Big Shoulders, Beer Barrels, Beefs n' Brats

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wanderingjew
Sirloin
2011/06/23 20:27:58
After 9  months of purgatory, I just completed my first real road trip.
 
Unlike my previous trips- this trip is actually going to be divided into two trip reports.
Part I and part II will represent different themes of this trip. 
 
For the first time, after owning my digitial camera of 5 years (and which I don't intend to discard anytime soon) I just discovered I can control the shutter speed and add more light, I also learned I can control the intensity of the flash when needed, however on this trip I tried to avoid using flash as much as possible, unfortunately when lighting was completely minimal or when the lighting was completely garish, I didn't have a choice.
 
Thursday June 9
 
Although I was hoping to get an early start with a 6:05 AM flight, my trip almost came to an abrupt end when they nearly cancelled flights to where I was heading due to inclimate weather. After departing and returning to the gate twice, we finally took off and I landed in Chicago at almost noon time, over 4 hours late.
 
After grabbing my checked luggage and getting a rental, I finally arrived at my first destination.
 

 
Lou Malnati's
 
Although my  intention was to visit the original location in Lincolnwood, due to arriving late and being welcomed by heavy traffic and no direct route, I ended up visiting the Southside location which the website described as being "soulful". Well as long as they don't put chitlins or ham hocks on my pizza, then that is perfectly ok with me.
 
The decor was tastefully done, with a nod to Chicago's African American sports heroes.
 

 
I got the Malnati's Chicago Classic which includes sausage surrounded by chunky tomato sauce, a heaping helping of gooey mozzarella, housed on their famous butter crust.
 
Here is the ultimate money shot.
 

 
I ordered a small pie 
 

 
(and yes, believe it or not, I actually finished it!)
 
Lou Malnati's was just as good as I remembered, but I wondered if the original location would have been even better?
 
After lunch, I checked into my hotel in the Lincoln Park/Lakeview area and took a walk exploring my surroundings. Oh I forgot to mention, it was 91 degrees and humid in Rhode Island the day before, it was now 50 degrees in Chicago and gray.
 
After enjoying a brew at Goose Island Brewery (after getting lost thinking I was on Clark street but was actually on Broadway) - good that meant extra walking for me- I took the short train ride to downtown. and enjoyed this view of Wrigley from the train station
 
 
I arrived at my dinner stop
 

 

 
Gene and Georgetti's
 
Classic old school Italian. Sinatra playing in the background.  And a classic Roadfood
ambience
 

 

 

 
My dinner began with crusty Italian Bread
 

 
and a delicious salad
 

 
but it was the main course that deserved the most attention
 

 
Shrimp De Jonge- 
 
A generous portion of shrimp drenched in a thick garlic sauce bursting with flavor. 
Truly my first highlight of the trip and a top 10 contender for the year. 
 
And although I just "picked" at them. 
 

 
the fried potatoes were also really good.
 
After dinner I walked back to the subway station to get to my ballgame that evening.
 

 
The White Sox vs the Oakland Athletics at US Cellular field.
 

 
Unfortunately my camera died after this shot. I didn't realize I needed new batteries and didn't bring any with me.
 
I did manage to get this shot of the scoreboard from my cellphone
 

 
After the 7th inning stretch, the White Sox were winning. I was exhausted as I was up since 4 AM. I left in the 8th inning and took the train back to my hotel. 
 
Much more to come
post edited by wanderingjew - 2011/06/23 20:36:56
buffetbuster
Porterhouse
Re:Big Shoulders, Beer Barrels, Beefs n' Brats 2011/06/23 21:39:42
Great start WJ!  Love the shot of the Shrimp de Jonghe.  How was the service at Gene & Georgetti's?
billyboy
Double Chili Cheeseburger
Re:Big Shoulders, Beer Barrels, Beefs n' Brats 2011/06/24 00:22:40
Lovin' it already, WJ!  Someday I'll make it to the Windy City and my first order of business will be an Italian beef sandwich and  some deep dish pizza.  Can't wait to see the rest of the report!
MiamiDon
Filet Mignon
Re:Big Shoulders, Beer Barrels, Beefs n' Brats 2011/06/24 07:43:07
Glad to see you out of retirement, wanderingjew
 
Genuine Shrimp de Jonghe and Chicago Deep-dish Pizza are on my bucket list.
agnesrob
Double Chili Cheeseburger
Re:Big Shoulders, Beer Barrels, Beefs n' Brats 2011/06/24 08:07:13
Yay! I always look forward to your trip reports! Great start. That deep dish pizza looks so good! Why oh why do I read something like this before having breakfast!!
wanderingjew
Sirloin
Re:Big Shoulders, Beer Barrels, Beefs n' Brats 2011/06/24 09:03:09
Buffetbuster
 
The service at Gene and Georgetti's was nothing short of excellent. The staff was very attentive, however I got there early (just after 5pm) and it wasn't that crowded yet.
 
Billyboy
 
One thing about Chicago, if I lived there I would probably weigh 500 lbs- there is something about those rustbelt cities  and their local food that just really draws me to them. It's no wonder why this is my favorite part of the country from a food perspective.
 
Miami Don

It's good to be out of retirement- although I will be heading back there after the summer is over (at least until next year's glee club event)
 
agnesrob
 
I always wait until after my morning ritual of hot oat bran and egg whites  (I'm not joking too) before looking at trip reports.
brisketboy
Double Chili Cheeseburger
Re:Big Shoulders, Beer Barrels, Beefs n' Brats 2011/06/24 09:19:05
WJ, I grew up where you walked and I still miss the places you visited even though it's been 30 years since I left. Always a pleasure to read your posts.
wanderingjew
Sirloin
Re:Big Shoulders, Beer Barrels, Beefs n' Brats 2011/06/24 10:42:17
Thanks brisketboy,

Chicago is such a walkable city- and that's a good thing considering all the great food. The following morning I ended up walking 2 miles (just to get a cup of good coffee!) and then walked at least another 4 or 5 miles in the evening, but we'll get to that in the next chapter
Sundancer7
Fire Safety Admin
Re:Big Shoulders, Beer Barrels, Beefs n' Brats 2011/06/24 11:11:50
WJ:  Thanks for your write.  Chicago is also one of my favorite stops.  I have been there way too many times.  I have always enjoyed Chicago and particuarly downtown although the good food is out of the city.
 
