The weather here in Chicago has been up and down for the majority of the winter. Two weeks ago the temperature reached 60 degrees. For the entire day all I could think about was summer time here in the city and all the wonderful things that come along with that remarkable time of year. Yup! I’m talking about North Avenue beach, running along the lake, the endless amount of street festivals, and last but not least barbecue! The first place that came to mind, as I took a trip done memory lane was Smoque’s BBQ. Smoque BBQ is located at 3800 North Pulaski in a small brick building. Two summers ago a few friends and I set out to find the very best barbecue in the city. We visited about seven barbecue restaurants and even went to Ribfest
searching for that perfect BBQ flavor. We were all very satisfied with many of the barbecue restaurants that we visited, but still felt as if we had yet to find the best in the city. My friend Josh was talking to a co-worker the week following Ribfest and was encouraged to take a trip to Smoque BBQ. Once Josh told me about this place, I knew that going the very next weekend was a must. Once we walked up to the restaurant I noticed a line of people wrapped around the side of the building. Complete shock is the best way to describe my feelings after seeing the long line. We jumped in line to start what seemed like a never-ending wait. During the entire wait, the fantastic aroma that was oozing from the restaurant teased us. About forty minutes later we were finally able to order our food. By this time I was so hungry that everything on the menu was screaming EAT ME! I ended up getting a full slab of St. Louis Style ribs, mac and cheese, and brisket chili. The ribs were very meaty and filled with a tremendous burst of savory flavor, the mac and cheese was baked to perfection with just the right amount of cheese. All of my friends looked to be enjoying their meals just as much as me, which made it that much better. After finishing our meals, each of us agreed that Smoque’s BBQ was by far the best that we’ve had since starting on our quest. You would think that after the amount of barbecue we consumed up to that point that we wouldn’t eat anymore for the rest of the summer. Well think again! We went back the very next weekend. Leave a comment telling us about your experience at Smoque’s.
Why Go: The BBQ is the very best! Employees are friendly.
Recommendations: Try to get there early, get the St. Louis Style Ribs, and its BYOB:)
Growing up there was always this part of me that wish I ‘d been born in the 30’s or 40’s. Looking back on it now, I think it’s safe to say; that the reason for this desire of mine can be contributes to my grandmother. My grandmother loved Nick at Nite! We spent a great deal of time bonding over shows like, I Dream of Jeannie, I Love Lucy, and Bewitched. I was completely fascinated with how simple life seemed during that time period. The world that was parade in the sitcoms that I mentioned, didn’t account for the type of things that were actually going on in the United States when many of those shows were on the air. But as a kid I tried (to no avail) to convince my grandmother that times were so much easier back then. Needless to say, once I started taking history classes it became very clear to me that my grandmother was absolutely correct. However, anytime that the chance arises for me to enjoy movies, music, or stories from the era, I take full advantage of it.
A few months ago my friend decided that celebrating her birthday at Untitled was something that she couldn’t live without doing. Untitled is a Speak easy, so my enter 20’s was tingling inside. Just in case you are wondering what a Speak Easy is, I’ll help you out. During the Prohibition Era there were secret bars setup around the city that sold alcohol, this includes anything from basements to warehouse. From the moment that we walked into Untitled, I was completely amazed by the atmosphere. There was a live band playing music from the 30’s and 40’s, and Charlie Chaplin movies playing on a huge television. The bartenders wore uniforms that you would expect a bartender from that era to wear, which made for an even more exciting experience. The best part about this place is the endless amount of whiskey to choose from. And if you don’t know much about fine whiskey, then the bartenders are very knowledgeable and had no problem answering all of the ridiculous questions that me and my friends asked. The menu features a wide array of small plates, which worked out well for my group. By the end of the night it was clear that Untitled had won all of us over and made one little birthday girl very happy. Have recommendations? Go ahead… Leave a comment
Why Go: Amazing selection of whiskey, great atmosphere, and perfect for dates.
Recommendations: Go on the weekends otherwise it’s more of a restaurant setting, Try the Pork Belly Confit, and the doors are unmarked so try not to miss the place.
Today my friend Felipe and I decided to check out Del Seoul. For the past month Felipe has insisted that we go. According to Felipe, “this place has some of the best shrimp tacos that he’s ever had.” I couldn’t decide if he truly believed that, due in part to the fact that he’s from Miami, and the seafood down there is remarkable! Either way I knew the only way that he would stop talking about it is if I went at least once. People often over emphasize how great things are when they are the first to jump onboard. For example, I find the New MySpace to be extremely cool and have told all my friends about how awesome the new design is. As a result my friends made fun of me and I’m pretty sure I’ve lost a great deal of creditably, when it comes to social media. However, regardless of the negative reactions from friends about MySpace, I still believe it to be a great tool, and will continue to kick and scream until they at least check it out.
Now that I’ve thrown in a plug for the New MySpace, I’ll get back to Del Seoul. Del Seoul is tucked away in Lincoln Park at 2568 North Clark Street. The first thing that stuck out after arriving was the size and feel of the restaurant. At first glance Del Seoul may not seem like the type of place that you would just wonder into and expect a delicious meal, but after entering the restaurant, I quickly realized that it wasn’t at all what I first judged it to be. The cashier was very helpful and didn’t rush me even though it took me about ten minutes to decide on what I came there for in the first place. Shrimp Tacos! The cashier also suggested that I try the fish tacos, and let me just say, when it comes to fish tacos it doesn’t get much better than that. The interior of the restaurant is extremely clean and well put together, very spacious, and the menu was simple, but filled with fantastic options. And just in case you’re wondering about the shrimp tacos, Felipe was dead on! I’ll definitely be making a special trip back to Del Seoul in the very near future. Hope that you enjoy it as much as I did. Have a place that you think we should check out? Leave a comment.
Why Go: Some of the best tacos in the city, and very friendly waiting staff.
Recommendations: Get the Fish Tacos, Shrimp Tacos, or Kalbi beef tacos.