Friday, March 29, 2019

Yassa African Restaurant

-Grubbing in Chicago
Senegalese on the Southside

If someone were to ask me what are some of the more underrated cuisines out there I might start with Senegalese. The West African country has a rich history that includes a French Colonial Heritage. The truth is African food in general is severely underrated and this is probably bc it's so under represented in so many different facets of the food world. For example the popular TV series Top Chef on Bravo just featured it's first chef who described African food as his background. It's something like year 13 of the show. I don't know what took them so long. As far as I'm concerned the Ghanaian dishes that Chef Adjepong was putting out there were what kept me watching. The truth is some of our most beloved dishes here in America have roots back in Africa. It makes me wonder what else is out there. Let's take a ride to the Southside and find out. To 35th and King precisely. Bronzeville.

Locals Favorite in Bronzeville 

The cuisine of Senegal has influence from all over. Aside from it's West African roots you will find influence from North Africa, France, and of course Portugal. The country itself is diverse with different ethnic groups which makes for an eclectic cuisine. The owners of Yassa opened their doors in 2004 and have endured quite a few setbacks on their life adventure which started in Senegal with the Wolof Tribe - the largest single ethnic group in Senegal. When they opened Yassa it was the first Senegalese restaurant in the city. I got to try it for the first time a month or so ago and ended up realizing I'm as guilty as Padma and Tom in that I should've been here much earlier. Unable to decide between the fish and the chicken we settled on both. The Yassa chicken being a half of a bird that's been marinated overnight in onion, garlic, mustard, lemon, and secret spices that's grilled and topped with sauteed olives and onions. We tried this with the Djolof rice and it was eye opening good.

 Yassa Chicken at Yassa African Restaurant

Then there's the whole fried snapper fish. I'm always down for the whole fried fish when it's an option on the menu and if you feel the same way you'll want to add this one to your list. It's served the same way as the chicken which we didn't think about when ordering but didn't care about when eating. This too featured a ton of flavors and a perfectly cooked piece of protein. Served with a seemingly simple side of vermicelli noodles that we couldn't stop scarfing on. As we finished up I couldn't help but get excited for my next visit where I plan on indulging in some of Senegal's other culinary treasures. I should also mention they make a few different natural juices like Bissap (Sorrel) which goes great with the fish and chicken. It's got a slight cranberry-hibiscus taste to it. Go ahead and get familiar.

Red Snapper at Yassa African Restaurant

Yassa African Restaurant
3511 S King Dr
Chicago, IL 60653
(773) 488-5599

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Perry's Pizza Joynt

-The other Chicago-style pizza: Tavern Style

Over the last year I've probably gone to a handful of old school Chicagoland pizza parlors for the first time. A testament to how many spots make a good pizza pie in the area. Most Chicagoan's are never far from a worthy of the calories locally owned pizzeria. I like to think I'm living proof that it's impossible to try all the spots in Chicagoland but I'm still going to try. Take Perry's Pizza Joynt out on North avenue in Northlake as example. I drove by this place so many times and always wondered when I did. It certainly had the looks of a classic pizza parlor I thought to myself but I was always busy with other stuff. It's location way out on North made it hard to try them without planning ahead.

A locals Favorite in Northlake 

Well one day last summer we made the ride to Northlake to try some pizza from Perry's. The space itself reminded alot of the dives up North in Wisconsin where it's extra dark inside and most of the furnishings were new back in the 70's. It felt like the pizza parlors of yesteryear were mixed in here and there. It was the middle of the day when we went but still the bar was crowded and there were quite a few locals in for lunch. Bc it was so dark we decided to get a large sausage to go so that I could snap a worthwhile picture which was accomplished as seen below. From the picture this pizza may look perfect and to some Northlake locals it probably is. If you were to ask me I'd put it in the middle of the second tier of spots meaning it's a good option to have if you live or work near there. The sausage was good, it wasn't too thick for a thin, but the bottom crust was lacking flavor and texture.

