Tuesday, July 20, 2010

I Heart Chicago

Hog Butcher for the World,

Tool Maker, Stacker of Wheat,
Player with Railroads and the Nation's Freight Handler;
Stormy, husky, brawling,
City of the Big Shoulders:

the opening lines from "Chicago" by Carl Sandburg

I would like to think of myself as a spontaneous person.  You know, they kind of guy with a devil-may-care attitude who throws caution to the wind and listens intently to the ceaseless whispers of his Id.

But, I am not.

So it was a big surprise when I found myself in my car yesterday, headed North to my old stomping grounds:  Chicago.  I love this city, particularly my old neighborhood.

Located on the north side of Chicago, Andersonville was primarily a Swedish neighborhood which experienced a big infestation of the gays in the '90s.  I like to say that it is the Home of Lesbians and Lingonberries.  The residential section features tree lined streets with a variety of homes, brownstones, and walk-ups, and people are always bustling around with their pets in crazy collars and babies strapped in with some stylish, ergonomically designed baby sling.  You can see every walk of life here.

Cutting through this mini-melting pot is Clark Street, home to several boutiques and fantastic restaurants.  All of the businesses are locally owned and, with the exception of a lone Starbucks, there are no chains from Catalpa to Lawrence.  In lieu of recipes, I submit for your viewing pleasure, and my reminiscence, a culinary stroll through Andersonville.

Please hum, "This Used To Be My Playground," quietly to yourself while viewing. 

Jin Ju
Love this place!  Great Korean food...perfect for small bites.

Ann Sather
An Andersonville staple with cinnamon rolls the size of your head!  Perfection!
And, no...that's not Ann at her car.

Taste of Lebanon
Total hole in the wall with the best (and cheapest) falafel evah!

It's been there for years.  Yummy, but for some reason, you have to eat it there...the take out is odd.

Kopi Cafe
Groovy little coffee house with tasty plates and a little boutique with "world gifts". 
Just found out they got a liquor license
...not sure how I feel about that.

Swedish Bakery
With a real live Swedish Chef!  Best pastries ever!

T's Bar and Restaurant
Come for the mixed crowd...stay for the fries with curry mayo!

m henry
Good luck getting a table here on the weekend, because this breakfast place is AMAZING!
Don't miss the Blisscakes or the Black Bean cakes with your choice of eggs...which is what I had for breakfast today.

Martini's the size of fish bowls...proceed with caution.

A great hot dog joint, but don't pass up their Bacon Blue Cheeseburger.

Fab Swedish deli!

Kabobs and dill rice.  'Nuff said.

Until the remodeling, eating here was like entering into a joint on a Jersey strip mall.
Great I-Tal-Ee-Un food and steaks.

In Fine Spirits
Wine shop attached to a restaurant with a cool patio.
I'm eating here tonight!  Will give a full report tomorrow!


  1. AAAAA! I used to live in Andersonville, too! Right on the corner of Ainslie and Hermitage. Loved it. Haven't been there in over five years - so imagine my DELIGHT to see your little pictorial tour of all the places where I used to eat! So great to see. Thank-you! And - yes - Andie's is weird and M. Henry is divine. And, of course, Ann Sather.......

    Thanks, Chef!

  2. Sad that no one can enjoy the amazing hangover curing Mexi-American food of Angels anymore. (tear)

  3. And I ALSO used to live in Andersonville (Winona and Paulina...just steps away from Taste of Heaven when it used to be in that cute little building that is now all soul-less condos). A moment of silence for La Donna (Pumpkin ravioli with balsamic cream sauce) and El Tipico (kickass carne asada and oh-so-friendly suit of armour)...

  4. Adam - Angels is now Frida's Table...with no She-Ra. 'Tis sad indeed.

    Kristin - I used to live on the corner of Paulina and Balmoral. I miss that cute storefront that was Taste of Heave, but at least they are still around. The world is a better place because of their apricot macaroons.