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One Man's Beefathon III Report plus scores & reports

One Man's Beefathon III Report plus scores & reports
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  • Post #31 - February 3rd, 2005, 8:47 pm
    Post #31 - February 3rd, 2005, 8:47 pm Post #31 - February 3rd, 2005, 8:47 pm
    Choey,

    Didn't the foil packageing compromise the bread? Foil is usually not a good sign.
    Steve Z.

    “Only the pure in heart can make a good soup.”
    ― Ludwig van Beethoven
  • Post #32 - February 4th, 2005, 7:42 am
    Post #32 - February 4th, 2005, 7:42 am Post #32 - February 4th, 2005, 7:42 am
    No compromise, since the latency between wrapping up the sandwich (loosely, not mashed) and my first bite was under two minutes. It would have been faster except for the stubborn refusal of northbound traffic on Ashland to yield for beef.

    You're right, though: I too would prefer my to-go orders not be full-metal jacketed, but the aluminum and plastic bag did enhance the dining experience in the sala da pranzo alla macchina.
  • Post #33 - February 4th, 2005, 10:07 am
    Post #33 - February 4th, 2005, 10:07 am Post #33 - February 4th, 2005, 10:07 am
    Choey wrote: It would have been faster except for the stubborn refusal of northbound traffic on Ashland to yield for beef.



    Hehe, now there's a street sign I look forward to someday seeing: "Yield for Beef". :lol:
    Objects in mirror appear to be losing.
  • Post #34 - February 18th, 2005, 10:10 am
    Post #34 - February 18th, 2005, 10:10 am Post #34 - February 18th, 2005, 10:10 am
    RSMBob wrote:Ok, come on...where's the REAL scores???
    Inquiring minds want to know!


    Help, I have been abducted by aliens! They claim to only be interested in "learning more about humans" and try to prove this by probing me in intimate ways with many strange implements, but I have seen the Portillos logos on their T shirts and know their real agenda.

    I suggest we picket Portillos across the city and demand they release our beef scores!!!

    Oh, and the cat ate the scores, damned cat.

    Will really post scores this weekend. Sorry for the delay. BTW, the above was a joke, really. The aliens are not wearing Portillos T shirts.
    d
    Feeling (south) loopy
  • Post #35 - March 20th, 2005, 11:51 am
    Post #35 - March 20th, 2005, 11:51 am Post #35 - March 20th, 2005, 11:51 am
    Seriously, and sadly, the score sheets have disappeared, much to my chagrin. I have the Beefathon I & II sheets properly filed, but I fear the most recent sheets may have been "cleaned up" by the bride. Should they reappear, I promise to post.

    Tasters, can we safely say that that the best sammies were Tore's and Max's? None of the others seemed to really be worth pursuing, though Dino & Nick's makes an intensely seasoned (think lots and lots of garlic and herbs) sandwich that is enjoyable for its seasoned rush. For me, however, the seasoning obscured everything else, and tasted a bit too much of garlic powder, but I understand how it could be enjoyable.

    I know none of these compare to Johnnies. Do any compare with the next tier, Al's, Chickies?

    Or to put it differently, based on the tastings so far, what are the top 5?

    Mine would be:

    Johnnies, which stands a head above
    Al's
    Chickies
    and then there is a bit of a gap, followed by these, all of which rank close to each other:
    Carm's (when the beef is not overcooked)
    Patio

    Sorry again for losing the GD scores.
    d
    Feeling (south) loopy
  • Post #36 - March 20th, 2005, 1:26 pm
    Post #36 - March 20th, 2005, 1:26 pm Post #36 - March 20th, 2005, 1:26 pm
    dicksond wrote:Seriously, and sadly, the score sheets have disappeared, much to my chagrin. I have the Beefathon I & II sheets properly filed, but I fear the most recent sheets may have been "cleaned up" by the bride. Should they reappear, I promise to post.

    Tasters, can we safely say that that the best sammies were Tore's and Max's? None of the others seemed to really be worth pursuing, though Dino & Nick's makes an intensely seasoned (think lots and lots of garlic and herbs) sandwich that is enjoyable for its seasoned rush. For me, however, the seasoning obscured everything else, and tasted a bit too much of garlic powder, but I understand how it could be enjoyable.

    I know none of these compare to Johnnies. Do any compare with the next tier, Al's, Chickies?

    Or to put it differently, based on the tastings so far, what are the top 5?

