A Roadfood Tour of Chicago's South Suburbs

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BuddyRoadhouse
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Re:A Roadfood Tour of Chicago's South Suburbs 2009/08/22 01:12:24 (permalink)
Gotcha covered Bob.

Buddy
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BuddyRoadhouse
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Re:A Roadfood Tour of Chicago's South Suburbs 2009/08/22 01:26:36 (permalink)
Bob,

I just want to double check here because I think you may have made a mistake, specifically the underlined section.  Your directions read:

"For those of you who will be heading south on I-94 ( the Dan Ryan Expressway ), be sure to be all the way over in the right lane before 95th St. so that you can get onto southbound I-55 ( the expressway splits in two there ). Take I-55 south to the Sibley Blvd. exit ( aka 147th St. ) and head west on Sibley for a few miles until you hit Cicero Ave. Turn right ( north ) on Cicero, and after a half mile or so, you'll see Simply Slices on your left."

I think you meant I-57 rather than "I-55".  Am I correct?  I don't think it will be an issue anyway, because, for those of us coming from the northwest and/or the Wisconsin border, we will probably be better off taking I-294 south, getting off at the Cicero exit and heading south to Simply Slices.  Would you agree or is there a better route?

Looking forward to seeing everybody at 12:30pm,

Buddy
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ChiTownDiner
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Re:A Roadfood Tour of Chicago's South Suburbs 2009/08/22 08:09:31 (permalink)
CTD is now aware and will rendezvous as newly planned....looking forward to seeing you all!

The Good Doctor of BBQ sends his best wishes from Springfiled....visited with him yesterday!
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ChiTownDiner
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Re:A Roadfood Tour of Chicago's South Suburbs 2009/08/22 08:15:34 (permalink)
nocarolina -

I live near I-294 and a quick review shows I-294 to Cicero Avenue and then SOUTH a few blocks.  Am I missing something?
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carolina bob
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Re:A Roadfood Tour of Chicago's South Suburbs 2009/08/22 08:26:10 (permalink)
Buddy, I'm sure glad that your brain works better than mine! You're right; it's I-57, not I-55. It's an understandable mistake, though... after all, I've been driving that highway regularly for only forty years or so; I need time to memorize that route.  As far as I-94 as opposed to the tollroad, I was just trying to save y'all a few bucks ( that tollroad ain't cheap. ) BTW, thanks for contacting CTD about the changes. Everyone drive carefully and I'll see you all later.   
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carolina bob
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Re:A Roadfood Tour of Chicago's South Suburbs 2009/08/22 08:42:03 (permalink)
You're right, CTD. From I-294, you go south a couple of miles on Cicero to reach Simply Slices. My post about going north on Cicero only applies if you take I-355 south. I honestly don't know why it didn't occur to me to suggest I-294 as your route ( this is a perfect example of why I seriously considered hiding under my bed all weekend!! ) Glad to learn that you're definitely joining us.   
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abe_froeman
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Re:A Roadfood Tour of Chicago's South Suburbs 2009/08/22 10:20:13 (permalink)
I got a text message from stricken at 9:04, saying she wasn't back to Waukesha yet (she went on a very early morning trip up to Sheboygan).  We're picking her up at the Lake Forest Oasis, then driving to Buddy's and getting into one car.  We may be a little late if stricken's running late. 
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BuddyRoadhouse
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Re:A Roadfood Tour of Chicago's South Suburbs 2009/08/22 10:59:56 (permalink)
I guess we're going to be little late if stricken's late.

Good thing I checked the thread just now, otherwise we would have left without you.

Buddy
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carolina bob
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Re:A Roadfood Tour of Chicago's South Suburbs 2009/08/22 12:09:39 (permalink)
GTO - Thanks ever so much for your oh-so-"helpful" comment. I don't see you trying to put one of these events together, do I?... 
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ChiTownDiner
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Re:A Roadfood Tour of Chicago's South Suburbs 2009/08/22 12:51:52 (permalink)
GTO064

BuddyRoadhouse I guess we're going to be little late if stricken's late.

Good thing I checked the thread just now, otherwise we would have left without you.

