Simply great eats

Perhaps one is near you?

Hi friends,

About two weeks ago Econ whiz kid Vishan Nigam (whose work also was featured in the first ever Reccs) suggested that I do a post of a bunch of great meals all over the US and world, given how spread out the Reccs’ readership is. I don’t claim these are the best I’ve had, or an exhaustive list. But all twenty of these represent a phenomenal value for what they cost. If you find yourself in these cities, go to these restaurants and eat these items.


  1. Arbella; Chicago, IL: one of the rare places that has (1) incredible food, (2) incredible cocktails, (3) an incredible vibe, and (4) prices that don’t make you want to cry. The spring rolls are special.

  2. Goree Cuisine; Chicago, IL: some of the best food I’ve had in Chicago (but maybe all Senegalese food is just incredible?). The yassa chicken and maffe are incredible. The fataya also is worth a try.

  3. Hing Kee; Chicago, IL: the xiaolongbao (soup dumplings) are their specialty. Worth going out of your way for.

  4. Min’s Noodle House; Chicago, IL: believe it or not I’ve never actually been to this restaurant but have ordered from at least 15 times. The pork bao dish is enough food for two delicious, dream-about-it-later meals and only ~$8.

  5. Marisol; Chicago, IL: Aren Rendell definitely figured out the best way to do this place: get a bunch of plates and split them tapas style. Very good coffee.

  6. The Dearborn; Chicago, IL: expensive, but still a great value for brunch. Funnily enough perhaps the most impressive dish was their everything rolls with boursin-cream cheese spread. Some of the best bread I’ve had (and I would know a thing or two about bread). You also shouldn’t miss their beignets.


  1. Rumba Cuban Café; Naples, FL: there may not be a better cuban sandwich with rice and black beans in the world. I certainly haven’t found a better one in America.

  2. Indochine; Wilmington, NC: egg rolls, panang curry, and coconut cake. Sounds like takeout for a random Thursday, looks like takeout for a random Thursday, tastes like $1000.

  3. Cotton & Rye: Savannah, GA: the sumac-and-spicy-honey-chipotle crispy chicken wings were $16 and I’m still putting it on this list for one of the best values you can find. That’s how good they were.

  4. The Tap & Still; St. Thomas, USVI: the burgers here are just simply perfect.


  1. Charlotte’s Legendary Lobster Schack; Southwest Harbor, ME: the name says it all. Lobster roll pairs well with a Narragansett Del’s Shandy on a hot July day.

  2. Bagelsaurus; Cambridge, MA: get the eggspañola on sea salt bagel. Get there early though, the line can run over a block long, even in winter.

  3. Yume Wo Katare; Cambridge, MA: Fair warning: you will get graded by the staff on how well you eat your ramen. But don’t worry, it is so good that you’ll finish every last drop.


  1. Tacorea; San Francisco, CA: come for the Kanye Asada burrito, stay for the #vibe.

  2. Marukame Udon; Honolulu, Hawai’i: slurp slurp.


  1. Tim Ho Wan; Hong Kong: this one is perhaps a bit of a cop-out given that it also is one of the cheapest Michelin stars out there. But the BBQ Pork Buns (maybe $4USD) are one of the best things I’ve ever tasted, hard stop.

  2. Duong’s Restaurant; Hanoi, Vietnam: the food here was really good, especially the Bún chả (pork and vermicelli), but what really puts it to the list was the presentation and hospitality. So much care was taken for every little detail.


  1. Le Colimaçon; Paris, France: escargot et lapin *chef’s kiss*.

  2. Casa Lucas; Madrid, Spain: the squid ink calamari will change your life.

  3. Manteigaria; Lisbon, Portugal: Ben Delsman and I stumbled into this place on a whim walking back to our AirBnB for some pastéis de nata (egg custards). We left convinced that Lisbon was the greatest city to ever exist. Only later did we learn that their pastéis de nata are considered some of the best in the world.

The Links

  1. Blog post* by Paul Graham on the special nature of working on your own projects

  2. Interesting essay* on literary citation. The portion on our collective, modern blurriness between fictive narrators and authors’ real life personae is important (s/o Tristan Wagner).

  3. Important article* on professional decline and making the most of your working years.

  4. Site* with several neat web art projects (best on desktop)

  5. Brief foray* into representing history as a grid.



This past week I went to a Chicago Fire soccer game with some friends. I know I’ve often used this section to suggest folks watch more soccer but I’m going to do it again because it was so much fun. If you have a professional men’s or women’s team in your area, go to a game!

Graph(s) of the week

  1. [The Economist] Folks have changed their priorities quickly.

  2. [WSJ] Unsurprisingly, lots of folks headed to small/medium metros as the pandemic raged on.

Keep the faith,