Archive for the ‘Irving Park’ Category

Fast Super Burrito

Some time ago the morning after a late night visit to the Globe Pub on Irving Park Road I found pictures of “Fast Super Burrito” on my phone and then like the plot of the Hangover films I pieced together the details of my visit afterwards. If you have not seen those films then basically  The Hangover tells the story of Phil Wenneck, Stu Price and Alan Garner, who travel to Las Vegas for a bachelor party to celebrate their friend Doug Billings’ impending marriage. However, Phil, Stu and Alan have no memory of the previous night’s events and must find Doug before the wedding can take place. The whole film is them working out what they did the night before.

In this more personal version I had to find the resturant again, locate it, check out the menuto work out what it was that I actually had eaten. I guess that story is not quite such a star studded adventure as the actual film, but on the basis that I fell asleep watching the film on three occasions, probably more fulfilling and rewarding.

“Fast Super Burrito” is on Irving Park road about 5 minutes walk from the Irving Park El Stop on the Brown Line. In the tagline I asked “Is this the name of the place or a statement of fact?”. Well on the first count it is the name of the place,and on the second count it was fast and it was a Burrito, not sure about the super part. I suppose that a restuarant called “Fast Acceptable Burrito” might not draw as much trade or attention.

Chicken Fajita Platter

OK to be honest I am not able to answer the Burrito question based on my late night experience as ‘apparently’ I had a chicken fajita platter. My notes from the phone were that it was pretty good, brown stuff was nice, rice ok, plenty of chicken, good value. (spelling mistakes removed).

Chicken Fajita Plate

Despite the fact that the dishes are presented on a laminated pictorial menu, one of my pet hates, I seem to recall that this place was OK.

But on this occasion it is probably best not to take my word on it, and try it out for yourself.

Located at 1924 W Irving Park Rd and open quite late

Fast Super Burrito on Urbanspoon

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This was my second visit to the Golden Angel Pancake House and I may not have to eat for the rest of the week. Located at 4344 N. Lincoln Ave (Montrose), vaguely between the Montrose Brown and the Western Brown Line is the Golden Angel.

All I really wanted was a Pork Chop, so I thought that I would be safe having pork chops and eggs. That was my first incorrect decision, what could possibly go wrong. Well plate one arrived, two pork chops and pretty large ones at that.

This was closely followed by a plate of Fried Eggs and Potatoes, or was it fried potatoes and a couple of eggs? Either way this was plate two, count it, two. OK that is alright, just hang in there and remember that you don’t ‘have’ to eat it all (you can leave the apple sauce if you like).

But hey now what is this, plate three, a couple of slices of toast. Like that was something that I was going to be needing? Well actually I did eat a bit of it, just to dip into my egg yolks.

Well that was all a bit too much, I may need to wear my ever so slightly larger pants tommorrow and perhaps a little snooze may help as well. For the record the pork chops were very nice.

Golden Angel on Urbanspoon

That shop is Spencer’s Jolly Posh Foods shop and it is full of all those necessities from back home and perhaps things that you dont really need but that you want as soon as you see them. Sadly you have to time your visit as it is only open on certain days. But trust me if you need or rather crave something they probably have it.

I hope that you don’t judge me too harshly in terms of the gourmet contents of my basket on this shopping trip.

So my first items into the basket was some English Cheddar from Coombe Farm and a tin of Heinz Spaghetti. A strange selection you may feel and perhaps you will think it even stranger when you see what I do with them.

This is my favourite comfort food a dish invented one family christmas when we could not decide between cheese on toast or spaghetti on toast and yes I am pretty sure we were about 13yrs old at the time. If you get the right cheese and bread and the spaghetti sauce melting into the sandwich you have a taste sensation on your hands. It is so easy to eat far too much of this sandwich.  As Marco Pierre White pointed out ‘if it speaks to you then it speaks to me’

 

Another thing I just had to add to the basket was some English crisps and not the classic Walkers crisps kind, no the ones that even some of my Ex Pat friends will turn their noses up at. Both of these have been staples in the playground, as a breakfast at college, and even now a much sought after erm can I say delicacy? Probably not.

So Wotsits these are pretty much cheesy puffs the sort that turn your fingers orange with colouring. Monster Munch now these are a beast all of themselves, my personal choice is the pickled onion flavour, which to be fair is probably as disgusting as it sounds, the flavouring generally burns the roof of your mouth but despite that I cannot get enough of them. I remember these as “The Biggest Snack Pennies Can Buy”.

