Tag Archives: northside

First Slice Pie Cafe

3rdarm roly poly cat maine coon cat arthur mullen chicago 3rdarm xoco manager rick bayless whitney burke alabama north side first slice pie cafe french silk

I adventured all the way up to the far North side, beyond Devon Ave, to the part of the city where the grid breaks down and I no longer recognize whether I’m in Chicago or Skokie, or even which way is the lake. It was a journey to hang with my friend Whitney, to go to Target and bring her cat to the vet with my car.

3rdarm roly poly cat maine coon cat arthur mullen chicago 3rdarm xoco manager rick bayless whitney burke alabama north side first slice pie cafe french silk

We stopped for lunch at cafe that came recommended for its pie. Not that I was up late the night before obsessing over pie in my pajamas… OK I was. I really wanted some pie.  First Slice Pie Cafe puts out an excellent slice. Based on my friend’s Southern background, we shared a huge slice of French Silk. The chocolate mousse was silky as advertised.

3rdarm roly poly cat maine coon cat arthur mullen chicago 3rdarm xoco manager rick bayless whitney burke alabama north side first slice pie cafe french silk

To balance the sweet with the savory, we shared a ham sandwich with melted Wisconsin cheddar and sundried tomato. I love how soft (yet still toasty warm) the bread it came on was. Thank you internet for a great recommendation for pie! My name is Arthur and I’m a pie addict.

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Loving Heart

kate vegan LA roly poly maine coon cat 3rdarm chicago loving heart vegan burger 3rdarm wilfredo bravo xoco chef

My amazing vegan sister Kate visited from vegan LA, the mecca of US veganism. I had to impress, but also make it look like I wasn’t trying that hard. Loving Heart was an amazing choice.

kate vegan LA roly poly maine coon cat 3rdarm chicago loving heart vegan burger 3rdarm

This is vegan food as made by true believers. One of the chefs was also manning the tablet POS, and she practically sang a vegan song that only my sister could hear when our food was ready. It my sister, me and my chef from NYC, who had joked about sneaking in a little jerky and hiding it for me in the bathroom.

kate vegan LA roly poly maine coon cat 3rdarm chicago loving heart vegan burger 3rdarm

For a non-vegan, I found the vegan nachos delicious, and the vegan Happy Burger also delicious. The happy burger was juiced up with vegannaise, a kind of vegan special sauce that really appealed to me. The homemade potato side was well seasoned and crisp.

kate vegan LA roly poly maine coon cat 3rdarm chicago loving heart vegan burger 3rdarm

The artwork here is also amazing. I felt like the abstract subtly spiritual nature of some of the artwork rekindled mystical journeys I have taken in the past (this is called a “flashback”) and my own (almost) year of veganism. In particular, I had a trippy thought that meat eaters would probably have more bad trips, because of the superior karma of animallessness.

kate vegan LA roly poly maine coon cat 3rdarm chicago loving heart vegan burger 3rdarm

This vegan food was very tasty, in an underground cafe near the bird sanctuary, it was a treat to visit with my sister and chef, during this actual Chicago fall aka “the non-polar non-vortex.”

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Slow Burn

Meghan van leuwen marathon chicago attorney runner 3rdarm rob lamb finisher

It’s been a couple years since I have run a marathon, and even longer since I had a hamburger at the Bad Apple. My friend Meghan, on a bad leg, crushed the Chicago Marathon in 5 hours. Even in spry youth, I had never crushed a marathon in less than 8 hours. At that pace, it’s no longer clear who is crushing what.

In her honor, Meghan’s boyfriend and old school Chicago eating expert, Rob, invited us to one of the city’s legendary hamburger homes, the Bad Apple. They accommodated our party and the beer service began. Their list has some neat beers, and must be about new stuff because I had never even seen Pipeworks on draft before.

Bad apple burger hand cut fries 3rdarm slow burn

Meghan’s mother Mary was in town to support the run that weekend and we met for the first time. The night before I had a stress dream about Syria. It was like Xoco and Kobani intersected in the stress sector of my subconscious. Not wanting to make a weird impression on Mary, I held my tongue while we destroyed the cheese curds.

They were golden and fluffy, some of the best cheese curds I’ve ever eaten. As any marathon runner will tell you, one of the most stressful scenarios would be self-defecating in public on race day. To celebrate overcoming those odds, Meghan got a Hot Brown. These poutine fries, rich and complex, are named after a famous sandwich from Louisville, Kentucky.

The burger was pretty unbelievable. The grass fed LaFrieda beef was perfectly pink and juices oozed out into the pretzel bun with every bite. I got the Slow Burn, meaning my burger was topped with spicy chiles that had been cooked down in dark beer. The flavors intensified but never into the orange zone, nevermind the red zone. On our way out, the chef joked with Meghan’s mom Mary.

