Friday, August 28, 2009

The Big Fatty Capo di tutti capi Sammy

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

Well folks I already gave you quite a few signature sandwiches that may tell you why your fat. Just this past July it was the McJeff making way for your summer grilling time get downs. What I am about to spill to you is a little trick of the trade-with full permission from those that need to give it-I gave myself permission. So I now introduce to you "The Big Fatty Capo di tutti capi Sammy" aka "The Johnny Whopper Carmineputo Jr" and all I can say is this might be one sandwich you don't wanna fuck with. Got it? Good. Your heart just might get whacked and you may disappear into the lake or something like that. I came up with this when I had quite a few leftovers from a meeting we held on Global Warming...or something like that. If you need anything for your Italian Tailgating Supplies for this upcoming Bears season then go see my guy's at Caputo's and they will take very good care of you. Everything you need to make this killer are in the aisle's and behind the deli counter at any one of their six convenient locations.

The Johnny Whopper Carmineputo Jr

loaf of Garlic bread
Italian Sausage Patty's
Different Italian sliced deli meats
shredded provolone cheese
sauteed sweet peppers
Banana peppers
hot giardineria

Please Note: Directions below are for a one portion sandwich but you can easily make this for a group of people at any tailgate, BBQ or grilling event.


~Take your standard recipe for garlic bread and make it and bake it. I use River Valley Ranch five cheese garlic spread. Its available at the farmers market in Lincoln Park and many Sam's liquor locations in the area. Click here for their website.

Italian Sausage Patty

~Take some Italian Sausage and remove the meat from the casing and form it into a patty. Some and most places in Chicago serve ground Italian sausage already removed from the casing which is also acceptable.

Tip: Place the patty's in the freezer for 45 minutes before grilling so that they stay in form when on the grill. You need to make sure they are well packed so they don't fall apart during cooking.

let it blaze

Mortadella, Capricolla, with two types of salami

~Grab some sliced Italian deli meats like capricolla, mortadella and a couple types of salami. When the patty's are close to done on the grill begin to saute a few pieces of each of the meats in a buttered pan until the edges are crispy and set aside.

~Layer your deli meats on the bottom portion of the bread and place the patty on top and top the patty with shredded provolone cheese and place the top half of the bread on top and wrap it in aluminum foil and put it back on the grill for 30-60 seconds until cheese melts.

Fresh out the foil

~Garnish your sandwich with the sweet peppers, banana peppers and giardinera and slice it half and be ready to eat half of it at halftime and the other half when the game is over. The nice thing about this sandwich is even if your squad loses you wont when you try it-definitely not any weight anyways.

The Boss of all Bosses-lights out bitch, Adiós goodnight now!

How it should look (this is without cheese to give you an idea)

Oh Yes! we are just getting started with the tailgating-I want everyone to check out my man Chef Ben, a real chi-cooking-king, on the Big Ten Network's "Big Ten Cookout" crew coming this football season to the Big Ten Network. I gotta feeling Mr. Ben Walanka is going to be sharing some of his tricks of the trade from the BBQ game. Stay tuned, I know I will be.

Caputo's Food Market's

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Three up, Three down

-The Sammy's of Chi (land)

Here my friends is further proof that I've been almost everywhere. If you haven't seen an eating spot up on here that just means I haven't gotten around to posting about it. I have so many places and projects to post about but since I'm a one man team it takes a little time. I would say that in my "future food projects" folder on my desktop there is maybe 30-40 spots I have been to and now they wait their turn like the rest most of them I've been back many times since. So I thought maybe instead of just not posting at all about the spots that missed my mark that I would throw them together as one and make a post out of it. So with that I bring to you three sandwiches that missed the mark. Not anything bad just not better than anything previously posted. So here is three up, three down-kind of like the Chicago Cubs 2009 season.

Starship Subs gets mad love from its loyal custys in da burbs

The first place up is a spot that I went to with very high expectations. The place has been around for quite a while and is always a big hit with people from Forest Park. Well I'm sorry to its loyal fans but this spot was nothing special. I got the feeling with all of the Star Wars like names to the sandwiches and soups and the design inside, that this place was nothing more than a spot loved by dorks in high school who had their mom pick up subs for their dungeon and dragons party each Friday. Due to the fact that their other favorite foods are instant Mac & Cheese and Cup O' Noodles, they just don't know any better. I don't know maybe it's b/c I didn't grow up on them. I hear the homemade soup is legit and I could see that being true since there were people getting that and they had 40+ kinds in the frozen freezer for people to take home with them. I had a Starship special and it tasted like cheap meats and cafeteria cheese on average bread. Sorry but this place isnt for me.

