Plan to indulge a bit at Wayne Country Store, though, because they don't offer any low-fat fare.
Wayne Country Store's selection of bread goes great with any meal you were planning on making.
Dial down your thirst with some delicious drinks that are both refreshing and cool.
At Wayne Country Store, you can find a large selection of canned food items and other tasty meal items.
Feeling hungry? Make your breakfast, lunch, or dinner even better with some great seasonings and spices from here.
Chicken, beef, sausage, and more are all available from this fine establishment for your cuisine.
Planning a movie night? Stock up on all of your favorite snacks and munch and crunch all night long.
Water junkies can get their gulp on with a swig from Wayne Country Store.
A classic breakfast option, cereal is always good to have on hand. A box is sure to ease everyone's morning appetite without taking too much time off the clock.
Do you have a new pasta recipe that you've been dying to try? Pick up some noodles and treat yourself to a tasty dish.
Don't let the amazing deals at this place pass you by. When you stop in today, you'll be able to browse an absolutely fabulous selection of vinegar and oil that can mean transformative changes to your cuisine.
Loaded with essential vitamins and minerals, the produce from this store will give you the energy your body needs.
Ready, set, fish! For heart-healthy fare, super fresh seafood is readily available.
A simple solution to long hours spent over the stove, a microwavable meal will trick your taste buds into thinking it was made from scratch!
Add a little bit of sweet goodness to all your baked goods for top-notch flavor and form. Pick up your staples at Wayne Country Store.
Experience a new blend of coffee or tea from Wayne Country Store and sip your way to happiness.
If milk is your go-to beverage, you'll love the dairy products available here (great for strengthening your bones and teeth).
When you're pulling long hours at the office, you don't want to come home and spend hours slaving over a hot stove. Fix that potential problem by exploring the frozen food options offered here.
No matter what type of vehicle you drive, you can find safe parking options nearby.
Stanley's Ale House and Restaurant serves tasty American-style cuisine.
Gather the whole family for a trip to this restaurant — everyone will find something to like (even the pickiest little eater) on the menu here.
Stanley's Ale House and Restaurant's outdoor seating is available during the warmer months.
Stay in the loop (and online!) by tapping into Stanley's Ale House and Restaurant's free wifi hotspot.
Stanley's Ale House and Restaurant draws a crowd with performances from live DJs.
Weekend diners, beware! The restaurant is busiest on Friday and Saturday, so getting seated will take some time.
For those in a hurry, the restaurant lets you take your meal or snack to go.
Stanley's Ale House and Restaurant is close to multiple parking options.
If you don't want a night that will cost you an arm and a leg but you do want a delicious meal, come to Stanley's Ale House and Restaurant.
A hearty salad, juicy burger, or classic chicken — all of your favorite American dishes will be made fresh when you head to Stanley's Ale House and Restaurant.
For a casual American classic, Stanley's Ale House and Restaurant will serve you up a delicious meal in South Elgin.
Make your way over to the highly-rated Stanley's Ale House and Restaurant and taste your way through some great American dishes.
El Grande Burrito is a casual eatery that offers a wide selection of Tex-Mex staples.
The whole family can enjoy a meal at this restaurant with its kid-friendly fare.
Wear what you like when you dine at El Grande Burrito — the restaurant has a chill vibe just right for casual dining.
Always five minutes behind schedule? Pick up your food to go instead.
The restaurant also offers catering if you want to bring the flavors of El Grande Burrito to your next party or event.
A nearby parking lot is readily available for El Grande Burrito's diners.
For those who travel by bike, El Grande Burrito offers bike racks for diners.
Three meals a day are served at El Grande Burrito, so you can choose to start your day or end your evening here.
So seek out your mountain of chips and salsa at El Grande Burrito. Tex-Mex deliciousness awaits.
When it comes to Tex Mex, El Grande Burrito serves up some of the best eats in town. Come see what the buzz is all about.
So head to El Grande Burrito, where you can expect nothing less than the highest rated Mexican cuisine.
When you just want to relax and indulge in some Mexican fare, El Grande Burrito has you covered.
When you're ready for a delicious meal, pay El Grande Burrito a visit and taste the many flavors of Mexico.
Fill up on fries and other comfort food at Booker's Bar and Grill, a savory spot for American cuisine.
You'll find a wonderful selection of drinks from this restaurant's full bar to top off your meal.
Have a large group? No problem. Head to Booker's Bar and Grill for easy seating.
Booker's Bar and Grill's outdoor seating is available during the warmer months.
