Archive for the ‘Armitage’ Category

The Dog Joint

Posted: October 14, 2012 in Armitage
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I was attracted to the Dog Joint by both the name and signage, inside “Top Gun” was on the television, some classic scenes played out as I waited for my hot dog first;

Maverick: She’s lost that loving feeling.

Goose: She’s lost? No, she hasn’t.

Maverick: Yes, she has.

Goose: She has not lost that lo…

Maverick: Goose, she’s lost it.

Sometimes half way through a blog trip I feel that I too have lost that loving feeling, but not today on this occasion at least I was feeling the love from my dog.

This was your basic Char Dog with Chicago style toppings, but not only did it look good, it also tasted quite good. The cucumber and tomato salad items were fresh and crunchy, there was nice sweet relish on it and also a small crunch from the chopped raw onion. I removed (as always) the sad pickle and added a layer of yellow mustard just to add a small amount of tartness. The bun managed to stay together as I ate it, which is a good sign of fresh bread. The only critiscm is that the dog itself was a rather thin affair, it was nicely charred and had a firm bite, but due to it’s size it gets a bit lost in the bun, even with the minimal toppings.

As you vacate the Dog Joint and walk away towards the lake, if you turn back and view the side wall, you get to see this great painted edifice advertising the Dog Joint’s wares. I like the wall more that I like the dog, but the name itself was enough to have attracted me in the first place. “You had me at dog.”

The Do Joint is located at 350 W Armitage Ave, it is quite a walk from the Armitage El Stop, about 15-20 minutes, but you can get the bus along Armitage if you so wish

The Dog Joint on Urbanspoon

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On Armitage I had seen a place that I hoped was serving Italian Beef, I think that it was the name “Brother’s Beef” that originally clued me in. For my expat friends back in the UK I should explain a little more, it is a sandwich in a roll filled with thin slices of seasoned roast beef, and soaked in the cooked meat juices. The Sandwich originated in Chicago back in the 1930s.

It is almost like a sunday roast beef sandwich in gravy, except that the meat is cut much thinner, tends to be well done and the gravy is much thinner. The sauce tends to be much more peppery and you can get it with sweet or spicy peppers. To be honest even though I now live in Chicago I prefer the Philly Cheesesteak as the better option of this type of sandwich although I expect such comments will see the sandwich police banging on the door trying to persuade me that they are so different, but lets face it, both are thinly sliced beef in a roll.

 

There were plenty of options on the menu including burgers, hot dogs and panini’s, but as this place is called Brother’s Beef, and that I came here for beef, one felt that one had to try some beef. Give me beef!

This Italian Beef was taken dipped, not double dipped, but for those of you who think maybe I am dipping into sprinkles, no. Dipped is dipped into the cooking juice, light gravy so that the bun becomes juicy or is it soggy? Either way when selecting the dipped option you need to take into consideration the colour of your shirt, as there may be some juice spillage.

It was a good sandwich, way too big, and the meat was a bit dry despite being dipped, but heck I am no expert, I am still amazed that even when dipped the bread does not fall apart.  I guess that there must be some sort of scientific laboratory in the world working on bread dynamics that develops these things.

I kind of liked it, but I am still not totally sold on these Italian Beef sandwiches

located at 723 W Armitage Avenue about 10 minutes walk from the Armitage El stop towards the lake.

website: http://brothersbeefchicago.com/

Brothers Beef on Urbanspoon

The first stand that I headed to and one of the primary reasons for my attendance at this festival was that of the Butcher and Burger (website: http://butcherandtheburger.com/). I have really meant to visit their store at 1021 W. Armitage Ave for some time now, and really don’t have any valid excuses, especially as it is just off an El Stop at Armitage.

There were two choices on offer and I went for their “Four B’s Burger”. This was a 4 oz slider of Bison Burger, Bacon, Blue Cheese and BBQ sauce for $7. Yes this really hit the spot. A great bit of bison burger, crunchy almost chewy bacon, and to top that the mixture of cheese with the bbq sauce gave a nice tangy tart taste mingling into each bite. Everyone around me said this was the best burger that they had tasted so far. Although it was my first, I suspected I wasn’t going to get a better one and was tempted to cut my losses and head off elsewhere. I have no reason not to go to Butcher and Burger now, in fact I the juices in my mouth are flowing thinking about it as I write.

