Burger #31: Jury’s The Crime

27 08 2012

I’m getting’ my ass back on track!  I am a burger blogger once more.  As I have suspected before, this is a summertime endeavor – it’s time to admit that to myself.  I did some math and realized that, over the course of my time here, during the months of June, July and August I have blogged a total of 23 burgers.  Between the months of September, October, November, December, January, February, March, April, and May?  Seven.  Jokes on jokes.  Clearly when I was being a big serious college student (jokes on jokes on jokes) I was not able to keep up with the mission.  But while I swore to blog 69 different burgers, I don’t see any place on this blog where I said I would do so by a certain time.  So yeah.  I’ll get to that shit when I get to it.  Until then, off my back, cool?  Thanks.

Oh so… I graduated from college.  Craziness!  This blog was founded exactly half-way through my time at Northwestern University, while I was studying abroad in France.  But you know what, my next post is gonna be about emotional shit.  Skip that for now.  Right now I wanna talk the first important character you need to know for this post: my brother Todd.  He’s like a younger, taller, more stylish, more ruggedly handsome version of me.  I know, right?  Man of your dreams.  Homie flew into town last weekend to watch me graduate, and when I picked him up from the airport, we decided to go get some dinner.  The second character you should know, ironically, is Eddie Lakin of Edzo’s.  He is very tangentially connected to this story but he is connected because he was the one who, when listing some other burger restaurants I should hit up, advised me to check out the Bad Apple in Chicago.  So when Todd flies into town, we decide to head from O’Hare to the Bad Apple following some google maps directions I printed out.

Yeah printed out.  See while this is 2012 and you have a Smart Phone, at time of posting I didn’t have one of those – I still had a flip phone and the Apps it had were called “Calling,” “Texting,” and “Telling the Time.”  No Temple Run, no Angry Birds, and no Navigation.  Nowadays, now that I have a sweet fucking iPhone that I love, when I get lost, I ask the GPS gods and I turn around.  A month ago the deal was, when I got lost I just… struggled.  And struggle we did, Todd and I, as the 25-minute drive turned into a wandering, confused, 90-minute odyssey.  Of misery and humiliation.  When we finally located the Bad Apple, we were exhausted and starving.  They told us it would be a 35-minute wait.  You may notice this blog post is not called “The Bad Apple’s Burger.”  Oh hell no.

Stay with me, here.

I resolved to go back to the Bad Apple one day, but that night Todd and I set out to find an alternative, and two blocks away we stumbled on Jury’s.  “Live music?” I said.  “Burgers?” I said.  “Let’s fuckin’ do it!” I said.  So we did.  We got a seat on the outdoor patio, where a burger chef was grilling on a big ole gas grill.  I was pleased.  The menu offered a selection of burgers with thematic names like “The Eyewitness,” “The Courtroom,” and “The Bailiff.”

I got “The Crime.”

This is not a good documentary photo but it’s unintentionally artsy so fuck it.

Man, I’m getting hungry just talking about it!  The main impression I recall was of an oppressive hunger – the burger could not have gotten to the table soon enough.  When it did I was not disappointed.  BBQ Sauce, cheddar, coleslaw, and one glorious onion ring on top.  I am a huge fan of barbecue-themed burgers, and this one hit the spot.  A good, hearty, American flavor combo made with care, in our presence, with quality ingredients.  Ned Baker Seal of Approval earned!  And the live soul music was good!  And I got to chill with my beloved bro!  And there was no wait!  And the BurgerQuest continued on!

Closing thoughts: I fucking love Batman.  Batman is so flippin’ good.  He is great.  I love him.





#30: Wendy’s Hot ‘N Juicy Double

8 07 2012

Hello hello, my long-lost friends.

It has been 11 months.  You probably thought I was dead.  But the report of my death was an exaggeration, and the beast lives on.  I think I need type no more… just listen to me ramble via video, and get your butts ready, because Burger School is in session again.  69 Burgers… IS REBORN!

Closing thoughts: I’m rusty.  I’m out of practice.  But I am hungrier than ever.  BurgerQuest continues.





Burger #29: DMK Burger Bar’s Bison Burger – CROSSOVER!

16 08 2011

Ladies and Gentlemen, for this, my 29th blogged burger, I am proud to present 69 Burgers’ first ever

EPIC CROSSOVER EVENT!

