Logistically, cooking a Thanksgiving turkey is an enormous undertaking. The pressure for a single person to deliver a ready-to-eat bird in a way that will satisfy an extended family's worth of appetites is enormous. Throw in a divisive, wine-fueled political rant by Grandma Joan at the dinner table, and you'll be counting down the minutes until you're elbowing your way through a crowded department store for a marked down X-Box. Feasting on white meat doesn't have to be a chore. In fact, Chicago makes it a lot of fun.
There's something courageously uninhibited about eating a turkey leg. Devouring meat off the bone with your bare hands is primitive, the stuff of Vikings and sixteenth century kings. The Purple Pig's a grand establishment with a sophisticated wine menu and this delightfully red-blooded dining option.
Don't outsmart yourself by trying to stuff a beer battered duck inside of a deep-fried turkey for Thanksgiving. Some things are better left to Rachel Ray. Austrian Bakery takes a turkey sandwich, cuts it horizontally and presses it in a warming grill. Walla! Simple and wayyy better than that recipe you stole from John Madden.
DMK's one of those not-trying-too-hard cool places that delivers delicious food without pretentions. Their menu is packed with can't-miss beef-n-bun options, but we'll opt for turkey in November.
The Publican is one of the best butcher shops in the country and, during the holiday season, they're serving up home-style turkey in the dining room. Nothing against your Aunt Nancy's candied yams with marshmallow salad, but you're better off putting your November feasting into the hands of renowned meat wizard Paul Kahan.
I'm not sure who invented "the melt," but it was probably the same guy who threw a hood on the sweatshirt. Sometimes the greatest innovations are just slight alterations to already existing products. The melt is really just a sandwich with melted cheese, but, somehow, it tastes a hundred times better.
Forget what I just said about the sandwich. There's still a place for the lunchtime catchall, and that place is Jerry's in Wicker Park.
Chicago's Randolph Street has become to dining what Harajuku is to fashion, a global standard for awesome. This unassuming boutique grocery store actually serves up some of the best bread adorned meats and cheeses in Chicago. At the price point, you'd be lucky to find a higher quality product anywhere.
The Meatloaf Bakery is an entire restaurant devoted to the loathsome, junior high cafeteria staple... and it's delicious. The food is shaped to mimic the form of a cupcake, which, when combined with the hearty taste of meat, makes the perfect holiday comfort food.
Roasted turkey, pesto and Havarti Cheese. You're welcome.
There's a scene in Forest Gump where Private Benjamin Blue goes on a laundry list of ways one can prepare shrimp. Replace shirmp with turkey, and it's like he's reading directly off of the menu at Just Turkey. Turkey nachos, barbeque turkey ribs, turkey links... I could go on. What? Don't believe me? Turkey wraps, turkey pasta, turkey salad...