A particularly well-fed summer reading list
Librarians are curious by nature. Surprising no one, a few of us working at the library on Parsons Avenue recently concluded a review of a nearby food truck with a recommended pairing of books. Being librarians, we then amassed a list of dozens of South Side eateries that we considered eligible for what we have dubbed the “South Side Eat This Book” tour. Below is a sampling of eateries that only exist south of Livingston Avenue, along with a recommended meal and a book you should take with you to enhance your experience. Prepare for three-and-a-half miles of librarian-approved umami goodness. I'd say, “Tip your librarian,” but you can get all this succulence for free.
Buns & Brews
Meal: The Southern Comfort Dog
Book: Few experiences compare with reading about food while eating it. Try Michael Twitty's delectable culinary memoir, The Cooking Gene.
Plank's Cafe & Pizzeria
Meal: Veggie pizza
Book: When you want to pretend you're doing something healthy but still want to have a good time, pop in early some morning and order this while reading James Lee Burke's latest, The New Iberia Blues. He will go down as one of our best authors, period.
Bake Me Happy
Meal: Brown Butter Rice Krispie Treat
Book: A decadent mash-up like this deserves a similarly twisty treat: The Department of Sensitive Crimes by Alexander McCall Smith.
The Old Mohawk
Meal: The Mother Mohawk
Book: This signature sandwich from a German Village institution deserves a boon from the God Bourdain. Most people read Kitchen Confidential, watch a few episodes of “Parts Unknown” and consider themselves conversant. I'm recommending The Nasty Bits, especially his take on celebrity chefs.
The Brown Bag Deli
Meal: The Village Addiction
Book: Colson Whitehead ‘s The Noble Hustle tracks the writer's glancing jaunt into professional poker. A hilarious and short read perfect for lunchtime nibbling.
Shrimp Lips Seafood & Chicken
Meal: The Full Combo
Book: This truck serves more grub than you can chew with your mouth closed, so bring a chair and the equally stuffed Samantha Irby essay collection, Meaty.
Valter's at the Maennerchor
Meal: Cast Iron Prime Rib
Book: Chef Valter is always tweaking his Old World menu, so read something by another experimental chef: Notes from a Young Black Chef by Kwame Onwuachi.
Two Dollar Radio
Meal: Buffa-Chicky BLT Sammy
Book: A publishing house doubling as a vegan eatery is kind of a given for a list like this, so go meta and peruse Cookbook Book, a collection of pages from cookbooks through time edited by Annahita Kamali and photographed by Floriam Bohm.
Schmidt's Sausage Haus
Meal: Bahama Mama
Book: If you go with the Bahama, wrestle Hemingway's The Old Man and the Sea.