Paul E. Smith
Knoxville, TN
waltpiii
Cheeseburger
Re:Big Shoulders, Beer Barrels, Beefs n' Brats 2011/06/24 12:13:19
Great Report!!
 
Walt
Mosca
Filet Mignon
Re:Big Shoulders, Beer Barrels, Beefs n' Brats 2011/06/24 12:31:36
Thanks man. Next time we're in Chi, we're going to trace some of your steps, I think Mrs Mosca would go wild over that shrimp.
ann peeples
Sirloin
Re:Big Shoulders, Beer Barrels, Beefs n' Brats 2011/06/24 13:58:17
Now you know, Dale, which part of the report I am holding out for! Otherwise, fantastic to see the first leg of the trip.
ChiTownDiner
Filet Mignon
Re:Big Shoulders, Beer Barrels, Beefs n' Brats 2011/06/25 16:50:26
Solid choices for those opening stops...all except The Cell!!!
ChicagoIrish
Hamburger
Re:Big Shoulders, Beer Barrels, Beefs n' Brats 2011/06/25 17:40:27
Hope you were able to visit the original Intelligencia on Broadway, my favorite coffee in the city!
wanderingjew
Sirloin
Re:Big Shoulders, Beer Barrels, Beefs n' Brats 2011/06/25 17:57:07
Paul,
 
Yes, some of the best roadfood joints are outside of the city. Other than a morsel in chapter 2, you'll have to wait till chapter 4 for some more Chi Town style roadfood.
 
Ann

Thanks- and yes! Stay tuned for chapter 3.
 
Chi Town Diner
 
If only the Cubbies were in town!
 
Friday June 10
 
After breakfast courtesy  of Dr Atkins (yes Atkins bars) I have to hold back somewhere! I made the rounds of two chicago coffee houses- Intelligentsia and Noble Tree Coffee Roasters.
 
After completing a round trip walk of two miles in the process I was on my way to points north.
 
First stop.
 

 
Paradise Pup
 
In Des Plaines. Buddy Roadhouse insisted that I visit. The hours are limited 11 AM to 5 PM and Buddy warned me the lines could get ridiculously long during peak hours. I arrived at 10:30 AM and was the first in line.
 
I perused the menu
 

 
but already knew what I wanted. By the time 11 AM rolled around there were already at least 20 people on line. 
 
I ordered the Char Dog dragged through th garden and the Char Burger with Merk Cheddar and grilled onions.
 

 

 
The hot dog, bursting with flavor held its own to the vegetable garden that was dumped on top of it. 
And the char grillled burger's flavor was enhanced by the rich cheddar and glistening grilled onions. 
 
I literally had to eat and run- I had to pace myself today so that I don't  go into "overload" which actually happened later on the trip (chapter 4)
It took incredible self control to only finish half of my meal since I was heading to lunch # 2 in two hours. The two guys who were at the table next to me looked astonished when they saw me dump half of my meal. I explained why  and they understood. 
 
Paradise Pup was truly another highlight.
 
90 minutes later I found myself at.
 
Solly's Grill
 
in Milwaukee. It's been 8 years since I last visited Milwaukee- in fact that was my first trip report here on Roadfood. I really wanted to visit in 2008 to complete my "Rustbelt Ballpark" theme, but was short on time and opted for Toronto instead, since that was the last ballpark I needed to visit to complete my goal of visiting all major league ballparks.
 
Anyway, I understand Solly's has new digs- I've never been to the original location however the new location seems to hold its own.
 

 
with various college banners adding the the decor.
 

 
Anyway, I'm sure you all know why I'm here
 

 
 
For one of these- yes that's butter seeping out from beneath the bun. And all I can say is wow! I'm glad I won't have the opportunity to eat one these too frequently. 
 
It was good, but almost "a little too much of a good thing" thankfully these were small enough that I was able to finish the entire burger.
 

 
half way through you can see the melted butter just congregating on the plate. 
 
After this you think I'd be done? At least for the afternoon. Not exactly we are in America's Dairyland, therefore I had to stop here just "around the block"
 

 
Kopp's Frozen Custard
 
Of course I checked out their flavor forecast on line before I started out on my trip.
 

 
can you guess which one I got?

 
Grasshopper fudge of course. In fact If I recall, I'm almost certain this is what I ordered when I last visited 8 years ago.

Pure unadulterated creamy, minty moo with chunks of dark chocolate fudge in each mouthful. It doesn't get better than this.
 
 
 
Of course  a reminder in the back of the parking lot of how this product is manufactured.
 
Afterwards, I headed to the local mall,  I didn't quite expect temp's to only reach the 50's  and didn't prepare very well when I packed. After buying an additional pair of jeans and a hoodie I was good go to.
 
I checked into my hotel in downtown Milwaukee  late in the afternoon and was headed to my next destination.
 
 
More to come......
post edited by wanderingjew - 2011/06/25 22:56:16
Sundancer7
Fire Safety Admin
Re:Big Shoulders, Beer Barrels, Beefs n' Brats 2011/06/25 19:01:14
WJ:  I have been to Milwaukee many many times.I also visited Solly's and Kopps.  I got the bgutter burger at Sollys and It was delicous but the butter was overwhelming.  Kopps had super custard.  I enjoyed them both but I could only do Solly's maybe once a year.
 
Paul E. Smith
Knoxville, TN
Sundancer7
Fire Safety Admin
Re:Big Shoulders, Beer Barrels, Beefs n' Brats 2011/06/25 19:02:42
Incidentally, I always stayed at the Courtyard by Marriott downtown and it was adjacent to a mall.  It was a fun place to stay and in addition to that, it was close to all kinds of great places to eat.
 
Paul E. Smith
Knoxville, TN
JRPfeff
Filet Mignon
Re:Big Shoulders, Beer Barrels, Beefs n' Brats 2011/06/25 21:51:28
Dale,
I am really enjoying your report (even though I already know how it ends).
Jim
wanderingjew
Sirloin
Re:Big Shoulders, Beer Barrels, Beefs n' Brats 2011/06/25 22:54:49
Chicago Irish. 
 
