Guilty of a Fun Time in Food Town

So, I’d love to sit here and tell you that I eat a consistent diet of brown rice, lean protein, never consume caffeine, don't dump an entire salt shaker on food that is supposed to be low in sodium therefore defeating the purpose, etc. I am absolutely not knocking eating healthy; in fact, I do try to do so. And I would, to defend myself, say I do about 93% of the time.* Try being the operative word. Hence, the fact why eating the foods discussed here in detail is a very, very guilty pleasure for me. Living in a city like Chicago has a plethora of delicious temptations waiting on every corner. I sometimes weep when reaching for a Lean Cuisine.

Therefore, when I go “bad” with my food, I love to go all out. The following are my recommendations for a fun time in food town. And if grilled steamed poached butter-less no-salt skinless organic chicken breast is your cup of tea, I suggest not reading the below list as you may burn out your eyes.

Best “You’ll bet your bottom dollar you’ll have indigestion” Mexican Food:
Winner: Taquerias with a double digit number: Any Mexican food place with a number is automatically delicious. Taco Palace #45, Burrito House #24. All I think of is melted cheese and those never-ending hot sauce bottles on the table. I have always had a secret desire to visit each numeral in a taqueria chain’s empire every day for a month. I also have a not so secret desire to fit into my pants, so there’s that.
Honorable mention: Taco Burrito King. I grew up on this stuff. Sadly, I think I HAVE been to each separate TBK location. Big accomplishment!

Best “We could serve a shoe or a kite, it will still taste good as long as it’s fried” Food
Five Faces on Division or any other “We sell every item of junk food on the planet” establishment: I would be hard pressed to find ONE item on the menu at Five Faces that is NOT fried. I bet if they had a fruit salad it would be fried. But let’s be real, when you go to Five Faces, you have the pizza puff with a side of mozzarella sticks blinders on. Also, beware of the large overwhelming menu. You will want one of EVERYTHING. Also take comfort that it will- in fact- All. Taste. The. Same.
Honorable mention: Any place that serves your food in a brown spotted greasy bag and only accepts cash.

Best “I am going to sit here and people watch with 12 cups of coffee and order breakfast at 1am”
Tempo Café: See, Tempo’s food is actually pretty decent. I feel bad classifying it as “bad”. However, I do consider it a bit strange to eat breakfast at any hour of the day. Nothing is as satisfying as a nice Denver Omelette that you cannot digest before falling asleep. I cannot remember many times where I have woke up the next morning and thought “Gee whiz, I am so glad I got a huge order of French Toast that I could feed a small pack of wolves with AND a side of bacon last night!” Ugh.
Honorable mention: Omega. Same concept, just in the burbs. However, Omega service reigns supreme as my friends and I had VIP status there back in the 90’s. You know you’ve made it.

Best “Fast Food that is really stretching it by calling it ‘food’”
Taco Bell: Oh, the Bell. What was the rumored grade of their meat again? Grade Q? I mean, walking into the Bell just feels inherently wrong but oh so right. I just feel my body yelling at me upon entrance. But where else can you count on, with all certainty, that your Mexican pizza will be lopsided? Taco Bell did almost lose points as my winner here because they keep the hot sauce behind the counter at many locations. That ruins the fun of my soft taco supreme feast.
Honorable mention: McDonalds breakfast. Enough said.

Best “I’m going to eat healthy but whoops! How’d that supersize box of Wheat Thins, seasonal bag of candy and Mentos become my dinner?” supermarket
Walgreens: Walgreens should be renamed “I am too lazy to grocery shop”. Let’s be honest. In the time I took to scoot around Walgreens browsing nail polish colors, office supplies, and the magazine section, I could have walked my sorry behind to Jewel. So once I realize the time I’ve squandered, I panic and quickly purchase “dinner”. I then spend the rest of the night telling myself it wasn’t so bad because the wheat thins have 0.03 grams of whole grains in them and that’s kinda healthy, right?
Honorable mention: Any gas station. It just gets even worse from here. This turns in to Skittles and Doritos as dinner….

For some reason, my late night snack of an apple seems to have lost its appeal after writing about this. I wonder why. Let’s just say I am glad I moved out of walking distance from Five Faces.

*Very scientific fact

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    Amy Litterski DeSario

    Born and bred Chicagoan. 30-something. Married to this guy I met 14 years ago at a Northwest side block party. Have a dog. Never thought those words would be in a description about me. University of Illinois alum. I've loved to write since age 4. I enjoy coffee and hot sauce too much. You can reach me at scribblingofthoughts@gmail.com.

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