Archive for May, 2011

#65 Deep Dish at Lou Malnati’s Pizzeria


2011
05.25
Lou Malnati's on Wells

Lou Malnati's on Wells

If ever your friends are in from out of town, it’s only appropriate to give them exposure to proper Chicago fare. I was downtown and weighing several deep dish / stuffed locations, but Lou Malnati’s seemed to be calling with a siren song. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve been to Lou’s and enjoy their thin crust and deep dish all the same and with a friend in from out of town it was time to try some of Chicago’s best deep dish pizza.

8:30pm on a Monday night and the line for a table was “30 to 40 minutes” worth of waiting. Knowing Chicago deep dish takes about 45 minutes to make, I quickly ordered the Malnati Chicago Classic and patiently waited for my friends to arrive. The Lou’s on Wells is a popular tourist spot and there were some English folks enjoying their pizza and a large group of tourists with cameras more advanced than mine. Crowded and family-friendly, there were several strollers rolling around the place. TVs in the background televised the Dallas-Oklahoma City matchup while some tables around were slicing into their pies.

Lou Malnati's Three Cheese Bread

Lou Malnati's Three Cheese Bread

The appetizer that arrived was Lou Malnati’s three cheese bread. Upon seeing this behemoth, my jawk dropped! I didn’t really read the menu and thought I was ordering bread sticks or something. Instead this giant loaf of bread dropped down on the table and it was a welcome sight as I hadn’t eaten all day. The bread was crisp but could have used a bit of garlic, but overall a solid appetizer.

Lou Malnati's Deep Dish Pizza

Lou Malnati's Deep Dish Pizza

The moment of truth had finally arrived right on our table. Lou’s renowned butter crust has been a staple of the deep dish circuit over the better part of the past thirty years and this was the place to be. Picking up my knife and carving into the piece of pie, I could hear the crispiness of the crust as I cut into it. Starving, the pizza was worth the salt and the extra pepperoni added some additional flavor. Lou’s deep dish also has an entire layer of sausage cooked underneath the top and the tomato sauce mixed with the sausage flavor and butter crisp to make the fiercest version of Chicago Deep Dish. You may beg to differ but I am always open to try more awesome deep dish spots.


#61 – Try a Chicago Food Truck


2011
05.21
The Southern Mac & Cheese Truck

Get your mac & cheese here!

After having a blast at The Southern last week, it was only appropriate to take a peek at their food truck. It just so happened that The Southern Mac & Cheese Truck was stopping by the office this week so I rounded some colleagues up for a trip to the food truck. We left early to beat the line and arrived at Kinzie and Franklin wondering when the truck would finally show up. One lady was pacing and circles and no one knew which street corner to wait on. Hitting up Twitter, @thesouthernmac let me know not to get my panties in a bunch and that they’d be there in seven minutes.

Southern Mac Truck

The Southern Mac Truck

Seven minutes later and a step across the street, and I found myself the first one in line! The guy inside told me that it’d be seven minutes and he was right. Looking at the menu, Truffle-Infused White Cheddar mac & cheese it was! Coworkers got some chorizo and pepperjack, along with some other flavors. The ordering was quick since the food is packed up and ready to go and they’ll be kind enough to take your card if you don’t have cash on you.

Back at the desk, I inspected the goods. The cheese sauce looked thick and there was plenty of cheese with some shaved cheese and a darker baked layer. Each bite was rich flavor and the mac and cheese sure beat getting lunch at any of the regular downtown hot spots. By the time I finished, another coworker asked me what took me so long.

Truffle Infused White Cheddar

Truffle Infused White Cheddar

Next time you are downtown in the office looking for something new to eat, consider chasing down a food truck. They all have Twitter and will let you know where they’ll be and show up on time. @thesouthernmac did not disappoint and I can’t wait to try my next food truck!

#64 – Fried Chicken at The Southern


2011
05.17
Fried Chicken at The Southern

Fried Chicken at The Southern

Saturday was a great day, not only did it mark the graduation of tens of thousands of young men and women from their respective universities (including yours truly), but I got a shot to finally try some of the best fried chicken in Chicago. The plan was simple: round up school chums, friends, and family all for one final big bash at The Southern in Wicker Park/Bucktown. The Class of 2011 from Loyola University Chicago’s Graduate School of Business came storming in with reserved space on the Southern’s top floor, with rain and wind taking up the roof deck.

Despite the meteorological challenges, we prevailed with our wristband deals and an outstanding array of food coming out from the kitchen. The party started off slowly with people trickling in and baffled by the birthday and engagement parties going on simultaneously next to the graduation party. As time passed, more and more newly minted Loyola alums shuffled in and the shots flowed freely like cash flow.

Trays of food came flying in promptly at 9:45pm. First came biscuits, in came mashed potatoes, platters of mac n cheese started dropping onto the serving table and then came mountains of fried chicken made their grandiose entrance. Having the good luck to be standing right next to the food, I was in a prime position to grab some of the fresh treats and went on the attack!

Crunchy yet moist, a true contradiction

Fried Chicken with Mashed Potatoes

Now I thought I had seen it all, I’ve hunted deep down in the south side beyond 95th street chasing fried chicken and have found some amazing eats. Good fried chicken can be defined by its dedication to remain crisp and its moisture not burnt away by the deep fryer. I wouldn’t say I am picky about texture but I can recognize when I am biting into pure deliciousness textured to give me a crunchy crisp I expect from awesome fried chicken. The Southern’s fried chicken gives you the best of both words, crunchy on the outside yet tender beneath.

Don't forget your sides!

Don't forget your sides!

I would be remiss if I failed to mention the spectacular mac n cheese, mashed potatoes, and biscuits that capped off the All-star performance. The Southern Mac food truck delivers out oodles of mac n cheese in downtown Chicago but you can also stop in for your own serving of the goods. Somehow I missed the gravy for all of this but the foodwas outstanding and I can see why friends stop in at The Southern on a weekly basis. Once the rain clears out I’ll need to stop back in to try some cocktails and shrimp n grits on the roof deck.

If you’re looking to host an event, The Southern should easily fit in 100 of you and your besties for a night of cocktails,┬áscintillating┬áSouthern, and of course the obligatory Bourbon. If you stop on in please say hello to Kevin Farrell who will make sure your event runs smoothly, your glass never empty, and even host and bounce if you ask nicely. You won’t have a hard time having a blast and your guests will leave wanting to come back for more.