You read my mind. This was my second visit to Intelligentsia and yes I did go to the original Broadway location. I also really  enjoyed Noble Tree Coffee Roasters, about a mile south on Clark.
 
JRPfeff,
 
Yes, you do, and you specifically know how chapter 3 went !
 
 
Anyway, sorry to break up chapter 2 but stuff happens..
 
Thanks to MilwFoodlovers  who recommended the next stop.
 

 
Kegel's Inn
 
A classic Old Milwaukee German beer hall famous for it's fish fry's. 
You see I wanted to go to a place that would assure an early arrival at the Brewer's game this evening. Kegel's was perfect, it was only 2 miles from Miller Park which means I could walk there from the bar.
 
Anyway, Kegel's bar just wreaks of character.
 

 
Although I chose to sit in the dining area.
 

 
The meal starts out with dense rye bread.
 

 
You have several options for the main course including blue gill. 
I chose lake perch because it just seemed right. 
 

 
Sided with coleslaw and crispy, oniony homemade potato pancakes, this was a solid meal, although nothing really jumped out at me. My favorite fish fry to date is still the Oasis in suburban Pittsburgh.
 
After a 2 mile walk, I finally arrived at Miller Park
 

 
I was bummed to see that the roof was going to be down this evening due to the inclement weather they were expecting that evening.
 

 

 
The Brewers played the Cardinals that evening and it was virtually a full house. In fact I ended up buying my tickets on stub hub and got a decent deal.
 

 

 
This is my second visit to Miller Park, and my sentiments are still the same. The stadium has a very claustrophobic feel, regardless of whether or not the roof is down. I still think they should have kept County Stadium, it was a classic.
 
The Brewers surprisingly beat the Cardinals That evening
 
Anyway, after the game, I kind of lost my bearings leaving the ballpark and my 2 mile walk back to my car, actually turned more or less into a 3 mile walk.
 
Driving back downtown, believe it or not, I was a little hungry again (Did the lakefront brew I had at the ballpark do that?)
 
A few short blocks from my hotel. I ended up here.
 

 
The Milwaukee Brat House
 
Dark, dank and full of college kids....
 
I think it's obvious what I ordered. 
 

 
 
The German Style Usinger's Brat on a pretzel roll, swimming in grilled onions sauerkraut, mustard and a dash of secret stadium sauce. Biting into it, the brat snapped and was bursting with flavor, there were several side options too, of course I had to choose.
 

 
The fried cheese curds. These were good, but not "Minnesota State Fair good" Will I find better? We'll have to wait and see.
 
Anyway, the Brat itself was another highlight, probably the best I ever had.
 
Chapter 3 tomorrow.
Sundancer7
Fire Safety Admin
Re:Big Shoulders, Beer Barrels, Beefs n' Brats 2011/06/26 10:53:05
WJ:  Sure did look good to me.  I have had the perch on Lake Erie east of Cleveland and they were fresh.  I watched the lady clean them before I had them.  Small but delicious.  I have been in Milwaukee many times and most of the time, I stayed downtown at the Marriott Courtyard.  Plenty of great places around there.
 
Sausage capital of the USA.
 
Paul E. Smith
Knoxville, TN
MilwFoodlovers
Filet Mignon
Re:Big Shoulders, Beer Barrels, Beefs n' Brats 2011/06/26 14:06:12
It's been  maybe 3 or 4 years since I've visited Solly's so I guess I'm due for a return trip. Like my father and grandfather before me, I've always gotten my Solly's "on a pillow"; their term for a section of a French bread. I've watched as dining companions hamburger bun falls apart and bingo, they become converts to the pillow for their next visit. I'm sorry that Kegel's beauty doesn't translate to the fish. They are servicable but nothing special. I do think their hassenpfeffer is a treat but it remains the only dining choice that I could rave about. Still, like the Three Brothers, food isn't the only reason to visit certain restaurants. Great report Dale. I can't wait for the next report. I was not allowed to have a salad at Gene and Georgetti's that looked like yours. (oops) Our waiter, who I believe knew both Cain and Abel personally, firmly told me that we would be having blue cheese. Period. End of discussion. As good as their Shrimp de Jonge is, I don't think I've ever tasted better lamb chops than at Gene and Georgetti's.
post edited by MilwFoodlovers - 2011/06/26 16:47:29
ann peeples
Sirloin
Re:Big Shoulders, Beer Barrels, Beefs n' Brats 2011/06/26 15:33:55
County stadium was awesome. Dale. I have not been to the new stadium, nor do I have any wish to do so.
wanderingjew
Sirloin
Re:Big Shoulders, Beer Barrels, Beefs n' Brats 2011/06/26 18:21:27
Paul
 
I stayed at the Hampton Suites downtown on Wisconsin Avenue. Not sure if you noticed, but in the photo  of the Milwaukee Brat House sign, you'll see the Usinger's Factory sign is just "steps away"
 
Mike

Interesting that you can have the butter burger on a piece of french bread- that  sounds like a good idea. I'm glad I tried it the traditional way first, though.
 
Don't get me wrong, the Perch at Kegel's was fine, however I found the slaw to be pedestrian and although the rye bread wasn't flimsy, prior to visiting  I read that Kegel's served the traditional salted rye rolls. I guess I was looking forward to this and was surprised to get the rye bread instead. I don't know if you now have to ask for it, or if they no longer serve it, I guess I should have asked but  I didn't. I'm still wondering  if overall (inclusive of the sides)  the fish fry at Wegner's St Martin's Inn, or even McBob's would have faired better?
 
Ann
 
Miller Park is probably one of my least favorites of the new major league ballparks. Comerica Park in Detroit is another park I wish they hadn't built- they should have renovated Tiger Stadium instead.
Sundancer7
Fire Safety Admin
Re:Big Shoulders, Beer Barrels, Beefs n' Brats 2011/06/26 20:17:24
WJ:  Regardless, I enjoyed your post and pics and even if the ball park is not your favorite, it is still very nice.
 
Paul E. Smith
Knoxville, TN
wanderingjew
Sirloin
Re:Big Shoulders, Beer Barrels, Beefs n' Brats 2011/06/26 20:37:52
Saturday June 11
 
The morning began with a brisk 5 mile r/t walk overlooking Lake Michigan.
 

