Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Chix Teriyaki Potato

-Grubbing in Chicago (land)
Where the burbanites eat

Michael's Hot Dogs (now of Highland Park) has been a name recognized in Chicago since 1977. Back in the early 90's there used to be a Michael's in Lincoln Park and they were known for their jumbo dogs, charbroiled burgers and enormous salad bar along with those profile pictures of all sorts of children on the walls. The LP location eventually closed down but Michael's is still very popular in its Highland Park location. It fits well in HP as the website declares "Michael's was one of the first restaurants of its type to recognize a consumer demand for healthy fast food" Lord knows the real housewives of the Northshore need to eat healthy. When you enter Michael's there is a line for the typical burger fare and a line for the salads and potato bars. It had been years since I had a loaded baked potato from Michael's, whenever the LP location closed was the last time I had been but I did remember the cheese fries and loaded potatoes being good.

Michael's is very popular with people in the burbs

I finally made it to Michael's in the suburbs just recently and got to see if the chicken teriyaki potato is actually legit or if I was just young and dumb and didn't know any better. I can tell now you that its somewhere in between the two. For whatever reason they still taste really good and hit the spot on a cold day. The potato features the combination of the tato loaded with little square cut pieces of white meat chicken loaded with cheese and teriyaki sauce with sour cream on the side. This is a meal that for whatever reason works with me. I wouldn't recommend driving out of the way for one but if your in Highland Park and hungry then go for it. I also think it would be pretty darn easy to replicate this if not make it better at home.

Chix Teriyaki tato

Michael's Chicago Style Redhots
1879 2nd St
Highland Park, IL 60035
(847) 432-3338


Sunday, April 26, 2009

Descendants of the Italian Beef

-Got Beef? Da Combo

Gimme a hot Juicy combo and a gravy bread please. The Italian Beef is so much a part of Chicago's food culture that it has a few descendants that are also very popular on Italian Beef stands menus. The almighty "combo" is made by adding a piece of char grilled Italian sausage into your beef sandwich making it a combo. For those times when your just feeling like something a little different than your normal beef fix...but not too different. Every beef stand in the city offers a combo but one stands above the rest in my books. The beefs at Johnnie's are a favorite for almost everyone who has tried one and when they add a piece of perfectly spiced char grilled sausage, cooked over open air above charcoal, it takes the sandwich to a different world. In fact I always order a combo from Johnnies passing on just an Italian beef.

Hot Juicy Combo from Johnnies

The almighty combo

If the combo is a little too much meat for you and or not enough food then try a gravy bread instead or one with your combo. The gravy bread is just the bread of an Italian beef soaked in the gravy. The gravy bread is a popular side item at beef and dog stands around town. Some people enjoy them plain and others like them with peppers inside. The best gravy bread in the city is found at Pop's who also has one of the better beefs. Its pretty much a southside thing and while they can be found on northside menus they are all over da southside. I could easily eat 5 GB's in a single sitting and would like to see a gravy bread entry into the Competitive Eating League.

Gravy Bread from Pop's on Kedzie

Johnnie's Beef
7500 W North Ave
Elmwood Park, IL 60707
(708) 452-6000

Pop's Italian Beef and Sausage
10337 S Kedzie Ave
Chicago, IL 60655
(773) 239-1243

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Louie's P & R Deli (Herrin, IL)

Eating like a local:
Regional food specialties

-Salameats down South (IL)

You may remember a post I made back in October when I ate like a Roman King for two long, long days down in the IL, IN, KY Tri-State region. As if appetizers from the West Side Nut Club Fall Fest with a main course of Hog Heaven and a meat buffet for dessert in Owensboro, KY with some loose meats on the side wasn't enough eating for an extended family of 34 we needed more food. On day two it was time for a little change of pace from the BBQ...but not the pork. Louie's P&R deli in Herrin, IL is a local treasure that has been supplying the locals with their one of a kind salameats and other amazing homemade sausages and Italian sandwiches for a very long time.

