November 20, 2007

Hungry? Chicago

Chicago guides are a dime a dozen. Go to any bookstore in town, and you'll find entire aisles dedicated to Chicago travel and dining. But many tourists don't have the time to read through every book, filtering through the thousands of restaurants and bars listed to find the one they want. And just who's writing those reviews anyway? Have they even been to Chicago?

Hungry? ChicagoGlove Box Guides is here to help. They've sat down with dozens of Chicagoans from all walks of life'administrative assistants, programmers, accountants, lawyers, students, bartenders, artists, web designers, teachers, and more'to compile a list of local, affordable favorites. Hungry? Chicago will help you get away from the tourist traps and national chains, showing you where the locals prefer to dine. Read up on hole-in-the-wall gems and mom-and-pop eateries that you won't hear about anywhere else.

The folks at Glove Box Guides were kind enough to send me a copy of Hungry? Chicago. The book is about 9 inches by 4 inches (23 cm x 10 cm), the perfect size to fit, of course, in your car's glove box. It is organized excellently, listing restaurants by neighborhood through the book, so I was able to find great places to eat throughout the city, from Ukrainian Village to Roscoe Village, from North Center to South Loop. There's also a category index among the back pages, helping to satiate any craving, whether it be Ethiopian, Columbian, Irish, Greek, Mandarin, Japanese, Polish, Middle-Eastern, Cajun, or Tibetan. The included glossary defines a number of dishes, many I had heard of (and a few I had not) but wasn't fully familiar with. The icons'cute and nifty little illustrations'make it easy to find perfect spots for early risers, night owls, beer chuggers, wine sippers, vegetarians, and sugar seekers. Finally, don't let your budget stop you from enjoying Chicago cuisine. Hungry? Chicago shows the cost of each restaurant's average meal.

Hungry? ChicagoThe Hungry? City series also includes Thirsty? Chicago and Hungry? Chicago family. Thirsty? Chicago is a great reference for Chicago coffeehouses, juice bars, taverns, pubs, karaoke bars, sports bars, and beer gardens. Get helpful tips like what cocktail is the best to order and what kind of scene to expect. Hungry? Chicago family will help you find the best place to eat that will keep everyone in your little troop happy. There are a couple hundred pages worth of restaurants with children's menus, kids' discounts, or fun atmospheres that will entertain the little ones while they wait. Heading out to the museum or amusement park? Hungry? Chicago family lists the best nearby place to fuel up beforehand. Both books include the helpful neighborhood listings, category and alphabetical indices, glossaries, icons, and average costs.

Over the past couple of months, all three books have been a great resource to me. Even as a local, I have discovered new restaurants and watering holes that I look forward to visiting. Here are just a few of the places that can be found in the series:

Hungry? Chicago
Pat's Pizzeria & Ristorante
Superdawg Drive-In
Lou Mitchell's
Hot Doug's
Ethiopian Diamond
Mariegold Bakery & Fast Food

Thirsty? Chicago
Karyn's Fresh Corner
Moody's Pub
Caf' 28

Hungry? Chicago family
Gino's East
Fogo de Chao
Superdawg Drive-In
Hot Doug's
Caponie's Trattoria
Portillo's Hot Dogs
Ethiopian Diamond
La Pe'a
Mariegold Bakery & Fast Food

Photo credit: Glove Box Guides

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