'Illinois' on Serious Eats

Daily Slice: Abigail's American Bistro, Highland Park, Illinois

I went to Abigail's to review their outstanding burger for AHT, but when I saw the menu featured a daily flatbread, I had to expand my order. On the day of my visit, the special went for $12 and was topped with a mixture of red and gold beets, goat cheese, black olives, arugula, a lemon-truffle vinaigrette, and Parmesan. At first glance, I worried the pile of greenery on top of the flatbread would ruin the plate, but the fresh leaves and lightly acidic vinaigrette actually served to balance out a rich, earthy appetizer. More

Chicago Essential: Great Lake

How good is the pizza at Great Lake? If you meet someone who has eaten there and they do not tell you they had one of the best pizza of their lives, you probably don't want to listen to anything that person has to say about food. More

Chicago Essential: Coalfire

Coalfire was an early pebble in the recent avalanche of pizzerias in Chicago that do not fit into the city's traditions of tavern, deep dish, or stuffed pizza. And from the time it opened, the place has remained a favorite for many in town. Across the board, I think Coalfire features some of the best ingredients in town but, unfortunately, that's not enough for me to overlook the flawed crust. More

Chain Reaction: Bennigan's

My first memory of Bennigan's from high school isn't a good one: I ate a greasy fried chicken-topped salad that left me feeling absolutely terrible. After recently returning to review the burger, I left feeling similarly terrible and overwhelmed with grease. More

Chicago Essential: Pizzeria Due

With better deep dish options available in Chicago, the long lines at historic pizza landmarks Uno's and Due's are left largely for tourists to wait in. But Chicagoans who don't take the time to check out the places where deep dish pizza was born are doing themselves a disservice. More

Chicago Essential: Home Run Inn

Home Run Inn may be better known nationally for its frozen pizzas, but for generations of Chicagoans, it's a pizzeria first and foremost, and a popular one at that. In one day, I checked out the original location and a frozen pie. Not surprisingly, the fresh ones were vastly superior, but both versions do the tradition proud. More

Chicago: Cheffy Burgers Done Right at The Florentine

Some chefs at higher end restaurants get a little too fancy with their burgers, obscuring the wonderful simplicity of a ground beef patty. And some chefs simply put out a regular burger made of delicious beef, which is fine but not that inspiring. At The Florentine, executive chef Todd Stein finds an excellent middle ground, offering up a pair of patties that, while pricey, offer slight gourmet twists that make the burgers worth checking out. More

A Sandwich a Day: Cemitas from Cemitas Puebla in Chicago

Cemitas Puebla in the Humboldt Park neighborhood of Chicago is known for their unique cemitas sandwich. You may have seen it on a certain bleach blond, spiky-haired, er, guy's show somewhere? The cemitas are served on a flat sesame-seed bun with avocado, your choice of meat (pictured here is the milanesa, the breaded pork cutlet), adobo chipotle peppers, fresh Oaxacan cheese, and, when in season, papalo, a Mexican herb similar to cilantro. More

Chicago Essential: Gino's East

While the popular history of Gino's East might be a little overblown, there is nothing misleading about this Chicago institution's reputation for making great deep dish pizza. The golden crisp crust is home to a whole lot of mozzarella, a thick and rich tomato sauce, and, in my case, a giant sausage patty. Together, that makes for one soul-satisfying pizza. More

Chicago Essential: Giordano's

Giordano's flagship restaurant might be loaded with tourists, but residents all over the Chicagoland area keep dozens of other locations busy. There's a thin crust on the menu, but there's really no reason to get it when a wonderfully gluttonous pizza is calling out your name. More

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