Monday, September 1, 2014

Superdawg

-In Chicago: Every Dog Has it's Day

Can you believe I've never gotten around to posting on this classic? Neither could I when I searched for it on google as a link to send to a friend visiting his future in-laws out in the burbs where Superdawg's second location is located. The original sits on the intersection of Milwaukee, Devon and Nagle in the Norwood Park neighborhood. Established in 1948 it's one of a few remaining real deal year round drive in's. It's Chicago's only drive-in eatery left. Started by a husband and wife team Superdawg is still all in the family and the perfect example of how to run a restaurant. I've never encountered a smoother sailing ship as far as service and quality at a high traffic stop goes. There's so much love out there and it's all deserved. Here's some more.

Chicago's Year Round Drive-In and the famous Maurie and Flaurie Dogs

The signature of the show is the Superdawg. To this day they've had the wieners made specially for them so you wont find these anywhere else. The all beef hot dogs are plumper than most and take on heavy notes of both garlic and spice. The signature item of the Superdawg is their pickled green tomatoes they use in place of the standard red sliced ones served on Chicago style hot dogs. Every sandwich comes served in a box with fresh crinkle cut fries beside them.The fries are still fried in beef tallow which is a practice that's not all common anymore. Even McDonald's did this at one point. The result is one of the best dog and fries combinations in the nation.

Superdawg's Signature Superdawg 

As hard as it can be to pass on the namesake when visiting Superdawg, should you choose to you wont regret it. The Whoopskidawg is one of the best sausages in the city. As described on the menu it's a "char-broiled version of a Romanian, Hungarian, Polish sausage; basted in our special sauce, and served on a Whoopskiroll™, with grilled onion and a pickle." If Bill Swerski should ever be given a last dinner of his choice. This would be it. Though it doesn't stop there with other items worth a chow. I've already given heavy praise to the Superfish Sandwich and consider their onion chips to be one of the best fried sides being served at the 100's of hot dog stands across Chicagoland. The Whoopercheesie is double cheeseburger grilled over flames that often gets overshadowed by the hot dog though it can more than hold it's own. Long story short. It's all good.

The Whoopskidawg is a winner

Onion Chips are addicting

Superfish Sandwich is a stunner

The Whoopercheesie is a beast

Superdawg
6363 N Milwaukee Ave
Chicago, IL 60646
(773) 763-0660
Website 

Superdawg Drive-in on Urbanspoon

Friday, August 29, 2014

Backyard Fajitas

--Tailgatin' and how to make mofos start playa hatin' (Recipes)

It's been a LONG time since I posted a recipe on here. Apologies as I've been traveling so much this summer I havent really been cooking much. That changed last weekend when I catered a little party for a friend who requested I make some steak and chicken fajitas. No problem I said as this is a really easy dish that always gets lots of likes. There's not too many ways one can make fajitas as the ingredients come down to just a handful of things. However if you're making chicken then the marinade plays the most important role. Chicken breast is boring but a good marinade can elevate it to eatable status. I decided to rely on the Homesick Texan who got her recipe from her uncle.

Click HERE for Uncle Homesick Texan's Chicken Fajita Marinade

I don't have an exact recipe as it's simple as far as what you need. Figure two bell peppers and one medium onion for every two pounds of meat. Cut them both in strips. I prefer flour tortillas for fajitas so that's what I use and sometimes if they're in season I like to flash pan fry a batch of cherry tomatoes and sprinkle them with cumin and use those too. Typical sides are rice and beans. It's hard to believe but many people mess up this simple dish. There's a few things you should know if you plan on making some soon. As far as the peppers and onions go you want to blister them which means you want your pan to be extra hot when they're thrown in. Do so in batches and do the peppers and onions separate. Sprinkle some salt and pepper on them and take off when nicely colored.