Pizza at Perry's Pizza Joynt

Perry's Pizza Joynt
39 North Ave
Northlake, IL 60164
(708) 562-5334

Monday, March 25, 2019

Anmol Barbeque Restaurant

-Grubbing in Chicago
Kebabs on Devon

Today's post was a long time coming. Anmol Barbeque has been on my radar for a couple years now. I have an ongoing list of spots I want to try in my notes on my phone. It's at least 100 deep. So sometimes I can flat out forget about a place. Here's the thing about Anmol though. It was on my Milwaukee list up until I saw a check-in from there by the Hungry Hound over on instagram. At first I figured he was in Milwaukee but then I read Chicago in the description and I was a bit confused. As it turns out Anmol Barbeque has two locations. One in Milwaukee and one in Chicago on Devon.

Locals Favorite on Devon 

If you've ever traveled down Devon on a weekday you may notice most of the restaurants are empty. This can make it a bit hard to distinguish which spots are popular amongst the locals. But if you go on a weekend, especially at night, you can figure out which spots are worth exploring. So I wasn't surprised when we found about 4 or 5 different groups of what seemed to be large families dining in here one weekend. It's pretty large space so there's lots of seating options. The menu here is typical of many others up and down the block. It mixes both Indian and Pakistan menu items. This usually means it's also Pakistani owned. Like so many of the other spots the menu here is fairly large with many of the options being very familiar. Stuff like Samosas, Chicken 65, Biryani, and more can all be had. We started off with an order of the Masala curly fries which are a guilty pleasure of mine. These are usually made with frozen fries but dusted with a homemade spice blend that tingles ones lips.

Masala Fries and Mango Shake at Anmol Barbeque 

But the real reason you're here is for the kebabs. They offer a variety of charcoal grilled options many of which you're probably familiar with if you've ever ate somewhere on Devon. But they also have a few options you wont find everywhere else and the key is to focus in on them. This is best done via the special platter options of which there are three. I read in a few reviews that the third platter was the way to go. It features four different grilled chicken options - Malai Boti / Harabara Chicken / Bihari Chicken / Mango Habanero Chicken. Malai Boti being a creamy marinated bird. Harabara is a coriander laced bird while Bihari is traditionally marinated in raw papaya and yogurt. Lastly the Mango Habanero is about what you'd expect - spicy! The meats are delivered on a sizzling platter with a bunch of grilled onions on bottom. Each option has great smoke flavor from being grilled over live coal which sets Anmol apart from other spots using just gas. Bring some friends and get a big plate of rice to go with some naan and you got a feast fit for at least a few people and maybe even leftovers. 

Charcoal Grill Platter #3 at Anmol Barbeque

Anmol Barbeque Restaurant
2858 W Devon Ave
Chicago, IL 60659
(773) 508-5050

Friday, March 22, 2019

San Soo Korean BBQ

-Grubbing in Chicago
Korean BBQ in River West

The food team over at the Tribune just finished up Korean month. They featured Korean food all month long (they pick a different topic each month) and that wasn't close to enough time for them to cover it all. Which had me thinking how Korean food has worked it's way into one of the best offerings of international foods in Chicago. How many other cuisines could get a whole month of coverage dedicated to them in Chicago? Mexican for sure. Chinese and some would say Italian but there's not a ton of others. Anyways new Korean spots continue to pop up frequently. One of them being this second location of a Korean BBQ favorite located at Foster and Western. San Soo Korean BBQ.