Since 1968

Back in the 80's there were still a few Italian corner delis left in Chicago but by the late 90's and now in 2009 there are barely any left. From the moment we stepped foot in the deli I knew it was something special, something that has become near extinct in Chicago. The family that runs Louie's has been doing it the same way since day one and its all homemade. To my best knowledge the salameat sausage is an old family recipe that they have been using since before the store even opened. They stuff salami (maybe) and other meats in natural casing creating a very memorable sausage experience. If you look around the internet there is very little information about salameats. If anyone has any information on this amazing local treasure please leave me a comment with your knowledge of it. All I know is that these salameats sandwiches are five star roadfood eats. Got it? Good.

Side of the deli

Fresh sassage

Louie's signature sandwich: salameat served on fresh baked bread with mustard and onions

This sandwich pictured below isn't on the menu but its their famous salameat wrapped in pepperoni and prosciutto covered in homemade red sauce and served with a slice of provolone and peperochinni's on homemade fresh baked bread. You will call it the "Don Barzinini". The town of Herrin had a real Italian presence from the Italian immigrants who came in the early century for mining work and was my favorite little town on the trip. The Italian tradition can be felt pretty heavily in this small town of 12,000. Frank Sinatra was a performer at the city's recreational facility and loved to play bocce ball at the park. There were a couple pizza shacks that looked like they had been around forever, real old school looking with those red and white square table cloths and I just kind of knew they were good and I haven't even been...yet.

Holy Shat! Whats that you ask? The Don Barzinini special

Louie's P & R Deli
120 E Walnut St
Herrin, IL 62948
(618) 942-3394
Herrin Italian Fest

Monday, April 20, 2009

Fresh Fries

-Fried out on 420

It's 420 maaaaan. Yeah 420! Wait I forgot what was I saying? I'm hungry lets go get some french fries.

Welcome to the soon to be annual chibbqking's "fried out on 420" a round up of the best batches of french fries in the city with all sorts of styles to choose from, truly a stoners dream. These days everyplace that serves food seems to serve fries even the high end places have stuff like pommes frites with garlic aioli mayonnaise but most places just use the boring frozen spuds that have no flavor or character and for that matter just flat out suck...even if you got a serious case of the munchies. One good sign to a good roadfood style joint is fresh cut fries. It's takes a little more time and requires a little more work so at times this can be a clue to good food ahead. There are so many places with good fries that its going to take quite a few fry outs to get them all but here are this years winners.

The Winner for best fries in a Regional role goes to...

The New Orleans Style Cheese Fries from Toon's Bar & Grill: fresh cut fries buried in a mix of real cheeses and melted under a broiler

The winner for best fries in an International role goes to...

Athenian Room's famous Greek Athenian fries

Here are the 2009 fried out winners for way above average fries

best fries with a first class Italian Beef: Chickies

Go just for the fries and nothing else, they're that good: Michael's in Oak Park

Best old school tasting fries: Sammy's Red Hots

Best cheese fries during the day: Murphy's Red Hot's

Best cheese fries late at night: Wieners Circle fries

best cheese fries when inebriated after 3a: TBP #2

Best curly fries in the country: Fred's Burger's (Burlington, WI)

best stoners creation with the use of fries: Horseshoe from D'Arcy's Pint (Springfield, IL)

Most unique set of fries: Max's Ghetto Fries

best combo of meat/potato (fries): 'tato dog from Gene & Jude's

You know your hungry.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Bibimbap & Baseball

-Grubbing in Chicago
Where the real Cubs fans eat.

Last week I pointed out where the Sox fans eat so now its the home teams turn. The past 25 years Wrigley Field and its neighborhood of Wrigleyville has turned into a tourist trap zone and is now filled with nothing but fashionable bars and shops carrying Cubs gear with ticket outlets inside. If your going to the game with family/friends you have already spent a couple hundred bucks before you get inside and pay for food and beer by the time your done and go home you've spent five hundred bucks. Gone are the days when kids could sneak under the metal turnstile and get into a game for free and watch some bad daytime baseball and eat for free for entertaining the drunken bleacher bums. As a real Cubs fan knows you have to make some sacrifices if you want the ultimate goal of a good baseball team. The neighborhood may of lost most of its character and along with it many locally owned businesses like restaurants and bars but the Northside now puts out a consistently good team that people expect to make the playoffs and win now. While most of the neighborhood is nothing like what it was in the 70's and '80's having gone the way the corporation there are a few things that remain the same. There are better eating options than Harey Carey's and I'm here to tell you where.

