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Blog Tue Sep 16 2008

Serious Eats' Chicago City Guide Debuts

cityguide-chicago.pngSerious Eats' City Guide to Chicago debuted last Friday, and stirred up a little controversy in the comments and elsewhere.

Written by Good Eats contributor and food-writer-about-town Michael Nagrant, it's a very solid overview of some of the best places to go in a variety of categories, from best Chicago-style pizza to best burger to best late-night eats. For the most part, I agree with Nagrant's choices -- in as much as one can choose one or two places for each of these categories in a city as large and diverse as Chicago. My disagreements were fairly small: I'm not a fan of Hot Doug's Chicago dog (his choice for city's best) -- it's average, and seems a little underweight to me. Put me down for U Lucky Dog (aka the original Fluky's). And Nagrant's pick of Aria Bar for sushi was puzzling. Katsu has to be the best for formal sushi, and if it's really about the chef, my money is on "Sushi Mike" Ham at Tanoshii.

On publication, the guide glaringly neglected to mention Italian beef. It's an iconic dish in Chicago, one that tourists and locals alike single out as one of the city's great culinary contributions. The omission has since been rectified, and I wholly endorse the choices of Al's #1, Chickie's and Johnnie's.

MenuPages Blog puts the Serious Eats guide up head to head against to the list created by Sky Full of Bacon's Michael Gebert a couple weeks ago, when Ed Levine announced the series. Plenty of overlap, and between the two and LTH Forum's Great Neighborhood Restaurant Awards (nominations for this year's awards just opened, by the way), you'll have enough places to try to keep you happy for months.

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Brad / September 16, 2008 8:52 PM

Other than the Italian beef omission the most astonishing thing for me is that he picked a dim sum as Chicago's best brunch?

Andrew / September 16, 2008 11:19 PM

Eh, I don't fault him for that, but it was a category that probably could have stood more than one suggestion. People's taste in brunch really does vary: some people want sweet, others savory. Dim sum tends to the savory, so a sweet pick would have been nice.

Brad, which brunch place would you recommend?

The_R / September 17, 2008 9:34 AM

-I was a little baffled by dim sum being the best brunch (just like the commenter on your post). That really closes out more traditional places like Lula, M. Henry or Over Easy (it seems like SE went for the lesser-known joints)

-Pasticceria Natalina is not the best bakery in the city--even for Italian pastry, IMHO. Maybe my tastes are too low-brow, but places like Dinkel's, Sweet Mandy B's or Swedish Bakery are stronger than PN.

-Hot Doug gets so applauded, but you know, I don't swoon over the duck fat fries or thuringers; I think the best hot dog award should be left to the old schoolers (Gold Coast Dog, etc.)

Brad / September 20, 2008 9:43 PM

I suppose I'm a bit traditional in my brunch tastes but I prefer places the like the bongo room, pannenkoeken, and under the radar spots with interesting offerings like coobah on southport...

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Feature Thu Dec 31 2015

The State of Food Writing

By Brandy Gonsoulin

In 2009, food blogging, social media and Yelp were gaining popularity, and America's revered gastronomic magazine Gourmet shuttered after 68 years in business. Former Cook's Illustrated editor-in-chief Chris Kimball followed with an editorial, stating that "The shuttering of Gourmet reminds...
Read this feature »

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