It’s been a quiet media week (once you subtract how-to-cook-a-turkey stories), so let me start with a plug—the new revised edition of The Fooditor 99, the true Chicagoan’s guide to what’s good to eat right now in our city, is in the hands of Amazon and should become available for purchase this week. UPDATE: Available now here.

With more than a third new entries and many more substantially revised to reflect what popular places are up to now, it’s the most current, most useful guide to places worth eating at available anywhere. And at $6.99 for paperback (and just $1.99 for Kindle), it’s a great affordable gift, good for anybody who likes good food.

Oh, and if you want to hear me talk about it—okay, that’s maybe a 10-minute discussion, tops, but I’m planning a wider conversation about guidebooks, and also how a food writer becomes one, when I appear at the Chicago Foodways Roundtable on Saturday, December 9, 10 am at Kendall College. Go here for more details; and Amazon willing, there will be books to buy and be signed.


Excellent episode of Chewing this week with Katie McGowan, widow of the late chef Homaro Cantu, talking about the newly published Moto cookbook which was basically done at the time of his death two and a half years ago. All in all it’s a nice, obviously bittersweet look back at the legacy of a chef bursting with imagination and ingenuity.


Michael Nagrant just declared Flip’s the best burger in town but now he’s so wowed by The Delta that he’s ready to name a new champ: “I’m worried you may think of me as Chicken Little, because recently, I declared the Flip burger one of Chicago’s best. Well, The Delta’s is also one of Chicago’s best. It is better than Flip’s burger. Made from 40 day dry aged beef, it’s so rich and funky, it tastes like someone stuffed a whole lobe of seared foie gras in the middle.”


Mike Sula is rooting for Chicagoans to embrace Steingold’s, the deli in North Center: “There’s no question Chicago has a ravenous hunger for the life-affirming powers of bagels and smoked fish, matzo ball soup, and swole sandwiches piled with cured and smoked meats and tangy fermented vegetables. Steingold’s has all of these—except when it was running out of product in its early days—along with a few curveballs to give you the idea that this isn’t your zayde’s deli.”


At Time Out, Maggie Hennessy finds Marisol’s positioning as a spinoff of Lula Cafe a bit puzzling: “At first, you might think the culinary minds behind cozy, veggie-loving Lula Cafe in Logan Square an odd choice to helm this showier Streeterville concept. Lula is most often associated with launching Chicago’s farm-to-table movement, but the duo behind this 18-year-old spot has been quietly moving the needle on resourcefulness and the creative potential of plants. At Marisol, they approach ingredients, technique and presentation with a similar artistic sensibility… ‘I recognize this squash from Lula,’ Man-date noted as we dug into bright-orange crescents of roasted winter squash whose rich hue can be credited in part to a sherry vinaigrette made with spicy, hearty n’duja.”


Graham Meyer, owner of the mildly disappointing business lunch beat, finds another place only he will ever bother to review in 150 N. Riverside’s Porter Kitchen & Deck: “Porter describes its food as ‘American,’ a characterization that sounds like a default, which actually pegs it fairly accurately. Dishes ranged narrowly from good to mildly disappointing… Bet on the percentage of customers from the built-in building clientele increasing, here at the cusp of winter. Porter Kitchen isn’t worth a lot of cold-weather walking.”


Housemade charcuterie—that’s so 2010. But it’s still happening and getting better all the time. Janet Rausa Fuller looks at all the charcuterie being made around town in Chicago mag and offers nine top recommendations, while the Tribune previews Tempesta Market, from the same family as Nduja Artisans and Agostino’s restaurant. And speaking of the latter, I found another good piece about them while searching, from a local publication I hadn’t thought to check before—Fra Noi, the Italian-American newspaper.


Busy Janet Rausa Fuller again on someone who’s Instagramming a quest to taste all of Chicago’s croissants. I agree with Emily Long on the superiority of two relatively unknown ones she names—Maison Marcel and Southern France Patisserie.

In the wake of Chicagoist’s closure, Anthony Todd isn’t letting up telling people where to eat in this town—he has savvy suggestions for CNN readers here.


I went to Budapest not long after the Berlin Wall fell and it was quaint but not that exciting culinarily—the locals were most excited about a new thing called McDonald’s. Many years later, friend of Fooditor Titus Ruscitti went—and found a much livelier food scene, for sure. Do some vicarious traveling with him.


It’s not the first McDonald’s (it’s a replica of Ray Kroc’s first McDonald’s, built in the 80s on the site) but the DesPlaines Mcdonald’s museum, damaged in a flood a decade ago, is coming down. The Spee-Dee sign, which is original, is being preserved… somewhere, the company says. (Daily Herald)


Turkey and country ham. See you next week!