a real locals type spot in Wrigley is rare these days

Hamburger King aka Chester's has been serving the people of Wrigleyville with affordable tasty breakfast/greasy spoon comfort food for over 25 years. This is a place that everyone goes too on any given day you can be dining with one of 100's of regulars, Cubs fans, cops, crooks, students, anyone that works for the city, yuppies, hippies, musicians, industry people, artists, families, day laborers, seniors and there's always someone who still comes back despite moving out of the neighborhood to the suburbs 15 years ago. Located at the corner of Clark and Sheffield it blends in with a liquor store and barber shop and if not for the neon Chicken teriyaki noodles sign it would be virtually unrecognizable. Hamburger King has already been mentioned here as the ultimate spot to kill a hangover and its a great place for the yuppie drunks of Wrigleyville to have. As mentioned in the previous post the burgers are a tasty rendition of the '30's style burger and the breakfast is great for a pregame meal and people love the comfort food like the chopped steak, pork chops, roast beef and gravy and meatloaf but the star of the show is the Oriental lovers part of the menu.

an early morning at Hamburger King before an early season Cubs game

Hamburger King was once called Chester's when Chester himself manned the grill and from the stories I have heard no one treated his customers and employees better. No matter who they were, or what they did in this world, Chester always gave a great amount of respect to his customers. Just like the customers the times have not changed either despite the passing of Chester years ago. His wife Sonia stays up to par with everything and it is one of Chicago's most treasured eateries and a real character in the dining world. Its the type of place you would expect to find on a corner in Hawaii in an old WW2 vet neighborhood. The Asian part of the menu is the good stuff and the rest of breakfast is good as are the burgers but its all about the Asian grease fare. I would really appreciate it of all you people that go to the game to get drunk and be scene and "get a little sun" would at least fill your belly up at Hamburger King before the game. This way I don't have to see and smell your vomit when you puke in the third inning after too many Mai Tai's because you didn't eat anything and cant handle liquor to begin with. Eat here before the game and it will absorb the liquor for you.

Im talking to the people at the game who didn't know who Lou Pinniella was before he was the Cubs manager and couldn't tell you who the "Hawk" is or where Carlos Zambrano is from or what the score is. You just sit there in your Mark Prior jersey t-shirt, watch the game and try keep your iphone in your pocket, you don't need pictures, no one cares your at the game. Try and act like you've been here before, even if you cant remember it due the fact you blacked out on too many soco limes. Just behave properly or else you gotta deal with me. Got it? Good. Now onto the food. Let me introduce you to a few of my favorites.

Hamburger Aktagawa

As explained a few months ago this dish is the ultimate hangover cure. Hamburger King is a great place to go when one is high on life and or other things and this dish is the king for them. It was created by a regular who's last name happens to have been Aktagawa and is a huge plate full of chopped hamburger meat, eggs, green pepper, onions, bean sprouts and I add in mushrooms served with a side of rice and gravy and two pieces of white or wheat toast. I top off my ultimate hangover cure with the spice dust available at every table, plenty of tabasco sauce and a spray of soy sauce. Sure to soak up the shots from last night and to soak in the shots after a day of binge drinking in Wrigleyville.

Shichimi Togarashi

The seven flavored chili pepper spice dust which is popular in Japan works well with everything. The burgers and fries are great with a dash of dust added and its a must to sprinkle some spice on/in every dish. It takes everything up another level. I use it very liberally and put spoonfuls in my soup.

Chicken Yat Ca Mein

This is my go to dish during the winter months and the perfect pre-game food on opening day at the ballpark, which is always cold. The broth is Sonia's homemade special blend and the deepness in flavor makes it one of the best bowls of soup on a cold day. I'm not sure but I think the liquid mixture consists of a trio of homemade chicken, beef and pork broths. Inside the amazing broth are noodles, chopped green onions and your choice of chicken, steak or pork with a hard boiled egg. I always go with a chicken and load it with the shichimi spice mix. What a meal and what a steal at under six bucks. I learned that yat ca mein even has a history in New Orleans.

