Chicago – Tastes in the City that Works

I’m in the city that works, as they deem it. Chicago. I’m digging the architecture and digging into the food.

Enjoyed Sunday brunch today at one of James Beard award-winning chef Paul Kahan’s restaurants, The Publican.
Situated in the Fulton Market area, it’s pretty much the only game in that area on a Sunday, and it was packed.
The seating concept is communal but with booth seating lining one wall, reminding me very much like stalls where animals would be held. The stall doors open when food is delivered or plates taken away. Oink!
The day started with some smarty pants cocktails: Immaculate Mary finds tomato water paired with Wisconsin Death’s Door Vodka, jalapeno and salt. Boozy.
The classic Bloody Mary is made with Austin’s Tito’s Vodka with publican mix, house-made celery bitters and an accompaniment of your choice of one of three craft brews. We went with the Hitachino Nest espresso stout from Japan’s Ibaraki-ken Naga-gun.
The meaty brunch menu started with spicy pork rinds, that helped absorb some of those boozy drinks.
Next up a pastrami short rib with a side of cannellini beans, tomatoes and sourdough. The meat was tenderly firm and retained a smokeyness from having been finished in the wood-fired oven. A wonderful treatment over the usual presentation of being sliced.
A side of bacon was maple syrup braised. Again, firm to the bite, but segued into a melt-in-your-mouth experience. Silence. Eyes close.
Pork confit sandwich. Sourdough bun. Fried egg. A tangy, crunchy thickcut cole slaw. Fries. Mustard aioli. Mostly, confit is served shredded or pulled, but here it’s served in big chunks, lusty. Finished in the wood fired oven, some parts of it were almost too charred but we were determined to finish.

Then came the housemade weisswurst, two great stonking sausages, delicate with nutmeg (maybe), rich with cream. They came with a warm bretzel and honeyed Bavarian mustard.
Big mugs of coffee followed and a long walk back into downtown in the heat and humidity. There will be more food to come.
Here’s to the Swine
That Animal Divine
who through Mud and Slime
Grit and Grime
Gorges over Time
Into Meats Sublime


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