Windy City Media Group Frontpage News Home
CELEBRATING 28+ YEARS OF Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transgender NEWS

Search Gay News Articles
Advanced Search
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2014-08-27
Download Issue
  News Index       Archives   About WCMG    Publications    Bars & Clubs     Calendar   Videos   Advertisers    OUT! Guide    Classifieds   AIDS @ 32
 Local | National | World | Politics | Obits | Profiles | Views | Entertainment | Theater | Dance | Music | Film | Art | Books | TV/Gossip
 Travel | History | Marriage | Youth | Trans | Lesbian | Celebrations | Food | Nightlife | Sports | Health | Real Estate | Autos | Pets | Crime

FGG co-president opens up on Gay Games past, present, future FGG co-president opens up on Gay Games past, present, future
Despite significantly fewer participants than either of the past two Gay Games, ...

Browse Gay News Index   Browse Gay News Archives
  Windy City Times    Download PDF Issue

Sugar & Spice: The 10 best things I ate in 2012
by Meghan Streit
2012-12-26

facebook twitter pin it del.icio.us stumble upon digg google +1 reddit email


It's been a good year for Chicago restaurants. We've had dozens of hot new restaurants open with smashing success. Celebrity chefs are cooking up dazzling dishes all over the city. And our old Chicago favorites continue to churn out classics that keep us coming back for more.

I ate many, many mouth-wateringly delicious things in 2012, all in the name of research, of course. As I look back on yet another scrumptious year of dining in Chicago, I'm recapping the best of the best just for you. These are my absolute favorite dishes — the ones I can guarantee the vast majority of you will enjoy as much as I do. Some of them are new loves I just discovered this year, and some of them are old flames I've been enjoying for years. But every single item on this list is irresistible, divine and worth every single calorie. So, next time you're in the mood to indulge and want a sure bet, try one of my handpicked favorites. Happy New Year!

1) Lobster roll at New England Seafood Company ( www.windycitymediagroup.com/lgbt/Sugar-Spice-Raj-Darbar/38563.html ): You don't find a lot of lobster rolls of this caliber in these parts. New England Seafood Company serves the most scrumptious and authentic lobster rolls I've had this side of the Eastern Seaboard. They're served on toasted hot dog buns (just like they should be), and the lobster meat is simply coated in butter in classic Maine style. But I still like to add a dollop of mayo to mine, you know, just to gild the lily.

2) Ceviche at La Ciudad: There's plenty of ceviche to be had at Chicago's many Mexican restaurants, but few places serve it as fresh and delicious as La Ciudad. Big chunks of fresh shrimp and tilapia are bathed in lime and cilantro to create a ceviche to die for. Don't let the Uptown restaurant's plain exterior fool you — this place is a true hidden gem.

3) Nutella Panini at Ombra ( www.windycitymediagroup.com/lgbt/Sugar-Spice-Ombra/37084.html ): Ah, beautiful Ombra. What a lovely addition you make to Andersonville's Clark Street strip. There are dozens and dozens of tasty treats at this Italian small plate beauty, but the most decadent by far is the Nutella Panini. Yep, you read that right. Some culinary wizard came up with the idea to fry Nutella and bananas on crusty Italian bread.

4) The "Stoner" at Jerry's Sandwiches ( www.windycitymediagroup.com/lgbt/Sugar-Spice-Jerrys-Sandwiches/39957.html ): I hope you already took my good advice back in October and paid a visit to our pal Jerry, and I hope you ordered the "Stoner." This delightfully ridiculous grilled cheese sandwich features macaroni and cheese plus smoked Gouda plus applewood bacon — all smooshed between two slices of challah. Yeah, it's stupid good.

5) "Rustica" pizza at Johnny Brown Bag ( www.windycitymediagroup.com/lgbt/SugarSpice-Johnny-Brown-Bag/39806.html ): As a rule, I don't like figs on pizza. Let's be honest, figs are a fruit and who wants fruit on pizza (except for you weirdoes who insist on ordering yours with pineapple)? Well, Johnny Brown Bag made me rethink my fig stance because their "Rustica" pizza incorporates them in such a non-intrusive way. The figs add just a hint if subtle sweetness, leaving room for the Gorgonzola, onions and thin crispy crust to shine.

