Gorge on the Pit Master Nap and banana pudding milkshake at Bark City BBQ
If you haven’t heard of Bark City, a little food cart at 1331 N Killingsworth St, you are behind the barbecue times, my friend. Michael Keskin, a chef about town and Podnah’s Pit alum, smokes his meats over Oregon oak in the parking lot—white, fabulous-smelling smoke billowing out of the 15-foot chimney. As with all untested 'cue operations, the sampler “Pit Master Nap” is the way to go. It comes with bark-shrouded ribs, pulled pork, turkey (though we opted for the brisket), and snappy, Crux Pilsner beer links. Sides are rock solid too, potato salad to pickled avocados (trust us: it works!). And the sole dessert, a banana pudding milkshake, deserves a visit of its own. Keskin makes his own banana pudding, blends it with ice cream, and tops it with vanilla wafers and a brûléed banana. Soon, he promises, he’ll unleash his pecan shake, made with the gooey insides of a pecan pie, topped with crunchy pie shell, and drizzled in caramel sauce and pecans. Dear lord.
Tuck into 100-layer lasagna at Park Avenue Fine Wines
At downtown’s cavernous Park Avenue Fine Wines (previously Brasserie Montmartre), Karl Holl, the former chef de cuisine at San Francisco’s Perbacco, is turning out refined, thoughtful, vegetable-driven fare to match star sommelier Stacey Gibson’s wine pours. A recent hit? Holl’s 100-layer lasagna, a delicate cross-section, dense with creamy mushroom duxelles, sitting in a slick of parmesan “fonduta,” and showered in more smoked parmesan. Yeah, it’s awesome.
Order the happy hour slider platter at Grand Army Tavern
This cheery Woodlawn public house boasts screaming happy hour deals on its fluffy wedge fries ($3), well-shaken cocktails ($7–8), and slider platters. Twelve bucks nets you buttered rolls and three rotating house porks—golden schnitzel to tender smoked belly and maple glazed pork (total ham candy), all courtesy of the kitchen’s whole animal butchery program—plus house pickles and other goodies. Happy hour runs all day Monday and 4–6 p.m. Tuesdays and Wednesdays and 3–6 p.m. Thursdays and Fridays.
Groove to Sweet Jam's Sunday jazz brunch
Southern breakfast joint Sweet Jam’s new NE Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard outpost devotes Sundays to solid plates of chicken and waffles and live music (it usually starts around noon). Must orders? A basket of buttery griddled biscuits ($9) slathered in spicy apricot-strawberry jam and a big side bowl of excellent bacon-smoky collard greens ($8)—so stewy-good you’ll slurp it like soup.