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Taste of Melrose Park, Labor Day Weekend

Taste of Melrose Park, Labor Day Weekend
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  • Post #31 - August 31st, 2008, 10:15 am
    Post #31 - August 31st, 2008, 10:15 am Post #31 - August 31st, 2008, 10:15 am
    David Hammond wrote:Terrible news: the monkey did not come to this year's Taste of Melrose. Devastated.

    Not a call, card or floral bouquet, I'd think devastated an understatement.
    Sauce on the side, always, implied, axiomatic..........never a doubt, BBQ sauce without.

    Low & Slow
  • Post #32 - August 31st, 2008, 11:01 am
    Post #32 - August 31st, 2008, 11:01 am Post #32 - August 31st, 2008, 11:01 am
    The first thing we ate yesterday at ToMP was zucchini; when I saw the portion, I was disappointed: $2 bucks for three slices? But one bite and disappointment disappeared: these were really good, absolutely perfect fried crust with a little seasoning, some delicious morsels. Well worth the money.

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    Turns out, The Wife has developed a weakness for fried Twinkies.

    THE WIFE: You want a fried Twinkie, I suppose?

    ME: Not really.

    THE WIFE: You don’t want one?

    ME: No.

    THE WIFE: Let’s get a fried Twinkie.

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    [Note The Wife’s Italianate specs – protective coloration]

    Our Lady of Sfingi:

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    Turns out Sicilianos – a must-stop for us every year – is a cop magnet. Last year, I talked to a police officer who was enjoying a fried bologna sandwich, and he told me it was like an everyday meal at his house. Not sure what any of this means, but one thing is sure: the boys in blue like them some bologna, as do we (and there was a stunning police presence at this event, with officers coming in from Markham and other suburbs, mostly sitting around and eating but very visible and, I'm sure, deterring).

    Image

    Hope to go back later today or tonight; if I had stevez’s chutzpah, I’d have taken more shots of the characters who frequent this Fellini-esque fest, and there are a lot of them.
    “Nobody exists on purpose. Nobody belongs anywhere. Everybody’s gonna die. Come watch TV?”
  • Post #33 - August 31st, 2008, 11:11 am
    Post #33 - August 31st, 2008, 11:11 am Post #33 - August 31st, 2008, 11:11 am
    Last year, I talked to a police officer who was enjoying a fried bologna sandwich, and he told me it was like an everyday meal at his house.


    This is what I grew up on as well (at least every other day, no joke, and because we clamored for it, not because it was the only thing in the house). I once had an on-air fight with Nick DiGilio (WGN-AM 720) over whether you're supposed to score and deflate the little bologna domes with a knife as they puff up in the frying pan. He said yes, I said absolutely not. The contrast of the caramelized rind with the tender steamed center is what the sandwich is all about.
  • Post #34 - August 31st, 2008, 11:24 am
    Post #34 - August 31st, 2008, 11:24 am Post #34 - August 31st, 2008, 11:24 am
    Santander wrote:
    Last year, I talked to a police officer who was enjoying a fried bologna sandwich, and he told me it was like an everyday meal at his house.


    This is what I grew up on as well (at least every other day, no joke, and because we clamored for it, not because it was the only thing in the house). I once had an on-air fight with Nick DiGilio (WGN-AM 720) over whether you're supposed to score and deflate the little bologna domes with a knife as they puff up in the frying pan. He said yes, I said absolutely not. The contrast of the caramelized rind with the tender steamed center is what the sandwich is all about.


    I hope Dom offers his insights here, but I believe I saw him simply flipping the slices, no scoring involved.

    The idea behind scoring, I suppose, is that it increases surface area of encased meat against grill, thus enhancing overall caramelization.