Butcher & The Burger on Urbanspoon

 

Second time lucky I headed down to Roscoe Village to hunt through the Roscoe Village Burger Fest. This time I forgoed the bus in lieu of a walk to burn off the the extra pounds I would gain from scoffing some burgers. Thirty minutes later walking down from Montrose Brown I hit the gate of the fest to be greeted by a giant inflatable burger and a $6 suggested donation. There is never anything ‘suggested’ about these donations though.

At least there was no sun beating down, even if it was still high 80’s, it was a cloudy day and much more comfortable to sample some not so low calorie burgers.

The first stand that I headed to and one of the primary reasons for my attendance at this festival was that of the Butcher and Burger (website: http://butcherandtheburger.com/). I have really meant to visit their store at 1021 W. Armitage Ave for some time now, and really don’t have any valid excuses, especially as it is just off an El Stop at Armitage.

There were two choices on offer and I went for their “Four B’s Burger”. This was a 4 oz slider of Bison Burger, Bacon, Blue Cheese and BBQ sauce for $7. Yes this really hit the spot. A great bit of bison burger, crunchy almost chewy bacon, and to top that the mixture of cheese with the bbq sauce gave a nice tangy tart taste mingling into each bite. Everyone around me said this was the best burger that they had tasted so far. Although it was my first, I suspected I wasn’t going to get a better one and was tempted to cut my losses and head off elsewhere. I have no reason not to go to Butcher and Burger now, in fact I the juices in my mouth are flowing thinking about it as I write.

 

Walking past ‘Reggies’ stand, first the slightly orange burgers on the grill caught my eye then secondly as I looked up at the board the words Chorizo Burgers called out to me. Then when I saw it was just $2 for a small sample sized one, well I was sold. I love chorizo so this should be a no brainer. I was in there like a flash to order one.

Apart from the wait and the extra $1 for cheese I was not too peturbed. It was not the best burger in the world, but it was OK, I like chorizo so that was its one saving grace. Did I get a dollar’s worth of cheese? Well I think even with a reasonable mark up someone other than myself won on this occasion. Once I realised that Reggies was not a burger specialist, I am feeling slightly more generous on my outlook. Check them out at their website:  http://www.reggieslive.com/menu/

Reggies on Urbanspoon

 

Ok so after that last burger sample, something was needed quickly to pull the burger hunt back on track, and as I passed the Rockit Bar stand I was sucked in by their chalkboard advertising a Truffle Mushroom Black Angus Slider for just $3. Someone had made a real effort on the board so it seemed rude not to make the effort to eat one of their burgers. I can justify this and find as many ways as I can to get my hands on another burger.

Although this was just a small slider. It was still perfectly formed as a minature burger. The patty was thick and still juicy, cooked just right so that it still had some meaty juice oozing out on each bite. Sometimes the small samplers just look like an after thought and a way to get more people to try something from their stands, but this was most definately not the case from Rockit’s effort. The  mushrooms that topped it and the nice mayo sauce were both excellent. This was another burger that prompted a fellow muncher to ask where I got it from. Even though he claimed to be totally stuffed he had to go and get one to try.

Rockit Burger Bar and  Grill is located at 3700 N. CLARK in Wrigleyville, website at  http://www.rockitburgerbar.com/, you can get there via the red line to Addison. After I had located this place on the map I realised that I had eaten here before on an early visit to Chicago after a long session at the Gingerman on Clark Street, yep I will be heading back there soon.

Rockit Bar & Grill on Urbanspoon

Roscoe Village Burger Fest (21-22 July open until 10pm) has plenty of good burgers to eat, it’s a bit tricky to get to via the El train, but if you really wanted to you can find a way via the cta 50 bus that runs between the Damen Blue station. Although Southport or Paulina are probably the closest. This was my second annual visit and it is now firmly marked down on my festival circuit.

Chicago Bagel Authority

Posted: November 9, 2011 in Armitage
Tags: , ,

Chicago Bagel Authority…I feel like Jake Blues standing in the door of Triple Rock Church..

“Jesus Tap Dancing Christ I have seen the light”

Until now I have not understood any obsession with this type of sandwich. The bread is too dense, too thick and it is like eating a rubber sponge. Each week the hoards at work swarm down as the bagel man arrives with his three types of soft cheese as if Father Christmas had just been. I have tried, honestly, slicing them into three to make them less dense, toasting them to  improve the texture and lathering on so much cheese that it drips out of the hole in the centre all over the place. It has never worked.

BUT Chicago Bagel Authority you may have well turned my head and changed my mind. The secret seems to be to steam the bread, changing it to a moist and soft delight to eat, adding fillings that go together and that people might even like.

