April 25, 2015

Chicago Eats

I spent a couple days in Chicago last week. Somehow, it was my first visit to the windy city. I was busy with work, but found some time to sneak in some good eats. Grabbed a stool at the bar for a quick bite and beer at Avec. At 4:30 on a random Saturday afternoon the place was already packed with hipsters, which tells you something, I suppose. The charred octopus dish picture above was a great bite with white beans, persimmon, and preserved lemon. Wish I more time to explore the menu at Avec, it all looked good.
The Au Cheval cheeseburger. Au Cheval, an old school-ish diner with a nod to simple, French bistro cooking, is one of the new "it" places in Chicago. I was probably 50th in the line that formed 30 minutes before they opened at 11:00 Saturday morning, and I waited another 45 minutes for a stool at the bar. It was mostly worth it. The cheeseburger Au Cheval was recently picked by Bill Addison as one of the top burgers in the country, and a couple years ago, Bon Appetite named it the country's best. Who am I to argue?
When someone asks if you want a fried egg on your cheeseburger, the correct answer is "yes."
Cranking out cheeseburgers on the crowded line along the galley kitchen at Au Cheval as seen from a stool at the bar.
Spicy huevos rancheros at Dove's Luncheonette. Dove's is another of Chicago's hot places. For good reason. Another 30 minute wait on Sunday morning for a seat at the crowded counter. Dove's is another place at which I had more time to work through menu. The chicken-fried chicken looked amazing, I just didn't feel like a huge plate of fried chicken at 10am. No pictures, but I also had a great meal at Publican the last night in town. It over-delivered, with a strong charcuterie game, great local beers, and a wine list with many interesting choices. Feeling the need for another trip to Chicago soon as my list of places to try was long and my time short. Maybe next time...

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