Archive for the ‘Washington and Wells’ Category

Monks Pub Chicago

Monks Pub in Chicago established in 1969 is as old as myself and that was reason enough to head over to the Loop to seek it out for a pint and a bit of food. The other reason being to meet up with an old friend who was working downtown and was recommending the place.

I was told that it had some of the best burgers in town, now that has to be a challenge in itself and certainly something worth checking out. The burger itself is described on their menu as a “Half-pound certified Angus beef patty flame-broiled & served on a brioche bun with lettuce, tomato & onion”. I love an Angus beef burger and I also love a brioche buns so this was all sounding really good straight away.

Apparently one of the burgers to eat here is ‘The Chili Beer Cheeseburger’ but there were so many other great sounding toppings listed that I really wanted to try, what should I choose? The Maple Bacon Brisket was a front runner for a while the combination of “Certified Angus and brisket blend patty, pretzel bun, Vermont maple syrup, cheddar cheese, bacon, and grilled onion” was really tempting me. Another burger combination that stood a chance of making it all the way to my plate was The Bison which was described as a “Ground bison patty, pretzel bun, cheddar cheese, whiskey charred onions, and garlic mayo”

I was floundering as I read down the burger section of the menu!

“What is a hungry man to do?”, “Too much choice!”

Then it hit me smack bang in the face when I saw that they have a  burger topped with a fried egg. “Oh yes, come to papa!”

The Egg

The Egg Burger at Monks

There are no surprised for guessing the prime component of ‘The Egg’! This is essentially a burger topped with ‘Bacon, cheddar cheese & a sunny-side up egg’. It cod have been called the bacon, cheese, and egg burger, but I have to a say that apart from the excellent meat pattie, the star of the show is that soft yolked fried egg that drapes itself over the top of the burger and that once bitten into released it’s yellow delight over the whole beast. I love a fried egg on a burger, a love affair that started many moons ago when I first met this combination at Meatheads out in the burbs. It has been an ongoing somewhat guilty pleasure ever since.

The Egg Burger on the plate at Monks

As well as that egg you were treated with a bountiful handful of crispy smoked bacon strips and a big slice of cheddar cheese. I like the way that they present the burger here at Monks by serving it as an open faced sandwich. This way you can keep as much of the simple green salad, red onion, and sliced tomato as you care to chomp on. For my part I was just keeping about half of the lettuce as I really wanted to get a much of that bacon, cheese, and egg in your mouth which each bite of the burger.

This is a really good combination, hold on when I said good I meant exceptional combination. I fear that if I come back to dine here at Monks I will never actually get to try any of the other burger combinations as my heart will have been given to this one… Perhaps? perhaps? perhaps?

Monks pub is located at 205 West Lake Street, kind of on the corner of Lake and Wells. It is alongside the track of the elevated railway which rattles by overhead and the nearest stops are probably at Washington and Wells, or at Clark and Lake. It is close enough to see the train but a 5 minute walk to catch one. To be honest after eating on of the burgers, you will probably need that walk!

Monk's Pub Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Last year I sampled some of the food at the Chicago Christmas Market in Daley Plaza, and to be honest I was not that impressed and was a bit rude and dismissive of their efforts. Well anyhow this year, not that I am promising to be any more generous but I thought that I would give them another chance. After all one has to get into the Holiday spirit.

Forgetting the food for the moment it is quite festive down there with the Holiday tree all lit up ,and the Picasso watching over affairs making sure that no-one cuts in line for the Glühwein.

German Grill Company

In the interests of fairness and redemption opportunity I went to the same place as last year – the “German Grill Company”

Pork Loin MenuSmoked Pork Loin

Last year I tried the Kilometer sauasage and it was OK but not amazing by any means. This year I thought I would try something else, so I had a smoked pork loin sandwich for $8. It wasn’t that bad to be fair. The meat had a really nice smoked taste and there was plenty of it. The only critism really is that it was a bit dry. I think that would have been solved if I had not chosen to decline the sauerkraut. Still either way it was a better experience.

Schnitzel House

A couple of days later I made a second visit and went to one of the other vendors. After a quick hunt we ended up at the “Schnitzel House”

Goulash SoupMarket MenuCurry Meatloaf

They had quite a few boring options like hot dogs and chicken. The only two that stood out on the menu as being worth any sort of effort were the homemade Goulash Soup, and the Curry Meatloaf. I didn’t choose the Goulash soup, but I had a taste and I wished that I had chosen that dish. It was full of beef, carrots and it had pasta added in, which thickened it up. Very tasty, I was quite jealous as I watched my Mother eat the whole bowl . My advice, get that it is probably the only thing worth making a special trip to the market to eat.  My choice was the Curry Meatloaf, which was good but not as good as that soup. The meatloaf was quite alright and the curry sauce despite being cold and having the threat of heartburn with each mouthful was quite decent. Overall this was the best of the stalls.

So to be far overall it was a lot better than last year, even though the stalls are exactly the same, which means that either I was more of a grumpy scrooge character last year, or that I was on happy pills this time around. Who knows.

