Halo Asian Mix
29 East Adams Street, Chicago, IL 60603
Time: In at 1:01 pm, food in 10 minutes
Meal: Tocilog, can of coke = $9.98
North of the Exchequer there’s a 7-11, which I suppose is technically a lunch spot, but I’m not that obsessive (or masochistic). So we round the corner at Adams, skip the Dunkin’ Donuts/Baskin Robbins (same deal) and arrive at Halo Asian Mix. First off, this doesn’t matter a bit to the food, but it’s not hay-low, like an angel would have, but HA-low, which is Tagalog for “mix”.
Halo is the kind of lunch place that would probably drive a lot of people crazy, but that I just love. The ambiance is nil. Halo took over the space from a different pan-Asian place two years ago and there are still signs up that I’m sure are references to that previous place. The fountain soda machine has an “out of order” sign on it that looks months old. There’s a greasy smell in the air. And they’re slow—the 10 minutes it took for my food this time was actually the fastest I’ve ever gotten food here, and there have been times when I’ve walked in the door, waited for someone to take my order, and left when no one was at the counter for minutes. There’s a small sign at the cash register that suggests calling ahead with your order (312-360-1111). But the food, based on my two visits so far, seems worth it.
The food at Halo is pan-Asian, with the menu divided into sections called “Taste of Hawaii”, “Taste of Philippines”, etc. The kitchen looks tiny, but every meal seems to be made to order (hence the slowness). I had read on a Yelp review that the owners were Filipino, so for this visit I went with a Filipino dish and got the Tocilog (or “Tosilog”, as it was spelled on a different menu in the store): sweet glazed pork, rice, and a fried egg. The pork was delicious and the egg was a wonderful sunny-side up. My lunch companion got a Thai selection: Pad See Ew and also found it delicious.
This is the first place in this project that I’m already thinking about breaking my own rules and coming back for a repeat visit.