Michigan Avenue Editor-in-Chief and roving foodie J.P. Anderson dishes on his latest food and drink raves.
The Duck Fat Dog at The Duck Inn.
Living in the far north reaches of Rogers Park, I don’t get to Bridgeport or Pilsen every day—but with the crazy amount of buzz the area is generating from the city’s culinary crowd, I’ve found myself hanging out there more and more. The district is a prime target for a foodie crawl—which is exactly what I recently did, dining and drinking my way through three of the area’s hottest spots. Here’s some of the deliciousness I discovered.
Four Seasons veteran Kevin Hickey has proven himself a master of elevated bar food, first at Bottlefork (hello, lobster roll with crispy oysters) and now at his award-winning Bridgeport neighborhood tavern. The crowd is a happy, all-ages mix of hipster and neighborhood regulars, and the incredible Duck Fat Dog—done Chicago-style, natch, and served with an addictive instant pickle—may be the best in town. 2701 S. Eleanor St., 312-724-8811
OK, I admit that the crawl from Duck Inn to Punch House is actually more of a schlep—but it sure was a great way to work off that hot dog, and work up a thirst for this basement bar’s picture-perfect punches. Must try: Space Juice for Jered, a not-too-sweet mix of tequila, grapefruit, lime, bitters, black pepper, sparkling wine, and sage. 1227 W. 18th St., 312-526-3851
A hop, skip, and a jump to the east, Dia de los Tamales is doing for the humble Mexican dish what Hot Doug’s did for sausage, upping the ante with unexpected flavors and a healthy dash of whimsy—think roasted pepper goat cheese, Mediterranean chicken, and Chicago beef with provolone, au jus, and house-made giardiniera, all perfect with a splash of one of the house-made Unco Keef’s hot sauces and a beer or two (BYOB!) on the restaurant’s roomy side patio. The best offering of the bunch? Moist, tender Cuban-style slow-roasted pork, the perfect filling for executive chef Keith Carlson’s expertly made masa. 939 W. 18th St., 312-496-3057