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Lickety Split

3rdarm meghan vanleuwen rob lamb etta kostick arthur mullen lickety split chicago custard concrete ice cream 3rdarm sweet treat broadway

After years of friends telling me about how good Lickety Split is, I finally got my sweet treat on. And let me tell you something, Lickety Split is amazing. Hands down the best concrete I have had in Chicago, and in the top three I have had in life. The damn custard is round in the mouth, not too sweet, so smooth, I was not able to stop eating despite being in real physical danger of exploding.

3rdarm meghan vanleuwen rob lamb etta kostick arthur mullen lickety split chicago custard concrete ice cream 3rdarm sweet treat broadway

Etta got cheesecake ground up into concrete, Jimmy Hoffa-style. It had semi sweet cream cheese custard, berries and crumble, very refreshing. Rob Lamb got a petit looking red velvet cake sundae, with raspberries and vanilla custard, the quality of the red velvet cake brought it all together. I bought 2 peanut butter cookies (rich, salty, soft) for a midnight snack as well as a corn cob and black rooster sugar cookie for the next day. Excellent, excellent (rubbing hands together, Mr. Burns-style).

3rdarm meghan vanleuwen rob lamb etta kostick arthur mullen lickety split chicago custard concrete ice cream 3rdarm sweet treat broadway

For my sweet treat, I got the Peanut Butter Blowout. I was in a custard trance for the first 3 quarters of eating it, and then I suddenly realized I was about to blow out. I continued to nibble all the way until I had one or two little bites left, and then I had to stop (all this after an epic feast of Chicago-style thin crust pizza) and let the sweats take over. Let me just say this: if I was Mr. Lickety Split (and I’m not) I would not put Butterfingers in the Peanut Butter Blowout.

3rdarm meghan vanleuwen rob lamb etta kostick arthur mullen lickety split chicago custard concrete ice cream 3rdarm sweet treat broadway

Butterfingers is not peanut butter, but that’s just like my opinion, man.

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Gino’s North

ginos north chicago style pizza thin crust tavern style cracker crust peggy 3rdarm meghan rob lamb van leuwen

Gino’s North is the kind of place that I would have never visited without my friend Rob who was born and raised in Chicago recommending it. Etta, Rob and I took Meghan to Gino’s for a birthday pizza party. The exterior is nothing special, a long narrow building next to Campus Police, under the red line tracks. Inside, however, is one of the most beautiful pizza parlours in the city.

The tables are all circular booths, comfy and intimate. The bar is a historic gem, with a sculpture of a woman in a fountain as its centerpiece. The woodwork and sculpt of the place is top notch. Gino’s North is the kind of place where you want to linger at the bar or booth and take in the ambience. It ranks amongst the classiest old school pizza joints, ever.

ginos north chicago style pizza thin crust tavern style cracker crust peggy 3rdarm meghan rob lamb van leuwen

And that’s where Gino’s North really excels: in the old school pizza. It is no longer common knowledge that there are 2 varieties of Chicago-style pizza, but it’s true. There is deep dish, which Gino’s North offers and I haven’t tried: then there is Chicago-style thin crust, which is where Gino’s North shines.

The crust is cornmeal dusted cracker style, super crispy, the crispiest for this style i have yet experienced. The perfect foil for juicy, cheesy toppings. Gino’s North uses real pepperoni, the kind that curls in the pizza oven. That and the Gino’s Special (sausage, onion, chile, mushroom) should not be missed.

ginos north chicago style pizza thin crust tavern style cracker crust peggy 3rdarm meghan rob lamb van leuwen

Gino’s North operates with a lot of care, from the food to the service. Afterwards we went to Lickety Split for a concrete, dessert Jimmy Hoffa-style.

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Magic Hedge Part 3

magic hedge 3rdarm montrose beach chicago

We stopped for food at Montrose Beach. I had a hotdog by the water, Etta had sour creamy chicken quesadillas and Effie had a big salad of course. A man brought his caged parakeet to the beach, presumably to enjoy the air.

montrose beach food 3rdarm etta effie kostick

That night we went for Chinese medicine and massage at Fit Foot, followed by Thai food at Sticky Rice. Two days later, on her 28th birthday, Effie flew off to see Gordon in NYC.

