When the Chicago French Market opened on the ground floor of the Ogilvie Transportation Center in 2009, I initially had mixed feelings about the project. But it's now hard to think of another place in Chicago where you can find such a wide variety of excellent food options in such a small area.
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These are the eleven bites that stuck out amongst the other 120-odd things we tried over the weekend at Chicago Gourmet. From sandwiches to salads to carbonated fruits (yes, carbonated fruits), here are the bites we'd happily stand in line again for.
I thought I knew all there was to know about the bánh mì, but in the past few years, a number of new places have opened around Chicago hoping to appeal to the sandwich's growing fan base. I decided to sample the scene, to see if there was anything I was missing.
After struggling for years with a sensitive stomach, I was diagnosed as gluten intolerant. Initially I assumed I could never enjoy a traditional restaurant visit again. Fortunately, I was wrong. Very wrong. I'm continually amazed and impressed by the number of Chicago restaurants that cater to food allergies. Here's my list of unexpected spots for gluten-free dining.
A splendid plate of octopus takes some doing. Cook it too long, and it dries out; don't cook it long enough, and octopus can be as forgiving as the sole of a dress shoe. But restaurants are taking an array of thoughtful approaches right now to serving up the cephalopod. Some opt to cook it sous vide, then finish it on the grill to order, leaving the texture pleasantly pliant and the flavor slightly flamed-kissed; others grill it and chill it, allowing octopus's natural chewiness to come through on the plate. Check out the slideshow of eight octopus dishes we love in Chicago.
In addition to the standard cilantro, cucumber, pickled daikon and carrots, and our friend the jalapeño, the Frenchman bánh mi from Saigon Sisters also packs duck confit, pickled mustard seeds, candied kumquat, and rouille. That may sound like a lot for one humble French roll to handle, but it all works.