Archive for the ‘chicago’ Tag

No Buttermilk Biscuits Here   Leave a comment

crisp interior

One of my middle son’s favorite foods is fried chicken; I’ve jumped on that band wagon with him. It started with my introduction to Bouchon’s buttermilk rendition. It soon evolved to include waffles. But, for now, I’ll stick to the hens.

When Food and Wine magazine listed the best places in the country to find the crispy comfort food it was like finding a treasure map. The timing was perfect as I was making a trip to Chicago, which boasts three of the 33 on the list. We only had time to try one: Crisp.

crisp chicken

When we wandered into the small, unimpressive order-at-the-counter eatery I was surprised. The preparation here is not what’s served with mashed potatoes and peas. This was Korean fried chicken, which sent my taste buds in a completely different direction than they’d traveled before.

First, diners choose between wings or boneless strips. Then there’s a choice of sauces. These range from plain, slightly sweet, a smoky spicy and a Buffalo spicy. I went with the sweet. Honey, ginger, garlic and soy were the obvious flavors coating crispy pieces of chicken that had been flash-fried twice. They were sticky, thanks to the honey, but not at all greasy.

crisp chickens

Crisp also serve sandwiches, Buddha bowls and Korean burritos. Sides include brown rice, onion rings, greens, kimchee (sic) and shoestring potatoes.

I have my go-to places for traditional fried chicken. Nonetheless, I don’t mind continuing the quest for perfect poultry, especially when I find such different spins like Crisp’s.

crisp inside

Four Plates
2910 N. Broadway
Chicago, Ill.


Inverted Pizza   Leave a comment


Upside Down Pizza doesn’t sound nearly as appetizing as Chicago Stuffed Pizza, although it actually is topsy turvy. Except for the crust, everything is out of place: cheese is first covered by the generous toppings, which are underneath the rich tomato sauce – and it’s all a couple inches thick. The place for stuffed pizza in Chicago is Giordano’s. More than a dozen Giordanos grace the city, and numerous others are in the suburbs, but this does not have the feel of a pizza chain.

A recent trip passing through the Windy City’s downtown included just enough time to dine at Giordano’s – keep in mind it’s not a place to grab a quick bite; plan on 35 minutes from the time the order is placed to when the heavyset pizza arrives at your table. The waiters were consistent in their time estimate. And, they were pretty accurate. It’s worth the wait.


Deep dish is a more apt description of the pizza at Giordano’s. Toppings, or fillings if you want to be more accurate, include the standards – pepperoni, sausage, pineapple – but also offer some creative options – broccoli, artichokes, pesto chicken. Our visit was on a Friday, during Lent, so we ordered a pie with green peppers and mushrooms.

Besides its very bulk, one of the most impressive features of the pizza is the buttery crust: it’s flakey! And, given the weight it carries, it doesn’t lose its texture. Although thin crust is a menu option, it only raises the question: why?


Four Plates
815 W. Van Buren
Chicago, Ill.