Surf the web from your tablet or laptop on Booker's Bar and Grill's complimentary wifi.
The restaurant's background buzz is a bit loud, so those seeking low-key conversation are advised to dine elsewhere.
The dress code at Booker's Bar and Grill is as relaxed as the ambience, so wear whatever suits you.
Getting your food to go is also an option.
It's time to gather up the party people. Serve them great food from Booker's Bar and Grill.
Drivers can access the parking lot next door.
Booker's Bar and Grill provides ample space for bikers to store their bikes.
Whether you're in the mood for AM eggs, a midday salad, or an evening entree, Booker's Bar and Grill provides service throughout the day.
Booker's Bar and Grill is a great place to go for lunch or dinner, so make your way over to the restaurant today and munch on an American classic.
Visit Chili's and indulge in some good old-fashioned American cuisine.
Both low-fat and gluten-free menu items are offered at Chili's.
You'll find a wonderful selection of drinks from this restaurant's full bar to top off your meal.
This restaurant is kid-friendly, so little ones are welcome to tag along.
Chili's offers an affordable happy hour.
Skip long waits and head to Chili's with your large group for easy seating.
Wifi here is on the house.
Crowds are boisterous at the restaurant and the music is blaring, so get ready for a very loud night out.
Show up in sneakers or a suit at Chili's, where dining in comfort is of utmost importance.
If time is of the essence, this restaurant's take-out option may be a better fit.
Take the comfort of your own home and add great grub from Chili's to create the perfect night.
With a host of nearby parking options, many choose to drive to dinner.
Prices tend towards the moderate side, with the average tab at Chili's running under $30 per person.
You'll definitely want to reconsider going anywhere else when the food at Chili's tastes like pure heaven!
Pay Chili's a visit today and fill up on some classic American dishes in a casual environment.
For wings with a ton of zest, South Elgin's Buffalo Wild Wings has got you covered.
Don't go thirsty during dinner! This restaurant also offers a splendid drink list featuring wine, beer, and more.
This restaurant is great for families with kids.
Buffalo Wild Wings offers discounted prices on food and drinks during happy hour.
Don't go off the grid! With the free wifi at Buffalo Wild Wings, you can surf the web and get some work done.
Those with sensitive ears may want to stay away from this restaurant, though, as it can get quite loud.
Prepare to face the crowds if you visit on the weekend — Friday and Saturday are Buffalo Wild Wings' busiest days.
Diners who appreciate a no-frills environment come to Buffalo Wild Wings in jeans and a hoodie.
Need to get out of the house? Order and pick up from this restaurant.
Drivers will find quick and easy parking just around the corner from Buffalo Wild Wings.
Buffalo Wild Wings is a prime location for cyclists to park their bikes and enjoy a bite to eat.
Meals at Buffalo Wild Wings are incredibly tasty and reasonably priced around $30.
Duck into Buffalo Wild Wings for a quick bite and excellent wings.
Siu mai: small pork dumplings. Each has a thin wrapper that needs to be delicately pleated by hand. Easily, they’re one of the most labor-intensive items at Phoenix Restaurant in Chicago, where each weekend this Chinese restaurant serves 80 different varieties of classic dim sum snacks.
This little fact about the siu mai is one of many surprising stories I learn from Eddy, the chef at Phoenix, where he also handles a million other tasks to keep the restaurant running smoothly. When I first came in, he was waving at a group of regulars while on the phone haggling with a seafood vendor.
“What we are serving in this restaurant is what we are eating in Hong Kong. ... It’s very typical,” Eddy says.
In 1996, Phoenix was one of the first restaurants to introduce dim sum to Chicago. Its customer base has grown over the years, and today, even with other dim sum restaurants up and down the block, you’ll find long lines winding out the door on any given Sunday.
Sound intimidating? It doesn't have to be.
Here's our guide to dim-sum dining, with a few tips from Eddy.
On the weekend: order dim sum off a cart
On weekends and special holidays, the wait staff winds traditional dim sum carts around tables, lifting lids off stacked steamer baskets to reveal the enticing contents. Should you see something you like, they leave the basket on your table and put a checkmark on your bill (it’s tallied at the end).
Phoenix is one of the only dim-sum restaurants in Chicago that still uses these carts. When I ask Eddy why they keep them, he says “tradition.” Not only to impress the tourists who come in, but also to let Chinese-American customers share this bit of culture with their kids.
Hot tip: if you want to experience the pushcarts without the crowds, head over on a Saturday, which tends to be less busy than Sundays, Eddy says.
