Helpful ReplyBig G's Visit to the Big City

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Davidsanders
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2019/09/25 09:33:58 (permalink)

Big G's Visit to the Big City

Our Roadfood friend Big_g, Gary Gay, took a trip from Sweetwater, Tennessee, last weekend to Chicago. Arriving on Saturday, Jeff met him at the airport and took him to Bob-O's for Chicago hot dogs and Italian beef sandwiches, Smak Tak for Polish food, and Carnitas Urupan for Mexican. Hopefully Jeff will chime in with more details.
 
The next day, after a long presentation at the Drake Hotel, Gary made his way to Evanston. I picked him up at the Howard Street el station, and we started our day at Hoosier Mama, meeting up with Jeff, Lucy and Pete. We shared five slices of pie, chocolate cream, plum raspberry, pear raspberry, ginger custard, and sour cream Dutch pear. All five were wonderful.

 

 

 

 

 

 
Our next stop was Poochie's in Skokie, where Gary was treated to the joys of the perfect char salami, and great hand cut fries.

 

 

 

 

 

 
 
Next up was a visit to what I consider Chicago's best barbecue. Since Gary is a barbecue competition judge, we were all anxious to get his take on it. He seemed to be quite impressed. We shared a pound of brisket, two sausage links, a side of gumbo made with rib meat, brisket chili, fries, mac and cheese, and coleslaw. It was wonderful.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
 
The final stop of the day was at the Potsticker House, formerly Ed's Potsticker House, on Halstead and 31st Street. I had only been there once before, and just for potstickers, which Jeff had said wasn't actually their strong suit. We shared a fantastic eggplant dish, pea shoots with garlic, fried pancake with pork belly, and soup dumplings. Everything was very good. 

 

 

 

 

 
A strawberry smoothie with a cream cheese top.

 
Eggplant with peppers and onions.

 

 

 
Pea shoots

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
That was it for Sunday. It was a great day of terrific food with great friends. One more day to go.
 
post edited by Davidsanders - 2019/09/25 10:07:29
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buffetbuster
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Re: Big G's Visit to the Big City 2019/09/25 10:19:24 (permalink) ☄ Helpfulby JRPfeff 2019/09/25 11:13:08
It is great to see good people get together for great food.  That is what it is all about.
 
And I'm glad to see the Summer of Pie has been expanded into the Autumn of Pie!
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Davidsanders
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Re: Big G's Visit to the Big City 2019/09/25 10:52:17 (permalink)
Monday began late in the morning at Firecakes Donuts, the first of six spots that were all new to me. I had heard about Firecakes from our dear late friend, the ChiTownDiner, Gregg Pill. He raved about it. Of course, he would have been there at 6:30 instead of 11:30, and gone to five more places for breakfast before we got there. But, then again, we're only mortals. We shared a buttermilk old fashioned, pistachio old fashioned, candied pineapple coconut milk fritter, pepper bacon maple cream filled long john, and malted milk balls.

 

 

 
Can't you guys move any faster?

 

 

 
I wished I had tried the Triple Valrhona Chocolate Cake. Maybe next time.

 

 

 

 

 

 
Old fashioned.

 

 
Pistachio old fashioned.

 

 
Candied pineapple coconut milk fritter.

 

 
Pepper bacon cream-filled maple long john.

 

 

 

 

 
These were all very good donuts, especially the long john and fritter. I liked the little malt cap on the malted milk ball. I thought the old fashioned was pretty good, nothing special. I thought the pistachio was pretty much the plain, painted green. I was definitely happy to finally try them.
 
 
Next stop was my first time at the Roadfood legendary Freddy's Pizeria in Cicero. I had heard about and read about this place for years, and was really glad to be able to finally experience it for myself. The number of choices available is astounding and overwhelming, and you could spend a day just coming here throughout the day. We shared a sampling of ravioli, gnocchi, eggplant, a slice of pepperoni pizza, chicken Marsala, and a spectacular rice ball, filled with meat and vegetables. There were about a dozen other things I could have ordered, not to mention the wonderful looking gelato.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
Our choices.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
 
Next up was La Chaparrita Mexican Grocery. This is a small place with a few tables, where you can pick up some tacos and many other necessities of life. After we left I got an Eater Chicago email which happened to have an article on the 16 Essential Chicago Mexican restaurants, of which this is one.

