100 foods to eat before you die … and where to find them in Chicago: Philly Cheese Steak to Raw Oysters

100 foods to eat before you die … and where to find them in Chicago: Philly Cheese Steak to Raw Oysters
Cheesesteak. (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:

71. Philly Cheese Steak: Chicago isn't necessarily the city of choice for finding the best Philly cheese steak. At least, it's not according to this GreaseFreak post. Out of all the restaurants reviewed, its favorite was Hoagie Hut, which is now closed. Without any other clear winners, we'll just go with Philly's Best, which has numerous locations in Chicago.

72. Pho: The first time I tried pho was during a trip to Seattle to visit my dad, who lived near there at the time. I've loved it ever since. It just might be my favorite item of the 100 foods to eat before you die. Tank Noodle, 4953-55 N. Broadway, was chosen in 2010 by Chicago Reader readers to have the best pho in Chicago. (Best pho was not a category in 2011). And who am I to argue with Chicago Reader readers?

73. Pineapple and Cottage Cheese: I guess this is a thing. I didn't find any Chicago restaurants that served this as a combo, but never fear. Go to the grocery store. Buy some pineapple. Buy some cottage cheese. Mix them together. Voila.

74. Pistachio Ice Cream: Easy enough. I'm going with my favorite place to get ice cream in the city – Bobtail, 2951 N. Broadway.

75. Po' Boy: I've always wanted to try this Louisiana sandwich, but just haven't yet. In November 2010, Chicago Magazine had a feature called "Five Chicago Takes on the Po' Boy." The po' boy at Joey's Shrimp House, 1432 N. Western Ave., sounds especially tempting.

76. Pocky: Had not heard of this one before and didn't really know what to expect when I started researching it. I was kind of imagining a miniature Hot Pocket. What I definitely didn't expect it to be, though, was a Japanese snack food. You can find it at Tai Nam Food Market, 4925 N. Broadway.

77. Polenta: I've always kind of been take it or leave it with polenta. It really depends on how it's served. One way that does sound good to me is the mushroom saute over creamy polenta at MANA food bar, 1742 W. Division St.

78. Prickly Pear: I don't normally associate spiky plant life with tasty, but perhaps I should make an exception here. It seems to be most often served in margaritas or mojitos in Chicago. Chicago Tribune social media guy Scott Kleinberg pinned the prickly pear margarita a few weeks ago at Zocalo, 358 W. Ontario

79. Rabbit Stew: There are many excellent rabbit dishes served at restaurants in Chicago, but not much rabbit stew. I did, however, find stewed rabbit at Lao Sze Chuan, 2172 S. Archer Ave.

80. Raw Oysters: As it did with lobster, Haute Living magazine is going to help us out with its list of the "Top 5 Raw Bars in Chicago." Bless them for doing the research for me. No. 1 on the list is The Publican, 837 West Fulton Market.

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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 pho, pistachio ice cream, polenta and raw oysters. If you haven't yet, please like Going for Gusto on Facebook or follow me on Twitter.

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