6) Red velvet cake at Tipsy Cake: Don't wait for a special occasion to try one of the to-die-for cakes from Tipsy Cake (although they're great for birthdays and weddings, too.) I'm partial to the red velvet. I don't know how Naomi Levine and her team do it, but this is cake is mouth-wateringly moist. It is at once fluffy and dense, and makes many other perfectly fine red velvet cakes taste like cardboard. Tipsy Cake's frostings are dangerous. They are so rich and buttery, you might want to just eat them off of a spoon, and you can because the cakes are always served with a thick layer of frosting so there's plenty to spare. The cream cheese frosting is the obvious choice to top Tipsy Cake's outstanding red velvet cake. Once you try this cake, you may find yourself inventing reasons to celebrate.

7) Paneer pakora at Raj Darbar ( www.windycitymediagroup.com/lgbt/Sugar-Spice-Raj-Darbar/38563.html ): My meal last summer at Raj Darbar basically changed my relationship with Indian food — as in, before I hated it and now I love it, at least from this place. Everything that comes out of this Lakeview eatery's tandoori oven is piping hot and packed with flavor. But, my favorite thing on their menu is the paneer pakora, homemade cheese fried in chickpea batter. It's the Indian equivalent of cheese sticks and they it is fabulous.

8) Burrata at City Winery: Oh, how I love this place. I can't wait to tell you all about City Winery in my next column, but I can't wait to talk about the burrata appetizer. For those of you who don't know, burrata is super soft creamy Italian cheese stuffed inside of only slightly firmer fresh mozzarella cheese. On its own, burrata is pretty much one of the best things on the planet, which is why City Winery blew my mind by serving it with the most delectable olive oil-soaked toasted bread I've ever eaten. There are also some tasty marinated tomatoes and fresh basil on the plate, so it's like a make your own Panini bar. I want to eat it everyday.

9) Rajas con Queso sopes at Los Nopales: Every time I go to this Lincoln Square Mexican joint, I briefly consider ordering something other than the sopes, and every time I have the good sense not to. The thick corn tortillas are cooked until almost crisp and then topped with a smear of refried beans, plenty of roasted poblano peppers and a mound of Chihuahua cheese that is baked until it's golden brown. This dish is like a pizza, except spicier and, obviously, Mexican. Every time I order it, everyone at my table wishes they had what I have — which is saying a lot because everything else on the menu is pretty darn good, too.

10) Salted caramel ice cream at Nellcote ( www.windycitymediagroup.com/lgbt/Sugar-Spice-Nellcote/37332.html ): Of all the lovely new restaurants that have graced Chicago's streets this year, this sexy West Loop spot has my vote for best newcomer. The European small plates are inventive without being so experimental you need a chemistry degree to figure out what you're eating. Familiar foods like pasta and risotto are made novel with unexpected ingredients like squid ink and gold leaf bone marrow. There wasn't a bite I didn't savor at Nellcote, but my favorite was the simple salted caramel ice cream I had for dessert. Salted caramel is probably the flavor of 2012, which means there are plenty of ho-hum attempts to incorporate it into menus, but Nellcote's thick and creamy caramel ice cream with the perfect hint of salt is most definitely not one of those.

Do you need some more Sugar & Spice in your life? Follow me on Twitter @SugarAndSpiceMS for inside scoop and commentary on Chicago's dining scene.


facebook twitter pin it del.icio.us stumble upon digg google +1 reddit email




Windy City Media Group does not approve or necessarily
agree with the views posted below.
Please do not post letters to the editor here.
Please also be civil in your dialogue.
If you need to be mean, just know that the longer you
stay on this page, the more you help us.

