Goose Island Brewery

Goose Island brewery in Wrigleyville is one of two brew pubs in the Chicago city area, the other and original Goose Island Brewpub is at Clybourn. I have been to the one at Wrigleyville the most and while it can be packed and lively when the Cubs are in town, it is also a pretty chilled out place on other nights as well. We like to sit up at the bar where you can choose your experience. If you want to, you can get plenty of banter from the ‘strangers about to be friends‘ alongside you, or you can sit and stare into your beer while keeping an eye on the game on one of the many TV screens.

Lets Try Some Food>

Turkey Club Sandwich

Goose Island Food Club Sandwich

A standard myfoodhunt test is a club sandwich, and here at the Goose Island brewery they offer a pretty decent (and rather large) Turkey Club Sandwich for $11. On the menu it is described as ‘roasted turkey breast, bacon, lettuce, tomato, mayonnaise, wheat toast’. The layers of turkey are thick and there is plenty of it as well. It is served up in a big basket of fries, but to be honest you really did not need all those fries.

 Pulled Pork Sandwich

pulled pork

Another favourite here that I like to try is the ‘Pulled Pork Sandwich’ described on the menu as “a brioche bun filled with pulled pork shoulder and smothered gently in Honker’s Ale BBQ sauce”. It comes with a huge mound of fries and a large pot of slaw all for just $11. I will say that it is a bit of a messy affair though, that Honker’s Ale BBQ sauce gets everywhere, all over your chin and all over my fingers. Still it is quite delicious and it is a sticky price worth paying. Again I will say that the sandwich is big enough on the plate without all of those fries, having said that its pretty good for sharing the fries with your fellow drinkers at the bar and it keeps them away from your sandwich.

Now How About some Beer?

Tasting Flight

Flight

We came in here specifically for a couple of pints of the excellent 312 but once we had supped those down we had to try a few more of the different beers that the Goose Island Brewery had to offer, and the best way to do that was with one of their ‘Tasting Flight’s of beer’ You get four glasses on a bit of paper that explains how to drink beer (I never knew that you needed instructions before). The way it worked was that you could choose your beers from a number of different sections of the beer menu such as the ‘Session section’ or the ‘Hoppy section’ all quite self explanatory.

On my tasting flight I tried the “Wind Chill Wit” which was described as having a ‘Hazy yellow colour, orange herbal aroma, sweet coriander flavour, and a light body.’ It was quite a fruity affair but also quite refreshing as well.

The next to that I went for a classic from the Session Section; A glass of the “Green Line” – ‘a honey colored, sessionable, American pale ale with a pronounced, bright, American hop aroma and citrus flavor’. They also say that is has ‘notes of biscuit and lightly toasted malt’ which ‘create the backbone for Green Line’s pleasant, crisp bitterness.’  I both like the fact that Green Line Pale Ale is available on draft only in Chicago but it also makes me slightly sad that I cannot get it anywhere else.

I tend to like my beers on the light and pale side so I was being careful when I chose from the Hoppy Section, trying to pick out something more lager or pale ale like. I chose the “Sea Change” – this is described as having a ‘Hazy straw colour, honeysuckle and citrus aroma, bright citrus and wheat flavour with a dry body’ and it is a unfiltered wheat lager at 5.9% strength. It was also a most pleasant affair

The last glass that I chose was some of the “Lake Effect” which wasn’t a glass of melted snow mixed with beer as I imagined, no it was actually a decent beer. It was described as a ‘deep, copper colored brew’ with ‘a spicy hop nose’. “It’s malt sweetness is balanced by a lingering hop flavor and a hint of alcohol warmth in the finish”. It was not as strong a taste as that might have sounded, it really was quite drinkable.

Goose Island Wrigleyville

So we tried the beer and we tried the food and n summary as the tagline suggests, Goose Island Brewery in Wrigleyville serves Fantastic Beer and Good Bar Food too. With it being located tight in the heart of Wrigleyville it is also a real fun place to head to, especially on Game day.

It is within easy walking distance of the Addison Red Line stop on North Clark Street.

 Goose Island Wrigleyville on Urbanspoon

Kumas Too

Kuma’s Too at 666 West Diversey Parkway has all the same burgers as the original Kumas Corner, but it doesn’t quite have the down and dirty grunge that you had at the original location. Perhaps it is because I know that it is in the old space that housed the old Counter Burger which closed back in 2013, and perhaps it just seems that they have turned the lights down, put on loud music and stuck a whole load of heavy metal images all over the wall. Once you have Counter Burger in your mind, it is so hard to see past it. I did try but only for the sake of the burgers!

