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Balqui Eats ๐Ÿด

balquieats

Chicago based Flight Attendant by day ๐ŸŒ‡ Foodie all day, every day ๐ŸŒ‡๐Ÿณ๐ŸŒ†๐Ÿ”๐ŸŸ๐ŸŒƒ๐Ÿฒ๐Ÿค Coming to a city near you! Travel to eat! ๐Ÿƒ #BalquiEats

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Saganaki // Fried Greek Cheese  This was a total mom and pop place near our Airbnb and I'm so glad we stumbled upon it. Basically Saganaki is Greek cheese curds. When you squeeze a lemon or lime on top, how can you not love the crunchy, citrus outside, with the chewy, cheesy inside.  The service and portions at this restaurant were top notch. The owners were all very friendly and explained every menu item thoroughly. If you're ever in Athens, you can't go wrong with Dio Dekares!
Loving the Matcha Soft Serve with Oreo and Matcha powder!
Chili Buffalo Chicken Sandwich // Panko fried chicken breast, chili buffalo drizzle, pickled jalapeños, garlic parmesan aioli, buttered brioche bun  I'm a big fan of bopNgrill, the popular Korean fusion burger joint featured on "Diners, Drive-In's, and Dives". So when I heard they opened a fried chicken restaurant I had to check it out, and of course it did not disappoint.  This had to be the best spicy chicken sandwich I've ever had. The chicken patty was enormous and had a great bun to meat ratio. I loved the solid kick from the chili buffalo sauce and the pickled jalapenos. And of course if you add garlic parmesan aioli to anything, it makes it instantly better. The side of bacon ranch cheese fries was legit too.  Keeping up with the Korean fusion, they also serve up chicken wings, chicken rice bowls, and matcha soft serve. If you're a fan of bopNgrill or any Asian fusion for that matter, definitely drop by 10Q Chicken.
Prime Rib Eye // 12 oz. Rib eye cooked on a robata grill served in wafu dressing  So far I've been to two of the six Roka Akor locations (three in Chicago with the other three in Scottsdale, San Francisco, and Houston). Of the two I've been to, the food and service have always been top notch. This time I did the signature omakase and my goodness was it bountiful. The highlight of the five courses was this rib eye steak. I feel like I could've drank the wafu dressing it was served in, it was so good!  If you're looking for a filling, top notch, modern Japanese steakhouse experience, look no further than the Roka Akor nearest you!
Mixed Shawarma Platter // Layers of prime marinated & spiced steak & chicken breast slow grilled, thin sliced & served tender & juicy with grilled tomatoes & onions. Included with entrée a soup or salad, pickles, olives, and two types of rice.  Wow this place was tasty. The portions of food were huge! We definitely walked away with leftovers for days. I couldn't decide if I wanted beef or chicken shawarma so I decided to order both and neither was a disappointment.  Both meats were marinated well, and cooked to tender, juicy perfection. The lentil soup that accompanied the meal was delicious and you can easily get full from the pita bread and hummus or baba ghanoush that they serve prior to the meal.  Lastly, the service was super friendly and the prices were quite affordable for the portions that you receive. I can highly recommend Fattoush if you're craving Lebanese, Syrian, Palestinian and Jordanian dishes.
Spicy Cumin Lamb Hand-Ripped Noodles in Soup // Wide, hand-ripped noodles, topped with sauteed spicy cumin lamb, in lamb broth  I love me some hand drawn noodles and what better way to eat them than in soup. Xi'an Famous Foods, popularized by Anthony Bourdain (RIP), certainly lived up to the hype. And by NYC standards, the price of all the dishes were certainly right. The lamb and broth had the right amount of kick, with the cumin adding another level of flavor to the complexity of the broth.  The hand-ripped noodles did a wonderful job soaking up the tasty broth with the texture of the noodles being perfectly chewy. I can't wait to go back to try more of Xi'an's Famous Foods!
Kalbi // Short Rib Beef served on a bed of onions and assorted banchan  The Korean BBQ scene in downtown Chicago was pretty weak, so we were more than happy to welcome San Soo to the neighborhood. The staff was very friendly and accommodating to our large group despite our last minute booking.  The place is little bit small with about 11 grills and a back bar area. We ordered several meats, all were quite tasty, along with various small plates to share. One thing I also liked was the restaurant is very well ventilated so you don't get the usual smoke filled air that you expect at every Korean BBQ joint.  If you're looking Korean BBQ in downtown Chicago, look no further than San Soo!
