Lent is (almost) finally over. You've spent a good 40 days abstaining from whatever it is that gives you joy; probably food. Whatever it is that makes you salivate and hunger, whatever your comfort food, it's time to cede to those desires once Lent is over and break the fast. Here are 10 indulgent dining and drinking options in Chicago sure to help you shatter Lent in style.
Boudin balls at smalls.: From chocolate cake balls to fried meatballs, balls are well represented on lists about indulgence. Chief among said balls are the boudin balls at smalls., the Irving Park smoke shack with a penchant for American-Asian barbecue innovation. A recurring special of late has been smalls.' crispy boudin balls, Southern-inspired deep-fried morsels made from pulled pork, toasted garlic rice, and kimchi. They marry the comfort food cravings of the South with the saucy and spicy food lust of Asia, so it's a glorious win-win.
Biscuit sandwich at Bang Bang Pie Shop: If you haven't yet tasted the sour cream-based biscuits at Bang Bang Pie Shop, you truly haven't lived. These ever-so-fluffy clouds of deliciousness are dense in just the right spots, with a touch of creaminess throughout, a thin crackle around the well-browned exterior, and marshmallow-soft innards. They're obsession-worthy enough on their own, let alone when they're sliced in half and heaped with maple-glazed ham, Dijon butter, caramelized onion relish, and pickle.
Zombie punch at Three Dots and a Dash: Pardon the sacrilege, but Zombie Punch seems an apropos quaff on Easter, a holiday where someone rose from the dead. And you are rising too, from the deprived throes of Lent. Dive into freedom with the flaming Zombie Punch at Three Dots and a Dash, a large punch bowl designed to feed three to four, or maybe just you if you're thirsty enough. Served in a transparent skull, the cocktail contains pretty much any and all kinds of rum, from Dark Jamaican rum to Nicaraguan rum, plus lime, grapefruit, and cinnamon. If you're gonna fall off the wagon, do it right.
Bulletproof coffee at Beatrix: If you're psycho enough to give up coffee for Lent, you deserve to get back in the game in a big way. And by that I mean by drinking butter coffee. Beatrix is one of the few spots in Chicago where you can acquire such anomalies. The aptly named Bulletproof Coffee is made with unsalted grass-fed butter for the benefits of healthy milk fat, along with coconut oil to improve brain energy. So it's really not all that different from regular cream and sugar if you think about it. The butter and oil also aid in melting fat, building muscle, and maintaining energy all day long.
Chocolate dream balls at Sweet Mandy B's: Cake balls haven't quite risen to the levels of acclaim and fandom as doughnuts, macarons, and cupcakes have, which is a damn shame considering how perfect they are as a dessert. Fudgy scoops of cake ensconced in frosting and sprinkles is a two-bite take on cake that sugar dreams are made of. Sweet Mandy B's knows its way around a decadent Americana cake, and their cake balls, dubbed "chocolate dream balls," are no different. In fact, they're even better seeing that they're rolled in crushed Butterfingers.
Duck fat cocktail at The Duck Inn: If you gave up drinking duck fat for Lent, there's a cocktail at The Duck Inn waiting for you. OK really this thing is just ridiculously rich and indulgent, seeing as it's a Cognac-based digestif washed with duck fat derived from the drippings of rotisserie ducks. Outiftted with Giffard Creme de Mure, Lustao Manzanilla sherry, and Chinese five-spice syrup, this is one digestif that may actually steal the show from the impressive food program at the new Bridgeport restaurant.
Chicken fried frites at Frite Street: One surefire way to improve a cult classic comfort food is to serve it as french fries. Deep-fried fantasies come to life at Frite Street, the brick and mortar location of the slider-focused Slide Ride food truck. Here, the focus is on french fries and all things crispy. Among their innately indulgent menu standouts is the chicken fried frites, a combination of chicken fried steak and french fries, made by buttermilk-batterin and deep-frying frites before dousing in bacon country gravy and hot sauce.
Anything at Kaiser Tiger: A restaurant that bills itself on beer, bacon, and sausage is the right place to be once Lent runs its course. You really can't go wrong on the diet-devastating menu at the West Loop's comfort food mother ship, where "bacon grenades" (beef and pork meatballs wrapped in bacon and deep-fried) share menu real estate with bacon-wrapped shrimp, a Lagunitas IPA-infused bacon sausage, chorizo topped with guacamole and tequila sour cream, and something called the "Whole Bomb," a colossus of beef and pork sausage stuffed with pepper bacon, wrapped in brown sugar bacon, and served with fries, buns, cheese, and barbecue sauce.
Pierogi quesadilla at Chicago Diner: Pierogies and quesadillas, together at last! Just because a place lacks meat doesn't mean it lacks in caloric excess. See: Chicago Diner. For decades, this vegetarian haunt has been peddling its peculiar brand of indulgence, and there's always something new to try on their eclectic menu. Their newest novelty is the curious combo of Polish and Mexican comfort food classics, made by pressing sauerkraut, mashed potatoes, green onions, sautéed mushrooms, and vegan cheese inside a tomato-basil tortilla with a top-off of vegan dill sour cream.
Caramel bacon eclair at Seven Lions: There's a new bacon dessert in town, and it's ready to attack your waistline. An apt finale to a meal of American supper club-inspired fare at the newly opened Seven Lions is the caramel bacon eclair, which serves to mightily elevate the traditional French pastry by filling it with brown sugar custard and enrobing it in salted caramel and bacon.
Old-fashioned Americana is the bill of fare at this pastel-hued Lincoln Park bakeshop, where cupcakes share shelf space with pudding parfaits, cookies, cinnamon rolls, pie, muffins, caramel apples, and everything...