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The Slow Food Guide to Chicago: Restaurants, Markets, Bars Paperback – September 15, 2004
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From Publishers Weekly
Think "Chicago food" and the first things that come to mind might be fattening, greasy dishes: deep-dish pizza, hot dogs and sausages. But, according to slow foodies Gibson and Lowndes, Chicago is also home to a lush "food landscape" thats keen on sustainable agriculture and local food traditions, a place with culinary artisans "who practice their craft in much the same way their parents and grandparents did." To that end, they give the nitty-gritty of the citys best eateries, specialty shops and drinking establishments. There are reviews of the best barbecue joints (places that smoke pork spareribs slowly over fragrant wood), Polish places (go to Halinas Polish Delights for borscht and blintzes that "sing with flavor") and hot dog venues (such as Little Louies in Northbrook, where, if you ask for ketchup on your dog, you "just might get kicked out"). In addition to traditional Chicago food, the authors also discuss Mexican taquerias and haute cuisine meccas, notable dairy and cheese shops, and classic meat markets. Comprehensive, engaging and friendly, this is an indispensable book for visitors and locals.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
"Let this book be your guide."--Alice Waters, Founder and Owner, Chez Panisse Restaurant
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Many famous restaurants far above my budget, such as Charlie Trotter's, are included (especially in the French and American sections), but many (most?) entries focus on affordable options, sit-down or takeout, serving dozens of cuisines in dozens of neighborhoods throughout this vast city. The writers must be well tuned-in to Chicago foodie circles, as the exterior appearance of some recommended places leaves you unsure whether the restaurant still exists, much less prepared for the excellent food about to be served.
On their recent visit to Chicago, two friends and I spent three days basically eating or recuperating from meals at places recommended by this book. We had Costa Rican, Polish, Ukranian, Lithuanian, Indian, Soul Food, German, Cuban, American (diner) and Mexican, all of which were excellent. The indices (by neighborhood and cuisine) and detailed maps make choosing your next target a breeze.
The one drawback we had was that some of the places recommended turned out to no longer exist, despite the book being written the year before. This isn't necessarily the authors' fault (given the lifespan of many restaurants), but do make sure you call ahead first, as some restaurants here are pretty isolated.
Slow Food has the principles of tradition, conviviality, sustainability, as well as an emphasis on homemade foods.
This guide is divided into three parts: Cuisines (African, British, Vegetarian, Scandinavian, Latin American etc.); Special Foods and Nightlife (Wine Bars, Coffe and Tea Houses, Brunch etc.); and Food Shops, Markets and Producers (Farmers' Markets, Fish and Seafood Markets, Ethnic and Specialty Food Markets etc.). Each description includes the types of meals found at each location, the atmosphere, address, telephone number and average cost for a meal.
There are a few black and white photographs. Most are scenic shots of Chicago, while others are photos of people creating meals at restaurants. This guide seems to be quite helpful and useful despite my not being able to actually go to Chicago and try the book out personally. Though having said that, I will have to say, it is definitely much more detailed than the Zagat books.
Try this little gem out. It is more detailed than Zagats and written by locals! The amount of entries in this book are over 500! There is sure to be some wonderful gems for you to discover on your next trip to Chicago!