I’m workin’ on it. Since January, I’ve been on a mission in my own city – Chicago – to eat ethnic. Eighty ethnic meals, in fact. I’m tallying them up here. Check back for progress!
1. Persian (or Irani) -Masoulah – think kebabs, jasmine rice, stewed chicken with walnut-pomegranate sauce.
2. Jewish – My friend Susan whipped up her famous brisket on cold winter’s night – oy vey, it was amazing!
3. Vietnamese – Visited Tank in July for Vietnamese Banh Mi sandwich that nearly made my head explode from the heat, but it was good – as was the watermelon juice!
4. Indian – Hema’s Kitchen on Devon Avenue is a Chicago institution in the “Little India”, and it didn’t disappoint, except with lackluster service.
5. Chinese – Three Happiness in China Town for homemade noodles – sooo good.
6. French – Mon Ami Gabi in Lincoln Park is my fave casual destination for classic, well-executed French bistro food
7. Italian – Fianco on Southport DELIVERS! Finally, a new fine-dining establishment on the strip of bars, pubs and chain food places. Arancini to die for and seared scallops were amazing.
8. Pan-Asian – Sunda in River North for pork bao, sushi, and other Asian-Filipino delights
9. Mexican – Yes, a stop at the Taco & Burrito Palace on Lincoln Ave. does, too, count, for a vegetarian burrito with extra hot sauce. Also the churros I ate from the Mexican stand at the Old Town Folk & Roots Festival counts.
10. Hawaiian – Uh, huh, Hawaiian. What? It’s an ethnic group! Dined at Sola for fresh fish, accented with citrus flavors.
11. Cuban – Wow! Habana Libre on Chicago Ave. in West Town has amazing food and a fun neighborhood ambiance. Try the empanadas adn the ropa veija but leave room for the flan. It sets the bar high.
12. Good Ol’ Amercan – Southport Grocery Cafe never disappoints with its creative take on breakie and lunch. That turkey sandwich on whole wheat with the Gruyere and cranberries? ‘Nuf said.
13. Viennese – Julius Meinl on Southport – a cup of coffee and a shared Sacher torte hits the spot on a cold winter’s day.
14. Spanish – Arco de Cuchilleros on N. Halsted, I love you for those mussels and all your other tapas.
15. Italian/Pizza – Just GO to Union on Chicago Ave. up in Evanston for their Naples-style thin crust pizza and grilled octopus appetizer
16. French – Pastoral on Lake Street in the Loop, for fancy, artisanal take-out sandwiches like pate, braised cippolline onions and Dijon on a baguette.
17. Greek – The Athenium Room on Webster is Charlie’s and my fave Friday night date place for gyros specials, or Greek chicken kebabs. And those seasoned Greek fries dipped in tzatziki.
18. Italian – Quartino on Ontario & State has fun, fun, fun small plates of shareable Italian specialties and a great wine list.
19. Spanish – oooh, I love tapas! Cafe Iberico on State is all renovated, but the food and sangria remain delightful and delicious.
Oh, boy, I have to start getting creative and fast. I only have a few months left – and 69 meals to go. Hello, Open Table.com….