I started my culinary adventures in Chicago by visiting the famous Uno Pizzeria and Grill aka Unos, which was established in 1943 by Iak Sewell and Pick Riccardo. Unos claims that Iak Sewell created Chicago-style pizza, however a 1956 article from the Chicago Daily states that the original deep-dish pizza recipe was created by chef Rudy Malnati Sr., the father of Lou Malnati. Lou and his wife Jean co-managed Pizzeria Uno in 1950s. How intriguing! They opened their first restaurant Lou Malnati’s Pizzeria in 1971, where they also serve original Chicago-style pizza. What is so special about Chicago-style pizza, you might ask? Copious amounts of cheese and chunky uncooked tomato sauce along with other toppings are baked in a round steel pan similar to a cake or pie dish, hence the name dip dish pizza. Due to the pizza’s prolonged baking time to prevent burning of the cheese and other toppings, the pizza is assembled ‘upside-down’ in the following order: cheese, meats such as pepperoni or sausage, vegetables (optional) such as onions, peppers, and mushrooms and chunky tomato sauce. Besides pizzas Unos’s menu features wide variety of dishes and a full bar.
My pizza choice was Unos’ Numero Uno. The pizza that has it all.
Numero Uno – sausage, pepperoni, onions, peppers, mushrooms, chunky tomato sauce, Mozzarella and Romano.
Magnolia Bakery is a part of the chain bakeries founded in New York City in 1996. Known for its American classic desserts, cupcakes being one of the most popular items on the menu. Their handmade cupcakes became popular after the bakery started using its leftover cake batter to make cupcakes. All their tasty products are made from scratch on premises every day.
Box of Assorted Cupcakes.
Famous American chef and host of a popular PBS television series, Mexico: One Plate at a Time , Rick Bayless, and his wife, Deann Groen Bayless, opened their Mexican eatery, Frontera Grill restaurant, after returning to Chicago from an extended stay in Mexico. From its colorful decor to palate tantalizing dishes and drinks, their restaurant is a reflection of their experiences in Mexico. Frontera Grill’s menu features a delightful selection of authentic Mexican dishes with a modern flare, and their full bar is stocked with an impressive variety of tequila and wines and their beer menu includes beers crafted at the Frontera Brewery.
My evening at the restaurant started at the bar where I enjoyed my beautiful drink in a lively and invigorating atmosphere.
Blue Agave Margarita – Corazon blanco, Cointreau, and fresh lime.
After finishing my drink that, I must say, worked up my appetite, I was seated at a table in a beautifully decorated dining area. My dinner consisted of a series of scrumptious appetizers.
Ceviche Trio: Classic Frontera Ceviche, Shrimp & Scallop Ceviche Verde, and Tropical Tuna Cocktail.
Classic Frontera Ceviche – Hawaiian albacore, lime, tomatoes, olives, cilantro, and green chile.
Shrimp & Scallop Ceviche Verde – creamy, herb-green ceviche of Florida pink shrimp, Baja bay scallops, avocado, cucumber, jicama, serrano chilis, and knob onions.
Tropical Tuna Cocktail – sashimi-grade Hawaiian yellowfin tuna, tomatillo-avocado salsa withgrilled pineapple, and tropical fruit salsa.
Tostaditas – deep-fried tortilla chips.
Veracruz-Style Fresh Corn Tamales – banana leaf-steamed sweet corn tamales, roasted poblanos, homemade crema, and fresh cheese.
Smoked Chicken Tamal – banana leaf-steamed red chile tamal, smoked chicken filling, black bean sauce, crema, and fresco cheese.
Latincity Food Hall and Lounge was another memorable spot I had a very satisfying experience with the Latin American cuisine. Located at the heart of Chicago, Latincity features 8 kitchens, a Mexican restaurant, full bar, coffee shop, and lounge. Founded by the world-renowned Chef Richard Sandoval, it is a space where street food is prepared using both traditional and innovative techniques.
Saladero Latin Grill :
Chorizo Bilbao Skewer – Spanish style chorizo with bell peppers and red onion.
Yuka Con Mojo – fried yuka with roasted garlic and lemon sauce.
Calamari – fried calamari, pickled jalapenos and fresnos, lemon, and smoked chili aoili.
Established in 1898 by a German immigrant, Herman Berghoff. The Berghoff started as a place that served only beer with a side of a free sandwich. As the prohibition set in, Berghoff to keep his business afloat started brewing ‘near beer’ and Berghoff soda pops, and added more items to his food menu. His ingenuity during prohibition era turned his small business into an establishment that offered a wide array of traditional German dishes along with non alcoholic beverages during 14 years of prohibition. Once the prohibition was lifted, The Berghoff was the first business to obtain the city’s liquor licence. The tradition continues to this day, and the licence is issued to the Berghoff first.
The Berghoff establishment consists of three sections: the restaurant, bar, and cafe. Today I will be talking about the restaurant. The restaurant’s menu includes an excellent selection of authentic German dishes along with modern American cuisine, and its alcohol menu offers a great lineup of craft beers and other alcoholic beverages.
Hefeweizen, Hefewizen-Stevens Point, WI – an unfiltered and full-bodied wheat beer with hints of banana, bubblegum, and clove.
Sauerbraten – marinated roasted sirloin of beef, sweet and sour gravy, mélange of vegetables, and whipped potatoes.
Floriole, a french style bakery and cafe is a great place to stop at after a stroll in the nearby Lincoln Park. Sweet and savory pastries, artisan breads, and high quality coffee along with rotating beer and wine selection can all be enjoyed here in a warm and welcoming atmosphere. All their baked goods are made with 100% organic flour and sugar, free range eggs, and Kilgus Farm dairy.
Butter Croissant with a cup of aromatic coffee.
Located on the main street of Chinatown, adjacent to the Chinatown Gates, Triple Crown Restaurant has been serving traditional Cantonese dishes in a family friendly setting since 1996. The restaurant’s menu offers modern Hong Kong cuisine with the emphasis on eclectic seafood. Their dim sum features many tasty bites from all time favorite steamed dumplings to crisp and fluffy deep-fried taro puffs.
Steamed Pork and Shrimp Dumplings (bottom left image) – open-face dumplings filled with ground pork and shrimp.
Fried Coconut Balls – glutinous rice balls filled with sweet bean paste and topped with sesame seeds.
Deep-fried Taro Puffs – shells made from cooked taro filled with seasoned ground pork.
Steamed Shrimp Dumplings – whole shrimp wrapped in translucent rice flour skins.
Sticky Rice – lotus leaf-steamed glutinous rice, pork, chicken, sausage, and mushrooms.
If you happen to be hungry in the middle of the night, Golden Nugget, an all American diner, with its seven location and 24 hour service is there for you. One of Chicagoans’ favorite breakfast spots, Golden Nugget has been serving American classics since 1966. Enjoy their famous buttermilk pancakes, or try their Irish Eggs Benedict for a protein packed meal.
Irish Eggs Benedict – English muffin halves topped with fresh corned beef, sauteed tomatoes, two poached eggs, and hollandaise sauce served with a side of hash-browns.
Home to culturally diverse community, Chicago has so much to offer when it comes to food and drink. On this trip, I have covered only a small fraction of places I wanted to visit. So if you are a foodie, be prepared to to be well fed. Happy travels!