    Santander, Linda mentioned that she talked to some guy from LTHForum for about half-an-hour last year -- she remembered the name "Mark," but I'm guessing it was you.
    “Nobody exists on purpose. Nobody belongs anywhere. Everybody’s gonna die. Come watch TV?”
  • Post #35 - August 31st, 2008, 12:50 pm
    Post #35 - August 31st, 2008, 12:50 pm Post #35 - August 31st, 2008, 12:50 pm
    Alas, I don't think it was me last year, but I do know Linda and the family from previous years of my pre-board era. I might have talked to her briefly at "The Feast," (Our Lady of Mt. Carmel, in July) last year when my affiliation with LTH was new, but am not sure if she sets up at that one.
  • Post #36 - August 31st, 2008, 2:17 pm
    Post #36 - August 31st, 2008, 2:17 pm Post #36 - August 31st, 2008, 2:17 pm
    Thanks to this forum, a management decision has just been made that the family's annual trip down to jazzfest tonight, must be rerouted for a stop in Melrose Park first, even without the monkey.
  • Post #37 - August 31st, 2008, 2:39 pm
    Post #37 - August 31st, 2008, 2:39 pm Post #37 - August 31st, 2008, 2:39 pm
    When I attended on Friday night, there was an Elvis impersonator. So that is pretty close. (He was pretty good, although, to my knowledge, did not swing from the lamp posts).
    Toast, as every breakfaster knows, isn't really about the quality of the bread or how it's sliced or even the toaster. For man cannot live by toast alone. It's all about the butter. -- Adam Gopnik
  • Post #38 - August 31st, 2008, 5:19 pm
    Post #38 - August 31st, 2008, 5:19 pm Post #38 - August 31st, 2008, 5:19 pm
    In an old thread David Hammond wrote:The Wife raved about the onions on the fried Bologna sandwich. ReneG gave me a very odd look when I suggested he try one. You know, though, there's really no reason why such a sandwich couldn't be good (if made with the right ingredients, and "properly prepared").

    I've been going to the Taste of Melrose Park for about 20 years but had avoided the fried bologna until now (a recent visit to Memphis changed my opinion of this sandwich). I have to admit the Siciliano's version is very good. The grilled onions (though un-Memphis-like) make the sandwich. The slices of bologna are unscored as far as I could tell but they're nicely griddled to crispness.

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    I can't imagine a visit to ToMP without a visit to the arancini stand . . .

    Image

    . . . and sfingi for dessert.

    Image

    David Hammond wrote:. . . (and there was a stunning police presence at this event, with officers coming in from Markham and other suburbs, mostly sitting around and eating but very visible and, I'm sure, deterring).

    Yes, I noticed that too.

    Even more than the monkey, I miss the wine 'n' peaches.
  • Post #39 - August 31st, 2008, 5:24 pm
    Post #39 - August 31st, 2008, 5:24 pm Post #39 - August 31st, 2008, 5:24 pm
    The family and I decided to head down to ToMP earlier today and in spite of the heat and lack of shade (better to go at night, methinks) we had a very nice time, tasting our way through. Crowds were light and it was a very pleasant experience . . .

    Image
    Taste of Melrose Park, 2008 edition


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    Pulled Pork Sandwich


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    Pork Taco


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    Pepper and Egg Sandwich


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    Fried Bologna Sandwich


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    Fried Calamari


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    Italian Beef Sandwich (hot and sweet)


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    Gnocchi


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    Chicken Parmesan Sandwich


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    Corndog


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    Panzerotti


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    Italian Stuffed Mushrooms


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    Steak Sandwich


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    Deep-Fried Twinkie


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    Baked Clam


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    Pork Chop Sandwich


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    Boneless BBQ Rib Sandwich


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    Italian Sausage Sandwich


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    Rootbeer Float


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    Tamale


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    Antipasto On A Stick (and the 2 nice ladies who let me have it 'on the house' because, I assume, I was taking their picture).


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    Sfingi


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    Stuffed Melrose Pepper Sandwich


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    Eggplant Parmesan Sandwich


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    Arancini


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    Italian Lemonade


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    Pepperoni Roll

    What we tasted ran the gamut from great to well, not so great. My favorites were the Stuffed Melrose Pepper, the Arancini and the Italian Lemonade. All together, the food pictured above, plus several drinks, totalled less than $70. That's a great bargain, considering the quantity of foods we got to taste.

