Melton Midwest Mosey

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icecreamchick
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2012/07/30 00:04:20 (permalink)

Melton Midwest Mosey

Ralph and I will be taking turns posting trip reports from this trip. It was a long trip, and we have 700 pictures from it, so this will come out in stages!
 
I wrote this part on my iPad in the car. I *think* I've found all the errors and fixed them, but I'll bet I'll find one or two more later...
 
Sunday, July 15
Leaving on a longer road trip is always a flurry of last minute activity. This time's main distractions were a Friday night dinner party we'd already decided to give, and tickets for The Magic Flute on Saturday night. We'd had a general plan for the trip, but it was to be in August. Monday night, when we discovered it wasn't too late to attend the Wilder Pageant (about the life of Laura Ingalls Wilder), we made much hastier, firmer plans.


So, after the last minute rush of getting out the door, Google maps told us that taking US 22 through Weirton, WV and parts of Ohio would take two minutes longer than the freeway. So, we enjoyed driving along the Tappan Lake region as we started our trip.


We had an enjoyable lunch with Michael Hoffman and Lleechef at the Gahanna Grill.





Ralph tried their signature Beanie Burger. The burger has nothing to do with actual beanies, jelly beans, or the infamous beanie babies. Rather, it was named for its creator. The beanie burger is a good-sized bacon cheeseburger - we're guessing a half-pound, and it is dressed with the usual condiments plus a finely chopped cole slaw. The burger was quite good, but the cole slaw had no more personality than cream of wheat -- it neither enhanced nor detracted from the experience.





The burger was good, as was Lori's bacon cheeseburger and the crisply done French fries. We liked the Gahanna Grlll and would happily return, but the great company was the best part.




Next, we visited some good friends in Columbus, and as always, it was wonderful to see them, though our visit was too short. We spent some time chatting and Ralph tried out Apples to Apples dice with the kids. We waited out a thunderstorm, then went to a pub, Old Bag of Nails, for dinner. The food was good- we sampled the fried fish (a house specialty) and the French dip. Lori also enjoyed a cup of tomato basil soup. Dessert gave us a rare opportunity to see a deep fried snickers bar served at a table, instead of at a fair food stand. Our young friend thought it was awesome, and we enjoyed watching his delight.


We'd passed on dessert, feeling full, but while making a Walgreen's stop, Ralph discovered that there was a Jeni's stop between us and the highway.

Buffetbuster is right - there's always room for ice cream! Especially Jeni's, which is one of Lori's all-time favorites. Ralph had the roasted strawberry buttermilk ice cream, which was full of rich, vibrant strawberry flavor. Lori had a sampler of dark chocolate, brown butter almond brickle, and pear Riesling sorbet. Oh, where to start? The pear Riesling has a clear, bright flavor and a mildly grainy texture that only enhances its character. The dark chocolate is deep, rich, and only mildly sweet. The brown butter brickle is full of mellow sweetness with chunks of Jeni's own almond brittle. It was a great trio, and I enjoyed it to the point of scraping the paper cup with the spoon, trying to get every last bit of the flavors.





We drove through the twilight, enjoying the dark blue clouds of a far off storm, occasional flickers of lightning illuminating the sunset. We spent the night in Florence, KY, so we could visit Cincinnati for goetta in the morning.
 
post edited by icecreamchick - 2012/07/30 00:07:32
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    billyboy
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    Re:Melton Midwest Mosey 2012/07/30 00:24:33 (permalink)
    I already knew from the title that I was going to seriously like this report.  You had me at Brown Butter Almond Brickle.  Are the fries at Gahanna Grill the coated/battered sort?  Looking forward to more and especially the Wilder Pageant!  Did it feature "Prairie B*tch", Nellie Oleson?  That nickname is actually part of the title of Alison Arngrim's biography!
    #2
    BuddyRoadhouse
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    Re:Melton Midwest Mosey 2012/07/30 00:47:04 (permalink)
    icecreamchick Ralph tried their signature Beanie Burger...a good-sized bacon cheeseburger...dressed with the usual condiments plus a finely chopped cole slaw.  The burger was quite good, but the cole slaw had no more personality than cream of wheat -- it neither enhanced nor detracted from the experience.

    When oh when will people start listening to me about the futility of The Beanie Burger.  And Michael Hoffman, how could you allow that poor, young, unsuspecting boy to be lured into the unnecessarily messy drabness of that overrated pile of glop that ruins a perfectly good Burger?  You're older (certainly) and wiser (presumably) than poor Ralph.  Why did you not counsel him and guide him toward a more sensible choice?
     