 
 

 
Not sure what this building is but it looks really cool
 
I ended up at a local coffee house chain called Alterra's on the Lake- Another good coffee house which I'll end up adding to my coffee house list- their brazilian dark roast was exceptional. After coffee I ended up taking a long detour through the Brady Street Historic District which I believe was Milwaukee's traditional little Italy.
I believe some of these signs have historical significance.
 

 
 

 
My stay in Milwaukee this morning was brief, I was heading to Madison for lunch. I deliberately got there early to enjoy the Saturday Farmer's Market.
 

 
I've seen the State Capital from afar but finally had the chance to observe up close.
The square was packed with vendors and shoppers.
 
I did several double takes- the first one was this
 

 
Whoopie Pies???!! In Wisconsin???!!! " />" />
 
I'm surprised I didn't melt or self combust!!!
 
I then came across this interesting looking band.
 

 
They put on a really good show, "American style roots music" 
However I ended up doing another double take.
 

 
Take a good look at the upright bass player, clean him up a little and tell me he couldn't be  Chi Town Diner's long lost brother?
 
Anyway, the reason I came up to Madison was to meet the one and only Screaming Brad or Screaming Chicken, or good ol' Brad Olsen
Prior to visiting we talked about meeting in Milwaukee, however after realizing that Mr. Chicken lived closer to Madison, and after checking out rave reviews about 
 

 
The Old Fashioned 
 
It was a go.  The Old Fashioned, a relatively new eatery in an old building is steps away from the Capital Building. Featuring classic Wisonsin cuisine and amazing beer selection, I was really looking forward to checking the place out.
 
Brad called me while I was galavanting around the farmers market and told he was seated at the bar.
 

 
There he is in the gray hoodie!
 
I will tell you that this restaurant deserves the award for worst lighting of the trip with the red garish hue emanating from lights at the bar. But how's the food?
 
Enjoying a good Scotch Ale that Brad recommended, I figured that I should have beer in my soup too!
 

 
Beer Cheese Soup of course. (yes that's popcorn topping)
 
The photo is courtesy of Screaming Chicken. Thinking I could rely on natural lighting. my photo ended up with a red tint, which I realized I can cancel out for the most part with flash.
 
I enjoyed the beer cheese soup- more bisque than cheesy gloop, it was quite intoxicating (I guess it should be since it has beer in it!) 
 
I then proceeded to my main course.
 

 
Sheboygan Brats- served with the classic hard roll accompanied by pickles, raw onions and a side of you got it- state fair style cheese curds- yes those curds are the real deal! The brats themselves were superb, but I'll admit I discovered I'm not a fan of the raw onion and pickle thing- I do prefer it "German Style" the way I had them the night before at the Brat House
 
Besides eating,  we did have a few interesting conversations, about some of the local roadfood events in both Milwaukee and Chicago and about Madison in general. 
 
Screaming Chicken will also confirm that I really don't finish my meals- as good as it was- I did leave a few things over.  
 
After lunch, we said our goodbye, and I headed back to Milwaukee.
 
Overall, I enjoyed The Old Fashioned, and would certainly return if I'm in the area, but would likely request sauerkraut, or grilled onions or both on those brats, the next time around.
 
Relaxing for a bit when I got back to my hotel, I headed out for a late afternoon snack at 
 

 
 
Leon's Frozen Custard

The neighborhood it was in seemed kind of iffy, but I thought the atmosphere and signage was classic Americana- better than Kopp's.
 
Here is their menu.
 

 
 but what about the custard?
 
 
 

 
 
I went with the butter pecan- yes it was creamy and just loaded with pecans, but I think Kopp's has the edge.
 
After driving back to my hotel, I was going to walk to my dinner destination, but had plenty of time to explore and walk around.
 

 
And of course the famous Usinger Sausage Factory.
 

 
and all I can say is....
 

 
Heeeyyyy!!!

 I guess he really did exist!
 
I finally arrived at my dinner destination for the evening.
 

 
Karl Ratzch's
 
Milwaukee's premier German Restaurant.
 
And I was looking forward to meeting more new roadfooders.
 
JRPfeff and his blushing bride Pie Diva,  were waiting for me in the bar. 
I ordered a Sprecher's- no, not the rootbeer- but the beer- I don't remember exactly what I had, but I'm almost certain it was a Pilsner.  A short time later, ann peeples and her hubby, Bob arrived. 
 
First of all like Kegel's, the atmosphere at Karl Ratzch's is just classic Old Milwaukee. 
 

 

 

 

 
We started out with the Salmon Mousse appetizer, courtesy of ann peeples
 

 
I've never had Salmon Mousse before, I guess because it reminds me of Monty Python's Meaning of Life Movie with the "Mr. Death" scene. Well, it was actually much better than I expected, actually it was quite good, and wouldn't mind this as a last meal (or at least a last appetizer)
 
I did get photos of some of the other meals at the table. I don't specifically remember what they were or who had them, but anyone else is certainly invited to elaborate.
 

 
 

 

 
Ok, I know these are potato pancakes but I'm not sure who they belonged too.
 
I started out with the liver dumpling soup.
 

 
Very reminiscent of the Liver Dumpling Soup I had at the Bohemian Cafe in Omaha 3 years earlier, although I thought these dumplings were much lighter. 
 
Anway, I had the Trudy's Sampler as my main course.
 

 
Weiner Schitzel, Saurbraten , potato dumpling and red cabbage. 
I was very satisfied with my choice and particularly liked the Sauerbraten. It was fork tender and the ginger snap gravy was not overbearing but complimenting. 
 
All of us had a great time chatting, like ann peeples said, it was like being with old friends or family- hey I guess we are all part of the Roadfood family.
 