    =R=
    That don't impress me much --Shania Twain

    Another beer before happy hour to put me in the mood for drinkin', uh huh huh, oh, forget thinkin' --Beaver Nelson

    I find it a matter of note that in New York or Terre Haute, school cookies always seem to be oatmeal --Mr. French
  • Post #40 - August 31st, 2008, 6:27 pm
    Post #40 - August 31st, 2008, 6:27 pm Post #40 - August 31st, 2008, 6:27 pm
    Mayor Serpico! I love it.
    Ed Fisher
    my chicago food photos

    RIP LTH.
  • Post #41 - August 31st, 2008, 6:41 pm
    Post #41 - August 31st, 2008, 6:41 pm Post #41 - August 31st, 2008, 6:41 pm
    gleam wrote:Mayor Serpico! I love it.


    He is a constant presence at ToMP; you can't miss him: he looks a little like Dennis Farina's older, tougher brother.
    “Nobody exists on purpose. Nobody belongs anywhere. Everybody’s gonna die. Come watch TV?”
  • Post #42 - August 31st, 2008, 9:06 pm
    Post #42 - August 31st, 2008, 9:06 pm Post #42 - August 31st, 2008, 9:06 pm
    We just got back - and I agree. The stuffed pepper, arancini, gnocchi, and fried bologna were all good. I did not care for the italian lemonade - way too much corn syrup. The cannoli were, as always, stuffed to order. We brought home 10. We fed a family of 3, bought a ton of water ($1/bottle!! a steal) and took many many rides on ponies, tilta whirls and "spinning dog cages". All for $60.

    Best fest of the year.
  • Post #43 - August 31st, 2008, 11:22 pm
    Post #43 - August 31st, 2008, 11:22 pm Post #43 - August 31st, 2008, 11:22 pm
    kafein wrote:We just got back - and I agree. The stuffed pepper, arancini, gnocchi, and fried bologna were all good. I did not care for the italian lemonade - way too much corn syrup. The cannoli were, as always, stuffed to order. We brought home 10. We fed a family of 3, bought a ton of water ($1/bottle!! a steal) and took many many rides on ponies, tilta whirls and "spinning dog cages". All for $60.

    Best fest of the year.

    Yeah, the lemonade was a bit fakeylicious but I really enjoyed the texture, which was perfectly smooth. Unfortunately, our gnocchi were pretty gummy but the flavor was good. Still, there were lots of great bites and the whole sh'bang was super affordable, which was just a nice change of pace from how these events can sometimes go. We'll definitely go back in future years.

    =R=
    That don't impress me much --Shania Twain

    Another beer before happy hour to put me in the mood for drinkin', uh huh huh, oh, forget thinkin' --Beaver Nelson

    I find it a matter of note that in New York or Terre Haute, school cookies always seem to be oatmeal --Mr. French
  • Post #44 - September 1st, 2008, 1:02 am
    Post #44 - September 1st, 2008, 1:02 am Post #44 - September 1st, 2008, 1:02 am
    Just got home, thanks for the comments from you all. Once again, you folks prove why we do this every year. The taste is a great event with good neighborhood food, and having fun with friends tasting different dishes (that's the LTH way, right?)

    David,

    I cook the bologna both ways, as there are some who prefer the well done characteristics of a scored sandwich. My Uncle who started this stand would say that is a travesty to score it, and that the best fried bologna had a tiny cut in the middle, allowing it to deflate only slightly. I have done both, and it is truly a personal preference. I will say that 10% maybe were the "give me a scorched one" crowd, which is fine by me, the customer is always right.I was never a believer in having onions as a kid, but after suggestions from our customers we added them, and now I will eat one, or many without them, but I prefer the onions.

    I know this was on another section of the board, but did anyone try the gyro, I thought it was good, and a good portion for $2. They served it with a yogurt based tzatziki sauce. No tomato or onions, but hey.

    As for the other comments, The Village of MP has all public safety agencies on duty that weekend. You should have also noticed mutual aid companies from Markham, Palos, and a few others. The Police Chief, Fire Chief, and Public Safety Chief all do a good job, obviously you noted the presence. As for the cop stops by my stand, I worked there for a number of years, and they are all good enough to stop by and say hello, and get a sandwich. I would also proffer that they are gourmands who know where to find the best food. :wink:

