- Joined: 12/10/2004
- Location: Des Plaines, IL
Re:Spring Fling for the Milwaukee/Chicago Contingent (and anyone else who want to join in)
Sun, 04/19/09 4:23 PM
Hello to all my favorite Roadfood dining companions!
What a day, eh? Perfect weather, reasonable traffic, fantastic food from a wide array of ethnic sources, and of course, even better company! I can't tell you how grateful I am to all of you for making the trek, tolls and all, down into our fair city. The early response seems to be that it was well worth it.
No pictures from me, but plenty of good memories which I will try to recall and relate here.
Favorite non-food moment of the day: Walking into Hot Doug’s and seeing that the Celebrity Sausage of the day was named for our very dear friend Gregg Pill, aka ChiTownDiner who was sadly, but understandably absent from our trip. Gregg has been suffering from an illness lately that keeps him from joining in the fun. Gregg, you were foremost in our minds throughout the day, and deeply missed. We hope that Doug's brief homage to you brightened your day and hastened your recovery. We're counting on you to be well enough to join us on many more tours in the future! BTW, can anyone post a picture of that Celebrity Sausage tote board without having to go to Flickr or Picassa of any of that other nonsense?
Second favorite non-food moment of the day: The arrival of buffetbuster and The Travelin' Man at our last stop, Gertie's Ice Cream. bb and TTM were in town to visit CTD, offering companionship, good spirits, and help with his convalescence. While I received many thanks for organizing from the folks who participated in this tour, as far as I am concerned, buffetbuster and The Travelin ' Man are the real heroes of the day. Hats off to them for taking time from their busy schedules to travel all the way up to Chicago to spend time with a Roadfood friend!
Third favorite non-food moment of the day: Gathered around those card tables on the sidewalk outside Calumet Fisheries. A dozen and a half Roadfooders blocking the sidewalk as we devoured a surf and turf feast of smoked and fried fish and seafood along with a pile of Lem's Bar-B-Q; ribs, tips, and hot links, all overlooking the scenic Calumet River and a chaos of electrical cabling and industrial background, the kind of atmosphere that makes the southeast side of Chicago great!
Favorite food moment of the day: My initial bite into the Pan Fried Smoked Pork Cake at Ed's Potsticker House. A beautifully crisp scallion pancake, typical of the Chinese appetizer menu, but then split open like a pita pocket and stuffed with a thick slab of sweet, smoked, fatty pork belly. Sweet merciful mama that were good! Leftovers held up pretty well the second day, too!
Second favorite food moment of the day: Hot Doug's Celebrity Sausage of the Day, the Gregg Pill. Doug put together a brilliant combination of rosemary smoked chicken sausage with rosemary-garlic mustard and caruchon cheese. The caruchon is a sheep's milk cheese, very mild, unbelievably creamy and soft in texture; it just melted in your mouth and caressed the other ingredients all the way down your throat into your belly. Wow! The gentle tang of the mustard was the perfect compliment to the mild yet flavorful chicken sausage.
I wish this could have been my favorite food moment of the day, but that pancake at Ed's was just so outstanding, this just has to come in second! I suppose I could have lied to make Gregg feel better, but I know Gregg would lose respect for me if I lied just for the sake of it. Besides, I guarantee you, there is no shame coming in second to the Pan Fried Smoked Pork Cake.
Third favorite food moment of the day: Back to the mean streets outside Calumet Fisheries. What a spread! Smoked trout, smoked shrimp, deep fried oysters and clam strips, Barbecue ribs and tips, and oh, those delectable hot links! We got our share of stares from the passing locals, but who cares. We even shared with a passing gentleman who had just picked up his order from Calumet. He tasted a hunk of our smoked trout and thought about going back to get a pound or two for himself! Roadfood is nothing if not about the camaraderie between not only us but the world around us, too!
Fourth favorite food moment of the day: The garlic feast at Borinquen!
Garlic #1: Mofongo-no this is not a Puerto Rican curse word! Rather it is a huge matzo ball-like creation except that the key ingredients are mashed plantains, garlic, and pork cracklings . Everything is rolled into a ball, slightly bigger than a league baseball, deep fried and served as a side dish or in a brothy soup. Pungent and delicious!
Garlic #2: Tostones; pan fried discs of plantains, lightly salted and smothered in fresh chopped garlic. Suitable as a side dish or just for snacking with a cold beer while watching the soccer game on TV.
