It's December in Chicago and baby, it's cold outside. That legendary Chicago windchill is starting to whip up the city's cold factor. But no worries. This is the perfect time to explore some spicy cuisine in three of Chicago's eclectic neighborhoods. So pull on a comfy coat and head to your corner of the city or venture to an area you've yet to explore, Bronzeville, Rogers Park or the West Loop, for a warming culinary adventure.
South Side Spice: Yassa African Restaurant in Bronzeville
The sunny West African nation of Senegal inspires the yummy dishes at Yassa African Restaurant. This inviting, family-owned diner is located in the heart of Bronzeville, surrounded by stately historic mansions.
The friendly owner, Madiye, will greet you and help you select items from the menu, but don't miss the signature dish of yassa, which is chicken marinated in lemon and spices over white rice, or the flavorful Senegalese national dish of Tiebu Djen,a feast of whole tilapia stuffed with parsley and herbs and served over jollof (tomato-based) rice.
Yassa African Restaurant
3511 S. King Drive
Jerk by the Lake: Good to Go! in Rogers Park
In Roger's Park, the tempting aroma of curry and peppers wafts down the Howard street location of Good To Go! Jamaican restaurant. The bustling area is filled with shops and cafés but locals know that this charming eatery is the place for fresh Jamaican dishes.
Heat things up with jerk chicken (pictured above) or try the escovietched red snapper in a tangy sauce of vinegar and peppers. Don't pass up the fresh juices and smoothies to wash it all down.
Good to Go! Jamaican Cuisine & Catering
1947 Howard Street
Wood-Burning Heat: Macello in the West Loop
The West Loop is the only place in Chicago where you'll find authentic Pugliese cuisine at the chic Macello Risorante-Pizzeria. Yes, this is the place that serves pizza with fresh toppings such as burrata, sopressata, shaved Ricotta Salata, and roasted peppers, on paper-thin crust. They're flawless.
But don't miss out on traditional Pugliese dishes such as stuffed eggplant (pictured above) and adriatico, a to-die-for seafood risotto in a spicy tomato sauce. The wood-burning stoves and colorful glass lamps make the experience even more unforgettable.
1235 W. Lake Street