    Was there a bar bet involved?
     
    Very nice start to a fine report.  Looking forward to reading about your visits to two certain upper Midwest cities on the shores of Lake Michigan.
     
    Buddy
    #3
    Michael Hoffman
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    Re:Melton Midwest Mosey 2012/07/30 06:00:04 (permalink)
    While it is true that I had my sole Beanie Burger about 100 years ago and have no plans ever to have another, I don't feel it is my place to try to tell a grown man or woman what to eat, or what not to eat. The Gahanna Grill is, as you are aware, known far and wide for this particular burger. I figure any adventurous eater will opt for this treat and it is not my place to disabuse one of such a notion.
     
    By the way, lleechef and I really enjoyed getting together with Ralph and Lori
    post edited by Michael Hoffman - 2012/07/30 06:02:25
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    wanderingjew
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    Re:Melton Midwest Mosey 2012/07/30 07:02:10 (permalink)
    Ralph and Lori,
     
    I confess, call me a fan of the beanie burger-  I think I preferred the cool texture of the slaw more than anything, at least the beef itself stood out, which is important to me.
    Great start!
    #5
    buffetbuster
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    Re:Melton Midwest Mosey 2012/07/30 07:06:48 (permalink)
    Sure Lori.  You two just accidentally stumbled upon a Jeni's Ice Cream.   Uh huh.  Sure, I believe that!
     
    This is going to be an epic report.  Can't wait for much more!
    #6
    icecreamchick
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    Re:Melton Midwest Mosey 2012/07/30 12:03:12 (permalink)
    Billyboy: We did, indeed, get to hear Allison speak, and she was hilarious!!! I really enjoyed her book, too. The Butter Brickle ice cream at Jeni's was as fabulous as you'd think -- it may be my new favorite flavor there, and I am a serious chocolate lover.
     
    Buddy: You forget, Ralph will try pretty much anything once. Brains and eggs, lutefisk, mechanical bull riding...the Beanie Burger was pretty tame by comparison!
     
    Buffetbuster: That's our story, and we're sticking to it! 
     
    A comment that matters only to me -- re-reading this makes me decide that I'll write in the first person from now on. When I wrote this, I think I was planning to have Ralph post it. Then I realized I might finally break out of my "Junior Burger" status if I'd speak up a little, so here goes! 
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    BuddyRoadhouse
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    Re:Melton Midwest Mosey 2012/07/30 13:32:16 (permalink)
    Lori & Ralph,
    I don't object to the Beanie Burger based on it being weird or exotic.  I object to the Beanie Burger because, as you found out the hard way, it is a needless waste of what is an otherwise excellent Hamburger.  I have no problem with a restaurant attempting to build a reputation on a "signature" Burger, but plopping a scoop of average-at-best cole slaw on top of good piece of meat isn't the way to do it.
     
    Glad you had an otherwise good time at Gahanna Grill.  Revisit for a real Burger.
     
    Buddy
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    easydoesit
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    Re:Melton Midwest Mosey 2012/07/30 14:01:30 (permalink)
    icecreamchick 
    A comment that matters only to me -- re-reading this makes me decide that I'll write in the first person from now on. When I wrote this, I think I was planning to have Ralph post it. Then I realized I might finally break out of my "Junior Burger" status if I'd speak up a little, so here goes! 

    From what I have read before of your entries, icecreamchick, you are a lot more than a 'junior burger' anyway.  You are at least a Loaded Gunderburger!
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    Ralph Melton
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    Re:Melton Midwest Mosey 2012/07/30 14:49:00 (permalink)
    I haven't figured out how to embed a video from flickr into a post here, but here's a link to the first day's time-lapse video of the trip:
    http://www.flickr.com/pho.../set-72157630814400374
     
    BuddyRoadhouse, I did read and consider your opinion on the Beanie Burger, and I decided to try it anyway, because it's a signature dish of the place. And a bad dish can sometimes make a great story. But based on my experience, I'm exactly in between you and wanderingjew; I found the coleslaw so neutral - extraordinarily neutral, really - that it made no difference to the burger whatsoever.
     