Starship Signature Sandwich

Here's a little groundball hopper to the shortstop who grabs it and throws to first. One down.

Granddaddy's is good but stay away from...

Next up to the plate is a familiar face in Chicago to some. Grandaddy's Subs on Taylor st. is actually a pretty good spot. In fact its a place that I enjoy for sandwiches every now and then. However I had read somewhere that Granddaddy's made up a killer cheesesteak and it was by far the best in Chicago. Now I'll fully admit that its my fault for believing some dope on the shit site that is Yelp! who's previous favorite cheesesteak was probably Subway's. I cant apologize to the person and people who like this particular choice from Grandaddy's because its just plain bad. I expect more from a spot that produces good sandwiches and I will stick with the Italian when I next visit.

Granddaddy's Cheesesteak sandwich

That's a swing and a miss for strike three. Two outs with nobody on.

a good family run joint

Next up to bat is a spot I feel bad about putting on here. One reason is because I know that the other home cooked items are good and the whole family is in on this little business. In fact if I lived near Savoia's T'go in Chicago Heights-I would get there often and even order the meatball every now and then. Its a cool little family run spot that seems to put out some good pasta's and other Italian delights. While the meatball sandwich was good it just wasn't the best I have ever had in Chicagoland and that's what I'm on the prowl for. One day when I'm back by Savoia's I will for sure stop in and see what else they have. I'm sure I'll have good things to report.

Savoia's meatball sandwich is good, not great, but good

Here is the 3-2 pitch and Savoia gets a piece of it Ron! this ball's gotta chaaaance! Oh! it died just as it got to centerfield and fell right before the basket to the warning track for out number three. That's three up and three down as we move to the 8th. Still no hits for the Cubs.

But don't you worry people because if you check back here on Friday I got a sandwich that is the Don of all sandwiches and it can be found anywhere because its a tailgating recipe for the upcoming 2009 NFL/Bears season. See you back here this weekend.

Starship Restaurant
7618 w Madison
Forest Park, IL 60130
(708) 771-3016


Grandaddy's Subs
2343 W Taylor St
Chicago, IL 60612-4244
(312) 243-4200

Savoia's To Go
402 W. 14th Street
Chicago Heights, IL

Monday, August 24, 2009

Gyro's from Athenian Room

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

The Athenian Room is an old Lincoln Park favorite. Its been here much longer than 95% of the 'hood's yuppie and young family populations and is as much a part of the Depaul Neighborhood as the University itself. Its also a place that I've been eating at for 20+ years and I can honestly say I have never had a meal that didn't hit the spot. Normally I would post about a place and its food all in one article but the AR has some special items that need to be highlighted in their own spot-much like the amazing char-grilled feta burger got. While there isn't a bad item to be had on the menu which is small but also just right, the gyros have to be the restaurants most popular ordered item. On those day's I just cant decide between a burger, steak or Kalamata chicken Ill just get a gyros knowing that its always going to be a good choice.

Since 1973 for a reason

I have already pointed out in previous articles that there are very few places these days that make a homemade gyros here in Chicago. Its not that were not a gyro town its because we are the gyro town. If you live somewhere else in the country and eat gyros' then odds are the meat came from Chicago. Just last month there was a spectacular article in the New York Times telling the story of the gyro and its history here in Chicago. I would highly recommend reading the story, but great story short-Chicago has five major Gyro cone making companies and gyros were introduced to the US in Chicago in 1965. These companies each have their own secret recipe which they use to make the meat cones that are then distributed across the world to restaurants and food shacks who have gyros on the menu. The reason that there are five factories here in Chicago is the demand for a cheap meal has always been there especially in today's economy. Maybe that's why all five companies (which are private) have reported sales way up this year.

Its easy to see why since a gyros dinner from the AR has always been one of the best meals that will fill you up for under $10. The restaurant uses Devenco who makes eight different gyro recipes alone so its pretty serious over there. Since all the spots basically get the same cones just maybe from different companies-its all about how the place prepares them. I like my gyro's well browned from the spit and sliced extra thin. I'm not big on gyros when they are cut thick, it gives them different texture. I need mine thin and crispy and the AR has been doing that forever combine that with their amazing Greek fries (more on them here) and its just a real satisfying meal. Its easy to see why they always have different groups of people enjoying the food on a daily basis. Whats even better than all this? well since there combined with Glascott's next door its also the best gyro you can find to have a drink and watch the game while eating.