    Anyway, I am going to take a day off tomorrow, and enjoy some rest after a long weekend. My family and I truly appreciate the kind words and the stories that we shared with our customers about how and when they used to have this sandwich, and that they enjoyed it. The fried bologna maidens, my wife and mother included, always enjoy talking to everyone. A dish prepared and enjoyed by others brings great satisfaction.
    There's always room for fried bologna. - d4v3
  • Post #45 - September 1st, 2008, 5:11 am
    Post #45 - September 1st, 2008, 5:11 am Post #45 - September 1st, 2008, 5:11 am
    The Chow Poodle and I paid a visit last night. The bologna sandwich was a highlight. I'd never had one with grilled onions before, but now that I have, I'll never have one without the onions again. Aranchini, stuffed peppers and sfingi were all highlights. In fact, pretty much everything I tried was good except for the chicken Parisian sandwich that the Chow Poodle ordered. That sandwich was an abomination, made with frozen pre-pressed chicken pattys cooked in a fryolator, then put in the microwave along with a piece of cheese and bun (no wonder there was no line). I also think that I have had my first and last deep fried twinkie.

    Eating sfingi under the stars, listening to the song stylings of the Buckinghams. Does anyting say summer in Chicago more than Taste of MP?
    Steve Z.

    “Only the pure in heart can make a good soup.”
    ― Ludwig van Beethoven
  • Post #46 - September 1st, 2008, 11:39 am
    Post #46 - September 1st, 2008, 11:39 am Post #46 - September 1st, 2008, 11:39 am
    sicilianos wrote:I know this was on another section of the board, but did anyone try the gyro, I thought it was good, and a good portion for $2. They served it with a yogurt based tzatziki sauce. No tomato or onions, but hey.

    I didn't try it because the way we wound through the event, that stall came up at the very end and by that time, I was so full I could barely stand up. Now, I'm sorry I missed it.


    stevez wrote:In fact, pretty much everything I tried was good except for the chicken Parisian sandwich that the Chow Poodle ordered. That sandwich was an abomination, made with frozen pre-pressed chicken pattys cooked in a fryolator, then put in the microwave along with a piece of cheese and bun (no wonder there was no line).

    Yes, the perfectly rectangular shape of the 'chicken' component was a bad sign.

    =R=
    That don't impress me much --Shania Twain

    Another beer before happy hour to put me in the mood for drinkin', uh huh huh, oh, forget thinkin' --Beaver Nelson

    I find it a matter of note that in New York or Terre Haute, school cookies always seem to be oatmeal --Mr. French
  • Post #47 - September 1st, 2008, 3:30 pm
    Post #47 - September 1st, 2008, 3:30 pm Post #47 - September 1st, 2008, 3:30 pm
    Had a fantastic time last night at the fest. Great food, music and fireworks. I hadn't been to this fest in many years, it was nice to be back.

    My fiance and I split THREE Arancini, lol. We also had the Melrose pepper sandwich, had to get two of those. Very well prepared and great values. We didn't get to try the bologna sandwich, had too much bologna as a kid to want to try it, but we'll try it for sure next time.

    We also tried the panzerotti, which was OK, and then we shared a cannoli, sfingi and an italian ice. The cannoli and sfingi were great.

    We're glad we attended the fest and that everyone here had a great time.
  • Post #48 - August 10th, 2009, 2:04 pm
    Post #48 - August 10th, 2009, 2:04 pm Post #48 - August 10th, 2009, 2:04 pm
    I looked up sfingi to see what they were, and all over the 'net it says they are zeppoles. When I went to Pasticceria Natalina this St. Joseph's day, I got one filled with Ricotta and one plain drizzled with honey. Was one really a sfingi? What's the difference between these two doughnuts, if any?
    I want to have a good body, but not as much as I want dessert. ~ Jason Love
    There is no pie in Nighthawks, which is why it's such a desolate image. ~ Happy Stomach
    In the world of apples, Pink Lady runs the whorehouse. ~ James Napoli

    Late-Nite Eats Database
  • Post #49 - August 10th, 2009, 2:07 pm
    Post #49 - August 10th, 2009, 2:07 pm Post #49 - August 10th, 2009, 2:07 pm
    Pie Lady wrote:I looked up sfingi to see what they were, and all over the 'net it says they are zeppoles. When I went to Pasticceria Natalina this St. Joseph's day, I got one filled with Ricotta and one plain drizzled with honey. Was one really a sfingi? What's the difference between these two doughnuts, if any?


