Feb 182014

Enjoy these highlights from the Macku Signature (2925 North Halstead) prix fixe dinner put together for Valentine’s Day.

Jan 202014

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Fortunately, it’s also one of most affordable dining-out options in the city. City Dough, located at the Wellington Brown Line stop, is an upscale American diner that puts its own twist on this all-important meal.

They bake all of their own pastas, breads, and desserts on-site at City Dough, including their signature breakfast item, doughnuts. I tried two — a cake doughnut and a neon-colored raspberry doughnut. While good, I don’t expect to hear City Dough mentioned as part of the red-hot doughnut scene. They need fancier, gourmet confections.

The Eggs Benedict were a better bet — a text-book preparation with a generous serving of country-style potatoes and Canadian bacon. Too often the eggs are over-done, but City Dough gets it right. Kudos. If you like sweet for breakfast, I recommend the Stuffed Pancakes. I’m not certain what they were stuffed with, but the honey-lemon cream that came on top required no syrup. Delicious.

City Dough defies the grungy diner stereotype by incorporating bright subway tile in the main dining space with warm wooden floors and posts. No vinyl booths in sight! There’s also a full bar in the back that’s a great place to enjoy a craft beer and/or mimosa while you wait for brunch stragglers to join you for a mid-morning start. The easy hop from the Brown Line station at Wellington is nice, too.

The breakfast and lunch menu both ring in at about $15 per person. If you visit for dinner, the price goes up to about $20-$25 per person.

City Dough
2955 N Sheffield Ave
Chicago, IL 60657

Closed on Monday.

Jan 052014
8am Burger | Burger Boss

Enjoy the 8am burger all day long.

Seems like burgers are on every menu these days, and stand alone burger concepts have invaded the city. So how do you stand out in the crowd? Make your burger with 100% Angus beef, serve them with fresh-cut fries, and keep an eye on sustainability while cultivating a local audience.

That’s the idea behind Burger Boss. After opening a successful location in Elmwood Park, owners Anthony and Nick Gambino decided to bring their tasty burgers to Chicago.

How did they do? Let’s break this down….

Southport Boss | Burger Boss

The Southport Boss is a shout-out to the neighborhood.

First of all, the options are nice. All burgers are served with a brioche bun, but you can change them out for pretzel or whole wheat topper. Vegetarians aren’t forgotten and get a choice between Portobellos or black bean burgers. There’s also a burger flavor of the month. If you want to invoke the tropics, go with the Bahn Mi Boss, topped with pickled carrots and radishes, cucumber slices, jalapeno peppers, cilantro, and a sriracha hoisin mayo. Hungry yet?

There’s an option to build your burger your way, or choose from the already fab signature compilations. I zeroed in on the 8am Burger, which comes served with a runny egg, applewood smoked bacon and loads of American cheese. Let’s be honest, this was more than breakfast — it was lunch, dinner and late-night snack on a bun.

My lunch partner picked the Southport Boss, a local shout-out to the neighborhood. It featured bacon, as well as grilled onions and cheddar cheese. Both burgers were fresh, yummy, and completely filling. Dare I say, boss? Yes.

Both the Idaho potato fries and sweet potato fries were cut perfectly, in my mind. Not too thick that they weren’t get crunchy, and not too thin to miss the tender bite of potato. After the fact, I noticed the burger sauces were also available as a dipping sauce for 50 cents. Next time!

Shakes | Burger Boss

Change it up with a seasonal shake or stick with the tried and true.

It may be cold out, but that’s never a reason to forgo a milkshake. Especially a tasty one. Make the tough choice between vanilla, chocolate, and strawberry or hold out for the flavor of the month.

I managed to sneak under the December deadline for the peppermint shake topped with whipped cream, which was quite excellent and will leave me craving another for the next 11 months. Or maybe I’ll treat my taste buds with January’s flav, coconut.

All shakes are topped with real whipped cream, though you can ask them to leave it off. I also liked that the shakes were proportioned nicely. I finished mine along with my burger — a small thing, but notable in an age of outrageously super-sized drinks.

Sustainable | Burger Boss

Built and maintained with an eye to the environment.

Once Southport takes off, expect more Burger Boss locations to pop up around town. I’d like to put in a plug for a Lincoln Square location so I can continue to work on my milkshake addiction and get my 8am burger closer to the implied timeframe. How about it, guys?

Brave the cold and make it to one of their locations:

Burger Boss
3208 N. Southport Ave.
Chicago, IL


7512 W. North Ave.
Elmwood Park, IL

Expect to pay $5 to $15 per person.