Gyros dinner from Athenian Room

Rating Scale: 5/5

Gyro meat: 4
tzatziki: 3
fries: 5
freshness of pita and toppings: 4

Score: 16/20

Athenian Room
807 W Webster Ave
Chicago, IL 60614-3628
(773) 348-5155

Friday, August 21, 2009

Simple Steak

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

Sometimes you don't got all day to do prep work and chop and cook etc... Sometimes you just need a quick meal so you can watch the game and fill up your stomach with some food before you do the booze. What's about as American as tailgating and football and also goes well with both? beef baby-steak to be precise. So with that I give you my favorite ways of preparing a simple steak that still tastes like it took more than 15 minutes to prepare.

Steak Avocado


~Just take a piece of steak and marinate it in fajita, adobo or any Latin-American like seasoning around the house. Grill the steak to desired doneness and top with avocado slices sprinkled with chili powder and serve with sauteed peppers and tortillas.

Steak Avocado

Teriyaki Steak


~Take a piece of steak and marinate in a teriyaki glaze such as Kikkomans for 15 minutes. When ready grill it to desired doneness while glazing the marinade over the steak one more time during cooking. Top the steak with toasted sesame seeds and slice and serve over white rice.

Teriyaki Steak

Steak & Egg's w/ Potatoes


~Chop up a potato or two and cook in well oiled skillet and add spices and chopped green peppers and onions. Season your steak with what suits you and grill your steak to desired doneness and top with a fried egg and serve with potato's.

The All-American Breakfast of Champions: Steak & Eggs

Brett Favre is back in the black and blue division deciding he still wants to play football. The country life just isn't enough. Well I got a feeling he's going to be wishing he was in his nasty ass defiled hat and overalls mowing his big ass lawn, popping some pills on his tractor trailer come 12/28/09. He must of forgot what its like to get hit hard in the middle of winter at Soldiers Field. I just hope we have a D-Line that can apply some pressure to flatten him this year.

Sorry to LBJ & KOBE & DROSE (f'real), Sorry to Albert the Machine (Pujols) and whoever Kaká is man I'm sure your good too and a Sorry to Tom Brady, Larry Fitz, AP and Matt Forte (you'll see) and this to Mr. Favre-No one cares about you and your defiled ass hat anymore. Usain is the most exciting athlete in sports. Do you disagree? Your wrong if you do.

Jamaican Breakfast of Champions: You knew it last year

Hey, are you on Twitter? then get at me

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Joe Boston's Beef

--Got Beef? Italian Beef
as seen on 'What's Your Beef?'

Lost in the shuffle of Grand ave and Chicago ave and all the vacant buildings and old warehouses and factories is an all time favorite of mine-Boston's Beef. If your asking yourself "I didn't know they had beef in Boston" stop right there because they don't have anything close and its Joe Boston's Italian Beef. It sits there on an island and is a favorite of 1000's and 1000's of lifelong Chicagoans and people that lived here and left but will never forget it. While I feel like an original custy (customer) since I've been eating here for 15+ years, I'm really not. There are people that have been eating here for 60+ years. If you were to ask me which beef stand around town is the most stuck in time and hasn't changed a thing, Boston's would jump quick to my mind. Its still family owned and still dishing out one of the best beefs in the city.

a Chicago original

When I say nothing has changed at Boston's that pretty much means everything with the exception of the prices and those are still some of the best around. I think a beef with hot with fries and a drink will set you back $6.75 and its not just the price that makes it a winner. I've always thought that Boston's must be using the same high quality cut beef from the same butcher and roasting them perfectly in their special seasoning that makes for a great gravy. In fact if you live in or are from Lincoln Park/Wicker Park/Bucktown or anywhere on the near Northside then this is the best beef joint in the area. Now I know that I am known for saying that a beef sandwich with provolone and sweet peppers isn't an Italian Beef sandwich. However like I also said, I've been going here forever and a beef with hot and cheese is better than any cheesesteak from Pat's or Geno's. Sometimes I liked a beef with cheese as a change of pace in my youth. Its still a pretty good sandwich. So if you gotta get a beef with cheese try this one.

Chicago Style Cheesesteak & one of my 1st food pics

When a place wants to make itself one of the best at what they do then a good way to do it is pick something you do good and stick with that. The menu at Bostons is a great example of that. Other than Italian beef they got Italian sausage, an old school favorite-BBQ beef sandwiches-gravy bread and good hot peppers is one of the best in the business., hot dogs, Polishes, along with tamales and fries and of course the old school beef stand standard-the pepper and egg sandwich which is of course on Fridays only. If you haven't figured it out by now Boston's homemade thinly sliced beef with well seasoned gravy is one of the best in the business.