Chicken Teriyaki over fried rice

Hamburger king does a great rendition of the greasy teriyaki found at many diner/grills in Hawaii and Los Angeles. If you don't like ordering any of the items which names you cant pronounce and are totally unfamiliar with then I suggest you try some teriyaki. Its just what the doctor ordered after a long night of drinking or right before a long day of drinking at the game.

beef bibimbap

When it comes to finding a good bowl of bibimbap in Chicago than look no further than the King. I've been around town and tried many different places version of this popular Korean dish. None of them do it like HK. For those that dont know what they are missing bibimbap is a bowl of warm rice topped with sauteed veggies and gochujang (chili pepper paste) and thin sliced bulgogi all topped with a fried egg. The combination of the veggies, steak, rice and chili sauce is an amazing flavor and when you want it you just need it. It can get real fiendish and Hamburger King is the place to feed your need. Whenever I hear and read the hype and comments from people that comes when a place like Five Guy's or another Potbelly's is opening up I cant help but explain to them that its not another Panera bread that your neighborhood needs but rather a spot to dine at like Chester's. Its the places like Hamburger King that are the heart and soul of Chicago neighborhoods and at a time there were many that made up Chicago. These days its as hard to find place a like these as it is easy to find a Noodles and Company or Subway.

The 2009 Cubs

My 2009 outlook for the Cubs will be short and sweet, like I said I'm a real fan and at this point I know better than to expect a world series ring but I do like the teams chances in '09. The trade of Mark Derosa made sense at the time for one reason and one reason only and that was acquiring more young pitching to land the best pitcher in baseball. The Cubs never pulled off the deal for Jake Peavy due to the teams pending sale and now we lost one of best clutch hitters and got some players that mean nothing now for him in Derosa who was also a key part of the team off of the field. The addition of Milton Bradley is nice as long as he stays healthy (he's already aching) and the lineup is going to be the same team that lead the NL in Runs and a bunch of other hitting categories last year. The reason Jake Peavy would of been so huge on top of the fact we would have one of the best pitching staffs ever is it would allow Zambrano to start game 3 on the road away from Wrigley Field. The lineup is stacked and if it can finally hit in the playoffs it could only help to have a staff that is literally un-hittable. Jake Peavy would start game 1, Rich Harden game 2 (both at home) and Zambrano would get to pitch away from Wrigley which I think would make the Cubs the clear favorite to win it all. Cubs will and better win the division this year but without Peavy I'm not sure we can win the World Series. We will however win a playoff series this year...if not there's always next year.

Hamburger King
3435 N Sheffield Ave
Chicago, IL 60657
(773) 281-4452
Note: Open for breakfast/lunch only

Hwang, Sung - Hamburger King on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Nick's Drive In Gyros

--Got Beef? (and lamb)
KingT's gyro-tron

Welcome back to the gyro-tron, did you miss it? Next stop is the burbs of Niles and Nicks Drive In. I'm not sure exactly how long but Nick's has been in the area for some time and served at least a couple generations of people/families. Why its called a drive-in I have no idea, maybe because you have drive into the small parking lot hoping to find a spot. Nicks has a reputation of having the best gyros sandwich in Chicago and so I had to try it. Over the winter I took a ride to do some shopping at the Asian mega store Super-H Mart (HUGE Asian grocery store/mall great for your Asian ingredients) and grabbed lunch from Nick. Nicks menu is heavy with Greek specialties and Chicago gyro stand regular items. They feature rotisserie chicken, ribs, kebabs, hot dogs, Italian beef, hamburgers and of course gyros.

Homemade gyros is a good sign

mural outside

Nick's reputation for having the best gyros in the land of the gyros is due to their secret homemade family recipe that is prepared from scratch. Its nice to see a place that still does it the old school way. I would say that almost 90% of places order their cones from one of the many gyro companies here in Chicago. In case you didn't know: every single gyro manufacture in the country is based in Chicago. The big companies like Kronos make over 80 million a year and at least half of that comes from businesses in the Chicagoland area. That is a ton of pre-formed gyros cones around town. Its not as if these cones are inedible and in fact many places still put out great gyros that use these companies for their meat. Its all about the preparation by the restaurant your eating at.