On a weekday: order dim sum off the menu
Cartless weekdays offer a quiet, more peaceful atmosphere for ordering off the paper menu, which you can find near the hostess stand. Don't be intimidated—the menu has pictures; it has numbers; it has names written in both Chinese and English. And best of all, you need only point to what you want to have it brought out from the kitchen.
So what should you get?
“Everyone has their favorites,” Eddy says. The most popular dishes with Westerners are ha gao (shrimp dumplings) and siu mai (pork dumplings mentioned above). Kids gravitate toward the crunchy, easy-to-grip shrimp rolls and sweeter fare, from mango pudding (pictured above) to custard rolls.
Foreign travelers, especially those from Latin America, and adventurous eaters alike seem to love the chicken feet (pictured at bottom-right of top photo), a more exotic dish consisting of skin and tendons. While all these dishes are traditional, the chefs can tweak the recipes to accommodate for special diets or food allergies.
When diners are new to dim sum, Eddy encourages them to experiment. He’ll point out a few of the more popular dishes; if there’s something they don’t end up liking, it can easily be swapped out for something else. This way, by the second or third visit, diners will have a better idea of what they like.
And don't forget the tea
At dim sum, the tea is equally important to the food. Phoenix serves three different types: green tea, white tea, and brown tea. “Each one has its own usage,” Eddy says. While we talk, we drink jasmine tea, which is good for getting rid of toxins.
You can show your dim sum know-how by obeying proper tea etiquette. When your teapot is out of water, prop the lid off to the side. This signals to the wait staff that you need more hot water.
Eddy pours more tea and tells me to tap my fingers lightly against the table when the cup is nearly full. “When your friend or host fills your tea, this means ‘thank you’,” he says. “It’s part of the custom.”
Photos by Andrew Nawrocki, Groupon
I had no idea what to expect upon arriving at Elizabeth, the Michelin Star winner from Chef Iliana Regan. But an unmarked, unremarkable storefront between a tire shop and a sporting-goods store certainly wasn’t it. With few exceptions (Schwa, most notably), Chicago’s upper-echelon restaurants boast exteriors that match their illustrious River North and Restaurant Row addresses.
But as it turns out, Regan has no taste for that sort of superficial flash. She dons no chef’s whites. She displays no awards. She does not raise her voice to the Gordon Ramsay–level roar or even the Rachael Ray-ish rollick that TV cameras eat up.
Instead, this northwest Indiana native quietly built her reputation as someone who hunts for frogs and spears them herself. Someone who has suffered tick bites and poison-ivy rashes foraging for wild flora. Someone who has penned an essay on intensity for Lucky Peach and once themed an Elizabeth tasting menu after those violent and visceral A Song of Ice and Fire novels.
So yeah, I was kinda terrified to eat her food.
I’d never done a tasting menu before. And I wouldn’t necessarily classify myself as a picky eater, but I’m not a particularly adventurous one either, particularly when it comes to meat. (I can barely look at plated octopus without shivering.) I’d heard that Regan once served edible ants. Which are, like, bugs.
My nerves were calmed upon walking into Elizabeth, though. Austere yet charming, the whitewashed space was accented by light fixtures made from bare tree branches; dining chairs draped with faux-fur slipcovers; a chef’s counter armed with Elder Scrolls and Vikings Funko Pop! dolls. It was all in support of the season’s menu theme: vikings.
There were two options: land or sea. Or, as the first in a delightful succession of servers explained it, “Imagine a viking ship has reached the shore. One group goes on land to look for food, the other into the sea.” My friend Erin and I opted to order one of each to share and, despite my trepidation of certain meats, placed no restrictions on what we would eat. (You can arrange for some allergies and dietary needs in advance.) We wanted to go all in.
After the amuse-bouche—a surprisingly complex roasted whey carrot dressed with goat’s-milk cheese and edible flowers—came our first courses. The land dish was … a bowl of rocks. The server assured me the top “rock” was actually a baked potato coated in edible clay. But it was very convincing as a rock, so I bit in with trepidation. As Erin ate the rest, dipping it into the cheese and butter puddings it was served with, I forked into her langoustine with lingonberries. (Pro tip: don’t try to tear off the claw without looking. You will stab your finger on a spine.) So far, so very good.
As the servers continued to weave their culinary narrative, I realized there was an unmentioned character in their tale—Elizabeth itself. The restaurant is small, seating about 16 or so, and the kitchen is wide open. It was impossible not to get caught up in what was happening back there, particularly when sous chefs were wielding brûlée torches and “plating” on gorgeous pieces of handmade pottery. And the line between front and back of house was practically nonexistent. One moment, you’d see someone in the kitchen stirring and slicing; the next they’d be presenting your next course or clearing your table. (Chef Regan included.)
