6 Eccentric Food Pairings That Taste Amazing

July 29, 2014 | by Kailley Lindman | Food & Drink News

We’ve searched Chicago’s summer culinary scene for the most unexpectedly awesome pairings, and settled on six distinctly different food couples that deserve a place on your dining bucket list.

Chicken and grilled watermelon from Sepia.

Chicken and watermelon team up at Sepia.

Chicken + Watermelon at Sepia

Poultry and summer fruit are a match made in culinary heaven, as evidenced by Chef Andrew Zimmerman’s elegant chicken entrée served with grilled watermelon, shishito peppers, and robust hoisin jus. Pair the dish with duck fat fried potatoes and your choice off Sepia’s extraordinary wine list for a truly indulgent meal. 123 N. Jefferson St., 312-441-1920

Duck Hearts + Strawberries at Mott St.

Chef Edward Kim’s duck hearts and strawberries concoction makes our hearts flutter and our taste buds perk up. The duck organs are ultra tender, and provide a rich, earthy contrast to the sweetness of the berries, while basil and celery offer an herbal note and a bit of crunch, respectively. 1401 N. Ashland Ave., 773-687-9977

Longman and Eagle's roasted bone marrow.

A carnivore’s dream at Longman & Eagle

Roasted Marrow Bones + Bacon Shallot Jam at Longman & Eagle

This Logan Square hideaway is known for three things: whiskey, inventive, meat-focused fare, and more whiskey. Perhaps the most inventive and meatiest of all is the succulent roasted marrow bones slathered in a sweet and salty bacon shallot jam with Meyer lemon preserves and sourdough toast. 2657 N. Kedzie Ave., 773-276-7110

Goat Empanadas + Grilled Blueberries at Girl & the Goat

You’ll be hard-pressed to find any chef in Chicago who experiments with bold and unusual ingredients as successfully as Stephanie Izard does at her two West Loop restaurants. Our favorite find is her goat empanadas paired with grilled blueberries for a hit of smoky sweetness, miso-harissa aioli for luxurious flavor, and an asparagus salad for a bit of green relief from the otherwise decadent dish. 809 W. Randolph St., 312-492-6262

Pork Loin with Uni Butter at Lula Café.

Lula is the only place in town where you’ll find pork loin coupled up with uni butter. 

Pork Loin + Uni Butter at Lula Café

Thanks to a seasonally driven menu with perennial wow-factor, it’s no surprise that Lula’s surf-and-turf-style pork loin and uni butter pairing made its way onto our list. The sweet, briny notes in the uni (sea urchin) butter complement the earthiness of the locally sourced pork, and potatoes, lovage, and rich lardo round out the inventive dish. 2537 N. Kedzie Blvd., 773-489-9554

Roasted Peaches + Olive Oil Cake at Boka

Stone fruits are at the peak of their season right now, and pastry chef Genie Kwon is putting them to use in a dessert that can only be described as Southern summertime perfection: warm, juicy roasted peaches with pecan ice cream, buttermilk, and olive oil cake for a hint of savory flavor. 1729 N. Halsted St., 312-337-6070

PHOTOGRAPHY COURTESY OF KAILLEY LINDMAN (SEPIA; LONGMAN & EAGLE); LULA CAFÉ 

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