The Chicago Tribune crew tackles every vendor inside Time Out Market and says “incredible food awaits if you know where to look.” Although it’s “nearly impossible to order a filling dish for under $10,” they believe there are several must-tries worth the Fulton Market/West Loop surcharge. Bill Kim’s caramelized pork dumplings are “sticky, crisped, umami-laced, endorphin-releasing bite[s]” while Kevin Hickey’s Italian beef is “absolutely saturated with a complex beefy flavor.” The $12 carnitas tacos at Dos Urban Cantina might seem overpriced but “like the best carnitas in Chicago, each bite of pork is richly meaty and so luscious.” Similarly, the Purple Pig’s duck prosciutto, pistachio butter, and jelly panino is a “deliriously funky spin” on the classic PB&J. And for dessert, Garrett Popcorn’s famous Chicago Mix “translate[s] gracefully to ice cream form” at Pretty Cool Ice Cream.
Nick Kindelsperger says the pho at Phodega is “competing admirably with the Argyle crew and, most important, crushing the nearby competition.” The Wicker Park restaurant and shop delivers a beef-based bowl that’s “deeply meaty and comforting, but also clean and unfussy.” It comes with meatballs, slices of brisket and rib eye, and thicker cut rice noodles instead of the traditional super thin ones. The menu’s other specialty is Hainan-style chicken rice, starring poached chicken, rice that’s sauteed with chicken fat, and a trio of sauces. When they’re all combined, “every bite alternates between meaty, spicy, fragrant and sweet.” Appetizers include “excellent” Vietnamese-style shrimp egg rolls and chicken skins that arrive “fiercely hot, crunchy and irresistible.” [Tribune]
McKinley Park bakery Butterdough offers “pastries that are as delicious as they are visually stunning” according to Maggie Hennessy. Co-owners Lalo and Uva Leon put out impressive products, such as crown-shaped kouign-amann that sport a “tender, buttery center,” and almond croissants stuffed with almond cream and covered in powdered sugar and crunchy nuts. Among the savory options, a “satisfying” lunch sandwich features chicken breast, lettuce, tomato, cucumbers, and roasted jalapeno-tomato salsa on ciabatta. And to drink, a vegan horchata is “thin yet heady with cinnamon and notes of vanilla.” [Time Out]