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Eat it.

The first time I ate at Girl and the Goat, it was a last-minute decision: I’d finished a work engagement in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, and my friend and I were driving into Chicago where we’d be flying out the next day. “Let’s try to get a table at Girl and the Goat tonight,” my friend said. I’d heard from a few other friends that Girl and the Goat was hands-down their favorite Chicago eatery or at least a must-try while there. I called and was able to get a table after

We obviously didn’t get enough meat stuffed in between bread because after the hot dog and roast beef sandwich at Portillo’s, we made our way over to Eataly and split a prime rib sandwich. Eataly is the Italian food mecca behind the brains of celebrity chef Mario Batali and the former judge from my season of MasterChef, Joe Bastianich. (In fact, the original Eataly location in New York was where our official season finale party was held.) Eataly is a massive food paradise—think a multiple-storied gastronomic mall. There are different

Hot dogs topped with neon green relish, onion, and tomatoes are a Chicago institution, and I tried my first at Portillo’s, a busy fast food-style local joint that serves quick, greasy foods from chili cheese dogs to Italian roast beef sandwiches to cheese fries. On a Saturday during lunchtime, the place was packed, and it took a few minutes for our group to snag a table. There are different lines selling different foods, so luckily, our group was large enough that two of us could save the table, while the

I love a good cocktail, and even though molecular gastronomy is not really my thing, the experience at The Aviary was pretty spectacular…that is, if you’re willing to burn a small hole in your wallet. That’s because drinks at The Aviary ain’t cheap. It is, after all, the cocktail bar akin to Michelin-starred Alinea. This means three things: whimsical fare, excellent service, and hefty price tags. My friends and I came here on a Friday night after our two dinners at Avec and Blackbird. We’d bought tickets a week ahead

Right after our first meal at Avec, we walked a couple of doors down to Blackbird, a one-Michelin star restaurant which, like Avec, had an extensive beverage menu. The ambience here was upscale casual, the crowd lively and boisterous, the music playlist fantastic (at least for my generation). Since this was our second meal, we opted out of the tasting menu ($130; $200 with additional wine pairings) and instead ordered a few dishes to share. What stood out to me the most were the endive salad ($14) and the burnt

Our friends who frequent Chicago said their favorite local restaurant is Avec, a restaurant serving shared plates I’d describe as a conflation of Basque, Mediterranean, and Arabic. Their wine and beverage program is extensive and fantastic—we were recommended some phenomenal beers and port (in fact, it was the first place I’d ever enjoyed port). Avec doesn’t take reservations, so my advice is to go early (we went at 3:30 PM). Since we’d planned on having a second dinner right after Avec, we decided to keep it light. Among some of

My pops loves deep dish pizza. When I was seven or eight, he drove my mama and me for what seemed like a very long car ride to eat at Uno’s Pizzeria. My parents lived in Chicago before I was born. There are pictures in old family albums of my mama standing knee-deep in snow, wrapped in a pink scarf and moss green coat, a small smile etched painfully on her half frozen face. I wonder if it was from their time in Chicago when my pops’s affinity for the

I first heard of this famous food stand 15 years ago when a friend told me her sister brought a halal plate aboard a plane and stunk up the whole cabin. “Why would she choose that?” I said. “Because it’s worth it,” my friend said. I finally tasted The Halal Guys in 2006 when the then-boyfriend-now-hubs and I took a trip to New York. It was after midnight, and we stood in a line about 20 people deep, about half of whom were intoxicated. But whether sober or drunk, I

Good Japanese food is lacking in Midtown Manhattan, so what to do if you’re hit with a sudden craving for ramen or yakitori whilst trekking around the business center of New York City? There are two viable options, and if you’re lucky (or show up right as they open), your wait will be bearable. The first time my cousin took me to Totto Ramen was five years ago. We waited nearly 90 minutes for Saturday lunch, and it was a painful wait because there was really no place nearby to

To all my Houston folks! WHEN: Monday, February 27, at 7 PM WHERE: Ninja Ramen (4219 Washington Ave., Houston, TX 77007) Today in the school news bulletin! Ninja Ramen presents: Julie Rogers of Coltivare and MasterChef season 3 winner Christine Ha team up for a one-night-only special event to raise funds for Chefs Cycle, a 300-mile bike ride in support of the No Kid Hungry campaign whose mission is to end child hunger in America. On the school cafeteria menu: a special “sack lunch” prepared by Christine Ha, and craft

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