Slideshow: Top 10 Posts of 2011 on Serious Eats Chicago

14 Fried Chicken Places We Love
14 Fried Chicken Places We Love
Fried chicken. Just those two words alone induce images of mouth-watering, crispy, salty, juicy, and piping-hot pieces of poultry. And sure, when you think of Chicago, you don't always think of fried chicken right off the bat. But our city has dozens of fantastic places that put out really terrific examples that you'll be dreaming about for days to come.

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The Alternatives to Hot Doug's: Where to Eat in Avondale When Everyone's Favorite Hot Dog Stand Is C
The Alternatives to Hot Doug's: Where to Eat in Avondale When Everyone's Favorite Hot Dog Stand Is C
No matter how careful you are, undoubtedly you will go to Hot Doug's only to find it closed. It will break your heart. It has broken mine. But the best thing to do is pay your respects for a few seconds and move on. Hot Doug's is a treasure, and whatever Mr. Sohn needs to do to keep his sanity, he should be able to do it. Luckily, there are alternatives.

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The Best Ramen in Chicago
The Best Ramen in Chicago
Even though we were filled with enthusiasm, we were surprised at the number of quality places. Some had definite room for improvement, but there certainly hasn't been a better time to eat ramen in Chicago than right now.

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Sausage City: Presenting the Natural Casing Hot Dog Map
Sausage City: Presenting the Natural Casing Hot Dog Map
But other than looks, what's so special about natural casings? A good hot dog is about "snap" when you bite into it, a pleasing resistance to the teeth that gives way to juiciness and flavor (and helps hold that flavor in during cooking).

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The Billy Goat's Bun Problem: Would Another Bun Work Better Than the Kaiser Roll?
The Billy Goat's Bun Problem: Would Another Bun Work Better Than the Kaiser Roll?
The biggest problem I have with the Billy Goat is its bun. Instead of a normal soft bun, the joint uses a Kaiser roll. It's huge, which may explain why you are coerced (in a comical way) by the employees into ordering a double with cheese. But what if I just swapped in a new bun?

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The Magnificent Mile Survival Guide: Where to Eat Along Michigan Avenue
The Magnificent Mile Survival Guide: Where to Eat Along Michigan Avenue
Some of the best restaurants on this strip are either underground, way above ground, or slightly hidden behind storefronts. Search them out and you'll find food not only good enough to sustain you for more shopping, but also destination-worthy meals that are worth a detour.

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The Best Of Standing Room Only
The Best Of Standing Room Only
Back in 2009, I set out on a simple quest to find the best places to eat in Chicago while standing up. It wasn't hard. Chicagoans have a strange infatuation with stands, a connection that goes back at least to 1893, when Emil Reichel and Sam Ladany helped popularize the hot dog at the World's Columbian Exposition. (The two would later go on to found Vienna Beef.)

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The Corn Tortillas of Chicago: How Many Brands Are Available?
The Corn Tortillas of Chicago: How Many Brands Are Available?
Unlike many other foodstuffs, corn tortillas don't travel well, and for the most part they need to be eaten on the same day they are made or else they turn into those brittle old ones. And apparently Chicago is awesome at making tortillas.

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