 

I have not eaten a Pot Noodle since I was a student, and I think bought this pretty much for the bragging rights. I was really surprised to see a whole set of shelves of pot noodles in Chicago. I urge anyone nearby to go and try one and have a cook off with Mr Ramen. When I was a student there was no “Bombay Bad Boy” and if there had been I would not have dared to eat it, way too spicy, this was years before I started travelling and I was not even sure where Asia was back then, it was just where the hippy drop outs were heading (I wish I had gone with them now). The three flavours I remember well were; Beef & Tomato (brown), Sweet & Sour (light blue), Chicken & Mushroom (green) the colour refererring to the packaging not the food! The Pot Noodle is produce in Wales UK a classic advert http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JrNuT9sn0Gc depicts this.

 

So now I needed some drinks, and the first choice was one that I have not seen for ages and that was a can of Shandy Bass, this is basically a a carbonated soft drink that does conatin 0.5% alcohol, it is a Shandy which is a mix of beer and lemonade. in England when I   was a kid it was as cool as Top Deck Shandy or Lager and Lime to drink, did it make you look hard? Not really and perhaps giving us kids a taste of beer early on in our lives has some bearing on our pub culture. No different though from the French giving kids wine with water at lunch. My second choice was a bottle of Irn Bru, a drink I fell in love with while living in Scotland, it is a great hangover cure and best of all it is ‘made in Scotland from girders.

 

Jolly Spencer has a lot of English Chocolate, and the real stuff, not the stuff made by Hersheys over here that just tastes awful in comparison. In amongst those shelves was the bar that I always bring back for the girls at work on my trips back to the UK. That bar is the Twirl bar. The Twirl is a flake type chocolate bar covered in a wrapping of chocolate. The air between the layers gives you a greater chocolate to mouth ratio, terrific is the only way to describe it. It is that good, that on my last trip back to the UK I brought a whole case back to be shared between three people.

Apart from all the stuff I got at Jolly Spencer’s there is loads more, from tea, biscuits, jam, bread, bacon, sausage, and black pudding. You really need to go and check it out.

Located at 1405 W. Irving Park Rd but only open Wed – Fri: 11 am – 7 pm and Sat – Sun: 10 am – 5 pm.

Website: http://spencerfoods.com

Once upon a time there was a good idea that just went oh so wrong but so good at the same time. This may happen all over the country at various late night eating joints, but here in Chicago at the Diner Grill it threw out a beast of a dish across the counter, and that dish my friend is the “Slinger”

Here this is pretty much a case of taking the sum of its parts, mixing the wrong parts, but still somehow coming up with a dish that is not totally unacceptable to the palate and to be honest even one that works. After consumption I had no ill effects and even ended up quite satiated. So before we look at a Slinger, what is in it. It is a plate of two cheese burgers, hash browns, onions, and chilli, served with two slices of toast on the side. Quite harmless? I hear you say, well lets take a look at what that really means on a plate.

I know that it will be so hard to convince you that I did not eat this just because I was drunk. I ate it through pure curiosity and I am kind of glad that I did. Would I eat it again, probably not, as it was too big, but you know if you can see beauty inside and look beyond the facade you will not be disapointed and may indeed have a brief yet unexpected love affair with this simple dish.

Diner Grill is at located at 1635 W Irving Park Rd about 5 minutes from the Irving Park CTA El Stop

Diner Grill on Urbanspoon

You know that there has to be something good and decent on offer when you walk past a 24 Diner just around closing time and it is a packed as this. That was the situation I found myself in on Saturday night as I departed the Globe Pub on Irving Park Rd after a couple of pints of Boddingtons Ale. I had a recollection of having seen a diner as I walked past earlier in the day en route to Jolly Spencer’s Shop and so with a need for something to soak up the beer I headed back down Irving Park road, past the El stop and under the metra bridge to find Diner Grill .

Despite it being very crowded in there I somehow managed to get a stool at the counter and then just had to decide what was going to work the best for me off the basic menu. My head was working between hungry head and blogger head. I figured the best test of this place was going to be some eggs, so I opted for 2 fried eggs on toast, then my hungry head decided that it wanted a grilled cheese sandwich as well.

I then settled down to watch the guy on the flat top pumping out everyones food. Quite remarkable the speed they were working at. The counter was full and it was at least 3 deep behind me. Despite the beer fuelled hungry folks all around it was a good atmosphere and quite jovial.