    Mine would be:

    Johnnies, which stands a head above
    Al's
    Chickies
    and then there is a bit of a gap, followed by these, all of which rank close to each other:
    Carm's (when the beef is not overcooked)
    Patio

    Sorry again for losing the GD scores.


    I more or less agree, but I would put Tore's in the top five instead of Carm's, which I dislike. Well, not dislike exactly, but I don't think their beef is anything special for reasons outlined earlier in the Beefathon II report.
    Steve Z.

    “Only the pure in heart can make a good soup.”
    ― Ludwig van Beethoven
  • Post #37 - March 20th, 2005, 1:55 pm
    Post #37 - March 20th, 2005, 1:55 pm Post #37 - March 20th, 2005, 1:55 pm
    Just ate at the Arlington Heights Johnnies, and if they're the same as the original, I don't see what the fuss is all about.

    It's certainly above average: the roll has a good chew, and absorbs rather than leaking, and the meat is in bigger pieces yet not stringy, but there's nothing special about the flavor here: I expect more spice to the beef, here it had more of the "catered roast beef" flavor than I expected.

    Giardinera was an extra $.20, which to me is an automatic downgrade (it should be part of the service -- penalize those non-pepper-eaters instead). Fries were also ordinary McD's-like starch sticks with no potatoness.

    At $3.20 (plus $.20 for peppers), it was only an OK value. It was neither as big or as stuffed as other beefs I've had.
  • Post #38 - March 20th, 2005, 8:39 pm
    Post #38 - March 20th, 2005, 8:39 pm Post #38 - March 20th, 2005, 8:39 pm
    dicksond wrote:Seriously, and sadly, the score sheets have disappeared


    I knew there was a good reason I didn't turn in my score sheets (aside from trying to keep track of a couple kids).

    I agree that Max's was the best, though that was my bias going in. I rank Dino & Nick's second, Tore's third, and Roma's and Quick Bite somewhere below.

    I apparently was more fond of Dino & Nick's than most, but I liked the spicing. Tore's was solid but didn't do anything to really impress me, and that's with the added bonus of sampling first, when I was hungriest. I suppose the disadvantage of being first is that the sandwich served as a benchmark or control, perhaps, more than a true test subject. (I didn't attend I or II.)

    Roma's I've had before and liked better than this time, but even before, I didn't think it was all that great. On this day, it was quite bad; on other days, I would rank it with Tore's. I liked the fries here, and the total experience, what with the tour and the owner who cared, quite a bit.

    Quick Bite was not a very good sandwich, though I did think that it had a more transparent beefiness to it that made it, though not desirable, at least interesting to me.
  • Post #39 - March 20th, 2005, 9:39 pm
    Post #39 - March 20th, 2005, 9:39 pm Post #39 - March 20th, 2005, 9:39 pm
    I pretty much totally agree with what Aaron wrote, although I have to say, I really did not like Quick Bite.

    Rankings to date, for me (I think) would be as follows, [within each catagory there is no general differences, and this is restricted only to those places visited on the beefathons.]

    Unique and fab in taste and garnish

    Al's

    Best of the "typical beefs"

    Johnnies

    2nd best, slightly unconventional beef (read tomatoey gravy)

    Freddy's in Cicero

    Next best beef's, all normal

    Carm's Hillside
    Chickies
    Patio

    Reaching for greatness but not quite

    Mr. Beef
    Dino and Nick's
    Max's
    Boston BBQ

    Finely Average

    Frannies
    Carm's on Polk
    Tores

    Below Average

    Jay's
    Roma's

    Gutter

    Quick Bite
  • Post #40 - March 21st, 2005, 7:29 am
    Post #40 - March 21st, 2005, 7:29 am Post #40 - March 21st, 2005, 7:29 am
    Nice tabulation, VI.

    Freddy's is an interesting inclusion that high up, since I think only three of us sampled it in Beefathon I. Probably needs to be included in the next one to get more opinions.

    My Carm's in the top list was Hillside, not Polk. I have problems with Polk, as noted in the report.

    The places I go back to, which I suppose is the true measure, are Johnnies, Chickies, and Al's. The problem with Freddy's is that while their beef was pretty good, there are so many other options that when there I doubt I would get the beef - all those sausages call out to me.

    I expect more spice to the beef, here it had more of the "catered roast beef" flavor than I expected.


