Tried Chicago Ron's (thanks for pointing that out, TJ).
I pride myself on not being a food snob, but Italian beef is one thing I'm very picky about because I know how good it can be when it's done right. And not many places do.
The setup was weird -- it's inside of a bar where you wouldn't expect an independent business. The guy working there, although I didn't ask him, was almost certainly not the proprietor. He was like 25. Nice guy and he knew what he was doing.
For outside of Chicago, the beef there was good. It was kind of weird to have red sweet peppers instead of green, but they had the right texture. Like they're steamed, so they're soft but not mushy.
The only mild complaint I had about it was the bun wasn't dipped enough. I guess next time I'll specify to dip the hell out of it. There were dry spots on one end.
I also got a hot dog plain (people always wonder why I do that and I tell them I want to taste the hot dog, not a bunch of other stuff I can get anywhere). It is a Vienna beef dog and it was very tasty. They do the poppy seed bun and everything.
They wrap fries in the hot dog, and those were also good. I can tell they double fried them because they were still crispy after my ride home.
All of that is a huge meal for me, but I wanted to try both the beef and the hot dog. Everything was $9.50. For outside the Chicago area, it's good stuff and I'm happy to have it 10 minutes away. I'll definitely be a regular.
Also, I tried the Tumi Cafe for its grand opening with the fiancee. It's not clearly marked -- even though I thought I knew exactly where it was in Mt. Washington, I drove past it once and almost walked past the entrance.
I'm not sure if they're still in the transformation phase, but there were cheap pictures with prices on them hanging from the walls. They only have about six tables, all second-hand furniture, which doesn't bother me at all, but this is definitely not a fancy place.
But they had a duo playing New Age music, which was sort of an odd combination with the cheap furniture.
The owner was very nice and explained what each item was on the menu. I forgot to check back here and see what TJ got, so I too ordered the Arroz con pollo. Mine wasn't at all dry, and it was pretty good, but I too admit it was a little bland. The rice was, anyway. The chicken has almost a light rub on it, and could probably use more.
I got the surritos with it, and while cheesy cornsticks sounded really good, they too were a little bland and I didn't taste the cheese. Still not bad at all, just needed a little more flavor.
Cathy got the pulled pork, and I tried a little. This is what I'd recommend. The meat was excellent, and the spicy mayo will bite you if you use too much, but it was definitely good.
They do canned Coke products for 75 cents, and Cathy got something called Purple Corn, which was a very unusual drink that was pretty good. She really liked it. The only way to descibe it is a grape drink with a hint of cinnamon.
I got one of the truffles for dessert, and I first I was a little hesitant about spending $1 for a little piece of candy, but it was flat-out awesome. Cathy got the cookies, which are also small, but she loved them.
On the site it said "free samples" from 5-7, which was a key reason I went since the menu had so many non-traditional items for this area (we got there at 5:20), but they didn't do any while we were there. They did let Cathy try the Purple Corn before she committed to a full glass.
I think I'll go back for the sandwich, but really I would've liked to have tried a couple of the items they had to see if I'd like them. Letting me try 10 or 20 cents worth of food might've made me a committed regular.
Our bill was $21.10 and we were definitely full.
<message edited by Bonk on Sat, 04/2/11 2:03 AM>