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Annual Black Friday Food Crawl - 2018 Edition

Annual Black Friday Food Crawl - 2018 Edition
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  • Annual Black Friday Food Crawl - 2018 Edition

    Post #1 - November 24th, 2018, 5:22 pm
    Post #1 - November 24th, 2018, 5:22 pm Post #1 - November 24th, 2018, 5:22 pm
    Yee-haw! We had a lovely Black Friday, roaming and grazing from north to south (more or less). We started in Deerfield and finished in Logan Square. This looney run has become one of the true highlights of our holiday season. I cannot remember how many years we've been doing it but in the time since we started, it's gone from my son being so young he didn't quite get it to him now being the ringleader. This year, we had a lot of help from friends and from LTH in assembling our list. You know, I've lived in the Chicago area for most of my life and I eat out fairly frequently and yet, each year there is a seemingly endless number of new places to try. This year, we hit 7.x, only one of which I'd been to before. We are truly lucky to live in such a food-rich part of the world . . .

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    Tous Le Jours - 1685 N Milwaukee Ave, Glenview
    The crew is clearly revved up for Stop #1. A tip of the cap to G Wiv, whose endorsement of this place put it on this year's map.

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    Pastries - Clockwise from top left: Kimchi Croquette, Squid Ink, Sweet Cheese & Hot Dog, Hog Dog 'Bear Claw,' Croissant

    The quality of the pastries here was very high. Both hot dog concoctions were tasty. And somehow, the combination of hot dog, squid ink and sweetened cheese really worked. The croquette was supremely light and filled with delicious kimchi. The croissant was absolutely respectable. There was so much more we wanted to try but we're not exactly rookies . . .

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    Nottoli & Son - 7652 W Belmont, Chicago
    It was a recent mention by Pigmon and Trixie-Pea that piqued my interest about this place. I was really glad that we made this stop. Even factoring in our diminishing hunger as the day went on, this was probably my favorite stop of the entire tour.

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    Meatball Sub with Provolone
    Great stuff. I thought the meatballs and the sauce were excellent and the bread, a light and crusty Il Mulino French loaf, was the perfect vehicle. If I had one complaint about this sandwich, it's that the meatballs were placed on the sandwich whole, which made them a bit more mobile than I would have preferred. One did escape the sandwich and by pure miracle, missed my shirt. But we're just quibbling here. A stain on my shirt from this sandwich would have been a badge of honor.

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    Italian Sub
    Really nice stuff here, too. I should have skipped the tomato and added gardiniera. What did I write above about not being a rookie? I guess I spoke too soon. There's still lots to learn.

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    Italian Beef & Hot Sausage Combo, dipped with Roasted Peppers and Hot Gardiniera
    Dayum! We customized this behemoth by adding hot and sweet peppers, and opting for the house-made spicy sausage, which was one of the best renditions I can remember ever having. This was the one item we finished while we were here. Before we departed, we bought a couple pounds of the sausage (and a few other items) to take with us. This is going to become a regular stop.

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    Finom Coffee - 4200 W Irving Park, Chicago
    Mentions here, again by G Wiv -- and elsewhere, by a few other friends -- had me curious about Finom. And the geography was perfect.

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    Pick Salami Sandwich
    I think Pick is the brand of hungarian-style salami used on the sandwich. From what I could tell, it also included butter and thinly-sliced banana peppers. Very nice stuff.

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    Marrow Toast
    Gorgeous and very tasty with maybe a hint of smokiness? To my palate, this seemed more like liver toast than marrow toast but I'm guessing that maybe it includes both?

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    Lecsó
    Super-hearty and flavorful vegetable stew, redonlent of paprika, with perfectly cooked egg atop it. And the little casserole is extremely cute, too! :)

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    Chicago Taco Authority - 4219 W Irving Park, Chicago
    I'd heard few mentions of this place lately (including someone -- I can't remember who -- raving about it) and since it's almost directly across the street from Finom, it seemed like a great opportunity to try it. Overall, it was just ok. We tried 5 tacos and honestly, only one of them, the shrimp, was something I'd even consider ordering again. The taco field in Chicago is crowded so to be good, you've actually got to be great (if that makes any sense).