After my very rich and filling dinner, I walked back to my hotel and called it a night. I'll be heading back to Chicago the next day and have a very "challenging" and "rigorous" agenda to look forward to........
 
 
post edited by wanderingjew - 2011/06/26 20:46:00
ChiTownDiner
Filet Mignon
Re:Big Shoulders, Beer Barrels, Beefs n' Brats 2011/06/26 21:34:11
He's the tattooed one....
Davydd
Sirloin
Re:Big Shoulders, Beer Barrels, Beefs n' Brats 2011/06/26 22:43:43
wanderingjew



Not sure what this building is but it looks really cool

That's the Milwaukee Art Museum Quadracci Pavilion designed by Spanish Architect, Santiago Calatrava. It is one amazing building. I've visited this museum a couple of times and I attended a seminar by Calatrava in Las Vegas, NV. Calatrava blew me away with his design eloquence and process. He could sketch while talking to illustrate what he was saying better than that FedEx guy in the TV commercials, only he does it real without computer gimmickry. To quote from the museum's website about the pavilion...
 
The graceful Quadracci Pavilion is a sculptural, postmodern addition designed by Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava. Highlights of the building are the magnificent cathedral-like space of Windhover Hall, with a vaulted a 90-foot-high glass ceiling; the Burke Brise Soleil, a moveable sunscreen with a 217-foot wingspan that unfolds and folds twice daily; and the Reiman Bridge, a pedestrian suspension bridge that connects the Museum to the city.
MiamiDon
Filet Mignon
Re:Big Shoulders, Beer Barrels, Beefs n' Brats 2011/06/26 23:29:59
Davydd

wanderingjew



Not sure what this building is but it looks really cool

That's the Milwaukee Art Museum Quadracci Pavilion designed by Spanish Architect, Santiago Calatrava. It is one amazing building. I've visited this museum a couple of times and I attended a seminar by Calatrava in Las Vegas, NV. Calatrava blew me away with his design eloquence and process. He could sketch while talking to illustrate what he was saying better than that FedEx guy in the TV commercials, only he does it real without computer gimmickry. To quote from the museum's website about the pavilion...

The graceful Quadracci Pavilion is a sculptural, postmodern addition designed by Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava. Highlights of the building are the magnificent cathedral-like space of Windhover Hall, with a vaulted a 90-foot-high glass ceiling; the Burke Brise Soleil, a moveable sunscreen with a 217-foot wingspan that unfolds and folds twice daily; and the Reiman Bridge, a pedestrian suspension bridge that connects the Museum to the city.

It's great to have an actual Roadfood Architect!
MiamiDon
Filet Mignon
Re:Big Shoulders, Beer Barrels, Beefs n' Brats 2011/06/26 23:40:43
Nice job, wanderingjew.  I don't know whether I'd be man enough to order liver dumpling soup.
smokestack lightning
Cheeseburger
Re:Big Shoulders, Beer Barrels, Beefs n' Brats 2011/06/27 01:10:12
Great report.
 
Grew up in Chicago area. I think Gene and Georgetti's is not only a great restaurant but a perfect textbook example of what  roadfood is.
Unique to Chicago.
 
Summer, great food, baseball. What could be better.
BuddyRoadhouse
Filet Mignon
Re:Big Shoulders, Beer Barrels, Beefs n' Brats 2011/06/27 02:08:37
wj,
Very nice report.  Add my vote to those who think Solly's Butter Burger is an overkill situation.  Glad I went once so I don't need to go again.  There are too many good to great burgers in the southeast Wisconsin area to be celebrating the overindulgence that is found at Solly's.
 
MilwFoodlovers must like you better than me.  He's recommended a lot of restaurant's to me, but never once has he mentioned Kegel's Inn.  I would have gone with the blue gill myself.
 
Sorry I wasn't with you at Paradise Pup; I could have helped you finish your char dog and cheddar burger.
 
As for the Kopp's versus Leon's debate, I think Kopp's wins based on the incredibly high quality and abundance of their mix-ins, but Leon's takes the prize for the flavor and quality of the custard itself.
 
Just my two cents.  Discuss.
 
Buddy
Pigiron
Double Chili Cheeseburger
Re:Big Shoulders, Beer Barrels, Beefs n' Brats 2011/06/27 10:28:23
Great reports, looks like a really fun trip. 
 
In my estimation, that burger from Solly's looks, well, disgusting.  I really can't think of anything that could be improved by adding that much butter.  I like butter, but in my book it's supposed to be an ingredient, not a topping.  I don't put it on anything except freshly baked bread: not potatoes, not corn, not pancakes, and certainly not on meat. 
 
I also agree with you on Miller Park.  It's totally forgettable, and it's existance is not at all necessary.  I loved County Stadium.
 
 
buffetbuster
Porterhouse
Re:Big Shoulders, Beer Barrels, Beefs n' Brats 2011/06/27 10:34:34
Here is a vote for Solly's butter burger just the way it is.  I love it!  On one of my visits to Kopp's, they also had the Grasshopper Fudge and Sprecher's Root Beer doubleheader.  I got the GF, ate it in my car while listening to the Steelers-Packers game, then went back in for the Sprecher's RB.  Both were sensational.
 
Keep up the great report WJ!  The only way this report could get better is with some sour cream raisin pie!
post edited by buffetbuster - 2011/06/27 10:35:53
Re:Big Shoulders, Beer Barrels, Beefs n' Brats 2011/06/27 11:36:49
wanderingjew
It was a go.  The Old Fashioned, a relatively new eatery in an old building is steps away from the Capital Building. Featuring classic Wisonsin cuisine and amazing beer selection, I was really looking forward to checking the place out.

Brad called me while I was galavanting around the farmers market and told he was seated at the bar.



There he is in the gray hoodie!

Thanks for getting my good side.
 
It was a pleasure to meet you and I also enjoyed my lunch.  It was my first visit to The Old Fashioned as well and I definitely hope to return, especially now that I know about the beer list!
 
And maybe you didn't completely finish your meal but you did do it some serious damage!
 
Brad
P.S.  As far as County Stadium vs. Miller Park goes it's for me an apples to oranges thing.  County Stadium is still my favorite ballpark (admittedly, the list of those I've visited is short) but at the end it was getting to be in pretty rough shape and IMO new construction was preferable to trying to rehab the existing park.  The seating, sight lines, amenities, etc. of Miller Park are far better, but that should be expected when comparing 2 facilities built 50 years apart.  I was there yesterday and the character changes drastically when the roof and outfield walls are open.
post edited by ScreamingChicken - 2011/06/27 11:44:44
Lisajo
Hamburger
Re:Big Shoulders, Beer Barrels, Beefs n' Brats 2011/06/27 18:28:43
I love the report!  I love a good brat and my husband is laughing at me as I drool on the computer!
wanderingjew
Sirloin
Re:Big Shoulders, Beer Barrels, Beefs n' Brats 2011/06/27 18:31:02
Chi Town Diner
 
your 15 minutes of fame is fast approaching!

