Birmingham, England – SISTER CITY SINCE 1993
RESTAURANT: Pleasant House Bakery


M: Birmingham was funny. I went over to the Chicago Sister Cities International Daley Center food/setup thing right when we started this and there were fellas from Birmingham there. I asked them what their signature food was and they said “Curry.” I laughed and said, no really and they said, “No really, curry.” So we fuddled around and found out the dish was called Balti. Where was I going to find Balti??? Ah Pleasant House! I think this was maybe my favorite thing we had, Balti Pie. It was like a curry chicken pot pie and it was DELICIOUS. It’s my favorite photo, and I think it may have been my favorite food. I freaking love Balti Pie.

J: Top 5 for sure. Might have to rip this off and start making it at home. Crust, chicken curry filling and sauce were all perfect. This was an amazing blend of “English Warm” with “Indian Hot.” But how did it happen?

Busan, Korea – SISTER CITY SINCE 2007
FOOD CHOICE: Seafood Pancake
RESTAURANT: So Gong Dong Tofu House


M: I mean, a seafood pancake is not the thing I would make for myself necessarily? So maybe not my favorite one. So Gong Dong was very cool on the inside. I loved it. All dark and and dark wood sectioning off different parts of the restaurant. We went at an off time and we were the only people in there and it just, wasn’t quite the most delicious thing I’ve ever had. But I loved the place. Maybe just not the pancake.

J: The first bite (the one you saw on camera) WAS great. The pancake portion was amazing. Once I reached the seafood though, I was less happy. I know what “frozen seafood – mixed” looks like when I see it. Lil shrimps (ha!) and rubber mussels are the tell tale sign. We wanted to try new places as part of this – but for me Cho Sun Ok is a better choice…

Petach Tikva, Israel – SISTER CITY SINCE 1994
RESTAURANT: Tel Aviv Kosher Pizza


M: John was excited about Tel Aviv Kosher Pizza. I mean, we know all kinds of places where we can get yummy falafel but John found a KOSHER falafel place. Tel Aviv Pizza was CROWDED at 3:00PM in the middle of the afternoon. Tons of families eating pizza. The guys at the counter were REALLY excited about our project and that was really nice. The falafel was good, not what other falafel tastes like to me. Definitely different and this place? I love knowing this places exists.

J: WordPress seems to hate the word falafel. I know I’m spelling you right. So eat it WordPress. Speaking of eating it. I did. Fresh and cheap like falafel should be. But I’m still waiting for my Fanta….

Prague, Czech Republic – SISTER CITY SINCE 1990
FOOD CHOICE: Sirloin and Cream Sauce


M: Cafe Prague. I love it so much. How can we go wrong with “sirloin and cream sauce?” So good, so fun. I’m sure Cafe Prague gets rocking at night, it really seemed like it did. This is definitely one place I never would have gone without this project. And they were SO nice. So so nice. The sirloin and bread dumplings (it’s really like bread loaf, it was so yummy) were delicious. So comforty. I want to go back, get dressed up and go dancing at Cafe Prague. They would be so confused but they’d be so nice.

J: The sirloin is the only thing you can’t see in the picture. It is under some sort of thick amazing cream based gravy. I almost felt like I was eating a Prague Thanksgiving. If such a thing existed. This is also one of those classic “mashing” European dishes that require a bit of this and a bit of that all on the fork to really light up. Beef and whipped cream must be tasted to be believed.