Dining news: Hamburger Hop chefs; seafood boil 2014-09-02
Cafe Crème: French restaurant charms Wicker Park patrons 2014-08-27
DINING Freshii's Alex Blair on expanding empire 2014-08-26
Dining news: Shaw's Labor Day special; Bar Takito opens 2014-08-26
Sugar & Spice: Little Vietnam 2014-08-20
Dining news: Chicago q specials; Ann Sather's honor 2014-08-19
Chicago's Markley shows what's cooking 2014-08-13
DISH: SAVOR Current; Bistrot Zinc 2014-08-13
All night Flea Market' Aug. 16 2014-08-13
Pastoral marks 10 years 2014-08-13
Dining news: National Sandwich Month; "Grilled" in Chicago 2014-08-12
Sugar & Spice: Yum Cha Dim Sum Parlor 2014-08-05
Dining news: 'Scoula 312' returns; 'Cascabel' is extended 2014-08-05
DISH: Vermilion 2014-08-05
Edgewater business caters to clients' needs 2014-07-30
Dining news: Le Colonial special; Taste of Latin America 2014-07-30
DISH: SAVOR Beatrix; Ombra 2014-07-29
Dining news: RIVA's Bloody Mary bar; restaurant awards 2014-07-23
Sugar & Spice: Taxim 2014-07-23
Modern Asian Kitchen; Terrace on Clark 2014-07-16
Dining news: Ice cream-champagne float; new Ritz chef 2014-07-15
Sugar & Spice: Twisted Spoke 2014-07-08
Dining: Delightful's blueberry offerings; Proud Whopper 2014-07-08
Joe Fish; Porkchop Hyde Park 2014-07-02
Dining news: Chicago chef on A&E show; River Roast opening 2014-07-01
Chicago bartender's honor; mEAT expands to Streeterville 2014-06-24
Sugar & Spice: Laughing Bird 2014-06-24
DISH RESTAURANT PROFILE: Epic 2014-06-24
Dining news: Leghorn Chicken expanding; Pie Hole closing 2014-06-18
Le Colonial; Prost's sausage fest 2014-06-18
Le Colonial 2014-06-11
Sugar & Spice: Packing House 2014-06-11
Michael Jordan's, Nat'l Steak Month; Father's Day items 2014-06-10
Five Worth Finding 2014-06-10
Five Worth Finding 2014-06-04
McCormick & Schmick's, Fiorentino's mark anniversaries 2014-06-03
Atwood Cafe; Bistronomic 2014-06-03
Dining news: The dec, Current open; Troquet closes 2014-05-28
Hoppin' Hots 2014-05-28
Life is 'Sweet' at confectioners expo 2014-05-27





Copyright © 2014 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.

 

 

 



 

Attendees board 'Soul Train' at ALCC event
 
DINING Freshii's Alex Blair on expanding empire
 
Way-out Wizard World: costumes, characters, artists
 
Michael Jackson tribute Aug. 28-30 in Gary, Indiana
 
New Lurie clinic marks $2.5-million gift
 
Windy City Times Current DownloadNightspots Current DownloadQueercast Current Download
Windy City Media Group BlogsJoin Our Email List!Donate Now



  News Index       Archives   About WCMG    Publications    Bars & Clubs     Calendar   Videos   Advertisers    OUT! Guide    Classifieds   AIDS @ 32
 Local | National | World | Politics | Obits | Profiles | Views | Entertainment | Theater | Dance | Music | Film | Art | Books | TV/Gossip
 Travel | History | Marriage | Youth | Trans | Lesbian | Celebrations | Food | Nightlife | Sports | Health | Real Estate | Autos | Pets | Crime



About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Subscriptions      Distribution      Windy City Queercast     
Queercast Archives      Advertising  Rates      Deadlines      Advanced Search     
Press  Releases      Event Photos      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Post an Event      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Blogs      Spotlight  Video      News Videos      Nightspots Videos      Entertainment Videos      Queercast Videos      Comedy Videos     
Classifieds      Real Estate      Place a  Classified     

Windy City Media Group produces Windy City Queercast, & publishes Windy City Times,
The Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community,
Nightspots, Out! Resource Guide, and Identity.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.