So much amazing food in Chicago

Some of you might have noticed that we like to eat. For a lot of people, eating is something they do to stay alive. They call it a necessity.

But for us, eating is a hobby.

Lucky for us, Chicago has a few places to indulge us. We’ve been pretty busy, and we’ll talk about some more of these in greater detail later, but for now, here’s a list of some of this city’s amazing food offerings we’ve enjoyed:

  • Uncle Sammy’s: Our first night in Chicago, we were having a horrible time finding a place to park a UHaul truck. At about midnight, we finally found a place and were walking home when we stumbled onto this gem. The Pilgrim is a very fine sandwich.
  • Kitchen Sink: Good, simple sandwiches.
  • Floriole: Adrienne loved it. I thought it was only OK. Quiche, apparently, is to die for.
  • Pasta Bowl: Delicious and affordable pasta.
  • Tzatziki Grill: Excellent Greek place that also has a pretty solid Italian Beef sandwich.
  • Margie’s Candies: It’s like time travel at Margie’s. Egg-salad sandwich and the Terrapin Sundae: Recommended.
  • Lou Malnati’s Pizzeria: Our favorite pizza in Chicago so far. Pizza in Chicago is like barbecue in other towns: Everyone has a very strong opinion. We loved Lou’s, but we’re still open to trying others.
  • Lito’s Empanadas: Delicious — and cheap. For $2.50, one of these little guys is great for a snack. Get two, and it’s lunch.
  • Del Seoul: Weird little Asian dumplings that are oddly addictive.
  • Paciugo: Gelato. Can’t go wrong with gelato.
  • Pret a Manger: This is Target’s cafe. Yes, I know. Why eat out at Target? But you see, here in Chicago, even going to Target is a dining experience.
  • Brown’s Chicken: Fried chicken place in one of the downtown pedways. Scenery wasn’t great, but loved the biscuits and mashed potatoes.
  • Bobtail Ice Cream: An almost-overwhelming amount of goodness.
  • The Edge: Cake!
  • The Grove: More time travel. Open-face turkey or meatloaf sandwich, with bottomless coffee.
  • Red Hen Bread: Tip: Get the day-old stuff for a little less money (same deliciousness, though).
  • Taco Joint: Best Mexican so far in Chicago. Lebanese Pork Taco: must have (available only on Thursdays).
  • Chicago’s Dog House: Our favorite dog place in Chicago so far. Good choices, good service, good prices.
  • Clark Street Dog:  Got caught in a storm and waited it out in here with a couple of dogs and a couple of beers. There are worse places to end up when it’s raining.
  • Red Hot Ranch: Our first hot dogs in Chicago. Our first experience with french fries on a hot dog. Interesting.
  • Big Star: Gourmet tacos. Service was only OK, but the decor was great. After Taco Joint, though, hard to compare.
  • Gibson’s Bar and Steakhouse: Best service of any of the restaurants we’ve been to. A shoutout to our server, who happens to be a Lincoln Park neighbor! Desserts are insane. And tall. You’ll need to share. Oh, and also: $$$
  • Filini: Ultra-modern, ultra-hip dining at the signature downtown building Aqua. Sotto Bosco pizza was impressive. As was the Carciofini spinach dip.
  • Rosebud: Best Italian so far in Chicago. Two must-tries: Penne Bolognese and their Cavatelli Alla Rosebud.
  • Toast: Great service. Outstanding breakfast burrito.
  • Stella’s: Delightful breakfast options.
  • The Bourgeois Pig Cafe: Carrot cake!
  • Goose Island Brewpub: We didn’t eat here, but for some great local brews, it’s worth a try.
  • Dunlays on Clark: $5 Cheeseburger special = delicious.
  • The Burwood Tap: One of the oldest continuously operating bars in Chicago. Really good free food Mondays through Thursdays (my fave was the chicken).
  • Smoque: Been having a hard time finding some barbecue out here, but this was fantastic.
  • Pizzeria Due: After a too-long wait at Malnati’s, we ended up here. Not quite as good as Lou Malnati’s, but if LMs is a 10, Pizzeria Due is a 9. Very good.
  • Portillo’s: Iconic. Worth it for the atmosphere. Still, Chicago’s Dog House wins out.
  • Potbelly Sandwich Shop: Grilled Chicken Mediterranean is a fine, fine sandwich.
  • Matisse: Did not expect deliciousness when we ordered the Reuben Potstickers. We were pleasantly surprised.
  • Do-Rite Donuts: You’ll find lots of Dunkin’ Donuts here, but few local places. These guys do donuts right.
  • Wow Bao: Quirky little place with neat little fluffy dumplings. A must-try.
  • Devil Dawgs: It’s worthwhile to try all of Chicago’s hot dogs.

