Time to get serious about some of the best food in Chicago!
If you don’t know what you are looking at, you soon will…and while you are at it, gaze upon this:
Time to take you to Big & Little’s, a Chicago food shack made famous by “Diners, Drive-Ins & Dives.”
You can see they advertise their appearance on the show – the power of TV has been good to Big & Little’s – there is usually a line out the door to get some of their food! You enter on the side, through the parking lot:
It is a very unpretentious environment: they only take cash, and there is a single guy at the register to take your order….so when there is a line you have a bit of a wait – but it’s also very easy: you place your order and then you sit down and wait for the kitchen to do their magic:
I have been to Big & Little’s five times now, and here is a look at what I ordered – a visual walk through deep-fried foodie heaven…
Behold The Soft Shell Crab Po’Boy!
Let’s get started with the Soft Shell Crab Po’ Boy! It’s a beauty! They bring it to you opened up…nicely toasted bun with some great aoili-style spicy sauce on one side, a nice crunchy lettuce on the other…
After a moment to appreciate the beauty of the presentation, it’s time to get serious about eating. You slap the two sides of the sandwich together – as best you can because it is a HUGE piece of soft shell crab, which DOES NOT want to behave:
Big & Little’s has a variety of side dishes, and I got the large portion of cajun fries to go along – you can also get truffle fries and even pork belly fries:
Grab that po’boy in your hand, squeeze it tight and you are on your way to soft shell crab heaven:
BIG & LITTLE’S DEEP FRIED BURGER
I’ve warmed you up with the Po’Boy, but now it is time to get serious. That’s right, let’s get right to the point: Big & Little’s has a beer battered, deep fried burger!
Take one more look: yes, it looks a bit – well, DAUNTING is a fair word:
Just like the Po’Boy, they bring the deep=fried cheeseburger separated, so it really isn’t scary at all when it arrives:
It is up to you to close and stare at it goodness:
The beer battered patty has the cheese inside, and the nice crunchy outside gives way to a nice, medium rare burger inside…
Ketchup, lettuce and pickle complete the package, a very nice flavor – do you need the patty beer battered and deep fried? Well, NO, but it is and that’s great too! Now, let’s move on to a dish I grew up with in Seattle:
BIG & LITTLE’S FISH AND CHIPS!
Let’s get right to it:
THAT IS ONE BIG PIECE OF FISH!
I gazed that this monster of a fish and saw that it was too big for the plate:
I, of course, had to have it with an extra tartar sauce – they make theirs with a bit of sweet tang to it…
The batter was soft and flaky, allowing the fish to have a voice in the matter…
BIG & LITTLE’S SHRIMP AND CHIPS!
If fish isn’t your thing, they also offer what what they call the best fried shrimp in Chicago:
Behold Big & Little’s Shrimp and chips – these guys are delicious: big, meaty and coated nicely…not too much, just enough to hold in all that shrimp goodness…if you like shrimp, you can’t go wrong with this dish:
This dish isn’t cheap: $15, just about the most expensive thing on the menu…but it is GOOD: lots of shrimp, and plenty of fries to go along:
I always order an extra tartar sauce – don’t tell Alex – and it’s a nice and tart, slightly “pickle-y” flavored sauce…
As I’m eating one day at the counter, I gaze up at the board above me – yes, even at this bad angle you can see that they have “truffle fries”, as well as a variety of fish tacos – AND THEY DO HAVE SALADS AS WELL – but c’mon, one look at the po’ boy list and one thing hits you right in the eye:
That list on the right is for Po’Boys, and yes, they have one with PORK BELLY!
BIG & LITTLE’S PORK BELLY PO’ BOY!
Yes, forget everything else they have on the menu: I still haven’t tried the fish tacos, which everyone says are terrific, and I haven’t had all of the po’ boys yet, but I HAD to try this one:
First, behold the fried pork belly: because there is A LOT to take in…the sandwich shows up closed – well, as closed as it can be with so much pork belly stuffed in the middle:
This is an awe-inspiring sandwich: first, it has a lot of pork belly…the bun is nicely toasted, and there is lettuce, fresh crisp pickle AND a great spicy aioli sauce…
While the pork belly is nicely crisp, it also has a soft interior, very warm and juicy…and it is of course pork belly, so it is full of flavor:
As you can see below, the pork belly makes room for a nice amount of pickle, lettuce and aoili for a perfect blend of goodness in every bite:
This is a delicious sandwich. Yes, it’s pork belly – I know…and I’m not a Doctor, but I’m sure a case can be made about how healthy this may or may NOT be for you…
But I see some green in there, so you have to rationalize just a bit: and celebrate just how much great food Big & Little’s serves up every day!