Restaurant of The Week: Big Star

IMG_2204When I moved to Chicago two years ago people constantly bombarded me with all things Chicago, as if I would somehow vanish into thin air if I didn’t try Chicago deep-dish pizza. Over time I started to realize that many of the places that had been recommended to me were places that were well known throughout the city, which doesn’t always mean that the food is the best in the city. From past experience I’ve found that it’s places off the beaten path that will surprise you most. After only a few months of living in Chicago I had been up to my neck in places that people recommended, so when a friend told me how amazing Big Star was, I just added it to the long list of “great restaurants that I just have to try.”

IMG_2194Over time I’ve heard more and more people talk about how fantastic Big star is, but for some reason I was still unconvinced. I’ve walked past the restaurant on several occasions and have seen endless amounts of people waiting to order at the walk up window, but still this didn’t convince me that it was worth trying. Anytime that my friends and I go out in the wicker pack area they like to finish off the night with a trip to Big Star. In the past I’ve always made an excuse as to why I wasn’t going to eat, but this time my friend Felipe didn’t let me off the hook. After much deliberation I didn’t decided to try the Taco De Panza (pork belly). I figured that I would have one taco and then never have to deal with my friends pestering me about trying the tacos. But to my surprise the $3 taco was amazing!  Right away my friends could see the look of satisfaction on my face, and they seemed to have the look of “I told you so on their faces”. Rather than waiting around for them to tell me what I figured was just minutes away from coming out of one of their mouth, I decided to head back to the window. This time I ordered two Taco De Pescado (fish taco). Again, with every bite I felt as if I was  tasting a little piece of heaven. Within a few seconds both tacos were gone! I could help feeling like I had been missing out this whole time. I hope that you don’t! Leave a comment telling us what you think about Big Star

Restaurant of the Week: Smoque BBQ

smoque bbq

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

smoque-bbq-02searching 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:)

Restaurant of the week: Del Seoul

IMG_2009Today 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.

IMG_2004Now 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.