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Restaurant Fri Jun 07 2013
Despite the mass popularity of the vegan and vegetarian food movements, meat is making a mighty comeback. The recent head to tail movement focuses on utilizing the entire animal by consuming the usually-discarded parts of the animal, especially the organs. In fact, with the rise of artisan butcher shops (e.g. Butcher & Larder) and butchery classes (e.g. Red Meat Market), it's become the latest foodie trend.
Unlike the pristinely packaged trays of primal cuts, parts such as the heart and liver are popping up in the kitchens of renowned restaurants and the mouths of adventurous eaters. For instance, Bavette has beef tongue and veal cheeks on the "Odds N' Ends" section of their menu, and the acclaimed Nightwood boasts some enticing sweetbreads and foie gras appetizers.
But for many ethnic communities, inexpensive offal has always played an integral role in their cultural cuisine. Whether it's menudo or bone marrow soup, the head-to-tail philosophy is more of a lifestyle than a trendy movement. These offal dishes aren't expensive or artfully garnished with peashoot puree or celeriac foam--they're delicious, cheap, and hearty. For adventurous Chicago foodies eager to stimulate their taste buds with the less-popular animal parts, try these restaurants:
Tank Noodle: Pork intestines
4953 N. Broadway
Don Pedro Carnita: Cow Brain Tacos
1113 W. 18th St.
Dynamic African Restaurant: Goat Head, Oxtail
1127 W. Thorndale Ave.
La Humita: Guatita (Tripe)
3466 N. Pulaski Rd.
Crazy Pot: Bone Marrow Soup
2002 S. Wentworth Ave.