Davydd 
 
I had a feeling that was the art musuem. At Karl Ratzch's, I told everyone about my walk along the lakeshore and they asked if I saw the art museum, I had a feeling they were talking about  that building- it certainly has a really cool design.
 
smokestack lightning
 
At this point, I wouldn't hesitate to say that Gene and Georgetti's was probably my favorite stop on the entire trip.
 
Buddy
 
If I knew that Chi Town Diner I was going to tap out so early on Sunday I would have asked you to join me at Paradise Pup- hey it was great to see you even though it was only for a short while.
 
PigIron
 
The butter burger is truly something everyone has to try, even if it is just once. I enjoyed it but not so much that I would go out of my way to go back if I find myself in Milwaukee again..
 
Buffetbuster
"The only way this report could get better is with some sour cream raisin pie!"

 
right trip, wrong trip report
 
Brad
 
The roof and outfield walls were open on my first visit in 2003, although I still felt like I was in an enclosed dome. I have been to Seattle's Safeco Field and Houston's Minute Maid Park. Both have retractable roofs but they didn't have that same feeling. 
wanderingjew
Sirloin
Re:Big Shoulders, Beer Barrels, Beefs n' Brats 2011/06/27 20:24:46
Sunday June 12
 
After another jaunt around the lake and some morning coffee at Alterra's on the Lake
it was time to say goodbye to Milwaukee.
 
And what could possibly be a more appropriate farewell than a final trip to Kopp's
The flavor forecast two days earilier predicted this.
 

 
German Apple Streusal- Just loaded with hunks of pie crust and apple pie filling. 
I though it couldn't get better than grasshopper fudge- well I was wrong.
 
Now who better to spend my final day in Chicago than with Chi Town Diner ?
After discussing options before hand, I left it to the expert to plan out the extraveganza.

First stop
 

 
Sweety Pies
 
In suburban Skokie.
 
Although we didn' t have any, the rhubarb apple pie caught my attention.
 

 
However these two slices of pie -really took the cake
 

 

 
Blueberry and Raspberry. Both served slightly chilled with a crust reminiscent of cheesecake. And to think my first two meals of the day have been dessert! 
Of course taunting photos were sent to Buffetbuster
 


Our next stop, a joint owned by a roadfood poster and which has made it's rounds on Diners Drive Ins and Dives.
 

 
Wiener and Still Champion
 
in Evanston
 
( I just love that sign)
 
Starting out with superb a Chicago Style Dog and some fresh cut fries
 

 
It's obvious that this dog was dressed to head out on the town, however this is where the fun begins.
 
We also indulged in the "triple D special"
 

 
If anything defines "over the edge" then this is it. 
Two Dogs drenched in corn batter, deep fried and smothered in chili and merk cheddar.  This is so bad, yet so good on all levels. 
 
Here's a cross section so you can see the inside workings of this decadent masterpiece.
 
 
You think we would be done by now.....wrong....
When you're with Chi Town Diner - this is considered "eating light"
 
On the way to our next destination, we passed the new digs for Poochies
 

 

 
 
Our next stop was 

 
Jay's Beef
 
in Schiller Park. a small chain of 3, this is one of the offshoots.
 
Here is their menu display
 

 
We ordered one beef to share- wet and sweet- 
 

 
and all I can say is wow!-  the beef was so tender, and the melt in your mouth yellow sweet peppers were just about perfect.
 
But are we ready to quit yet.....
 
Noooh......after a quick stop for a cold one it was time for...
 

 
a return to Burt's Place
in Morton Grove
 
Here Mrs. Chi Town Diner, Patti, joined us as is the younger of their brood.
 
BuddyRoadhouse was busy working and was there to greet us...
 
We ordered salads and garlic bread to start and then a couple of Pies (sorry Buffetbuster- thats pizza pies!)
 

 
Spinach Sausage, Peppers and Garlic

 
Spinach, tomato and onion (Sorry about the crumbs)
 
Just as good as I remembered on my last visit in 2008. Although, I'm now wondering , is this deep dish- or pseudo deep dish- either way Burt is still creating these high quality masterpieces. 
 
After this  we were I was tapped out. The initial plan was that BuddyRoadhouse
was going to meet us at our next stop when he got off work at 9PM. Well, to be honest, I was fast asleep at 9pm. However we did make it our next stop (barely) ok Chi Town Diner was still ready and raring to go- I was down for the count.
 

 
 
Johnnie's (yes this really is our last stop!)
in Elmwood Park. The initial plan was to share another Italian beef- well that part of the plan was out..
 
However I did manage to get a few spoonfuls in of
 
 
 
some of the best lemon ice around.....
 
We were done for the evening. 
 
It's always an adventure to spend a day with Chi Town Diner
Since you never know how much you can pack in in one day.
 
Afterwards I ventured off to the outer echelons of the Southwest Suburbs of Chicago for a new adventure...
 
 
This is the end of this trip report- But not the end of the trip-we're barely half way through.

A new theme begins, and therefore a new report- more to come...in the new trip report.. within the next couple of days...
 
 
buffetbuster
Porterhouse
Re:Big Shoulders, Beer Barrels, Beefs n' Brats 2011/06/27 20:34:31
I hate to tell you this wj, I think ChiTownDiner took it easy on you!  He could have probably squeezed in another five or six places!
 
