Archive for the ‘Wilson’ Category

Real Kitchen

I have blogged about Real Kitchen and the gourmet ready meals that they prepare fresh daily before but I really felt that I had to share the really good sandwiches that we got there for lunch today.

Blink and you may miss the small board listing the daily sandwiches, but for reference it’s on the far left straight opposite the door.

Pork Belly ReubenPork Belly

The first of these great sandwiches was the Pork Belly Reuben. Apart from the crispy skinned, tender pork belly, it was filled with Pickled Cabbage, a lot of Swiss Cheese, and 1000 Island Dressing for a mere $6.50. You can see the fantastic piece of belly falling out of the sandwich slice above and also all of that gooey swiss cheese oozing out and all over the bread crust. It was just lovely, the pickled cabbage cut through some of the potential richness.

Philly Cheesesteak

The second sandwich was a “Philly Cheese Steak” which came with with Pickled Banana Peppers and Sriracha Mayo. Now usually I would be quite rude about any sandwich calling itself a Philly Cheesesteak when it is nothing like a Cheesesteak, but you know I am going to let Real Kitchen off this time. I knew it was not a true cheesesteak when I picked it off the board so I was not expecting one. What I actually ended up getting was a crusty half baguette with a juicy and spicy cheese and beef filling. In places there was quite a bit of a heat kick from the pickled banana peppers, especially if you didnt get a bite with enough of everything else in it to tame them. It was a good job that there was plenty of iced water available to cool down my tongue. It was a pretty decent plate of lunch and a bargain price at only $6.50.

Real Kitchen is located at 1433 West Montrose on the cross roads with N Clark Street. You can walk there along W Montrose from the Montrose Brown El stop (about 10 mins) or ride the 78 east to Wilson and alight just across the road, or ride the same bus west to Harlem from the Wilson Red Line stop and get off at the same intersection.

You can see what the daily options at Real Kitchen are via there website  http://www.realkitchenchicago.com/index.html and also through Facebook and Twitter. They change some of the options on a daily basis so it’s never boring.

Real Kitchen on Urbanspoon

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So as you walk into the Pecking Order on Clark Street you are left in no doubt as to what this place has to offer.

Pretty much “Chicken Every Which Way”

Now I had done my homework on this place, I spotted it as I walked over to the Target store at Wilson this past holiday weekend and had googled the menu on the web. The first item that caught my eye was the “Pinoy Eggs” which are described online as “5 minute egg wrapped with house made longaniza, then breaded and fried” Hum now that sounds familar, once I had googled ‘longanzia’ and discovered that was a type of sausage I was pretty sure that this could be a variation of a Scotch Egg. Well if you have read any of my blogs before you may have noticed that I have a minor obsession with Scotch Eggs, so I really had to head up to the Pecking Order to see if my hunch and my hopes were correct. Once I had a chance to talk to the super friendly host and asked about the Pinoy Eggs, after some considered description he finally splilled that they were a homage to the Scotch Egg (OK maybe he did not say ‘homage’ but I knew what he meant). Essentially it is a Filipino Scotch Egg.  So OK lets get started I am having some of those.

I only have one question here, now you get three pieces, that is three halves, and there was no-one else in the place having a scotch egg (I mean pinoy egg) so who got my other half? Lets be honest if I was the chef  I would be playing that game as well, “one for you, one for me….” So what can I say about the egg? really really quite good, and if I was to state where it came on the ‘Pecking order’ of Scotch eggs (Pinoy if you like) in Chicago, well it comes second on my pecking order, which is a pretty good place to be. Only trumped by those made at Pleasant House bakery, and you are going to have to be really good to beat theirs (and that is another story). BUT these are the best Pinoy Eggs I have ever had.