You have to look past all that for sure as they still have pretty dang good burgers for sale here, and another slight positive is that the wait to get a seat was much much shorter. It was still rammed full though and you could hardly hear yourself talk, but that was good as you also couldn’t hear the stomach groaning and teeth chomping either.

 The Kuma Burger

Kumas Burgers

Once again I found it too hard to resist taking the chance to eat the basic and humble ‘Kumas Burger’, well humble in relative to some of the other burgers that they have on offer. I only chose this for the fried egg on the top, which is something I struggle to resist ordering on a regular basis and something that I generally do end up being incapable of eating without spilling egg yolk all over my chin and T-shirt. I probably need some sort of intervention from my companions to stop me continuously ordering the fried egg topping, but then again perhaps that is one step to far as I have only just got out of ‘menu rehab’ for the chorizo and pulled pork addictions.

Slice of Kumas Burger

The ‘Famous’ Kuma Burger is essentially topped with bacon, sharp cheddar, lettuce, tomato, onion, and that slutty fried egg. It is a pretty huge affair and not a meal to attempt if you have planned a night out on the town drinking beer. Once you have eaten this (or any other burger here) you will be unable to eat or drink anything else for the rest of the day and most probably be looking for some sort of snooze situation, a gentle food coma will be just around the corner.

David Choi

OK so as I said it isn’t the iconic Corner, but it is still good and easy to get to from the El Train at Diversey .

You can follow Kumas Too on their Twitter Feed and also see what is happening on their Facebook Page

 

Kuma's Too on Urbanspoon

S and G Sign

The S&G Resturant or Sam & George’s Resturant is on North Lincoln in Lakeview on the corner of Wellington and has been on the corner serving up breakfast and diner fare for over 50 years since 1957. They are open 7 days a week, which is great for us, but must be tiring for them. The tagline on their website is simple and says ‘Just Good Food’ well that was enough to draw me into a little trip over to the area via the El to Wellington and then a 10 minute walk or so across to North Lincoln, just to get some breakfast.

Inside Sam and Georges

Inside Sam and George’s it is pretty much everything that I look for and that I hope for from a neighbourhood mom and pop type of place. You have quite a few booths that you can slip into (although be warned they are kind of quite a tight squeeze), you can sit up at the counter on a stool for some solo, or sociable eating action, or you you can sit in the back room area on a proper table. It has it all. The waitresses are friendly and accommodating and most importantly it feels homely and relaxed, juts the sort of place to pop into when you need something simple and wholesome.

Breakfast Specials

Now I came in here specifically looking for some sort of breakfast action and that is what I found on their basic Breakfast Specials Menu. I have to be totally honest, I really don’t know how some of these places manage to survive at these prices? It can be such great value!

Breakfast Menu More

OK so maybe you could ‘splash the cash’ a little towards the foot of the menu by ordering a plate of ‘country fried steak’ for $8.95, but one would not have to, there is plenty for around $5. Who needs Denny’s or ihop?

Breakfast Plate

I went for the option of “Two eggs, Two Sausage, Two Bacon and Hash Browns and Two pieces of Toast” for $6.55. I know I could have scored a really good cheaper deal, but I just wanted a bit of everything on the plate and I knew I needed to keep my strength up for some serious strolling around the city looking for other places for future food hunting visits. Well that is my excuse and I am sticking to it. It was all good on the plate, decent not spectacular, but just what I was needing at that very moment. You could have your eggs anyway that you wanted them (as always) and I chose to have mine fried so that I had a nice runny yolk to mix into my hash browns. The sausage links were fine, solid and meaty,  and the bacon was nice and crispy (just as I like). Did I mention that I also got a glass of orange juice as well? Most excellent!

Todays Specials

They have a lot more on the menu as well as just the breakfast plates. There are daily specials which seemed to be fair priced, the day I was there they were offering up Fried Ocean Perch for $9.95. You can check out their menu online, and there is a fair amount to browse through as well, including some pretty tempting stuff.

There is so much, but I have to pick out just a couple of things that I must return to try out! The first one of those is from the section that they call ‘The Melt Shop’ and that is the ‘Patty Melt’ which they describe as “1/3lb Burger Melts Between Two Slices of Cheese that Melts Between Slices of Onions, that Melts Between Two Slices of Rye for a Truly Melting Treat” did I mention that was from the ‘Melt Shop section? (not sure I needed to). The price for that is $10.95 and it comes served with ‘Lettuce, Tomato, Pickle, French Fries or Tater Tots, Coleslaw and a Bowl of Soup’.

