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DISH: SAVOR Pork & Mindy's
by Andrew Davis, Windy City Times

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Pork & Mindy's ( 1623 N. Milwaukee Ave.; ) has one of those names that might separate a generation or two.

The name—obvious to those who watched television in the late '70s or early '80s—is a take on Mork & Mindy, a show that starred Robin Williams and Pam Dawber.

However, the menu offerings at the fast-casual Pork & Mindy's are items that most people can relate to. ( Vegans might find it a stretch to dine here—again, check out the name. ) Founder/CEO Kevin Corsello and Executive Chef Jeff Mauro ( yes, the same Food Network figure ) have come up with dishes that incorporate simple items to create some deceptively complex results. ( By the way, the meats are free of hormones and antibiotics, and come from animals raised organically on Midwestern family farms. )

Start with the sandwiches ( called "sangwiches" ... just because ). For me, the buffalo cauliflower was ( despite the sauce ) the least tasteful of the bunch. However, the mix is intriguing on paper: smoked cauliflower, P&M Buffalo Sauce, gorgonzola, lettuce, tomato and buttermild dill ranch on griddled brioche bun.

However, I definitely gravitated toward the Bao to the Pork as well as the Chicago Cheesesteak ( my favorite ). Bao incorporates pork shoulder topped with pickled daikon and carrot, cucumber and jalapeno relish along with Asian plum sauce on a steamed bao bun. The cheesesteak has fried giardiniera ( providing the local touch ) on smoke-braised, hand-pulled beef that's accompanied by smokey cheese sauce and smoked sweet peppers—making for a heavenly culinary concoction.

And "sangwiches" are definitely not the only options—but even the salads have that P&M twist. The "Cuz I Eats Me Spinach" salad ( remember Popeye? ) is topped with goat cheese, pickled red onions, candied pecans, green apple relish—and chopped Pig Candy ( which is basically caramelized bacon ). The spot also has version of tater tots ( which has the wince-inducing name "Totty Bar" )—but the Cheezy Beef Tots and Tot'tines will have you singing its praises. However, items are customizable.

And if THAT isn't enough, there are dessert items called 'Nados that are takes of Dairy Queen Blizzards. Varieties include Holy Cannoli, Turtle and Memphis ( a heady mix of peanut butter, banana and Pig Candy ).

It's all enough to make someone say "Lard, have mercy!"

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