Newly Opened in River West

The original San Soo Gob San is a staple of Chicago's Korean restaurant community. An OG so to say. You can pretty much count on seeing groups of people waiting outside to eat when driving by. With name recognition like they have the son decided to open his own spot on Milwaukee right at the corners of Kinzie and Des Plaines. Late last year I saw a mention from Steve Dolinsky aka The Hungry Hound and he had lots of good things to say. After seeing that we decided to stop in on our annual end of the year restaurant crawl where me and my wife try to check out a few newer spots we hadn't had the chance to check out yet. The inside space is nice. It'll be extra bright inside during their early hours. Through Dolinsky I learned the kitchen here is being run by two brothers who also run a stand downtown called City Rock Korean Kitchen. It gets favorable reviews and the all the food looked good so we got a few things to eat on our visit. The only flop was a flappy seafood pancake.

Seafood Pancake 

The other problem with the pancake was it seemed to be a bit greasier than others around town. The waitress suggested the volcano omelette which cooks table-side as it arrives boiling hot. I enjoyed this with the assortment of Banchan on offer (keep reading). But you have to eat it fast or it hardens.

Volcano Omelette at San Soo Korean BBQ 

The highlight of the meal and one of my favorite rice dishes around town now is the dolsat kimchi fried rice. I've made the rounds around town sampling kimchi fried rice which is something I get a craving for pretty regularly. In all honestly I started making it often at home bc it's pretty easy but one thing I dont have is a dolsot bowl to serve it in. I suppose I could always go buy one but I dont know if I'll be able to put out something as perfect as San Soo's version. A dolsot is a stone bowl which is heated until extra hot before the rice goes in. Over the next 15-20 minutes a wonderful soccarat is created which is all the crispy bits of rice stuck to the bowl. There's not many spots doing kimchi fried rice this way. Bonus points for the wonderful chunks of smoky bacon and perfectly poached egg.

Kimchi Fried Rice at San Soo BBQ

But the main draw of customers here is the BBQ. That's what the original location is known for. I don't get out for Korean BBQ often but whenever I do I enjoy it immensely. However I am a bit of a snob when it comes to the grilling part. I'm not a fan of the electric grills as they dont produce the same flavor as real charcoal. The latter of which is a rare find in restaurants these days. So as far as non charcoal Korean BBQ goes this was really good stuff. The banchan in particular was abundant with options all of which were available for refill. We got a 1/ lb of pork belly and then another half. It browned up so nicely alongside some onions, jalapenos, and mushrooms. When paired with that kimchi fried rice it makes for great meal which I'm sure I'll be craving shortly. Maybe even this wkd.

Pork Belly BBQ at San Soo Korean BBQ

San Soo Korean BBQ
401 N Milwaukee Ave
Chicago, IL 60654
(312) 243-3344

Monday, March 18, 2019

5 New Taco Shops

- On the Road with The Chicago Taco Tour

We're back on the Chicago Taco Tour this week. There's new taco spots popping up pretty much weekly which is quite a blessing for the people of Chicago. Today we check out five spots that are brand new or somewhat new as in opened in the last year. It's never ending and that's a good thing.

 Taqueria Ofrenda 

Taqueria Ofrenda is about as off the radar as one can get. It sits hidden in a big warehouse that stocks wholesale grocery items on the stretch of Damen that's rampant with them. So unless you actually shop at Banner Wholesale Grocers (a restaurant supplier) your odds of stumbling upon Ofrenda are slim. I believe the people running this early morning taco stand used to or still do run a food truck. They're open from 6:00a to 2:00p Monday thru Friday so both breakfast and lunch items are offered. The menu is pretty typical but what I gathered from the food I tried on my first visit was that it was made with care. I tried an order of the steak and egg tacos and while I prefer flour tortillas on breakfast tacos 9 times out of 10 I'll take the smooth blue corn tortillas they use here over an El Milagro brand flour any day. Both salsas were tasty and my only real complaint is you have to order two tacos minimum. One is big as is and I'm not a big breakfast eater so it was just enough for me.

