When I go to Chicago, I pack some clothes that won’t be coming back with me — socks wearing through at the heel, shirts that don’t really match anything else in my wardrobe, shoes that I think about wearing but rarely do. It’s not that I like visiting the Windy City badly dressed, but I know that every nook and cranny in my suitcase will be filled with food on the way back.
Chicago has ethnic delis that feature cultures rarely seen in L.A., and my luggage will be bulging with Lithuanian brown bread, Italian cured beef, arcane Polish cold cuts and other delights that are unavailable locally.
Now I have found a place at which I can sate at least some of my Chicago cravings — Taste Chicago in Burbank. The specialties inspired by Eastern Europe and Greece are missing, but the Italian and indigenous items are present and accounted for. The restaurant is small and spartan, decorated with sports team jerseys, menu boards and yellowing newspaper articles. A trio of TVs tuned to sports completes the décor.