Archive for the ‘Washington’ Category

Sugar Bliss Cupcakes

I like the odd cupcake on occasion, but sometimes it is hard to decide which one to get, and I often wish that I could manage to eat more than one so that I could try a few different flavours. Luckily for me while alighting from the Elevated Rail tracks at Madison and Wabash I stumbled upon The Sugar Bliss Cake Boutique where mini-cupcakes are a speciality. They do big ones too, but lets just use editorial discretion to gloss over that for the purposes of this tale.

Sugar Bliss Cakes

There is a different selection on each day, and you can get a list off their website, but I did note that there were a number of other flavours available in the trays that were not listed. So I expect you can just ride your luck and see what they have.

We got a box of 6 at $1.50, but as it was towards the end of the day, they slipped in another two just to fill the box up. Which was a good idea to stop them rattling about in there, as they had to survive the El Train home without getting jostled, squashed, or eaten.

Sugar Bliss selection

So what I ‘think’ we got was two ‘Orange Creamsickles’, two ‘Vanilla Vanilla’, two ‘Chocolate Hazelnet’, one ‘Chocolate Peanut Butter’, and one ‘Chocolate Milk Chocolate’. Rows 1 and 4 above were the Orange, and Vanilla cakes, Row 2 is the Chocolate Milk (top) and Peanut butter (bottom), Row 3 was the Hazelnut (Gosh that was a bit complicated I feel that I needed to provide some sort of map and key to diagram that all out).

From personal experience or from well qualified hearsay I can confim that they are all very tasty bites.

My favorite and first choice was the ‘Orange Creamsicle’ which is a ‘Madagascar bourbon vanilla cake with orange vanilla zest buttercream’. Crikey how good does that sound? I also liked the Vanilla Vanilla which is almost the same only it is a ‘Madagascar bourbon vanilla cake with creamy vanilla buttercream’. Almost as good.

The Chocolate Hazelnut is a ‘Dark chocolate cake with chocolate hazelnut buttercream‘ and the Chocolate Peanut Butter is a ‘Dark chocolate cake with peanut butter buttercream‘. I did not eat either of those, but I am led to believe that they were both very good indeed.

The others that I sampled were the ‘Chocolate Milk Chocolate’ which was a mix of milk and dark chocolate, more specifically described as ‘Dark chocolate cake with milk chocolate buttercream

Lets face it, it’s cake, so if you like cake you are going to like all of these.

Sugar Bliss Loop Location

Sugar Bliss has two locations, one in the Loop at 115 North Wabash, and one in River North at 509 North Orleans. You can get all of their details online at http://www.sugarblisscakes.com/ where you can also order online.

The Loop location is right beneath the Elevated line on the other side of the road from the Marshall Fields building. So its in between the  ‘Madison and Wabash’, and ‘Randolph and Wabash’ stops on the Pink, Green, Orange and Brown lines, you could also ride down or up on the Red line and exit at ‘Lake’ at walk across, or the Blue at ‘Washington’.

Sugar Bliss Cake Boutique on Urbanspoon

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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/

Strolling across the road from Daley Plaza I spot the Three J’s Jerk Chicken van on the corner. It said ‘Stop Me’ on the back, but it was already stopped so it was me who stopped just to get a photograph so I could record the number to track the resturant down. As I walked alongside the driver jumped out to somewhat furtively ask me if I wanted any chicken or tips, swinging up the side of the van as he did.

He had all sorts in there; Jerk Chicken, Pork Chops, Rib Tips, Jamaican Curry, Goat, Baked Chicken, and more! Some were packed up with sides like Collard Greens, Sweet Potatoes, Red Beans, and Rice. I was not that hungry and did not really want a whole meal, so was glad that I spotted a smaller box with ‘Tips’ on it, even better some red BBQ sauce was sliding down the side of it, so I was asking for that!

For $5 I got a box of rib tips in a nice BBQ sauce, sweet and spicy but not really that hot. The big bits of meat were a little chewy but the smaller pieces were just right, tender and falling apart with your bite. It came with a slice of white bread, not really needed.

Just to add to the quality dining experience I ate this in the bus shelter while fending off a dazed beggar.

Three J’s Resturant is located in South Shore at 1713 E 75th St, and the van I came across supposedly drives around town, and has been spotted in the Loop and at Hyde Park.

I am not sure if I will be trekking down to 75th to find the actual restuarant, but I may well chase the van if I see them driving by.

Three J's I on Urbanspoon

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

I love a good German Christmas market, but you know I do know that they are just a really poor imitation of the real thing, and I wish that people would travel to experience the real thing. Is that harsh? I don’t think so, having eaten some really bad food at some of these clones that would not be acceptable in Germany it is fair, I have lived in Cologne or Koln as it is actually called, and experience the fare at their markets and I am always disapointed when I eat at these efforts that seemingly claim to be representative of the real thing.  

 “Daley Plaza in the City of Chicago is transformed into an old fashioned German Christmas Market (Christkindlmarkt) for the holiday”

 erm not really, not a bad attempt though

 “Experience a traditional German Christmas at the 14th Annual Christkindlmarket, inspired by the famous Nuremberg Christmas market dating back to 1545. The Christmas Market is a tradition in cities throughout Germany. The outdoor markets are gatherings of communities in a marketplace where arts and crafts are sold from small booths. Food and drink add to the festive air of the Christmas Market. The smells of spiced wine, roasted nuts and spicy sausages fragrance the air of the outdoor marketplace.”

 Maybe my nose was blocked as I smelt none of that

It could just have been a hot plate at any place heating up sausages, putting it into a wooden garden shed does not make it German. OMG I really don’t mean to be mean, and I did enjoy the experience and what I had, but it was so Disney I felt deflated.

To explain better I have to show you a photograph of a “german market” I went to in England, not even Germany

Note the difference, sausages cooked over coal, and they even look tasty and they were!

and here is a picture from Cologne in Germany

Note the similarity?

I hope that you don’t get disapointed, and that I don’t ruin your experience, but seriously guys

In the end I had a “kilometer” sausage, which in fact is a Hungarian speciality, so say no more, quite a strange bread to sausage ratio, obvious from the picture, it was OK but to be honest I did actually throw half of the bread away.

 

Accessed by the Blue Line: Washington/Dearborn or Red Line: State/Lake at Daley Plaza, 50 W Washington Street