So glad you made it to Johnnie's, a real Chicago classic.  And the pies look terrific. 
post edited by buffetbuster - 2011/06/28 06:18:38
ann peeples
Sirloin
Re:Big Shoulders, Beer Barrels, Beefs n' Brats 2011/06/27 20:35:30
Very, very nice report, Dale.Glad we were able to be a small part of it!
ChicagoIrish
Hamburger
Re:Big Shoulders, Beer Barrels, Beefs n' Brats 2011/06/28 04:16:32
Love the trips to Weiner & Still Champion, Gus is a great guy and knows his way around the grill/fryer, and Burts...never get there enough!  Heading south, there should be some spots you should have hit...and hope you did, including Top Notch, Old Fashioned Donuts, Zarlengo's...but your trip is reminding me what a tremendous food town I get to wake up to every day.  Great job...
agnesrob
Double Chili Cheeseburger
Re:Big Shoulders, Beer Barrels, Beefs n' Brats 2011/06/28 06:46:36
Great report. You never disappoint!!
joerogo
Filet Mignon
Re:Big Shoulders, Beer Barrels, Beefs n' Brats 2011/06/28 09:16:14
WJ, Another epic tip report.  I have never had any luck with Chicago style pizza, but your choices look excellent.
 
 
The Travelin Man
Filet Mignon
Re:Big Shoulders, Beer Barrels, Beefs n' Brats 2011/06/28 10:39:53
Coupla things....
 
ChiTownDiner never takes me any place good when *I'm* in Chicago.
 
I love burgers.  I love butter.  I do not feel that I have to try that mess from Solly's to make my Roadfood life complete.  
 
I'm a Kopp's guy.  But, I would be in heaven if I had anything even half as good as Leon's nearby.
 
I was nonplussed with Karl Ratzsch's, but did think that the liver dumpling soup was maybe the best thing I'd had at that meal.
 
I would love to get to Burt's Place, but I don't know that my fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants ways would ever allow that to work.  Order my pizza in advance?  No.
 
WJ - Just curious, but did you go inside the Wisconsin capitol building?  It is an impressive facility, and with it having recently been prominently featured in the news and all....
buffetbuster
Porterhouse
Re:Big Shoulders, Beer Barrels, Beefs n' Brats 2011/06/28 13:04:26
I agree about the Wisconsin State Capitol Building.  I have visited over 40 of the different state houses and it is easily in my top five.
ChiTownDiner
Filet Mignon
Re:Big Shoulders, Beer Barrels, Beefs n' Brats 2011/06/28 16:29:08
buffetbuster - 10 stops per day is my absolute limit...unless I invoke specialty rules which I am allowed to create on the fly...
 
TTM - Your trips to Chicago are always so filled with wine, women and song...I am but a miniscule diversion on the food highway...
 
WJ - Great summary to an even greater day!  Turns out my GC for a little building project I got going on did the Sweety Pies job! 
TJ Jackson
Filet Mignon
Re:Big Shoulders, Beer Barrels, Beefs n' Brats 2011/06/28 16:38:28
I thought ordering from Burt's in advance was suggested - not a requirement
 
You can't just stop in and order, assuming a table is available?
ChiTownDiner
Filet Mignon
Re:Big Shoulders, Beer Barrels, Beefs n' Brats 2011/06/28 17:09:05
TJ Jackson -
 
I'll let Buddy comment directly if he sees this post as he currently is Burt's lone employee (Burt's wife Sharon not included)...but it seems from my last several visits to Burt's that he is only accepting advance orders.
 
The few that wandered in and had not pre-ordered were all denied service...at least on my watch!
TJ Jackson
Filet Mignon
Re:Big Shoulders, Beer Barrels, Beefs n' Brats 2011/06/28 17:11:27
WJ's rendition makes it seem as if they ordered normally.....
 
??
ann peeples
Sirloin
Re:Big Shoulders, Beer Barrels, Beefs n' Brats 2011/06/28 17:33:46
Maybe they were able to order normally as they know Buddy...or perhaps they pre-ordered-I am sure Gregg knows or has access to the menu!
wanderingjew
Sirloin
Re:Big Shoulders, Beer Barrels, Beefs n' Brats 2011/06/28 17:55:12
TJ
 
I didnt' get into the nuances of the ordering system, however Chi Town Diner did order in advance. I try not to get overly involved in specifics on my trip reports. I've discovered that some here actually take notes. I don't- everything is from memory, I don't even use spell check (and I type very fast no less) so you may find errors involving missing letters, misspelled words etc.  
 
Chicago Irish
 
I can only hit so many places in such a short amount of time. But that's why there's always next time.
 
Buffetbuster
 
I think Chi Town Diner was sulking and actually whimpering in disappointment  at the end when I put up the white flag.
 
TTM
 
I didn't go inside, I wasn't even sure if it was open. Believe it or not there were still protesters there, so I'm sure security was heightened. If I did get there earlier I would have looked into whether or not the building was open.
 
Chi Town Diner
 
Unfortunately, I have to admit it afterwards , the rest of the trip  all went down hill from there- "quantity wise
BuddyRoadhouse
Filet Mignon
Re:Big Shoulders, Beer Barrels, Beefs n' Brats 2011/06/28 18:03:38
TJ, TTM and other interested parties,
 
Ordering ahead from Burt's is not an absolute requirement, but not pre-ordering is a huge gamble.
 
Just a minor tweak to CTD's wording, the folks who walked in without pre-ordering were not denied service, they were simply told the truth; a 90 minute-two hour wait (and it can go as high as three or four hours) for a pizza; and then allowed to decide if they wanted to wait that long.  The only time we get someone who is willing to either wait or order and come back, is when they have come from out of town (actually, a very common occurrence given our exposure on Anthony Bourdain's "No Reservations", Saveur (and plenty others) magazine, local TV, and the internet) and feel like it is a "now or never" situation.
 
Pre-ordering is much simpler than some less than bright folks would have you believe.  Just call ahead as far in advance as you possibly can (some out-of-towners will call days and even weeks in advance.  Locals usually call very early on the day they want to come in.  Call too late and you will either lose out or be forced to take a dining time of 8:00pm or later).  Place your order (you can see a copy of Burt's Place menu at urbanspoon.com), including the number of people you're coming in with and what time you want to eat.  Show up 15 minutes before the agreed upon time for your pizza to be ready, and that's it.  If you called for your pizza to be served at 7:00pm, then it will be on the table at 7:00pm whether you are sitting there or not.
 
A couple of insider hints (all of this should be obvious to a Roadfood veteran but I know there will be folks visiting this site for the first time, reading this):
1. Know what you want before you pick up the phone and call in your order (see urbanspoon reference above)!  We have a very small, very busy staff trying to take care of a lot of people.  We don't have time to read the menu to you while you and your spouse discuss (usually at length) what you want on your pizza.
 
