I love Magnifenct ChamoMile.

Along with Chai Town and Jazz Mint, Magnificent ChamoMile is one of the three teas in the Adagio Tea Chicago Series. I don’t work for Adagio, and nobody is paying me to write about them–I just really like this tea!

Normally, I find chamomile teas too floral and lacking in depth. Because this is a blend with whole leaf white tea and a few other ingredients, Magnificent ChamoMile doesn’t have these problems. It’s mild yet flavorful, without any overpowering elements. While I never find a drive down Michigan Avenue as relaxing as a cup of tea, I do find the name clever.

Source: Adagio

Like its companions in the Chicago Series, Magnificent ChamoMile is packaged in a gorgeous tin featuring photography of a Chicago streetscape on the outside and architectural detail on the inside of the lid. I’ll certainly be keeping mine and using it to store other teas and/or tea paraphernalia when I’ve consumed all the tea.

I love eating pizza.

Chicago’s pizza has been getting a lot of attention lately.

First, Jon Stewart delivered an epic rant against deep dish. Then, The Rahmfather sent him a little something. Finally, there was an official apology involving an emissary from the Malnati family. Somehow, despite all this coverage, something important was lost.

I love deep dish. I eat it semi-regularly and have strong opinions about whose crust, sauce, and baking methods are best. (I’ll take this opportunity to pour one out for Rolling Meadows Gino’s East, the recently-demolished graffiti pizza parlor.) Many other locals feel the same way, including some who are so passionate about pizza that they will lie, cheat, and steal to get some. It is just plain wrong, however, to write off Chicago’s pizza as strictly deep dish and pan pizza–which are not necessarily the same thing!

Chicago does indeed have many, many options for thin crust pizza. It is, by and large, a far cry from New York style pizza. Here are some key differences:

–Thin crust pizza should not fold in half. It should not be floppy or dripping grease.

–Thin crust pizza should be cut into little squares, not triangles.

–Thin crust pizza should be crispy, and the edge pieces should crunch when you bite them.

–Toppings are the best when they’re hiding under the cheese, not dumped on top of it. This keeps them from drying out during baking.

This is how we do it.

The true breadth and depth of pizza in this city and its hinterlands extend far beyond matters of crust. A truly diverse pizza scene exists, enabling an adventurous diner to spend weeks or even months eating his or her way through one of several best-of lists:

Chicago Magazine‘s 25 Best Pizzas in Chicago

The 20 Best Pizzas in Chicago from Chicagoist

–A selection of lists from pizza junkies, pie freaks, and general food fanatics from Yelp Chicago

I love Taco Burrito King.

Taco Burrito King is a small, local Mexican food chain. They don’t have Taco Burrito King in Montana, New Jersey, Alabama, Oregon, Russia, Taiwan, Brazil, Qatar, or anywhere besides the Chicago metropolitan area. Why are they so special, though? There are perhaps ninety bazillion Mexican restaurants in this part of Illinois.

Niles TBK photo taken by Jasmine Sassack for patch.com.

Foremost among the reasons I love them is the fact that they are vegetarian-friendly, but they still maintain a certain level of authenticity. Most Mexican restaurants that serve sopes or hand-made tortillas also put lard into everything or are likely to put chicharrones on something but not list it as an ingredient on the menu. I don’t need (or want!) lengua tacos, bowl of menudo, “my abuela is in the back with a molcajete” authenticity. I just want good vegetarian Mexican food that’s more Mexican than Chipotle.

But wait! It gets better! TBK has two locations that are open 24 hours a day. Before TBK, I had to go to Taco Bell if I wanted a burrito at 2 AM. That means I didn’t eat burritos at 2 AM, becauseI do not go to Taco Bell. Neither should you.

index

If your taco requires anti-caking agent, something is wrong.

I am still not done. The chain also takes measures to decrease its impact on the environment. For example, they use permeable pavers in one of their parking lots, offer customers recycled paper napkins, and have two locations with solar thermal heating.

Oh, did I mention they are a family owned and (to an extent) operated business? They are! Did I mention monthly and daily specials? They have them! I don’t just mean fish tacos for lent. Please! That’s for trifling bitches. During Lent, they had fish tacos and chiles rellenos! Yes, fast food chiles rellenos!

I took this photo to commemorate the delicious chiles rellenos that I ate.

I took this photo to commemorate the delicious chiles rellenos that I ate.

Lest I forget, yes, the food is DELICIOUS…and they cater.