Re:Chicago-Milwaukee Roadfood Trip - October 28-29
Back to Friday's fun...the cheeseburgers at Kopp's (standard issue; ketchup, mustard, relish, and the best grilled onions I've ever tasted that weren't cooked on a well seasoned griddle at a Chicago Hot Dog stand) were just what we needed. Don't get me wrong, there are better burgers out there (Fred's, Tessaro's, Paradise Pup, etc.), but in the realm of the fast food burger, Kopp's version is a standout delight. Big as a dinner plate, about the thickness of a Burger King patty, but way better quality meat, the Kopp's cheeseburger is what every corporate chain burger should aspire to, even though it will never happen.
As I mentioned in another thread, the Sundae of the Month, Caramel Apple, was good, but would have been improved by using a tarter variety of apple so as to give a much needed flavor contrast to the sweetness of the custard itself and the caramel sauce. Still, we didn't throw it away, and it all got eaten in short order.
lefty66, a tour visitor from OKC was kind enough to give me a taste his cone featuring one of the flavors of the day, pomegranate. It actually had a more intense pomegranate flavor than I was expecting. I'd give it strong consideration next time they offer it.
After Kopp's, a quick trip across town to McBob's. Naturally, we lesser beings with limited imaginations went right for the Reuben sandwiches, starring McBob's incredibly tender and flavorful corned beef. Nothing wrong with that; we were all very happy with our choice. But over at the buffetbuster table, they left tradition behind and ordered practically everything on the menu except the corned beef. An array of plates with plump walleye filets and brats nestled in pretzel rolls began to appear. It was a sight to behold, and made me think twice about ordering the corned beef ever again! It's more than 48 hours later and I can still see that beautiful, golden brown walleye filet practically calling out to me, "You turned me down for corned beef? Well go back to your own table and choke it down, suckah!"
I did have the opportunity to talk with some of the out-of-towners about the differences between McBob's Irish corned beef and the Jewish version they were going to get the next day at Manny's in Chicago. I hope one of them will write up his/her impressions of the contrast. Doesn't matter which you liked better, just some initial thoughts will be fine.
Next up was a trip to Elegant Farmer. I was quite satisfied with the Kopp's burgers and the McBob's Reuben, and I knew we had a big meal ahead of us at Beer Belly's, so I restrained myself at the EF. I passed up free samples of apple pie, and walked past all the other treats tempting me. Mrs. Roadhouse picked up a tub of their caramel sauce for later use on...who cares, it's Elegant Farmer's caramel sauce. Put it on a worn out piece of siding and it's going to be good. She also picked up a few hand made caramel candies and some other stuff. We passed on getting a pie because we were already overloaded with kringle and had no place to store a pie, either in the car's trunk, or in the fridge at home.
We made a quick stop at the Taste of Home test kitchens to say goodbye to the group before heading off to Beer Belly's to meet a mess of Contingent members who were there waiting for us. Mrs. Roadhouse and I split a lovely plate of pan fried bluegill filets. They were good, but with every bite I kept picturing that fat walleye filet on buffetbuster's plate at McBob's. The highlight at Beer Belly's might have been the exquisite Mac & Cheese. The moment the first forkful hit my tongue, I knew this was no ordinary M&C! The deep rich flavor of melted smoked Gouda filled my head. This represented the very definition of "comfort food". Frankly, that Mac & Cheese overshadowed every other part of the meal...except the homemade apple sauce brought in by The Pie Diva and son, Martin.
The final act of the day, before heading home to Chicago, was a stop in Waukesha to meet stricken_detective for gelato. i had a small bowl, split between two flavors, Orange Dreamsicle, and Caramel Apple Sucker, which had the necessary tartness that was lacking in Kopp's attempt at same.
All in all an excellent day. I hope all the tour members enjoyed their time in our two cities. Anytime you want to come back for a more in-depth look at the Roadfood scene here, just send me a PM. If I can make myself available, I'd be happy to show you around Our Town from an insider's perspective.