No matter what “Food Wars” says on the Travel Channel, this Chicagoan still says the best beef is at Johnnie’s in Elmwood Park. Paired with their signature lemon ice (“Italian lemonade”) it ranks among the all-time greatest combos of Mantle & Maris, Batman & Robin, even Ben & Jerry. I say this after having eaten beefs at Jay’s, Pop’s, Chickie’s, Al’s, Bob-O’s and Mr. Beef all multiple times.
Greg Hall hasn’t really taken that much of a break since leaving Goose Island as its Brewmaster. The Chicago native is keeping things close to home, with his new company, Virtue Brands, having built an impressive headquarters just around the bend, in SW Michigan. He’s now got three ciders out on the market: Lapinette, a French-stye cider; a winter cider called The Mitten, and my favorite – RedStreak – a proper English-style draft cider. There are several places around town where you can find it; I highly recommend you seek a pint out (or two).
Despite its name, there are no teen vampires involved in the brewing or marketing of this breezy summer ale from Bend, Oregon’s Deschutes Brewery, which has only been available in Chicago the past few months. The Hopleaf’s Michael Roper says it’s easy to drink this time of year, especially at softball games and the occasional Ravinia outing, but it’s very temporary. So get it while you can. Cheers.
Apparently, the folks at Cleveland’s Great Lakes Brewery are big Survivor fans, or maybe just miss Rocky III. In either case, their “Rye of the Tiger” celebrates their 25th anniversary, and this IPA features rye, which the Hopleaf’s Michael Roper says is great for beefy, meaty, ham-centric dishes. Cheers to that!
Ever since my first trip to New Orleans, I’ve been in love with po’boys. One of the reasons is due to the magical, only-in-New Orleans bread (usually from Leidenheimer). Choices typically range from roast beef to fried shrimp or oysters. On a parallel track, regular readers here know I have a thing for all things Korean – especially fiery, funky kimchi. So when Giuseppe Tentori put a fried oyster po’boy slider with kimchi on his menu at GT Fish & Oyster, I was more than curious. I think calling it a po’boy is a stretch, mainly since the bread is more Hawaiian than French loaf, but this great little slider ($4) is one you really should try, even if you’re just planning on sitting at the bar to sip and slurp.
Every year, during the National Restaurant Show, seats are tough to nab in Chicago – at least downtown, where most of the visitors stay. Forget about holding a private event – most private dining rooms are booked by publicists, restaurateurs and manufacturers, hosting their clients and VIPs over the weekend. On Saturday, I got to attend an all-Iberico ham dinner at Mercat a la planxa, hosted by Jose “Iron Chef” Garces and Paul “Outstanding Chef in the U.S.”* Kahan. Read More