    The Gahanna Grill was not our only coleslaw-topped burger option on this trip, actually. We saw a burger with coleslaw on a menu in Wisconsin. I didn't order it, and I've now forgotten where we saw it.
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    hatteras04
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    Re:Melton Midwest Mosey 2012/07/30 15:46:19 (permalink)
    In the 18 years I've lived in Columbus, I've made it to the Gahanna Grill for a Beanie Burger exactly once.  I don't remember why I didn't like it but I do remember wondering what all the fuss was about.  The owners did just buy a BBQ restaurant that is very close to my house and the new menu there includes the Beanie Burger.  So maybe I will try another or get the one without cole salw to try.
    post edited by hatteras04 - 2012/07/30 15:47:50
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    Michael Hoffman
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    Re:Melton Midwest Mosey 2012/07/30 16:00:20 (permalink)
    hatteras04, all the burgers at the Gahanna Grill are the same size as the Beanie Burger, so any combination works well. I usually stick with a plain old cheeseburger with grilled onions -- no lettuce, no tomato, no pickles. I assume the burger lineup will be the same at the place near you.
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    icecreamchick
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    Re:Melton Midwest Mosey 2012/07/30 16:59:00 (permalink)
    I had the Bacon Cheeseburger at the Gahanna Grill, and thought it was great! 
     
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    icecreamchick
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    Re:Melton Midwest Mosey 2012/07/30 23:26:08 (permalink)
    We discovered broken plumbing in our hotel room Sunday night (Hyatt Place, but eh, stuff breaks anywhere). Unfortunately, we discovered it around 11:30 pm, after we'd unpacked and were well on our way to bed. No maintainence people were on-duty, so we ended up having to move around midnight. Ugh. 

    So, we got a later start than we'd have liked this morning, arriving at Camp Washington Chili about five minutes after they'd stopped serving breakfast.
     


    The cook took pity on Ralph and still made him a side of goetta, which we both enjoyed. We ordered two of their specialties from the lunch menu -- a three way (spaghetti, chili and cheese) and two coneys (hot dogs with chili, mustard, cheese and onions). Camp Washington's chili is spiced chiefly with cinnamon and cumin, with a touch of something hotter. (Ralph: it was watery enough that it was very prone to splatter. I didn't like that.)



    All of our dishes were fine, but the crisp-crusted goetta was the standout there. It was like a nice fried sausage with twice the fried and half the sausage. 



    We were glad to have finally tried Camp Washington, having been travelin-manned there in 2006.

    We next made a quick stop at Graeter's for some peach ice cream. Mmmmm, Graeter's. We didn't have the time to visit Aglamesis Brothers this trip, but hope to visit another time. 
     





    Next we drove along some of Ohio and Indiana's by ways in search of the Gnaw Bone Sorghum Mill. We had built up a mental image of what the Sorghum Mill would be like. We imagined there'd be tours and a quaint little gift shop. We were wrong. The Gnaw Bone Sorghum Mill is an outlet for sorghum products made on-site (we think), but we might've had different expectations had we known the full name of the place: The Gnaw Bone Sorghum Mill and Flea Market. Among the treasures for sale were yard geese and their holiday-themed wardrobes (we passed), moonshine jelly (we thought about it), and a vintage, never-used Epilady for the grand sum of $3.00 (meep!). There was also an assortment of church and community cookbooks. We already have too many cookbooks, so we resisted.
     


    We bought some jelly and the famous apple butter to try at home, and a persimmon pudding with a separate container of cream cheese icing to enjoy in the car. The young man who checked us out advised heating the pudding in a microwave for 15 seconds. Instead, we just sat it on our dashboard, which warmed it almost as quickly. The persimmon pudding was an English-style pudding with a dense texture that resembled a spice bread. We didn't find it much different from a pumpkin bread, and it lacked a strong flavor. Still, we're glad to have tried it.



    Visiting Gnaw Bone also took us into some real back roads. Not so rural that the roads only had numbers, but enough that we turned off Greasy Creek Road to Bear Wallow Road. It was a pretty drive through a wooded area, and we enjoyed our time there.

    We had a recommendation from Wandering Jew to try the Gray Brothers' Cafeteria just outside of Indianapolis, IN, so we stopped there for a late lunch. It was by far the fanciest cafeteria building we've seen to date with its Tudor architecture.


    Going in, it was clear that the Gray Brothers is a place where one cannot go hungry accidentally. When you enter their long buffet line, you are greeted first by salads, then an impressive selection of pies and desserts, with an emphasis on pie. We inferred that the scheme here is to sell diners on dessert before they see the mammoth-sized entrees, flanked by a mouth-watering collection of cafeteria classic sides.
     