    Joel, try Chickies, Al's, and Dino and Nick's and let us know what you think. Buona also has that garlic added to the roll. I guess there are two classes of italian beef, those driven by pure beef flavor, and those driven by spicing. A balance is best, of course, which I think Al's and Chickies both achieve. But there are a number of excellent sandwiches driven primarily by good beef flavor - Johnnies (which has a richness in flavor at its best, that sets it apart), Carm's in Hillside, Patio, Max's, Mr. Beef, Boston BBQ, and Tore's all are of that style. Not quite Roast Beef sandwiches, but dominated by beef flavor.
    d
    Feeling (south) loopy
  • Post #41 - March 21st, 2005, 9:10 am
    Post #41 - March 21st, 2005, 9:10 am Post #41 - March 21st, 2005, 9:10 am
    dicksond wrote:Nice tabulation, VI.

    Freddy's is an interesting inclusion that high up, since I think only three of us sampled it in Beefathon I. Probably needs to be included in the next one to get more opinions.



    But these are my opinions...

    And I've expanded the report above on my blog: http://vitalinformation.blogspot.com/20 ... 7558911791
  • Post #42 - March 21st, 2005, 9:27 am
    Post #42 - March 21st, 2005, 9:27 am Post #42 - March 21st, 2005, 9:27 am
    dicksond wrote:Probably needs to be included in the next one to get more opinions.


    Next one? Did someone say "next one"? I'm getting my coat on. When do we leave?

    :twisted: :D
  • Post #43 - March 21st, 2005, 9:32 am
    Post #43 - March 21st, 2005, 9:32 am Post #43 - March 21st, 2005, 9:32 am
    eatchicago wrote:Next one? Did someone say "next one"? I'm getting my coat on. When do we leave?

    :twisted: :D


    Actually, I think there are at least two more planned. One for the South/Southwest sides and then a "Best of the Best"
    Steve Z.

    “Only the pure in heart can make a good soup.”
    ― Ludwig van Beethoven
  • Post #44 - March 21st, 2005, 9:37 am
    Post #44 - March 21st, 2005, 9:37 am Post #44 - March 21st, 2005, 9:37 am
    stevez wrote:
    eatchicago wrote:Next one? Did someone say "next one"? I'm getting my coat on. When do we leave?

    :twisted: :D


    Actually, I think there are at least two more planned. One for the South/Southwest sides and then a "Best of the Best"


    I think we need at least one for north suburbs as well.
  • Post #45 - March 21st, 2005, 9:40 am
    Post #45 - March 21st, 2005, 9:40 am Post #45 - March 21st, 2005, 9:40 am
    Vital Information wrote:I think we need at least one for north suburbs as well.


    If you can find enough places worthy of checking out in the North Suburbs, I'm there. I think the pickings are slim in that part of our area.
    Steve Z.

    “Only the pure in heart can make a good soup.”
    ― Ludwig van Beethoven
  • Post #46 - March 22nd, 2005, 2:59 pm
    Post #46 - March 22nd, 2005, 2:59 pm Post #46 - March 22nd, 2005, 2:59 pm
    SteveZ wrote:
    If you can find enough places worthy of checking out in the North Suburbs, I'm there. I think the pickings are slim in that part of our area.


    I agree with Steve. I live fairly far north (Highland Park) and usually go south for beef sandwiches.

    The best beef in the northern suburbs which I've run across is at Piero's Pizza in Highland Park. It's quite good, though not at the exalted Johnnie's level. However Piero's, which is primarily take-out pizza, opens at 4 pm except on Friday, has no place to eat-in and doesn't have fries.

    Another good beef place is Tony's Luke's in Lake Zurich. which is related to the Luke's in Chicago.

    That's all that I've found. Not enough for an outing.

    Piero's Pizza
    737 Broadview Ave
    Highland Park
    847-433-7795
    http://pieropizza.com/index.html

    Tony's Luke's
    193 South Rand Road
    Lake Zurich
    847-540-6183
    Where there’s smoke, there may be salmon.
  • Post #47 - March 22nd, 2005, 4:35 pm
    Post #47 - March 22nd, 2005, 4:35 pm Post #47 - March 22nd, 2005, 4:35 pm
    The first time I stepped into Patio all I could smell was ammonia. I don't know why they would choose to mop the floor during lunch with anything more than a wet mop but I went to the now-departed Roaster's across the street instead. I liked the Roaster's Italian beef sandwich pretty well so I never made it back to Patio until today.

    I was pretty hopeful due to the modest praise of Patio that I've read here and elsewhere but I was hugely disappointed. The beef was so bland as to barely exist and it was shaved so thin that it clumped together in a big mass--tender but almost completely devoid of flavor. The sweet peppers were completely flavorless and disgustingly limp and soggy. The fries might have been tasty fresh out of the oil but were typically meaty, mealy, heat-lamped fare--okay but definitely nothing special. [I'll take some of the blame for the peppers. I'm a hot pepper guy but I think I may have confirmed the order despite the nice lady repeating it back to me incorrectly.]