I used to spend summers doing some labor type work for my dad and uncle and spent one summer working with my grandpa building gliders at a space they own right down the block on Chicago ave. While the job with my grandpa wasn't bad the labor projects sucked (but it was $$$ which is always needed in H.S) and the best part about them was lunch from Boston's. My dad would run down and get it for us 3 of the 5 days a week. Back in the day I could eat a beef almost everyday and sometimes I did.

beef with hot from Joe Boston's Beef

Rating Scale 5/5

beef: 4
bread: 4
gravy: 4
hot peppers: 4

Score: 16/20

Boston's Italian Beef
2932 W Chicago Ave
Chicago, IL 60622-4307
(773) 486-9536
Menupages Page w/ Menu

Monday, August 17, 2009

George's Kebab Grill

-Grubbing in Chicago
Where the locals eat.

George's kebab is one of these spots Ive passed by a million times and always said I would try it and never did...until recently. George's is also one of quite a few Middle Eastern restaurants in the neighborhood of Albany Park and according to some of the posts I read about it on the internet it is also a 24 hour joint. If its true about it being a 24/7 type spot I think its even better due to the fact you can get some good grub late nite that isn't just American hamburgers/hot dogs and breakfast. My first trip to George's I had no complaints whatsoever about a meal I enjoyed while dining in. Upon entering if you glance over to your right you'll see a shawarma spit. So far so good.

Lawrence ave. is full of ethnic eats

As I was driving around the city with a buddy we passed Georges while looking for food and we both decided it was worth a try since we had a taste for something Middle Eastern. I had read pretty much the same stuff on George's from different reviews around the internet and none were bad so I was expecting a good meal and I would say that's exactly what it was. If you do some searches on this place one of the things you'll read is they have alot of regulars-mostly men. Along with that they point out there is a regular Russian waitress. On my visit (around 6p on a Friday) I didn't see the Russian waitress but there was a pretty younger girl working and one regular and a cabbie who I assume had been before both eating. It seemed as though George was working the food and it was pretty quiet but I guess its busy late nite. We started out with a couple of their sandwich offerings and ordered a chicken kebab on bread and a shawarma on pita. I was very pleased with both but enjoyed the shawarma much more and will for sure be back for one or two. I liked how everything on it included giardineria-nice Chicago touch. Also included are lettuce, tomato and onions and tahini sauce. I will always go with pita from now on.

Chix Kebab Sandwich on Bread

Shawarma Sandwich on Pita

The sandwiches were a nice start and I even ordered another shawarma to take home. I would say at five bucks each they are some of the better lunch options in the area. The meat was crisped well and had some nice flavor to it. Its a place that will no doubt get a spot in my rotation for both lunch and dinner. We also ordered a combo plate which comes with shawarma, beef kefta kebab and your choice of chicken or beef kebab or both for extra. Included with that are a side salad and soup. I opted to go all beef on that ass and got the three beef options along with a chickpea soup. You kind of had the feeling it was going to be legit when I saw George (?) grab the marinated kebabs out of the fridge and throw them on the grill. He cooked them to perfection and along with the rice and plenty of tahini, it made for a great dinner choice and again something I will be back for. Also according to other posts around the 'net about this spot I had read that the catfish is quite good as are the specials which Ill have to check out.

all beef combo plate (shawarma in middle, kefta kebab in back and beef kebab in front)

Now I do consider Yelp! to be totally useless and downright shady-they extort businesses to move reviews up and down and delete or leave them up but that's another story. However a girl who seemed to be legit and not a complete idiot did have this to say- "Doesn't look like much on the outside, but definitely worth venturing in. The atmosphere is a bit intimidating - at least late at night. (The reason I gave 4 stars.) As a female, Id be uncomfortable there alone, as 99% of the clientele Ive ever seen are male. (Ok, so I shouldnt be out alone late at night anyway, right?)" Well she seems to know whats up and luckily this isn't a problem for me. Check it out.