The second item is from their ‘S&G Super Sandwiches’ Section which all come with a Bowl of Soup and the same ‘Lettuce, Tomato, Pickle, Coleslaw, French Fries or Tater Tots’. The Choice from this section is going to have to be the ‘Francheezie Deluxe’ which is a ‘Kosher Hot Dog Stuffed with Cheese and Wrapped with Bacon’ for $9.95…sounds yummy. It was the bacon wrapping that did it for me. Gosh and now I am thinking about it, I am getting peckish again!

I could go on and on and drool through the ‘Egg Skillets’ section, or the ‘Steak and Eggs’, the ‘Waffles’ and the ‘Pancake’ but I will be restrained and instead just encourage you to check it out for yourselves.

Sign

Sam and Georges Restaurant or S&G as the sign says is on the Corner of North Lincoln (3000 North Lincoln to be exact) and Wellington at a great big multi-way cross roads, so be careful of traffic. You can get there from the Brown Line at Wellington, or just take the bus up (or down) Lincoln Avenue which will probably get you closer and with less of a walk.

The last word is from S&G who say on their website that

‘Our Neighbors Often Copy Us – But Never Equal Us!

If you have the time, why don’t you check them out and see for yourselves? Enjoy!

S&G Restaurant on Urbanspoon

 

 

 

The South Loop Club

Recently I found myself staying down by the Harrison El Stop kind of by accident. I was pretty much desperate for something to eat and ended up at the South Loop Club, a kind of half dive bar half sports bar, I quite liked it.

Burger Options at South Loop Club

I will be honest and say that apart from a cold beer or two I was not expecting too much food wise so I played it pretty safe and selected from the South Loop Club Burgers section of the menu.

This was to be a pretty good move as both burgers that we ordered ended up being pretty decent affairs.

The SLC (South Loop Club) Burger

The South Loop Special Burger

 

I was going to just get the Mushroom Swiss Burger, but at the last minute I caved into the moment and decided to give the  SLC special a whirl. The ‘South Loop Club’ special (to give you it’s full name) is an 8oz Broiled Burger topped with Sautéed Mushrooms, Cheddar Cheese and ‘Crazy’ onions. I didn’t really know what the crazy onions were going to be, but as it happens they were just thinly sliced onion rings. In other places I have seen these called ‘frings’ as they are kind of a combination of ‘fries’ and ‘rings’. To be honest they were a bit ‘meh’ so I just pulled them out of the bun and turned them into a side. For some reason the SLC seemed to think that I wanted some sort of children’s plate as they served me a portion of curly fries as well. What was that all about?

Bacon Cheese Burger

OK but the burger? Yes the burger was pretty good, the patty had been cooked on the open broiler so you got all that charcoal type flavour and lots of smoky juice. I asked for it to be medium and that was how if came. Really well seasoned and a really good solid bite that mixed with the soft mushroom and the molten cheese was just what I needed. I was washing this down with a pint of 312 and that was also a pretty good accompaniment.

The Bacon Cheeseburger

South Loop Club Burger

My Companion played it a little more simple and ordered ‘The Cheeseburger’, which as you might expect was a Burger topped with cheese. So OK it wasn’t the most amazing gourmet cheese on the top, it might have been just a simple slice of  Cheddar cheese, but sometimes that is all that you need. He appeared to have enjoyed it as well, he even liked the curly fries. I have no further comment on that part of his enjoyment.

South Loop Club Menu Front

The menu describes the South Loop Grill as ‘An Intown Bar and Grill with Neighborhood Flair’. Well now I am not sure about that, it wasn’t any kind of club that I have even been into, but it seemed to be an OK kind of place to hang out for a while, drink a beer and eat a burger, while watching the sports on one of their many televisions.

It is within easy walking distance of the Harrison El Stop on the Red Line, and the Orange Line rattles by overhead as you walk along the streets outside. You can easily spot the place as it has a great big sign and awning outside. If you are down this way I would say that it is a pretty safe bet and worth popping in for some simple fare and sustenance.

