Chi-town

Traveling and dining in other Arizona cities and beyond
User avatar
BarbaraToombs
Posts: 1471
Joined: 8 years ago
Location: Chandler/Tempe, Arizona

6 years ago

Help! There is SOOOO much information on here that's it's difficult to see what's what in terms of geographical location, and I would love a couple of suggestions for the northwest Chicago area (Evanston/Wilmette), or within easy reach, since I'll be there all next week (although most of the week will be taken up with family activities and meals).

For example: we'll be driving from O'Hare to Evanston right around dinner time anyway, so if there's a great place to go en route for dinner, that would be AWESOME.

We might also be able to escape for a lunch somewhere on Tuesday (maybe even into downtown).

Here's the caveat: my husband is pretty much of a meat-and-potatoes guy (although he does like Chou's and China Magic Noodle House, and I might be able to convince him to spread his wings a little!!).
:roll:

Any ideas?

Does the Chicago version of the Food Nerds forum (help me with the name?) have a geographical map like we do??
User avatar
MyLifeOnVacatio
Posts: 354
Joined: 8 years ago
Location: Mesa, AZ
Contact:

6 years ago

They do!

http://www.lthforum.com/2013/03/gnr/

I used this during my Chicago trip in June. Very handy!
User avatar
BarbaraToombs
Posts: 1471
Joined: 8 years ago
Location: Chandler/Tempe, Arizona

6 years ago

MyLifeOnVacatio wrote:They do!

http://www.lthforum.com/2013/03/gnr/

I used this during my Chicago trip in June. Very handy!
Thanks! I just found it myself!! Awesome.

Looks like Kabul House in Skokie might be a good option en route from O'Hare to Evanston...anyone have an opinion?

And looks like there are a couple of lunch places worth checking out in Evanston (Edzo's Burger Shop and Al's Deli), unless we head downtown for the day.
PHXeater
Moderator
Posts: 598
Joined: 7 years ago

6 years ago

Barbara, no Evanston experience from my time there but depending on exactly where you are it can be really, really easy to jump on the yellow or purple lines to get more into the city. Not sure how much experience you have with the El, or how comfortable your group is with public transport, but I always preferred the El when it was an option. Driving will still be faster outside of rush hour but I always preferred the El to read a book, plan out my eating route for the day :) , or whatever.
User avatar
BarbaraToombs
Posts: 1471
Joined: 8 years ago
Location: Chandler/Tempe, Arizona

6 years ago

PHXeater wrote:Barbara, no Evanston experience from my time there but depending on exactly where you are it can be really, really easy to jump on the yellow or purple lines to get more into the city. Not sure how much experience you have with the El, or how comfortable your group is with public transport, but I always preferred the El when it was an option. Driving will still be faster outside of rush hour but I always preferred the El to read a book, plan out my eating route for the day :) , or whatever.
Thanks, Liz...we did that last time we were there, but I was basically looking for a place for dinner on our way from the airport to the hotel on Monday. We may indeed take the train into the city Tuesday, depending on how we feel... :)
User avatar
Skillet Doux
Posts: 3437
Joined: 8 years ago
Contact:

6 years ago

I don't have any suggestions in Evanston proper, but you're right on the border there, so getting into the city shouldn't be a big deal.

Would kebabs and grilled meats fly? Khan BBQ is on Devon, very close to the Evanston border, and they make absolutely killer Pakistani grilled meats.
khanchickenboti.jpg
Chicken Boti @ Khan BBQ
khanchickenboti.jpg (65.68 KiB) Viewed 6786 times
khanbroastchicken.jpg
Broast Chicken @ Khan BBQ
khanbroastchicken.jpg (74.24 KiB) Viewed 6786 times
Huge skewers over live coals, beautifully seasoned... really, just the best. And there are plenty of vegetable sides as well. It's been a long time since I've been, but from what I hear they don't miss a step.

If you feel like you can sell Thai, I can't recommend Aroy enough. There are a number of posts about it earlier in this thread. It's not too far from Evanston.

Hopleaf is a total crowdpleaser. It's a touch further south, in Andersonville, but still north side and not too far. Think moules and frites and sausages and hearty sandwiches and hundreds (no, really... hundreds) of Belgian beers. It can be a zoo, but it's a lot of fun.

If Cantonese is an easy sell, you can shoot down to Sun Wah BBQ pretty quickly. Great Peking duck, killer Chinese BBQ, and other great stuff.