So much food in this town — how do people here ever get anything done?

Sundaes, treats, floats. Plenty of tasty options at Margie's Candies.

 

If you're after treats, Bobtail is also an excellent choice.

 

What's this? A hot dog? Yes, I guess so. Underneath the french fries, anyway. Interesting technique, Red Hot Ranch.

 

The S'mores cake at The Edge. Cake did not last long.

 

The best Chicago hot dogs, in our opinion. Chicago's Dog House.

 

A very full meal at Smoque BBQ: Chicken, mac & cheese, baked beans, and cole slaw.

 

Carrot Cake! At the Bourgeois Pig.

 

We don't only take pictures of food. We are also capital-A Artists. Or, maybe this is the view after we'd eaten too much and had to lay on the floor. Hard to say.

 

 

Detz Cafe, downtown Colorado Springs

Our fave, Detz Cafe (211 East Cucharras Street) didn’t win anything in the CS Indy’s Best Of The Springs. This is extremely lame because they are awesome.

They’re open everyday except Saturday and would make a perfect place for a nice Sunday breakfast.

Detz Cafe Colorado Springs Hours

Detz Cafe Colorado Springs Hours

We’ve talked about them before, but we like them so much, we’re going to talk about them again.

And show you pictures of their food.

So go down there and have something to eat and let us know what you think.

Shhh. It’s a secret.

Sometimes, when you find a treasure, you want to show everyone, shout it out: Hey, look at this great thing!

But then there are times when you want to keep it to yourself, when your secret is too precious to share.

So it’s with a troubled heart that I tell you about Detz Cafe in downtown Colorado Springs (211 E. Cucharras). We love it, and we’d like it if you love it, too, but we also don’t want it to become so popular that it’s ruined. Maybe it’s best that there are no reviews of it anywhere. Maybe it’s best that the Yelpers haven’t discovered it. We like it just the way it is.

In the back of my mind, I’ve always known about Detz. It’s always been there. I just always thought it was closed or defunct. And sometimes, I think I must have thought it’s just a building that’s part of the Jiffy Lube next door. It’s nearly invisible. But since we’ve been moving, and since someone can’t seem to figure out how to attach the stove to the gas supply, we’ve been eating at Detz nearly every day.

I can tell you it isn’t any kind of incentive to fix that stove.

Detz serves perfect American comfort food: corned-beef hash; pancakes; burgers; meatloaf. They take credit and debit cards, and they’re open every day except Saturday (still, open on Sunday in this town is a victory). The service is wonderful. Go ahead and try Detz, if you must. But don’t ruin it.

Detz Cafe, downtown Colorado Springs.

The no-frills Detz Cafe. Notice the log trim above the walls. Nice touch.

The Philly sandwich, with onion rings, at Detz Cafe, downtown Colorado Springs.

The Philly steak and cheese sandwich is delicious. Try it with onion rings.

The Philly sandwich, with onion rings, at Detz Cafe, downtown Colorado Springs.

The Philly sandwich at Detz. Behold its beauty.

Cheeseburger at Detz Cafe, downtown Colorado Springs.

Adrienne is a connoisseur of the cheeseburger, and she gave the Detz burger a thumbs up. Detz uses Ranch Foods Direct beef, and it was cooked perfectly. Me, I liked the shredded lettuce.

Detz Cafe, downtown Colorado Springs.

Detz looks like it's out of business for some reason. Something about their sign or their building. Something.

Detz Cafe, downtown Colorado Springs.

If you've been downtown, you've probably seen this sign. Or have you?

Blueberry pie, Detz Cafe, downtown Colorado Springs.

Judging from the remains on this plate, we might have scarfed down some pie after gorging on other food.

Blueberry pie, Detz Cafe, downtown Colorado Springs.

Ah, yes, looks like someone had the presence of mind to take a picture of the pie before it was devoured.

Pancakes, Detz Cafe, downtown Colorado Springs.

The single pancake. In addition to being a connoisseur of the cheeseburger, Adrienne is also a savorer of the pancake, and she says this rivals Maggie's for the best in Colorado Springs.

Hot turkey sandwich, Detz Cafe, downtown Colorado Springs

I am a huge fan of the hot turkey sandwich with mashed potatoes. Detz did not disappoint.

The Early Riser breakfast at Detz Cafe, downtown Colorado Springs.

The Early Riser breakfast at Detz. I think I've just overdosed on AMERICA: pancakes, coffee, bacon, scrambled eggs, ketchup. It's like eating an American flag.

