Category Archives: quick lunch

BellyQ Udon Noodle Soup

There’s really never a bad time to dig your spoon/chopsticks/face into a bowl of udon noodles at BellyQ, but over-cast, rainy, when-the-hell-is-spring-getting-here-already weeks are especially ideal. This heaping bowl of goodness (house noodles, pulled pork, cilantro, pork dumplings, bok choy) is also great for the pre-sick, hungover or simply those in the mood for a seriously delicious bowl of Korean noodle soup. BellyQ, 1400 W. Randolph

Udon noodle soup

Udon noodle soup


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Filed under great for date, I like to eats, quick lunch

*Turkey salad at Publican Quality Meats (and an elizabites update…)

Still turkey’d out from the holiday? I personally don’t think it’s possible. It could be the day after Thanksgiving and I still crave the turkey salad at Publican Quality Meats. Yes, I know slabs, links and slices of juicy meat beckon from the cases when you walk in, but this lighter option on the menu blew me away the first time I had it in the spring with fiddlehead ferns, and just a week ago with mustard greens. The vegetables change seasonally, but the base is leafy greens, roasted vegetables, feta, avocado, green harissa, and sliced, smoked turkey. Instead of a just a few strips, it’s a serious mound, more than you would expect on a salad, but perfect for soaking up the tangy green harissa sauce and mixing in with the greens. Plus, the smokey, thick slices complement the bite of the mustard greens and feta and pick up the notes of roast carrots. Can’t avoid the beef, pork belly or lamb sausage at PMQ, at least start with the salad…you won’t be sorry. PMQ, 825 W. Fulton Market
*This asterisk refers to a new post, and a post is something I have been neglecting to lavish you with lately, dear readers. I started this blog in 2008, and posted nearly everyday for years until my actual job, freelance work and life got in the way (naturally). To balance everything out and keep you all salivating, you can expect one post a week, every Wednesday, mostly a mini review about the best thing I ate all week…read, eat, enjoy. Liz

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Filed under great for date, I like to eats, quick lunch

Antique Taco

Mason jars, cloth napkins, vintage drums, even the font of the menu on the wall and other rustic touches set the scene

Even after 6 days on a serious taco binge in Mexico over Memorial Day weekend, I was dying to get to Antique Taco in Wicker Park. I had heard good things, but was honestly expecting a Big Star off-shoot, but discovered a gem of a taco cafe that was more quaint, rustic and seasonal than taqueria roadhouse. Don’t get me wrong, I loooove me some Big Star when I’m in the mood for some cerveza with my pork belly and summer crowds. But Antique Taco offered a different, and equally as delicious experience. Let start with the tacos. One look at the menu and my eyes darted to “garlicky kale,” “pickled escabeche” and “cilantro cream” in the market mushroom, so I knew I had to have it. These ingredients along with local mushrooms were stuffed inside a fresh, soft tortilla, each bite delivering all of my favorite flavors and bursts of lush green and pink. A fresh lemon wedge for the squeezing just added to the beauty of these generously sized dish.

Market mushroom taco

Garlic-soaked or not, I could eat kale everyday, but I need something crispy to balance it out. Our other taco was the crispy fish with smoked cabbage, scallions and sriracha tarter sauce. Light tempura battered whitefish was the perfect canvas for the smoky cabbage and spicy tartar sauce, again all wrapped up in a fresh flour tortilla.

Crispy fish taco

Coming off my Mexico trip, I had to do the tacos, but you won’t miss the tortillas if you get the taco salad served in a cardboard blueberry carton. With a crunchy and colorful array of kale, spicy peanuts, queso fresco, cranberries, corn chips, sesame, pomegranate vinaigrette, it’s almost too pretty to eat.

Antique taco salad

Pork carnitas, a toasted tortilla soup, chili cheese curds and habanero popcorn on the menu mean multiple visits are in order to basically try, well everything, and I didn’t even get to the horchata milkshake or are you kidding me Mexican chocolate and marshmallow pop tart, but the perfect summer quencher (and something we sipped all over Mexico) are the agua frescas made with seasonal pureed fruit, simple syrup and lemon juice…available with or without vodka. OK, I’ll stop, just go.
Antique Taco, 1360 N. Milwaukee Ave.

Watermelon agua fresca


Filed under great for date, I like to eats, new restaurants, quick lunch

Housemade granola at Atomix Coffee Shop

It’s safe to say that I am a Greek yogurt parfait junkie (Chia seeds, honey, fresh fruit, the works), and am about to venture into trying out some granola recipes (suggestions welcome!). I’m pretty particular about my parfaits, with Milk & Honey topping the list, and any sugary fast food or airport version slowly torturing my soul. So, I was pleasantly surprised to see that Atomix Cafe of all places added a housemade granola and yogurt to their ever-expanding brunch selections (they have egg sandwiches too!). Being in the hood, I used frequent Atomix more, despite the quizzical look everyone sitting down gives you when you walk in, the very un feng-shui like set-up (fueled mostly by the mess of half-read newspapers and flyers stacked up when you walk in, and the stacks of random boxes in the back) and the uncomfortable chairs. But they brew a mean mug of coffee, make awesome lattes, and now, make their own granola with whole almonds, oats, dried fruit, and topped with coconut. It’s not too sweet or sugar-coated, and has a nice spice to it. I also like that the yogurt is served in a bowl on the side so you can mix it in, add on a banana and generally settle in for a surprisingly good breakfast. Atomix, 1957 W. Chicago Ave.

Yogurt and housemade granola at Atomix

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Filed under cheap, tasty brunch, not known for, quick lunch

Floriole tartines…

As if Floriole Bakery wasn’t lovely enough, they had to go ahead and put these two open-faced tartines on their lunch menu last week…a goat cheese with zucchini, radishes and summer squash, and eggplant with feta, balsamic and spinach. These open-faced sandwiches are served with a fresh greens salad, and are small enough to leave room for dessert. Floriole Cafe and Bakery, 1120 W. Webster Ave.

Goat cheese, zucchini and summer squash tartine

Eggplant tartine

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Filed under cheap, tasty brunch, great for date, quick lunch

On the table: Osteria Via Stato

4 napkin rolls, 4 water glasses, red pepper flakes, 4 plates, table top fashioned from wine boxes. Osteria Via Stato, 620 N. State Street.

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On the table: Manny’s Deli

Ketchup, brown mustard, yellow mustard, salt, pepper, napkins, horseradish. Manny’s Deli, 1141 S. Jefferson St.

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5411 Empanadas

From meaty balls to naan sandwiches, there’s an army of delicious food trucks milling about the city, but I rarely spot one, well, parked anyway, especially right outside my office. So you can imagine my delight when rumors of a big blue truck stocked with flaky, fresh-baked Argentine empanadas parked outside began filtering through the office. I know the idea is to follow something as delicious at 5411 empanadas on Twitter, but hey, sometimes if you’re lucky (or if someone in the office above you makes a special request for a lunchtime appearance) they pull right up with hot empanadas like beef, barbecued chicken, ham and cheese, spinach and cheese and $1.99 a pop. About half an hour after we all stocked up on these hot little pockets, the truck was gone…onto North and Clybourn to feed hungry Apple store browsers. As spring finally decides to show up, this is one truck (of many) I’ll be eager to track down around town.

Empanadas on the run

Corn empanada

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Filed under I like to eats, new restaurants, quick lunch, random spottings