I'll post a little more later.
Dominic Armato
Dining Critic
Arizona Republic | azcentral.com
User avatar
azhotdish
Posts: 650
Joined: 8 years ago
Location: Phoenix, AZ
Contact:

6 years ago

Skillet Doux wrote:If you feel like you can sell Thai, I can't recommend Aroy enough. There are a number of posts about it earlier in this thread. It's not too far from Evanston.
Unless you don't want to don't want to turn into a complete scrooge for mediocre Thai food...I still dream of that eggplant and shrimp dish and their pork neck salad...not even Lotus of Siam came close to scratching that itch. :x

PHXfn Chicago trip next summer? Let's do it.
---
Joel
@azhotdish
User avatar
Lunchbox
Posts: 1073
Joined: 8 years ago
Location: Gilbert
Contact:

6 years ago

azhotdish wrote:PHXfn Chicago trip next summer? Let's do it.
^ This! OMG let's make this happen.
-- LBX

Instagram: @zachary.garcia

Twitter: @zach_garcia
User avatar
BarbaraToombs
Posts: 1471
Joined: 8 years ago
Location: Chandler/Tempe, Arizona

6 years ago

azhotdish wrote:
Skillet Doux wrote:If you feel like you can sell Thai, I can't recommend Aroy enough. There are a number of posts about it earlier in this thread. It's not too far from Evanston.
Unless you don't want to don't want to turn into a complete scrooge for mediocre Thai food...I still dream of that eggplant and shrimp dish and their pork neck salad...not even Lotus of Siam came close to scratching that itch. :x

PHXfn Chicago trip next summer? Let's do it.
Trust me, if I was on my own, I'd be all over this!

I think I can sell kebabs, but he's even rolling his eyes at THAT. Sigh.

Can someone also give me downtown locations for (1) best Italian beef and (2) pizza??
User avatar
Skillet Doux
Posts: 3437
Joined: 8 years ago
Contact:

6 years ago

Oh!!! O'Hare to Evanston? Go to Smak-Tak. I wrote about it earlier in the thread. It's Chicago, it'll be cold, it's hearty Polish food and hot soups. There are tons of great places, of course, but for an intersection of route, Chicago eats, awesomeness, appeal for meat and potatoes people, and seasonality, you cannot do better than this. For specific dishes, I wrote a bunch here:

Smak-Tak (Skillet Doux)
BarbaraToombs wrote:Can someone also give me downtown locations for (1) best Italian beef...
Oy... this is a tough one with your location. Evanston and the far north is a dead zone for great IB. All of the best places, IMO, are concentrated in the south and the west. Let me think about this a bit...
BarbaraToombs wrote:and (2) pizza??
What type are you shooting for? Let me first say that I don't recommend doing anything Neapolitan or wood-fired. There are great spots for that, but you can get it here. If you're looking for Chicagop pizza, there are a two primary types. First there's deep dish, which I almost hesitate to call pizza. I love it. I grew up with it. I'm not sure I can defend it. And it's definitely a love it or hate it kind of thing. But I think Lou Malnati's is the way to go, and that's easy... they're all over the city. Though you're actually pretty close to the original location in Lincolnwood, so consider that. Then you've got what some of us call tavern-style, which is the thin, cracker crust, heavy cheese, sweet tomato sauce, square-cut beast. This is way more representative of Chicago pizza than deep dish (reputation notwithstanding), but I'm really not up on what spots are good nowadays. Maybe somebody else could chime in?
Dominic Armato
Dining Critic
Arizona Republic | azcentral.com
User avatar
Mike Z
Posts: 494
Joined: 8 years ago
Location: Central Tempe

6 years ago

My favorite deep dish is Gino's East. Downtown they're at the corner of Ontario and Wells.
Cornbread crust, a spicy sauce, and get the sausage patty, which is one giant whole sausage patty that covers the whole pizza. Built upside down with cheese on the bottom, meat in the middle, and sauce on top

http://www.ginoseast.com
User avatar
Skillet Doux
Posts: 3437
Joined: 8 years ago
Contact:

6 years ago

Mike Z wrote:My favorite deep dish is Gino's East. Downtown they're at the corner of Ontario and Wells.
Cornbread crust, a spicy sauce, and get the sausage patty, which is one giant whole sausage patty that covers the whole pizza.
Ha! I was JUST telling azhotdish and Mike Todd about the Gino's sausage patty this afternoon! That's the one I grew up on. It's where we used to go until they razed the old location on Superior by the lake. That building was such a loss, and the new Gino's East they built in its place was such commercial tourist bullshit that we got mad and switched to Malnati's. Hang on, I'm sure I have... yup, here we go:
ginos.jpg
Sausage (Patty) Deep Dish Pizza from Gino's East
ginos.jpg (50.34 KiB) Viewed 6676 times
This being a carryout pizza rather than in-house, but there it is... the sausage patty in all its glory.