 In fact you ‘have’ changed my mind, well to your rather tasty offerings at least.

The staff are very friendly and helpful and although the boards are a bit overwhelming and probably caused the death of several pieces of innocent chalk, I think that the chalk will have died happy leaving such messages nay declarations of taste possibilities upon the black boards.

I went for a “Mikey’s Munch” Roast beef, pepperjack, lettuce, tomato, avocado & parmesan peppercorn dressing on an everything bagel. The beef was great tender and thinly cut, all the salad items worked so well together you would not even consider them salad, several rabbits walked past hungry searching for lunch and were also fooled.  Bugs Bunny was so famished that he gave himself up voluntarily to Elmer Fudd.

The steamed bun was awesomely good and really made this a good sandwich. I will now be eating bagels if they are as good as this one was. With a riduculously vast sandwich board of options to choose from I can see a winter happily ploughing through CBA’s reportoire.

I came across CBA by accident en route to another target eating spot which was full. CBA has two locations one at 953 Armitage Ave, in the shadows of the Armitage Brown line station. This is the one I sauntered into, the second and newer spot is by the Belmont Station at 955 W Belmont Avenue

website: http://cba-armitage.com/

Chicago Bagel Authority on Urbanspoon

This is my fourth visit to Frank and Dawgs and I love the place, it is a good job it is not on my block or I would be eating there until I was sick of the place or until I was a candidate for the Biggest Loser (well a serious candidate anyway, just to fend off any valid comments guys). The trick to this place is that on first inspection you think it is a hot dog emporium but really it is even way beyond a gourmet sausage place, I think it has its own catagory as of yet undefined, so lets just call it the ‘dogs bollocks’. If you are unfamiliar with the term I will let you google it and no its not a comparison with the Dogs Bollocks pub in Milwaukee (which I found by googling – It has a Tardis! google that too). In fact you could probably eventually find Dogs Bollocks on F&D’s menu as they have pigs cheeks in their Lyonnaise fries – Hand cut fries, braised pig cheek, arugula, poached egg & a dijon mustard vinaigrette. But I digress (once again).

A couple of great features even before you get your hands on one of Chef Joe’s sausages is at the order window. You can view the menu on the board but also on an ipad so you can see the pictures of what you are going to eat online. Funnily enough when you go to a resturant and you get a menu with pictures it can be a bad thing, but here its just a nice touch. The second ace feature is that instead of giving your name when you order and having it called out when your dawg is cooked, you get to select a ‘famous’ person from the wall of “people I don’t know because they are only well known in America or even Chicago” as an Englishman I have no clue who half of them are – for the record I picked Hugh Grant in his infamous jail mugshot after his encounter with that hooker.

Cheese Fries – listed on the menu as ‘Fresh hand cut Idaho potatoes twice fried topped with mild shredded Cheddar and Monterey Jack cheeses’ in reality what you get is a bowl of tasty fries covered with melted ‘real’ cheese not one of those cheesy sauces, the cheese is melted then allowed to solidify sticking the fries together and to the grease proof paper, so you get to pull gooey lumps of cheese and fries off the paper – actually forget the dawg just get a load of these fries

Brunch Dawg – on the menu described as “Slagel farms pork loin breakfast sausage with Cobb smoked bacon, fried egg & drizzled with maple mayo” The menu overdescribes this what more do you need to say, ‘its a great pork sausage with bacon and a fried egg’  that is enough even for a pretend foodie in actuality “brunch dawg” says it all. I love the bacon, which is thickly cut chunks almost pancetta like, the mayo is a nice touch, and the egg yolk is runny enough to dribble down your chin which is perfection in itself. I mean for gawds sake just look at it without salivating if at all possible.

One of the best things I like about all the dawgs here is the often overlooked bun. I hate it when my dog is encased in a bun that falls apart, but here at Frank n Dawgs that component of the dish is of equal standing in making the sausages here outstanding. The website describes the bun as  ‘a new england style lobster roll; baked daily by a local artisan baker, lightly buttered and toasted to perfection.’  I would describe it as a toasty slightly greasy solid dawg container in a good way.

To get here you have a couple of choices both involving a 10-15min walk, either take the Brown line to Armitage and walk South, or take the Red Line to North and Clybourn and walk North East along North Clybourn Avenue. If you have a car you can take that, but trust me you need at least a 10 min walk to get rid of any of those calories! so leave it at home!

Located at 1863 N Clybourn Ave. Website: http://www.franksndawgs.com/

Franks 'N' Dawgs on Urbanspoon