Buddy

Sounds like a very confused event.  Hope it turns out better than it appears here.


Conserve energy...keep post to yourself...all five of them!
mayor al
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Re:A Roadfood Tour of Chicago's South Suburbs 2009/08/22 14:11:19 (permalink)
Calm down folks. Go where you set it up to be, and use the cell-phone to do the timing corrections. No use getting upset. We've done these with 50 people on a snowy winterday, with people coming from a thousand miles away. Better to just let it flow than make a hassle out of it. This is FUN, remember !

Now, go do it.
BuddyRoadhouse
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Re:A Roadfood Tour of Chicago's South Suburbs 2009/08/22 23:41:25 (permalink)
GTO065, When I heard about this morning's postings I immediately started working in my head on a snappy, witty, positively wicked response that I was going to post when we got home after the tour.  But there you go, expressing yourself politely, offering contriteness, and even encouragement.  So now I've got to put my sarcasm in my back pocket (where I usually keep my car keys) and respond in kind.

As a new poster (don't know how long you've been lurking) you probably don't know that the Milwaukee/Chicago group is very tightly knit with members who have known each other for several years (although we have newer members as well, all of whom have been welcomed with open arms and fit into the group nicely), and who like and respect each other very much.  Any one of us, in planning a trip, would do whatever he or she could to accommodate the maximum number of people who were interested in joining the group.

As it turned out, the late start not only didn't hurt the tour, it actually helped!  Somehow due to fate and pure dumb luck, we missed the rush periods at every place we visited, most notably Country House where we slid in perfectly, after the lunch rush and just before the dinner crowd.  We shared excellent food with wonderful company; never felt rushed, and more often than not, had the place to ourselves wherever we stopped.

You're at a crossroad here, GTO065.  As a fellow Chicagoan, I for one would welcome you into the group if you'd be interested in joining us on our semi-regular trips both here in the flatlands, and in that mysterious kingdom of cheese to the north.  You may need to show the same contrition in person that you exhibited in your last post in order to sway the rest of the group, but believe me, these folks are worth it.  We visit some great places, eat some fantastic food, and share outstanding company whenever we get together.

Somebody's knockin at the door GTO065; watcha gonna do?

Buddy

P.S. mayor al, no need to worry about us.  We all knew what was going on and were ready to deal with whatever came our way.  Sometimes some folks feel the need to offer their opinions when it really isn't necessary and may even upset the situation more than it needs to be.  I don't think we'll experience this same problem again, and in fact may even pick up a new member for The Contingent if they make the right choice.

As it turned out we had just an outstanding day (words and pictures soon to follow) as we usually do when we all get together.

Thanks for thinking of us!

B.
mayor al
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Re:A Roadfood Tour of Chicago's South Suburbs 2009/08/23 01:02:56 (permalink)
Buddy,
   Oh, OK, Never Mind !
stricken_detective
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Re:A Roadfood Tour of Chicago's South Suburbs 2009/08/23 01:38:13 (permalink)
Don't feed the troll.

Don't feed the troll.

Hi-Ho the dairy o!

Don't feed the troll.
BuddyRoadhouse
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Re:A Roadfood Tour of Chicago's South Suburbs 2009/08/23 01:53:13 (permalink)
Al,

Nuthin' to be embarrassed about.  You saw a situation that you thought needed addressing and, as a moderator, you addressed it.

This incredibly minor, insignificant flap came about because someone who wasn't involved in the planning or the process, and wasn't even planning on attending the actual tour, took it upon themselves to get involved anyway.  I have extended an olive branch to that individual and now it is up to them to decide what happens next.

The real lesson here is that everyone has an opinion, everyone has the right express that opinion, but that doesn't always mean it's the right thing to do.

Buddy
stricken_detective
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Re:A Roadfood Tour of Chicago's South Suburbs 2009/08/23 01:59:01 (permalink)
As usual you have more couth & grace than I do. I have a response allllll ready, but don't want to get banned. :)

(ps these crepes are pretty amazinggg, how are those herbed mashed potatoes?)
BuddyRoadhouse
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Re:A Roadfood Tour of Chicago's South Suburbs 2009/08/23 02:16:16 (permalink)
You're kidding, right?  You've got room to eat something else after that marathon???