George's Grill Kebab
3216 W Lawrence Ave
Chicago, IL 60625-5209
(773) 588-1800‎

Thursday, August 13, 2009

There's Corn Dogs, then theres Dipping Dogs

-Eating like a local: Regional food specialties
The Spots in the city for Illinois' famous Corn dogs

Its almost the end of summer and many people around the country are flocking to their states annual fair. The US state fairs, some of which date back as long as 150 years ago, started off as a way to showcase livestock and agricultural offerings. It was a way to promote the food grown in the particular state and ways to cook with it. The food has always been a big part of state fairs and back in the day stuff such as pie baking contests and who could grow the largest vegetable were a big part of the entertainment. Nowadays the fairs have become an all out festival with everything from amusement rides to concerts and of course-regional food specialties. Its no secret that the state fairs are a goldmine for fried foods and some of the wackiest items to eat always pop up at one of the countries annual festivities. I'm thinking of heading to the Iowa state fair for some breaded pork tenderloin sandwiches and maybe to check out the Michael Jackson butter sculpture. Do you think they used powdered sugar or flour to put white residue marks under his nose?

Poster from the 2009 IL State Fair

If I don't make it to Iowa then I might get over to Milwaukee for the Wisconsin State Fair and see what kind of cheese creations they have. Maybe a Swiss Cheese sculpted Michael Jackson? the holes being from all the needles he inserted and what not. I remember going about 15 years ago but its been a while and even longer since I've been down to Springfield for the Illinois state fair. All three states (IL,WI, IA) fairs are going on now. Check out this list here of food on a stick available at the WI state fair this year. Keep in mind, that's just food on a stick. One of the Illinois state fairs claims to fame is the corn dog. It was created in Springfield and the IL state fair is now filled with different vendors trying to outdo each other for 'best in fair'. So if your heading down there I hear that Voses, located on state fair grounds, are the best corn dogs there. Luckily for us city folk-you don't have to travel all the way down to Springfield to get the best battered hot dog on a stick. I'm talking the best in state and most likely the country. You see these are so good they have their own name...Dippin' Dogs.

-Got beef?
The (Corn) Dogs of Chi

The Winner and Undisputed Fast Food Champion

One of the best in the biz-located in Evanston, IL

The Wiener and Still Champion is one of the 100+ spots that make Chicago the fast food champ of the freeworld. It was started by a guy who spent years working at his family's hot dog stand and took everything he learned from over there to create one of Chicagolands best joints and a five star roadfood type establishment. If your a fan of Diner's, Drive In's & Dives then you might remember Guy Fieri going loco over some dipping dogs. Anyone considering opening a hot dog stand should take serious notes from this place. Its amazing how much research and work goes into the menu and you can taste the difference. While it may look like a clone of any other dog stand around town-its on another level than the rest.

Dont let the little unassuming spot on Dempster off your radar

So what puts W&SC ahead of the rest of the food stops around town? How about everything on the menu. I wasn't kidding when I said they put TLC into everything, there's a reason I love this place and its not just the angelic beauty working there who can handle the grill. She might be every BBQ man in America's dream girl. Food Network should give her a show, I'd watch. Whoops I'm typing out my thoughts here-now onto the food. I always say that if a place takes the time to make amazing fries they almost always do other things great. Instead of using some boring old frozen spuds, the owner Gus took the time to concoct the perfect batch of fries. These things ladies and gentleman are top 5 fries in Chicago and maybe the best. Some of the best I have ever had on my roadfood adventures. Perfection is reached by using the twice fry method. Its so serious over there that they have secret menu items.

If you know of a better batch of fries...let me know

How serious are they about quality product? they have over seven different dipping sauces for your fries and other items for your dipping pleasure. All of which are homemade by the staff and go great with everything from the fries to the burgers. If cheese fries are your thing W&SC gets many nominations for best in city and uses real Merkt's cheddar. More on them later. Different sauces available include curry ketchup, spicy aioli, Argentine herb and garlic and a few more goodies. The fries aren't the only thing they're cooking to a golden perfection over there.

The Deep Fried Pickle Chips-one of my favorite food items in Chicago

I mentioned above how the state fair is a great place to eat if you like fried food items. Well the same goes for the W&SC. Except whats great about the Wiener is its a year round operation. If your a frequent reader of this site than you can imagine I've been through quite alot of battered snacks in my lifetime. Well they all rank behind the deep fried pickle chips offered over there. I'm a big time pickle fan and was introduced to fried pickles while living in Tampa. Its definitely a southern thing that I am glad to see reach into the Midwest. Every beer bar in America should offer complimentary pickle chips. It doesn't end with just the pickles-country fried bacon is also a must get in my book. If those two aren't enough how about fried gyros? fried pepperoni chips? or have you ever had fried chili? Its all good at the Wiener. I wish they would do wings because I already know they would be some of the best anywhere with their frying ability and sauce making expertise.