Nick's gyros have a style all of their own due to the fact they are homemade. I made a few trips to Nicks since the time I was told to go and it has been a mixed opinion on each visit. When Nick's cuts the meat right off the cone and its nice and charred it is a very good mixture of lamb and beef with little bits of garlic in each piece. However on a few visits it had been pre sliced and no where near as crispy as my first gyro dinner there. The same time it was pre sliced the tomatoes and onions weren't so fresh and the pita wasn't warm. Maybe the 2nd and 3rd visits were off days or something but along with the ehh frozen fries and watery tzatziki it didn't live up to the hype and there wasn't enough sauce even when I ordered an extra cup. In summary when this place is on they are on and when they are off...they're off.

Nicks homemade gyros platter

Rating Scale: 5/5

Gyro meat: 4 (when its on)
tzatziki: 3
fries: 2
freshness of pita and toppings: 3 (at times)

Score: 12/20

Nick's Drive In
7216 N Harlem Ave
Chicago, IL 60631
(773) 631-5045

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Apollo Burgers (Closed)

-Got beef?
The Burgers of Chi (land)

When I drove by the sign for Apollo Burgers it caught my eye because I had never heard of the place before. Its pretty rare that this happens even if its all the way out in Bensenville. I pulled into the parking lot and it was a little less intriguing after peeking into the place and checking out the menu but I had been sucked in and was hungry for something quick and I don't do the McD and BK drive-thru's. The land of O'Hare can be pretty boring with its food selections but there are a few out there that get the job done. When you've eaten at as many roadfood joints across the country as I have you can start to develop a feel for whether or not a place is good just by looking at it and scoping out the menu and scene.

Aside from the "Char Broil" burgers there's nothing intriguing about this place

The charred burgers were a sign of something that could be good but everything else told me that this place was going to be nothing special and I was already starting to regret ordering after the fact. The place looked like an old Bakers Square and there was no hint of this place being anything more than average at best. There were no people inside, none in the drive thru and none ever came the entire time I was there. I was very suspicious. The menu had char burgers and a few special burgers and I went with an Apollo burger which was a cheeseburger with lettuce, pickles, onion, thousand island orange sauce, cole slaw and pastrami all on a sesame seed bun. The burgers are indeed charred and it made for a better meal than any fast food chain. Overall it was just a little better than average and the fries were frozen but the charred patty and interesting topping combo turned out out to be a totally acceptable lunch in this desolate area for food. I'll most likely never it make back but if your in the area you will enjoy this burger better than any of the chains around it. I had learned over on LTHforum that this style of burger is big in Utah. It may well be a Utah creation and there is even a chain in Utah called Apollo Burgers. Although there is no relationship between the Utah locations and the Bensenville, IL spot there is for sure a resemblance between the two. Unfortunately you will have to go to Utah to find out. Apollo burgers has just been closed due to the O'Hare expansion. Oh well you didn't miss much.

Apollo Burger

Overall Grade: C-

Strengths: If your going to use a pre formed frozen patty then you might as well char broil it. Even a handmade patty of the best quality of beef for a burger would taste better charred. Its also very reasonable for the price and quite filling.

Weakness: The whole pre formed frozen patty is enough of a weakness that its easy to exploit but I was expecting a POS burger so this was a tough call on the final grade.

