Wednesday, August 31, 2011

The Barrelhouse Flat

-Snoopin' around
a peak into my favorite food sites

Has the cocktail scene taken off where your from? All around the country the art of handcrafted cocktail mixing is making a major comeback. Chicago included but for whatever reason my 'hood of Lincoln Park just hasn't gotten anything good and I know the people, myself included have been waiting. Well that's all about too change. Located at 2624 N. Lincoln, where the old Deja Vu nightclub used to be is where the Barrelhouse Flat is opening up. Lucky for me I also know the men behind what is sure to be one of the city and countries best cocktail stops. They got food too!

The insides as of this summer

B&B are bringing the Barrelhouse to the neighborhood after some heavy research and more importantly the passion and dedication to make it happen. I will hold off on any details but will let you know that you can follow their blog of the opening and get the news straight from the tap. Check them out HERE and also if your on Facebook make sure to like them HERE. Twitter doodles can follow them HERE. Who knows maybe they'll give me free drinks to get their blog going? Either way you'll find me there opening day and beyond this upcoming Fall season. I'm fully on board with the cocktail craze.

Some random liquor pics from my collection...

Stay tuned, big September ahead here @chibbqking

The Barrelhouse Flat
2624 N. Lincoln Ave
Chicago, IL 60614
Coming in Fall of 2011

Friday, August 26, 2011

New York Bagel & Bialy

-Grubbing in Chicago (land)
Where the 'burbans eat.

Football season is nearly upon us. Look for alot of rec's centered around the pigskin this Fall at S'C'&C. Whenever I'm going to be smokin' some meats that will take hours on end or making a pot of chili that takes at least a day I always like to start with a trip to New York bagel & Bialy in Skokie so I'm fueled and ready.

a locals favorite (they actually come from all over) in Lincolnwood and Skokie, IL

NYB&B actually has a few locations but this one is right off the highway so it's a somewhat easy drive for me. Lincolnwood I believe is the original. It's located in a little strip mall and from the outside it can be mistaken for a hole in the wall. But this is where all the experts and former NY'ers go for their bagel fix when they come to Chicagoland. They do a pretty constant flow of business while they are open. As soon as you enter the counters are in front of you with many options of homemade cream cheese and different bagel and bialy flavors too. Great spot to hit up if you need to feed a few people first thing in the morning and you don't want to cook.

As we enter

NYB&B spread brought home for brunch

Fresh Lox

Sandwich ready to go, made at home

Manny's Pastrami available by the pound

Onion's are my favorite, but it's all good

Pastrami and cream cheese with red onion on toasted sesame bagel

New York Bagel & Bialy
3556 1/2 Dempster St
Skokie, IL 60076
(847) 673-9388

Monday, August 22, 2011

Five More Item's in Chi

-Grubbing Like a King
Where chibbqking eats

Today were heading back to five spots previously featured on chibbqking. All located within city limits they share a similar trait adding some international flavor to today's menu. The previous stories on these spots and their address's can all be found by clicking their names enlarged in bold to begin the visit back to them today.

Five more food items in Chicago

La Palapita

I've been eating (and then fiendin' for more) on the steak at Palapita since I worked near there in high school and it was a frequent lunch stop. Back then I always ordered a super burrito which is pretty much everything including their cooked to order charred and then chopped skirt steak. Over time I developed a love for tacos and always eat those over burritos. But then one day last year, I tried a burrito my way from here and I've been ordering ever since. I like it with steak, onions, cilantro, cheese, guacamole and rice inside. It is now my go to spot for a burrito and one of my most frequent stops for food of anyplace out there. Extra sides of salsa too please.

chibbqking steak burrito from La Palapita

Orange Garden

Alright so it's not exactly authentic Chinese food and American-Chinese is a much better description than even Chinese-American is. Well this is true as this Chinese is more like the style your parents ate (unless they're Chinese) in their youth. It's Americanized and the popular dishes here are the common ones found on Chinese restaurants in America's menus in the 1950's. Well then you go with what they're known for. I like the lo mein here and it's pretty much all I get nowadays along with their egg rolls when ordering takeout. The beef can be just ok so sometimes I get shrimp. But what makes it for me are the noodles and extra amounts of celery. I imagine they've been making it this way since they first put up their awesome old school neon sign back in the day. It's one of my guilty pleasures.

Lo Mein from Orange Garden on Irving Park Road

Central Gyros

It's been so long since we've been on the gyro-tron but that's not because I don't like them anymore. I just haven't got around to posting on any others but will soon now that I realize this. Central Gyros on Central ave not far off Belmont remains one of the best as far as good old fashioned Chicago style which comes from a locally produced gyro cone company. If you want to venture out and still want gyros, try a combo platter which can be seen below and comes with souvlaki and greek sausage along with their popular gyros meat.