If you so wish you may follow them on Twitter and on Facebook

South Loop Club on Urbanspoon

Downtown Dogs

One of the first hot dogs that I ate in Chicago was at DownTown Dogs and I remember it well. It was freezing and just a couple of days after the snowpocalypse of 2011. I had found myself sheltering here after having bought myself a rent deposit cheque from the ‘cheques cashed’ shop on the corner (another first) where they ‘cut’ me a cheques in exchange for a big pile of greenbacks. On that first visit I had sampled the traditional Chicago Dog and on that first occasion it had seemed to be a strange affair, in many ways I still find that it is. I know that traditionally it is an all beef frankfurter typically a Vienna Dog topped with yellow mustard, chopped white onions, bright green sweet pickle relish, a dill pickle spear, a slice of tomato, pickled sport peppers, and a dash of celery salt. I don’t like mine like that and usually just have mustard and raw onion. I do love the sesame bun, and I think that the snap from the Vienna dog is hard to beat.

On this occasion I was treating a fellow expat friend from ‘out of town’ to his first Chicago Dog, well that was the plan anyhow.

DSC01723Char Dog at Downtown Dogs

In the end the suggestion of sport pickles and celery salt did not meet with his expectation so he ordered a Cheese Dog for around $3-4. This was declared a success even though the liquid cheese was not what he expected (I did warn him) it was more gooey nacho-like cheese or something that could live in a squeezy bottle. I went for my standard favourite here which is the Char Dog with Raw Onions and Mustard. It is not big or clever but it certainly hits the spot.

Downtown Dogs Dogscape

If you were in any doubt that DownTown Dogs was not just about the dogs in a bun, well just take a look around the room at the various dogscapes

DownTown Dogs Fire Hydrant

The collage of downtown ‘dogs’ past and present and the courtesy fire hydrant ‘just in case’.

Note that there is no rest room for us human types, no our nearest port of call is in the bar next door.

DownTown Dogs sign

DownTown Dogs is located handily close to the Chicago Red Line stop at 804 N Rush St, Chicago in Streeterville, and even more handily next door to Pippins Tavern (if you need a beer). It is not very big, but people don’t seem to hang around for too long so I have always found a bar stool to perch upon when chowing down on my chosed dog. Check them out on their website, Follow them on their Twitter feed and check them out on Facebook as well

Downtown Dogs on Urbanspoon

Salt n Pepper at NightSalt n Pepper in the day

The Salt and Pepper Diner in Wrigleyville is one of those places that you can pick up a decent bite any time of the day, Sandwiches, Burgers, Breakfasts, pretty much all of your regular diner food. It is the sort of place I hope to find for a late morning breakfast, a late lunch, or a bite to soak up the beer mid evening. On all accounts looking down the menu I was to find that the Salt and Pepper Diner was able to cater for all my needs and desires.

Inside the Salt n Pepper DinerSalt n Pepper Special

When I think of a Diner I am really thinking of eggs the sort that you get anyway you like, hopefully with a choice of sides such as some bacon and even better with some toast. At the Salt and Pepper Diner they have all that on offer – ‘Two Eggs prepared to your liking” for $3.95 and for not much more you can have an omelette perhaps a locally named “Clark Street Omelette” which is ‘diced ham, mushrooms, tomato with Swiss cheese’ or a more classic Denver Omelette ‘diced ham green pepper, onions with  American cheese’ both for $6.50 all come with toast and a side of choice.

Menu Options at the Salt n Pepper Diner

Tempting menu items include the “Buster Mambo Catch” which is a Grilled Sandwich filled with ‘beer battered and  golden fried cod fish served with Jamaican tartar sauce, avocado and shredded lettuce‘ or the “Pile High Club” stuffed with ‘layers of turkey, salami, cheddar and Swiss cheese with cucumber, avocado, lettuce and tomato served with a spicy ranch dressing on a ciabatta roll’ but to be honest that last option is already sounding overwhelming and I am thinking I will not be able to finish it.

Selected menu item

Even though I knew it would be no match to any Po’Boy in New Orleans, I was drawn into choosing the “Spicy Pork Po’Boy” for $8.50. I was willing to take a chance just because of the words ‘shredded braised pork shoulder’.

Spicy Pork Po BoyPo Boy sandwich

It was a pretty decent effort, NOLA has nothing to fear, but even so it was a good sandwich. There was a good spicy pile of shredded pork, plenty of melted cheese that had soaked into the crisp bread, and a fair amount of fries. On this occasion it worked for me and I would happily eat another one, although if I am honest I would probably have a Reuben or a Grilled Cheese next time. That is assuming I didn’t head down the egg and bacon route.