    I've only been I Chicago for six years and I haven't tried most of the beef joints covered in this thread and elsewhere but Patio's sandwich is easily the worst I've had. I find it very hard to believe that anyone would rate Patio higher than Mr. Beef. It's true that Leno hasn't been funny since Letterman used to ask him "What's your beef, Jay?" but he knows a good sandwich when he tastes it. That said, I won't presume to state that Mr. Beef is the best in town but until I make it to Johnnie's and some of the other highly regarded joints in town I can certainly say it's the best I've had.

    Now that Roaster's is a Potbelly Sandwich Works I guess I'll have to walk the extra blocks to Al's or Lu-Lu's. I haven't tried Al's yet but Lu-Lu's beef is pretty good. I won't be returning to Patio for an Italian Beef. I liked the atmosphere, though, so I'll probably give their sausage a shot at some point.

    YMMV.

    Kurt

    Lu-Lu's
    1000 S. Leavitt
  • Post #48 - March 22nd, 2005, 6:19 pm
    Post #48 - March 22nd, 2005, 6:19 pm Post #48 - March 22nd, 2005, 6:19 pm
    I've lived in Albany Park, near Pulaski and Western for years, and thought that I knew my neighborhood, but I swear I haven't spotted this place. Help?! Address? Cross street? Even a rough 4--- W on Lawrence?

    Thanks kindly.

    Wade

    P.S. Is there a Dog House 1?
  • Post #49 - March 22nd, 2005, 8:00 pm
    Post #49 - March 22nd, 2005, 8:00 pm Post #49 - March 22nd, 2005, 8:00 pm
    kvltrede wrote:Now that Roaster's is a Potbelly Sandwich Works I guess I'll have to walk the extra blocks to Al's or Lu-Lu's. I haven't tried Al's yet but Lu-Lu's beef is pretty good...

    Lu-Lu's
    1000 S. Leavitt


    Since moving last fall I live a few blocks away from Lu-Lu's. I don't claim any expertise in Chicago beefology and would be interested in hearing what the heavy weights in this field of study think of the place, but on a visit there for lunch before watching football a couple months back, I had one of their beef sandwiches and would agree with kvltrede's assessment: pretty good. Amata liked the black olives in the giardiniera and asserts that Lu-Lu's beef is superior to that of Joe's on Taylor (corner of Claremont and Taylor).

    If that's the official address for Lu-Lu's (and I have no reason to doubt you, kvltrede), it's pretty funny and misleading. Leavitt sort of disappears there at Taylor and one necessarily approaches Lu-Lu's either on Ogden or Taylor; it stands at the southwest corner of the intersection of those two streets, more or less straight across from Ferrara's. There are some amusing examples of urban planning in neighbourhoods like this.

    Antonius
    Alle Nerven exzitiert von dem gewürzten Wein -- Anwandlung von Todesahndungen -- Doppeltgänger --
    - aus dem Tagebuch E.T.A. Hoffmanns, 6. Januar 1804.
    ________
    Na sir is na seachain an cath.
  • Post #50 - March 23rd, 2005, 8:39 am
    Post #50 - March 23rd, 2005, 8:39 am Post #50 - March 23rd, 2005, 8:39 am
    waderoberts wrote:I've lived in Albany Park, near Pulaski and Western for years, and thought that I knew my neighborhood, but I swear I haven't spotted this place. Help?! Address? Cross street? Even a rough 4--- W on Lawrence?


    Wade,

    Are you referring to the Dog House 2 ? If memory serves, it is on Lawrence, on the south side of the street, a couple blocks east of Pulaski, maybe about 3800 west.

    (Just a tip, It's a little easier to keep context if you use the "quote" feature when referring to past posts, out of sequence :wink: ).

    Best,
    Michael / EC
  • Post #51 - March 23rd, 2005, 1:15 pm
    Post #51 - March 23rd, 2005, 1:15 pm Post #51 - March 23rd, 2005, 1:15 pm
    Antonius wrote:
    kvltrede wrote:Now that Roaster's is a Potbelly Sandwich Works I guess I'll have to walk the extra blocks to Al's or Lu-Lu's. I haven't tried Al's yet but Lu-Lu's beef is pretty good...

