I love a fancy date — now that I work from home, I’ll take any excuse to put on a dress and go out for a tasting menu — but I also love extremely casual dates, when you head out with your partner because you can’t face the leftovers you’d planned to eat, or because you both had a stressful day and just need someone else to cook for you.
On nights like that, I have a go-to solution: dinner at Redhot Ranch. It’s the city’s best hot dog stand, and it’s also the perfect spot for a low-key date night. There are three locations, you can wear a sweatshirt, and the best order is exactly the right amount of food for two. Get this: one double cheeseburger topped with LTO and special sauce; one hot dog loaded with onions, mustard, relish, and sport peppers; and a quarter pound of crispy fried shrimp, ready to dunk in spicy cocktail sauce. The burger and dog come with tender fries, so add on some cheese sauce for dipping.
This order is pretty much as gourmet as you can get for less than 20 bucks, and having a regular order with my partner removes the stress of deciding what to get. Instead, it lets me focus on connecting with him — and my favorite cheeseburger in town. 3057 N. Ashland Ave., Lake View; 2449 W. Armitage Ave., Logan Square; 500 W. 35th St., Bridgeport