TOC & Tribune: Traveling, Traveling On

• Phil Vettel holds off on levying judgment on some new, haute hub by laying out his list of the 10 best places to round up food at O’Hare Airport. Right off the bat we would like to note that we didn’t even really think there were ten places to eat at O’Hare — to us, it feels like there’s that one Wolfgang Puck cafe and then a seemingly endless clone army of McDonalds and limited-menu Quizno’s. (For the love of all that is holy, Airport Quizno’s, please start stocking the honey bourbon sauce!) Anyway, it turns out we were wrong wrong wrong, since Phil shows us that there is a wealth of hearty fare to be had, ranging from a Berghoff offshoot to the only Johnny Rockets in Chicago. Still, in our opinion, nothing beats the Manny’s Deli counter at Midway — it’s almost worth not flying JetBlue to get that sandwich. [Tribune]

• Chris Borelli gets the best assignment of the week: Kayak down the Chicago River and shout up to the restaurants to see who will serve him dinner without him having to get out of the boat. He gets some sushi, which is mildly exciting, but the real discovery is that if you paddle up to Robinson’s #1 Ribs, you get a complimentary bag of chips along with your boneless rib sandwich. All done via a basket lowered with string! Also, apparently Robinson’s serves kayakers “a lot.” Which simultaneously blows our minds, and makes us want to kayak over there right now to test out this novel sandwich-buying process. [Tribune]

• TOC takes us on a glorious food tour of Lincoln Ave in Ravenswood, a stretch of street dubbed “Sin Strip” thanks to seedy motels that (we can only assume) rented out by the hour. But now! Lots of delicious food! We are particularly drawn to the idea of homemade sausages from Kiko’s Market & Restaurant, and the Croatian coffee joint Cafe Uteja. Also, what decor decision could top that at Pueblito Viejo (5429 N Lincoln Ave, 773 784 9135): “a sprawling Colombian restaurant covered top to bottom in Christmas lights, fake flowers and dusty cowboy paraphernalia”? [TOC]

As for those critical opinion pieces we like to call “reviews”:

• Cheap Eats pulls off another four-forker: Laura Bergstrom hits up a teeny-tiny Mexican joint in Geneva called Bien Trucha (410 W. State St., Geneva, 630 232 2665) that does what it does mighty nicely: a simple, straightforward menu of tacos, tortas, cazuelitas, and accompaniments, all made with top-notch ingredients and flavor-packed preparations. Small portions whisked to the table as soon as they’re ready in the kitchen, margaritas made with fresh lime, rustic presentation — and everything’s under $10. [Bergstrom, Tribune]

• Even though David Tamarkin’s experience at Perennial is wildly inconsistent from one day to the next, he can’t help but like the place. There’s a sunny dining room, and … well, apparently the room is enough. The food’s not all bad — the chefs have “a wizardly knack for injecting the essence of summer into some of their dishes” — and Tamarkin’s up for visiting again to give it another shot. In our humble opinion? The sinusoidal peaks and valleys in this review make for a less-than-convincing argument for this restaurant’s ability to live up to its name. [Tamarkin, TOC]

[Photo: Corned beef & kraut on rye, at the O’Hare Berghoff, via Dotorious’s Flickr]

TOC & Tribune: Traveling, Traveling On