Kiko's Market and Restaurant Does a Body Right~

Img_2607Here's another review I did for Time Out...and I'm not kidding when I say that Kiko's is amazing.  The bean soup knocked my socks off and all of the meat dishes were top notch.  Ahhh, but what do you expect from a restaurant attached to a butcher shop?  The bread is killer as well, so if you find yourself up toward North Lincoln, make sure to stop in even if just for some fresh baked loaves.  Just don't be a dummy like me and abandon your bread at the bar down the road after getting all jazzed up on too many espressos!

Kiko's Market and Restaurant

Address: 5077 N Lincoln Ave Lincoln Square/Ravenswood, Chicago
Hours: Lunch, dinner
Phone: 773-271-7006
Travel: El: Brown to Western. Bus: 11, 49 (24 hrs), X49, 81 (24 hrs)
Prices:Average main course: $9

Don't be alarmed by the sounds and flurry of activity at this quaint butcher shop cum restaurant; it's just the Bosnian butchers in back of the attached market hacking up the day's meat. Better to focus on the divine sausages tucked into homemade bread, the chubby ground beef patties oozing with fresh, mild cheese and the hearty bowls of bean soup. If you opt to eat in but still don't want to leave empty handed, wander through the open doorway to the adjoining shop to pick up a variety of meats, Bosnian specialty foods and crusty breads on the cheap.

Bean Soup and Bread at Bosnian Bel Ami (what a mouthful)~

Img_2509My favorite place to chow on a bowl of soup is Bel Ami, a smoky Bosnian joint on N. Lincoln.  Not only is the soup fantastic (I'm a huge fan of the bacon studded bean soup), but it's the homemade bread that comes with every $3.50 dollar bowl that make it all worthwhile.  Forget the rambunctious kiddies running wild; no matter the stunned stares as you enter the front door; try to avoid a table with heavy-duty smokers; and just sit up at the little bar lining the window.  The soup and bread combo is totally filling and when you get the bread basket slung your way by a very concerned waitress (she was delighted I loved the soup), tuck a little butter between each slice (3 usually come with) and wait a few as it melts before partaking.  It is such a slice of pure heaven, you won't know what the heck hit you.
**I also noticed someone having a giant vat of chicken soup that looked mouthwatering, so that's the one to try next time!

Bosnian Coffee: What I Could Use Right Now

Dscf2973_1Right now, in the frenzy of the work day, I could really use a Bosnian coffee.  I stopped drinking coffee earlier this year, but sometimes I really need mate, no tea, no Bull.  Just straight up un-filtered, piping hot Bosnian coffee....with the tiny cubes of sugar rocks that come along side it.  Ilidzanka, a tiny hole-in-the-wall on Lawrence has a great version and I love the place.  Small, unassuming, deserted...right up my alley.  They have decent chevapi, which could be made better if they didn't microwave the fantastic made-in-house-daily bread.  Why microwave it?  Just bizzare.  Back to the is some of the best; meaning it could stop traffic, and if I'm gonna have some, this is the type I'm craving.  I love being all wired and jamming out all the days duties in an hour flat. 

Caffe Effe: Bosnian Tuna Fish?

There are so many damn dives in Chicago, it would blow your mind.  Tonight, I was flying down Belmont Ave. (on my way to that Guatemala chicken hut chain Pollo Campero) and I wrote down over a dozen holes-in-the-wall that I need to try; from Hungarian to Vietnamese to Ecuadorian, they just didn't stop (I did boldly shriek the exclamation that I'm not going to eat at the same place twice for a very long time. Hmmmm....let's see how long that one lasts).
That being said, one of my favorite places to go back to and chill is Caffe Effe, this Dscf2715_1 little Bosnian restaurant on Montrose.  They have some of the very best tuna fish in the city (I'm always on a wild tuna hunt) that is served on this insanely delicious house-made, crumpet-like bread.  You'd think with the wait time (the place can be deserted and yet, still the 30 minute wait) that they filet and cook the tuna to order, but I don't know about that one (it's chock full of onions, mayon and tiny bits of celery and is very un-fishy).  They're also rockin' a delicious version of chevapi (tiny, delicious sausages), that I think about pretty friggin' often (it's between them and Memories Tavern on the chevapi, for sure). 
It's a BYOB, but really, the thing to drink is the rocket fuel coffee, especially the lattes.  You'd think you were in a back alley in Europe, wasting the day away with the vibe in here.  Caffe's right up my Chicago alley.

Bel Ami: Best Coffee Around

Dscn1681If you've never been to Europe, one of the most dominant visions no matter where you go (be it Italy, Greece, Bosnia, Spain, etc…) is the vibrant, happy-go-lucky cafe culture. Locals set up shop at random tables splayed in back alleys, on tiny patches of grass or under dark gangways, and they're never far from a fresh coffee, a pack of smokes and the day's news splayed out before them.

Chicago sort of has this view (witness all the al fresco dining slung up practically on the street); I guess society as a whole just loves to be outside, twiddling thumbs and checking out other folks' goods as they meander by. It's just something to talk about, you know?

I'm right there with 'em, wiling away entire afternoons (well, dawn til dusk, if truth be told), and the tough part of that thrice-weekly situation is finding a decent coffee to go with my laissez-faire attitude. Recently, after much Internet research, I determined the best coffees, mochas and lattes in town exist at the Bosnian, Greek and general Eastern European joints that populate certain areas of the city. They just have a way with the wrist, it seems.

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