Peppers and Onions

Next up is something I decided to try for a little change of pace. My always reliable cookbook collection from Robb Walsh had a recipe in one of them that suggests substituting a black bean hummus in place of regular refried beans. Perfect for a hot summer day this recipe turned the food from Tex-Mex to Leb-Mex.

Black Bean Hummus is great spread on the tortilla of the fajita

This turned out to be the star of the show for both me and many guests. I found it worked better with the chicken the beef but it was also really satisfying as a dip used with tortilla chips. Next up as far as important notes for making fajitas goes is the cooking of the meats. You better be doing it on a grill. Fajitas aren't made in the kitchen folks. Just like the tip for the peppers and onions you need to make sure the grill is both hot and well lubed. When ready cook the chicken first if making both. I should note that I prefer using tenders from Costco as they cook faster and are easily chopped once ready. For me it's all about the steak when it comes to fajitas. The perfect pair there's only one cut to use in my eye and thats skirt steak. I get mine from Tony's Finer Foods which has multiple locations in Chicagoland. They'll clean it up and slice it down the middle so it's a quick grill job when ready. I only use mesquite smoked salt and pepper as that's all you need. Slice against the grain.

Chicken and Steak for Fajitas

Once all the meat is chopped you're now ready to assemble your plate. Barring you warmed the tortillas up on the grill to give them a little color. Assemble as you like and enjoy.

Carne Asada (L) and Chicken (R) Fajitas
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See ya next time @chibbqking

Monday, August 25, 2014

Thai Salad Special

 -Grubbing in Chicago
Where the Thai Salads at?

Today's post is a tribute to the country which I feel makes the most tongue tingling salads. I'm not big on raw greens and diced veggies and thats ok because the salads of Thai cuisine are hardly just that. Wikipedia states that Thai salads fall into four categories - Yam, Tam, Lap and Phla - with each one having a different flavor, texture and preparation profile. I still consider myself a novice with this as I'm learning much of it as I type. That said I became much more experienced in the eating of them department this past summer. Here are 17 Thai salads I've tried  from some of Chicago's best Thai restaurants. They make for the perfect snack on a hot summer day. I wont waste your time trying to describe each and every one because they should all be tried as they're each unique and tasty in their own ways. That said some of the many words that can be used to recount them are comforting, exotic, lip-smacking, tangy, sour, succulent, and just plain good.
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Spoon Thai

Larb Kor Moo - sliced pork neck grilled to perfection and flavored with chili powder and tossed with cilantro, onion and roasted rice powder in spicy lime dressing
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Thai Valley

Spicy Rice Namsod - tasty Thai curry rice mixture combined with ground pork, red onions roasted peanut ginger in tasty spicy sauce served
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Siam Country

Thai Crispy Egg Salad - crispy egg, cucumbers, red onions, carrots with sweet and sour dressing and ground peanuts
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Silom 12

Silom Salad - fried papaya, green beans, grape tomato, peanut, dried shrimp, and spicy som tum dressing

Yum Pla Duuk Fu Salad - crispy catfish, peanut, green mango and spicy sweet salad dressing
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Opart Thai House

Miang Sa-Wan - dried pork, peanuts, lime, fresh ginger, onions, cilantro and thai hot peppers, served with green lettuce leaves to wrap
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TAC Quick 

Crispy On Choy - tempura Chinese watercrest, shrimp, ground chicken, mint leaf and onions with spicy chili paste lime dressing
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Sticky Rice 

Larb Catfish - chop fried catfish, cilantro, onion, basil, mint, roasted rice powder mixed with lime sauce

Tilapia Apple Salad -  deep-fried tilapia topped with onions, ginger, apple, pineapple, cilantro and mint mixed with Thai spicy dressing
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Nine Classic Thai

Catfish Salad - deep fried pieces of catfish topped with shredded carrot, green onion, chile and Thai Spicy Dressing
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Andy's Thai Kitchen

