Chicago is a food town. From the fine dining of Rick Bayless and Alinea to the reverence for hot dogs and nachos, this city really cooks.
You can enjoy a taste of Chicago’s culinary chops on the Munch Around Lincoln Park Scavenger Hunt, a romp through one of the city’s foodiest neighborhoods. Here’s a sample of some of our favorite foods from some of the restaurants you’ll find on the hunt.
Dogs, red hots, missile-shaped masterpieces of the mouth. Whatever you call ’em (probably not that last one), this town’s famous for its franks. And Chicago’s Dog House (816 W. Fullerton Ave.) makes some of the best.
They’ve got your traditional Chicago-style dog, classic corn dogs, and even a ketchup-clad travesty rightly dubbed The Tourist. The fancier palette might opt for gourmet sausages of smoked alligator, barbecue duck, or kangaroo. Our guilty pleasure is the T Frank, a dog with cream cheese, avocado, homemade hot sauce, and bacon. So much bacon.
2. Now That’s a Salad
The much-loved Athenian Room (807. W. Webster Ave.) has spent more than 40 years slinging excellent Greek dishes. Their crispy-skinned chicken kalamata—baked, roasted, then dunked in lemon olive oil sauce—is its signature, earning high praise from the likes of Tina Fey.
On a scavenger hunt, you won’t have time to wait for or the means to eat a perfectly roasted half-chicken. Thank the gods, then, for the vegetarian salad. Yeah, sure, it’s got your Greek salad staples of cucumber and tomatoes. But some beautiful genius in the kitchen realized that french fries are vegetables, and that Athenian Room makes delicious, crisply fried, herb-coated steak fries, and put two and two together. Fantastic! (Or, y’know, just order the fries on their own.)
3. Tacos for Days
We’re not saying tacos were invented specifically to be eaten on the go during a scavenger hunt…but weren’t they?
Taco Joint (1969 N. Halsted St.) makes it tough to choose, with all its barbacoa and cochinita and mole-barbecued pork. So we suggest the simple route: el taco del dia. The rotating daily specials include Angry Bird pulled chicken and batter-fried shrimp. On Saturday, you’ll find the Coca-Cola braised beef taco, topped with pasilla salsa and lime-cured onions.
4. Sweet-Tooth Time
Swirlz Cupcakes (705 W. Belden Ave.) come in all sorts of fun, seasonal flavors—some of them no less delicious for being vegan or gluten free. In this, the summer that wouldn’t end, they’ve offered bites of key lime, strawberry shortbread, cinnamon toasty crunch, and twixie.
Buy we say embrace adventure and snap up the Surprise of the Day! Recent flavors have included Pumpkin Pistachio and Chocolate Raspberry Hazelnut.
5. Which is Wich?
And then there were cookies. Sure, you could go with a classic at Insomnia Cookies (2260 N. Lincoln Ave.) like chocolate chunk, sugar, oatmeal raisin, or peanut butter chunk. You could go crazy with a cookie à la mode topped with chocolate ice cream and brownie bites. But for our money, nothing goes as well with hunting down the answers to tricky questions as a cookiewich, Insomnia’s answer to the ice cream sandwich. Just resist the urge to order yourself two—you’ll need a hand free for your clue sheet.
Find More Yum
For all these amazing foods and more, join the Munch Around Lincoln Park Scavenger Hunt. You can find join public scavenger hunts in Chicago and six other cities around the country, or contact us for information about planning a private event.