As I believe I’ve mentioned in one of my previous posts, my friend and current housemate Sam Greszes runs a blog of his own, one of comparable manliness to my extremely manly BurgerQuest.  So of course Sam and I made the logical choice in such a situation – the decision to make like Spider-Man and Wolverine and do a Team-Up (I would Spider-Man, he would be Wolverine, obviously).  It was time for Sam of www.beersandbmovies.tumblr.com and Ned of www.69burgers.wordpress.com to join forces and try, possibly for the first time in history, to combine burgers with beer and b-movies.  Could it be done?  Read on and find out.

Marvel Team-Ups #15. Ned and Sam vs. Delicious Things and maybe a Steven Seagal movie.

First thing I’m gonna mention is I took awesome notes on this whole experience to allow me to recall it in detail when writing it up a week later, and I collected all my notes and all relevant documents very nicely in the take-out bag we got at the restaurant, and the take-out bag is a brown paper bag with no writing on it, which I cleverly left sitting in my living room for a week.  So one of my housemates has since recycled the whole thing, and I’m gonna try to do this from memory.  So bear with me.

Sam told me about DMK Burger Bar when we first had this idea, which, consistent with us, was forever ago.  He proposed that our blogs do a crossover event, with him choosing a burger and me choosing beer and a b-movie.  Many months later we finally got out shit together enough to hit this place up, so we piled in the car with burger regulars Sam and Rehberg, and special guests Zach Spound and his brother Jonah.  We cruised down Clark until we hit DMK and we parked in a hospital parking lot after some arguing about whether or not that would legal.  I asked Sam how he first heard of the “Chicago Grass Fed Beef Burger Bar,” expecting it to have come off of some top ten list or savvy adviser – in fact he saw it on Craig’s List when he was looking for a job.  Still, the buzz was good, and we were hungry.

Andersonville. It’s so hip.

We got seated in the warm, stylish interior early, and the first great sign, besides that our waitress was hot, was that they were playing the most excellent Dazed and Confused on the TVs above the bar.  Shortly thereafter, it switched to Back to the Future, which is a fucking great movie and if you disagree, shut up.

The way I see it, if you’re gonna build a time machine into a car, why not do it with some style?

Let me interrupt myself to say that I just went on DMK’s website to look up what was in my burger, and their website is super hip.  You can check it out here and get a feel for the personality of the joint.  You know where I stand on things that are hip – I am pissed off if a restaurant is all flash and no substance, but I overlook it entirely if the goods are quality.  The first goods we inspected were the fries.  We got two orders for the table, a plate of Wisconsin Cheddar & Scallion, and a plate of Parmesan with Truffle Cream.  The Cheddar fries were good.  Very sharp, very cheesy.  The Parmesan fries were AMAZING.  The cheese and seasoning were excellent and the Truffle Cream was just… I just… it was so light and gentle and delicious that when I first tasted it, it reminded me very clearly of something I couldn’t put my finger on, and then I was like, “Oh yeah!  This is reminding me of kissing a girl for the first time!  I don’t know why.  But it is.”  I dunno if that seems weird to you, but… great fuckin’ fries.

Ooh, look at the fries! Ok, so it was low lighting. What do you want.

For my main course I scanned the burger list, and they had some truly scintillating options.  A Patty Melt with smoked Swiss and remoulade, a lamb burger with feta and tzatziki, and a special only on Cubs game days called “The Santo.”  But when I see the words “Bison Burger” I have a real hard time ordering a not-Bison Burger.  So order I did, specifically a Bison Burger with Fresh Goat Cheese, Pickled Red Onions, and Blueberry BBQ Sauce.  What the fuck is Blueberry BBQ Sauce, you ask?  That’s what I was thinking.  I had to know!  So I got it.  So did Rehberg.  Sam got the Santo.  Spound and Spound got some burgers that I wrote down on the notes that I lost.