Country Fried Bacon

Country Fried Gyros w/ BLT Dipping Sauce (Picture by Ed Fisher)

Please Note: Pic above from ehfisher's Chicago Food flickr account-Check it out!

Wheres pretty much the only place I'll ever order a corn dog outside of state fair grounds? you guessed it-W&SC. When Gus the owner decided to put a corn dog on the menu he only knew one thing was for sure-it wouldn't be a frozen pre-made frozen boring old piece of junk that tasted more like carpet than a carnival in your mouth. Gus decided to do a test tasting session using a few different batter recipes that he himself came up with. So he brought in a few people who know a thing or two about good food and soon thereafter the Dipping Dog was born. Its not just the perfect taste tested and approved breading that's used to hand dip the dog in but also the all beef hot dogs. Together they make these corn dogs Usain Bolt the competition around the country.

Dipping Dogs are so much better than corn dogs

Feel me yo! look in my eyes, see what I see, do what I do, eat what I eat...

It was four years ago this past July that the W&SC opened its doors to the people of Evanston and Chicago and we are all ready for 40+ more with more amazing menu items. I always said that the only suburb I could really live in is Evanston. You ever realize people from E-Town say they're from Evanston? Its also a nice little college town with some good eats and has a nice Jamaican population but the Wiener might one day be the reason I don't move there. I wouldn't last a month before going into cardiac arrest if I lived close to this foodies paradise. Its a must stop place to eat in Evanston. All parents going to parents weekend at Northwestern this fall better let your kids know where you want to eat. Check further down for address and website.

-Got beef?
The (Corn) Dogs of Chi

I must admit that before I tried the Wiener-I had a corn dog from Cameron's Delights that I thought was the best I had ever had. Cameron's is a little ice cream shop you might expect to find in a vacation resort town. It rests on the corner of Southport and Diversey so its right near me and I first tried it for some ice cream and a burger when it first opened a few years back.

a nice stop en route to the lake for families, friends and bikers

Its got the feel of an ice cream parlor located somewhere where there would be lots of families with children which I guess there are in this part of Lincoln Park so its a nice fit in my book. Please don't forget unless you've been here longer than 27 years its my book, not yours. My first visit I went ahead and got the first thing that caught my eye-the hot apple dumpling sundae with caramel, graham cracker crumbs and vanilla ice cream. I also had to try a burger because sometimes these parlors can make up a good old school cheeseburger. I took one for the team, no need to try the burgers. The sundae however was awesome and I went back for a few here and there and I rarely eat ice cream dessert. The hot apples paired with cold ice cream topped with graham cracker dust and whipped cream is a classic. It taste just like apple pie with a scoop of ice cream on top.

Hot Apple Dumpling Sundae

Turtle Sundae

So then on one of my visits for a sundae I saw this sign below posted in the windows. Looks like I was going to have to try one and see if they were any better than the frozen kinds served everywhere else.

Always a good sign

I ordered a corn dog and watched as the nice lady battered a Vienna Beef Hot Dog with some homemade batter from the fridge and then dipped it into the fryer. It came out looking and smelling real nice and I brought it into my car to eat so it could cool down and not burn the roof of my mouth. It took all of 20 seconds for the car to smell of a sweet aroma and so I couldn't wait anymore and took a nice big bite. The batter was very good and even though there was a hot dog in there it was so sweet that this along with some caramel hot apple dumplings on a sundae became my favorite dessert instantly.

corn dog from Cameron's

Get at me dog

Now go out and enjoy the rest of the summer and see what kind of regional eats you got.

Wiener and Still Champion
802 Dempster
Evanston, IL 60202
(847) 869-0100

Myspace Page

Wiener and Still Champion on Urbanspoon

Cameron's Ice Cream & Grill
1401 W Diversey Pkwy
Chicago, IL 60614-1111
(773) 880-9119

Camerons Ice Cream & Grill on Urbanspoon

Monday, August 10, 2009

Redamak's: Bite into a Legend?

-Got Beef?
The Burgers of Michigan

If you grew up in Chicago and ever spent anytime over summer in SW Michigan Harbor Country then you might remember Redamak's-the burger that made New Buffalo, Michigan famous. In fact if your from Chicago and grew up or lived in Lincoln Park you may even remember the 2nd location of Redamak's that opened on Lincoln ave but only lasted for a year or two. So you knew it's time on here was coming. I have been to both locations but obviously the one on Lincoln is long gone but I do remember going there. I've been going up to the Michigan City/Harbor Country area during the summer months for a long time and Redamak's has always been a part of it. It is a summer time only establishment so they close for the winter in October but are able to do so because they fill the 200 seat restaurant almost everyday of the summer and fall with both locals and lots of Chicagoans.

