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Our Favorite Corn Dishes, Ranked by Corniness

Nov 13, 2013
Our Favorite Corn Dishes, Ranked by Corniness4. Togarashi-Sprinkled Popcorn at Trenchermen (Wicker Park | 2039 W. North Ave.) Corniness level: a dog wearing a tiny metallic parka A tiny brown paper bag makes the popcorn at Trenchermen look a bit dainty in comparison to the larger-than-life decor and outgoing waitstaff. What it lacks in stature, though, it makes up for in potency: it’s sprinkled with unexpected bits of caramel and flecks of warm togarashi, a chili-heavy blend of spices from Japan. In fact, it still managed to be the most memorable part of a meal that included a Half Acre pilsner and a burger with horseradish, caraway-pickled apples, and onion jam. – Cody Braun 3. Corn Fritters at White Fence Farm (Romeoville | 1376 Joliet Rd.) Corniness level: your great-aunt’s email chain letters Depending on who you ask, the housemade corn fritters might be the main reason to go to White Fence Farm. Last Sunday was my first trip to this kitschy chicken-dinner destination, which has seen the stock-market crash and the moon landing come and go. But my dining companion grew up coming here after church, when he would binge on unlimited fritters as the adults ate less kid-friendly sides, such as pickled beets and cottage cheese. These hot fried nuggets come dusted in sugar, and, as a lover of state-fair food, I was pleased to find these sweet little mouthfuls to be more akin to mini donuts than traditional hushpuppies. The outside was crisp, the inside was cakey and soft. It was actually quite hard to restrain myself and not fill on these lil' guys before the chicken arrived. I can only imagine the damage 10-year-old me would have done when presented with a bottomless bowl. – Anna Skorczeski  2. Corn Pudding at Feed (Humboldt Park | 2803 W. Chicago Ave.) Corniness level: heavily Photoshopped engagement photos  The sides on the takeout menu at Feed are divided into two categories: Hot and Not Hot. "Cold" just wouldn't be right for a menu so full of comfort food. Of the more than 14 sides, the corn pudding is one of my favorites. It’s a slightly sweet, cornbread-like crumble with some kernels left intact, a testament to Feed’s made-from-scratch ethos. Come with cash (Feed is cash only) and your favorite beer or wine to BYO—there’s an impressive beer selection a couple blocks east at Tabb’s Food & Liquor, aka Nevada (2600 W. Chicago Ave.). – Molly Metzig 1. Corn pudding from County Barbeque (Little Italy | 1352 W. Taylor St.) Corniness level: Celine Dion singing “Who Let the Dogs Out?” When I wax nostalgic about the home-cooked dishes I’d request at birthdays, holidays, and every other potentially festive occasion, my mom’s corn casserole is usually at the top of the list. So you can imagine my sheer delight in finding an outstanding approximation on a recent visit to County Barbeque, a Little Italy newcomer that just earned a Michelin Bib Gourmand distinction. Sweet and buttery, the corn pudding emerged a clear favorite out of all the sides I tasted between bites of pulled pork and burnt ends. It nailed the best parts of my mom’s version: real kernels mingling with their creamy cornbread-like surroundings for a perfectly spoonable texture. The charred scallions also brought a nice smoky bite to the mix. While I’m still loyal to my mom’s recipe, I’ll happily chow down on this local stand-in between family functions. – Hillary Proctor Photo of corn pudding at County Barbeque courtesy of Lindsey Becker