Yum Woon Sen Salad - glass noodle, shrimp, ground chicken, peanut, fried garlic, onion and cilantro with a spicy lime juice
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Aroy Thai

Grilled Pork Neck Salad - grilled pork salad with red onion, green onions, roasted rice powder and thai chili
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Siam Noodle & Rice 

Bean Thread Salad - tossed, seasoned clear noodle with minced shrimp, ground pork, red onion, celery and chili over a bed of fresh lettuce
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Spicy Thai Lao (Burbank)

Laotian Jackfruit Salad - young jackfruit, rice powder, fish sauce, onion, cilantro, basil, tamarind, lime juice and dried Thai chiles
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White Pearl (Elgin)

Northeastern Spicy Chopped Beef Salad - As rec'd by Leela of SheSimmers which you can learn all about HERE
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B&V Market (Elgin)

 Nam Kaho Tod - a deep-fried rice salad with northern Thai-style pressed ham tossed with ginger, peanuts, onion and cilantro in spicy lime dressing
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LTHforum Picnic

Grilled Beef Heart Nam Tok - as made by @brbinchicago for the LTHforum Picnic. Get the awesome recipe HERE
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Spoon Thai
4608 N Western Ave
Chicago, IL 60625
(773) 769-1173

Thai Valley
4600 N Kedzie Ave
Chicago, IL 60625
(773) 588-2020

Siam Country
4637 N Damen Ave
Chicago, IL 60625
(773) 271-0700

Silom 12
1846 N Milwaukee Ave
Chicago, IL 60647
(773) 489-1212

Opart Thai House
4658 N Western Ave
Chicago, IL 60625
(773) 989-8517

Thai Quick
3930 N Sheridan Rd
Chicago, IL 60613
(773) 327-5253

Sticky Rice
4018 N Western Ave
Chicago, IL 60618
(773) 588-0133

Nine Classic Thai
2349 N Clark St
Chicago, IL 60614
(773) 360-7087

Andy's Thai Kitchen
946 W Wellington Ave
Chicago, IL 60657
(773) 549-7821

Aroy Thai
4654 N Damen Ave
Chicago, IL 60625
(773) 275-8360

Siam Noodle & Rice
4654 N Sheridan Rd
Chicago, IL 60640
(773) 769-6694

Spicy Thai Lao
5357 State Rd
Burbank, IL 60459
(708) 424-1758

White Pearl Restaurant
265 S McLean Blvd
Elgin, IL 60123
(847) 695-3399

B & V Asian Market
347 N Mclean Blvd
South Elgin, IL 60177
(847) 931-7188

LTHforum.com

Friday, August 22, 2014

Stopping in at three Galesburg Favorites

Eating like a local:
Regional food specialties
 
- Land of Old School Eats

Galesburg is a small Illinois town with some real history behind it. A regular stop on the Underground Railroad it was also the site of the fifth Lincoln-Douglas debate and birthplace of poet, author and historian Carl Sandburg. It's long had ties to the railroad industry which to this day remains the city's largest employer. Home to a handful of festivals I roamed thru this Main street community last April before  wandering the Quad Cities area with Grub Seeker.  So of course we would be stopping in at some local food favorites. Hope you enjoy the journey.
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Gray's Sandwich Shop

Tucked away on main street is this locals breakfast and lunch favorite. They describe themselves as an "Old Fashioned American Diner" and I can oblige with that. It's a classic as far as looks and feel go. As far as the food went it was mostly on par with what you'd expect from a longtime locals favorite. I cant find the dates they've been around online but you have to imagine the place is at least 20 years old. Busy day on this afternoon as I stopped in right as the lunch rush was forming.

The Menu which in these parts is always sponsored by Pepsi

My original reason for stopping in was to try what they claim to be "the best tenderloin in town" and since we're not too far from Iowa I figured they might be putting out a good one. But then upon glancing the menu and seeing 20+ balls of fresh beef go onto the griddle for burgers, I went all in.

