Amid baked pastries flavored by sweet potato, chestnut, and especially red bean, this fried soboro bread ($3) stands out. The topside is thinly coated with the namesake streusel-like topping, to which Bangjangsoo — a new outpost of a South Korean bakery chain — adds slivered almonds. Imagine a flattish, sweetly encrusted, red-bean-filled donut not long from the fryer, and you'll have the idea.
Like most deep-dish pizzas, the Malnati Chicago Classic is built backward compared with, say, a New York pie. After the dough is patted into the bottom of the pan and up the sides (eventually it will form what the restaurant brands its Buttercrust), the mozzarella is laid atop it, followed by any additional ingredients (for the Classic, this entails extra cheese plus lean sausage). Last in the pan is a superb, especially chunky tomato sauce. Not shown: knife and fork.
On my final evening in town, I upsold myself from a personal-size to a small ($14.95), ostensibly meant for two. So how well, you may ask, does deep-dish pizza hold up the next morning? Sorry, you should have asked me during dinner, before I ate the evidence!
Lou Malnati's Pizzeria 439 North Wells St. (West Illinois-West Hubbard Sts.), Chicago 312-828-9800 (One of many locations) www.LouMalnatis.com (From a June 2016 visit)
Chicago dog ($2.99) with all the trimmings, all in their true-to-life colors — even that sweet pickle relish, in emerald green.
Also shown: the stand-alone restaurant, built expressly for Portillo's in the spring of 2016, and one of many retro signs that adorn the facade. To strengthen the impression that "we're old-timers in the neighborhood," nowadays many businesses employ deliberately distressed signage. The Coca-Cola sign goes further: Its placement suggests a faded ad that's hanging tough, even in the light of later construction.
Portillo's 520 West Taylor St. (at South Clinton St.), Chicago 312-667-4560 (One of many locations) www.Portillos.com (From a June 2016 visit)
Five-napkin sandwich: Italian beef ($6.49), "wet, with hot and sweet" (peppers, 60 cents each).
Al's Beef (aka Al's Italian Beef, Al's #1 Italian Beef) 1079 West Taylor St. (South Aberdeen-South Carpenter Sts.), Chicago 312-226-4017 (One of many locations) www.AlsBeef.com (From a June 2016 visit)
Duet of summer flavors ($5): roasted strawberry buttermilk and Atlantic beach pie, "sweet cream layered with tart lemon pudding and saltine gravel." I generally take my ice cream without toppings, just like the shop churned them out; no beachcombing here.
Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams 1505 North Milwaukee Ave. (near North Honore St.), Chicago 872-802-4668 (One of many locations) www.Jenis.com (From a June 2016 visit)
Except where draped over the lip, the prosciutto, capicola, and provolone of The Crazy Dave (shown in the smaller, "regular" size, $6.29) were less pronounced than the hot peppers, onion, fresh garlic, lettuce, herbs, and "Cosmic Sauce." But the proportions were well-considered, and the payload, just right — this was an appetizer to a midday rendezvous with my cousin and her boys. Must leave room for lunch!
Also shown: the leavings, which called to mind the classic Japanese ink rubbings known as gyotaku. What are the prospects, I wonder, for oil-and-vinegar prints of classic Italian sandwiches?
Dave's Cosmic Subs 1842 Coventry Rd. (Euclid Heights Blvd.-Lancashire Rd.), Cleveland Heights, Ohio (One of many locations) 216-320-0330 www.DavesCosmicSubs.com (From a June 2016 visit)
Shown not for the sake of the chicken (acknowledged: I've had KFC elsewhere) but for the collision of architectural styles. The building, which enjoys a much broader frontage on 106th St. than these westward views from Third Ave. would suggest, dates back at least to the 1880s. By the turn of the century, when it was variously known as the Disken Building and Disken Hall, it hosted local meetings of a steam engineer's union and of the Great Council of the United States of the Improved Order of Red Men, a secret society whose finances were administered by a Great Keeper of Wampum. Today, in addition to KFC, the building is home to a barber shop, apartments, and artists' studios.
Kentucky Fried Chicken 1922 Third Ave. (at East 106th St.), Manhattan 212-423-0599 www.KFC.com
In Turkey, the classic simit resembles a heavily encrusted sesame bagel, with proportions that suggest a game of ring toss. Though a simit loaf loses traditional appeal, it gains in versatility: It more easily accepts fillings like olive ($4.25), and, when need be, more securely holds a sandwich.
Simit Sarayi 435 Fifth Ave. (38th-39th Sts.), Manhattan 646-922-7876 (First U.S. location of this Turkey-based worldwide chain) www.SimitSarayi.com/en_US
Typical: These limited-edition sriracha chicken sliders were fuller-bodied in promos than in practice. The basic slider ($1.49) and the slider with jalapeño cheese and jalapeño crisps ($1.79), as served, were only about half their advertised height. (Being squeezed into individual cardboard caddies probably had something to do with it.) But they weren't half-bad; if not for a pending lunch date I probably would have ordered another round, with fries.
Also note the promo's emphasis on "spicy" and its implication, for some remote White Castle franchise, that sriracha is still little-known.
White Castle 42-02 Fort Hamilton Pkwy. (at 42nd St.), Borough Park, Brooklyn 718-438-7550 (One of many locations) www.whitecastle.com