Even though I had just gobbled down those breaded eggs, I felt that I could not leave without trying some chicken. I had three basic choices; grilled, fried, or roasted. All three were marinated overnight in tamari, sugar, garlic and bay leaves. I decided to go for the slightly healthier option of the roast chicken which was ‘stuffed with lemongrass and ginger, slow cooked in the rotisserie and basted with annatto-calamansi butter’. It came with one side so I just took the simple option of some Garlic Fried Rice, or so I thought, described simply as ‘Fried rice with toasted garlic’ I did not even bother to take a snap on my camera. It was however really quite nice, crunchy garlic bits in some slightly sticky rice. But the main business of the evening was that chicken. A really nice crispy skin with a quite subtle flavour not quite spicy, not quite sweet, but somehow both at the same time, covered some really juicy chicken that almost melted off the bone, even the breast was still moist, but I liked the brown leg meat better. Oh and as an added bonus the whole meal was accompanied with a selection of house sauces, my personal favourite being the “banana ketchup’ which was made principally of banana, soy sauce, ginger, garlic, and some worcestershire sauce, tart, tangy, mildly spicy, a great combination.

I often say that I will be back to eat somewhere and rarely do I have the time to make it back. I hope that this place is one that I can make it back too on a regular basis, apart from the really tasty chicken, the excellent Pinoy eggs, the super friendly owners and staff, I looked on the menu and saw that they also have Metropolitan Krankshaft Kolsch, and Goose Island Green Line Pale Ale on draft.  I have a feeling in my bones that both of those will go nicely with one of those Pinoy Eggs!

Now how to get here? By the El (my personal preference) you can ride to either the Wilson Red or the Montrose Brown and then either ride the 78 West or East and you get off at the corner of Montrose or Clark, or you can ride the Clark 22 CTA bus along Clark Street and get off at the same place.

Located at 4416 N Clark St, website: http://peckingorderchicago.com/

Oh I did I mention that there chickens are all from the farms of the “Freebird” antibiotic free chicken? that will please some of my twitter peeps that I have met.  http://freebirdchicken.com/

Pecking Order on Urbanspoon

I was not even out on a Scotch Egg Hunt I was just strolling past the Wilson Red Line CTA station on my way to Target when I was distracted by a West African Resturant across the road. I just had to check it out to see if they had anything I had not tried before. Then to my surprise I saw a picture of Scotch Eggs in the window.

 

I could not believe my luck, but surely these were not the scotch eggs I cherish and yearn for that I get back home in the UK? I went inside to check with the waitress and she said they were the same so I bought a couple just to try. Even better there were just $1.99 each, better than paying $10 down the Gage.

But were they really the same? Well they were crispy, with breadcrumbed sausage meat surrounding and encasing a hard boiled egg. There was a slight seasoning to the meat I could not quite fathom out, but still tasty.

Now it may not seem like a big deal to many, but I was one happy camper to find these on the menu and also at such a decent price.

I also learnt something today as well, I thought that scotch eggs were just a UK phenomena having been originally invented (apparantly) by Fortnum & Masons back in 1738. but after a little bit of google research I learnt that some fast-food restaurants in West Africa offer Scotch eggs alongside their other menu items.

Iyanze is located at 4623 N Broadway, opposite the CTA Red Line stop at Wilson

Iyanze on Urbanspoon

As you walk past Baker & Nosh you can see them baking the bread through the windows and that alone is enough to encourage you across the door step, my only moment of brief hesitation was when I looked in to see if there was any spare tables (only a couple left). But as I had walked over from Lincoln Square through the gusting remains of snow so I was not going to be distracted from the mission in hand.

The sandwich menu alternates between 3 choices on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and a different 3 choices on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

I hit this place up on Friday so had a choice of

“Beeler’s Ham, Swiss, Sweet & Spicy Mustard, Arugula”,

“Roasted Mushrooms, Peppers & Onions, Pesto, Arugula”

“Roast Beef, White Cheddar, Arugula, Pickled Onion, Horseradish Mayo”

I went for the Roast Beef. It was built inside a crusty roll, crunchy on the outside but soft and moist inside. All the components worked together, none of them overpowered the others. I was a bit worried about the horseradish mayo, but I had no need, it was just the right level and complimented the rest. The beef was great and the cheese tasty. The sliced pickled onion really made the sandwich and I could have taken a pot of this home with me to add to my own sandwiches.

You could really tell that everything was freshly made here, behind the counters were shelves of freshly baked bread, and baskets of cakes and pastries, plus a nice selection of decent cheeses.

