Joe Pawlak

Nacho Fries BellGrande

Taco Bell, Chicago locations

Taco Bell subbed fries for chips for a winner of an LTO. Smart, because the chain just brought the same ingredients through the supply chain as they do for nachos—cheese sauce, ground beef, sour cream, tomatoes—and turned them into a unique item that can be served as a side or even a main dish with a fork.

shrimp alligator cheesecake

Shrimp and Alligator Sausage Cheesecake

Jacques-Imo’s, New Orleans

This is a signature dish that everyone talks about on Yelp. It’s a little softer and more fluid than a quiche with a great cheesy flavor. Even if you don’t want to try alligator, its uniqueness and great name makes it a must-have. The item exceeds expectations!

Gnocchi alla Prosciutto e Piselle alla Gorgonzola

Mia Figlia, Chicago

When you see gnocchi and Gorgonzola together on a menu, it sounds heavy. But this preparation is the opposite. The gnocchi are made with potatoes and turn out very light, and they are tossed with a thin Gorgonzola sauce that is also light. The dish is also reasonably priced.