Archive for the ‘State’ Category

Wow Bao Sign

Even as I start thinking about this post, I feel it verging dangerously close to turning into an advertorial for Wow Bao. I am sure that I can end that thought process quickly if I confess that I often have used Wow Bao as a hangover cure. There is something so satisfying and light about the consumption of some fried chicken or pork potstickers when your head is a little bit dodgy and if you wash that down with some light ginger broth you will instantly feel so much better. I first learnt that in New York when I resurrected my slightly damaged body and soul with some steamed dumplings and hot and sour soup at the Excellent Dumpling House on Lafyette.

Wow BaoWow Bao in The Loop

When in Chicago I often think nothing of riding 30 minutes down the brown line around the loop to imbibe and take sustenance of a similar soothing recovery dish at Wow Bao. My usual spot is the one located at Corner of State and Lake right beneath the corner of the Loop El line at 1 West Wacker Blvd.

Wow Bao Mag Mile

The other Wow Bao that I sometimes end up at is the one next to Macys inside the Water Tower at 835 North Michigan Ave. This one is Ok but sadly (for me) they only serve the Bao’s and not the potstickers, so I do not frequent this one as much.

Pot sticker ordering

Apart from the dumplings or potstickers as they call them that they serve, I love the touch screen ordering system. To beat the line or queue you can place your order via one of the screens outside the store and then just swipe your card and it ‘should’ be waiting for you when you get to the counter. My reality was that most of the time, unless it was a really long line, it would take about the same amount of time to get my food. It is a lot more fun though playing with the screens and you feel as though you are beating the line system somehow anyway.

Depending on my mood and stomach I will get 5 or sometimes 8 potstickers fried or steamed. If I am with a friend or family we get both. You can add different sauces as well (sesame-mustard or soy-ginger). I like the soy ginger one. I also favour the soups as well,, you can choose from a thai herb broth, a dumpling noodle, and a thai chicken noodle. I am sure that there used to be some sort of ginger broth, which they served in a cup. That was a really excellent cleansing drink and a definate cure all.

I will be honest and say that the dumplings do not match anything that you will get in China, or even from an authentic Chinese resturant, but for fast food potstickers you cannot go far wrong with the offerings at Wow Bao. I have enjoyed every bowlful that I have ever eaten here, and that is a lot more bowl fulls than I have often eaten while on my El Stop Food Hunt adventures.

Wow Bao on Urbanspoon  Wow Bao on Urbanspoon

For the loop location on West Wacker drive get off at the State and Lake El Stop it is right there, for the Water Tower location get off at the Chicago stop on the red line and walk towards the lake to the Water Tower shopping mall


I love a good German Christmas market, but you know I do know that they are just a really poor imitation of the real thing, and I wish that people would travel to experience the real thing. Is that harsh? I don’t think so, having eaten some really bad food at some of these clones that would not be acceptable in Germany it is fair, I have lived in Cologne or Koln as it is actually called, and experience the fare at their markets and I am always disapointed when I eat at these efforts that seemingly claim to be representative of the real thing.  

 “Daley Plaza in the City of Chicago is transformed into an old fashioned German Christmas Market (Christkindlmarkt) for the holiday”

 erm not really, not a bad attempt though

 “Experience a traditional German Christmas at the 14th Annual Christkindlmarket, inspired by the famous Nuremberg Christmas market dating back to 1545. The Christmas Market is a tradition in cities throughout Germany. The outdoor markets are gatherings of communities in a marketplace where arts and crafts are sold from small booths. Food and drink add to the festive air of the Christmas Market. The smells of spiced wine, roasted nuts and spicy sausages fragrance the air of the outdoor marketplace.”

 Maybe my nose was blocked as I smelt none of that

It could just have been a hot plate at any place heating up sausages, putting it into a wooden garden shed does not make it German. OMG I really don’t mean to be mean, and I did enjoy the experience and what I had, but it was so Disney I felt deflated.

To explain better I have to show you a photograph of a “german market” I went to in England, not even Germany

Note the difference, sausages cooked over coal, and they even look tasty and they were!

and here is a picture from Cologne in Germany

Note the similarity?

I hope that you don’t get disapointed, and that I don’t ruin your experience, but seriously guys

In the end I had a “kilometer” sausage, which in fact is a Hungarian speciality, so say no more, quite a strange bread to sausage ratio, obvious from the picture, it was OK but to be honest I did actually throw half of the bread away.


Accessed by the Blue Line: Washington/Dearborn or Red Line: State/Lake at Daley Plaza, 50 W Washington Street

The Southern Mac & Cheese Store

Posted: November 8, 2011 in State

Would it surprise you if I told you that this place sells Macaroni and Cheese, I didn’t think so, but it also sells one killer of a toasted cheese sandwich which was what I came here for.

Simply and Aptly it is just called “The Sandwich”

The menu describes this as Hot Stuffed, Sweet Gena Taylor’s recipe for Southern Style Pimento Cheese, stuffed in Brioche Bread and griddled to perfection. I can’t argue with the stuffed part. It was like they had injection moulded the cheese into the bread, and it was like a 3 inch door stop waiting to be crammed into my slightly salivating mouth.

You have to break into the beast to truly appreciate a sandwich filling that I am still struggling whether to describe as either a gooey loveliness or a sickly but strangely moorish cheesy gunge. Either way the filling oozes out as you pull the bread apart.

Be careful with this sandwich it left me feeling a little sickly as it was quite rich but very satisfied and happy. To be honest I could have easily eaten another one.

This store is also an easy place to get your hands on the mac and cheese from the Southern Mac & Cheese food truck too, they have a list of about 12 different types and a daily special. I even saw some salad but lets just gloss over that. I have tried the Grilled Hot Dog with American Cheese Mac & Cheese, I was not really excited about it, but I will still give them another chance on another day. Although its more likely that I will be eating another sandwich.

Store location: 60 E Lake Street, Chicago.

I got here just off the loop el stop at State and Lake, the store is quite hard to spot but quite large inside

website for store and truck:

The Southern Mac & Cheese Store on Urbanspoon