Breakfast Tacos at Taqueria Ofrenda

Arigato Market 

Over in West Town on Grand avenue is a new Japanese-American taco shop that doubles as a beef butcher. I've long been of the theory that the blending of Japanese classics into taco form would work really well. So I was very interested in checking this place out. It's not quite what I had in mind which was more so a dedicated chef from Japan learning the craft in Mexico and going home to create an omakase like taco experience showcasing the finest ingredients and techniques that Japan has to offer. This is a little bit different in that it's more like a spot one may find in California where cultures are always intermingling. The guy behind the tacos here is basically making the comfort food of his childhood. I tried the cheeseburger, pork tonkatsu, and chicken curry. All served on flour tortillas from Tortillería Atotonilco on 47th st. These are very loosely interpreted as far as anything traditional goes and that’s ok bc they hit the spot in a way good Yoshoku food does. Arigato Market is a small storefront with about five seats up front and a small display case of locally raised cuts of beef up front. The other partner in this venture has a farm outside South Bend that raises the cattle supplied.

Japanese Tacos at Arigato Market

 Border Taco 

Here's a place I went to late last year when I noticed it had just opened on Western in Ukrainian Village. Border Taco has a menu made up of Tacos, Burritos, Cemitas, and more. Part of that more is traditional Indian samosas. From what I could gather this is a joint venture by two people (maybe a couple) one of whom is Mexican and the other Indian. The menu may have changed since I visited right when they opened but it didn't have to much fusion to it except for the fact you could get paratha with any of the taco meats. Instead they had samosas in the appetizers hidden in with the usual suspects as far as those go at a taco shop. I paired a samosa with a steak taco that came served on a made to order corn tortilla. The samosa was fine - a little heat would've took it up a notch. The best part of the taco was the tortilla itself. It was fresh and still hot from cooking on the flattop.

Taco and Samosa at Border Taco

Taco Vida 

Next stop up is all the way out in Deerfield. Taco Vida is a pretty generic offering of the fast casual Mexican restaurant. What I mean by that is you'll find a colorful spot with lots of skull art and a frozen margarita machine and so on. This is all fine by me as all I really care about is the taste of the tacos themselves. If this is what it takes to get people from Deerfield in then so be it bc in the end it's a locally owned spot and a much better option than any of the burrito chains that dominate the white suburban markets. Taco Vida is owned by a guy who lives in Deerfield but grew up outside of Acapulco. He came to the states in his mid teens and has worked in restaurants since then. One of which is Taco Nano which is another fast casual spot out this way that's very similar to Taco Vida. I knew this place was decent when I walked and smelled the fresh tortilla chips being made. I can 100% respect a spot that doesn't use them from a bag. I tried both a QuesoTaco with chorizo and also the fried shrimp offering. Served on house-pressed tortillas both of these were pretty good. You don't find many QuesaTacos in Chicago. These are made by grilling some cheese into the tortilla.

Tacos at Taco Vida

 Carnitas Uruapan

Our final stop takes us to the Southside. Gage Park to be exact. That's where one of Pilsen's most beloved restaurants has opened a new second location. Carnitas Uruapan has been a fixture over on 18th street since 1975. Their Michoacán style carnitas have earned them a cult following over the years. So much so that they've kind of outgrown first location which is just a small little storefront. Luckily for the people of Pilsen they didn't move and instead opened a second restaurant that feels like it could be somewhere on Randolph street. The bright interior is beautiful and reminded me alot of the hip spots down in Mexico. Pictured below is their excellent meal deal featuring a half pound of fried pig parts, chicharrones, taco dorado, refried beans, tortillas, and drink for just $8.50. Top Notch.

Carnitas Plate at Carnitas Uruapan

See ya next time @chibbqking

Friday, March 15, 2019

The St. Benedict Lenten Fish Fry

-Grubbing in Chicago(land)
Fish Fry in Blue Island

Lenten season is one of my favorite times of the year, but not bc I'm religious. For one it's usually the start of Spring. We get that extra hour of sunlight which just seems to put people in a better mood. Second reason I love me some Lent is all the fish fry's hosted by local churches. Each Friday during the lent season one doesn't have to look far to find a church where they're hosting a local fish fry.