My burger was te-fuckin-riffic!  I know it’s getting sorta vague 30 burgers in, but I can be specific and say that it’s one of the best burgers I’ve had in Chicago.  Not quite to Best Burger in the BurgerQuest, but a really, really tasty competitor.  Certainly more well-proportioned than Kuma’s, and more artfully-assembled than the Counter.  The burger was great, the Blueberry BBQ sauce was tangy and out-there, while the red onions brought it home in a reliable way and the goat cheese was just GREAT!  I love goat cheese.  It is terrific.  And you know what was really cool about this burger, which Spound pointed out to me, is that your first bite is just burger, and then you get burger and bun, and then the sauce, and then the cheese.  As you go through the burger, every bite has a different distribution of ingredients, so every bite is different.  BUT EVERY BITE IS GOOD.  Man it was so tasty.

I love a good burger. This is one I’m definitely going back for.

In other news, Sam’s Santo was great.  The Santo is meant to honor the late Ron Santo, who I won’t pretend to have known previously was a third-baseman on the Cubs.  The Santo is one of their grass-fed beef patties topped with Italian beef, fontina cheese, au jus, and giardiniera.  Rehberg made the apt comment that “it tastes like Chicago,” which, if you eat it, you’ll be like, “Oh yeah.”

Man.  I keep forgetting how much we have to talk about here.  Cause the beer!  That was part of the point, right?  Sam picked the burger so I picked the beer.  And I knew I was gonna pick a beer from Michigan cause it’s the proudest of these 50 states.  I settled on something called “The Poet” from Holland, MI, and it was tasty.  Fuck, this is one of those parts where I can’t write as clearly as I want to because I took notes on the beer and they are gone.  I’m not as experienced at keeping track of my thoughts on beer.  I never know how to describe alcohol, except sometimes I use the term “hoppy.”  But I remember enjoying the beer and thinking that it went well with beef.  I’m sure that when Sam publishes his crossover review on www.beersandbmovies.tumblr.com he will do a great job of remembering what he thought about the beer.  So look for it there.

There’s like twenty components to this whole story.  Did I mention that our waitress, Carly, was really nice as well as hot?  Sometime after we’d eaten our burgers, she brought us an ice cream cookie sandwich.  FO FREE.  WHY?  I DON’T KNOW.  CAUSE SHE WAS AWESOME.  It was seriously like two delicious home-made chocolate-chip cookies with a huge dollop of delicious vanilla ice cream in the middle.  We were just… truly staggered by how great and inexplicable our situation was.  And, look, formal documentation of free-ness.

I love this woman.

Did you think this blog is over?  It’s seriously like only half-way done.  I’m not kidding.  Because Rehberg and I, two men of the same mind, finished our share of the ice cream sandwich, looked at each other, and said, “Another burger?  Yeah, definitely.  Let’s get that tzatziki one.”  So we did!  It was a lamb patty with sheep’s milk feta, olive tapenade, Greek salad and tzatziki.  Greek burger!  I mean of course it was great, no surprises.  We got  it to go and ate it on the way to the car.

LOOK AT IT.

I feel like I want to take a break in the middle of this post and you probably do too.  Kudos if you’re still going.  It was an amazing series of things to take in, the burger and the beer and the b-movie, but clearly it’s exhausting to document in detail.  But the b-movie is a-comin!  We considered a few options, narrowing it down to Surf Nazis Must Die, Zardoz, and Steven Seagal’s Above the Law.  This last option was most exciting because we had come to understand that it featured an appearance by Henry Godinez, Northwestern Professor and mysterious badass.

Viva la Godinez!

Finally my curiosity won out and I chose Above the Law, and we watched it.  You want to know what I thought of it?  Well clearly epic crossover events are not super-easy cause, like the beer, I can’t really remember the movie.  Although in this case, it’s not a case of forgetting my thoughts, it’s really like the credits started to roll and I was like, “What did I just watch?”  I know Steven Seagal shot a lot of guys and argued about morals and stuff, and there was a lot of late 80s smooth jazz, but I couldn’t really tell you what the plot was about.  There were some evil guys who went around being evil all over the place and at one point they tortured a handsome young priest named Father Tomasino.  That was my favorite scene.  Henry did some serious acting in that one.

I tell them... nothing!

Closing thoughts: I may even have rushed into these closing thoughts, just trying to close this blog post before it hits critical mass and overloads the interwebs.  Where do I start?  So I’m glad we did an EPIC CROSSOVER EVENT, but I don’t feel like I totally lived up to it, because I was so bloody inarticulate about the beer and the b-movie.  Like Sam and I agreed to enter each other’s arenas, except I totally performed poorly in his.  But whatever.  I had a good time.  Obviously.  Cause I write on the internet about eating burgers.  How could that not be a good time?