If you want a break from the Wrigleyville bar scene for just a moment then I think that you cant go too wrong with a brief sojourn at the Salt and Pepper Diner. It is only about 5 minutes walk away from the Addison Red Line CTA station and you can also get here on the Clark Street Bus as well pretty easily. It might be mobbed during the cubs games but other nights it is quite a relaxed place and affair. Try it out

Salt & Pepper on Urbanspoon

Genes Sausage Shop

Genes Sausage Shop is in the heart of Lincoln Square in easy walking distance of the Western El Stop on the Brown Line. When I first considered moving out of the burbs into the city I was told that Lincoln Square was a pretty good area to look for an apartment, so just after the snowpocalypse of 2011 I found myself riding up the brown line to the Western Stop to check the street out. It was a damn cold day and the snow drifts were blocking the crossings but as I walked through the square I saw for the first but not last time the cow above Genes Sausage Shop. I was in through the door and realised that this place had all my deli meat needs. It was probably that one moment of finding this place that brought me to live nearby for two years.

Genes Counter

Over at the deli counter, once you have maneuvered your way through the crowd to get a ticket, your eyes and senses are assaulted with a plethora of meats, cheeses, and assorted deli items. You need every ounce of resistance not to empty your wallet out onto the counter before opening your mouth like an expectant chick in the nest awaiting to be fed with morsels of sustenance. It does not help that most days there is a small selection of plates filled with little slices of sausage and meats to sample. Some days there are 4 or more choices and it is almost like deli tapas as you wait eagerly to be served.

Genes Sausage Shop MeatMeat at Genes

One of the best things about buying your deli meat at Genes is that you can see it all hanging behind the counter, links of smoked sauasages abound and there are huge slabs of cooked pork and the suchlike just sitting there waiting. Before I became accustomed to the joys of American slab bacon I used to buy Canadian Ham or bacon from the deli as a substitute for my missing English or Irish back bacon. After a while I learnt to love the US style and so turned my Gene’s attention onto their smoked sausages instead, but if I wanted the Candian style stuff well this was still the best place to come to.

They claim to sell over 40 varieties of sausage here at Genes and according to their website ‘three in-house European smokehouses burn a medley of natural woods to achieve color and flavor perfection for every variety.’ One of my favourites is the Alpine sausage which they often sell in cooked links with onions on the hot section of the deli. This variety is described as a ‘twist on a Polish kielbasa with a double dose of garlic and smoke time’.

Genes Pierogi

The deli counter at Genes and the coolers over in the produce section are filled with some of the best Pierogi I have found in the city. It is a quite dangerous situation, really you know that maybe 4 or 5 pieces are more than enough for one person, but somehow I always seemed to walk out with a couple of tubs that would last me a week (or rather should last me a week)

Genes Salads

I am not really a great one for buying lots of Salads, but I was often tempted by the bowls of pasta, rice, and potato salads that they sell at Genes. They are really fresh and I am sure that they are replaced pretty often mainly because they sell so fast that there is little time for them to sit there on the counter.

Genes Specials Pig

Apart from the great deli counter there are two other floors at Genes. The second floor houses a lot of speciality regional items and also a pretty decent selection of wines and international beers. If you take the elevator up to the roof during the warmer months you will find the rooftop garden café that is in a really nice open space. It only stays open when the weather is good so if it is raining don’t bother trying. They suggest that you should “Come together with your friends and family at our communal wooden tables or the skylight bar to enjoy the European atmosphere, cuisine, beers, and wines.” They have a good menu, highlights (for me) include the “Bratwurst Plate” which is a ‘Choice of two sides and choice of bratwurst: Gene’s homemade, traditional German, Chicago style, Sheboygan, mushroom Swiss, jalepeño, and apple’ and the “Pierogi ‘à la Carte'” a selection or choice of Pierogi stuffed withWild mushroom and sauerkraut, sweet cabbage, potato, sweet cheese, blueberry, and plum‘. They also have good sandwiches too filled with hams, cheeses and salads.

Yes looking back on that day I walked here in the snow I am kind of happy that I ventured out into the cold as since then this place has certainly warmed my heart and soul with good food.

This particular incarnation of Gene’s Sausage Shop is located at 4750 N. Lincoln Ave, walk up Lincoln Avenue North from the El Line and look out for the big cow attached to the front. There is another location at 5330 W. Belmont Ave, but I have not been to that one yet. You can follow Gene’s on Facebook and on Twitter.

Gene's Sausage Shop & Delicatessen on Urbanspoon
Gene's Sausage Shop & Deli on Urbanspoon