Fried Pig's Tail (Cellar Door Provisions)
cucumber, yogurt, barbecue sauce
—For breakfast!

Fried Chicken and Churros (Mi Tocaya Antojería)
—Only available on Sundays.

Deep Fried Oreos (Lowcountry)

^ Battered in Rice Krispies.

French Fries and Ice Cream (EL Ideas)
potato, leek, vanilla

Vanilla Cajeta Ice Cream (Giant)
strawberry and pecan

^ A play on Good Humor Strawberry Shortcake dessert bars.

Cupcake Pancakes (Southport Grocery and Cafe)
cupcake batter poured on the griddle, served with vanilla butter and local pure maple syrup

Bread Pudding Pancakes (Southport Grocery and Cafe)
pancakes made of gooey bread pudding topped with cinnamon-sugar butter and vanilla anglaise

Duck Egg and Crème Fraîche Semifreddo (Longman and Eagle)
sorrel/basil sponge cake, wild rice brittle, sorbet

Twin Peaks Dinner (Elizabeth)
—[sigh] I'm flagellating myself for not knowing about these, and that I could have attended one whilst in town.

Twigs (Elizabeth)

A twist on bread service, malted "twigs" incorporated their signature foraged ingredients—this actually included a paste made from ants. [source]

Build a Salad (Elizabeth)

"Laura's Diary" had a beautiful presentation, served inside a hollowed out book with beet juice inside a syringe, an edible orchid, and a tiny bag of lemongrass powder meant to simulate cocaine. [source]

Coconut, Clam, Jicama Salad (Elizabeth)

Coffee Ice Cream? (Elizabeth)


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