Burger #28: White Castle’s Microwaveable Cheeseburger

24 07 2011

So I’m taking Summer classes, I forget if I mentioned that – I’m not just sitting around on my ass all Summer. I mean, I do that three days out of the week, but the other four I’m in class. Anyway, we’re heading into finals week now, and this weekend I’m working on a massive paper about Hitler’s rise to power between 1928 and 1933, although properly speaking I have to account for events as early as the August Days of 1914. Anyway. It’s a big paper. So of course, with too much work to do, it’s the perfect time for a Burger Adventure. The adventure was earlier today (or technically yesterday, or whatever) and tonight the promise I made myself was “first finish reading A.J. Nicholls’ Weimar and the Rise of Hitler and then you can edit the White Castle video.” This is my life.

By now you should be well and truly familiar with the character of Ray Rehberg. He’s accompanied me for several of these. It’s really, like, a Burger Team I’m working with this Summer. Ooh, that’s so exciting, I have a team! Today the team was me, Rehberg, and one of my other sub-letters, the lovely Emily Marso. I marched into their room about 6:30 and said, “Hey, Rehberg, I’m going to 7-11 to pick up a box of those microwaveable White Castle burgers you were telling me about. You two wanna come?” And that’s how the journey began.

Closing thoughts: I have this voice that just sort of fades into the background. I guess I speak at the frequency of white noise. It causes problems when I want to get someone’s attention and they’re standing like six feet away from me and they don’t realize anyone is calling them. You can sorta tell in this video. I guess if I want to keep making video posts I’m gonna need to learn how to project and enunciate.





Burger #27: Bonefish Grill’s “American Style” Kobe Beef Burger

18 07 2011

Remember Rehberg?  Well, he likes burgers.  He’s like me.  He brought you the Surf’n’Turf.  Remember that drunken awesomeness?  Well guess what, we don’t just eat sloppy monster creations while wasted, sometimes we eat classy burgers at classy eateries while mostly sober.  Like at the Bonefish Grill.

I was mentioning Rehberg because his brother is the… executive… something?  The Vice President?

“Rehberg, what does your brother do for Bonefish?”

“He’s the executive Vice President.  I think.  It’s either executive Vice President or operational Vice President.  You can look it up on the website.”

“I’m not gonna look it up on the fuckin’ website.”

That exchange just took place in real time.  In my living room.  We’re watching the World Cup Finals.  Welcome to the writing process.  Where was I?  Oh hell yeah, Bonefish Grill!  So Rehberg’s brother is the Viceroy of this chain of classy restaurants called Bonefish Grill.  They’re allegedly all over the place.  There’s a franchise in Skokie, one of Evanston’s fair neighbors to the West, and Rehberg had told me I had to include Bonefish on the blog.  Well I’m not exactly running out of slots, so I’m very open to recommendations.  Let’s do it!

We loaded up the car with me, Rehberg, Bridgette and Sam.  A tasty crew for a tasty meal, I dared to hope.  Also I was flippin’ starving, as I often am when the burger adventure is planned in advance.  Thus we arrived at Bonefish and met our waitress Gigi, who was very nice and friendly but did take a little while before finally taking our order.  So maybe that influenced our decision to get a lot of Bang Bang Shrimp beforehand.  Whatever.  Bang Bang Shrimp is Bonefish’s specialty.  I didn’t expect to like the Bang Bang Shrimp cause I’m not huge on shrimp but it turned out to be frickin’ incredible and I laid into ‘em like nobody’s business.  I also ate a fuck ton of free bread with pesto olive oil.  Yeah, this place was wicked on the starters.  And it’s technically a seafood restaurant, but eff that – I’m a burger blogger.

I got the “American Style” Kobe Beef Burger.  Just so we’re clear on which country this burger is meant to invoke.  And I got it medium rare just cause I was feeling dangerous like that.  You know the feeling.  The Bonefish Burger comes with the usual works, plus cheddar cheese and a “special sauce.”  I should say now that I’m very easily won over by special sauces.  Their attempt at allure is 100% in this target audience, as special sauces not only make a burger into a special experience unique to that restaurant, but make a burger mysterious.  Oooooh, special sauce.

