Archive for the ‘Food & Drink’ Category

Ballin’ at McDonalds

“Just to verify, I am in the suburbs, I live this shit. The yellow fire hydrant, the green grass, and the Remax Suburban. Yeah, baby, that’s suburbs right there.” Mr. ChiCity lives large with the McDonald’s Dollar Menu:


Mamma Mia! Pizza Beer

Pizza Beer

The tag line of Mamma Mia! Pizza Beer is “Beer so good it deserves… a wine glass!” I’d suggest a shot glass, because that’s as much of this beer as you’re going to want to drink.

“I like pizza and I like beer. So why wouldn’t I want to combine the two?” you might think. And that, I guess, is the question the Seefurth family of Campton, IL asked themselves. The answer, unfortunately, is that you wouldn’t want to combine the two because it tastes terrible.

And it’s not that it doesn’t taste like pizza — this ale “brewed with oregano, basil, tomato, and garlic” certainly has the aftertaste of a big bite of pizza. The problem is that it’s the wrong order. You’d take a big bite of pizza and then a swig of beer to cleanse your palate for the next bite. WIth this beer, all you’ve got is the lingering taste of pizza. Drinking it on its own is unsettling — all the aftertaste of a greasy slice without the actual pizza. And the only food I could imagine pairing it with would be… pizza, in which case it would be overkill.

C-View at the Affinia Chicago

C-View, on the Affinia's 29th floor terrace$13 bevvies at C-View, on the Affinia's 29th floor terraceView from C-View, on the Affinia's 29th floor terrace

The Affinia Chicago is an upscale hotel on 166 East Superior Street. Next time your evening activities take you to the Miracle Mile, wrap up your night by taking the hotel’s elevator to the 29th floor to find C-View. You’ll be glad you did.

My boyfriend recently treated me to a night of theater (a nice substitute for our usual comedy shenanigans) followed by some very urban grown-up drinks at this al fresco lounge, which provides a stunning perspective on the lakefront skyline and Michigan Avenue.

C-View offers non-native fauna-enhanced outdoor lounge seating, which is to say, there are several tall palmy plants fringing the walls behind some of the seating arrangements. Plop down on one of the comfy couches or almost cabana-like chairs or sidle up to the terrace’s centerpiece, a long, tall wooden table with matching tall barstools. It sort of feels like you’re drinking and munching appetizers in a sexy tv show set in LA, and I mean that in the best possible way.

Of course, the specialty cocktails are pricey (my ginger beer/lime/vodka concoction was $13) and many of the hors d’oeuvres are teeny-tiny supermodel portions (a beef dish was about a spoon-sized dollop of chopped beef with a crispy rice cracker), but the view and the air are wonderful.

And when you remember that for the majority of the year, Chicago is freezing and dark, it’s important to grab all the al fresco you can before summer is over.

Photos by Elizabeth McQuern.

What $20 Gets You at Edgewater Produce

$20 at Edgewater Produce Gets You This

I wrote about the amazing low prices at Edgewater Produce Edgewater Produce (5509 N. Clark St., near Bryn Mawr), earlier on Chicago Metblogs.

I thought I’d offer a visual representation of what $20 can get you there:

Chocolate covered pretzels – $2.17
Chocolate covered peanuts – $3.35
Sesame sticks – $1.36
5 MacIntosh apples – $1.25
Big box of assorted cookies – $2.00
Fresh blueberries – $1.98
20 small flour tortillas – $1.69
Big hunk of jalapeno cheese – $3.89
10 Senor Freeze popsicles – $.99
Fresh bunch of spinach – $1.98
Broccoli crown – $.36

As a comparison, if you were going to spend $20 on Guinness at your average Chicago pub, you’d probably get two beers.

Photo by me, original can be seen here.

La Cocina de Fri-dont

I’m not one to criticize or complain about a business, unless it’s just an absolutely horrible experience. That being said, let me tell you about my experience at La Cocina de Frida (5403 N. Clark) a couple of nights ago….

I was with a couple of friends and we were strolling down Clark Street, looking for decent, fairly priced food that we could eat on a patio – not too much to ask, right? Right, that’s what I thought.

We were seated right away, on the outside edge of a very nice patio (I’ll give them that), but it just went down hill from there. We didn’t get our water and basket of chips for about 20 minutes, and our drinks came about 10 minutes after that.