 

Despite the snow outside this place was full of customers and you could hear mutters of appreciation from all the tables. I regretted not getting a bowl of the pea soup, I overhead two ladies enquiring how it was made and they were astonished to hear that it was actually vegan and did not have any cream in it. Sadly they got the last bowls so I couldn’t add that onto my lunch to see if I concurred with their quiet ravings.

As a diversion from having to think about the soup I decided to look at the cheeses . The young lady behind the counter gave me a sample of the red leicester which was so good that I took a quarter slice of that home for my supper and a couple of small bread rolls to complement it.

Just looking at this on my counter at home is making me peckish already, but I shall resist the temptation… oh come on who am I kidding  just let me finish this blog entry and I shall crack open a nice bottle of red wine so I can really get down to some munching.

Baker and Nosh is located at 1303 Wilson Ave, about 5 mins along from the Wilson Red Line CTA station. The 78 Bus also runs past.

They have only been open for about a month, but from what I have seen and tasted, they will be a welcome addition to the area.

Website: http://www.bakerandnosh.com/

Baker & Nosh on Urbanspoon

This time last year I was fighting my way through snowpocalypse on my way to Chicago and a new stage in my life. Flashback a couple of weeks to that brief  little attempt at winter and I was out soaking up the freeze. Boy was it cold at the beach and what more does one need after a brisk cold (perhaps foolish) walk along the shore?

Some hot and probably somewhat unhealthy food that hits the spot sounds like a plan.

Jakes pup in the ruf seemed like it was worth a try, not just because of the copious cartoonesque characatures lining the window.

I think it was the statement that “Only a rooster gets a better piece of chicken!” that pulled me in.

Inside it was a strange affair, again great cartoon art, and the clientele? I thought that I was on the set of “Cocoon meets Grumpy Old men”. In all seriousness this was worth the ‘entrance fee’ alone (if there was one that is). “Your not talking to me today eh? well you’ll be dead soon so how about that huh?” was the classic line of the day. Hopefully it wasn’t the food as I did notice that he also was eating the broasted chicken.

At first although the ‘broasted chicken’ had drawn me in, I was unsure. Standing at the counter it all looked a bit dried up, but in fact when I bit into it I got the message, broasted seemed to be equal to roasted then deep fried, or maybe grilled then deep fried, or something similar. This was a seriously large meal three large bits of chicken, fries, a whole corn on the cob, bread and plantain, all for $6.19, heart attack and expanding belly extra, bring your own comfy pants.

Jakes advertisers itself as a ‘Chicken Eaters Paradise’  and it is family owned and operated. It has been there since 1959 which is practically ye olden times in the USA.

Located at 4401 N Sheridan Rd, (between Agatite Ave & Montrose Ave) , Chicago, IL 60640. You can get here by walking miles in the snow or alternatively take the red line to Wilson and walk west one block, or get the CTA 78 Montrose to Wilson Bus and get off right outside.

Jake's on Urbanspoon

Back on my El Stop project I headed over to the Wilson Red Line el station to search for some nearby snacks. Right underneath the line is a small Mexican taco shack called Rokito’s. In direct contrast with the rest of the area this place was warm, clean and friendly inside. I was surprised as I thought it would be a quick in and out job but it just goes to show that one should put aside one’s preconceptions and barriers sometimes and just flow with it. I am not a big Mexican fan but there were a couple of ‘crossover’ items on the menu that intrigued me. One of which was a Mexican hotdog, which I zoomed in on and selected, well it it would have been rude not too. It was probably the ‘bacon wrapped’ element of the description that sucked me in.

It was quite a surprise, the bun was toasted, cheese in the bottom, then a bacon wrapped sausage, covered in black beans, mushroom, lettuce and a spicy chipotle type sauce. Really quite tasty, and not just the bacon part. Crisp and crunchy lettuce together with the crunchy toast set the top and bottom texture and the filling of beans, mushrooms, cheese and dog were a good combination. Not too spicy more like a mix of ketchup and mayonaisse than chipotle. All in all for $5.75 with a coke worth the sortie here.

Rokitos is located at 1111 W Wilson Avenue, at the Wilson Red Line Station, also on the 78 and 145 bus routes

Rokito's Mexican Street Side Kitchen on Urbanspoon