Dinner salad, Detz Cafe, downtown Colorado Springs.

The dinner salad at Detz comes with the retro crackers.

Detz Cafe on Urbanspoon

Smiley’s downtown Colorado Springs

We love Smiley’s on Tejon near Boulder St. and go there for breakfast all the time.

A recent breakfast at Smiley's, downtown Colorado Springs. Check out that lovely toast!

A recent breakfast at Smiley's, downtown Colorado Springs. Check out that lovely toast!

They even offer blackberry jam at Smiley's, which is unusual

They even offer blackberry jam at Smiley's, which is unusual

Yea, yea, that jam has HFCS in it. They could make their own jam, I guess, but they’re not claiming to not use weird ingredients in their food. Also I have pretty much given up on avoiding HFCS and all that other junk when eating in restaurants. I don’t buy anything with crap in it for home consumption and at the moment, that’s the best I can do.  

We always say we want to try their pies because they look so good. So the other day we did. I had the blackberry sour cream and Mike had the pecan. They were both as delicious as we expected them to be. Really good and homemade tasting.

But I think they use non dairy whipped topping, not real whipped cream! For shame! I could be wrong because it really doesn’t seem like something they’d do seeing as how all their food is super fresh and real. But I can pretty much spot that crap a mile away. It looked like non dairy topping and it tasted like non dairy topping. Yuk. I don’t understand why people buy this stuff, not only is it horrible tasting with a gross slimey mouth-feel, but it’s full of transfats (don’t get me started on transfats, see above). Real whipped cream is so easy to make (I’m not even entirely opposed to the canned squirty stuff as long as it’s real) and less expensive, too. 

Pecan pie and blackberry sour cream pie at Smiley's, Colorado Springs

Pecan pie and blackberry sour cream pie at Smiley's, Colorado Springs

I’m confused. Smiley’s, help me out here, what gives!?

Smiley’s Bakery and Cafe, Colorado Springs, CO

The first time we went to Smiley’s at 323 N Tejon St. in downtown Colorado Springs I was unimpressed. I don’t remember what I had but whatever it was I thought I could make it better at home myself.

But the place is really cute inside and they have outdoor seating. It reminds me of what a roadside or country cafe in the south would be like. I haven’t spent much time in the south so I don’t really know this from experience but it’s what I imagine one of those kinds of places would be like.

Smiley's Bakery and Cafe, Colorado Springs, CO

Smiley's Bakery and Cafe, Colorado Springs, CO

 None of the chairs match, they have retro signs and ephemera all over the walls, the menu is on a chalkboard inside and handwritten outside.

Smiley's Bakery and Cafe, Colorado Springs, CO

Smiley's Bakery and Cafe, Colorado Springs, CO

 Plus everyone else on earth loves it and it’s only a couple blocks from our house so we gave it a second chance. I’m really glad we did. It’s one of my favorite places now.

Walking to Smiley's Bakery and Cafe, Colorado Springs, CO

Walking to Smiley's Bakery and Cafe, Colorado Springs, CO

I had the cornmeal pancakes with blueberries and some scrambled eggs. It also came with bacon or ham. Lately I’ve been trying to avoid eating pork so I usually give my pork products to Mike. Since he was having bacon with his, I got the ham.

Cornmeal pancakes with blueberries, scrambled eggs, and ham from Smiley's, Colorado Springs, CO

Cornmeal pancakes with blueberries, scrambled eggs, and ham from Smiley's, Colorado Springs, CO

Biscuits and gravy with scrambled eggs from Smiley's, Colorado Springs, CO

Biscuits and gravy with scrambled eggs from Smiley's, Colorado Springs, CO

Doesn’t that bacon look good!? I thought so too.

So I had a bite.

And OMG, this bacon was impossible to resist. It’s funny because even hard core vegetarians have a hard time resisting bacon. But I was always just so-so on it and never really missed eating it. But this bacon will kill you. In a good way. You have to try it.

So the next time we went I got the whole grain pancakes with blackberries, scrambled eggs and BACON. Mike had the chicken fried steak with potatoes and bacon.

Whole grain pancakes with blackberries, scrambled eggs, and bacon, Smiley's, Colorado Springs, CO

Whole grain pancakes with blackberries, scrambled eggs, and bacon, Smiley's, Colorado Springs, CO

Chicken fried steak, potatoes, and scrambled eggs, Smiley's, Colorado Springs, CO

Chicken fried steak, potatoes, and scrambled eggs, Smiley's, Colorado Springs, CO

They also have a large lunch menu with sandwiches, salads and things like that. Oh, and pie. Pie! But they close at 4:00 so you gotta get there early!