Editor's Note: We've been talking a lot about tourists recently, even dishing out our go-to picks for out of town guests. So when Liz Bomze, a fellow Serious Eats writer from around Boston, reached out to me about visiting Chicago, I couldn't wait to see the places she had on her itinerary. After seeing the list, I realized that she'd have more than enough food to try. Sure, there are always more places, but this is a great place to start for any Chicago visitor.
I love vacations where I have no agenda other than seeing what a city has to offer for food. That's how I spent last week in Chicago—waking up each day with a list of places I wanted to hit and casually making my way around town, taking in requisite Chicagoland sites like Wrigley, The Art Institute, Cloud Gate (the bean mirror sculpture) at Millenium Park, and Lake Shore Drive en route between feeding stops.
Have to say, the city lived up to the food hype I'd heard so much about. There wasn't a dud bite over the 5-day stretch, from the stunning hibiscus-lemongrass agua fresca at XOCO to the harissa and prune pork pate at Publican Quality Meats to the dreamy pies I ate (for breakfast!) at Bang Bang Pie Shop and Hoosier Mama Pie Company. This town knows how to eat, and I can't wait to go back and do it all over again. In the meantime, I'll be reminiscing over these photos.
- Hoosier Sugar Cream Pie at Hoosier Mama Pie Company
- Biscuit with Jam and Butter at Bang Bang Pie Shop
- Chocolate Cloud Pie at Bang Bang Pie Shop
- Pad Prik Khing Crispy Pork at Andy's Thai Kitchen
- Kao Soy at Andy's Thai Kitchen
- Hibiscus-Lemongrass Agua Fresca at Xoco
- Ahogada Torta at Xoco
- Classic Bean-to-Cup Chocolate at Xoco
- Chorizo-Stuffed Medjool Dates at Avec
- Barbequed Octopus at Avec
- Sauteed Green Beans at Girl and the Goat
- Goat Empanadas at Girl and the Goat
- Wood-Fired Chicken at Girl and the Goat
- Pan Pizza at Pequod's Pizza
- Butcher's Cold Charcuterie Plate at Publican Quality Meats
- Homemade Yogurt, Jam, and Sour Cherry Pastry at Floriole Bakery
About the author: Liz Bomze lives in Brookline, MA, and works as the Senior Features Editor for Cook's Illustrated Magazine. In her free time, she freelances regularly for the Boston Globe, Boston Magazine, the Improper Bostonian, and Martha's Vineyard Magazine; practices bread-baking and canning; takes photos; reads; and watches baseball. Top 5 foods: fresh noodles, gravlax, sour cherry pie, burrata, ma po tofu.
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