    Zeppoles are generally filled with a custard-like filling. Sfingi are more donut hole-like and are not filled. They are also served by nuns.
    Steve Z.

    “Only the pure in heart can make a good soup.”
    ― Ludwig van Beethoven
  • Post #50 - August 10th, 2009, 2:11 pm
    Post #50 - August 10th, 2009, 2:11 pm Post #50 - August 10th, 2009, 2:11 pm
    Holy cow, they had monkeys. That would make a great Christmas card. Looks like I'll be bringing my Santy hat to the Taste of Melrose Park. Does anybody remember how much these pictures cost, and whether you can get snapped with another person in the photo?

    Stevez: thanks for the clarity!
    I want to have a good body, but not as much as I want dessert. ~ Jason Love
    There is no pie in Nighthawks, which is why it's such a desolate image. ~ Happy Stomach
    In the world of apples, Pink Lady runs the whorehouse. ~ James Napoli

    Late-Nite Eats Database
  • Post #51 - August 10th, 2009, 4:02 pm
    Post #51 - August 10th, 2009, 4:02 pm Post #51 - August 10th, 2009, 4:02 pm
    Pie Lady wrote:Holy cow, they had monkeys. That would make a great Christmas card. Looks like I'll be bringing my Santy hat to the Taste of Melrose Park. Does anybody remember how much these pictures cost, and whether you can get snapped with another person in the photo?

    Stevez: thanks for the clarity!


    I forgot to report that the monkey was indeed at "The Feast" (of our Lady of Mt. Carmel, same street and many identical vendors to the Taste of MP) this year, which should give Hammond some hope and childlike glee. For a quarter the monkey would run from the front of the booth up to a high stand in the back and retrieve a blank postcard for you with the monkey handler's contact info. Photos with said monkey would be $10.

    As I may have mentioned before, the idea that this is humane, but "the mouse game" was condemned and hasn't been seen at the Feast in ten years makes no sense to me. In the mouse game, a live mouse was released onto a roulette wheel of various colors with holes in each wedge, and betters on whichever color through which the mouse escaped (back into a cage below) were rewarded with a prize.
  • Post #52 - August 10th, 2009, 5:03 pm
    Post #52 - August 10th, 2009, 5:03 pm Post #52 - August 10th, 2009, 5:03 pm
    I saw that mouse game not 3 years ago at a nearby carnival, though I can't remember which one. I'm all for humane treatment of animals, but this thing was hilarious.
    I want to have a good body, but not as much as I want dessert. ~ Jason Love
    There is no pie in Nighthawks, which is why it's such a desolate image. ~ Happy Stomach
    In the world of apples, Pink Lady runs the whorehouse. ~ James Napoli

    Late-Nite Eats Database
  • Post #53 - August 10th, 2009, 5:15 pm
    Post #53 - August 10th, 2009, 5:15 pm Post #53 - August 10th, 2009, 5:15 pm
    Pie Lady wrote:I saw that mouse game not 3 years ago at a nearby carnival, though I can't remember which one. I'm all for humane treatment of animals, but this thing was hilarious.


    Between you and me, Pie Lady, I'm pretty sure neither the monkey nor the mouse were getting certified organic produce with superior nutrients, and that any "Kobe" beef they were lucky enough to nibble was in fact American Mishima Ranch (assuming a carnivorous mouse from nutritional stress).
  • Post #54 - September 2nd, 2016, 11:23 am
    Post #54 - September 2nd, 2016, 11:23 am Post #54 - September 2nd, 2016, 11:23 am
    Heading here for my first time ever this Saturday. Anyone else going?
    #SOUTHSIDESLITHER
  • Post #55 - September 2nd, 2016, 2:10 pm
    Post #55 - September 2nd, 2016, 2:10 pm Post #55 - September 2nd, 2016, 2:10 pm
    Hi,

    I am meeting Octarine and fifille this evening. It's been a few years since I was home over Labor Day weekend.

    Regards,
    Cathy2
    Cathy2

    "You'll be remembered long after you're dead if you make good gravy, mashed potatoes and biscuits." -- Nathalie Dupree
    Facebook, Twitter, Greater Midwest Foodways, Road Food 2012: Podcast

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