This created an unexpected intimacy, one that removed any hesitation when asking about a particular dish. It’s clear the teammates take a deep yet quiet pride in their collective work. They spoke warmly about where ingredients came from, excitedly about the preparation techniques used. They always used “we” or “our,” never “me” or “Chef Regan.” (Again, Chef Regan included.)
Over the next few courses, there were so many charms. An herb-rolled, soft-boiled quail egg served in an actual nest; impossibly chewy seaweed bread darkened by squid ink; a cauliflower-mushroom soup that Erin about died over. I was particularly fond of a course called Barnyard: headcheese dusted with beet powder, paired with a collage of root vegetables and flavored puddings reminiscent of something out of the Art Institute of Chicago’s Modern Wing.
And that’s the thing. Never in my life would I have thought that I’d be fond of headcheese. I would have probably never eaten it if it weren’t for this meal. But it was fun to break out of my culinary comfort zone.
The other surprising thing? How full we were, considering it was a tasting menu. By the time we were served the entree courses—rare lamb medallions wrapped in swiss chard and pickled fish in a sauce of its own bones—we were taking deep breaths between bites. I’m pretty sure they were the only two plates we didn’t completely clean.
We managed to buck up for our “one-and-a-half” dessert courses, as the server put it. (The “half” was a palate-cleansing sorbet.) Our favorite was Under the Sea, a spongy coral-seaweed cake so realistic looking it prompted me to ask the server just how much of it we could eat. “All of it,” she said. We complied.
Maybe, as a writer, I’m just a sucker for a good story. But I was enchanted by Elizabeth, both in backstory and in not knowing what was coming next throughout the culinary adventure. And while I probably won’t be buying headcheese any time soon, I’m excited to see what Chef Regan has up her non-chef’s-whites sleeves next season.
Shop Chef Iliana Regan's tasting-menu experience at Elizabeth Restaurant:
Watch her explain her approach to fine dining:
As useful as WD40 and much more edible, coconut oil is a powerhouse. In fact, just one jar of the stuff can replace several household staples, from kitchen ingredients to baby wipes. Here’s how to substitute it for 16 total items in 3 rooms of the home:
1. Coffee: Coconut oil is a reputed energy booster. Swallowing a spoonful or two in the afternoon can be a healthful alternative to a cuppa.2. Coffee creamer: Emulsified and poured into coffee, it’s much tastier than (and probably just as nutritious as) that bulletproof stuff.3. Butter or oil (when sautéing): Coconut oil’s high smoke point makes it great for cooking on the stovetop, especially at high heat. Try swapping it in when making stir-fries, scrambled eggs, or pancakes, especially if you like a very mild coconut flavor.4. Oil (when baking): The oil imparts a delicious je ne sais quoi to baked goods—even boxed ones. Use it to give from-the-box brownies an upgrade, and you’ll dream about them for days.5. Condiments: Drop it into quinoa or oatmeal for added nutrients and healthy fats. You can also put it on top of sweet potatoes instead of butter!
6. Moisturizer: It works on your body and your face. It’s naturally SPF 4, so it offers a bit of protection from UV rays, too.7. Leave-in conditioner and anti-static agent: Rub a small amount between your hands and smooth them over your hair to control flyaways.8. Lip balm: It soothes sore, chapped lips, and other skin irritations.9. Eye-makeup remover: Rub it between your fingers until it liquefies, smear it on your lids, and wipe it off with a cotton pad.10. Face wash: Add a little water and rub it in your hands until it foams.11. Hand and foot cream: Massage it into cracked knuckles, or slather it onto your soles and stick them into socks for an overnight soak.12. Shaving cream: It’ll give you a smooth shave, plus additional moisture for your skin.
13. Ouchie ointment: Dab it on cuts and scrapes, which will benefit from its antimicrobial properties.14. Anti-itch cream: Coconut oil reduces itching from bug bites, and helps to calm sunburn, eczema, and cradle cap.15. Diaper cream: A layer on baby’s bottom guards against (and soothes) diaper rash flare-ups.16. Baby wipes: Simply mix it with hot water and pour it over a stack of paper towels that you’ve cut in half. Keep the towels in an airtight container so they stay moist.
Check out more coconut-oil coverage:
Oil Pulling Whitens Your Teeth and (Maybe) Makes You Invincible
The Five Best Uses for Coconut Oil You’ve Never Heard Of