[Chicago, IL] Taking Back Sunday in Pasta & Strands: Eataly & Strings Ramen

Taking Back Sunday’s a band, right? ⊙△⊙ Anyway…

Happy happy Chicago
Happy happy Chicago

Sunday consisted of all the important things in life: friends, pasta, and pork belly ramen. After seeing dozens of Eataly Instagrams on my newsfeed, I finally got the chance to visit the dressed up Italian grocery store slash restaurant. I was overwhelmed by the store layoutAll of their products are divided into sections (e.g. veggies, bread, meats, Nutella), each offering a different menu. Though I got a feeling the layout’s purpose was to encourage me to wander around, I couldn’t help but feel a little frustrated and lost… probably how I’d feel if I was actually in Italy.

Soda-like moscato
Quadrati con pomodoro aka ravioli ($13) & soda-like Moscato d’Asti 2013 ($10)

I gobbled the Agnolotti del plin ($15), a plateful of little rectangular pastas filled with meat and topped with butter and pea purée. It looked like a baby had sneezed all over my food before the waiter brought it over, but it still tasted delicious.

“My pasta tastes like it’s half cooked,” said Erika.

Or maybe most places overcook pasta (?). Beware: the portion sizes are small compared to the usual American ton of bricks.

What is a Pont-l'Évêque
What is a Pont-l’Évêque

Now let’s hop to another continent: Asia. Many ramen shops have been popping up all over the States. We decided on Strings ramen located in the heart of Chinatown. I ordered the kuro buta ramen with a side of agedashi and daikon. If you’re not a fan of fatty meats, I wouldn’t recommend kuro buta… it’s basically half pork, half fat! Mmm, fatty meats.

Strings noodles are made in-store with imported machines from Japan and has the perfect thickness and consistency. The oden (side dishes) tasted like what I’d get from home, kept warm and served in a soup container alongside your entree. Unfortunately, they seated us in the backroom and forgot about us near the end, and the ramen soup base was too salty. You’re definitely going to want a glass of water during the meal and long after. On the bright side, they liked my Instagram!✧✧(´ヮ´) Also, if you finish a bowl of their level 5 spicy ramen in under 20 minutes, you get the meal for free.

the quad
Quad’s looking good.

We talked to a guy who was also there for the first time and did the challenge (he’s wiping his mouth in the pic above). He gave up after 10 minutes or so. I saw him wipe away tears within the first few bites and then tell us, “It’s not too bad.”

P.S. I finally tried Garrett‘s Chicago Mix. Delicious salty cheese flavor and caramel sweetness mingled together.

The ‘to share’ and ‘not to share’ packaging’s kind of confusing.
It *does* exist! The place of buttered dreams and popped air.
Yesyesyes. So much excitement.
The Chris Pratt looking guy, the kid, and the selfie taker.


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