Combo Platter from Central Gyros

Ghareeb Nawaz

it's also been a while since we've been to anywhere on Devon but that soon will change as well. in the meantime GN remains one of the best places in the city for bang for your buck meals. Already featured in the 'lunch under $6' series they also put out a mean chili chicken. A huge portion along with a few samosas and a drink for under $10 is going to make you full and happy while giving tons of flavor too. It's popular with the cabbies for a reason.

Chili Chicken from Ghareeb Nawaz

Hamburger King

Another one of my all time favorites. The Cubs suck but Wrigleyville's still got HK. It's been featured in multiple stories here on S'C'&C and that will only continue to happen since I get there often. I love the breakfasts here with the Asian flare. I guess theres alot of spots like this in LA and Hawaii and I'm thrilled we've had Hamburger King especially when you consider how long they've been around. Its one of the last places to remain from when Wrigley wasn't nearly as popular or commercial as it is these days, despite the Cubs continuing to lose. For a good old fashioned south seas breakfast try the bacon and eggs with rice and gravy. Great for hangovers.

Rice and Gravy with bacon from Hamburger King

See ya next time @chibbqking. So many more places we gotta go.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Kenosha's Italian Deli's

Eating like a local:
Regional food specialties

-The Italian Influence on Kenosha, WI

It's time to check out the Italian-American deli's found in an old town favorite of mine. I'm already quoted as being a big fan of Kenosha and its old school not much has changed bars and restaurants. Its got quite a few good eating spots for your typical lunch fare and other fun stuff too. Kenosha had a big Italian presence that can still be found and that's obvious with three local Italian delis that have been around to serve the residents of Kenosha with some great supplies for their refrigerator and belly. Here are three spots you should most definitely check out if in the area or headed thru. These are your go to grocers. With football season coming keep these spots in mind. The first stop is Tenuta's.

a locals favorite in Kenosha, WI

I'm a big fan of Tenuta's which is a Kenosha tradition. It you are in the area consider it is a must stop. Where else in the world can you get some olive oil from Sardinia, a Dominican hand rolled cigar, some fresh homemade sausage, Imported cheese from Italy, olives from Greece and a a keg of Spotted Cow all in one swoop? They have everything here. I could spend the day filling up cart after cart with goods that are stacked to the wall in what is a small warehouse inside. I like to buy various six packs of micro brews from Wisconsin you cant find in Chicago as well as Italian groceries and all sorts of goodies from their deli counter and ready to eat hot food sections. Its the Italian version of Wal-Mart with some Wisconsin roots (alcohol, all sorts and lots of it) mixed in. Lets take a virtual tour around, but please do note, this aint half of it.

Goodie Bags of Liquor nips...nice

Tenuta's has a great selection of beer incl. all WI microbrews

There are aisles of Wine from all over the world, amazing selection

Cigars have their own wall as first walk in

If it's a specific type of Italian dried pasta...they got it

I'm a big fan of their giardinera spread, which is finely diced

Olive lovers beware...

Bins like these fill up every available space

The Deli counter extends into an aisle of its own

Dried sausage Kings

Cheese shouldn't be hard to find...'s all over the store in various forms

Salami selection is overwhelming

Non Italian Deli meats are available as well

The hot foods are great...

...there's always a team of people making food in back

Deserts too, they make it all

Housemade Italian cookies

Tenuta's isn't all groceries and liquors for your fridge however. Many people stop in for lunch or dinner without ever cooking anything themselves. That's because Tenuta's does it all. Of course their sausage is made in house with their own age old family recipe. You can get sausage sandwiches, grilled to order as well as made in house pastas. I'm a big fan of the homemade meat lasagna which sold by the piece to go from the deli counter and their popular Muffaletta's. I still haven't gotten around to trying their beef bombers but the meatball bomber is very good and one of my favorite sandwiches there. If it's summertime or nice enough outside to where they have the grill going, then you gotta get a sausage sandwich from there. make sure to get the hot pepper spread which is like a relish of giardinera. Tenuta's, a Kenosha tradition, happy to show y'all some of the reasons why.

Tenuta's meatball bomber

Muffaletta piece from Tenuta's

Meat lasagna from the Deli


Grilled Sausage Sandwich with Hot pepper spread

Tenuta's might be the biggest Italian grocer out that way but that doesn't mean there arent a few more around town. There are a couple of other old school Italian corner delis that have been doing it up in Kenosha for some time. I really like both of them and continue to explore their menus but I couldn't hold on this story any longer. Expect too see more stuff to eat from these next two Italian deli's soon in the "Five more..." series. The first one we'll visit is Lenci's.