     



    Ralph got the immense pork tenderloin. "I have shared pizzas smaller than this," he pointed out. (Ralph: it was delicious, with a nice combination of tender meat and breading, like a chicken fried steak that's trying to be polite for company.) I got the roast beef, and was kind of aghast when the server cheerily piled 4 or 5 thick slices on my plate -- this was about a week's worth of roast beef for me! I wish I could have hung on to it - it was tender and flavorful, and would have made great sandwiches. We enjoyed several standout sides, including a creamy mac and cheese, sweet-tart Harvard beets (served hot, which surprised Ralph), and deviled eggs. For dessert, we sampled two pies, the banana cream pies and apricot. Both were very good. However, the most notable thing about our meal was that we were unable to finish anything - too much good food, not enough appetite!
     


    We then set off for Chicago to meet up with other Roadfooders for Chicago pizza, a gathering put together by the very kind Buddy Roadhouse. Driving along I65, we were admiring the graceful rows of windmills, hoping we'd be hungry for the pizza at 7. Little did we know...

    Traffic stopped pretty abruptly. We waited 10 minutes, then 20. Eventually, we decided to turn off the engine to conserve gas. It was around 100 degrees, humid, and shadeless. In a word, UGH. People began getting out of their cars, trying to learn what was going on. About an hour and a half into this, word trickled down that there was an accident involving an SUV and an 18 wheeler, and the highway was closed, could be closed for up to three hours. We were already worried about how late we would be for dinner in Chicago. We looked at a map, and decided to make the illegal U-turn on to the opposite side and route around the disaster. The hapless bus driver stuck just ahead of us said he would too, if he weren't 45 feet long. BuddyRoadhouse helped save the day by recommending a route and some ways to beat the Chicago traffic.

    Finally, we arrived at Nancy's two hours late. We were not fashionably late...in fact by then, we were too sweaty and bedraggled to be fashionably anything! Our mood was greatly improved when we were greeted by ALL the Roadfooders who came out, and a fresh, hot pizza timed to match our arrival. We were actually surprised and touched that everyone stayed, and it really turned a bad experience into a good one.

    Ralph: Unfortunately, I was thoughtless and didn't take pictures of the group. This is the only picture of people I took. This includes ChiTownDiner and the Roadhouse family, but it does not include irisarbor and her family.



    This pizza was stuffed pizza, so called because there's a layer of dough between the toppings and the sauce. I found the upper layer of dough very thin and almost undetectable; I'd love for BuddyRoadhouse to expound on why he prefers the stuffed pizza over the Chicago deep-dish pizza


    Lori: Unfortunately, I was tired & hot enough that all I remember about the pizza was that it was great, and the company was even better. After Nancy's, the night owl Roadhouse family took us to the Omega diner for dessert and more good conversation. We then drove to our hotel and crashed hard. We realized later that the time zone shift helped explain why we were crashing relatively early.
    #14
    BuddyRoadhouse
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    Re:Melton Midwest Mosey 2012/07/31 02:58:06 (permalink)
    icecreamchick This pizza was stuffed pizza, so called because there's a layer of dough between the toppings and the sauce. I found the upper layer of dough very thin and almost undetectable; I'd love for BuddyRoadhouse to expound on why he prefers the stuffed pizza over the Chicago deep-dish pizza
    I don't necessarily prefer it to "classic' Chicago Style Pizza, I just like it as a change of pace.  That, and the fact that I work part-time at Burt's Place, an internationally recognized Pizza Joint making one of the best Pan Pizzas in the city, has left me spoiled for other Chicago Style Pies. Unfortunately, Burt's is closed on Mondays and Tuesdays when you were in town.
     
    I was prepared to bite the bullet; offering to make the arrangements for Lou Malnati's, but you deferred to my other suggestion of Nancy's.  I even suggested getting Nancy's version of the Pan Pizza, but you insisted we get the house specialty, which is the Stuffed Pizza (okay, maybe I sold you a little on the whole Stuffed Pizza concept).
     
    I like the Stuffed Pizza because of the abundance of ingredients and the richness of the product.  Plus, when you grow up on the Chicago Style Pizza and it's all you know, when a Stuffed Pie comes into your life, it's a real revelation.
     