Locals Favorite in Blue Island 

While you'll find a few in the city limits your best bet is the suburbs. Particularly the suburbs where either Indiana or Wisconsin aren't far away. Today we head out to Blue Island and visit one of the most well known in that area. St. Benedict Parish has been a part of Blue Island for over 150 years. It's both a church and also an elementary school. Their locally famous Friday Fish Fry is held every Friday during Lent. This is the 48th year they've held these festivities so it's built up quite a loyal following over the years. I visited just last week and arrived with the early birds around 5p. The fry is held downstairs in the church's basement. When I arrived there was quite a few old timers as well as a big group of kids running around chasing each other back and forth. Entry is $10 for fry and sides.

a peek inside 

After you pay at the door you'll be given a ticket which you keep until you find a seat and one of the old timers comes and finds you. She takes your ticket to the kitchen where your plate is made and delivered by one of the young schoolgirls. On your plate will be a couple pieces of fried haddock as well as some fries. Each table also has a big bowl of both sliced red beets, and a long time cole slaw recipe that seems to be almost as popular as the fish itself. Of course packages of rye bread and big bowls of tartar sauce are also included. A somewhat unique offering if you ask for it is a salsa made yearly by some members of the parish. St. Benedict has a quite a large number of Hispanic families in their congregation and this is the Mexican touch to the fish fry so to say. It goes good with both the fries and the fish. I don’t do the church thing but I’ll fuck with your food. That said the Friday Fish Fry is all about community and I plan on checking out a few more local fry's during this Lenten season.

Lenten Fish Fry at St. Benedict's in Blue Island

St. Benedict School (and Parish)
2324 New St
Blue Island, IL 60406
(708) 385-2016

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Luna Empanada Shop

-Grubbing in Chicago
Colombian in Portage Park

I was just in Colombia a couple weeks ago. We ate some great food in Cartagena and I didn't want to stop eating Colombian food at all. So much so a few days after returning I went with a friend out to Portage Park to check out a new Colombian empanada shop. Luna is located on Irving Park across the street from the longstanding Patio Theater. It's run by a lady from the city with Colombian roots.

 Newly Opened in Portage Park

First of all - dope logo. Seeing as how they call themselves an empanada shop I had to make sure to give those a go. You'll see a small little display case featuring the current selection two of which are pictured below. We tried the OG made with ground beef, potato, and seasoning. They also have an ode to local Puerto Ricans with a Pastelon empanada. It's made with ground beef, mozzarella, cotija  cheese in a sweet plantain shell. Both of them are delicious and a big part of that is the wonderful dipping sauces served on the side. Particularly a sweet pineapple relish made by the owners spouse.

 Empanadas at Luna Empanada Shop 

Luna also offers both arepas and sandwiches. The former of which is basically a Colombian (and Venezuelan) style sandwich. A cornmeal based shell is split open and substituted as bread. Luna makes a few of their own creations including this bomb ass breakfast sandwich type bite. It's made with bacon, egg, rice, beans, and cheese and comes served with some piping hot yucca fries. I don't want to eat regular old bacon, egg, and cheese sandwiches anymore after this one. It's called the 'Calentao' on the menu and it's a great way to either start, proceed with, or end your day. Also those yucca fries are the perfect side. Make sure to make use of the garlic sauce on the side. Yet another wonderful homemade dipping sauce from this little neighborhood gem. Score one for Portage Park.

