Decades later, Arun’s continues to “shine brighter than ever simply by existing and sticking to its guns.” Jeff Ruby visits the Albany Park Thai treasure and finds the food as fine and wonderful as it has always been. The complex spring roll filled with tofu and cucumber wallops with a dab of “slam-bang-spicy” mustard that’s good enough to bathe in. A playful golden fried prawn is supposed to be mixed together with veggies on the plate into a salad, like a painter and his palette creating a “masterpiece.” The bite-size salad of fresh cha plu leaf wrapped goodies bursts with coconut flavor before hitting you with a peanutty, gingery aftershock. “This is Willy Wonka stuff, Thai-style.” [Chicago]
Laura Bianchi checks out a couple of burger joints to see if they can hold up to the competition. At 25 Degrees, she finds the burgers a "crazy mash-up with delightful results.” Special house-made sauces like tarragon remoulade and horseradish cream, add-ons like roasted tomato and jalapeno bacon and 16 artisanal cheeses help create flavorful combinations. The “number one” burger is “balanced and contrasting” with its interplay of add-ons and sauces, and the Mediterranean-inspired “number two” delivers “rustic refinement” from crispy prosciutto, roasted tomato, burrata cheese and pesto.
At Poag Mahone’s, Bianchi says the 8-ounce burgers are juicy with a “pleasant grilled tang.” However, the sauces, dressings and cheeses don’t always meet their flavor quota. The Chicago Stockyards burger is a hit with its “earthy addition” of grilled mushrooms and onions and nutty Swiss cheese. Also a sure bet is the BLT cheeseburger with its smoky bacon and American cheese complimenting the beef flavor, but the veggie burger is “mushy” and “bland,” unable to be saved by a slice of too-mild pepper jack cheese or even some bold chipotle mayo. [Chicago Business]
Over in Itasca, Colombian’s Taste is serving authentic Colombian fare. Jennifer Olvera tries the menu and finds that the chicken empanadas are solid with a house-made aji sauce packing some heat. The pandebono "pops" and the bunuelo is “heavenly.” Another standout is the interactive tostada con todo, a fried disc of plantain accompanied by guacamole, hogao, and fried nubs of pork and stewy, pulled beef. And not to be missed are the papas criollas, fried baby potatoes with a magically golden exterior that melts into a “silky, starchy inside.” [Daily Herald]
Eater Chicago intern Jeffy Mai contributed this article.