Garlic #3: The Jibarito sandwiches smothered in a garlic mayonnaise. As explained in earlier posts, the Jibarito is a creation unique to Chicago's Puerto Rican community. It consists of a plantain, sliced lengthwise, flash fried to make it soft, then slightly mashed in a special press to create a wide, flat slice. The slices are then refried to crisp them up. The resulting slabs of plantain are used in place of bread to create the sandwich which is then stuffed with any variety of meats. We opted for two pork, two steak, and one vegetarian version. Along with the meat, the Jibarito is adorned with lettuce, tomato, and finally, a thick slathering of that killer garlic aioli (mayonnaise).
No worries about vampires when we left Borinquen!
Least favorite non-food moment of the day: Speaking with ChiTownDiner about midway through the day and finding out that he wasn't up to joining us at any point on the trip. The hope was that with buffetbuster and The Travelin' Man there to bolster him, they might get Gregg road-bound for at least one brief meeting at at least one stop on the trip. Unfortunately the high Gregg received from their visit, along with seeing his name on Hot Doug's menu might have put too much of a strain on him leaving him debilitated for the rest of the day. We missed you buddy. Keep fighting and knowing that all our thoughts are with you!
Second least favorite non-food moment of the day. Not realizing that Brad Olson and his lovely wife were standing right there in front of me, waiting on line at Hot Doug’s. I'd only met Brad once, late last summer when we all met for burgers at Fred's Bar (Home of the World's Best Hamburger) in Burlington, Wisconsin. That was a noisy, hectic day, and it takes me a while to associate names and faces in my brain anyway, so I guess I had a different mental picture of Brad from that meeting. My sincere apologies if it seemed like I was ignoring you or worse, snubbing you. This was not the case, and I hope to see you both on many more Roadfood excursions in the future so I can more firmly plant your faces in my feeble brain. Third least favorite non-food moment of the day: Not being able to spend more time with buffetbuster and The Travelin’ Man. It was the end of a long day that started early, I was constrained by the fact that we were carpooling with someone else who was anxious to hit the road (understandably), plus some of our supplies for the day were in someone else’s car entirely, so in order for all things to come together at the end of the day, I was forced to part company much sooner that I would have liked. Thanks again to both you guys for making the trip to see CTD, and for making the long run from Mustard’s Last Stand in Evanston to the southwest side of Chicago to hang with all of us for a few minutes.
Least favorite food moment of the day: The Turtle Sundae at Gertie's Ice Cream Parlor. I had high expectations for this fountain creation. The usual ingredients were all present, thick caramel sauce, roasted whole pecans, slightly salted, a mound of fresh whipped cream almost as big as your face, and my choice of ice cream flavors. My thought was that if a Turtle Sundae with vanilla ice cream was good, a Turtle Sundae with chocolate ice cream would be even better. Wrong! What arrived was a huge dish containing all the aforementioned ingredients with two massive scoops of very dark chocolate ice cream. Based on the color alone, I was expecting a deep, rich, satisfying chocolate flavor. What I got was almost nothing. That enticing color was the only thing going for it. This stuff was almost tasteless. At first I thought, maybe I’ve just consumed too much food today and my taste buds have shut down. But then I got to the caramel syrup and the nuts and they were full flavor, no holds barred. The folks around me, who had predominantly ordered vanilla, said theirs was some of the best vanilla they’d ever tasted. I guess it might not be true, NOT everything is better with chocolate...so sad. I guess if those were the low lights of the day, compared to the oh so many highlights, I’d say we had an outstanding time and I’d do it again in a heartbeat! Which reminds me, the next big outing is being organized by nocarolina, featuring his favorite southside Chicago and suburban spots. We’re looking at sometime in August, so set your calendars accordingly and show Bob the same kind of love and support you’ve shown me for the last two tours! Thanks again to one and all for you friendship. More good times to come, I promise! Buddy P.S. While we don’t have any more "big" plans until August, there are still plenty of little things we can do all summer long. Shorter trips with just one meal, where we can spend more time visiting and eating and less time driving in between would be a welcome change. I’d still like to get a group over to The Shanty, a great Roadhouse setting serving excellent burgers, down on Route 41 (no tolls!) just south of the border. Also, I’m particularly interested in coming up to Milwaukee for a fish dinner at this place , highly recommended by Jane & Michael Stern. Looks like fun. Anyone want to do a little more research and see if it’s worth our while? B.
<message edited by BuddyRoadhouse on Sun, 04/19/09 4:46 PM>