Tenderloin - BAD. Just a frozen 'loin that many old folks from around the way must have trouble eating without any teeth in place.

Cheeseburger - Pretty Good. Freshly made this hit the spot but didn't reach any stars or anything like that. The beef might of been a little too lean.

Grilled Cheese Rite - Awesome. You might of noticed on the menu that they serve "Steam Rites" which are loose meat sandwiches, again were not far from Iowa. I asked what a grilled cheese rite was and was told it's loose meat in grilled cheese which sounded too comfortable not to try.

Served with standard burger toppings inside, this was perfectly executed Midwestern mom food. Nothing special but it did hit the spot to the point where I'll be making my own come one cold winter day.
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Coney Island

Continuing on in my quest to visit every remaining Coney Island Hot Dog shop in the States, well outside of Detroit proper anyway, this would be our second stop. According to the plaque outside this is Galesburg's oldest restaurant. They've been at it since 1921. Stepping inside it feels as much like an old time ice cream parlor as it does a Coney Island stand.

As we enter

Notice the "Maid Wrong" on the Pepsi promoted menu, I gotta small chuckle out of that

Wieners in the window like every other old time Coney haunt

No need to mention what we were here for, only question was would it be one or two?

One as we were just coming from Gray's. So as you can see they're still preparing them like they used to and while I didn't ask I'm pretty sure the lady behind the counter has been there for a while. That's pretty much the case at every one of these stops I've made. You may of noticed the Red Hot Chicago neon in the window and or the Vienna Beef poster behind her in the picture. They make other types of hot dogs so I'm not sure what kind of wiener they use for them but the Eckrich brand Turkey/Pork hot dogs used for these ruined them. I'm not opposed to the use of cheap wieners in a Coney, most places outside Detroit and Flint use them but these taste too much like them to the point where the coney sauce was barely noticeable. All I tasted was the distinct flavor of the turkey blended hot dogs which I cant stand. Oh well, you win some you lose some.

Coney Island Hot Dog
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John's Taco Hideout

Too dark for a picture but if you could see the large trailer with motorcycles parked out front you'd get the feeling I got that this place both looked and then once inside felt like a real deal Texas roadhouse. They've been around since the 60's and as expected not much has changed. Prices still dirt cheap.

Pepsi Menu

There seems to be a handful of these 1960's Mexican-American eateries around this way and maybe one day I'll get around to a post on them. Anyway a few of them serve Tacoburgers which closely resemble loose meat sandwiches and are also popular at old school Drive-in's around Los Angeles. These are made using the spiced ground beef for the tacos served on a bun. Taco Hideout has them but for some reason I just couldn't dig in. I should of for documentation purposes but this was the last stop of many on this day. I did get an order of beef and bean dip which again felt straight out of the 1960's. That said I liked it. Good gameday grub.

Dip served with Chips

Reason for the visit was the fact they have crispy tacos. If you've read other stuff I've posted you know I'm a fan. These are my ultimate guilty pleasure which in some ways shouldn't even be that since tacos dorados are common in many Mexican states. Note: Crispy tacos meaning freshly fried tortilla, not some store bought ones from a box. These little guys came three to a basket and cost near to nothing. They weren't amazing but they were sufficient. Authentic? Who cares the guy that owns the place is Mexican so who is this gringo to tell him otherwise. Admittedly there probably aren't any places in Mexico serving tacos dorados with shredded cheddar but that's why we call it Tex-Mex. I'm a sucker for these type of spots.

Taco Basket
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No room for another locals favorite on this trip but we did have to stop for a snap of the sign. 

See ya next time.
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Gray's Sandwich Shop
1160 W Main St
Galesburg, IL 61401
(309) 342-6615

Coney Island
77 S Cherry St
Galesburg, IL 61401
(309) 343-4990

Taco Hideout
1256 W Berrien St
Galesburg, IL 61401
(309) 343-5610

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