ZAP Bites: Eating My Way Through the West Loop

Since starting my internship at Zapwater I quickly discovered my favorite lunch break activity: strolling the streets of the West Loop to find the best places to eat. I don’t know if I could call myself a “foodie” (can real foodies like Oreos as much as I do?), but I do like my food deep fried, plentiful and frequently consumed. My favorite section in the West Loop so far is the block or two on Madison St. between N Racine and N Morgan. That's where I found one of the best BBQ sandwiches and ice cream cone I’ve ever had.

I found Real Comfort American Kitchen by means of Google and Urbanspoon. Because I can’t hear the words “comfort food” and not be on board, I headed there first. Though I’ve been on a bit of a health kick lately, I threw all thoughts of kale and juice cleanses out the window and ordered the Sweet Heat BBQ Chicken Sandwich. What I really wanted in addition to this was one of their signature bowls of mac & cheese, but thoughts of an extra few minutes on the elliptical later made me settle for just the sandwich.

This sandwich was borderline euphoric, a comfort food experience unlike any other I’ve had before. While Yelp reviewers criticize the cheese sauce they generously dollop on top, it really was the best part. My only regret is not taking a picture of the sandwich before I devoured it.

Bonus points to Real Comfort for having an incredibly nice employee working the cashier who helped me decide what to get. I also met a cute family wearing Kansas City apparel who made me miss Missouri tremendously. (Never thought I would say that--this BBQ obviously evoked some strong emotions.)

Just two doors down I saw Cone, a gourmet ice cream shop I had passed by the day before. For a fleeting moment I internally struggled with whether or not I really needed ice cream, but quickly decided that the answer to that question is always a resounding “yes.”

I sampled the birthday cake flavor, which had the most sprinkles I have ever seen in ice cream. (This is my obligatory ice cream sample; I try this flavor everywhere I go in search for the best one. I take my ice cream very seriously and Cone is a strong contender for the top spot.)

Eventually I went with the most unique flavor they had: avocado lime. With its subtle avocado flavor and little bits of lime rind mixed throughout, this ice cream was utterly perfect. Though Cone is a little pricy, it was delicious and made for a great addition to my Instagram--which is really what life is all about these days, right?


Next on my list: Wishbone. Southern shrimp and grits are calling my name.

-Lily Zacharias, Intern