Also the words “Kobe Beef” in a menu generally mean that you’re going to pay a lot and your burger is going to taste good.  Both true at Bonefish.  And I am down for an expensive burger every once in a while among the cheap burgers I treasure – I like to run the gamut.  I also like to use the word “gamut.”

So let's eat the motherfucker.

Medium rare Kobe beef.  Cheddar cheese.  Special sauce.  What, do you expect a surprise?  An upset?  Of course it was great.  Stellar and mind-blowing?  No.  But certainly a quality burger.  Very juicy, very nice counter tastes from the cheddar and the sauce, and a really magnificent meltiness.  I love a burger that melts – that is heaven for me.  All of this is good news, cause there’s 152 locations, so these should be accessible, reliable, and consistent – the rarer breed of the “fancy chain.”  I give my Ned Baker Seal of Approval to the burger, the fries I got with it, the restaurant, the shrimp, the bread, the pesto olive oil, and the Arrogant Bastard Ale I got with it all.  Thanks, Bonefish.

ALE!

Closing thoughts: I looked back over some old posts as preparation for a project I got lined up around Burger #69, and I noticed that my usage of the word “BurgerQuest” has decreased.  Well… BurgerQuest.





Junk Food Bonus #4: Smokin’ T’s Bar-B-Que’s Classic ‘Que

18 07 2011

That’s so many apostrophes in one blog title.  Read on and find out why they’re all important!

I love to talk about my friends in this blog, and I can never remember who I’ve told you all about and who I haven’t.  Have I mentioned Abby Pajakowski?  Well, if I haven’t, it’s probably best I do now.  She’s a marvelous human.  She Assistant Directed my last show, The Mystery of Irma Vep, and saved my ass and everyone’s ass and all kinds of body parts many times during that process.  Check it, let’s get some photo documentation on this.

The Irma Vep rehearsal team.

That cutie in the bottom left, that’s Abby.  And the dapper fellow in the top right, looking weird in his make-up, is Dan Carlyon, one of two actors in the show.  Let’s look at a picture of Dan in a different costume from the show!

I loved that show.

Anyway, Abby lives in Barrington, IL, about an hour’s drive from Evanston, and she works over the Summer in a barbecue joint in neighboring Long Grove called Smokin’ T’s Bar-B-Que.  Well, Dan and I are both in Evanston over the Summer, I’m taking classes, he’s beginning his professional life, so of course we’re two lazy bums with lots of free time!  So we got it into our heads to make good use of the automobile and head out to Long Grove for some BBQ.  So head out we did.

After 45 minutes, somewhere in the middle of a prolonged discussion about Spider-Man, we arrived at Smokin’ T’s.  The place looked deserted, and in fact, it almost was, except inside was a very special Abby Pajakowski!  Apparenty there are certain times each day when Abby is the sole occupant of Smokin’ T’s except for one guy who would appear briefly in flashes in the back of the kitchen and then vanish.  But yeah, Abby is basically Queen of the Castle.

The Barbecue Castle.

So we said our hellos and exchanged some Summertime anecdotes before getting down to business.  Barbecusiness.  Now there was a wide range of options but when I go to a barbecue place for the first time I’m getting pulled pork.  I’m sorry I’m so conservative and averse to experimentation.  I want me a pulled pork fuckin’ sandwich.  So that’s what I got.  At Smokin’ T’s they call this a Classic ‘Que.  Which confused me because I thought it was Classic Que (pronounced “keh”) like “What” in Spanish.  Which seemed a bit esoteric.  But now I think it’s Classic ‘Que (pronounced “kew”) like short for Bar-B-Que as in Barbeque which Microsoft Word accepts but the dictionary says is “noun & verb, a common misspelling of barbecue.”  Yeah I be teachin’.

And Dan be eatin’ some ribs and some good-ass French fries.

So I got the Classic ‘Que and some baked beans, which were fantastic!  They had, I guess, pork in them?  Or chicken?  I don’t remember which, but there was some kinda meat in there.  Which sparked a conversation with Abby where she confirmed that they don’t see a lot of business from vegetarians.  So I got my Classic ‘Que and I tried a bite and it was good for a start but what is a pulled pork sandwich without the sauce?  Did Smokin’ T’s have barbecue sauce?  Yes they did.  How many types did they have?  FIVE TYPES.

