I was super psyched to try the Grown Up Grilled Cheese sandwich at the Blue Door Farm Stand, despite not knowing whether the Grown Up descriptor referred to me, the eater (wait, am I really an adult?) or to the sandwich itself (does this grilled cheese think it's better than others?).
Lincoln Park, North Side
If you have never been to Indonesia, Rickshaw Republic is ready to share its culinary riches with you through the Rice Table, a family-style feast that samples across the street food-focused menu.
My waitress described the dish as a "cauliflower steak." The big chunk of vegetable is charred on the outside and tender on the inside, topped with toasted red quinoa with chopped pistachios mixed in.
The best time to embrace these sentiments is at weekend brunch, a new addition to the Summer House portfolio. True to form, the Lettuce Entertain You spot puts a sunny stamp on dishes that are sure to transport you to the toasty shores of Santa Monica.
It's solely grab n' go sandwiches at Fuel Station, but the roasted chicken ($8.95) didn't taste like one at all.
Ada Street's brunch tends towards larger plates and more familiar flavors, albeit ones jazzed up with chef Zoe Schor's intrinsic verve for modernity.
Before now, I had never even looked at the torta menu at Taco Joint. Why do that when their tacos are so consistently great? Turns out the tortas are worth checking out.
The second I saw Basil Leaf Cafe offered something with prosciutto ($8.95), I had to order it.
I've never had a bad sandwich from the Bourgeois Pig, and this one beats all the rest from my past. It's the first three ingredients listed for this sandwich that make it great: sun dried tomato pesto, mayonnaise, and crumbled bacon.
My first reaction to the turkey reuben ($10.99) at Frances' Deli is what my reuben dreams are made of, but it's its own thing entirely.
After 13 years in Lincoln Park, TWO's executive chef, Tom Van Lente, recently moved to Logan Square with his wife. But he has nothing but good things to say about his old 'hood though. "We were sad to leave," Van Lente says. "I love Lincoln Park."
My morning craving is almost always a breakfast sandwich. So while several other options at Chez Moi sounded good, many of them lighter, I went with my standby and got the croque madame ($13.50).
Savory was no mistake at this sweets-based bakery, because the turkey panini ($7.49) was one of the better sandwiches I've had in months.
Though I possess an unnatural love of salad bars, I recently eschewed vegetables at R.J. Grunts and kept my eye on the prize: in this case, a menu replete with pretty solid fried offerings.
At Balena, the menu is meant for sharing. It can be nearly impossible to decide what to order when everything looks so delicious, so the more people you're dining with, the better.
It's pretty much asparaguspalooza at the market these days, as it's one of the earlier items to come into season while farmers twiddle their green thumbs waiting for rhubarb, strawberries, and the like.
Check out the small storefront at Elaine's Coffee Call in the Lincoln Hotel for what may be the best PB&J in town.
Karyn's Fresh Corner offers plenty of raw options from a salad bar to raw meatloaf, lasagna and faux sushi.
The Hanger Steak Sandwich at Atlas Brewing Company is topped with a fried egg. When you bite in, the yolk bursts, coating the pieces of meat, which means the dish is basically steak and eggs in sandwich form.
The brunch fare at The Peasantry features a lot of items that don't scream "street food" at first, but subtly incorporate street food inspiration, like a pancake masquerading as a gyro. But since this is still just a restaurant inspired by street food, and not literally an enclave of bedraggled peasants, silverware and manners are suggested.