A lot of people like to freak out about cold weather every year in Chicago, as if it’s something new that doesn’t happen routinely every year at the same time. In fact though, there’s lots of things that make cold weather not only worthwhile, but something to look forward to in Chicago. For instance, hearty comfort food like pot pie and patty melts just wouldn’t feel right in the heat of summer. It’s nice to revel in that winter solace of indulgence and comfort. Here are 8 reasons why we’re cool with cold weather.
Deep-dish at Pequod’s Pizza: In a city filled with pizza, this Lincoln Park bastion stands out among the best of the deep-dish. The key is in the crust, which gets caramelized and extra crispy in the oven. It’s also not as overbearingly thick and dense as some other deep-dish crusts can be. You can customize to your heart’s content, with toppings ranging from pepperoni and ground beef to fresh basil, hot giardiniera, black olives and even Italian beef.
Sweet potatoes at Tavern on Rush: There’s a lot to love about Tavern on Rush all year round. The expansive menu has a little bit of something for everyone, from steaks of all sizes to pizzas, seafoods, salads, brunch and lots more. But one of the sleeper hits on the menu just happens to be a real treat in the colder months. Scroll to the bottom of the menu to find the potato section, which has numerous variations of spuds in all kinds of wholesome forms. The baked sweet potatoes and twice-baked potatoes are particularly nourishing during this time of year, as well the white cheddar au gratin potatoes and mashed potatoes. Of course, you can’t go wrong with perennial standbys like french fries and housemade chips with French onion dip, either.
Bread bowls at Soupbox: It may be some kind of sacrilege, but we’re not going to pretend we don’t love a good soup bread bowl. As soon as cooler weather rolls around, it’s time to start heading to Soupbox for your bread bowl fix. Sourdough is the ideal vessel, and soup flavor options are endless. Best to avoid any soup too starchy, since you’re already eating bread as a bowl, but solid picks include broccoli and cheddar, hearty fresh vegetable, sun-dried tomato and roasted garlic and turkey chili.
Ramen at Ramen-san: Ramen is sort of the opposite of ice cream, for us. While we tend to only crave ice cream in the summer, the same is true of ramen in the wintry months. And few bowls of ramen are as deeply soul-soothing as the versions being served at River North’s Ramen-san. Try the more classic options like shio ramen with chicken broth, molten egg, tofu and nori, or the tonkotsu with traditional broth, chashu and molten egg, or opt for something more novel like Ramen-san’s kimchi and fried chicken ramen with fried garlic and buttered corn. No matter which route you choose, you’ll be in for a treat.
Cake and pie at Gibsons Bar & Steakhouse: Beach body season really isn’t that conducive to massive slices of cake. For dessert fans, this is your time to shine. And you can do so at Gibsons, where the Gold Coast restaurant is nearly as famed for its mile-high confections as its seafood and steaks. Save room for the end of the meal, because you’re going to want a wedge of turtle pie, carrot cake and chocolate mousse pie.
Patty melt at Eleven City Diner: For one of the best patty melts in Chicago, you gotta go to Eleven City Diner. And you’d best do it when the weather is cold, as that’s when the mix of burger patty, grilled onions, cheese, 1,000 Island and rye bread tastes its best. The patty itself is succulent beyond belief, made with a fresh grind of Angus steak. It’s just the right consistency for the griddle, melding nicely with its toppings and bread. All melts are served with fries, just to gild the lily.
Cinnamon rolls at Ann Sather: People flock from all over for the massive cinnamon rolls at Ann Sather, served in pairs and doused in treacly icing. Nowadays, they’re the perfect way to kickstart your day, especially if the rest of your day is reserved for lazy indoor activities. We’re not sure how they make them so addictive, but there’s just something so satisfying about the doughy, delicate texture of the buns and the warm frosting melting into all the nooks and crannies.
Pot pie at Hoosier Mama Pie Company: All year long, there’s something to fawn over at Hoosier Mama Pie Company, be it a slice of blueberry pie in the summer or pumpkin pie for Thanksgiving. But if savory pie is your thing, the quaint shop’s pot pies are downright habit-forming this time of year. Options include classic chicken pot pie, roasted vegetable, and the incomparable pork-apple-sage pie. The latter is a real wonder, piled high in a double-crusted pie.
Founded in 1945, the late Ann Sather's restaurant quickly became famous for her made-from-scratch Swedish specialties and luscious baked goods, particularly her special cinnamon rolls. Since then, Sather's has expanded...