FIVE FUCKING TYPES. HOLY SHIT.

“The Original.”

“Sweet Heat.”

“Memphis Mustard Sauce.”

“N.C. Vinegar Sauce.”

Aaaaand…

“Alabama White Sauce.”

That last fucking one wasn’t even standard on the table, Abby just recommended it for Dan’s fries.  But does it work on sandwiches?  According to Abby it works on everything.  So I kept it in the mix.  I sampled one or two of the sauces on my finger, but with five strong options, I couldn’t just leave this up to chance!  I had to try all the sauces.  So each time I took a bite, I put a serving of a new kind of sauce on.  After getting about 1/3 of the way through the sandwich, I knew which one was going to cover the rest.

Which one was it? WHICH DID HE CHOOSE?!

Alabama White Sauce, baby.  Sweet Heat was a very close second but the White Sauce experience was too novel and too tasty.  According to Abby it’s a specialty unique to Alabama Barbecue.  According to www.bbq.about.com (I just discovered there is such a place; I love blogging) “This traditional Alabama Barbecue Sauce uses Mayonnaise as its base rather than tomato sauce, vinegar, or any of the other traditional barbecue sauce bases.”  Well it was hella good and I smothered the remainder of that ‘Que in it.

Like I said last time, I don’t remember if I do Seals of Approval for junk food.  As a matter of fact I remember saying that in the last one but I don’t remember what I ended up doing in the end.  Well, regardless, if I were to give out Seals for junk food, this would totally get one.  I love me some barbecue, and this was probably the best pulled pork I’ve had in Illinois (not that I’ve had a ton in Illinois, but I’ve had some).  I would take a trip back for the Abby alone, or for the White Sauce alone, but when these things come together, and with some tasty barbecue in the deal, I better get on that shit.  Yeah, Smokin’ T’s.

Somehow my camera focused on the stuff behind Abby instead of Abby herself, but I took this photo while Abby was giving us free cookies and sauce and stuff and I want to remember that part so I'm leaving the photo in and I don't care what you think.

Closing thoughts: Cupcakes!  Do you guys know Patrick Sulken?  He is just the best.  He is just too awesome and talented and nice and well-groomed.  Do you like reading this blog?  I don’t know why.  But if you are reading this I presume you do and I’m glad you do.  Thank you.  But!  I want you to imagine what it would be like if I were articulate and polite and wrote about cupcakes.  Lemme drop a little knowledge on you (love that phrase): as of just recently, this blog you imagine does exist!  It’s called Cupcake Quest.  And it’s even on tumblr, which I have since decided is better than wordpress, I’m sorry wordpress, but it’s true.  Anyway, Cupcake Quest awaits you.  Eat it up, homeskillets.





Junk Food Bonus #3: Hot Doug’s Rattlesnake Sausage

11 07 2011

Junk Food Bonus #…3?  Wow.  Been a long time.  You might be thinking I don’t have a real commitment to eating junk food.  I promise you that I do, and in fact the issue is my commitment to writing about it.  But sometimes you eat junk food so legendary it must be document.  Like at Hot Doug’s.

Like many of my more epic posts on this blog, Hot Doug’s is a place I’ve known about for years, but it’s taken me until just recently to finally set aside the time to do it.  Because I could not dilly-dally any longer!  The time had come.

Hot Doug’s pilgrims.

Me, housemates Ed and Tony, and beloved neighbor Ezra all set out one morning for Hot Doug’s, myself being, I believe, the only first-timer.  The line was considerable when we arrived, but the weather was nice and since we formed a nice little group we were able to pass the time happily.  But it was a good sign to know that on a normal Friday (it was Friday, btw) Hot Doug’s was still hoppin’.

Hoppin’.

It was good that we got there when we did because, looking at the sky when we neared the front door, it looked like the End of Days was on its way.

This was at 11 in the morning. A little early to start looking like the Apocalypse.