Poutine Burrito // Shaved steak, farm table curds, tots, B 16 gravy, malt vinegar aioli  Dragon Fries // one basket of fries with spicy dragon sauce, cheese curds, scallions, and a crushed fortune cookie  I love farm to table spots, and what better place to have one than Omaha, Nebraska. This was one of the top rated spots in Omaha and I was so overwhelmed by the menu, I simply didn't know what to get.  The friendly cashier recommended the Poutine Burrito and her favorite specialty fries: Dragon Fries. Both menu items were out of this world!  I've seen all kinds of fusion burritos, Korean BBQ burritos, ramen burritos, pho burritos, sisig burritos, etc. But a North of the border burrito? Poutine is the best food item Canada has given us, so I'm all about putting it in a burrito. The shaved steak was super moist and tender (or it could be the gravy, curds, and vinegar that made it juicy), and I loved that they used tots rather than fries in the burrito.  The dragon fries were just as insane. It was basically spicy mayo/1000 island dressing, scallions, cheese curds, and crushed fortune cookies. The fries were very good, but I felt like it was too much dragon sauce. I like my fries crunchy with sauce on the side normally (except In-N-Out Animal Style). The heavy handed sauce guy made these fries soggy.  Overall, this place has some really unique menu items. Can't wait to come back and try the gangsta fries and the duck duck goose fries!
Polish Sausage Sandwich // A Proprietary Blend of Just The Right Spices. A Juicy, Crunchy, and Sweet Smoked Polish Sausage Served the Same Way Since the 1940's, on a Hot Bun with a Layer of Yellow Salad Mustard, Topped with a Mountain of Sweet Colossal Spanish Onions Grilled to Perfection and with an Abundance of Spicy Hot Sport Peppers. A Bag of French Fries Is Included FREE.  This is the often imitated, never duplicated Maxwell Street Polish Sausage. I can literally eat this sandwich morning, noon, and night (because they are open 24/7 including holidays) but also because it's just one of my favorite sandwiches.  The simplicity of the sandwich (bun, sausage, mustard, onions) in relation to the quality and deliciousness beats just about any sandwich I know. It's also one of the cheapest, most filling sandwiches you can get anywhere. The blend of spices in the sausage pairs so well with the sweet, caramelized onions and mustard. I also enjoy the hot peppers that accompany the sandwich to give that acidic kick that I'm always looking for.  I've tried polish sausages at various establishments around the city, baseball games, etc., but nothing compares to the sausages and fries you get at Jim's. You also get the nostalgia of a true hot dog stand. Literally no where to sit. You just walk up and eat at an outdoor countertop or in your car, or take it home. Jim's Original is a true Chicago classic.
Chicago Beef // house roasted beef, shaved and swimming in a robust au jus with roasted bell peppers served with mild giardiniera and a cherry pepper relish at request  When I found out I could get a copycat Italian Beef in St. Louis, I had to try it out. I decided to order it dipped like back home. While the sandwich was tasty, I'm glad they didn't try to name it an Italian Beef because it was not a true Italian Beef. The bread was not the correct bread, and the au jus was simply too salty. If I had not ordered it dipped, the saltiness would not have been as overpowering as it was.  The peppers, giardiniera, and cherry pepper relish added some balance to the richness of the beef and au jus. I will say the beef was cooked just right, nice and tender. Next time, I'll probably stick to my usual Italian Beef spots back home, but I can't wait to come back to Good Buddy's to try all their other sandwiches on the menu.
Lunch Special // Fish Fry, Fries, Cole Slaw, and a Fountain Drink  What a great deal for a lunch special! I was staying near the Albany Airport and found this fish fry spot within walking distance from my hotel. Now it's not the most amazing fish fry I've ever had, but for $10 you won't receive any complaints from me!  The generous portion size was much appreciated, with the fish to batter ratio being well balanced. The batter could have been better seasoned and the fries were pretty average, but overall the quantity of food for the price was well worth it.  If you're near the Albany Airport and need a legit lunch special, Ted's is probably your spot.
Clucker’s Famous Chili (GF) //rich broth, beans & veggies, topped with scallions, gruyere cheese & sour cream. Vegetarian or chicken  I was randomly in Libertyville, IL and stumbled into this place for dinner. I had little expectations, but was happy to see the place fairly busy on a weekend night. I was looking for some low carb options on the menu and decided on the "famous" chili.  I'm not sure how famous it is, but I can say that it's one of the better chicken chilis I've ever had. Every bite was so flavorful since the shredded chicken soaked up the broth and spices so well. The gruyere cheese and sour cream provided just enough  rich, creamy balance to the kick from the spices.  I'm not sure if I'd drive all the way to Libertyville for another bowl, but if you're in the area, Clucker’s is definitely a quality, reasonably priced establishment for chicken everything.