Another popular stop along Red Arrow Highway

Having been around since 1946 it has quite a history and loyal following of generations of families but to be blunt its a love/hate thing. I know people who think its the best ever and I know some who scream its all hype. I would count myself somewhere in the middle and maybe even closer to the hype part. Its not because its a bad burger but because sometimes things just cant live up to the hype due to the fact its so great. So if you grew up on these things and ate them often every summer maybe you think its the best because it takes you back to summer time as a kid. I ate there a few times a summer but it was never my favorite as a kid either. I did and still do enjoy going there once a summer so I was there for my yearly visit not too long ago. I had to get it on here, people have been asking.

Redamak's is a good option for family's on vacation in the area

Due to its large space and booze being available its a nice choice for a family in the area to go for a dinner night out. Especially if you have children which most vacationers do in the summer. What it is great for is a good old fashioned All-American meal after a hot day in the water and sun. If it was a long day for the parents keeping rack of all the little rug rats well its got the booze for them so you can see why there's usually a wait at nighttime and a guarantee on weekends. Redamak's takes care of the waiting process fort he kids by having a arcade and game room and for the adults by having a large waiting area outside and beer/drinks available while you wait. the kitchen does a good job of getting the food out fast so the turnover is quick and you wont go home hungry from this place. One thing I actually prefer to the burgers is the appetizer selection. While there's nothing too special about it-they have quite a few fried options that you can never go wrong with. Here are my go to items when I take my yearly visit.

Red's Chip's

^How can deep fried home chips topped with cheddar sauce and bacon bits served with sour cream not be good? to both kids and adults-who might not admit it but they'll keep picking at them.

Onion rings are the Brew City battered frozen kind...which are actually quite good

Mini Tacos

^Well this one might just be a me thing but I cant get enough of these frozen treats. I guess you can call it my shameful food obsession because there just frozen little tacos shells filled with mystery beef and fried up and served with cheese, sour cream and salsa.

"The burger that made New Buffalo, Michigan famous"

Then there is the burger, the one where they proclaim you are biting into a legend! The meat is ground fresh in the meat room 3-5 times a week according to the season. The burger is prepared the same way it was back when it was a popular tavern and a must stop to eat along Red Arrow Highway for traveling Chicagoans before I-94 was built. Its pan fried and wrapped in wax paper and you gotta give the current owners credit for not switching a thing. I would guess the burger is a quarter pound and everything means ketchup, mustard, raw onions and dill pickles.

They do not and have never offered lettuce or tomatoes. Options available for extra include grilled onions, round bacon, mushrooms, chili, jalapenos and green olives. Now here is my belief on why the kids love it and so if you grew up on it you might still love it-the cheese. The standard cheese is Velveeta like substance and so maybe not so popular with an older person who's just eating there for the first time. Swiss cheese is offered and so are double and triple burgers. I always go with a cheeseburger with grilled onions and mustard and pickles. Its not the best ever but I do enjoy it for what it is once a year when in the area.

Redamak's cheeseburger: A legend in its own mind? I Keed, I keed

Redamak's has quite a history so if you want to learn more about it then check out the page on their website. Just be warned it does play cheesy music. Click here for the history.

Redamak's Tavern
616 E Buffalo St
New Buffalo, MI 49117-1519
(269) 469-4522
Website (plays music)

Friday, August 7, 2009

Beer Can Chicken

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

One of the easiest most satisfying meals at a BBQ party or tailgate can be beer can chicken. My recent entry into the Redeye cookoff of Tamarind Can Chicken had me thinking about old fashioned beer can chicken. In Madison we had a XL Weber dedicated to just the birds with beer up their butt. My standard recipe for tailgate B-C-C is my standard rub for grilled chicken. I have found it to be the most complementing rub for chicken that you plan on serving with BBQ sauce or any other type of sauce. Well folks August is here and that means so is training camp. If your heading down to Bourbonais to check out the Bears training camp you might want to bring your grill-Burger Kings are hard to find-so good food is almost elusive, cheap beer runs rampant. Just dont make the mistake our president took when he was drinking that nasty foreign owned Budweiser crap-he must of owed someone a favor over there. Welcome to the first of many installments to the 2009 tailgating section over here at chibbqking.

