Sunday, April 5, 2009

**Tap Tap** Is this thing on?

Is it possible to resurrect a food blog, even one that never had a high readership?

No idea.

But I have been thinking quite a bit recently about the great food city that I live in.

It's Chicago, for those of you who don't know...

In any case, I have had some money concerns recently, and I've realized that I still eat some pretty amazing food. Mainly because I live in a great food city, probably also because I prioritize food as an essential expense. There are SO MANY great food options here, even on a tighter budget.

So I thought I'd explore some of those, and maybe try to entice a few of my co-bloggers back.

They don't know that I am posting right now, and all of their lives have changed quite a bit since they last posted. However, I'm pretty sure they are all eating interesting things.

I work an odd schedule. I only worked a partial day on Wednesday, then had Thursday and Friday off, and worked all weekend. As I described the gluttony of Wednesday through Friday to my boss, it hit me that I enjoyed that span of eating so much, I should probably tell the world about it. The world, in this case, consists of my co-workers and my roommates. That's a small group, so I thought I'd post it here.

Wednesday. 4/1/09. As a tribute to my mom, who is from Wisconsin and whose birthday is on April first, I had to leave work early so as to avoid going into overtime for the week. Since I was heading through the southwest suburbs back to my apartment, I realized that if I took a certain path home, I would go by a Culver's. This place is a Wisconsin based fast food chain that has started to spread out quite a bit. To my palate, they tie with In-N-Out for best fast food burger ever. So I had a late lunch there around 2 pm. Double Butterburger with cheese basket is only $4.99 right now. Great food, great price. Called my mom to wish her a Happy Birthday. She was jealous, and then gave me a guilt trip for not flying to Boise to surprise her for her birthday. Serves me right for going to Culver's alone. That experience should be shared.

Thursday. Woke up. Roommate # 1, the Asian one, was off last week, and roommate # 2, the student, doesn't have class on Thursdays. I arranged to meet up with Rick, the new dad, for an early lunch at Hot Doug's. Akira (roommate # 1) and Joe (roommate # 2) both agreed to come. So we went to Doug's at 10:45 am. It's been discussed on this blog before, but I'm too lazy to look for it and link to it. Hot Doug's is one of the best restaurants in Chicago. No one will agree with this until they actually go there, but trust me. Or trust the internet. Do a google search, or just go the link I included a few sentences ago and look at the specials menu. His food is REAL. His food is CHEAP. His food is AMAZING. Best fries I've ever had. Anyway, I had the Cinci style chili dog, 'cause everyone was doing it, and I had the Burgundy Wine Pork Sausage with Bacon-Garlic Mayonnaise and Camembert Cheese. And shared some fries. It was unspeakably good. Anyone who wants to visit Chicago, this place has to be on your itinerary. Get in touch with me. I'll take you.

After lunch, I realized I wanted to make Collard Greens. I like the idea of greens. I have a fascination with "Southern Food." I watched the Good Eats episode about greens. So I wanted to make them. Couldn't make them as a meal unto themselves, so I plotted what else to make. I realized I wanted something grilled. Joe's mom provided us with some home grown ground beef. So I thawed that and made an America's Test Kitchen-based recipe for Well Done burgers. (I have a slight fear of underdone ground beef unless it is ground to order). I also made the oven baked onion rings from the same ATK episode, and sour cream and onion smashed potatoes. Not the healthiest of meals, but it was REALLY good. The burgers were superb, the onion rings were surprisingly good, the potatoes were a little runnier than I usually like, but definitely delicious, and the Collards were GREAT. I need to investigate these hearty greens a little more. Usually if I go down that route it's just kale, but mustard greens and turnip greens are now calling ti me. As for the burgers, home grown ANYTHING is so amazing, and that includes beef. Can't say enough about it. And it was a relatively cheap meal. The beef was free, for us, and then everything else was less than a dollar a pound. Potatoes? Collards? Onions? Cheap! The most expensive part of the meal was the ham hock that went into the greens! Oh, yeah. I almost forgot the chocolate mocha cake with chocolate marscapone mocha frosting that I made. It was pretty good, too. All of the roommates joined me for dinner (Akira, Joe, Dane and Hensley), and Leo made an appearance as well.

Friday I woke up and went for an 11 am brunch at Tweet. Tweet may have made it on to the blog before, too, but just in case, let me tell you something. They have the best biscuits and gravy in Chicago, as well as the best hash browns. (I use hyperbole a lot, but they really are that good). They also have a cool space to work in, and very nice waitstaff. Went with David, a friend I used to work with. It was a great time, and we had some great food. Truth be told, I go to Tweet almost every week, so it will make a return appearance here at some point I'm sure. It's not the cheapest breakfast in town, but for quality AND quantity, it can't be beat. Another place I would travel a long way to visit.

Friday night some friends wanted to go to That Little Mexican Cafe. It's a cool place with great margaritas, very good guacamole, and a grilled pork tenderloin entree that really makes me happy. Good company with David, Ryan, James, and Alan. Good food. Easily the most expensive meal I ate over the past few days, but it was worth it. Plus David paid because I agreed to drive him to my place, give him some chocolate cake, and then drive him home. Definitely worth it.

All of that eating in the span of two and a half days made me realize that I missed writing about food, even for the small audience, but the meal that made me sit back down and start typing again came the next night...

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