Siting on the corner it has all the looks of an old school neighborhood favorite

Lenci's isnt nearly as big as Tenuta's but as the sign says its been around since 1965 and on the day's I have visited they had a steady amount of traffic from neighborhood people walking and ordering food from the back. Upon entry there's the cash register and some fresh fruits and veggies with some grocery items. Then along the walk back there's some refrigerated cases, dry goods and a deli counter with a kitchen in back. The menu for food prepared there is large. Another thing all these delis have in common is young kids most likely in high school working at them. I'm fine with that as its like that way throughout America.

Start of the menu

Middle of it

End of the menu with the party packages missing

Lenci's bottled giardineria

So my first plan was to get a burger but then I asked the kids working what was their most popular sandwich? He said "oh we easily sell more beef bombers than anything else by far" Then I thought was maybe the kid is lazy and doesn't wanna make me anything that takes time and a beef bomber is the easiest thing to prepare. I also wasn't sure about this whole Italian beef bomber thing I see at all these Italian delis in Kenosha. I've been everywhere for an Italian beef in Chi and I wasn't expecting much from these places. But I ordered it anyway b/c I was curious what the history is with the bomber sandwich in Kenosha, seems to be their own little signature regional sandwich. At first glance it wasn't really appealing to me. I much prefer my Italian beef sliced extra thin. But this isn't a Chi style beef, its a Kenosha beef bomber. So I dug in and was greatly surprised. The beef was about as tender as it can get and it fell apart upon contact while the bread stood up to the aus jus and held it all together. It was a nice treat and for someone who loves beef's as much as I do.

Lenci's beef bomber with hot giardineria

Then there's Mac's Deli which has been around as an ice cream stand on the corner in 1937. It was in 1946 that the original founder, Lino, opened an ice cream parlor where the deli is today. Eventually hot food was added to the menu and today they are still going strong with a third generation of the family taking over the helm. Take another look at why Kenosha has some real eating treats.

Another local Italian Deli favorite in Kenosha

On my 1st trip to Mac's I stopped in having just ate a bunch of food. I wanted to scope it out and grab a water for the ride home. The foot traffic was flowing and it looked like a great neighborhood spot and I knew I'd be back. Spending some time in WI isn't something I don't do, so I was back there quickly. I started off with a meatball bomber with cheese and hot peppers and brought it outside to their nice little dining area. I first noticed that the meatballs were done in patty like form and she (the owner) later explained we do that so they aren't popping out in each bite and it makes sense. Sandwiches are available in 6 and 9 inch portions. This was an excellent meatball, one of the best I have had anywhere. The bread comes from an old Italian bakery just across the street. I left knowing I'd be back for another one of them soon.

Mac's meatball bomber

A sign I saw as I left, so I headed back in

So I went back in and the wonderful owner asked me what the deal was, why was I still hungry? I told her that I just saw the sign and now I have to try another one of their famous sandwiches. She laughed as I ordered up a roast beef bomber from her workers at the deli counter. When she came outside to see how I liked it, she explaining to me the cooking process of the beef. It takes them two days to cook theirs and they basically shred it and or pull it apart as thinly as you can. It has a great gravy flavor to it and would be a regular on my menu if I was in the area. I thought about going on a hunt for best beef bomber in Kenosha but I think I ended up finding it before the search even began.

Mac's Kenosha style beef bomber

The ultra friendly owner then told me that they also make the corned beef the same way as always and insisted she bring one out for me to try. I couldn't say no to free food. She explained some people don't like that we use they use the bakery across the streets bread and not rye for these so they are turned off. Others have been going there and ordering a 'pastrami' for their whole lives a few times a week. It's dipped in an au jus and I thought it was awesome. She just brought it out so it didn't have any toppings but they weren't needed although next time Ill get it with mustard and Swiss. Its served hot and the dipping part makes the bread a little soggy at the bottom ala an Italian beef.

Mac's Pastrami sandwich

As I mentioned in the beginning Mac's started off as a small stand that sold just ice cream bars they made there on site. They're called "Mac Nut Bars" and they still make them there today. There were quite a few kids coming in and out who were ordering themselves one so I went with a strawberry and it too like everything else was excellent. What a great little corner spot this is. You just don't got these type of joints in Chicago anymore.

Where Mac's got it roots

Strawberry was tasty

Mac's is just across the street from the Italian-American club. Does anybody in the Wi area have any other delis in that region that are must trys? What about the history of these bomber sandwichs? any other great bombers that need to be had? I'm all ears.

Italian-American Club of Kenosha

Tenuta's Deli
3203 52nd St
Kenosha, WI 53144
(262) 657-9001

Lenci's Food & Deli
2121 45th St
Kenosha, WI 53140
(262) 658-2080

Mac's Deli & Sandwich Shop
2302 52nd St
Kenosha, WI 53140
(262) 654-2065


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