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    left to right: chile relleno, barbacoa

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    clockwise from top: al pastor, shrimp, crunchy shredded brisket
    The brisket was not crunchy, crispy or even warm. It was cold and flaccid. Yuck. The al pastor was pulled from a hotel pan in which it had been marinating and cooked on the flat-top. That just ain't right. :wink:

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    Café Marie-Jeanne - 1001 N California, Chicago
    I had a pretty disastrous dinner here a while back but G Wiv's recent praise for a certain sandwich (more on this below) had me intrigued.

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    Ham, Butter & Pickles Sandwich
    With house pickles, on house-baked bread. Truly a delight to eat. So simple and yet so satisfying. Photo-bombers be damned! :lol:

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    Ham, Butter & Pickles Sandwich
    A closer look.

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    Pork Sausage
    Also made in house, we had to try this. It was a bit sweet for my palate and the definition a bit too dense.

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    Carpaccio of Matsutake Mushrooms & Truffles
    Maybe a bit less than the sum of its parts but still, a really fun dish.

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    Tony's Burrito Mex - 1957 W Belmont, Chicago
    I've driven by this place literally hundreds of times but until yesterday, I had not had the pleasure. It was actually recommended by a kid in my son's fraternity, who happens to live nearby. The best thing about it could be that it's open until 4 am. I can see how that might be useful at some point (though, Redhot Ranch is only 5 minutes away).

    In any case, 2 things really stood out about TBM: The speed with which food came out (way too fast, imo) and the surliness of our server. I mean, she was unbelievably unfriendly. Back to point #1, I'm guessing everything is prepped to the point where it just needs to be griddled for a few moments before it's ready to be served.

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    Lengua Tacos
    Fine. Better than anything we had at CTA but not exactly top-tier.

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    Quesadilla Supreme Dinner (w/steak)
    Completely serviceable. I think there was some guacamole inside the tortilla, which was unusual. The meat was nondescript. The beans were extremely salty.

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    Pretty Cool Ice Cream - 2353 N California, Chicago
    3 blocks from home and yet, I'd never been (though I've had their stuff at a few random events). We fixed that yesterday. Just looking at that inviting storefront makes you want to hurry inside.

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    Trio of Ice Cream Bars in their wrappers
    Great packaging, too.

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    Trio of Ice Cream Bars
    Outstanding across the board. The chocolate-covered bar was frozen custard, Cookies & Cream flavor. The orange bar was also custard, Pumpkin Pie-flavored, with a white chocolate coating. The pop was pineapple punch.

    We headed home for a quick intermission before happy hour at The Whistler (sorry, no pics). From there we walked down Milwaukee to Heavy Feather, where we met up with a few old friends, who always seem to come to town this time of year . . .

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    Night cap @ Heavy Feather - 2357 N Milwaukee, Chicago

    So, another year in the books. Happy holidays, everyone! :D

    =R=

    Tous Les Jours
    1685 N Milwaukee Ave
    Glenview, IL 60025
    (847) 257-7648

    Nottoli & Son
    7652 W Belmont
    Chicago, IL 60634
    (773) 589-1010

    Finom Coffee
    4200 W Irving Park
    Chicago, IL 60641
    (312) 620-5010

    Chicago Taco Authority
    4219 W Irving Park
    Chicago, IL 60641
    (773) 282-8226

    Cafe Marie-Jeanne
    1001 N California
    Chicago, IL 60622
    (773) 904-7660

    Tony's Burrito Mex
    1957 W Belmont
    Chicago, IL
    (773) 832-4896

    Pretty Cool Ice Cream
    2353 N California
    Chicago, IL 60647
    (773) 697-4140

    The Whistler
    2421 N Milwaukee
    Chicago, IL 60647
    (773) 227-3530

    Heavy Feather
    2357 N Milwaukee
    Chicago, IL 60647
    (773) 799-8504
    Why don't you take these profiteroles and put them up your shi'-ta-holes? --Jemaine & Bret

    There's a horse loose in a hospital --JM

    That don't impress me much --Shania Twain
  • Post #2 - November 24th, 2018, 7:31 pm
    Post #2 - November 24th, 2018, 7:31 pm Post #2 - November 24th, 2018, 7:31 pm
    No Eagle Rare. I give you an I, for incomplete.
  • Post #3 - November 24th, 2018, 8:09 pm
    Post #3 - November 24th, 2018, 8:09 pm Post #3 - November 24th, 2018, 8:09 pm
    Wowzer! Great 2018 Food Crawl! I look forward to this post every year and, as the saying goes, the family that food crawls together stays together. ")

    You hit some of my favorites, and I've been to all but Tony's Burrito Mex, which it seems I can skip unless out at 3am and hungry for a burrito. In the same neighborhood Tatas Tacos is the clear winner over Chicago Taco Authority.

