100 foods to eat before you die ... and where to find them in Chicago: Chitlins to Durian

100 foods to eat before you die ... and where to find them in Chicago: Chitlins to Durian
Durian. (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

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:

21. Chitlins: I've never tried pig intestines. And I don't feel particularly upset about this. But if I were to develop a sudden urge for chitlins (also known as chitterlings), I could try either Pearl's Place, 3901 S .Michigan Ave., or Turner's Family Dining & Soul Food, 8233 S. Ashland Ave.

22. Churros: If you're looking for a good churro in Chicago, then it's probably best to head to Pilsen. Two restaurants that specialize in churros are Don Churro, 1626 S. Blue Island Ave., and Churro Factory, which has a number of locations throughout the city.

23. Clam Chowder: While Chicago certainly isn't a part of New England, that doesn't mean you can't get a good bowl of this soup in the city. Glenn's Diner, 1820 W. Montrose, claims to have the "best damn New England clam chowder west of the Atlantic Ocean," though Newman Knows Chicago had some other suggestions.

24. Cognac: Go to most any liquor store, ask for cognac. But if you're looking for the best cognac cocktail in Chicago, Chicago Magazine recommends this one.

25. Crab Cakes: I love crab cakes. And, unsurprisingly, many restaurants in Chicago serve crab cakes. The place I saw most often referred to, though, is Shaw's Crab House, 21 E. Hubbard St, which sells a Maryland Style Crab Cake for $15.

26. Crickets: For the non-chocolate covered variety, go to a bait shop. Become a fish if possible as you will enjoy them more that way. For the chocolate-covered variety, find a state fair. However, if you're looking for chapulines, which are fried grasshoppers eaten in certain parts of Mexico, good luck finding them in Chicago. A few restaurants, such as Las Fuentes/Tepatulco, used to serve them, but all of the restaurants that serve authentic Oaxacan food that I called have stopped doing so.

27. Currywurst: What happens when you mix German food with Indian spices? This happens. If you're looking for this German favorite, search no further than Uberstein, which has locations in Wrigleyville and Bucktown.

28. Dandelion Wine: I'm not a wine fan in general so you won't find me searching for this. This also is another tricky one to find in Chicago unless you know someone who knows how to make it. I don't. If you're desperate to try it, though, you can order some from Village Winery in Amana, Iowa, for $10 a bottle.

29. Dulce De Leche: This sweet treat popular in Latin America can be found at a number of restaurants in Chicago, but two items stood out in particular to me. For the ultimate sweet and salty treat, Jerry's, 505 Chestnut St., Winnetka, serves a Popcorn Dulce de Leche Sundae. Or if you prefer dulce de leche in liquid form, you can get the Dulce de Leche martini at Zocalo, 358 W. Ontario,

30. Durian: If you like fruit to be somewhat stinky, well, then durian just might be for you. The Chicago Reader recently ran an article on how Danny Shapiro of Scofflaw, 3201 W. Armitage, uses durian in a "poopsicle" (their word, not mine). I'm salivating already.

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• Joe Grace is a writer and longtime journalist who lives in Chicago. Write to him at joewriter81@gmail.com. He has tried churros, crab cakes and crickets. He is not particularly interested in a "poopsicle." If you haven't yet, please like Going for Gusto on Facebook or follow me on Twitter.

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