The Christkindlmarket is in Daley Plaza between Nov 20 and Dec 24, check it out at the website: http://www.christkindlmarket.com/en/

Pollito’s is another of those lunch time /early evening food outlets just alongside the el train, or rather just beneath the El train at Washington and Wells. I approached it at dusk, about 4.45pm and was not sure if it was still going to be open as many of these places in this part of the loop are just catering to the nearby offices and the lunchtime crowd.

 

I was in luck (is that the right phrase?) and they were still open, although they were clearing up. The nice chap running the place said they were closing at 5pm but if anyone came by that they would be happy to serve them. So no problems. In the back of my mind I suppose I had a slight concern that if they were closing down soon I might not get all the good stuff and maybe I would have been better off coming at lunchtime. But lets just leave those thoughts back there, you are here now, so lets just get some damn chicken and get back on the El. Ok Pep talk over.

I do like a bit of grilled chicken, so that was going to be the first choice, and  I was particularly pleased to see that you could get dark or white meat, as I like the dark meat best, just for the flavour.

I went very simple and just had a small 1/4 dark chicken with pita and one side, in this case some onion rings. Not the best choice but probably not the worst. Another good thing was that the onion rings were freshly cooked (even if they were frozen) I wasn’t getting any left overs. The Chicken was tasty and acceptable without getting anywhere close to amazing, there was not too much flavour to excite, but it was moist, juicy and had a nice crispy skin.  The pita and somewhat pitiful salad just filled up the plate. But I was just really sampling the chicken so didn’t pay to much attention.

As I noted earlier perhaps better to try this place during the lunchtime rush.

It is right next to the steps of the Washington and Wells stop at 39 N Wells Street (Brown Line, Orange Line, Pink Line, Purple Line). Other station options are Washington-blue (Blue Line) and the Clark/lake (subway)

Pollito's Grill & Rotisserie on Urbanspoon

 

When I first saw the Westminster Hot Dog joint at 11 N Wells St, I was heading off the El Train at the Washington Wells EL stop and  it was closed, and I kept going back to a closed store until I discovered that it is only opened during the lunchtime rush 10.30-3.30 weekdays.  A rookie mistake when sourcing food in the Chicago Loop district.

When I first read the name Westminster I was thinking of London, the Houses of Parliment and the Abbey, and when I finally did some research  (well reading the menu this lunchtime) the story was that in 1876 a group of gents met up in a bar in Manhattan to talk about their sporting dogs and formed a club called the Westminster Breeding Association, then about one hundred years later another group of blokes were in Wrigleyville Chicago chewing the fat and unable to brag about their beloved Cubs they had to talk about something else that they were passionate about which turned out to be cooking, and what better to love in Chicago than some gourmet sausages.  This led to the opening of the Westminster Hot Dog ( so the story goes)

From the outside it was not much to look at, lined up in a row of joints geared up to feeding the offices and workers in the Loop. Once inside there were mouthwatering chalkboard offerings, and a constant stream of blue and white collar guys and girls lining up to order. A lot seemed to be going for the gourmet sausgages and a few for the regular Chicago Dog, but hey that meant more gourmet for the rest of us. Their ‘mission statement’ on the wall also helped to support the suspensful salivations.

I had to try number 5 the Chorizo Pork with Chihuahua Cheese and Roasted Peppers, funnily enough the paper menu said ‘red’ peppers but this seemed to have been seamlessly rubbed out on the chalkboard and it turned out that the reason was that it was coming with green peppers instead. I think it was my gain in the end, but it provided me with some mild amusement.

I had to wait a while while my sausage was cooked which I was happy about as it meant that some attention was being made to it and there was a good chance that it was a good sausage. When my name was called I headed out into the sunshine and over to the park to…well I’ll be honest…scoff it down in my rapidly diminishing lunchbreak.

It was pretty darn good, the chorizo sausage meat was lightly packed into the case, a little crumbly and moist, nice and spicy but not too much, hey it must have been good I even ate the green peppers which were just right, not overcooked or crunchy, there is probably a french word to describe that, but enough of the pepper, more about the sausages.

Most importantly their sausages are prepared fresh each day with no fillers or nitrates and using only local sustainable meat.

I will return here, especially since I found that it is now open at the weekend for a short time, and also there is now a second location at 1045 Madison which is open 11am- 9pm everyday.

Located right beneath the Washigton Wells stop at 11 N Wells, I suggest that you pop in when you can

Website:  http://www.westminsterhotdog.com/

Westminster Hot Dog on Urbanspoon

Just caught Consuelo the Big Star Food Truck alongside Presidential Towers in the West Loop, it was a little bit chilly out but not cold enough to resist the lure of some food truck food offerings.

I was really only in the market for a quick taco, but I was tempted and persuaded by the Arroz con Pollo for $10,

Half a grilled marinated chicken with green rice.

It was pretty good moist chicken, a nice subtle spicing and the green rice was tasty too.

The Truck is aligned with the Big Star taquria and I think is a little rogue at the moment but who cares when you get a nice bit of freshly cooked food for your Friday evening supper

Big Star on Urbanspoon