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Friday, June 2, 2017

ILLINOIS ADVENTURES: The Food


I love food, okay? One of the reasons I'm so happy with Noom (yep, that's my weight loss secret) is that it retrains your brain with regards to how you think of eating. So instead of cutting all [insert food here] from your diet, you learn that you can have X amount of [insert food] per day/week as long as you make a habit of eating better things, tracking calories, and exercising.

Both Ginger and I are Nooming, but we stepped off a bit to make a few trips to places I had to hit while I was in Illinois.

Placed like The Melting Pot are, well, everywhere. And I'll never dislike them. But there were a few places I could only hit while I was there (for one reason or another). All of them worth the trip. So...


Giordano's

Okay. In all fairness, Giordano's is all over the place... so it's not like Illinois is the only place I could have gone. But getting it in Illinois is more just sort of What You Do.

So things I learned about Chicago deep dish that I didn't know: it's defined by more than just the fact that the crust is deep. Because of the way it's cooked, the toppings have to be inverted. Which means crust, toppings, cheese, sauce. I'm not a big fan of too much sauce, so I was low-key concerned about what I would think of it.

Ginger and I each got a personal pizza, mine with chicken sausage and black olives. Re: the sauce, no need to worry; it was just sort of vaguely dabbed on and ended up being exactly as much as I prefer on my regular pizzas.

The pizza itself? Amazing. The crust was ridiculously good, the chicken sausage (which I knew was gonna be hit or miss) was just spicy enough with no weird gristle, and boy that cheese was amazing. Even a personal was enough that we were both finishing ours the next day while we watched the end of MST3K.


Sushi +

I have never experienced a sushi conveyor belt before, and Ginger wanted to take me to Sushi +, a popular Japanese restaurant near her, to try it out. The problem?... well, it's popular. So despite two looks in, we couldn't get a seat at the conveyor belt.

For one of the looks in, though, we decided to get ourselves a regular seat and have some food regardless. We both went for at least some sushi -- me going a little adventurous with one of the slightly less spicy specialty rolls -- as well as a bento box. The bento comes with miso soup, salad, the entree, rice, two fried gyoza, and a mango cheese spring roll (which is a bit like crab wonton with fruit).

Big portions, really tasty. The gyoza were delicious. The salad was a bit over-ginger-y, but that was so small compared to the rest.

For dessert, we split a crème brûlée because Ginger had never had it before. Not the sort of thing you expect in a Japanese restaurant. But again? Awesome.

It looks like this is the only Sushi +, so sadly unless you live up around Aurora I can't demand that you get to one.


Kick's Chicken Café

Ginger had been singing the praises of Kick's Chicken for months before I got there. And I'm a fiend for good chicken, so I had no problem hauling out there before I left Illinois.

Kick's looks for all the world like a franchise, but the Naperville location is in fact the only one. Which is a shame because I'd kick a chicken for more right now. Hell, maybe that's where the name comes from.

One of their options is a custom sandwich with grilled or broasted (I had never encountered 'broasted' until then) chicken breast, choice of bread, cheese, veggies, and all sorts of other mess you can pop on top. I got mine on a hoagie, and honestly? It is the best chicken sandwich I have ever had. And it was bigger than advertised -- one of those meals where it's so good, you're angry you're too full to finish it.

The menu is a lot more vast, with pretty much everything you can legally do to a chicken listed. On the one hand, I'd be game for any of it. On the other... dang, I just want another of those sandwiches.


Best of the Illinois food? Toss-up between the pizza and the chicken. I know I'm supposed to say the pizza because Chicago, and it was up there, but seriously.

Hopefully next time I'm there, we can get to the sushi conveyor belt when it isn't swamped.