Apollo Burgers
13 S York Rd
Bensenville, IL 60106
(630) 616-8677

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Eating BIG in Kenosha, WI

Eating like a local:
Regional food specialties

-The Diners of America ft Kenosha WI

The Cubs are in Milwaukee for the second series of the season this Easter weekend with the ESPN game of the week on Sunday night. This means that the Cubs fans are going to be taking a road trip and coming to Milwaukee from all over the Midwest as is normal for the summer months when the Cubs go up to Wrigley Field North. As summer gets closer you can expect a whole bunch of spots to eat at in the great eating state of Wisconsin along with other US states right here. Kenosha Wisconsin is one of the first stops after you cross the IL/WI border and has always been one of Chicago's best suburbs to eat in. Yea I said it, Kenosha is as much of a suburb as are some of the other places in Chicagoland that they call suburbs. Its much closer to me than alot of others and therefore its one of my favorite places to eat and spend a day or two over the summer and its a quick one hour drive max. Despite being so close and just a quick drive up the lake its a different world out there and like most little towns in Wisconsin, Kenosha has more than its fair share of places to get the good stuff.

Frank's Diner

The little diner that could

Franks diner is one of the gems of the area and is also a favorite of anyone who's from Kenosha, been thru Kenosha or spends time in the area. This is the spot to go if you want to eat a hearty breakfast en route to Milwaukee. Its locally recognized as a historic landmark and the spot in town for breakfast and it has now grown into a celebrity on the US diner scene. It all started in 1926 when six horses pulled into Kenosha and dropped Franks diner where it is today. The website tells the story that "Anthony Franks, who first learned of the unique restaurant opportunity through a magazine article, paid $7,500 plus $325 in shipping charges to launch his business. He added a dining room in 1935 and a larger kitchen in the mid 1940s. The Franks family operated Franks Diner until 2001." Lucky for the people of Kenosha the people that have taken over haven't switched anything. With a recent appearance on Diner's, Drive In's and Dives along with all the other press it has become very busy on almost all days at all times they are open.

The view upon entering

The specials board is pure Wisconsin

Franks does up a great breakfast and lunch menu and most everything is going to be better than good. They do however have a signature menu item which is called a "garbage plate" It consists of hash browns, green peppers, onions, jalapenos, eggs, choice of meat (ham, bacon, sausage or why not all three?) or you vegans can go all vegged out and get Zucchini, mushrooms and tomato included with the rest minus the meat. Its all served with toast and a full garbage plate consists of five eggs while a half contains three. Want cheese? this is Wisconsin of course you have the option. The massive plates of food are a sure fire way to make sure your belly is ready to soak up all the beer at the baseball games. One of the finest and funnest breakfasts in the country is a great way to start your day in Wisconsin no matter what your plan is. Just be sure that if your plan includes active activity that you get either a half plate or even split a half plate. Yes they are that big that a half of a garbage plate split between two big eaters was enough to start a day of binge eating.

The grill on a rare slow day (garbage plates being made)

This is only half of a half of a Garbage plate with everything

Oliver's Bakery

After you get yourself some breakfast at Frank's be sure to stop at Olivers bakery for some post game snacks or just a few treats to have in your car for your roadtrip or bring back home with you. Whatever the reason is you'll be so glad you did. I'm not a big sweets guy but one of my favorite sweet pastry type snacks is another Wisconsin specialty brought by the Danish to Racine Wisconsin. Kringle is dough that has been rested overnight before shaping, filling, and baking. Many layers of the flaky dough are layered, then shaped in an oval. After filling with fruit, nut, or other flavor combination, the pastry is baked and iced. I always drive by Oliver's when I'm taking one of my favorite drives in the country, get on Sheridan Road at Fullerton and take it all the way to Milwaukee along the lake. It wasn't until my last trip there this past winter that I finally stopped in.

Olivers bakery in Kenosha is a real gemmer

Call ahead and Olivers will have any one of their 20+ flavors of Kringle ready for you to be picked up. Just don't make the mistake of taking a pass on the donuts and cookies which also happen to be incredible on every level. The donuts were the best I have ever had and I don't think I need to even bother eating donuts from anywhere else. I'm not big on sweets so I am by no means an expert but I know that the Boston Cremes and Bismarck's were out of this world. There is also a cookie case and a refrigerated case with all sorts of cakes and pies. This is what a bakery should be and if there was anything this good in Chicago my body would be paying for it dearly. Its now in my regular rotation for good eats in a little town that has a many great eats.