Okay, I admit it, I had a scoop or two of the strawberry and peach ices I bought at Cunis.  But that's it!

Those mashed potatoes do look good...

Buddy
stricken_detective
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Re:A Roadfood Tour of Chicago's South Suburbs 2009/08/23 02:21:53 (permalink)
(not really, my pics are taking forever to load, so i like to throw a teaser out there)

And how is the mac & cheese? Can you tell it I said Hi? That I miss it & I want to come back? *sigh* This may be the new love that dare not speak its' name.

I kind of love that Tom @ Cunis Candies wrapped up the box for my mother in wrapping paper & a ribbon. It's like he KNEW my fingers would wander over to the bag while driving, but wrapping paper? That bag went right in the trunk! I will take pics of those tomorrow.
Buffalo Tarheel
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Re:A Roadfood Tour of Chicago's South Suburbs 2009/08/23 07:42:16 (permalink)
It sounds as though you all had a great time.  I had a great time earlier this year when Nocarolina and I went to Popolano's and Cunis Candies, so I can imagine that you had an even better day with the extra places you visited.  I am sure that Nocarolina did the same gracious job of hosting that he did when I was in town. Wish I had been there, and I am looking forward to seeing those who are coming to the Buffalo/Rochester tour in September.  I will be glad to see the report on this day's journey.
chicagostyledog
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Re:A Roadfood Tour of Chicago's South Suburbs 2009/08/23 09:22:31 (permalink)
We almost joined the tour, as we sometimes do, without any notice. We landed on the south side yesterday afternoon about 3:00pm and lunched at the Grand Duke's Restaurant & Deli, located at 6312 S. Harlem Ave in Summit. The Grand Duke's is a fabulous Lithuanian restaurant offering an extensive menu worth visiting. Lots of tap beers from Lithuania and food just like grandma's. Everyone in the place speaks Lithuanian, including us. I suggest we dine at this eastern European gem for dinner in the future, without any before or after eating experiences. www.granddukesrestaurant.com

Morkus & Janina aka Mark & Nina
post edited by chicagostyledog - 2009/08/23 09:31:52
stricken_detective
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Re:A Roadfood Tour of Chicago's South Suburbs 2009/08/23 10:15:29 (permalink)
http://www.kodakgallery.c...roa&localeid=en_US

I think I may have password protected them.
ChiTownDiner
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Re:A Roadfood Tour of Chicago's South Suburbs 2009/08/23 10:39:06 (permalink)
chicagostyledog

We almost joined the tour, as we sometimes do, without any notice. We landed on the south side yesterday afternoon about 3:00pm and lunched at the Grand Duke's Restaurant & Deli, located at 6312 S. Harlem Ave in Summit. The Grand Duke's is a fabulous Lithuanian restaurant offering an extensive menu worth visiting. Lots of tap beers from Lithuania and food just like grandma's. Everyone in the place speaks Lithuanian, including us. I suggest we dine at this eastern European gem for dinner in the future, without any before or after eating experiences. www.granddukesrestaurant.com

Morkus & Janina aka Mark & Nina


CSD -
 
What an unbelievable menu...never knew about this place...will definately check this out and report back in!
 
THANKS!
ChiTownDiner
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Re:A Roadfood Tour of Chicago's South Suburbs 2009/08/23 10:44:22 (permalink)
stricken_detective

http://www.kodakgallery.com/ShareLanding.action?c=4lhy15d.68m87uz9&x=1&h=1&y=q20roa&localeid=en_US

I think I may have password protected them.


stricken_detective
 
They are password protected...
 
