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Evanston foodie Doug Seibold lists his Chicago area favorites

Doug Seibold.  | SUBMITTED PHOTO


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Updated: February 9, 2014 6:07AM

‘Buffet is my favorite word in two languages,” says Doug Seibold, president of Evanston-based Agate Publishing. He was talking food as usual at his desk, where he was about to eat a lunch of leftovers from the previous night’s homemade dinner, which is rather unlike him.

Seibold, 50, eats out — a lot — for work. And he eats a lot.

“I’ve always been one of those people who can eat and eat and eat and have trouble gaining weight,” he said.

He started cooking in college out of necessity and, upon moving to Chicago’s River North from the culinary wasteland that was St. Louis in the mid-’80s, dove fork-first into the restaurant scene while building his career in editing and book publishing. His memories run deep of Thai storefronts, Indian buffets, five-course German lunches and Frontera Grill — back before its first New York Times review, when it was just Seibold’s little neighborhood Mexican place.

Happily for Seibold, a fast-growing part of Agate’s business is in food-related publishing. He’s overseen books on pie, Indian and Sardinian cuisine and the beloved Hot Doug’s.

Pick-me-up: “The Brothers K Coffeehouse [500 Main St., Evanston] is a terrific cafe. They serve Metropolis Coffee and baked goods from Bennison’s, this great old bakery. When I was still running Agate out of my basement, this was my place for meetings.”

Taco break: “The favorite staff place for lunch in Evanston is Tacos Diablo [1029 Davis]. You can go in and get a three-taco lunch, and it’s just great. Affordable, fresh, really strong, intense flavors.”

Fusion fan: “I love these places with really well-done food by expert, trained chefs. But it’s simple food. BopNgrill [6604 N. Sheridan] is a burger place. Will Song makes these wild, Korean-fusion burgers and bop plates. It’s a simple menu and it’s fantastic. Crisp [2940 N. Broadway] is another example. They do a few simple things and they do them really, really well. And Belly Shack [1912 N. Western], it’s Korean-Latin fusion. You walk to the counter and get great food.”

Southern rules: “I’m a huge fan of Wishbone [1001 W. Washington]. It’s partly an emotional thing. I went there like the second week they were open. ... Their shrimp and grits is like family.”

On Rick Bayless: “He’s a national treasure. And the stuff he’s doing now at the airport [Tortas Frontera at O’Hare] … I flew in from New York late and my biggest disappointment was I couldn’t get to Terminal 3 before closing.”

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