Brisket Sandwich from Babygold Barbecue, Berwyn:
Basking in the sun at the American Musical Festival set the scene perfectly to enjoy this solid Barbecue offering. Great bark, smokey flavor, pickles and just a smidgen of sauce made this handheld sandwich the ideal summer meal.

Hummus from Petra Falafel, Forest Park:
We could eat this hummus all day every day. This small, but mighty eatery knows what they are doing from their schwarma wraps spiked with pickles to this smooth, creamy and deceptively complex chickpea dip. We love it with falafel or pita!

Beef Pho from Na Siam, Oak Park:
After a pandemic pause, this spot in the North Avenue District is back to serving Beef Pho brimming with Vietnamese rice noodles and topped with sliced meat, bean sprouts, fried garlic and scallions in a rich homemade broth. They offer five noodle soups to warm you up this winter.

The Ruth Bader Gins-burg:
Made by Forest Park cookbook author Dave Hudson. This is the drink he crafted to represent September 2020 in “A Year of Magical Drinking: 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 up complex dishes with bold flavor. These little basil chicken puffs are as decadent as they are flavorful.

Jimmy’s Creation from 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 including avocado, pineapple, cucumber, and edamame come together in a perfect harmony on a bed of brown rice.

Chili Crisp Biscuit and Kale Salad Scones from Broken Tart, Oak Park:
Basically everything Krissy and Katie Mack are turning out at their Chicago Avenue bakery is completely sublime, but we are over the moon for kale salad scones and smitten with the chili crisp biscuit.

This Bountiful Meal from Khyber Pass, Oak Park:
Malik Jawid celebrated a major anniversary this year and learning more about the beginnings of this Downtown Oak Park mainstay makes every meal eaten at Khyber Pass even a little more delicious.

This Taste the Town Bite:
When Takeout 25 throws a party no-one leaves hungry and their first in-person fundraiser to support local restaurants was no exception. Multiple eateries put up delicious dishes and this surf and turf cup from the chefs at Babygold was unforgettable!

Chopped Chicken Liver from Fritzi’s Delicatessen, Oak Park:
Some things are worth the wait and the roasted chicken livers chopped with hard cooked eggs, caramelized onions, and schmaltz was a delightful introduction to this Oak Park newcomer.

Branzino at Amerikas, Oak Park:
The whole fish, with crispy coy-glazed skin, is served on a bed of rosy-hued fried basmati rice spiked with garlic, scallion, cabbage and tomato. Spicy serrano chili salsa adds an option to heat things up. Delicate herb and radish salad adds visual intrigue to the rich and satisfying dish.

Dumpling appetizers at a GCM event, Oak Park:
Dumplings in any form are a delight, but these little treasures were extra special because they were made with love for friends and supporters of Growing Community Media.

Pina Colada Matcha from Brewpoint Craft, Oak Park:
This is a summer specialty and is one refreshing beverage – matcha has magical “pick you up” properties and when you mix it up 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 unassuming burger ticks all the boxes when it comes to griddled indulgence. Don’t underestimate this offering- Circle Tavern burgers are among the best around.

Pasta tossed with Capuliato at the Carnivore/Anfora Etna Wine Dinner, Oak Park:
This one-time-only event was a celebration of big bold wines from the mountains of Italy. The meal, designed by Chef Brad Knaub, was intended to let the wines shine- he succeeded; the pairings were perfect, but this bowl of pasta tossed with a traditional Sicilian condiment based on dried tomatoes was more than memorable.

The Italian at Mercato di Fiore:
This Chicago style sandwich, filled with mortadella, capicola and salemi, gets a hyperlocal and noteworthy twist, with the addition of Honey G, a craft giardiniera developed by Jeff Mauro, River Forest Resident and Food Network Star.

Fatty Hamachi at Okami, Chicago:
This North Avenue District sushi and ramen shop, flies low under the radar, but their rolls and noodles are topflight. Chef Uiprapassorn surprised us with this fatty Hamachi bite on a recent visit and we clamor for more!

A lovely latte and a Croissant from Whirlwind, Oak Park:
Simple is sometimes best. This super flakey croissant from Publican Quality Bread paired perfectly with a frothy, artistically adorned 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 the entire menu at Addis Cafe is appealing, but this berry filled breakfast was as cozy and comforting as it can get.

Cocktails for Two at Kettlestrings Grove, Oak Park:
Behold the Euclid Treasure and the Oak Park 75- two lovely libations to enjoy at the end of a busy week. Drinkers should expect to find an array of chef driven dishes to enjoy between sips. We love the olives!

The Tijuana Dog from Cigars and Stripes, Berwyn:
The Tijuanadog features a smoked, bacon-wrapped, all-beef hot dog served on a flour tortilla topped with cheese, onions, pico de gallo and a grilled serrano pepper to put some spice in your life. What may seem like a mishmash of ingredients comes together in a 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 up a plain hot dog, French fries and a Coke worthy of our favorite Golden Girl!

A Ropa Vieja Sandwich from Cubanito Express, Riverside:
Looking for more than your average grab-and-go establishment? In a twist on a Cuban tradition, Cubanito Express serves up a pressed Ropa Vieja sandwich featuring shredded beef in creole tomato sauce, house made 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. Ripping open the bag is just as good as opening a present- a gift with ooey gooey cheese!

An outlier taco from Beach Ave, BBQ, Brookfield:
Known for slinging Wagyu brisket an whole hog pulled pork, Beach Ave. BBQ also has a notable special menu including unexpected things like this mighty good fried fish taco on a hand-made tortilla!

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