Graham Meyer is a writer, editor, composer, and crossword puzzle constructor based in Chicago. He reviews restaurants for Crain’s Chicago Business and covers classical and new music for Chicago magazine. His music has been performed by Musae and the Princeton Katzenjammers. His puzzles have appeared in the Los Angeles Times and The New York Sun.


Chicago, home of the well-composed Chicago-style hot dog, is also ground zero for haute encased-meat cuisine. While many celebrated stands put their own spin on the original (including Gene & Jude’s, Byron’s, Superdawg, and Wiener’s Circle), several spots go farther afield, selling creative gourmet sausages. Here’s a guide to which are top dogs and which are just dogs.

HOTDOGERIA 711 W. Armitage Ave. 773-639-2976 Established 2011 Makes own sausages? No. …

June 15, 2011

I tasted dozens of sausages with creative toppings and reviewed the stands that serve them. Some of them were terrific. Some were dogs.

When searching for beefless burgers, If you want to avoid the bum steer, look for nonstandard ingredients

On the question of burgers without beef, the best strategy is the no-bull approach: If you want a hamburger, you should just order a hamburger. Turkey, vegetables, and tuna enjoy various culinary virtues, but impersonating beef is not among them. The standard hamburger fixings (sesame-seed bun, lettuce, tomato, onion, pickles, ketchup, and mustard) complement beef, so …

August 15, 2009

While it may not have been as heroic as Jeff Ruby’s consumption of dozens of burgers for the main bar of this burgers package, I ate a lot of turkey burgers, veggie burgers, and tuna burgers for this sidebar.

We set up a blind tasting of options from gourmet grocery stores and meat markets to find out which bacon is the best. Behold your guide to porcine bliss.

Life’s too short for bad bacon, especially if you’re already shortening it by eating bacon. And we’re eating a lot of it these days. Chicago restaurants and specialty shops have gone pork crazy—and they’re turning to gourmet producers or smoking their own, which in turn get name-dropped like designer labels. But wh …

February 15, 2009

The results of a bacon tasting. I was pleased to see that my bacon since childhood, Nueske’s, scored top marks with the tasters.