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[Photograph: Amy Cavanaugh]

Along with Thai curry and mac and cheese, grilled cheese is one of those foods that I think I make better at home. I use smoked cheeses, blues that melt into thick slices of bread, truffle oil, tomatoes if they're in season. But I'm eating down the fridge right now before a trip and a grilled cheese craving struck without the necessary ingredients to take care of it at home.

I headed to Cheesie's Pub & Grub in Lakeview, which has recently doubled in size and includes a full bar and a menu of grilled cheeses, pizzas, and other bar food. I ordered The Popper ($6.95), which features sturdy sourdough with a perfect bronzing on top. It's stuffed with cheddar, cream cheese, emerald shards of jalapenos, and crisp slivers of bacon. Served with a chipotle aioli on the side for dipping, the sandwich is clearly an indulgence. I wish the peppers still had their seeds, because I didn't get much spice overall, but the smoke from the bacon and the smoothness of the cream cheese worked well together.

Cheesie's Pub & Grub

958 West Belmont Avenue, Chicago, IL 60657 (map)
773-388-1574
cheesieschicago.com/

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