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Divvy Bike Ride

lincoln park zoo 3rdarm camels chicago

On Monday we went for a long bike ride utilizing Chicago’s new form of mass transit, the Divvy bikes. For $7 a day you can use the bike system: what that actually means is that you get unlimited 30 minutes rides from station to station. We used the CycleFinder app and headed North on the Lakeshore Path from Navy Pier.

lincoln park zoo effie etta kostick 3rdarm

We stopped at North Avenue beach for ice cream and crossed over Lake Shore Drive into Lincoln Park to the next bike station. The tulips and other flowers were in first bloom. We walked the bikes through a small segment of the public zoo and saw these camels lumping out.

north of montrose beach 3rdarm

Almost 8 miles later we turned around just north of Montrose Beach, where the dogs control a long stretch of lakefront.

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Glunz Show

max wolod arthur mullen xoco manager rick bayless chicago 3rdarm glunz frontera grill parsons

As the beer buyer for the empire, I attended my second annual Glunz beer show. The first person I saw inside the door was Max, who managed Xoco before me. He is my beer guru.

sonia 5 rabbit arthur mullen pelotas can wheat beer 3rdarm

After talking to Tom at Saugatuck Brewing about bringing in their fresh serrano amber ale on draft at Frontera, I beelined to the 5 Rabbit booth. Sonia showed me the prototype can for their agua fresca wheat beers, called paletas.

champi five rabbit chicago 3rdarm glunz show

I told Sonia about my fifth grade gifted program project on the Aztecs, and my current reading of the myth of Quetzalcoatl. The god of the midday sun, he brought humankind the knowledge of the gods. In the early American mythology, agriculture and culture culture are tied together, as a higher level of thinking attributed to the gods. Quetzalcoatl brought the people corn, art, chocolate and more.

frontera grill team glunz show arthur mullen kyle fontaine jay schroeder meagan oconnor 3rdarm chicago rick bayless

Team Frontera represented well at this year’s show!

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Honey Butter Fried Chicken

honey butter fried chicken night rain chicago 3rdarm

On Saturday it was seventy degrees for the first time since the beginning of October. That’s almost a full six months. The energy in the city was wild. The next day a low pressure system brought the temperature back down. On a rainy Sunday, Etta and I went to the late afternoon showtime for Noah, directed by Darren Aronofsky. I had listened to the podcast On Point with Tom Ashbrook about the meaning of the Great Flood, and hadn’t stopped thinking about it since. I can stop thinking about it now: we should of gone to see the Grand Hotel Budapest per the recommendation of Mrs. Yak and Aunty.

honey butter fried chicken plate 3rdarm chicago

After the movie, Etta recommended we pick up Honey Butter Fried Chicken: we had both heard good things. It’s funny, the Chicago food critics who decry the saturation of new chicken restaurants. Newsflash: people like to eat chicken. And I don’t mind paying more, say high twenties for 8 pieces, because I know Honey Butter Fried Chicken is getting well-treated chickens. I want my chickens happy alive, delicious after death, and Honey Butter does that. I thought the drumstick would be the main event, but the juicy thigh stole the show with its bonelessness.

The sides were good too. I really like the spicy mac and cheese (spiral noodles). The schmaltzy (chicken fat) mashed potatoes were sickeningly schmaltzy, in a good way. The kale slaw cut the schmaltz back. Still, I could handle at most 2 chicken pieces in a serving. I also ate Honey Butter’s salty cookie and brownie: I love the salt with the sweet, so I was a big fan. That night they were out of dump cake. This is rich food, even before the honey butter goes on. And it goes on.

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Edzo’s Part Deux

edzos lincoln park 3rdarm chicago salted caramel milkshake

Whitney, Oliver and I went to Edzo’s for a manager power lunch. Having only eaten at the original Edzo’s, and with Xoco Wicker Park coming soon, I was curious to see the if the high quality and consistency carried over to the second Edzo’s.

spicy sconnie burger edzos lincoln park 3rdarm chicago

I was very impressed! The man running the burger shop was not Eddie Larkin, but he was on point, personable, warm and a great communicator. I went with an original patty Spicy Sconnie: the meat blanketed in Merkt’s cheese, chile and caramelized onions. I also got a side of buffalo fries and a salted caramel milkshake.

edzos burger shop lincoln park 3rdarm chicago

Oliver said he wished the burger was a little bigger: he got a grass-fed single. It’s great to see the sustainable meat option for a few dollars more. Later on that night, Oliver reported his digestion continued until 8:30PM (sounds about right for me too).

oliver and whitney frontera grill topolobampo edzos burger shop 3rdarm chicago

The spirit and ambience of the original Edzo’s lives in the Lincoln Park space: the colors, art and antique sodapop and burger pieces would not be out of place in Edzo’s Evanston. The quality and consistency were the same, with a colorful personality at the helm.

Edzo’s got the sequel thing right!

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