'Calentao' Arepa at Luna Empanada Shop 

Luna Empanada Shop
6011 W Irving Park Rd
Chicago, IL 60634
(773) 332-5692

Monday, March 11, 2019

Ghin Khao Eat Rice

-Grubbing in Chicago
Northern Thai Food in Pilsen

Over the last calendar year Chicago has seen an increase in good Thai food. One of the spot's that attracted alot of attention from the local food media is Ghin Khao Eat Rice. A place with two distinctions from the rest of the city's Thai restaurants. The first being it's Pilsen location. It's not on 18th like some might expect the way that block is going. It sits on Cermak in a predominantly Hispanic part of the neighborhood. It's the only non-Mexican eating option on the block. The other thing that sets "Eat Rice" apart from other Thai spots is it's menu focusing in on Northern Thai food.

 Newly Opened in Pilsen 

The owner of Ghin Khao Eat Rice grew up in a Thai restaurant in Edgewater. It was there where his family opened up their spot after moving to the States from a city just outside Chiang Mai - the hub of Northern Thailand. The food in Chiang Mai is much different from that in say Bangkok. The latter of which has heavy Chinese influence while Northern Thai food is a mix up of not just Thai but also recipes and ingredients native to Burma and Laos. Ghin Khao has a chalk board menu that features a few different specials here and there. Both the sour Tom Yum soup (clear broth version) and an order of woonsen noodles stir fried with vegetables were refreshing options as an appetizer before entrees.

Home Cooked Northern Thai Food at Ghin Khao Eat Rice 

All of the food at Ghin Khao Eat Rice can be traced to the owner and chefs family back in Northern Thailand. Sometimes some of his family can be seen with him in the kitchen. One of the most popular dishes in Northern Thai food is Som Tom which is described as green papaya salad on most menus. The Northern Thai spots don't skip out on the funk which is what makes this dish so great.

Som Tom Salad at Ghin Khao Eat Rice

Two dishes I plan on returning for more of are the grilled pork shoulder and also grandma's pork belly recipe. I found myself eating both of these like popcorn in that I couldn't stop popping little pieces of each as if they were kernels. The jaew sauce served beside the tender pork shoulder is wonderful.

Grilled Pork Shoulder with Sauce at Ghin Khao Eat Rice

Other options I can personally recommend are the crab fried rice. They use real bits of crab. Anyone who's had this dish on one of Thailand's 100's of islands will be immediately transported back there upon first bite. The low key must eat dish in Chiang Mai was the grilled chicken for me. There's a few spots I tried there that were off the charts good. Legendary stuff. Ghin Khao does a super respectable rendition of this regional Northern Thai dish. The chicken is slightly sticky with a super pleasant consistency where it falls right off the bone. Just make sure to get some sort of sauce on the side bc that's the stuff that makes a somewhat boring eat (grilled chicken) a very interesting one. I hope Ghin Khao can stick around Pilsen for a while bc they have some crave-worthy dishes. Just not Pad Thai.

Grilled Chicken at Ghin Khao Eat Rice 

Ghin Khao Eat Rice
2128 W Cermak Rd
Chicago, IL 60608
(773) 974-1428

Friday, March 8, 2019

Fred's Place

-Grubbing in Chicago(land)
Greasy Spoonin' in Elmhurst

There aren't too many places like Fred's Place left. Which is also why there aren't too many places like Fred's Place I don't know about. Not in Chicagoland anyway. So surprised I was when I randomly drove by what looked like an old gas station or something to the likes on Lake St. A real deal dive.

 Locals Favorite in Elmhurst 

Fred's Place feels like alot of spots that are long gone. It sits in a big lot where the concrete is all sorts of cracked. Maybe this is from the semi trucks that like to pull in for breakfast, lunch, dinner. Fred's Place has been open as something or another since I believe the 50's. For a long time they were 24/7 but these days they close late afternoon on the weekdays. Inside is a classic diner that can only become one after decades of service. Even the waitress seems to have been there forever. There's two items on the menu that get lots of online love. One being the garbage omelette made with just about everything. The other is the 1/2 lb burger they advertise on the sign outside. I tried one in patty melt form and it was wonderful. Nothing special in particular but it was made perfectly. The fresh patty of beef and the onions were infused with all the flavors the flattop has consumed over the years. Also terrific was a side of hash browns made from scratch. I plan to go back next time I'm near there.