It's still good, but I'm of the opinion that it isn't what it was since the Edwardo's group took over. God, Edwardo's sucks.
Dominic Armato
Dining Critic
Arizona Republic | azcentral.com
PHXeater
Moderator
Posts: 598
Joined: 7 years ago

6 years ago

Asking people what their favorite deep dish is will never come close to getting a consensus, and you'll get some strong opinions as well. Gino's is actually my least favorite of the big deep dish names, I find the cornmeal crust bland, and the location off of Michigan ave is so corporate and feels like such a sell out. Of the big names Giordano's, which is technically stuffed pizza, was my favorite.

My absolute favorite was a place called Pequod's in Lincoln Park. A deep dish aficionado once told me its not "real" deep dish but it is served in a deep dish and has this amazing caramelized crust so whether it's "real" or not doesn't matter much to me :). It may not be in the right area for you but figured I should get it mentioned here.
PHXeater
Moderator
Posts: 598
Joined: 7 years ago

6 years ago

This probably won't help you for Italian Beef but when I worked in the Loop I used to go to a place called U.B. Dogs minimum once a week and get their IB and crinkle fries. By the time I got back to my desk with the bag everything was so perfectly greasy and amazing. I would eat the entire meal with a large Coke and then sit in a stupor the rest of the afternoon at my desk and think about how much it sucked that I had a job selling copiers.

The reason I say this probably won't help you is because it's in the Loop and surrounded by office buildings so I doubt you'll be heading down to that area. But if you end up at Merchandise Mart it's a quick hop across the river, only open on weekdays. The owner is the nicest guy and I really, really miss that place :cry:
User avatar
Mike Z
Posts: 494
Joined: 8 years ago
Location: Central Tempe

6 years ago

Incidentally, the AJ's in Chandler has frozen Gino's. Usually $10 for a 2lb pizza. Pricey for a frozen pie, but better than any frozen pizza I've had. The Home Run Inn frozen pizza's are pretty darn good too, especially the sausage . . . haven't seen them in AZ anywhere though :(
User avatar
GoBlue18
Posts: 84
Joined: 7 years ago
Location: Chandler

6 years ago

Mike - I think I've seen them at Sprouts before. Don't know what types though.
User avatar
BarbaraToombs
Posts: 1471
Joined: 8 years ago
Location: Chandler/Tempe, Arizona

6 years ago

PHXeater wrote:By the time I got back to my desk with the bag everything was so perfectly greasy and amazing. I would eat the entire meal with a large Coke and then sit in a stupor the rest of the afternoon at my desk and think about how much it sucked that I had a job selling copiers.
This literally made me laugh out loud, PHXeater!!

Thanks all for the recommendations!! Think we're gonna do Skillet Doux's suggestion of Smak-Tak Polish food for dinner Monday.

As for pizza, I'm a thin crust girl (although I've had some memorable deep dish pizzas in Chicago over the years!). I just like more of a balance of filling to crust, and those deep dish pizzas can be pretty overwhelming (in more ways than one!).

Will report back!
markh
Posts: 3
Joined: 8 years ago
Location: LTH-Land

6 years ago

BarbaraToombs wrote:As for pizza, I'm a thin crust girl (although I've had some memorable deep dish pizzas in Chicago over the years!). I just like more of a balance of filling to crust, and those deep dish pizzas can be pretty overwhelming (in more ways than one!).
For thin crust pizza reasonably close to where you're staying, try Barnaby's in Northbrook. Note: Barnaby's has multiple locations, only go to the one in Northbrook!

The above is good, but the best "tavern-style" pizza is located almost exclusively south and southwest of downtown Chicago, mainly in the suburbs. The best? Tough call, but Vito & Nick's, Doreen's, and Sanfratello's are all great.
User avatar
Skillet Doux
Posts: 3437
Joined: 8 years ago
Contact:

6 years ago

Y'know, it's been a looooooooong time since I had Barnaby's, but yeah, I have really fond memories of their pizza... that dense, pinched crust, abundance of cornmeal on the underside, browned cheese on top... it's not a typical textbook tavern-style, but I remember it being really, really good.
Dominic Armato
Dining Critic
Arizona Republic | azcentral.com
User avatar
ScottofStrand
Posts: 624
Joined: 8 years ago
Location: Mesa, AZ

6 years ago

My favorite thin crust pizza growing up was at Bill's Pub in Mundelein. Also not sure if that's close to where you'll be, but probably a bit of a hike. Still think back fondly at the dark lit interior, stuffed animal heads all over the walls, and floors 2" thick in discarded peanut shells. Nice crispy thin crust and sweet tomato sauce.
Post Reply