Donut case

Kringle flavors available (click to enlarge)

Kringle case

excellent blueberry creme cheese kringle

Boston creme (L) Cinnamon (top) Bismarck (R)

Pure Wisconsin (Bismarck)

Do not forget to have a few brats from the Brat Stop right off I-94 before or after the game this summer. Its always filled with people at night and you can meet some real characters and have one of the best pieces of encased meat in the world along with a cold spotted cow.

world class brat from the world famous brat stop

Other options for food in Milwaukee are classic corned beef and Friday fish fry from McBob's and or cracker crisp classic tavern style super thin crust pizza from Zaffiro's.

Frank's Diner
508 58th St
Kenosha, WI 53140
(262) 657-1017

Oliver's Bakery
3526 Roosevelt Rd
Kenosha, WI 53142
(262) 652-3984

Brat Stop
12304 75th St
Kenosha, WI 53142
(262) 857-2011

Sunday, April 5, 2009

35th St. Red Hots & Baseball

-Grubbing in Chicago
Where the White Sox fans eat.

Its baseball season again in Chicago and the White Sox open the 2009 season against the Kansas City Royal's on Monday at Comiskey Park. If you read the site then you will know that I am a Cubs fan and have been since day 1 and I don't particularly like the White Sox and I have some bad news for their fans. Although Ozzie always has his troops ready and they never under perform, this will be a tough year for the White Sox. The bottom line for the Sox as a team is do they have the staff to get the job done? If you listen to ole' Sox pitching coach Donny Cooper on the Score he says yes but hes a little nutty so don't take everything he says to heart. I say no and will leave the analysis to Peter Gammons, Karl Ravech and John Kruk as I agree with their preseason outlook and put my money on the Cleveland Indians (+160) to win the AL central this year. The Sox don't have the pitching and the hitting is getting close to acquiring their AARP memberships. The Cuban missile wont be able to carry an entire team and Carlos Quentin will come back to reality or just get injured again. Only time will tell but this is my 2009 season outlook for the White Sox. Lucky for Sox fans their stadium is within a stones throw of what I now call the best hot dog stand in Chicago.

35th St. Red Hots is a minimalist dog stand

This is it for menu (and Italian ice) so you know that what they make is good

I have a new 4th wife in my hot dog family. As you may or may not know I am a huge fan of the "minimalist" or depression" style dog. Its a simple natural casing hot dog placed in a cheap steamed bun and topped with your choice of mustard, relish, onions and sport peppers and comes topped with Chicago style fries. What are Chicago style fries you ask? fresh cut fries made with one of those old school potato slicers that go right into the fryer after being sliced by an employee. This is the true Chicago style hot dog and most born and raised residents will completely agree. I have been to 35th st red hots countless times post Cubs-Sox games but just never remembered how good they are (booze will do that) until I decided to try them again one day when this sign caught my eye.

Anytime I see that homemade sign I need to give whatever it is a try

The shrimp at 35th had a very lightly coated breading that was similar to the Southside Shrimp House (RIP) and there is no difference between the two to the best of my memory. This is some of the best fried shrimp in the city and its served at the best dog stand in town. The price is right too and there's not a negative to the place except maybe its a sox fans hangout. This is the best pre-game food around Comiskey. If your going with a buddy/spouse to the game stop in here before and get a dog each and a half pound of shrimp instead of eating the overpriced average at best stadium food.

perfect fried shrimp

Now as far as the hot dogs go they are right there with Gene & Judes but the fries are now my favorite in the city. They use the same machine to slice the fries ala G&J and Jimmy's but the fries come out a little thinner and thus are never undercooked. Perfect every time. They will start slicing the potato for your order upon your entry so they never sit under the light. Man I love this spot and I just might start going to some Sox games when they aren't playing the Cubs when I get invited. They have three things on the menu (four if you include the fries) and they are all better than good. In case you were wondering about my other three loves Gene & Judes in River Grove and Jimmy's Red Hots on Grand are doing well and we still think of Demon Dogs every day as she rests in peace. It wont be such a peaceful season for Ozzie and the boys in black.

Best dog and fries in Chicago

35th St. Red Hots
500 W 35th Street
Chicago, IL 60616
(773) 624-9866


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