Patty Melt at Fred's Place 

Fred's Place
544 W Lake St
Elmhurst, IL 60126
(630) 834-2426

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Grand Avenue Shrimp House

-The Shrimp Shacks of Chi

From the moment I first walked into Grand Ave. Shrimp House I felt like I'd been there before. Maybe in fact. This place has been owned by multiple people over the years. But something was calling my memory into overdrive. I couldn't quite figure out why this unassuming shrimp shack that sits on a corner just east of Hanson Park was triggering so many memories. Eventually I'd figure it out.

 Locals Favorite in Belmont-Cragin 

Grand Ave Shrimp House is a classic Chicago style shrimp shack. Maybe that was the reason I felt like I'd been here before? Kind of. Fried shrimp is sold by the pound alongside a handful of other sea creatures. They also have a few sides like the mac salad I love from Goose Island and then it hit me. With the pinball machine, minimal decor, small cups of Macaroni salad, middle aged African-American men behind the counter, is this place in anyway connected to Goose Island? Yes and no. I knew for sure when I got my shrimp and the hot sauce was the same Heine's style sauce I grew up on eating Goose Island fried shrimp as a kid. Not just that but the jumbos are breaded the same. 

 Jumbo Fried Shrimp at Grand Avenue Shrimp House

I believe that these guys used to work over there. They branched out and bought this place at some point on their own. There's no way there's not a connection but every time I ask someone they cant really give me clear answer. Whenever I'm there the phones are ringing and locals are stopping in for some classic Chicago style fried shrimp so it's pretty busy and I don't want to bother them. This is a specialist type place that's worth your time. They use Gulf shrimp for their product and you can taste the difference - even with that thick crunchy coating which along with the vinegary orange sauce makes this shrimp Chicago style. Lot's of other spots use a less thinner coating and sometimes I prefer that but bc this style is/was served at so many city shrimp shacks it's taken on it's own genre in part bc of the city's love for them. One of the few things that differentiates Grand Ave and Goose Island is the buffalo shrimp they make over at Grand Avenue. Available from 5 to 8p. It's pretty fire.

Chicago Style Fried Scrimp 

Grand Avenue Shrimp House
5358 W Grand Ave
Chicago, IL 60639
(773) 622-1890

Monday, March 4, 2019

Barangaroos Aussie Pies

-Grubbing in Chicago
Meat Pies arrive in Lakeview

I'd been patiently awaiting the arrival of meat pies in Chicago. Despite the fact they sound like a 1970's era published casserole recipe that they are not. Meat Pies are the main form of snack in Australia. I've always taken a liking to savory pies which are pretty popular not just down under in Australia but also over in New Zealand as well as Great Britain and also South Africa. I love them all.

Newly Opened in Lakeview 

Barangaroos opened on Sheffield just off Belmont last month. Next door to that longtime "Tiki" bar in the area. It's name comes from a busy Sydney suburb where the meat pie is taken very seriously. Australian Meat Pies tend to be personal sized and filled with a variety of fillings many of which reflect the cultures found throughout the country. The thing I can most appreciate about these meat pies aside from their convenience? The fact that they're actually pies and contain bottom layer of crust. It's hard to find real deal meat pies on this side of the equator. The couple who owns Barangaroos spent time in Sydney where they developed a love for the meat pie. Now they're here in Chicago.