Great to see you yesterday...had so much fun...slept for 14 hours after getting home!
stricken_detective
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Re:A Roadfood Tour of Chicago's South Suburbs 2009/08/23 10:56:10 (permalink)
It was great to see you too! I am up for a bit, then back to bed to recover. :)

[link=http://www.kodakgallery.com/ShareLanding.action?c=4lhy15d.68m87uz9&x=0&h=1&y=-mhjn4r&localeid=en_US]http://www.kodakgallery.c...n4r&localeid=en_US[/link]

Try this one.
MilwFoodlovers
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Re:A Roadfood Tour of Chicago's South Suburbs 2009/08/23 11:15:02 (permalink)
S_D, NCB, CTD, BR et all,
What a great trip.
There is nothing like getting together with a group of like minded people and breaking bread together!
Attention to all you lurkers out there; we all were lurkers once.
While pictures may look inviting, there's nothing quite like being there.
Thanks for sharing.
ChiTownDiner
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Re:A Roadfood Tour of Chicago's South Suburbs 2009/08/23 11:25:52 (permalink)
Works great!  Thanks!  Great pix....

The best was the sundae with whipped cream...was it peach?

Thanks Bob...let's do a NW Indiana next time even if it's next summer.

Is Cunis open on Sundae?
stricken_detective
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Re:A Roadfood Tour of Chicago's South Suburbs 2009/08/23 11:26:09 (permalink)
CSD & Mrs, MFL & Mrs: You guys were missed! nocarolina picked some great places.

Special shout out to Jerry @ Popolano's & to Eric the waiter. I grabbed some cards & am about to sign up for their birthday club.

Also I have been communicating with Kodak this morning & I may have pics from June ready to be viewed. I will pull up abe's thread & post the link there.
stricken_detective
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Re:A Roadfood Tour of Chicago's South Suburbs 2009/08/23 11:38:49 (permalink)
ChiTownDiner

Works great!  Thanks!  Great pix....

The best was the sundae with whipped cream...was it peach?

Thanks Bob...let's do a NW Indiana next time even if it's next summer.

Is Cunis open on Sundae?


I love the pic of you with the onion ring. I want to say thanks to Mrs CTD for making sure a couple times that I didn't want anything to eat. Country House is when I hit the first wall. A few bites of pie was going to be ok, but meat, not so much. I would love to come back in October for that pumpkin bread pudding & to see if we can see the ghost.

The sundae was in fact peach. Everyone else's looked so good that I completely disregarded my love for the blueberry & went with peach. Abe pointed out that it seemed to have an orange base rather than a peach base. It really gave it that extra something that put it over the top.

Tom behind the counter helped me pick out dark chocolates for my mother. She is DEATHLY allergic to walnuts (emergency room EPI pen allergic) so we carefully chose some things that I thought she would love (raspberries--both jellies & cream, ginger, pineapple, cherry cordial, fairy food, coconut, etc) and he made some suggestions as well. He assures me that none of them were near anything walnut.

A very nice day, thank you so much to nocarolina for all your hard work! Two very enthusiastic thumbs up. 
BuddyRoadhouse
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Re:A Roadfood Tour of Chicago's South Suburbs 2009/08/23 16:18:47 (permalink)
Guess I'll put down my thoughts while they're still fresh in my noggin.

We started at Simply Slices,  a neat and tidy little outpost on a long commercial strip.  In fact, it is so neat and tidy, most Roadfooders would dismiss it as part of a chain operation and not bother to stop.  As it is, I'm glad nocarolina picked this as our first stop.

From the looks of it, shiny, white, and corporate, you're half expecting them to be serving frozen pizzas from the grocery store.  This is certainly not the case.  We were met initially by the lovely fragrance of fresh pizzas baking in the kitchen; a very promising start.  We ordered a single pie for the seven of us to split, half sausage, half "supreme".

I gotta tell you, the pizza was pretty darned good, with some caveats.  The crust was definitely NOT pre-made/frozen.  In fact you could see the dough roller in plain sight of the ordering counter and we watched as they rolled and stretched our personal crust right before our eyes.  The crust was actually the guiding force behind this pie.  It was crisp, firm but not tough, and flavorful.

In my best judgment the topping ingredients were all fresh, although not present in the abundance that I am used to when eating a deep dish or stuffed pie (my preferred pizza styles).  There was an excellent ratio between cheese and sauce and the cheese didn't render a lot of oil, something that makes most thin pizzas distasteful to me.

