Archive for the ‘Davis’ Category

Smylie Brewery in Evanston

Smylie Brother’s Brewing Company in Evanston might well be my new favourite spot for a couple of reasons. Great Food and Great Beer. I popped over to Evanston via the El to Davis street to meet up with a fellow expat and found myself ensconced for a few hours working my way though their beer list. Tough work for an afternoon but I was most certainly up for the task.

Brewing Beer at Smylie Brothers

Sitting at the bar you could see into the back room and see those big shiny metal vats that are filled with all that lovely beer that we were about to drink. I love a place like this and although it makes me a little sad that I now live back on the other side of the pond and that I cannot make this my new local bar, I am also happy to have found somewhere to visit again and possibly again on my trips over to Chicago.

Smylie Brothers Beer

During the afternoon I was fortunate enough to sample both their IPA and their Pale Ale. I liked them both but favoured the Pale Ale a little more as it had a gentler taste. I found that the description on the menu of the IPA ‘an assertive hop bitterness’ was pretty spot on, it was a bit harsh, but also a damn good effort on the brewing front. All the beers I drank were perfectly acceptable and well brewed. Smylie Brothers have got something pretty good cooking up in those silver tanks and I feel that they will have a strong future beer wise. I for one will be back.

Food with beer

Pork Belly Topped Poutine

Now when it came to a snack I could have tried many things from the menu and perhaps I will post a few of those later at the bottom of the post, but when I saw the words “Pork Belly Poutine” well I just knew what it was that I was going to order

Poutine at Smylie Brothers

I have had Poutine on my myfoodhunting radar for a while now, and I had kind of planned to leave my moment until I was able to travel up to Canada or more specifically Quebec to really try it out. I am not even sure that I know the best place to have it and I will just not even get into that argument until I have had multiple samples 🙂

The way I was looking at this was rather the same way that I like “Chips with Curry Sauce”, or “Chips with Gravy” and when I say chips I mean proper English chips or fries as they are called this side of the pond.

So OK lets get back to this Poutine style dish here at the Smylie Brewing Company. As far as I could tell I was getting a bowl of chips/fries covered in cheese curds, belly pork, and gravy. I had sampled a few beers, needed some comfort, needed some gentle sustenance, and this was going to be my salvation.

I was correct on all counts, a monster dish, I loved everything about it, the chips with the gravy made from the house produced Cali Common beer was enough on it’s own. On top of that add some silky, crunchy, soft juicy pork belly and, well, my friend, we are already stuck in some sort of pork gravy chip heaven. Can we top that? Well it appears that we can, all we have to do is add some lovely chunks of soft, salty and also silken cheese curds too, amazing.

Now this was my first time at the Poutine party and I don’t know if this is the real deal, but if this is the start of my journey on a Poutine quest to perfection, well I like to hope I have made a good start. It helped me out in my hour of need and in it’s role as a comfort food it played its part exceptionally well.

Smylie Brothers Menu

So could any other dish have made it’s way into my heart this fine day? Probably not but some of these BBQ smokehouse dishes could have whet my appetite. If I could have found space to sample a small platter of them all then I might have been satiated, but I shall save these for another trip.

But what else was on offer?

Smokehouse Pizza

Pizza at Smylie Brothers in Evanston

The somewhat mysterious lady sitting next to me, an anthropologist with a flight sampler of all the beers, was tucking in to one of the Wood Fired pizzas “Neapolitan style dough made with our Farmhouse yeast starter. Topped with crushed tomatoes, Wisconsin Cheese fired at 800 degrees”. It looked good, good enough to eat, and as we bantered about beer and food between our groups I politely took a photo and a slice to add to the blog. Perhaps I was an exercise in anthropological study? One would like to hope so.

So what Pizza was that? Well, in conversation, it had to be the Smokehouse Pizza (which would have been my choice too!). A pizza topped with ’14 hour smoked brisket’ (divine), ‘Texas Mopping Sauce’ (good choice), ‘Pickled Jalapeno’ (spicy), and ‘Montery Jack Cheese’ (I like that)’ for $13. It Looked good and tasted good as well.

So ‘all in all’ some damn good beer and some pretty decent food. To summarise, on their website they say;

“We’re where you come to lean back with some cold, craft brewed beer and lean forward over great pizza and mouthwatering BBQ, and tell new stories, and laugh at old jokes. Once you step through our doors, see our wide-open dining room, smell the brisket in our smoker, and hear the whoosh of pouring brew, you’ll know that no matter where you’re from, you’re home while you’re here.”

I have to say that ‘on this day’ with my old buddy Jay, that was very much the vibe and I will look forwards to the next time that we all meet!

Beer wall at Smylies

Smylie Brothers Brewing Company is located at 1615 Oak Avenue, Evanston, IL. It is a bit tricky to find as google maps suggest that it is between Davis and Church. So just walk to Oak and you should be fine. On their website they say that “We’re just a block west of the Davis Purple Line and Metra stops, a few steps north of Davis and Oak. CTA Trains stop by us* every fifteen minutes.”

Check them out on Facebook and on Twitter or do it the old fashioned way and walk in for a beer.