 

 
I thought about getting a milk shake when I saw the milk shake machine.

 

 

 

 

 
I'm not a very adventurous eater, so some of these just weren't for me.

 
They started us off with a small cup of fermented pineapple juice, which was very good.

 
I think this is the only place I've been to that presented a bowl of radishes as an appetizer. I liked them a lot.

 
We shared two al Pastors, a Asada, a Suadero, and a cheek (which I didn't try). They were quite good. We also liked the spring onion that came with it. 

 

 

 

 
This picture was taken from outside the building, through what might have been an old walkup window. The chef opened the window and talked to us for a while.

 

 
 
Stop no. 4 was Lem's Bar-B-Q House, on 75th Street. Since they have no seating whatsoever, we took our slab of ribs and fries to our 5th stop, Calumet Fisheries, where we were able to sit at their one picnic table. 

 

 

 
The ribs come in a tray, where they first put your order of fries, then cover the fries with sauce, and finally put the ribs on top.

 

 

 

 
 
Two more stops to go.
 
 
 
 
post edited by Davidsanders - 2019/09/25 10:53:36
#3
JRPfeff
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Re: Big G's Visit to the Big City 2019/09/25 11:15:45 (permalink)
Excellent photos per usual David. Almost like being there.
 
I wish we could have found time to join you and Gary.
 
Jim
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Michael Hoffman
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Re: Big G's Visit to the Big City 2019/09/25 11:26:17 (permalink)
Wow! You killed me with Freddie's, though. Now lleechef and I have to figure out a way to get Big G up here to the smaller city where we can ply him with Bahama Mama's, Beanie Burgers and other exotic Central Ohio fare.
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JRPfeff
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Re: Big G's Visit to the Big City 2019/09/25 13:16:10 (permalink)
Michael Hoffman
Wow! You killed me with Freddie's, though. Now lleechef and I have to figure out a way to get Big G up here to the smaller city where we can ply him with Bahama Mama's, Beanie Burgers and other exotic Central Ohio fare.


And the obligatory stop at Waffle House, too.
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schlotz
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Re: Big G's Visit to the Big City 2019/09/25 13:50:37 (permalink)
Looks like BigG was well taken care of...
 
I remember Lem's from the Chicago roadfood tour...had the aquarium smoker
Danny raved about the shrimp there...
post edited by schlotz - 2019/09/25 13:51:50
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Michael Hoffman
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Re: Big G's Visit to the Big City 2019/09/25 14:15:16 (permalink)
JRPfeff
Michael Hoffman
Wow! You killed me with Freddie's, though. Now lleechef and I have to figure out a way to get Big G up here to the smaller city where we can ply him with Bahama Mama's, Beanie Burgers and other exotic Central Ohio fare.


And the obligatory stop at Waffle House, too.


Nah. He's used to them.
 
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Big_g
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Re: Big G's Visit to the Big City 2019/09/25 22:13:22 (permalink) ☄ Helpfulby nagle 2019/09/26 18:15:53
Outstanding write up and photos David, can we meet a Freddie's for lunch soon....I so wanted to try o ne of everything .....
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Davidsanders
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Re: Big G's Visit to the Big City 2019/09/26 00:19:23 (permalink) ☄ Helpfulby nagle 2019/09/26 06:25:24
The fifth stop of our day was at Calumet Fisheries. We shared the smoked shrimp and stuffed shrimp, along with the ribs we had brought over from Lem's.

 
Right at the 95th street bridge over the Calumet River.

 

 

 

 

 
The smoker.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
 
Our last stop was at the Brown Sugar Bakery, across the street from Lem's. They specialize in cakes, specificially caramel cake. We shared that, a slice of chocolate cake, and a piece of bread pudding. All were very good. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
This was the view on the drive back towards the city.

 

 
 
Thanks so much for visiting us Gary! We had a great time seeing you.
 
