Driving That Train, High on Beignet

People often focus on the downside of drinking, like how it makes some people crash their cars into buildings, or how you feel a kinship with death during the morning hangover. However, inebriation also has its delights. There’s the giddiness and belief in all possibility that grips your brain somewhere after the third libation. Drink is also responsible for the glory of the early morning fourth meal, which, as long as there is any decent measure of grease, sugar, and salt involved, tastes like the greatest thing you have ever eaten. There are whole institutions, the $2 slice joint, dirty water hot dogs, and here in Chicago, Flash Taco, that would not exist without liquor-induced palate goggles. Advertisements

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Doctor, My Eyes

Thomas was a third-grade thug. He was the kid who got paddled by the principal monthly for infractions ranging from taking nips of art class mucilage from Elmer’s rubber orange nipple, to contorting his face grotesquely and eliciting guffaws from fellow classmates behind the teacher’s back.

Love and Bulgogi

Love has done a lot of things for the world, but it has not brought me great bulgogi. That is until now, for Sol’s on Sheridan, a new Korean restaurant in Uptown that serves great red chili-slathered beef, has landed in Chicago as a result of a great love affair.

The Budlong

There aren’t too many iconic foods that have been invented as a form of revenge. But according to legend, that’s exactly how Nashville hot chicken came to be.

Mad Social

“Girls,” “Entourage,” “Sex and the City.” At their core, these shows promote the mythology that groups of very different friends—despite porn-star lovers, terrible jobs and psychiatric disorders—always stick together and make time for weekly cocktails and banter. As we watch, we too dream of meeting our friends at a bar or restaurant where everyone knows our names and we can sing karaoke versions of our favorite Kanye West songs and escape our day jobs over cosmopolitans (or perhaps shots of Malort are more appropriate)

Gus’s World Famous Fried Chicken

Some things don’t get better after the first time. Despite the pornification of food, eating isn’t always like having sex. The first sip of an ice-cold Miller High Life after a long workout or the burst of flavor in my mouth the first time I tried the Black Truffle Explosion at Alinea—those are some tasty first moments I will always relish. After all, the second beer is usually a chore, and while that Alinea dish is still tasty, the surprise and delight I experienced the first time can never be replicated

Fried Chicken at Mini Hut

I’ve eaten a lot of fried chicken in Chicago. I love Au Cheval‘s General Jane’s fried chicken, Crisp’s Seoul Sassy fried chicken and Honey Butter Fried Chicken’s offerings. Harold’s wings “fried hard” and doused in hot sauce have a special place in my lard-coated heart. Most recently, though, one stands above them all. That spot, Mini Hut in Garfield Ridge, serves my favorite fried chicken in Chicago.

Secret Chicken Sandwich

This being the year of the foodie ploy—cronuts, wonuts and so on—I grimaced when I heard about the secret spicy chicken sandwich served on a glazed doughnut at recently opened Do-Rite Donut & Chicken (233 E. Erie St. 312-344-1374) in Streeterville. Just a marketing gimmick, right?

Seoul Sassy

Food writers love to compare delicious food to crack cocaine–I’ve done it at least 50 times myself–but it turns out we had it all wrong. A recent study at Connecticut College demonstrated that lab rats preferred to spend as much time on the side of a maze that awarded them Oreo cookies as they did on the side that awarded them a shot of cocaine or morphine. Furthermore, when the rats ate the Oreos, the cookies activated more neurons in the pleasure center of the brain than the drugs did. Apparently, likening really addictive food to Oreos is the comparison I should have been using.

Chicken Delight

There’s a fried chicken shack in Memphis that I dream about, a place that serves a juicy-to-the-bone bird encased in a crust so crispy the skin flakes and cleaves like flecks of mica when you bite it. It doesn’t hurt that this same shack serves deep-fried pickles flecked with dill, dripping in ranch dressing. A religious experience, to say the least.