Australian Style Meat Pie at Barangaroos 

Barangaroos carries about 10 different styles of meat pies. Clearly some of them seem to be geared towards the American palate. That's cool but I'd rather try the kinds popular in Australia and what not. One of the most popular pies is the mince meat. Made with ground beef, onions, and gravy it can go a number of ways from there. Barangaroos adds cheese to theirs and it's better that way in my book. I also liked the Shepard's Pie even though it's made with beef and thus technically not a Shepard's pie which is made with lamb. But it does it's job in hitting the spot like classic comfort food does. Bc of the heavy Australian presence in people from South Asia as well as SE Asia you can also find pies like chicken tikka and options for vegetarians such as the veggie pizza. I liked these enough to have been in a few times already. They're a great snack on a cold day and well we've had quite a few of those lately. I hope they do well and offer some sort of expanded menu with some more of the traditional options when they get going. They've had decent crowds when I've been in so we'll see.

a peek inside an Australian Meat Pie 

Barangaroos Aussie Pies
3208 N Sheffield Ave
Chicago, IL 60657
(773) 770-3510

Friday, March 1, 2019

Brothers & Sisters

-Grubbing in Chicago
New to the 'Scene'

The openings of 2019 are off to a roaring start. Brothers & Sisters arrived right at the end of 2018. After most lists on the best new openings of 2018 were released. So it's one of the first spots to qualify in the 2019 nominations. I think by the end of the year they will be a popular pick. Brothers & Sisters is the collaboration of a Chicago restaurant industry veteran and a Madison, Wisconsin one as well. On the Madison side is four time James Beard nominated chef at Madison's Forequarter.

Newly Opened in Ukrainian Village 

We've been into B&S a few times already. One of the reasons for this is it's versatility as a restaurant, cheese-monger, and also wine shop. You can take a step further and call them a mini grocer too I suppose but their stronger in the cheese and wine departments. Both of which are really nice options to have considering this is an all day restaurant at heart. The menu has been described by others as Supper Club inspired but I didn't really feel this to be the case. Actually Brothers & Sisters reminded me alot of a spot in Madison called Merchant and I'm pretty sure there's a connection if I remember correctly. Bc they're serving food all day you can find some really nice options for breakfast.

Creamed Eggs over Toast at Brothers & Sisters

One of the best brunch plates I’ve ate of late came from a dish consisting of silky smooth creamed eggs over toast with pork fat collards, pickled pearl onions, lemon, and Aleppo pepper. It's a fantastic plate that I think has been on the menu since the get go. They switch it up here and there which is nice bc places like that can keep neighbors coming back to see what's on the menu that day. I don't think they have this breakfast sandwich pictured below anymore but it was a very well put together sandwich. Most of the ingredients here are either made in house or sourced from local suppliers.

Breakfast Sandwich at Brothers & Sisters

Moving along the smoked whitefish salad is a great snack to sit at the bar and enjoy. There's only about six seats up there but they also have a few tables lurking behind. The space is bright and pretty open which I can appreciate. Stools along the front windows and a couple large picnic type tables round out the seating situation. It's been full on a couple of our weekend visits. Back to the salad which is served with flax crackers the combo of which was new to me. They worked well together. 

Creamed Whitefish with Flax Crackers

Sandwiches make up for most of the midday menu. I'm not sure if they're making the bread for these in house or getting it from a local maker but it's high quality stuff. Much of the meats used in the cold cuts come from Underground Meats in Madison. One of the country's best butchers and meat processors. The Italian is a very nice nod to the classic with a few of Underground's cured meats mingling with fresh cheese and also some zippy housemade giardineria. Will try some others soon.

Italian Sandwich at Brothers & Sisters

Speaking of fresh cheese they have a fantastic case in the front. You can make your own little cheese plate to enjoy there or bring it home for your own fridge. The selection is really something but then again I'm not a big cheese shopper. I was just impressed with hoe many blends they had from local Midwest farms in places like Wisconsin and Indiana. We've tried a handful of the soft options from the case and most of the stellar ones have come from the Midwest. It's nice to have a local purveyor of these fine cheeses being produced here in America's Heartland. Count me in as a regular.

The Cheese Case Brothers & Sisters

Brothers & Sisters
2119 W Chicago Ave
Chicago, IL 60622
(773) 661-1599


Related Posts with Thumbnails