    I hope you folks weren't disappointed in the pizza at Nancy's.  It's definitely not what is commonly thought of as the Chicago Style, although, I don't know of anywhere outside the area where you can get one.  If you were unhappy, you'll just have to come back and give us another chance.  Make it Wednesday through Sunday and we'll go to Burt's.
     
    Buddy
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    kland01s
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    Re:Melton Midwest Mosey 2012/07/31 03:42:58 (permalink)
    You had a real dilemma going on there Buddy. I might have stuck with favoring Lou's for it's diversity of styles. The only thing I like at Nancy's is the stuffed spinach otherwise I'm a life long fan of thin crust square cut. Had a marvelous one tonight, thin, cheese and heavy garlic from my local m&p way out west in the Fox Valley.
     
    Nice report Melton's! 
    #16
    buffetbuster
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    Re:Melton Midwest Mosey 2012/07/31 08:03:24 (permalink)
    Didn't realize that Camp Washington had a set time for breakfast or that goetta wasn't available all day.  I took my nephews there just a few weeks ago and the waitress didn't even blink when I ordered goetta at around 11:45AM.  We must have just gotten in under the wire.
     
    So glad that you made it to Gray's Cafeteria and got my two favorite items, the mac & cheese and deviled eggs. 
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    hatteras04
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    Re:Melton Midwest Mosey 2012/07/31 09:04:59 (permalink)
    That pizza at Nancy's looks good.  The only stuffed pizza I've had is at Giordano's and I am not a big fan.  I might try to push for Nancy's next time we are in town but it will be a knock down drag out with my wife who will insist on Pequods.  Might have to compromise and have pizza twice.
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    Louis
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    Re:Melton Midwest Mosey 2012/07/31 09:05:51 (permalink)
    When I visited Camp Washington two years ago, I had goetta at three in the afternoon.  Until I read this, I had no idea that it was for breakfast only.
     
    Gray's Cafeteria is great!  One thing about that place is that you won't go hungry.
     
    I haven't been to the new Gnaw Bone location since they moved a few years ago, but I remember when I was there about a decade ago, that tenderloin was huge.
     
    #19
    icecreamchick
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    Re:Melton Midwest Mosey 2012/07/31 12:41:19 (permalink)
    Buddy: I liked the pizza at Nancy's! But, if you insist, we'll come back to Chicagoland for more pizza on a "better" day! 
     
    Buffetbuster: You may have had a better waitress. Ours wasn't bad, she just wasn't too interested. We got there around 11-11:30, and the lunch rush crowd was filing in already, which probably was the thing on her mind.
     
    Louis, we also noted that they stop the breakfast menu on weekdays pretty much only during their heaviest lunch business. I want to say from 11:00 to 1:00, but I'd have to look at the website to be sure. 
     
    I would like to point out that I've finally made it to "burger." I think I'll go celebrate with ice cream! 
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    crew84row
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    Re:Melton Midwest Mosey 2012/07/31 13:40:40 (permalink)
    Great review.  Nice pictures.  Now I've got to go over to Lofty Pursuits, our local non-chain ice cream shop before you add more posts.
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    TJ Jackson
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    Re:Melton Midwest Mosey 2012/07/31 13:42:59 (permalink)
    icecreamchickCamp Washington Chili about five minutes after they'd stopped serving breakfast
    Quite odd - I have always been able to get breakfast there any time of day or night
     
    I think they were yankin' your chain a bit there :-)
     
    Nonetheless, you had some goetta, and so all was right in the world :-)
    post edited by TJ Jackson - 2012/07/31 13:44:33
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    BuddyRoadhouse
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    Re:Melton Midwest Mosey 2012/07/31 14:06:46 (permalink)
    hatteras04...I might try to push for Nancy's next time we are in town but it will be a knock down drag out with my wife who will insist on Pequods.
    Just so you have a little history before making your next life or death Chicago Pizza decision, Burt is the founder and original owner of Pequod's from 1971 until he sold the place in 1986.  He opened the new place in 1989 and we've been there ever since.
     
    I'm not saying you shouldn't go to Pequod's, live and let live and all that jazz, but you might want to check out Burt's just to see what the "original" is all about.  There's a very specific pre-ordering process involved in order to guarantee seating.  If you're really interested in visiting Burt's it would be well worth your while to Google Burt's Place and bone up on the subject.
     
    FYI, regarding that history, Burt is also the founder and original owner of another well known Pan Pizza icon, Gulliver's.
     
