Top cheat meals in Chicagoland, best hot dogs in America, Tim Ferriss, Slow Carb diet, BBQ burnt ends, Pastrami and other random food thoughts from a 40 something foodie hiding in a retirement income planners body.

picstitchI thought I’d mix in a fun blog post about another thing I love. Great food. I really like the diet that I have been on for the past few months, the Slow Carb Diet. My Dad is on it too and the results have been terrific so far. Slow Carb Diet

The guy who put it out there is best selling author Tim Ferriss. He’s a self proclaimed “Life Hacker” who experiments with different ways to get better at things. He’s a really interesting and super cool guy who has impacted my life in a big way in a short period of time.

If you are on Twitter, I’d  highly recommend following him @tferriss. He also does a fascinating podcast you can find on itunes, or you can read his blog at

He goes into cooking, exercise, eating, and all kinds of interesting things.

A few of the things that have impacted my life for the better since I read all three of his books around Christmas are.

  • Working out with Kettlebells. It’s amazing how many calories you burn and how fit you get. But the biggest benefit has been to my hips and back. I had really bad hip pain for about a year. I think because I sit a lot and my psoas muscle and hip flexors get tight. Kettlebell swings and the stretches that Tim Ferriss recommends have all been terrific. I am running better and my hip feels great.
  • The Slow Carb diet. Now I eat a lot of protein, spinach and black beans. You basically try to cut out sugars, breads, fruit, and most dairy. He goes into more detail in his book, but I tell you, the best thing is eating the same thing every day for breakfast. Egg whites with one whole egg, spinach and black beans. I never have to think about what I’m going to eat, it tastes good and is filling.
  • The 80/20 rule. He is really big on the 80/20 rule which basically says that 20% of something, will get you 80% of your results. So figure out what the RIGHT or BEST 20% is and focus your attention there to get great results in less time.

Anyway, one nice thing about the Slow Carb Diet is that once a week you get a cheat day where you can go nuts, and eat whatever you want. I really like this because I actually make it an adventure to go out of my way to eat really tasty food. Plus, I don’t feel guilty or have all this pressure to eat perfect all the time. On cheat day you are supposed to eat donuts and pizza.

So I wanted to pass along a few Cheat Day places to go in case you are ever in the mood for something tasty (These are in mainly in Chicagoland). And please comment below if you have any great recommendations I should try.

But first, The Top Hot Dog List. America’s 50 Best Hot Dogs

Chicago is well represented (rightly so) on the Top Hot Dog List. Personally, I’m a Gene & Jude’s Lover. It’s on River Road in River Grove. Expect a line. Superdawg and Wiener Circle are all fantastic too. I need to try Hot Dougs before it closes and the #1 Hot Dog in the country goes to Fat Johnnies in Chicago. Their winning hot dog is called the Mighty Dog and it’s a hot dog with a tamale on it. It’s definitely on my bucket list of places to go.

Cheesies Pub and Grill in Evanston. They have a grilled cheese sandwich that is American Cheese, Cheddar Cheese and Macaroni and Cheese all between two slices of Texas Toast. It was delicious. Cheesies Pub and Grill Website

Pequods Pizza in Morton Grove. It’s deep dish pizza that’s a little different. The big difference is they put cheese in between the dough and the pan so you get this burnt cheese crust. It’s delicious. Pequods Pizza Website

Manny’s Deli in Chicago. If you like Pastrami or Corned Beef you have to make the trip to Mannys. The Pastrami is the best around by a mile. There’s free parking around back too. Manny’s is an old time deli that was around when the Maxwell Street Markets were still downtown, and the politicians would go there to eat, do business and smoke cigars. Manny’s Deli Website 

Paradise Pup in Des Plaines. It was featured on Diners Drive Ins and Dives. The Merkts Cheddar Burger is RIDICULOUSLY good. It has that taste you can only get coming from a griddle that has cooked 1,000s and 1,000s of burgers. Enough said. Paradise Pup

Urban Barbeque / The Beer Market in Vernon Hills. This is a really neat place to go. You sit down at the Beer Market and have a selection of over 100 craft beers. (Don’t worry the bartenders are very helpful) Then you get to order food from a variety of local establishments. You then pick up your food and then take it back to The Beer Market to eat it. One of the best meals you could ever have is the Burnt Ends from Urban Barbeque and wash it down with a cold craft beer at The Beer Market. Before you die, you must try burnt ends if you like BBQ. This place is like a little heaven on earth. The Beer Market Website and Real Urban Barbeque Website

I hope you enjoyed this list and get a chance to try these places.

Please do me a favor. I’m always on the hunt for new great places to eat. If you have any fantastic places to get a cheat meal (Chicagoland Area) or anywhere else, please put it in the comment section below.

Warmest regards and happy eating,



  1. Highly energetic post, I liked that bit. Will theree be a part 2?

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