Posted by on Oct 9, 2012 in Blogs | 0 comments

My classmates have different ways of relieving stress. Some turn to retail therapy, be it on State Street or online. Many play intramurals and/or work out at the gym religiously. Others stroll, jog or bike on the lakefront path. Some come up to the fourth floor lounge in the RC to play the piano for an hour or so (I can often hear them through our living room wall—it’s great study music).

For me, I eat. Cooking has always been my stress reliever (well, that and cleaning), but I also like to indulge myself every so often by going out and trying new things. And in Chicago, you can’t help but want to go out. My parents always remind me to be frugal… except when it comes to food.

“You have to eat,” they say. “So, eat well.”

And eat well I have.

Below are my top five favorite places to eat in Chicago so far:

 1. San Soo Gab San Korean BBQ

5247 N. Western Ave.

My parents and I ventured out to the cute North Side neighborhood of Lincoln Square for some Korean BBQ when I arrived in Chicago a few days before Move In Day. It was so authentic and tasty that I ended up going there again shortly after classes started with a handful of classmates. The restaurant is opened from 10 a.m. until 6 a.m. the next morning! Now I have a place to go if I ever have insomnia and the munchies.

2. Little Branch Cafe

1251 S. Prairie Ave.

I stumbled upon this South Loop cafe the week I arrived in Chicago. Tucked away in the corner of a tall business building, it’s easy to miss—especially since the sign out front is so discrete. What I really like about this place is the atmosphere. With its delicious food, good coffee and free wi-fi, it would make a great place to study.

3. Joy Yee Plus Shabu Shabu

2159 S. China Pl.

It’s started to get colder in Chicago the last couple of weeks and chilly weather only means one thing: hot pot. We originally had our eye on a couple of other hot pot places in Chinatown that were highly recommended. Unfortunately, both places were so packed that we opted to try Joy Yee Plus instead. I’m so glad we did. Come snowfall, you’ll find me there all the time.

4. RA Sushi

1139 N. State St.

During orientation, there was a sign-up sheet for sushi and I zeroed in on it quick. Our orientation leaders brought a group of us out to the Gold Coast outpost of RA and it quickly became one of my favorites, not just because of the food, but because I met some really good friends during that outing.

5. Dr. Saeed’s Kitchen

The view from Dr. Saeed’s building

Dr. Saeed, who teaches geometric and theoretical optics, invited my colleague group over to her River North condo for brunch one Sunday early in the quarter. I felt very spoiled by her amazing food, all of which she made from scratch. I think I had three servings that day and I know Jenn Tai ate her fill too.