    Your palate is perfect, no marrow in the Marrow toast at Finom, though there is liver paste. Rafael has an explanation for the name, though I forget exactly what, except it made perfect sense when he told us.

    Once again, really wonderful, I love the vicarious thrill of your yearly event.

    Annual Black Friday Food Crawl, Count me a Fan!
    One minute to Wapner.
    Raymond Babbitt

    Low & Slow
  • Post #4 - November 25th, 2018, 12:59 am
    Post #4 - November 25th, 2018, 12:59 am Post #4 - November 25th, 2018, 12:59 am
    What a fun (and delicious) tradition.
    "All great change in America begins at the dinner table." Ronald Reagan

    http://midwestmaize.wordpress.com
  • Post #5 - November 25th, 2018, 10:31 am
    Post #5 - November 25th, 2018, 10:31 am Post #5 - November 25th, 2018, 10:31 am
    Such an enjoyable read! While Tony's isn't the best Mexican joint, thats where me and some friends enjoyed a late din after 2016 nlcs game 6. So I sentimentally love this place!

    I'll also contend the the Italian cold cut sandwich at CMJ is one of the best Italian sandwiches in the city. So damn satisfying
  • Post #6 - November 25th, 2018, 1:59 pm
    Post #6 - November 25th, 2018, 1:59 pm Post #6 - November 25th, 2018, 1:59 pm
    There is one annual post guaranteed to make me jealous every year - this is it. :D
  • Post #7 - November 25th, 2018, 4:42 pm
    Post #7 - November 25th, 2018, 4:42 pm Post #7 - November 25th, 2018, 4:42 pm
    Oh wow. :shock:
    Some of these venues are ones I should have hit. :oops:
    Nottoli & Son - I live close to Belmont Ave. I have rode the CTA route #77 Belmont bus to Luke's on Harlem to get something (usually an italian beef) there. But this tells me, I should have stayed on the bus a few more stops and tried its.
    Finom Coffee and Chicago Taco Authority - It was good of you to try there. I completely understand why you didn't pop in to Eris Brwy. & Cider House across the road - which is where I have been. Its selection of liquids to drink might have sunk the entire crawl. :P I'll file them away for the next time I go to Joe E's Unforgettable Lounge [You opened the door to Reader mentions :)], a 4:00 am bar to which I am taking a liking.
    Tony's Burrito Mex - This is the corner where I transfer when going to the Hopleaf. I've stood on the corner peering inside, wondering if it is plausible to have something here, or wait until I get to Andersonville. This tips me to trying something here. 8)
    I've been to the Whistler a few times. I prefer beer to cocktails. When I land at Milwaukee | Fullerton | California, I head for beer bars, both upscale and dive.
    Thank you much for this fun and informative post. :D
    Learn what Bing prefers you not know: http://208.84.112.25/~pudgym29/bookmark4.html
  • Post #8 - November 25th, 2018, 5:42 pm
    Post #8 - November 25th, 2018, 5:42 pm Post #8 - November 25th, 2018, 5:42 pm
    Count me in as a huge fan of Nottoli & Son. We schlep down there on a regular basis to stock up on their (frozen) homemade meat sauce and their meatballs - I’ve yet to taste anything comparable...
    "Goldie, how many times have I told you guys that I don't want no horsin' around on the airplane?"
  • Post #9 - November 25th, 2018, 7:05 pm
    Post #9 - November 25th, 2018, 7:05 pm Post #9 - November 25th, 2018, 7:05 pm
    cito wrote:Count me in as a huge fan of Nottoli & Son. We schlep down there on a regular basis to stock up on their (frozen) homemade meat sauce and their meatballs - I’ve yet to taste anything comparable...