    Lu-Lu's
    1000 S. Leavitt
    ...If that's the official address for Lu-Lu's (and I have no reason to doubt you, kvltrede), it's pretty funny and misleading. Leavitt sort of disappears there at Taylor and one necessarily approaches Lu-Lu's either on Ogden or Taylor; it stands at the southwest corner of the intersection of those two streets, more or less straight across from Ferrara's. There are some amusing examples of urban planning in neighbourhoods like this.
    Antonius

    Antonius,
    I took the address off the take-out menu so I'm assuming it's correct. :wink: You are absolutely correct, though, that it's misleading. I simply walk west on Taylor until I'm there so I'm not paying much attention to street signs. I think it's probably best if folks look for Lu-lu's at Ogden and Taylor.

    Thanks for pointing this out.

    Kurt
  • Post #52 - May 18th, 2006, 12:25 pm
    Post #52 - May 18th, 2006, 12:25 pm Post #52 - May 18th, 2006, 12:25 pm
    Yeah, it's too bad you didn't enjoy Roma's. Every time I've gone, the beef sandwich is really good and not tooo tooo big with no flavor for a girl who loves to eat but can't finish one of those run-of-the-mill huge beefs at regular joints. I eat it lightly dipped with sweet peppers, with red sauce on the side, then add the giardiniera.

    Max's though hands-down is killer. I also can't not order the ghetto fries when I go. The burgers are also charred and one of my faves.
  • Post #53 - June 23rd, 2009, 10:17 pm
    Post #53 - June 23rd, 2009, 10:17 pm Post #53 - June 23rd, 2009, 10:17 pm
    An update on Tore's: They had a change in ownership sometime in the last year. I think the beef isn't quite what it once was, although it's still perfectly fine.

    The fries, however, are now fresh cut, skin on, and very, very good. They just about make up for the average beef.
    Ed Fisher
    my chicago food photos

    RIP LTH.
  • Post #54 - February 8th, 2013, 1:55 pm
    Post #54 - February 8th, 2013, 1:55 pm Post #54 - February 8th, 2013, 1:55 pm
    There hasn't been a beefathon in years, I see. One would think things have changed. Just sayin'.

    We might as well bring along that cat.
    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

    I write fiction. You can find me—and some stories—on Facebook, Twitter and my website.
  • Post #55 - February 8th, 2013, 2:54 pm
    Post #55 - February 8th, 2013, 2:54 pm Post #55 - February 8th, 2013, 2:54 pm
    Pie Lady wrote:There hasn't been a beefathon in years, I see. One would think things have changed. Just sayin'.


    looks like you are raising your hand to volunteer to organize one.

    kudos.
  • Post #56 - February 8th, 2013, 3:01 pm
    Post #56 - February 8th, 2013, 3:01 pm Post #56 - February 8th, 2013, 3:01 pm
    As I mentioned in other posts, my brother and I are in the midst of our own Beefathon. But we're going to keep doing it with just the two of us and I'll report my scores when we are finished. Or at least, think we're finished.
  • Post #57 - February 8th, 2013, 3:47 pm
    Post #57 - February 8th, 2013, 3:47 pm Post #57 - February 8th, 2013, 3:47 pm
    jimswside wrote:
    Pie Lady wrote:There hasn't been a beefathon in years, I see. One would think things have changed. Just sayin'.


    looks like you are raising your hand to volunteer to organize one.

    kudos.

    I would if I knew a damn thing about Beef. But I could be an eager taster and the official secretary, even though I also have a cat.
    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

    I write fiction. You can find me—and some stories—on Facebook, Twitter and my website.
  • Post #58 - April 6th, 2016, 4:51 pm
    Post #58 - April 6th, 2016, 4:51 pm Post #58 - April 6th, 2016, 4:51 pm
    Vital Information wrote:*The only thing I managed to pry out of them at Max's was that the giardinara was made in two processes. One process involved the vegetables and oil and vinegar; the other process involved flavoring another batch of oil with those mysterious red spices. Then, the two got combined. Me, I tasted something very Asian in Max's gravy/giardinara, and wonder if they use some chile oil or something.

    Simply amazing, I can walk into a room and forget why I went there. I meet someone who worked at the now closed Max's for 20-years and the first thing that pops into my mind is, How did Max's make the giardinara?

    He said lots of mystery for a simple process. Commercially made giardinara, add extra vegetable oil and tablespoons of cayenne until it was the correct color. Done and done.

    I always liked Max's giardinara, beef was variable, though often good to vg. Broasted chicken, when not incredibly salty, tasty.
    One minute to Wapner.
    Raymond Babbitt

    Low & Slow

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