mmm… Melissa’s Memorable Meals – Oak Park
Babygold Barbecue Brisket Sandwich, Berwyn:
Basking in the sun at the American Musical Festival set the stage perfectly for taking advantage of this solid barbecue offering. Big bark, smoky flavor, pickles, and just a little sauce made this handheld sandwich the perfect summer meal.
Hummus from Petra Falafel, Forest Park:
We could eat this hummus all day every day. This small but mighty restaurant knows what it’s doing, from its pickle-enriched schwarma wraps to this smooth, creamy and deceptively complex chickpea dip. We love it with a falafel or a pita!
Beef Pho from Na Siam, Oak Park:
After a pandemic hiatus, this North Avenue neighborhood spot is back to serve beef pho brimming with Vietnamese rice noodles and topped with sliced meat, bean sprouts, fried garlic and scallions in a rich broth home made. They offer five noodle soups to warm you up this winter.
The Ruth Bader Ginsburg:
Made by Forest Park cookbook author Dave Hudson. It’s the drink he designed to represent September 2020 in ‘A Year of Drink Magic: Cocktails in the Time of Covid’. According to Hudson, the addition of Aperol, an Italian aperitif, is a subtle nod to Ginsburg’s longtime friendship with fellow Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia.
Curry Basil Puffs from Habrae, Forest Park:
This standout Thai spot in Forest Park is known for serving complex dishes with bold flavors. These little basil chicken soufflés are as decadent as they are tasty.
Jimmy’s creation of Poke Burrito, Oak Park:
This colorful tuna and salmon poke bowl is the brainchild of Jimmy Chen, the mastermind behind the Lake Street restaurant. Ingredients such as avocado, pineapple, cucumber and edamame come together in perfect harmony on a bed of brown rice.
Crispy Chilli Cookie and Kale Slaw Scones from Broken Tart, Oak Park:
Basically, everything Krissy and Katie Mack bake at their Chicago Avenue bakery is utterly sublime, but we rave about the kale scones and smitten with the crispy chili cookie.
This hearty meal from Khyber Pass, Oak Park:
Malik Jawid celebrated a major birthday this year, and learning more about the early days of this downtown Oak Park stalwart makes every meal at Khyber Pass that little bit more delicious.
This bite of the city:
When Takeout 25 throws a party, no one goes hungry, and their first in-person fundraiser to support local restaurants was no exception. Several restaurants prepared delicious dishes and this surf and turf cup from the chefs at Babygold was unforgettable!
Ground chicken liver from Fritzi’s Delicatessen, Oak Park:
Some things are worth the wait and the chopped roast chicken livers with hard boiled eggs, caramelized onions and schmaltz were a delicious introduction to this Oak Park newcomer.
Branzino at Americas, Oak Park:
Whole fish, with crispy, glazed skin, is served on a bed of rosy-hued fried basmati rice enriched with garlic, green onion, cabbage and tomato. The spicy serrano chili salsa adds an option to heat things up. The delicate herb and radish salad adds visual intrigue to this rich and satisfying dish.
Dumpling appetizers at a GCM event, Oak Park:
Dumplings of any shape are a delight, but these little treasures were extra special because they were made with love for the friends and supporters of Growing Community Media.
Pina Colada Matcha from Brewpoint Craft, Oak Park:
This is a summer specialty and refreshing drink – matcha has magical ‘boosting’ properties and when you mix it with luscious oat milk and pineapple juice it’s like a vacation in a cup.
A double smash burger from Circle Tavern, Elmwood Park:
Served tavern style, this unpretentious burger ticks all the boxes when it comes to grilled fun. Don’t underestimate this offering – Circle Tavern burgers are some of the best around.
Mixed Pasta with Capuliato at Carnivore/Anfora Etna Wine Dinner, Oak Park:
This unique event was a celebration of the great bold wines of the Italian mountains. The meal, designed by chef Brad Knaub, was meant to make the wines shine – he succeeded; the pairings were perfect, but this bowl of pasta drizzled with a traditional Sicilian sun-dried tomato condiment was more than memorable.
The Italian at the Mercato di Fiore:
This Chicago-style sandwich, filled with mortadella, capicola, and salemi, gets a hyperlocal and standout twist, with the addition of Honey G, an artisanal giardiniera developed by Jeff Mauro, River Forest Resident, and Food Network Star.
Fatty Hamachi in Okami, Chicago:
This sushi and ramen shop in the North Avenue neighborhood goes very low under the radar, but its rolls and noodles are top notch. Chef Uiprapassorn surprised us with this greasy bite of Hamachi on a recent visit and we’re begging for more!
A delicious latte and croissant from Whirlwind, Oak Park:
Simplicity is sometimes better. This super flaky croissant from Publican Quality Bread pairs perfectly with a frothy, artistically decorated latte made with locally roasted Whirlwind coffee.
This jam and cream filled scone from Addis Café, Oak Park:
A cup of Ethiopian coffee needs a companion and Addis Cafe’s entire menu is appealing, but this berry-filled breakfast was as cozy and comforting as it gets.
Cocktails for two at Kettlestrings Grove, Oak Park:
Here’s the Euclid Treasure and the Oak Park 75 – two great libations to enjoy at the end of a busy week. Drinkers should expect to find a range of chef-prepared dishes to enjoy between sips. We love olives!
The Tijuana dog from Cigars and Stripes, Berwyn:
The Tijuanadog offers a smoky, bacon-wrapped, all-beef hot dog served on a flour tortilla topped with cheese, onions, pico de gallo, and a grilled serrano pepper to spice up your life. What may seem like a hodgepodge of ingredients comes together in one bold and harmonious bite.
Betty White’s favorite meal from Mickey’s Gyros and Beef, Oak Park:
Earlier this year, GCM and the business community honored what would have been Betty White’s 100th birthday in epic style. Mickey’s served a plain hot dog, fries and a Coke worthy of our favorite Golden Girl!
A Ropa Vieja sandwich from Cubanito Express, Riverside:
Looking for more than your average takeout establishment? In a twist on a Cuban tradition, Cubanito Express serves a pressed Ropa Vieja sandwich made with shredded beef in a Creole tomato sauce, homemade black beans and sweet plantains.
Pizza in a bag from Bertolli’s, River Forest:
Frank Bertolli grew up in the pizza business and River Forest is better for it. Their classic pies are a thin crust pizza lover’s dream. Tearing the bag is as good as opening a present – a present with gooey cheese!
An aberrant taco from Beach Ave, BBQ, Brookfield:
Known for its Wagyu brisket and whole pulled pork, Beach Ave. BBQ also has a standout special menu featuring unexpected things like this mighty fried fish taco on a handmade tortilla!