    Buddy
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    Ralph Melton
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    Re:Melton Midwest Mosey 2012/07/31 14:19:56 (permalink)
    BuddyRoadhouse
    I don't necessarily prefer it to "classic' Chicago Style Pizza, I just like it as a change of pace.  That, and the fact that I work part-time at Burt's Place, an internationally recognized Pizza Joint making one of the best Pan Pizzas in the city, has left me spoiled for other Chicago Style Pies. Unfortunately, Burt's is closed on Mondays and Tuesdays when you were in town. 

    I was prepared to bite the bullet; offering to make the arrangements for Lou Malnati's, but you deferred to my other suggestion of Nancy's.  I even suggested getting Nancy's version of the Pan Pizza, but you insisted we get the house specialty, which is the Stuffed Pizza (okay, maybe I sold you a little on the whole Stuffed Pizza concept).

    I like the Stuffed Pizza because of the abundance of ingredients and the richness of the product.  Plus, when you grow up on the Chicago Style Pizza and it's all you know, when a Stuffed Pie comes into your life, it's a real revelation.

    I hope you folks weren't disappointed in the pizza at Nancy's.  It's definitely not what is commonly thought of as the Chicago Style, although, I don't know of anywhere outside the area where you can get one.  If you were unhappy, you'll just have to come back and give us another chance.  Make it Wednesday through Sunday and we'll go to Burt's.
     
     
    I have no regrets at all about Nancy's (except that I managed to burn my mouth eating the hot pizza too quickly). The pizza was very good and the company was superb. And I'm very glad to have the benefits of local expertise.
    But since I've never had a Chicago Style pizza in Chicago, and the Chicago Style is famous, I'm trying to understand the Chicago Style based on semi-related observations:
    - Nancy's stuffed crust pizza
    - the pizza pot pie at Chicago Pizza and Oven Grinder
    - pizza from the Pittsburgh location of the Uno's chain.
     
    So I had thought that the top layer of dough would be the major thing differentiating a Chicago Style Pizza from a stuffed pizza. But the top layer of dough was so thin that it didn't seem that it would be a big difference. Is it fair to say that the abundance of ingredients in the stuffed pizza is the major difference?
    #24
    ann peeples
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    Re:Melton Midwest Mosey 2012/07/31 14:57:29 (permalink)
    Uno's is a good example.but just a block or two away in downtown Chicago is Numero Due's-Uno's brother. We chose to eat there as Uno's had a line....My cousins had never had that style of pie, and were thrilled.Its an experience , I believe, one should try once, at least, in a lifetime. Is it my favorite? No-but damn good!
    #25
    MilwFoodlovers
    Filet Mignon
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    Re:Melton Midwest Mosey 2012/07/31 20:22:48 (permalink)
    Yes, Ann is correct. A downtown Uno or Duo's is very, very different than a chain Uno's which are nothing I'd ever eat at unless the world was ending and my last meal was either Arby's, Olive Garden, Taco Bell, Quizno's or Uno's.
    #26
    Ralph Melton
    Double Cheeseburger
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    Re:Melton Midwest Mosey 2012/07/31 21:39:35 (permalink)
    I find things to like about the chain Uno's - in particular, our local one has a porch with a really pleasant view of the Monongahela river, so it's a very nice place to go when we feel like eating outside. But I wouldn't assume that I understand Chicago Style Pizza based on what I've had in Pittsburgh.
    #27
    Ralph Melton
    Double Cheeseburger
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    Re:Melton Midwest Mosey 2012/08/01 00:38:51 (permalink)

    Tuesday, July 17

    The Roadhouse family had given us several recommendations for things to do in Chicago. Millennium Park sounded like a great destination, and we were interested in breakfasting at the little Greek diner they told us about. But when we woke up on Tuesday (waking late from our late night), we could just tell that making plans was just not going to work out. Sometimes in such situations, we struggle to make plans work anyway - but we were on vacation and we still had flexibility, so we decided to just bob on the waves and let things happen.

    For brunch, we went to Ann Sather's in the Swedish neighborhood of Andersonville, after a phone call determined that they weren't picky about breakfast hours. 

    Parking in Andersonville was horrible. But as we were walking through Andersonville, we spotted a fascinating house at 1430 W Berwyn Ave with lots of fanciful decorations. Here's an article about the inside:http://www.blueprintchicago.org/2010/10/04/1430-w-berwyn/
      

    Ann Sather's was a lovely place, with a clear Swedish touch in the fairytale paintings on the walls.
     


