Executive chef Jack Rickey brightens up his dishes at Billy Jack’s Bar and Grill by packing every recipe with crimson tomatoes, yellow sweet corn, and other colorful southwestern ingredients. The fiery flavors of chipotle peppers and chiles stimulate tongues when blended into the poblano-cream sauce poured over sizzling steak and shrimp or the aioli drizzled over sweet and spicy pork medallions. Bold ingredients find their way into seafood dishes as well, from the peaches that sweeten the BBQ roasted salmon to the jalapeno sauce that coats the restaurant's crab-stuffed tilapia and crab-stuffed piñatas.
Since 1981, TCBY has been synonymous with frozen yogurt. The company spearheaded the guiltless consumption of low-fat, chilled dairy treats with iconic flavors such as white chocolate mousse topped with fresh fruit and candy. Today, TCBY yogurt shops across the country continue the tradition with classic and specialty flavors such as caramel supreme, greek honey vanilla, and sugar- and fat-free mountain blackberry.
For more than 50 years, the staff at Arnie's Dog House has steamed classic Vienna beef hot dogs, Polishes, Italian beef, and other sandwiches and their focus on what's on top of the bun is just as important as what's inside of it. Toppings crown any meal choice, and include ladles full of chili cheese or the Chicago-style treatment for a hot dog, with sport peppers, dill pickle spears, and tomatoes on top. Arnie's toppings are so popular, they even come as a standard part of many menu items: cheese fries get more interesting with a sprinkling of bacon, and tamales come with gooey chili. Side items including fried pickles, cheese sticks, and funnel-cake fries help round out the menu. The team cooks up these favorites in addition to other items such as loose hamburgers, corn dogs, Italian sausages, and pizza puffs for meals to be eaten in house or delivered to your door still sizzling, cooking meals quicker than even the competitors of the Lunch Lady World Championship Games.
"Did I like it? Do you want to get slapped? I loved it."
That was one diner's response to Ted Brunson, the host of America's Best Bites, when asked about whether or not he enjoyed Las Tablas Colombian Steakhouse's signature dish, the Entrana. This South American take on skirt steak is downright beloved by some Chicagoans. One such guest admitted to living above one of the city's most iconic steakhouses, only to find himself trekking over to Las Tablas whenever he gets a craving for steak. The thinnish strip is scored along its generous length, allowing it to absorb the super-secret eight-spice blend that's rubbed into it?only two people know the recipe. It is then served on a warmed metal plate that rests upon a wooden slab (a "tablas"), as are many of the restaurant's other dishes.
Considering how much they've been through to get to this point?including an uprooting from Colombia in the 1980s and a fire?it's probably a relief for the Suarez family that their recipes are so revered. It also helps that their menu is refreshingly simple, yet flexible. There are a few beef dishes, a few chicken dishes, a few pork dishes, and so on, but guests can also order a combinaciones, which allows them to pair two proteins of their choice. The Entrana and shrimp make a classic match, though options such as baby octopus and pork loin lend themselves to more creative pairings. Vegetarians need not feel left out, either, as there's a veggie platter, 100% meatless napkins, and a paella that blends spiced rice, beans, yuca, plaintains, and potatoes. Those starches reappear throughout the menu, and are served with most entrees.
If you're inspired by the Suarez family's cooking, you can try to recreate the recipes at home with their new product line of sauces and seasonings.
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Shop the Women in Business collection.
Breakfast-and-Brunch Nook | Organic, Local Ingredients | Greek-Influenced Recipes | Julius Meinl Coffee
What to Drink: Sip a latte macchiato, café mocha, or one of the other drinks crafted around Julius Meinl coffee—a popular Austria-based coffee roaster that operates several shops around Chicago's Northside.
When to Go: If you're going to visit the location in Wrigleyville, go when the Cubs aren't playing. The neighborhood is less crowded, and free parking is available on non-game days just a few doors south at 3211 N. Clark.
Kanela: the Greek word for cinnamon
If You Can’t Make It, Try This: Try your hand at cooking one of KBC's dishes at home—the café isn't shy about sharing its recipes. For instance, the TV show Living Healthy Chicago devoted a segment to the veggie egg-white omelet, which Chef Nick Curtis says is the healthiest item on his menu.
Working in collaboration with government organizations, TeaGschwendner helped build a factory that processes tea for 130 small farmers. That's just one of the ways TeaGschwendner ensures social and environmental responsibility. Read more here.