Daily Special // a bowl of tortilla soup, taco plate, and drink  Now this is my kind of hole in the wall kind of spot. The daily special was so filling and cost less than $10. The soup was one of the best tortilla soups I've had. Simple ingredients of broth, chicken, fresh avocado, cheese, and tortilla strips coming together to make an awesome bowl of Mexican comfort soup.  As if the large bowl of soup wasn't enough, they followed up with two crispy beef tacos, beans and rice. The taco shells were homemade with the right amount of crunch. The shredded beef was moist enough to balance the crunch of the crispy tortillas. Washing down both dishes with my large horchata completed the trifecta.  When in El Paso I had to eat Mexican food right??? I wish I had a car to try out some other places away from the airport, but this joint definitely hit the spot.
Carne Asada Burrito // beans, lettuce, cheese, sour cream  What a great little 24 hr spot. This no frills, affordable for the city, Mexican joint was quite tasty. I'm not saying it's the best Mexican spot in the city, but if you're looking for a late night, after the bars, always open spot that is reasonably priced close to downtown, this is your spot.  Service was quick and the restaurant was quite clean. I went when I was sober and thought it was pretty good. I can't imagine how amazing it would taste if I was tipsy lol  Can't wait to try them again for breakfast as well!
Truffle Mushroom Pasta // handmade pappardelle, black truffle, parmesan  I was excited to try this speakeasy since they are affiliated with Union Sushi around the corner. Their food and service did not disappoint. They were able to accommodate our party of ten comfortably on a Friday night and sat us down even though two of us were running late.  If you like whiskey then this is definitely a place for you. The house old fashioned was so smooth and tasty. Even my wife who doesn't like whiskey enjoyed it.  I wanted to try all the food on their menu, but I ended up with this mushroom pasta. It was so simple, yet so delicious. It's all about the hand made noodles. I can't wait to come back to try everything else on the menu!
Crispy Pork Belly Tacos // guacamole + pickled pepper & onion + guajillo diablo salsa + cilantro  My crew and I were blown away by this place! What a great place for tacos and cocktails in downtown Indianapolis. I asked the server which tacos were the most popular and he said hands down the pork belly tacos. He also said to try one with an egg on it.  As you would imagine, adding pork belly to any dish instantly makes it better in my book and these tacos were no exception. The sunny side egg with the cracked yolk added another level of savory to the taco. It was like eating a ridiculous breakfast taco.  I highly recommend Nada to anyone and everyone looking for a place to eat in downtown Indianapolis.
Edamame Dumplings // dashi, white truffle oil, asian herbs  I was so happy to finally try this amazing chain of restaurants at the only location in the Midwest. Thankfully it's within walking distance from where I live because I'll definitely be coming back!  I loved the menu and the environment. There's something for everyone here. Vegans, vegetarians, gluten free, and even carnivores like me.  One of the signature starters that everyone seems to recommend is the Edamame Dumplings and they did not disappoint. Served in a dashi based broth, the white truffle oil is really complimented well with the rest of the Asian herbs. It's as if pho and miso soup had a baby and gave you edamame stuffed dumplings instead of noodles.  I could eat these dumplings morning, noon, and night they were so good! But don't be confused, this is not an Asian restaurant. They have pizzas, burgers, poke, quinoa bowls, salads, etc. It's no wonder this place appears on the Michelin guide. True Food = True Love!
Chaca Oaxaca // beef and chorizo, avocado, pico de gallo, fried egg, queso fresco, tabasco mayo  This burger bar was so legit. I literally wanted to try every burger on the menu, and there were so many craft beers on the menu that I couldn't pick just one! It definitely helped that it was happy hour too.  The place was super chill with communal tables and booths as well. My kind of casual spot that I'd come back to for happy hour.  I was looking for something with a bit of a kick and decided on the Chaca Oaxaca. The natural juices from the burger patty mixed with the spices from the chorizo and tabasco mayo gave me the kick I was looking for. The freshness from the pico de gallo and avocado balanced the savory fried egg well.  I can't wait to come back to try more burgers at this place!

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