Dear Wafel,

About a month ago, I wandered in to your shop. I saw you on a stroll through the West Loop and wondered, ‘Hm, waffles?’ But you’re so much more than just mere waffles. You’re breakfast, all day. You’re lunch, with chicken sandwiches but instead of bread—you guessed it—it’s a waffle!

And all the coffee. I mean, serious coffee.

I don’t always like waffles for breakfast. But when you combine such delicious food options, how can one not fall in love?

Wafel, please stay.

Love,
A

Dear fried intestines

Don't care how it sounds, it's an adventure worth taking.

Don’t care how it sounds, it’s an adventure worth taking.

I remember a time in my life when I ordered very particular items off the menu because I didn’t like this or I didn’t like that. Not sure when the change came about, but at some point I decided that I need to know undeniably that I don’t like a certain food before it goes on the “Don’t Like It” list. And that list is really short. Like, empty.

When I heard Jade Garden had printed its authentic menu in English, I leapt over there immediately to try something new.

I don’t think I could compare fried intestines to anything common in American cuisine. Maybe calamari. The fried bits outside are really good, crunchy but not too crunchy (and frankly, isn’t the best part of calamari the fried batter?). The intestine itself doesn’t burst with any particular flavor but has a meaty, chewy, slightly greasy texture. Dip it in a sauce, and really, it’s an enjoyable appetizer.

For my entree, I had a delicious chicken and rice dish, and I think what made it so good was that the chicken was still on the bone. And rice. Oh, the rice!

I’m ready for my second foray into the authentic menu.

Love,
A

Hainanese chicken over rice for the entree.

Hainanese chicken over rice for the entree.

Dear tom yum soup,

Tom yum soup with chicken from Zen Zero

Tom yum soup with chicken from Zen Zero

It’s winter. It’s cold. I’m sick. I hate it. But there’s always something that helps me feel better: hot, spicy soup. So of course I braved the cold once more to get a steamy, zingy serving of tom yum soup. I mean, ‘yum’ is in the name.

All I needed was some Sriracha for an extra kick. But not really.

Love,
A