My series has traced the general pattern of historic center city core Chinatowns in the United States. In most of these cities, much of the population, and correspondingly the authentic Chinese food, has fled to the suburbs, such as the San Gabriel Valley outside of Los Angeles, or Flushing and Brooklyn in New York. The only real exception to this rule that I’ve discussed so far is Philadelphia, whose Chinatown has gone through an unexpected revival in the past five years, though it has not expanded geographically.
Happily, another exception to this pattern is Chicago Chinatown, which not only is thriving, but also experiencing significant population growth and geographic expansion. Chicago Chinatown’s population increased by 25 percent between 2000 and 2010 and its boundaries are spilling into adjacent neighborhoods. But why is Chicago the great exception as a Chinese culinary center with a growing Chinatown? Especially when contrasted to Los Angeles Chinatown, which has become a hotbed of non-Chinese restaurants, or Manhattan Chinatown, which is gentrifying and losing turf particularly on the Lower East Side, or San Francisco Chinatown, abuzz in rumors of technology industry incursion, or Washington, DC Chinatown, which may be on its last legs? (more…)
Why choose one restaurant for dinner when you could choose dozens? There’s a food hall and farmer’s market renaissance happening around the country, and if you visit any of these locations, you’ll want to make sure you start with an empty stomach.
Filet mignon and roast chicken have their place, but for more adventurous diners, it’s all about the offal.
Chicago is an interesting place. Everyone complains about the weather, but it’s not so much the weather as the people. I mean, if you go to Minneapolis, people go out and enjoy the snow and the cold. If you hit up Madison, you’re likely to be overrun by some obnoxious cross country skiers. That being said, the winter for most Chicagoans means hibernation. The only time most of my friends leave their apartments with the exception of work is to eat out. Then, from some combination of wanting to be warm and not wanting to bring their monster coats to the bar, everyone just heads home after dinner. So, here’s my list of places to hit up for the winter. Most of them have some kind of warm food, warm environment, or they’ll just make you so full that you’d never want to do anything other than go home and sleep after anyways. (more…)
We all know Chicago is famous for deep-dish pizza and hot dogs — but what about its sushi? As sushi’s popularity has skyrocketed, the city has met the demand with some truly noteworthy sushi restaurants. With the help of Gino Williams of Chicago Alphabet Soup and Devin Ruddy of Gears, Beers, and Grub, we compiled a list of Chicago’s hottest sushi spots. Ittadakimasu!
By most standards, the United States is a young nation. But its food history is storied, diverse, and notoriously proud. Different regions lay claim to certain foods — some controversially — for their role in helping shape that area’s identity.
From the Hoosier State’s decadent sugar cream pie and San Francisco’s notoriously sour sourdough bread, to Louisiana crawfish boils and Maine lobster, to Chicago’s legendary deep dish pizza and Italian beef, these iconic foods each convey a strong sense of place. Luckily, you don’t have to buy five plane tickets to sample them. All you need is a hearty appetite and an address. (more…)
Any Chicagoan can see that the closest body of water is not anywhere you’d want to go fishing. My sister and brother-in-law went kayaking down the Chicago River last year and probably saw more dead fish than live ones. All that aside, there are some spots in Chicago that take large measures to serve up solid seafood options year round. Here are my ten favorites. (more…)
Thai food isn’t hard to come by in Chicago — with such an abundance of selections to choose from, your cravings can be fulfilled by a number of different restaurants. But which are the best? Here at Menuism, we made it our mission to find first-rate Thai restaurants that set the standards in quality and service. Applying the knowledge of popular food bloggers, Gino Williams of Chicago Alphabet Soup and Maris Callahan of My Daily Find Chicago, we put together a list of Chicago’s best Thai restaurants. Happy eating!
When it comes to barbecue, Chicago isn’t usually the first city to come to mind. “Chicago Style” barbecue is a questionable mix of techniques often involving a combination of dry rub, sauce, and usually some slow roasting or even boiling of ribs. Plenty of places just choose to incorporate a mix of other popular barbecue styles. Either way, I’ve had a lot of barbecue that doesn’t cut it, so I hope that my list of Chicago’s Best BBQ Spots will save you some time.
Despite the recent rain showers, I think it’s about time I put out my list of favorite outdoor dining options in Chicago. You might have to plan ahead for these guys, and it’s really not all that long until the heat gets to the unbearable point one might expect in late July or early August. That being said, the glory days of Chicago weather are upon us for the next few weeks. Go for a run during the day so that you can gorge yourself by night at some of these great spots.
It’s hard to miss the big sign with the fish just off of Ashland that practically screams EL BARCO! The inside is packed with large parties drinking heavily and making noise. The patio is lively as well, but in a more tolerable quantity. Go for the fried whole red snapper, and you won’t be sorry. (more…)