Best Thing I Ever Ate – Chicago Edition

It’s 6:30pm on Thursday and I’m currently staring at a (mostly) blank computer screen willing a blog post to magically come to me. And, right now, in this moment, I’ve seriously got nothing. “I’ve Got Nothing,” is actually the working title of this post.

I wish I had something exciting to share with you. Or, that this week I had done something cool. Or, spent lots of time and thought crafting up some new, fun content, but that just didn’t happen. Moving has sucked the creativity right out of me. My husband and I spent about 4 days straight, packing up our apartment in preparation for the movers on Wednesday morning. We’re currently living a little bit like squatters. There’s an echo in our tiny apartment. We fashioned empty cardboard boxes into tables, we’re sitting very upright on folding chairs you might consider comfortable if you were at a tailgate, and our bedroom now holds one, lonely air mattress.

By coincidence, or maybe luck, I had a hair appointment already scheduled for Wednesday evening, so it was kind of nice to relax a little bit after the “strenuous” task of watching 3 guys carry all of our boxes and heavy furniture down 9 floors and into the moving truck. Have I mentioned that moving is the worst? During my haircut, the question came up, “What’s on your ‘have to do list’ before you leave Chicago?” And, other than spending some quality time with my best friends here, next on that list is eating a lot of food. (Did you feel that? I think we’ve just stumbled upon a direction for this post.) Chicago has some of the best restaurants. For the past five years, they have kept me well-fed and consistently over my goal weight. I’ll miss these memorable meals dearly and dream of them often. So, here it is folks. This is my list of favorite, go-to meals courtesy of this wonderful food city, Chicago.

The Brussels & Kale Salad from Blue Door Farm Stand IMG_7910

And, I usually order it as a combo with a cup of soup. It’s a hearty kale and shredded brussels sprouts salad, with a tahini-maple dressing, topped with almonds, parmesan cheese, and crispy bacon. It’s so good, y’all. It’s one salad that I really crave. My husband and I like to stop here when we want a quick, but quality meal. Blue Door, also in the midst of a move, is closed for a while. I’m sad it probably won’t reopen before we move.

The Burger from Au Cheval (or Small Cheval)Au Cheval1

Clearly, this burger is no joke. Au Cheval serves perfectly cooked patties topped with cheese, very thick bacon and a sunny-side up egg. The wait for a table gets long on the weekends, but it’s well worth it. Definitely one of the best burgers I’ve ever had. (tip: also try the blueberry muffin. It comes warm with a side of chocolate.) And, Au Cheval recently opened Small Cheval, a casual, compact, companion to the original, that serves just the highlights—burgers, fries and shakes.

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The Red Vine from Blaze PizzaIMG_5932

So, technically this is a chain. But, I’ve only had it here, in Chicago, so it counts. Blaze is the Chipotle of Pizza. You walk through a line, selecting toppings and building your perfect pizza. Or, there’s also the option of choosing one of the Blaze speciality creations, like the Red Vine. It’s my go-to order. It’s simple—sauce, cheese, basil and tomatoes. Yet, it’s always just right. When we’re in the mood for pizza that’s somewhere between delivery and gourmet, Blaze is the ideal spot.

The All-Star Breakfast from YolkYolk

Coffee, eggs, bacon, sausage and pancakes. The gang’s all here! I can’t think of a better way to start my weekend. Yolk is right around the corner from our apartment so my husband and I have breakfast there a lot.

The Shaki-Shaki Tuna from Hub 51
shakishaki tuna

Hub51 was the first place my husband and I ever ate in Chicago. And, it’s still one of my favorite restaurants. I get the same thing every time too. I’ve thought about switching it up, but when a dish is as good as Shaki-Shaki Tuna, there’s no need. It’s crispy rice patties topped with sashimi grade tuna tossed in a spicy ginger marinade. I usually order it with a side salad and then cut it into tiny pieces to make it last as long as possible. Plus, it’s just fun to say. (Tip: if you’re still hungry, order a piece of the chocolate pie topped with marshmallows. You’re welcome.)

The Pulled Pork Sandwich & Brisket from Green Street Smoked MeatsIMG_1246

Green Street Smoked Meats is one of the more interesting BBQ places I’ve been to. From the cool decor to the food, everything is a little amped up. Their brisket is the star of this show; it’s juicy and has great flavor. Everything is a la carte, so it’s a great place to share. They also serve a Frito Pie—a hearty brisket chili poured right into a bag of Fritos, topped with cheese and jalapeños. It’s not to be taken lightly.

The Filet Mignon from Bavette’s Bavettes

Bavette’s is my absolute favorite Chicago restaurant. I’m talking, best steak I’ve ever had and probably that’s ever existed. (Although, the mood lighting in Bavette’s doesn’t really allow for the best pictures.) I usually go with the petite duchess cut filet mignon (and not just because I like the name), which is served with roasted tomatoes and a side of béarnaise sauce. My husband and I like to share a side of the elote-style corn (off the cob)—made with chili, cilantro, parmesan and lime. And, because we’re crazy, we usually get the chocolate pie or whiskey ice cream for dessert. I know. It’s a meal I dream about.

The Chicken Biscuit Sandwich from Roost Carolina KitchenIMG_0578

My husband introduced me to Roost. They have a food truck that often stops outside his office. After his rave reviews, we went by their restaurant one weekend. Prepare yourself. It’s a bone-out fried chicken breast seasoned to perfection, surrounded by a perfectly fluffy, buttermilk biscuit, topped to order with slaw, pickles, cheese and chipotle ranch. The sandwich also comes with your choice of side (and seriously the biscuits are so good, I usually get another on the side and take it home for later…or just the car ride home) and peach cobbler (yes, that’s a side too). Also, this is the only place I’ve been to in the city that truly serves sweet tea.

Alright, thanks for sticking with me, friends. I’ll do better next week. Enjoy your weekend—eat something delicious.

See you next Friday! xx, Devon