KingT's Standard Chicken Rub

1 TBLS Lawry's salt
1 TBLS fresh ground pepper
1/2 TBLS granulated garlic
1/2 TBLS onion powder

Beer Can Chicken Necessities

__ chickens-rubbed down in rub mix above (overnight is best)
__ can's of cheap American beer, opened in a few spots with a church key
bayleaf's/ chopped onions/ dried chili peppers in the can of beer.
Mesquite wood chunks

Rub chicken well. All over inside the skin and out.

Cook indirect with a few hunks of wood over the coals for 1.5 to 2 hours or until thermometer reads 180 in the thickest part. I like mine close to well done so it fall's right off the bone.

KingT's B-C-C

Smoked Chicken Enchiladas Verde

I like to make sure if Im taking the time to smoke a bird that I do an extra one for other uses. Lets say your watching the Illini in a Big-10 battle on Saturday and you smoked up a few B-C-C's. What to do with the leftovers and the extra bird? smoked enchiladas verde for the Bears game on Sunday.


leftover smoked chicken
diced jalapeños, onions
roasted poblanos/ peeled and diced
3 cups of salsa verde (I buy the cheap homemade stuff at any Mex-Grocer)
corn tortillas
chihuahua cheese

~Just remove the skin from your extra bird and chop up the meat into small pieces and reserve in a bowl

~roast your poblanos and add the diced peppers and onions to a pan and saute, when cooked thru, add chicken.

~put a spoonful of chicken mixture into a tortilla and roll tightly and place in baking pan, continue with the rest.

~Heat thru in oven at 450 for 10-15 minutes, remove pan and cover the enchiladas in the salsa verde and top with cheese, put back in oven and cook till cheese melts.

~Serve with rice/beans and sour cream.

Smoked Chicken Enchiladas verde

Camp Cutler is underway and football season is almost upon us...

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Fontano's Subs

-The Sammy's of Chi

The Fontano family opened their flagship store in the Taylor St./Little Italy neighborhood of Chicago back in 1960. So you had to know its time was coming over here at chibbqking. If you cant do the math they are now pushing onto there 50th anniversary which will happen in the year 2010. The Fontano family has been offering outstanding homemade Italian submarines, homemade sausage, deli foods, salads and other Italian cooking items you would find at your local neighborhood cornerstore. Around sometime after the Polk St location opened they started to franchise out. As of today they have a few Chicagoland locations including a spot in Denver. Obviously, the original is still the best. The people that work at the Polk St. location make you feel like you've been going there since 1960 whether you've been going there since 1998 or its your first visit that day. Gotta love neighborhood friendliness and when you get a sub and ice from Mario's its a world champ one-two punch.

A Taylor St. neighborhood regular

I've been getting subs from Fontano's for over a decade now and the only thing that has changed about the sandwiches is which kind I get. My first go-to sandwich over there was always a meatball. It is still is my go Sub when over there during the winter months. They also make the their own giardiniera and other bottled goods. I would say they have some of the best bottled hot peppers in the city so what remains a constant is that whatever sandwich I get-its always got hot giardiniera on it. If your a fan of big old Italian Subs than the Blockbuster is for you. Its a big daddy that features all the Italian cold cuts plus toppings and peppers and is in my steady rotation when there. During the summer months I get to Fontano's quite often and that's because they have a couple of great sandwiches for a hot summer day. If you wanna have them cater your party or deliver to your office for a party or just lunch they'll do that too.

Tuna w/ lettuce, tomato, onions & hot peppers

Sometimes in the dead of summer, you just need something cold to eat as well as drink. You know something that's almost refreshing and wont make you feel sick or need to rest up after. It just so happens that Fontano's has my two favorite cold cuts in the city-meaning they are served cold. During the summer months I always have to get both a 6" turkey and 6" tuna. Like I said theres some foods that just work well on a hot summer day and a tuna with giardiniera from Fontano's is one of those things. Its the simple things like quality meat, fresh bread and ingredients that matter in making a good sub and Fontano's achieves great success at all three.

I always enjoyed a good turkey sub every now and then but when you take the top notch smoked turkey that Fontano's uses-it takes a regular turkey sub from good to great. Not only do they have great housemade hot peppers but they use fresh Gonnella bread and highly flavored smoked turkey. Its best to let the turkey sit a little while while the oil, mayo, peppers, spices and meats all mold together into the bread making it the best turkey sub in Chicago. You would be a real wise guy to try one for yourself and see. There's a reason they have the block on lock.

Smoked Turkey with everything + hot peppers

Fontano's Subs
1058 W Polk St
Chicago, IL
Polk St. location Menu

Fontano Foods on Urbanspoon


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