Giordano’s
Price: $ – $$
Rating: Meh…. 
Something You Should Know
: There is a 30 minute wait if you order a stuffed pizza.

A reader specifically told me to skip the deep dish pizza because she felt it was overrated, but I have such an affinity for pizza that I couldn’t resist. Sadly, I felt like the coveted deep dish pizza was uninteresting and just a lot more cheese and calories filled with each bite. Looking back, I wish I had tried at least one more pizza place, but after this experience I decided to pursue other foodie endeavors.

Just Indulge
Price: $
Rating: Pretty good!
Yummy concretes and chocolate goodies made in-house. I had the vanilla concrete mixed with caramel and added a toffee bar on top. Yum!

{We made some friends from Florida while waiting in line! Definitely a highlight!}

Hot Doug’s
Price: $
Rating: Don’t miss out!
Something You Should Know: Bring Cash and expect a wait
It’s on Anthony Bourdain’s “13 Places to Eat Before You Die ” article for a reason! I’ve never had a hot dog quite this good and I’ve never seen a hot dog joint with both good ol’ hot dog, bratwurst and sausage combinations as well as gourmet options. I love the personality of the restaurant as well. For instance there is a dog called The Salma Hayek and below its name in parenthesis it says “Formerly the Madonna, the Raquel Welch and the Ann-Margret” with the description simply saying “Mighty Hot!” Hilarious!

Kuma’s Corner
Price: $$
Rating: Pretty good
Something You Should Know: The burgers are bigger than your face, they have a great beer selection and there’s generally a long wait.

The burgers here were pretty good: a generous size, fresh toppings, nicely melted cheese. What disappointed me was the quality of their sides. Jon had their chips and I ordered their fries and they were nothing to write home about, but I understand that the star of the dish is the burger of course. Just thought it was worth mentioning! The customer service was great and considering it’s a heavy metal joint that’s open until 2am, Jon and I can’t say we were too bothered by the music selection or atmosphere.

 

Doughnut Vault 
Price: $$
Rating: My mouth is salivating at the sheer thought of having a DV donut…..
Something You Should Know:  Cash only + They open at 8:30 and close whenever they sell out so don’t dilly dally when making a trip out!

The buttermilk doughnut is $2 and the glaze donuts $3. Easily the most expensive donut you’ve ever paid for, but clearly also worth their price once biting into them. The above photos are of their chocolate glaze, vanilla glaze and pistachio donuts!  And I don’t think the photos do a good job of conveying the size of these donuts. They are huge! In addition to their  donut’s visually pleasing appearance, don’t you just love the way they’ve designed their exterior with the vintage painted menu and blue paint? I couldn’t get enough photos of it!


XOCO
Price: $$
Rating: Pretty good
Something You Should Know: A contemporary Mexican sandwich restaurant started by the renown chef, Rick Bayless.

Jon and I ordered two entrees, but the one above is the one that I think is more than worth raving about! The bread in XOCO’s sandwiches lean towards the crispier (aka kind of cuts your mouth up) side, but when dipped into this spicy flavorful soup, it’s a myriad of flavor, textures and ingredients in each bite. Top it off with their limonade (lime instead of lemon) and you’re golden! Unfortunately I can’t remember exactly what this entrée is called, but after looking at the menu it might be the Ahogada.

Julius Meinl
Price: $$
Rating: Yummy in my tummy
Something You Should Know: It’s a European based restaurant.

Their egg bakes are the bomb and I loved their bread pudding-like French toast. Yums!

Wormhole
Price: $
Rating: Pure Awesomeness
Something You Should Know: Don’t miss out on their delicious macaroons for just a $1!

Humorous, chill, and old school (did you see the NES!) would be the three adjective I’d use to describe the atmosphere of this coffee shop and absolutely delicious would express how much we loved their coffee and macaroons. The Wormhole received great ratings on Yelp and we could clearly see why. It’s located in the artsy district of Wicker Park (shout out Laura!) and it’s completely worth the trip (I shopped at some local thrift stores while Jon was sippin’ on iced coffee).

Big Star
Price: $
Rating: Rocked my world
Something You Should Know: It’s located in Wicker Park and it doesn’t have a sign that says the name of the restaurant, it just has that red and black star.

I mean, it’s clear to see that the place is just cool. It’s even better to know that the food is great too. That pork and pineapple taco, known as the Tacos Al Pastor, above was my absolute favorite. I want ten of those right now! Jon somehow managed to devour the loaded  Sonoran hot dog that had a bacon wrapped dog topped with pinto beans, lime mayo, and the essence of life. Just kidding, but seriously it was difficult even attempting to bite into the hot dog because of its size. The beer battered tilapia taco was also scrumptious!

Bon Bon Vietnamese Sandwiches (aka Banh Mi)
Price: $
Rating: Get in my belly
Something You Should Know: Cash only + Featured as one of Chicago’s top cheap eats!

Okay, down to our final eatery! It was 9:45 at night, I was hankering for one last Chicago treat and Bon Bon happened to be open and down the street from where we were staying. It was meant to be. The above photo is the pic we took when we came back the next morning to eat there one more time since Jon was too full the night before from eating the “heart attack in a hot dog” at Big Star to eat a sandwich (meaning I ate a sandwich by myself…yes, I love food that much). We only had the opportunity to try their ginger chicken and charred pork banh mi but they were both phenomenal and less than $5 each. When you’re eating out so much, it’s nice to have a break on your wallet while not compromising a tasty filling meal. Oh, and the Thai tea and surprisingly their crinkle sweet potato fries were wonderful as well. Be sure to ask for their special Sirachi mayo sauce and say hello to the owner. He’s a sweetheart!

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Here are a few basic foodie tips Jon and I have to offer from our experience in Chicago:

TIP 1: I have recently appreciated Urban Spoon much more than Yelp because the site lists the top 10 Foodie Finds in the area that bloggers and food critics alike are discussing. This is how we discovered both the Donut Vault and Kuma’s Corner.

TIP 2: BRING CASH!  We can’t tell you how many locations were cash only!

TIP 3: Be ready to travel all around the city for good food. It can be kind of time-consuming to figure out which buses and trains you’ll take to get to a certain area, but it’s worth discovering all the different pockets of a city and trying the best local restaurants that you can’t experience at home.

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A HUGE thank you goes out to those of you who were kind enough to share your recommendations with me. It deeply influenced our trip and enhanced our Chicago experience! Thank you, thank you, thank you! I’m still feeling full from the trip (and that was two weeks ago). Gotta love this blogging community!

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