I don't know that I'd go all the way back down to the far south side just for one of these pizzas (if there was one closer I'd be a regular), but it was way better than I expected a thin pizza could be.  If I did go back I would take a more purist approach.  Don't mess around with the scarce toppings, stick with the comforting simplicity of a cheese or sausage pizza and you'll have a real winner.

The ribs at Nick's Barbecue were the one (not too) low point of the day, but even they weren't bad; just misrepresented.  I knew walking into the joint that I wasn't going to get real 'Que, so I set my sights lower and was ready to judge based on the flavor and quality of the ribs as opposed to the cooking method.  I don't think they were boiled at any point because the pork flavor was fully represented.  Usually, if you boil dem ribs you lose the intensity of the pork.  They were definitely baked though, low and slow to yield a very tender, fall off the bone rib, still retaining enough chew to let you know you're eating meat and not tapioca pudding.  I give them kudos for a very lean rib with a good amount of meat and just enough fat to give it flavor.

Sides of beans and mac & cheese were okay, not great.  The potato wedges though, were excellent.  A crisp, crunchy battered crust, not overly seasoned, yielded to a light, fluffy, almost creamy interior.  Some of the best I've had with this style of preparation.

ChiTownDiner ordered a pulled pork sandwich that was served in remarkable abundance, enough for all seven of us to get a good wedge and still have some left over.  The pork was probably done in a crock pot or some other slow cooking device.  Once again, not too bad, but not real 'Que either.  Also, they serve the sandwich drenched in an overly sweet sauce that detracted from the pork flavor.  Maybe that was their plan all along.

Like I said the biggest problem here was misrepresentation.  I recognize that there is more than one acceptable way to cook a rib or a pork shoulder (although boiling isn't one of them).  I have baked a slab or two in my time during the dead of winter when it was just too cold to go outside and tend to the smoker.  I got no problem with baking ribs as long as you tell me that's what I'm getting.  Don't call it Barbecue if it ain't.

After this minor disappointment it was all high flying for the rest of the day.  Our next stop, Country House served up the best burger I've had since our meeting last week at Fred's.  That's right all my cheesehead pals, I'm comparing Country House to Fred's.  This was excellent quality beef cooked beautifully to order, medium rare, juicy, flavorful, and great texture too.  Served on black bread with grilled onions (as recommended by nocarolina and CTD, thank you boys) and a slice of cheddar, you'd be hard pressed to say which was better, Country House or Fred's.  The one distinguishing factor between them would be Fred's signature seasoning.  Country House's version relies on the beefy essence of the meat to come through without too much seasoning and it works.  Very well.

Also on the plate was some top notch creamy style cole slaw and a split order of fries and onion rings, both of which were institutional varieties, but cooked just right to maximize flavor and texture.  Country House is definitely a place I would return to, despite the distance.

Next up was Popolano's for fried chicken.  This was an interesting choice from nocarolina as the menu skews more toward Italian fare, with the chicken more of an accommodation rather than a featured item.  That said, what we were served was very good, not quite in the same class as Stroud's in Kansas City or Belgrade Gardens in Barberton, Ohio, but there's damn few places that compare to those institutions.

We were started off with a huge basket of fresh baked ( I mean steaming, right from the oven, can barely pick 'em up with your bare fingers), hot rolls, each one almost as big as a softball.  They were absolutely delicious.  An aromatic, yeasty overtone coupled with a slight sweetness made these melt in your mouth rolls a true joy.  We passed around a cup of the excellent cream of chicken dumpling soup to accompany the rolls and it made for the perfect starter.

We ordered two 1/2 chicken dinners, mixed white and dark meat,  to split between us.  stricken_detective, unbeknownst to the rest of the group also ordered a sampler platter (referred to on the menu as an "Italian Bus Tour") of chicken Parmesan, meat cannelloni, and eggplant strata (I think).

