10 Warm Dishes To Order This Week Because It’s F*cking Cold

Food to distract you from the fact that it’s nine degrees.
10 Warm Dishes To Order This Week Because It’s F*cking Cold  image

photo credit: Kim Kovacik

Yes, Chicago has cold winters. But sometimes (this week, for example) it’s really, really f*cking cold. The kind of below-freezing temperature that makes you question why anyone chooses to live here—starting with yourself. When it’s that cold outside, you need to eat something warm and delicious, like one of these ten dishes.

The Dishes


Marquette Park

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Your Order: Oxtail Stew

Garifuna Flava accomplishes two things. One, this Belizean restaurant makes us think of the Caribbean, which, thanks to the power of association, automatically makes us feel a little warmer. Two, the oxtail stew is so comforting we won’t even be concerned that we just saw a Polar Bear wandering by a CVS. Pair the slow-cooked meat with an order of sweet plantains and rice and beans, and you’ll be able to endure at least two more days of this freezing ridiculousness.

Your Order: Vegetarian Noodle Soup

A good noodle soup is wonderful regardless of the weather. But there’s something satisfying about pairing sub-zero temperatures with a bowl of noodles and broth—especially the vegetarian noodle soup from Lao Peng You in West Town. It has chewy handmade noodles, carrot, watercress, and enoki mushrooms in a spicy chili and vinegar soup. The broth is also perfect for dunking their crispy xian bing, so you should probably get an order of that, too.

Your Order: Cocoa Chili

Look, we’ve made our fair share of chili, and some of it has been truly great. But saying that now feels like a lie after tasting the spicy chili con carne from Garfield Park’s Cocoa Chili. This takeout and delivery-only Afro Caribbean spot’s namesake dish includes their “cocoa chili” seasoning, which gives everything a spicy richness that our chili could only dream of having. It’s like we always say: If it’s cold outside, order some f*cking chili. Ok, we’ve never said that, but it’s true.

Your Order: Rasta Pasta

Thanks to coconut milk and gruyere, the rasta pasta from Dr. Bird’s in Wicker Park is creamy and cheesy. It also has enough rosemary, basil, thyme, and parsley to make your friend’s windowsill herb garden jealous—and to remind you that there will be life beyond the cold, grey landscape you’re currently seeing outside your own window.

Your Order: Cashew Shahi Korma

Vajra is an Indian and Nepali restaurant with fantastic food, as evidenced by the fact that their takeout single-handedly carried us through almost all of 2020 (especially winter). And our favorite order when it’s five degrees is the shahi korma, a thick, slightly-sweet curry made with cashews. We like ordering this with shrimp—they’re large, perfectly cooked, and go really well with the sweetness of the sauce.

Your Order: Mì Quảng

There are lots of fantastic Vietnamese restaurants in Uptown just begging to comfort you during this week’s bitter cold. For example, Danang Kitchen. This place’s mì quảng consists of strong broth, chewy turmeric-based rice noodles, and a bunch of fresh herbs (basil, banana flower, cilantro, perilla, and Vietnamese coriander to name just a few) that are guaranteed to add some much-needed brightness to your week. Everything is topped with shrimp, pork, quail eggs, peanuts, and a crunchy black-and-white-speckled sesame rice cracker.

Your Order: Guay Tiew Nam Sood Boran

JJ’s is a very small Thai restaurant in West Town. Their specialty is Thai street food, so you can expect dishes like khao mun gai, noodle soups, and gai satay. But during a week like this, we’re ordering the guay tiew nam nood boran. This excellent noodle soup has charred pork, chicken, a sweet and sour broth, and is exactly what we want when we’re forced to dress like snowmobilers just to grab our mail.

Your Order: Birria Tacos

This casual Mexican spot in Humboldt Park specializes in birria, and it’s incredible. The braised meat comes with a flavorful red consomé, and some incredibly pliable handmade tortillas that are used to build the delicious quesabirria. Each taco has a wonderful balance of juicy goat and cheese, and can withstand repeated dunkings in the broth without falling apart. We also wish we could hang out in a consomé hot tub until Sunday.

Your Order: Pork Belly Nachos

Gretel is primarily known for their wonderful burger, but when it’s freezing out we want to eat their rich, gooey nachos, preferably while sitting on our couch. The nachos are topped with cheese sauce, Carolina BBQ sauce, a squiggle of sour cream, guacamole, beans, and tender pieces of pork belly. The chips are freshly fried and stay magically crispy despite the abundance of toppings. They don’t skimp on those toppings either—so you shouldn’t skimp on the napkins.

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Saigon Sisters Restaurant



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Your Order: Bún Bò Huế

The bún bò huế from Saigon Sisters in the West Loop is flavored with shrimp paste, fish sauce, lemongrass, and chili, which makes for a wonderfully spicy and pungent soup. Floating in that delicious broth you’ll find paper-thin slices of beef, both lean and fatty cuts of pork, sausage, and slippery udon noodles. And if that doesn’t sound like something you want when it’s nine degrees, we can’t help you.

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