Essential Chef Blogs

Relax, settle in, and eat and drink vicariously with our bloggers.
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Food Truck Tasting

Food trucks at the University of Chicago
BBQ pulled pork sandwich from Soho
Sharon and I continue our search for a great lunchtime meal, this time by visiting food trucks on the University of Chicago campus. Lined up on two adjacent streets -- University Avenue and Ellis Avenue around 58th street -- are about ten food trucks, offering everything from pizza, to tacos, to rice bowls, to classic sandwiches. We decid...
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Milwaukee Avenue Sandwich Tasting

Our Favorite: The Master Blaster at Reno's
Shrimp Po Boy at Analogue
Grilled Cheese at Gaslight Coffee Roaster
Bao to the Pork at Pork and Mindy's
​ Having tasted the classics – the cubano, the croque monsier, the banh mi - Sharon and I decided to see what is happening on the cutting edge of sandwich making. But how to get a handle on such a broad topic? Every neighborhood has a couple of sandwich shops. Our solution – we picked one street in Chicago – Milwaukee Avenue- and visited four shops...
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Samosa Tasting

Samosas at Kamdar Plaza
Uru-Swati samosas
Hema's Kitchen samosas
Rolled out circle, ready to cut in half and make two samosas
Filled samosas, ready for deep frying
Ingredients for home-made samosas from Kamdar Plaza
I love Chicago's many ethnic neighborhoods, where you can drive a half hour from your home and feel like you are in another country. That is how Sharon and I felt as we spent a pleasant afternoon on Devon Avenue, tasting samosas. We were often the only native English speakers at the places we visited.So what is the difference between a samosa and a...
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Empanada Tasting

Tray of empanadas at El Mercado Food Mart
Display of different shapes and their fillings at 5411 Empanadas
Lito's fried empanada
Baked Malbec beef empanada at 5411 Empanada
Fried chicken empanada with chimichurri sauce
Frozen empanada dough
Homemade empanadas
Empanadas are delicious, filled pastry snacks and an essential element of Latin American cuisine.They are either baked or fried.We sampled both types and we always preferred the fried, of course.French fries aren't the #1 vegetable in America for nothing.And the fried may even be more authentic.We were told that fried empanadas were t...
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