I love coming to Chicago because of the food and it takes only 2.5 hours (without any traffic) to get there from Madison. We also have good friends who let us crash at their place for a night or two.
I always want to try Asian food in a big city because there are more choices. Most big cities have large Asian populations which means a lot of Asians open restaurants and cook their own cuisines. We were in Chicago again for some travel visas. This time my husband went out with his old friends from college. I went out with our traveling friend, Bessie. She loves Asian food and this time she took me to Tank Noodle, a Vietnamese restaurant. First we were planning to go to Pho888 but they were closed! We walked back to Tank Noodle and the first thing I noticed when we got there was the place was packed. When I saw many diverse groups here, I was thinking “good sign!” Once I saw their menu hmmm… they are not messing around. They have more than 200 menu items. I was happy to see not just beef soup but chicken soup too because I don’t eat beef. They also have vegetarian options too. I ordered egg noodles chicken soup with shrimp and Bessie ordered marinated herbs duck egg noodle soup.
After we ordered, the first thing that they put on our table was a plate of mixed vegetables (raw bean sprouts, basil, and a big wedge of lime to squeeze in your soup). When my noodles bowl arrived, it was huge! It was a good size for under $10. The broth tasted good and the shrimp were good size too, but I think the chicken was so so. The service was very fast and friendly. We were waiting for our meal for only 10 minutes. I had Pho in Vietnam before and of course you shouldn’t compare it here. In my opinion, it is pretty good for pho in the U.S.
After Asian food last night, Bessie’s husband, Kyle recommended trying lunch at Hot Doug’s. It is a hot dogs and sausages restaurant on North California Avenue. They open every day except Sunday from 10.30am-4pm and it’s CASH only.
The place isn’t big, around 7-8 tables and about 10 counter seats along the windows. This place reminds me of a place in Hua Hin, Thailand “Ploen Warn”. They use the same 60s-70s concept. I bet my mom will like this place because they have Elvis music. Most of the decoration inside has to do with hotdogs including a Japanese plate that shows a Japanese woman in a kimono holding a hotdog.
Once you walk inside, look at the right wall. You will see the menu (very reasonable price), today’s specials, and options for cooking your sausages. Once you decide what you want, step to the counter, order, pay, put a tip in the jar (optional), give your name, and find a table. When your food is ready, a waitress will call your name and you just lift your hand, they will bring the food to your table.
We ordered one from the day’s specials; smoked Hungarian Pork sausage with sweet smoked paprika mustard, and mustard seed Gouda cheese, and 2 more from the regular menu; The Sal Tessio Italian sausage with Giardiniera (Giardinieara is Italian spicy pickled vegetables) and a corn dog. Also there are free refill soda if you eat at the restaurant.
While we were there, I saw all kinds of customers here; families, couples, workers, office staff and even two businessmen with their limo driver. This place has one of the best Hot Dogs that I have ever had in my life.