I don’t want to rush into the food, so let me begin to characterize the establishment.  The sign-post reads “Hot Doug’s: The Sausage Superstore.”  Elsewhere it was labeled as an “Encased Meat Emporium.”  As it was July 2nd when we visited, a notice on the door read “Hot dogs, fireworks, grillin’ out, the 1812 Overture, family and friends.  Sounds like the Fourth of July?  Maybe to you.  To us, it sounds like Five Days of Drinking Scotch!  Therefore, Hot Doug’s will be closed for Independence Days.”  This joint has character.

3324 North California, Chicago, IL

Once inside the colorful, primary-colors interior, I was struck by the bounty of Encased Meat options they have to offer.  Oh man.  This is a place with a high re-visit value, cause there’s a ton I want to go back for.  Most of their offerings come with celebrity nicknames like “The Frankie ‘Five Angels’ Pentangeli” and “The Keira Knightley,” and a wide range of toppings is available for customization.

See also “The Paul Kelly” and “The Salma Hayek.”

I knew for my first item I wanted a Frankie Pentangeli (an Italian sausage) but I was even more excited by the second item on my order, which I knew immediately I had to try.

Rattlesnake… Sausage?

Every week Hot Doug’s brings in a new game animal and makes a hot dog out of it.  This week it was Rattlesnake.  Which is… the coolest thing.  One of the true exemplars of animal badassery, the rattlesnake is a mythic icon of awesomeness.  And I got to eat one.  Specifically one in Sausage form.  Chardonnary and Jalapeño Sausage form.  With Black Garlic Rouille and Cheese-Stuffed Peppers.  What the fuck is Rouille anyway?  Besides something that sounds awesome.

I just looked it up.  Rouille is a sauce that consists of olive oil with breadcrumbs, garlic, saffron and chili peppers.  Oh right, duh.  Anyway, I’m not there yet.  So I made my way up to the counter, where it is, in fact, “Hot” Doug Sohn who takes your order.  I got the Rattlesnake Sausage, and asked Doug what he would get on an Italian Sausage and he told me and I got it.  I forget exactly what it was – definitely dijon mustard and spicy giardiniera were in there.  Ezra and I also got an order of Hot Doug’s signature Duck Fat Fries (Friday and Saturday only) to split.  At this point, as you can imagine, I am freaking out.

Next time I’m gonna man up and get my own.

So I set to work on the Encased Meats.  First I had the Italian Sausage.  I’m not gonna devote that much energy to it in this blog post but I promise you it was delicious and it looked like this.

Doug-style toppings.

But you wanted to read about the fucking Rattlesnake, huh?  I mean it’s a reptile.  I’m not sure I’ve literally ever eaten a reptile before.  I couldn’t quench a vague notion that somehow I was going to ingest snake venom.  And I still didn’t know what rouille was.  So to be honest, I was excited but I was also apprehensive.  The sausage was grey.  Hell, here’s a picture.

This is a picture.

So I went to town.  And I liked it!  I liked it a lot in fact.  Ultimately rattlesnake is not only not poisonous, it is tasty.  I want to say it tastes like chicken?  Sort of?  I could be making that up.  But probably the closest sausage I’ve ever eaten to a rattlesnake sausage was a chicken sausage.  It is important to mention that this was, specifically, a Chardonnay and Jalapeño Rattlesnake Sausage.  So those components were in there two.  The cheese-stuffed peppers on top were dee-licious, and the black garlic rouille… well this is what you’ve been in suspense about.  It was the best fuckin’ part!  It brought the whole thing together!  The whole thing, garlic sausage wine cheese, it was a winning combination.  Because, like, a straight-up rattlesnake hot dog in a bun with ketchup and mustard would probably have been… ya know, edible, but this was some gourmet shit.

Me eating shit. GOURMET SHIT, MOTHAFUCKS!

I forget if I even do Seal of Approval on Junk Food Bonuses.  I need to consult the 69 Burgers constitution.  Which, of course, doesn’t exist and never will exist.  Unless we’re referring to my constitution, as in “a person’s physical state, with regards to vitality, health, and strength,” which does exist, and to which I am surely doing irreparable damage in service of this blog.

Closing thoughts: all this Rattlesnake stuff is making me think of Rattlesnake Jake from Rango.  Did anyone see Rango?  Guys, Rango was seriously righteous.  Check that shit out sometime.

Badass.








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