While we waited for the food, our very helpful waiter informed us that the kitchen had run out of dark meat (?!?), and would it be alright if they brought out all white.  What choice did we have really?  I generally prefer dark to white, but if you ain't got it, you ain't got it.  Each dinner came with two large breast portions and three wings.  The crust was paper thin, crisp and tasty with no oily excess, really top notch.  The meat was just a tiny bit dry, making me wish even more for the missing dark meat.  Nevertheless, it was tender with excellent flavor.

The sides were almost worth the price of admission all on their own.  "Herb Muddled" mashed potatoes were clearly fresh, house made with plenty of red skin mixed in with the slightly chunky, coarsely mashed spuds.  A scoop of taters was served in a small dish swimming in a tasteful pool of butter with the fresh, chopped "Muddling" herbs sprinkled artfully on top.  Strong hints of basil and other aromatics made up the bouquet.

Next up was some rich, creamy mac & cheese with bits of tomato and bacon tossed in for good measure.  An unusual but whimsical pasta choice, spiraled tubes, made up the base.  These were coated in a rich cheese sauce with the small chunks of tomato mixed in, all of which was covered by a light dusting of bread crumbs and bits of nicely done bacon adding a satisfying smoky edge to the dish.  stricken and I were interested in the risotto and got one order.  It was good, not great, a little less creamy than it should have been, but at that point we had so much other stuff in front of us it just didn't matter.

All the items on stricken_detective's Italian Bus Tour platter were fantastic!  I mean if nocarolina had brought us here for the Italian instead of the chicken (which as I said was still pretty darned good), we would have carried him out of the place on our shoulders.  By the time I got around to trying the sampler we were stuffed to bursting (we gotta start limiting these tours to 3-4 places max, oy), so specific memories of the sampler item are a little fuzzy.  All I can tell you is, after pizza, ribs, burgers, fried chicken, and all the sides that went with them, when I tasted the sampler items my taste buds reawakened and said, "Thank you sir, may I have another!"

Our meal was capped off with a huge complimentary chunk of bread pudding smothered in rum butter sauce.  It was a struggle, but between the six of us we managed to polish it off, groaning happily all the while.

Cunis Candies was our last stop.  Wonderfully comforting old time ambiance; classic, original soda fountain with vintage soda dispensers, shake mixers, glassware and freezers in a long, narrow space; Formica counter with stools on the right, shiny red upholstered booths on the left.  The front end is dominated by display cases showing hand made chocolates and other candies.  As you walk back you see the soda fountain area and step back in time.

The sign in the window proudly declared that fresh peach ice cream was back in season, leaving me with no choice but to get a single generous scoop in a sugar cone.  What struck me first was the color.  A deep, intense reddish orange that drew you into the ice cream so you could almost taste it before you put it in your mouth.  Once it finally did hit my tongue it didn't disappoint.  It fairly screamed "PEACH" at you.  The flavor was absolutely spot on, obviously made with fresh peaches, no artificial enhancers, just pure sweet fruit, a little sugar, eggs and cream.  Perfect.  I would put Cunis' peach ice cream up against Homer's (a famous ice cream joint in Wilmette, Illinois, renowned for their peach ice cream, in case you weren't familiar) much vaunted version any day of the week.  I even picked up a couple pints of their strawberry and peach ices to take home.  Sampled both late last night and was very happy with my purchase.

This tour, with the possible exception of Nick's "BBQ" (and even that wasn't so bad) was a classic example of "Don't Judge A Book By Its Cover".  Except for Country House, none these places look like what we think of as Roadfood.  But, with that one previously mentioned exception, every one of them exceeded expectations on some level.

Thank you nocarolina for sharing the treasures of your South Side stomping grounds with us.  It was a grand day shared with good friends over so much good Roadfood.  You're working on a Northwest Indiana tour next, right?  No rush.  I may need until next summer to recover from yeterday's extravaganza.

Buddy
post edited by BuddyRoadhouse - 2009/08/23 16:46:34
abe_froeman
Double Cheeseburger
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  • Location: Chicago, IL
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Re:A Roadfood Tour of Chicago's South Suburbs 2009/08/23 18:31:14 (permalink)
I've just got to get my pics loaded into an album on Facebook and I'll post it. 

Great trip yesterday, everyone!


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