As a vegetarian, I found the menu very limiting. There are roughly four appetizers (all meat-filled) two main dishes, and maybe two deserts. And they won’t allow you to modify a meal (all 3 enchiladas have to be the same style, can’t add anything, can’t subtract anything).  I ended up ordering nachos, minus the meat on top (which made the waiter frown disapprovingly at me). They were $12 and mediocre, at best.

Once we were done eating, we waited another 15 minutes for the waiter to bring our check, which he took his sweet time processing. I know what you’re thinking “maybe they were busy“. No. They weren’t.  It was a Wednesday. At 9pm (7:30 when we got there, mind you). And no. I’m not going back there.

To make matters worse, I think I left my very favorite pair of sunglasses behind when I left, and of course when I called to see if anyone had found them, all I got was a quick “nope” and a dial tone.

The one redeeming thing about the place was the actual artwork. I love Frida – I just hate her restaurant.

Free Slurpee Day

Get it? 7/11 = 7-11? Anyhoodle, it’s Free Surplee Day! 

Regional Hot Dog Styles

Of course our way is the best way, but it’s always good to see what else is out there: Serious Eats rounds up America’s regional hot dog styles.

Edgewater Produce – Cheap Produce, Monkeylicious Dry Goods

With consumer goods prices burgeoning and my “still somewhat timid freelance writer” schtick not yet helping me rake large piles of cash into my wallet, I’ve been looking for more ways to cut costs.

Having sold my Ford Explorer (did I really drive that thing?) before I moved from Indiana to Chicago not long ago, I’m not feeling the pinch at the pump like you auto-owning Chicagoans are, but these days I’m riding my bike as much to save myself the $1.75 on the CTA as to get some fun summertime cardio.

I’ve been cutting my own hair. I’ve been sneaking snacks into the movies. I’ve been bringing my own food with me whenever I leave the house.

And I’ve been forgoing the convenience and selection of the Andersonville Jewel for the vastly cheaper and more interesting Edgewater Produce (5509 N. Clark St., near Bryn Mawr), a small Mexican grocery store right across the street from Jewel. Some prices might slowly be creeping up — the cheapest eggs have jumped from $.99 to $1.29 — but the produce and Mexican staples are cheap and delicious. They also have a small but nice baked goods selection, cheap tofu (if you swing that way), and a delightful assortment of strange and delicious Mexican candies and treats.

And while I go mostly for things like the bulk dried fruit and trail mix-type snack selection, even my boyfriend the foodie (who uses strange and fancy gadgets like skillets and spatulas) is happy with the selection of meats, veggies, and the colorful array of ethnic sauces and spices that populate the shelves there.

And the best part — the eagle-eyed shopper will spot little snapshots of comedy embedded in the Edgewater Produce experience, like the labels on the bulk foods. Exactly which pointy rice snack makes the “fancy Oriental mix” fancy? Does the energy in the “energy mix” come from the fake M&M’s? And how much of my RDA of ape-liciousness will I get from a half cup of “banana chimps?”

– photo by Bryan Bowden

One way to enjoy your Monday…

It’s Monday. We’re back at work after a great Chicago summer weekend. What could Monday possibly have for us to enjoy? How about this:

Monday bacon!  Tuesday the shits!

All you can eat?!?!? I know vegetarians are probably disgusted, and as an omnivore even I’m thinking, “two pieces of bacon should be sufficient.” However, I know that bacon has some ravenous fans that will take up this offer (or challenge).

To find out more head for the Whiskey Road at 1935 N. Damen. Even if “all u can eat bacon” is not your thing, it’s still a nice little bar. They have tasty burgers (beef, turkey, crab, and veggie). It’s also the only place I’ve found that serves one of my favorite foods, fried pickle chips. Plus, Monday is not only “all u can eat bacon”, but also movie night. I go to Whiskey Road on Thursdays at 9pm for a stand-up comedy open mic run by the awesome Chicago comedian Adam Burke (here’s a sample of his stand-up).

Don’t like any of those things? Then draw on the chalk board walls or enjoy some one else’s chalk drawing of the physical embodiment of two euphemisms for self love.

If you go tonight, let me know how much bacon u ate.



Since 2006 Peter Strazzabosco has been taking close-up pictures of Chicago-style foods at GreaseFreak. The site is dead simple: photos of italian beef, hot dogs, turkey clubs, burgers, italian subs, chili, and gyros with a quick rating of taste, presentation, and ambience. But damn if I’m not ready for lunch.

(Thanks jkb and Troy)

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