2. Make sure all your friends know you are coming to Burt's before you call in your order.  Do not place your order then call everyone you know to tell them that you are going to Burt's.  This will inevitably lead to people saying, "Ooh, we want to go to Burt's too!  Can you call them back and change the order and add to the number of people you'll be coming in with?"
 
Calling back with changes puts you on the naughty list.  This is a 35 seat restaurant with two people running the floor and one guy (Burt) doing all the cooking.  We take orders very judiciously; making sure we can provide good service and good food to only so many people in any given half hour shift.  Once that shift has been filled to what we consider "capacity", we stop taking orders for that time slot.  If you call back with changes, that screws us up and could possibly affect your fellow diners.
 
3. Don't ask us to recommend something.  There are no preset combinations.  Order what you like.  The list of ingredients you'll see at urbanspoon.com is ala carte.  You can create whatever combination you want and we will make it to your specifications.  Presumably, you have ordered a pizza before from somewhere else. Whatever combination you liked at that other place will be just as wonderful (if not more so) at Burt's.  If you ask me what I like on my pizza I will tell you, "Anchovies, broccoli, habanero peppers, and caramel sauce"  If you think that sounds like a tasty combination, then may God have mercy on your soul.
 
4. While I don't want Burt's to sound as cheerless and as rule-bound as Seinfeld's Soup Nazi (a comparison we hate, BTW), it is a business.  A very busy business at that.  We want to take your order, take good care of you, and then do the same for as many people as possible in an evening.  Unless you are, in fact, David Letterman, let let me state the obvious by saying, "You're not David Letterman".  Save the bad jokes and the interview questions for someplace else.
 
If all this sounds too complicated or repressive, then okay.  Check out Lou Malnati's when you're in Chicago.  We only have nine tables.  If you're not filling up space in one of them, it just means we've got one more table available for someone who really wants to be there.
 
Sorry if the above sounds snarky or mean spirited.  It's not meant to be.  But you'd be amazed at how hard it is for some people to order a freakin' pizza!  We've even considered giving an IQ test before allowing anyone entry.
 
Anyway, that's the scoop.  Now you're informed and you can be a good Burt's customer.  Hope we'll see you soon.
 
Buddy
post edited by BuddyRoadhouse - 2011/06/28 18:07:38
MiamiDon
Filet Mignon
Re:Big Shoulders, Beer Barrels, Beefs n' Brats 2011/06/28 18:11:51
"We've even considered giving an IQ test before allowing anyone entry. "
 

 
buffetbuster
Porterhouse
Re:Big Shoulders, Beer Barrels, Beefs n' Brats 2011/06/28 18:41:08
Buddy-
Thanks so much for posting that and clearing up some myths and misconceptions about Burt's.  Since it is on the top of my list for next visit to Chicago, I paid very close attention.  Of course, if there really is an IQ test, I may be in trouble.....
BuddyRoadhouse
Filet Mignon
Re:Big Shoulders, Beer Barrels, Beefs n' Brats 2011/06/28 21:32:12
buffetbuster
Of course, if there really is an IQ test, I may be in trouble.....

No sweat dude-you've got an inside man.  I'll get you in no matter how low you score.  Just sit there quietly and try not to attract too much attention.
 
Buddy
Foodbme
Porterhouse
Re:Big Shoulders, Beer Barrels, Beefs n' Brats 2011/06/29 03:22:01
BuddyRoadhouse
buffetbuster
Of course, if there really is an IQ test, I may be in trouble.....

No sweat dude-you've got an inside man.  I'll get you in no matter how low you score.  Just sit there quietly and try not to attract too much attention.
Buddy

Now THAT'S Funny!
ChiTownDiner
Filet Mignon
Re:Big Shoulders, Beer Barrels, Beefs n' Brats 2011/06/29 07:18:12
TJ & ann -
 
I did order in advance and typically do so several days in advance.  With WJ's aggressive eating schedule, I wanted to make sure our schedule remained in line.  We even pre-order our salads and garlic cheese bread.
 
To alleviate some of Buddy's pointers, we over order for 3 reasons....extra folks can be added, more variety for the table and most important, the only thing better than Burt's for dinner is Burt's for breakfast!  We took home about 55% and it was gone by lunch the next day...17 & 20 year old boys helps!
 
As I/we love Burt's, I am always happy to assist with a visit...and having an inside man helps with the IQ test...I just let the kids take it for me!
 
 
ann peeples
Sirloin
Re:Big Shoulders, Beer Barrels, Beefs n' Brats 2011/06/29 08:10:50
I really wasnt concerned-I answered based on my readings here on Roadfood. Whether or not, pizza looks excellent, and will order accordingly should I have the opportunity to be in the neighborhood.
As for an IQ test, I am not at all worried.
I was being light hearted, my friends... " />
post edited by ann peeples - 2011/06/29 08:11:52
TJ Jackson
Filet Mignon
Re:Big Shoulders, Beer Barrels, Beefs n' Brats 2011/06/29 09:13:55
Thanks for the 411 on Burts.  
 
Very unusual ordering arrangement (at least to me), but the pizza appears to be worth it.  Hope we can get in there someday.
 
How old is Burt?   One reason I specifically made it to DiFara's a couple of years ago is because I was worried Dom would be retiring soon.
wanderingjew
Sirloin
Re:Big Shoulders, Beer Barrels, Beefs n' Brats 2011/06/29 09:31:15
TJ Jackson

Thanks for the 411 on Burts.  

Very unusual ordering arrangement (at least to me), but the pizza appears to be worth it.  Hope we can get in there someday.

How old is Burt?   One reason I specifically made it to DiFara's a couple of years ago is because I was worried Dom would be retiring soon.


Burt and Dom are probably both around the same age- in their early-mid 70's
TJ Jackson
Filet Mignon
Re:Big Shoulders, Beer Barrels, Beefs n' Brats 2011/06/29 11:40:22
WJ - in the picture of the spinach tomato and onion pie, what is the grey object just southeast of the big tomato slice, and where is the spinach?
 
Hypothesis - this is a sausage, tomato, and onion pie :-)
post edited by TJ Jackson - 2011/06/29 11:41:54
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