10 More of the Best Cheap Eats of 2008

In this week's column, I laid out ten of the best choices for cheap eats with a high deliciousness quotient. Here are another ten honorable mentions that didn't make the newsprint edition:

The Chicago Dog at Uncle Franky's -- Uncle Franky's may be a "churn 'em out by the thousands" operation, but that hasn't had an impact on their classic Chicago dog (topped by sport peppers, relish, pickle, onion, tomato). A fresh tasting Vienna Beef dog with a perfectly balanced pile of toppings makes this a highbrow take on lowbrow cuisine.

Meatball Pizza at Black Sheep -- Black Sheep starts ahead of the game by using a coal-fired crust that is a delectable balance between chewy and crunchy, inspired directly by old-school East Coast 'za. Toppings vary in terms of their impact; the best is the zesty and tender meatball option.

Apple Chibouste at Patrick's -- If you've ever had real European pastry, you're aware that it's different than its American cousin. It tends to be more refined and more restrained, sweet but not overly sweet, more about texture than huge hits of chocolate and/or refined sugar. The apple chibouste (a kind of flan / apple tart confection) at Patrick's is a great example of how to make a treat sweet but classy in the European tradition.

Tuna Nigiri at Azuki -- Simple sushi doesn't have to be boring. A generous serving size of exceedingly fresh-tasting and tender fish makes the tuna nigiri at Stadium Village's Azuki worth a cross-town trip.

Creme-filled brioche at The Salty Tart -- A popover from heaven. These things are springy and soft, topped with a hint of crunchy sugar and pumped half full with just a tablespoon or so of rich creme filling. Wow.

Breakfast Blucy at The Blue Door -- You wouldn't think that throwing a fried egg on top of a jucy lucy would be a good idea. You'd think it would be too damned much, like putting butter on a steak, or chocolate mousse on top of chocolate cake. Turns out it's a sensuous, heart-attack stimulating delight.

Sandwiches at Surdyk's -- Surdyk's may be best known as the font of all good liquor and wine, but its cheese and sweets shop packs a punch at lunch. The sandwich types vary (even including a sort of high-end curried kebab sandwich at times), but the quality is always top-notch. Great cheese, great meat, great bread -- it's hard to go wrong, and Surdyk's doesn't.

Gyros at Holy Land Grocery & Deli -- A big, meaty, tender gyros bellyflop. While not particularly subtle, Holy Land's gyros are street food elevated to a moment of pure gastronmic passion.

Bratwurst at the Target Bluff German Haus -- Sure, it's a bit of a hike (two or so hours down 90/94 toward Madison), but if you want a classic brat served on a hardroll with local spicy mustard and a draught Spaten Optimator in a chilled glass mug, it's the best way to go. A roadfood delight.

Sake at Moto-i -- Unlike anyone else in the Midwest, the guys at Moto-i serve draft sake that's made in house. And it's damned delicious, too, particularly the melon-inflected junmai nama variety.

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