- More from Logan Square
Todays post is the first of what will likely be an ongoing series here at S’C’&C. Have you ever wondered what the best food neighborhood is in Chicago? It’s something I think about every now and then. Whenever this thought does cross my mind I come up with a handful of areas that can compete with Logan Square being my personal pick for the top spot. The reason I would list it over places like Chinatown or the West Loop or Pilsen and Albany Park and so on is that it seems to have a little bit of it all as far as what I’m looking for in the best food neighborhood. That includes everything from international options to tasting menus and so forth. I want good cocktail bars too as those are typically something you do paired with a restaurant. What about variety? That’s also a major factor and not just in terms of cuisines on offer but in pricing too. At the end of the day when I gather a list of all the great restaurants in Chicago and list them by neighborhood there’s more below Logan Square than anywhere else. Even though I live in Logan Square this is in no way a homer pick. There’s simply a ton of great dining destinations worth visiting no matter where in the city you stay. Todays post is a handful of delicious things that I’ve ate around the neighborhood lately. All from spots that I’ve previously featured but that was awhile back and these are places I frequent semi often.
Chicago is pretty subpar when it comes to legit happy hours but you’ll find a good one at Dos Urban Cantina. It’s pretty crazy to think they’ve been open since 2015 but it’s just another reminder of how times flies. Dos Urban is a good option for dinner and they do a Sunday brunch too but most of my visits come during Happy Hour (Tues. - Sat. 5-7p). They have good deals on both food and drinks including $6 wings and an $8 house margarita. If you go on a Tuesday they have a weekly “street taco” special of chorizo and mashed potatoes paired with an avocado salsa for just $1.50 each. These are small hence the street taco description even though they’re not street tacos which are served on the street and not inside of a restaurant. But I did eat these outside on their sidewalk patio and found myself feeling nice and full after four of them plus a margarita and some fresh fried chips with their extra refreshing Sikil Pak (pumpkin seed hummus). All snacks from the menu are $2 off too so there's lots of options which typically isn’t the case. You can count me a fan.
Osteria Langhe is a place I often name when asked about the best Italian restaurant in town. There’s plenty of other good spots but I like to show love to this one in particular as they do regional recipes from the Northwest region of the Piedmont. You won’t find most of the menu items from here at many other spots around town. You can sometimes find agnolotti del plin on special at other places but at Osteria Langhe it’s always on the menu with it being the signature pasta of the Piedmont region. Plin means to pinch which is where this mini ravioli of sorts gets its name. Osteria Langhe makes one stuffed with a La Tur cheese and tossed with butter and thyme. Agnolotti Del Plin is my favorite pasta of them all and the version served at Osteria Langhe just might be my favorite pasta in Chicago.
Superkana is one of my favorite restaurants in town whether that’s for brunch or dinner. More on the former in a later post bc today I want to focus on my entrée from a recent dinner there. Maggi Noodle Bolognese is the type of playful dish that makes me like this spot as much as I do. They take chewy noodles from Sun Ramen and toss them in a rich bolognese made from lamb, beef, achar masala and cover it in shredded Parmesan. I’ve been thinking about going back for more pretty much every day since trying it. Some ramp noodles on special plus an order of the Manchurian potatoes were also really good.
Chef Diana Dávila has placed herself and Mi Tocaya among the city’s best chefs and restaurants. She’s been rewarded with a full house almost every night and a 2023 James Beard Foundation nomination for the best chef in the Midwest Great Lakes Region to go with it. Diners come from all over Chicago and even from other states and countries to try gastronomic creations that pay homage to her Mexican heritage. It’s not just one of the neighborhoods best restaurants but one of the city’s too. I was reminded of this on a recent visit that started with some really great guacamole. Our meal continued on with a couple of impressive dishes in terms of plates you won’t find at any neighborhood taquerias but it was the steak burrito that stole the show. I know, what’s so special about a steak burrito? You can get them pretty much anywhere but not to the level of the $26 version served at Mi Tocayo. It’s the Lamborghini of burritos in that it’s sleek, it’s powerful, it’s expensive, and it’s f-cking awesome. It’s constructed with Chela-marinated grilled skirt steak, chihuahua cheese, black beans, romaine, avocado, grilled onion, banana peppers, and sour cream. Supposedly it’s on the menu to bait gringos into trying Dávila's food which is funny bc most people visiting Mi Tocaya are doing so bc they already enjoy Mexican food (which has overtaken Italian as the country’s go-to food option). But yeah maybe I’ll find out exactly what elotes are the next time I pay them a visit. Ha.
Summer is coming which means so are lots of trips to Pretty Cool. I really do believe that they might make the best ice cream bars anywhere with my longtime favorite being the Caramel Horchata Crunch. But they recently added ice cream sandwiches and I can’t get enough of the strawberry and lemon option made with their strawberry ice cream dipped in a lemon shell and sandwiched between two sprinkle cookies. I think I’ve had about ten of them already, and they’re actually a pretty good deal at just under $10 with half usually being enough for one sitting, though I’ve eaten the whole damn thing on more than one occasion. There's also the “All American” with chocolate chip cookies and vanilla ice cream plus a Matcha Ruby option but I can’t get past the strawberry and lemon.