    Our waiter was incredibly flirtatious. As he delivered Lori's berry lemonade, he said to her, "If we had any vodka, I'd push him out of the chair for a cocktail with you."


    For an appetizer, we shared a light, fluffy cinnamon roll.


    Lori's waffles were light, crisp, and delicious.



    I chose the Swedish sampler. The Swedish potato sausage was good, but extraordinary, as was the broad, thin pancake. But the real winner was the Swedish meatball. My previous experience with Swedish meatballs has mostly been from IKEA, where it's almost true that even the meatballs are assembled with Allen wrenches. But this meatball was super savory, with a rich combination of herbs. This was one of the highlights of the trip.



    Ann Sathers' upstairs room was painted with a different set of scenes.


    After that, we went to the Swedish American Museum down the street. It was a small museum, but very sweet. It felt like a museum of people sharing the stories of their own grandparents and families. And I learned a lot; I had no idea that Chicago had such a large Swedish population. (At one point in the late 1800s, over 10% of the world's Swedes lived in Chicago.)
     

    This is a device is a mold for making conical cakes next to a fire.


    This horse near the museum is a Dala Horse, a traditional Swedish symbol. This one had first lived in Sweden and had been moved to Chicago.



    After the museum and a stop in a nearby feminist bookstore (I wish that we had a nearby bookstore with notes on the shelves featuring commentary from the staff), we felt ready to leave Chicago - we had entertained hopes of doing more things in Chicago, but the heat and the difficulty of parking made us ready to leave earlier.

    We started to get a little appetite as we drove south toward I-80, and looked for a Roadfood place to eat. Lori located a place that appealed to us, so we pulled off of the interstate to reroute. It turned out that that place was on the north side of Chicago, a long stretch of rush-hour traffic away. So we looked closer, and found Old Fashioned Donuts.
     


    I inquired about the Texas donut on the menu, and was told that it was a big donut, and would be another fifteen minutes before it was ready. I didn't intend to order the Texas donut, but it may be said that I knew that it my inquiry had been interpreted as an order for a Texas donut and I did not try to stop it.

    This is the donut I received. We named it Tex. There's a reason that Old Fashioned Donuts states that the styrofoam containers are normally $0.25, but free when the Texas donuts are ready. The saleswoman told us how the hot sugar glaze would soak into the donut over a few minutes of standing. It was not actually a great donut - or rather it was, but only in size. It was very greasy, soaked with grease as well as sugar glaze. We ate less than a third of it. We hoped to find some indigent person who would find the calories worth the risk of diabetes to give it to, but we failed to do so and ended up discarding it.



    Lori's orange-glazed buttermilk donut was much better.



    The donut, then, reminded Lori of Brown Sugar Bakery, which she had visited during the Chicago-Milwaukee Roadfood tour. I remembered that it was across the street from Lem's, and we discovered that Lem's was only five minutes' drive away. We had a fun chat with Stephanie, the proprietor. I particularly remember her description of the Obama cake: "It's like America: black and white and red inside, with plenty of nuts."



    Lori chose a slice of yellow cake with caramel frosting and a drizzle of chocolate ganache, which she describes as "just delicious". 



    We left Chicago at last and drove for a few hours through Illinois farmland. We eventually stopped for dinner at a restaurant just off I-80 called the Big Apple Family Restaurant. Everything was quite mediocre and hardly worth describing. The one item of any interest was the breaded pork tenderloin sandwich I ordered. This did not live up to my expectations of a broad, thin pork tenderloin that surpassed the bun; this was a bland, ignorable sandwich, such as you'd get if Chick-Fil-A were named Pork-Fil-A. A noteworthy breaded pork tenderloin could only be better.



    #28
    buffetbuster
    Porterhouse
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    Re:Melton Midwest Mosey 2012/08/01 07:04:07 (permalink)
    The photography is beautiful!  Can't wait for more!
    #29
    Ralph Melton
    Double Cheeseburger
    • Total Posts : 892
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    Re:Melton Midwest Mosey 2012/08/01 14:40:04 (permalink)
    I've had some trouble with uploading videos.
     

    Time-lapse video of Cincinnati through Indiana:
    http://www.flickr.com/pho...set-72157630814400374/

    Time-lapse video driving through Chicago out to Princeton, Illinois:
    http://www.flickr.com/pho...set-72157630814400374/


    #30
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