100 foods to eat before you die … and where to find them in Chicago: Fugu to Heirloom Tomatoes

100 foods to eat before you die … and where to find them in Chicago: Fugu to Heirloom Tomatoes

Once upon a time, somebody created "The Food List Challenge," a selection of 100 foods and drinks that the author believed everyone should try before they die.

I looked through the list recently and discovered there were many I had not tried – and some that I didn't even know where I could try them at. So, I decided to find out:

41. Fugu: I did not know what fugu was before looking it up, but it turns out I've eaten a non-poisonous version of the Japanese pufferfish dish at Sugar Toad at the Hotel Arista, 2139 City Gate Lane, Naperville. A sugar toad refers to the northern puffer, which is non-poisonous and found in the Chesapeake Bay region. However, if you're looking for fugu, which is usually made from a super-poisonous pufferfish, then Leah A. Zeldes of Dining Chicago (who – by the way – has tried 98 of the 100 foods on this list) knows where you need to goAi Japanese Restaurant & Lounge, 358 W Ontario. Be sure to call ahead to see if they have any, though, since it seems to be offered only during certain times of the year.

42. Funnel Cake: Ah, funnel cake, you vixen of the carnival world. If a carnival's not around, however, you can always try Navy Pier.

43. Gazpacho: Cold soup isn't really my thing, but I know there are those out there who dig a good bowl of gazpacho. And for those who do, the Chicago Tribune had good things to say about the gazpacho at Mercat a la Planxa, 638 S. Michigan Ave.

44. Goat: I like former "Top Chef"-contestant Stephanie Izard, and her restaurant is aptly named, so we're going to give Girl and the Goat, 809 West Randolph St., the nod here. And if you call ahead, you might even be able to get a whole goat leg prepared for you.

45. Goat's Milk: If you're looking to drink a glass of goat's milk, there are grocery stores throughout the city that sell it, or you can check out Eat Wild to find farms nearby that sell it. If you're looking for dishes made with goat's milk, however, Gapers Block has a few suggestions.

46. Goulash: While famed Hungarian restaurant Paprikash closed a few years ago – as well as its Riverside successor – this hearty Hungarian soup still can be found in a few places in Chicago, such as Klas, 5734 W. Cermak Road.

47. Gumbo: The first place I ever tried gumbo was Heaven on Seven in Chicago. I fell in love with the Louisiana specialty there. It has two locations in Chicago and one in Naperville. If you're looking for a less well-known place, though, Steve Dolinsky of ABC7 recommends Lagniappe Creole Cajun Joynt, 1525 W. 79th St.

48. Haggis: I generally like pudding made of chocolate, vanilla – or, if I'm feeling daring – tapioca. Some people like pudding made of the internal organs of sheep. One of those people is famed Chicago chef Charlie Trotter, though you won't find it on the current menu at Charlie Trotter's. It doesn't seem to be a very popular dish in Chicago. Even "the Scottish pub" – the Duke of Perth, doesn't have it on the menu. (It has something called Haggis wings, but I don't think substituting the word haggis for buffalo counts as eating haggis). You might be best off bringing some home from Gaelic Imports, 6346 W Gunnison.

49. Head Cheese: We must be in the gross portion of 100 foods to eat before you die. The preparation of head cheese just sounds horrible. You can get it at a few markets in Chicago, though if you want it in a dish, Trenchermen, 2039 W. North Ave., which will be opening soon, plans to offer hominy tortellini stuffed with head cheese in a posole consommé, according to Chicago Magazine.

50. Heirloom Tomatoes: The best time for heirloom tomatoes is late summer or early fall. Since it's now spring, they're not exactly easy to find at the moment. If you can wait a bit, though, Dishtip has a list of restaurants that have served heirloom tomato salads in the past and might again when they're back in season.



• Joe Grace is a writer and longtime journalist who lives in Chicago. Write to him at joewriter81@gmail.com. He has tried funnel cake, gumbo and heirloom tomatoes. If you haven't yet, please like Going for Gusto on Facebook or follow me on Twitter.

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