Edzo's in Evanston

Somewhat unbeliveably this is only my second ever trip to Edzo’s Burger Shop. Or rather I should say it is the second time I have managed to get in to eat. There is only a small window of opportunity to get your hands on one of their most excellently freshly ground burgers. To be precise 10.30 am to 4.00pm (Tues-Sun). I think I have missed out by either travelling all the way up to Evanston on Monday, getting there late, or on a holiday. About a 1 in 4 success rate so far; ‘Sack the researcher’ (damn that’s me). Arriving off the Purple Line El train at the Davis St station, exit and walk south to Davis then head down towards the shore about 5 minutes and you will see the big yellow and orange frontage of Edzo’s across the road 0n Sherman Ave. This time of year head for the Christmas tree and you will not be far off.

Burger Options

Last time I came in here I had one of the basic ‘House’ burgers which they grind every morning. This time I was going to step it up a little and take advantage of their beef upgrades. I am a big fan of the meat from the Q7 ranch, so I chose to have one of those. I opted for a single 4 oz griddled burger “with everything” except the evil pickle. So that was basically ketchup, mustard, and onion. I made it into a cheeseburger by adding some cheddar.

Edzos Cheeseburger

What could be better that one of Edzo’s Cheeseburgers?

Two Edzos cheeseburgers

Well clearly that would be Two Edzo’s Cheeseburgers and maybe a side of fries.

No dont think I was being exceptionlly gluttinous. No only one of these was mine, and I was splitting the fries. From my last visit the thing I remembered the most apart from the yummy, juicy and really meaty cheesy burgers, was the meat juice and fat dribbling down my wrists and onto my chin with each bite. This time because I had upgraded to Q7 I did not get as much dribbling, but I got way more flavour and was most definately not disapointed. I really love going back to somewhere and finding that the good memory of the last visit gets even better. Without being too fussy and pretentious a sandwich, it is fair to say that the Edzo burger is right up there at the top of the list.

Edzo's Artwork

How can I sum Edzo’s up?

Well it is always packed, the burgers are juicy, and finally the fries are so good you really don’t need to dip them into anything.

Edzo's Burger Shop on Urbanspoon

After learning that their was a new branch of Cheesies in Evanston I had to take the long trek up the red and purple lines to Davis Street in Evanston to see if it was the same and any good.


This time I went back to my usual choice, “The Classic”- This is a sandwich of American Merkt’s Cheddar cheese, tomato, ham, and bacon, in texas toast, with a Tomato soup dipping sauce. Halleluah, it was as I remembered from a year ago, really, really good. A perfect combination of simple ham, tomato, and cheese with some nice crunchy, buttery? texas toast. Even the tomato soup dipping sauce was back to form, nice and sweet and creamy, not watery, the sort that you could almost swap your sandwich for a bowl of soup and a crusty roll. But if you had tried to snatch my sandwich away on this day, well you would have been in serious trouble. Not only that the seasoned fries were really on the money too, a little salt and a hint of um maybe paprika, but probably not, and crunchy to bite. Unlike many other places in this price range it was actually worth eating them.

Just like the new Cheesies in Belmont, the Evanston branch also has some great artwork, up here it is locally driven, mostly with a Northwestern influence. The one I liked the most was next to my booth where there is a picture of Alumni charactatures on the wall.I recognised some of them, but one of the guys running the place came over to tell me all about it and who they were. OK so I got Jerry Springer and the girl from 30 Rock and SNL….Tina Fey, ok so who are the others?

I liked the art in the Evanston branch so much more, it was local and meant more, and best of all it still let the sandwich be the star.In summary, back on track, and that is not an el stop project pun!

The Evanston location is at 622 Davis Street, exit the Davis Street purple line CTA El station and walk along Davis St towards the lake and it is there on your right about 10 minutes away.

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Cheesie's Pub on Urbanspoon

Healthy does not always have to be tasteless. Up in Evanston about 10 mins walk from the Davis St Purple Line station is Soulwich – Asian Sandwiches & More.

I went for the ‘Indonesian Ginger BBQ’  I chose the chicken option and it comes with homemade bbq, red cabbage and infused caramelized onion. The sandwiches also contain carrot and daikon pickle, lettuce, cilantro and chilli aoili.

It was a pretty messy affair but very tasty. I think I made a mistake by unwrapping the whole thing as it just fell apart, I should have treated it like a burrito as it came all wrapped up tight and snug, now I know for a good reason. It was crammed full of chicken, very good value, healthy and tasty.  Mmm so it is possible.

You could get homemade crisps with this original, wasabi, or burmese flavoured. I don’t know what I was thinking as I went for the Homemade Asian Slaw. The waitress looked pitifully at me and she asked if I was sure, her primary job seemed to be filling up little bags of crisps while effortlessly looking cute at the same time.

I did have a really good drink homemade pomegranite herb infused lemonade which was really refreshing.

You know having had this healthy meal I am so set up know for a streak of nights eating burgers and hot dogs, just for the ‘ying yang’ of it

Located at 1634 Orrington Ave, Evanston, the nearest el station is the Purple Line Davis


Soulwich on Urbanspoon