 

I have to say that there was nothing wrong with any of the food I got. It may not have looked pretty but I don’t think it was supposed to be. My only real complaint is those two crinkly bits of pickle you can see peeking out from beneath my cheese sandwich. They looked so sad, but I was not going to eat either of them. The fried eggs were just as I had asked for, the yolk lovely and runny and I just needed to add a sprinkling of salt to season them up. The grilled cheese was good too, despite being cooked on the flat top it was not greasy at all and the toasting was just about right. I am not sure that I would have the desire to come all the way up here when totally sober, but if you have the munchies late night or just need a midnight snack I would recommend trying this place out.

Diner Grill or Dinner Grill depending on which side of the sign you read is located at 1635 W Irving Park Rd about 5 minutes from the Irving Park CTA El Stop

Diner Grill on Urbanspoon

City Farms Grill is a small cafe that is almost easy to miss, in fact I have walked past several times and thought oh yes I haven’t been there yet, but then forget as it is not on my beaten track. This is a shame as it is a really nice friendly little place to get breakfast or brunch. So this morning I made a concerted effort to finally drag my ass up there for some brunch. Inside it is bright, clean, and welcoming. The tables are pretty much set up to be family style with a couple of long tables.

I had the best of intentions to just get something small, maybe a little sandwich, but I was attracted on the menu to trying on of their breakfast specials “The New York Scramble”. This was described on the menu as “scrambled fresh farm eggs, smoked salmon, sour cream, chives, and a toasted bagel with cream cheese. I was expecting to get the eggs and salmon on top of the bagel, but in the end as you can see it was a huge plateful. As well as a great big pile of eggs, salmon, chives, and cream, there was a great big portion of house potatoes. The potatoes were really good, cooked perfectly, seasoned lightly and accompanied with some finely chopped red peppers. The scrambled egg was good but too much for me, the salmon was nicely smoked and was quite salty, at first that was nice but by the end because the portion was quite large the saltiness was a bit overwhelming for me. That is just my opinion though I generally don’t put too much salt on my food so it was maybe just my palate. I also did enjoy the bagel, I am not usually a fan but this one was nicely toasted, not too thick or doughy and the cream cheese to bread ratio made for a nice bite. All in all this was good value and good quality, it is a place to get a nice lunch not a place for a hangover cure so dont come here for some greasy food come here for some high quality and tasty breakfast or brunch.

Located at 1467 W Irving Park Road, it is a 1o minute walk from the Irving Park CTA El station on the brown line.

Website: http://cityfarmsgrill.com/ you can also follow them on facebook

City Farms Market & Grill on Urbanspoon

Forget watching planes and boats,  this weekend the festival of choice was the Hot Dog Festival in Northside. I could have fought my way through the masses along North Avenue beach or I could have eaten a hot dog sitting casually in the sunshine on Lincoln Avenue. Tough choice and I take the hot dog every time.

All along the street were some pretty cool signs that I really would have liked to have got my hands on for the kitchen wall, but instead I had to be restrained and only take a photograph, still anyway that ways I get to share with you as well.

Mrs Murphy and Sons Irish Bistro at 3905 N Lincoln Avenue, lay right in the middle of the Summerfest corridor and they had a stand right outside their resturant. Despite not being a hot dog specialist they did have some interesting items on their menu. I nearly had the French Fry corn dog as it was such a cheeky offering, a dog coated with a batter containing french fries was an artery busting temptation that I managed to resist.

I was not however able to resist Mrs Murphy’s offer of the day which was the Dublin Dog with caramelized onions and beer mustard for $4. The sausage was good and the onions were nice and soft, but I found that the beer mustard was a bit too strongly flavoured to my liking and I also got frustrated that the bread bun fell apart as soon as I started to eat it. Overall it was probably worth $4 but I wasn’t over excited and didn’t want another one, I kind of wished I had that French fry dog now instead. Still it was a good sausage, just missed on the combination front. website: http://www.irishbistro.com/

The other temptation of note was as always from Chicago’s Dog House. I have had this particular dog before and I glad to be able to recommend it to my companion on this occasion. This was the Infused Cheddar bacon sausage which is covered with a fresh creamy guacomole, some coriander (or cilantro) and some fried tortilla strips. I personally didn’t care for the tortilla strips when I had it and my companion concurred, but the sausage lived up to expectation the cheese filling is always a treat and the guacomole and cilantro make a great combination. At $7 almost twice price of the $4 Dublin Dog it is hard to say which was better value, I think the Dog House had a better combination and tastes better so I think that makes it better value.

The actual Chicago’s Dog House is nearer to Fullerton than this festival stand, but their stand seems to pop up quite regularly at the Chicago Fests so you may be lucky and catch them on the streets. http://www.chicagosdog.com/Chicagos_Dog_House/Home.html

Overall not a bad festival but not many of the big hitters in the Chicago dog scene were here so not too much to hunt about