 
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Re: Big G's Visit to the Big City 2019/09/26 09:40:19 (permalink)
So close, but again no stop in Gary for their original fantastic pizza.
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Re: Big G's Visit to the Big City 2019/09/26 13:26:05 (permalink) ☄ Helpfulby nagle 2019/09/26 18:16:46
I am curious to hear from Gary what where his favorites from this food tour. 
 
At the top of our list is Freddy's, which we last went to with Joe Rogo back in July.  We even let him do all the ordering.  It turns out Joe knows a little about Italian food.  Who knew?
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rumaki
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Re: Big G's Visit to the Big City 2019/09/26 13:47:23 (permalink)
I envy you those pea shoots at Potsticker House.  I first had them at a Chinese restaurant in London (now defunct) and fell in love. Very occasionally I can get pea shoots at the farmers market here.  They are very quick to prepare and delicious. 
 
I am a big fan of Firecakes -- been there multiple times.  It's convenient to the American Bar Association HQ, where I attend a meeting once a year (this coming year will be the last, as my term will be up).  I love the pistachio old-fashioned, and respectfully disagree that it's just a plain donut painted green -- I think there's a real, if subtle, pistachio taste to it. They could leave out the food coloring and it would be fine with me! I also like the coconut cream variety, which I see from the web site is currently "on vacation."  
 
And -- SMELTS at Calumet Fisheries!  I loved smelts when I lived in Chicago.  Allegedly there are "smelt fries" in Minnesota in the Springtime, but I've never found one.
 
Thanks for posting!
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Big_g
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Re: Big G's Visit to the Big City 2019/09/27 00:42:37 (permalink) ☄ Helpfulby nagle 2019/09/27 06:05:29
Gary had a great time!
All of the establishments we visited were outstanding from the beef and hot dog at Bob O's to the cake at Brown Sugars.
Real standouts....the mushroom soup and stuffed potato pancake at Smak-Tak....Freddie's everything...the Tacos at La Chapparita..the eggplant and soup dumplings at Pot Stiker House, the stuffed shrimp and Calumet Fishery all were tremendous and unbeatable in their own right, and the there was Smoque and Lems😋 and Hoosier Momma just killed it on pies.
I can hardly wait to visit the Windy city and our friends again.
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MetroplexJim
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Re: Big G's Visit to the Big City 2019/09/28 12:10:53 (permalink)
Davidsanders, once again your pictures have set me adrool.
 
In fact, I'm going to start saving my money so I can one day afford those Chicago donuts:
 

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Root-Beer Man
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Re: Big G's Visit to the Big City 2019/09/28 12:40:40 (permalink)
MetroplexJim
Davidsanders, once again your pictures have set me adrool.
 
In fact, I'm going to start saving my money so I can one day afford those Chicago donuts:
 



While those donuts look pretty good, they do not look good enough to eat at those prices.
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leethebard
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Re: Big G's Visit to the Big City 2019/09/28 14:02:52 (permalink)
Agreed!! Overpriced!
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phlmaestro
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Re: Big G's Visit to the Big City 2019/09/28 15:34:35 (permalink)
I could see dropping that much for one of those buttermilk old-fashioned donuts if I found myself there. That outer crust looks fantastic.
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will_work_4_bbq
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Re: Big G's Visit to the Big City 2019/09/28 17:02:03 (permalink)
Everything looks great!  But I would give anything for a visit to Freddy's!
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Re: Big G's Visit to the Big City 2019/09/29 11:48:53 (permalink)
buffetbuster
I am curious to hear from Gary what where his favorites from this food tour. 
 
At the top of our list is Freddy's, which we last went to with Joe Rogo back in July.  We even let him do all the ordering.  It turns out Joe knows a little about Italian food.  Who knew?
I would be up for a Chicago tour that includes eating at Freddys three days in a row. Excellent write up and pictures David, reminded me of the Chicago tour. The only thing missing was Buddy’s folding table.
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billyboy
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Re: Big G's Visit to the Big City 2019/10/01 23:17:46 (permalink) ☄ Helpfulby abe_froeman 2019/10/02 08:52:01
WOW!!  So much of this is like a trip down memory lane.  They did right by you, Big_g!  Smoque, Calumet, Freddy's and Lem's are all high on my list for the next visit.  So great to see all of you breaking bread (and pies, cakes and donuts) together.
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