    Nottoli & Son is a good source for Italian-American sandwiches and ingredients, IMHO. Can't touch Freddy's in Cicero, but very solid.

    Speaking of which, I haven't been to Freddy's recently enough.....

    Giovanna
    =o=o=o=o=o=o=o=o=o=o=o=

    "Enjoy every sandwich."

    -Warren Zevon
  • Post #10 - November 25th, 2018, 8:47 pm
    Post #10 - November 25th, 2018, 8:47 pm Post #10 - November 25th, 2018, 8:47 pm
    deesher wrote:No Eagle Rare. I give you an I, for incomplete.

    Actually, I'll take the F on this one. I ended up only tasting 3 of the 8 whiskeys before I conked out. But the pic was nice, right? :wink:

    G Wiv wrote:Your palate is perfect, no marrow in the Marrow toast at Finom, though there is liver paste. Rafael has an explanation for the name, though I forget exactly what, except it made perfect sense when he told us.

    I'm now especially curious about why this is called Marrow Toast. We certainly enjoyed it. Maybe I'll ask next time. And thanks, for the kind words. Your tips were a major influence on this year's tour, and I always appreciate your informative posts.

    Cynthia wrote:What a fun (and delicious) tradition.

    Thanks, Cynthia! :)

    WhyBeeSea wrote:Such an enjoyable read! While Tony's isn't the best Mexican joint, thats where me and some friends enjoyed a late din after 2016 nlcs game 6. So I sentimentally love this place!

    I'll also contend the the Italian cold cut sandwich at CMJ is one of the best Italian sandwiches in the city. So damn satisfying

    Thanks, for the kind words. I understand about the emotional connection to Tony's Burrito Mex. I think we all have (or have had) places like that. For me and my son, it was Carmichael's (may it RIP) and a dinner we had there before seeing the Blackhawks win the Stanley Cup in 2015. And I don't doubt what you say about the Italian cold cut sandwich at CMJ. That seems to be in their wheelhouse. Those house-baked baguettes are tremendous.

    zoid wrote:There is one annual post guaranteed to make me jealous every year - this is it. :D

    Thanks, Zoid!

    pudgym29 wrote: Oh wow. :shock:
    Some of these venues are ones I should have hit. :oops:
    Nottoli & Son - I live close to Belmont Ave. I have rode the CTA route #77 Belmont bus to Luke's on Harlem to get something (usually an italian beef) there. But this tells me, I should have stayed on the bus a few more stops and tried its.
    Finom Coffee and Chicago Taco Authority - It was good of you to try there. I completely understand why you didn't pop in to Eris Brwy. & Cider House across the road - which is where I have been. Its selection of liquids to drink might have sunk the entire crawl. :P I'll file them away for the next time I go to Joe E's Unforgettable Lounge [You opened the door to Reader mentions :)], a 4:00 am bar to which I am taking a liking.
    Tony's Burrito Mex - This is the corner where I transfer when going to the Hopleaf. I've stood on the corner peering inside, wondering if it is plausible to have something here, or wait until I get to Andersonville. This tips me to trying something here. 8)
    I've been to the Whistler a few times. I prefer beer to cocktails. When I land at Milwaukee | Fullerton | California, I head for beer bars, both upscale and dive.
    Thank you much for this fun and informative post. :D

    Truly, my pleasure. I've been to Eris but you're right. There was no room for any liquor during the tour, especially since we were driving. As it was, I barely stayed awake for the liquor after the food portion of the day! :D

    cito wrote:Count me in as a huge fan of Nottoli & Son. We schlep down there on a regular basis to stock up on their (frozen) homemade meat sauce and their meatballs - I’ve yet to taste anything comparable...

    I agree. Why is it so frigging hard to find a well-made meatball around town? This is not something I should have to make myself in order to get a good one. N&S really makes a great one, and as I mentioned, their sausage is one of the best, too.

    Giovanna wrote:
    cito wrote:Count me in as a huge fan of Nottoli & Son. We schlep down there on a regular basis to stock up on their (frozen) homemade meat sauce and their meatballs - I’ve yet to taste anything comparable...

