Posted by: Josey | February 16, 2009

Overheard in New York City, Plus: Chicago Restaurants

A woman was talking on her cell phone as she window-shopped through Soho. I was walking in front of her, and I’m sure she meant it in the kindest possible way when she dramatically said:

“Do not—I cannot allow you to—visit the United States and go to the Midwest instead of New York City. Why on Earth would you do that?”

Ahem, I resent that.

On a related note, did you catch the recent Travel Channel “No Reservations” episode where Anthony Bourdain visited Chicago? Tony hit Hot Doug’s, Burt’s deep-dish pizza, L20’s Laurent Gras and more—but here’s the note I just sent to Tony’s lovely Chicago food-blogger friend, Louisa Chu:

Hey, Louisa–
I’m watching the show right now, and it’s making me homesick. I grew up outside Chicago, and I’ve been living in NYC for almost 10 years; I don’t care what anyone says… New York’s food simply doesn’t compare to Chicago’s. (And you’d better believe I make sure to tell that to every New Yorker I meet here. “Second City?” Not when it comes to food.) Questions: Have you ever been to Charlie Beinlich’s in Northbrook for a classic, heaping, soaked BBQ beef sandwich? That’s where I go straight from the airport every time I’m in town. Also, no Jewish deli? With the exception of the bagels here (Murray’s in particular), NYC just doesn’t cut it when it comes to kugels, soups and meats. (I grew up on Max and Benny’s.) Anyway, you really did such a great job!
P.S. I’m a rare Northside White Sox fan, and—while I loved hearing Tony rub in the fact that the Cubs haven’t won a series in a millenium—I didn’t appreciate that he neglected to mention that the Sox just won it in ’05.
P.P.S. Mancow is vile.

Update: Louisa just commented here and offered up a few more Chicago restaurant tips. She wrote: “Have you been to Smoque yet? Amazing brisket. And Prairie Grass Cafe? Beautiful local/seasonal menus, but especially wonderful for brunch.” If you check them out, be sure to report back. I’d love to hear your thoughts. Thanks, Louisa!


  1. Because it’s all cows and corn in the Midwest isn’t it? ;)

    Thanks Josey. As I mentioned, yes, been to Beinlich’s, but for their burgers and beer. And we had considered Manny’s. And I’ll conceded that the Sox have better colors but I’m a lifelong suffering Cubs fan.

    Have you been to Smoque yet? Amazing brisket. And Prairie Grass Cafe? Beautiful local/seasonal menus but especially wonderful for brunch.

  2. Ha!

    Beinlich’s is all about BBQ beef sandwiches and shrimp cocktail. And Manny’s would have been an excellent choice! Next time, definitely… If you happen to hear of a deli like that in NYC, please let me know. I’ve resorted to cooking sweet-and-sour cabbage soup and kugel myself here at home.

    Ooh, and thanks for those Chicago restaurant tips! I’ll call them out above as your recommendations. Very cool.

  3. It’s so funny because as a lifelong Illinois resident I tend to get miffed that everyone assumes Illinois means Chicago and nothing else. :) And to your overheard conversation–I can’t imagine visiting the US and *only* visiting NYC anymore than that lady can imagine visiting the MidWest! lol

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