Monday, December 19, 2011

See you in 2012!

chibbqking will be back and better than ever for it's fifth year coming January of 2012, so don't stray away. See ya'll then and Happy holidays to all. Catch sneak peak pictures and what I'm eating/drinking in the meantime on Twitter @chibbqking

Friday, December 9, 2011

Cavalier Inn

-Exploring NW Indiana

It's the holiday season and heavy shopping loads are here. Outlet malls are one of the more popular shopping stops during this time and in Chicago we are fortunate enough to have three within an hour ride of the city. Anyone going to the Michigan City, IN outlet mall, take note, I gotta food stop for you.

a locals favorite in Hammond Indiana

The Cavalier Inn or the 'Cav' as locals call it has been serving the Polish community of NW Indiana since 1949. Located in North Hammond it's a family owned joint that's now in it's 2nd generation with the founders son having taken over. Aside from the wonderful Polish 'stick to your ribs' menu there's also some great hospitality here and I found that out with my friend when we went to visit.

The view inside from the end of the bar

As always is the case I sat at the bar and we were greeted by the quirky guy with the long hair who I'm sure has been there forever, he knew everyone. We got started with some dirt cheap beers from the tapper and then went with a few of my must order items when dining at a Polish place. First out and this just show the old school-ness of the place was the relish tray.

Bread and Relish Tray before food comes out

The first item I always order from a Polish place is one of my favorites, potato pancakes. One of my favorite foods since my youth I usually never pass on them unless I know their from a box. I'm not sure where these ones were from but they were good. Perfectly browned and moist inside, I always go with sour cream as my preferred dip of choice with these.

Potato Pancakes from Cavalier Inn

Then there's the other item I gotta have at a Polski place, the pierogis. In fact they hold the annual Pierogi Fest in Whiting, IN next door to Hammond and take their dumpling serious around these parts. The Cav had an excellent example, both the cheese and meat ones. As we sat and raved about them the regular next to us started to chat us up. He told us how his mom used to make pee-air-ogi's as he called them and kept mentioning them throughout our talk. He said his mom made the best ever for he and his seven brothers and three sisters. She would make them at least twice a month and a minimum of 350 each time.

Pierogi's from Cavalier Inn

I bought our new buddy a Christian Brothers and the bartender gave him a token, He told us he only eats potato and cheese pierogi's and switched over to cheese when he started going to the Cav 40 years ago. He told us how he loved meeting folks like myself at the Cav and whenever he gets in his car he ends up there. There's never any fights, just friendly talk and folks is what he said. He was scared to let me take a pic but one of the cooler dudes I've ever met on my foodventures. We also got an order of the fried perch which was pretty good, I don't think it was lake perch, but not nearly as great as the guy we got to meet. That's why I love going to the locally loved spots, you can meet some great people.

Fried Perch Dinner

Cavalier Inn
735 Gostlin Street
Hammond, IN 46327
(219) 933-9314

Cavalier Inn on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Joey's Shrimp House

-The Shrimp Shacks of Chi

Joey's Shrimp House opened up back in 2010 and had my attention right then when I read about it in the 'Coming Soon' section of some food site. Unfortunately for whatever reasons I had never been by until recently. I drove by plenty of times and always said "I'm gonna check Joey's out soon" but would never remember too. Well I felt like some fried shrimp and remembered Joey's this crave around so I finally checked out the shrimp shack over on Western ave in Humboldt Park.

Another really nice fried shrimp shop in the Chi

When compared to some of the remaining fried shrimp shacks of Chicago, Joey's is just a little baby. But that comes with some perks. You can actually dine in here and they also serve beer and are open late, until 2a Fri. & Sat. It's a pleasant vibe inside I actually felt like I was at a seafood shop somewhere in Porta Del Sol. This is not a complete surprise since Joey's is a Puerto Rican owned place. On my visit, there were a few regulars watching TV, with who I assume to be Joey, the man who made the food.

View from one of the tables inside

I went with my standard order of jumbo shrimp (regular available too) and got a full pound to split with my mom. Not a bad price at $16 and Joey's uses Gulf shrimp which is nice. The rest of the menu is typical fried foods and also some sandwiches like a shrimp po' boy and what I plan to try next time, a shrimp jibarito. Joey's goes the extra mile and has homemade sides, including fresh cut fries, and also five sauces for your shrimp dipping pleasure. I thought these were really nice and similar to Goose Island Shrimp House which is a favorite of mine. Not as heavy breaded as the Goose's that's good and their hot sauce is identical and my favorite of them all. Joey's is now in my fried crustacean rotation, it took me long enough but it was worth the wait and probably better for my heart after four straight years of Smokin' Chokin' & Chowing. See ya next time.

A pound of Jumbo Fried Shrimp from Joey's Shrimp House

Joey's Shrimp House
1432 N. Western ave
Chicago, IL 60622
(773) 772-1400

Joey's Shrimp House on Urbanspoon

Monday, December 5, 2011

Santouka Ramen

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

The recent opening of Takashi's 'Slurping Turtle' has people from around Chicago excited to try what many are describing as "the real ramen" of course others who've been everywhere are saying it's average. For whatever reason the ramen craze hasn't taken off here like it has elsewhere. In fact some people will tell you there is no spots to grab the good stuff. However that's untrue, if were talking Downtown than yeah that's a valid statement. But if you go out to Arlington Heights and visit Mitsuwa Market (report on that coming) you can try some of the most well known and much liked Tonkatsu (Pork broth based) Ramen.

Santouka Ramen at the Mitsuwa Market food court

Santouka is a Japanese franchise that is the brainchild of it founder who one day had average ramen and from there on in started making his own. The popularity of the mans shop became so big and the legend rose with each mention in publications from all over the world that today they make his original recipe at locations all over Japan as well as Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Vancouver with several US in California and one in New Jersey and also Arlington Heights. Yeah that's alot of spots, all over the globe, but people swear by it for tonkatsu ramen. They also have a great track record for consistency from one spot to another. Ramen is what they got and its offered in S, M and LG sizes with a few different pork based broths with pork meat on top. I've had the miso and soy so far and enjoy them both very much.

Bowl of Tonkatsu Ramen from Santouka

I was put onto Santouka by a Hall of Fame poster over at LTH who also introduced me to the wide world of ramen. Before his review I had only been aware with the stuff I loved in high school and was already sick of in college. Sure I knew there's better in Japan but I never knew this good. This style comes from Northern Japan where it gets very chilly and it's made to warm you up PIGMON explained, that's why it's so damn good on a cold winter day. The broth is rich and super deep in flavor. Each broth has different tastes from rich to really rich but I liked them both and don't remember the differences that much. The noodles are imported from Japan with the perfect amount of chew and the pork is Berkshire and fall apart tender. Next time I'll be trying the founders favorite and their signature bowl the toroniku.

The noodles up close

Mitsuwa Market
100 East Algonquin Road
Arlington Heights, IL 60005
(847) 956-6699


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