In the opening few minutes of Episode 10 of Action Bronson’s smash hit food travel show, F**k That’s Delicious, a Mexican woman asked precisely what is on every viewer’s lips —”who are they filming? This fat guy?” Staring at the women, Bronson replies “sí, comprendo.” Laughter thankfully erupts between both parties and the rapper turns back to eating his corn on the cob.
The setting is Chicago, Illinois — home to the famous deep pan pizza. The episode could have easily transpired into a sequence of pizza tastings but that’s simply not what Action Bronson and his crew do or eat. However, we can all live and pray for a cross over episode of the Pizza Show with Frankie Pinello and F**k That’s Delicious.
“Chicago, you can still smell the gun smoke from the Tommy guns and hear the groans of Al Capone in the background,” declares Bronson in a montage of the city’s most iconic buildings and the upcoming episode. The calmness of the city and the cuisine are quickly juxtaposed to the wildness of the rapper coming on stage with friend Alchemist stood behind his DJ set up. We all long for a life of passionate hip-hop and sampling some of the world’s greatest food.
Firstly, visiting Xoco by Rick Bayless on Chicago’s River North, these tortas aka Mexican sandwiches do not look like your average ham and cheese butty. Furnished with an open kitchen, Bayless and his team serve up some of the meatiest tortas in Chicago. Showing Bronson the behind the scenes prep, the chef goes through the recipe for a Mexican pulled pork filling. With the whole pig is covered in an achiote marinade — cumin, lime, oregano, and chipotle — and then wrapped in banana leaves. “They protect the meat but also gives it a whole load of flavour,” Bayless tells Bronson.
Sampling the meat, it is clear from the steam rising that the cooking methods have served the pig well. Moving outside, the whole gang are treated to a taster of the whole menu. With short rib, jalapeño sausage meatballs, shrimp, chicken milanesa, the ‘spread’ at Xoco looks fit for a sandwich king.
Polish cuisine in the UK is something relatively unknown. However, state side in Chicago it appears a little bigger. Arriving at the Taste of Polonia Festival on a warm sunny day, the array of sausages on offer looks enough to rival any German Christmas schnitzel stall.
Naturally, Bronson and Big Body Bes go for something a little different; a smoked Turkey drumstick the size of a small infant. Just like any average day, they pump into Joey ‘That Guy’ Kornatowski- a Guy Fieri impersonator. Tucking into a polish shish kebab with boiled meat dumplings, buffalo wings and ice cream caps off their visit- alongside a boogie to some rock and roll.
Mentioning the latter, after their meat filled Polish adventure the next logical place to visit is Margie’s Candies — a half and half ice cream parlour and candy store. With its neo-lights filling the frame and large queue, you can see why this place requires a visit from F**k That’s Delicious. “Old school feeling, all this old a** s*** on the walls, I love it,” Bronson states.
The atmosphere clearly harks back to the 20s family run era when the store was set up. Ordering three banana splits in an enormous egg shell, the cream almost overflows from the bowl. “This is a guaranteed spot, 100% happiness fulfilled. Margie’s Candies it’s crazy.”
Maxwell Street Market at Chicago Flea Markets embodies the city’s multiculturalism. Specifically paying a visit to the Latin influence in the market, the crew dive into the variety of tacos etc. Sampling, a huitlacoche or a corn smut taco, the particular flavours of the bitterness clearly works on Bronson and Big Body. “This ain’t no restaurant food, it wouldn’t taste the same if it was made indoors, it has to be made in the street — the street is its seasoning for the food. You know what I’m saying? That’s the base, the foundation,” sums up street food accurately by Big Body.
Topping off their Chicago visit with Roister, Grant Achatz’s innovative modern restaurant rounds off the episode. Achatz has a specific episode of Netflix’s Chef’s Table dedicated to his cuisine and life which is well worth a watch. Helmed by Andrew Brochu, the venue is intimate and reminds you of an open sushi restaurant kitchen. Sat across from the chefs, duck hangs over an open fire with its juices flowing. Serving it up with a duck-leg sausage and citrus glaze, the dishes here look phenomenal as you would expect from Achatz.
Finishing the meal is a whole milk ice cream with undercooked cookies and an oyster candy bar made from black walnuts, pretzel, marshmallow, foie gras and dipped in chocolate. Ending on a dramatic classical piece of music, it is clear from all of their reactions that this meal was the piece de resistance to finish their trip.