    Nottoli & Son is a good source for Italian-American sandwiches and ingredients, IMHO. Can't touch Freddy's in Cicero, but very solid. . . .

    I'm not sure I'd agree with that, at least on the items we tried. I really like Freddy's but I thought that the items we had at Nottoli & Son -- especially the meatballs and sausage -- were more enjoyable than their counterparts at Freddy's. Of course, it was only 1 visit to N&S. Maybe they were having an "on" day. :lol:

    =R=
    Why don't you take these profiteroles and put them up your shi'-ta-holes? --Jemaine & Bret

    There's a horse loose in a hospital --JM

    That don't impress me much --Shania Twain
  • Post #11 - November 25th, 2018, 9:06 pm
    Post #11 - November 25th, 2018, 9:06 pm Post #11 - November 25th, 2018, 9:06 pm
    You already know this is one of my favorite posts.

    Yeah, uhm, my nail salon used to be a few blocks east on Belmont of that place. It was never good.
    Ava-"If you get down and out, just get in the kitchen and bake a cake."- Jean Strickland

    Horto In Urbs- Falling in love with Urban Vegetable Gardening
  • Post #12 - November 26th, 2018, 9:39 am
    Post #12 - November 26th, 2018, 9:39 am Post #12 - November 26th, 2018, 9:39 am
    Great post, Ronnie!

    Nottoli & Son is the place where all of my extended family goes for sausage. Always great.
  • Post #13 - November 26th, 2018, 1:09 pm
    Post #13 - November 26th, 2018, 1:09 pm Post #13 - November 26th, 2018, 1:09 pm
    Great post and congrats on being the first sober person to ever eat at Tony's!
  • Post #14 - November 26th, 2018, 5:13 pm
    Post #14 - November 26th, 2018, 5:13 pm Post #14 - November 26th, 2018, 5:13 pm
    pairs4life wrote:You already know this is one of my favorite posts.

    Yeah, uhm, my nail salon used to be a few blocks east on Belmont of that place. It was never good.

    Thanks, Ava. If the nail place was better than TBM, please send me a PM.

    Al Ehrhardt wrote:Great post, Ronnie!

    Nottoli & Son is the place where all of my extended family goes for sausage. Always great.

    Thanks, Al. I really wish I'd bought a few more items. For one, I could have used some provolone but didn't think of it until after we got home.

    shakes wrote:Great post and congrats on being the first sober person to ever eat at Tony's!

    Thanks, shakes. But one correction: first 3 sober people! :P

    =R=
    Why don't you take these profiteroles and put them up your shi'-ta-holes? --Jemaine & Bret

    There's a horse loose in a hospital --JM

    That don't impress me much --Shania Twain
  • Post #15 - November 26th, 2018, 7:09 pm
    Post #15 - November 26th, 2018, 7:09 pm Post #15 - November 26th, 2018, 7:09 pm
    Great write up, as always! I don't get to LTHForum very often these days, but did come here on Saturday morning to look for your post. (What took you so long?! :) )
  • Post #16 - November 26th, 2018, 11:15 pm
    Post #16 - November 26th, 2018, 11:15 pm Post #16 - November 26th, 2018, 11:15 pm
    chgoeditor wrote:Great write up, as always! I don't get to LTHForum very often these days, but did come here on Saturday morning to look for your post. (What took you so long?! :) )

    LOL, thanks. I was essentially (food) comatose until about 4 pm on Saturday! :lol:

    =R=
    Why don't you take these profiteroles and put them up your shi'-ta-holes? --Jemaine & Bret

    There's a horse loose in a hospital --JM

    That don't impress me much --Shania Twain
  • Post #17 - November 28th, 2018, 8:06 pm
    Post #17 - November 28th, 2018, 8:06 pm Post #17 - November 28th, 2018, 8:06 pm
    Wow - great eating! I never post about Nottoli but it's not that far from my office so I make an occasional trip over there (particularly when I want good quality sausage to bring home for making pizza) and it really is terrific. I haven't been there in a few months so thanks for the reminder. All in all, looks like a great day and a reminder of some places I need to visit!
    I find the pastrami to be the most sensual of all the salted, cured meats. (Seinfeld)

    Twitter: brbinchicago

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