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Thanksgiving antidote - The Annual 'day after' Food Crawl

Thanksgiving antidote - The Annual 'day after' Food Crawl
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  • Thanksgiving antidote - The Annual 'day after' Food Crawl

    Post #1 - November 29th, 2008, 11:22 am
    Post #1 - November 29th, 2008, 11:22 am Post #1 - November 29th, 2008, 11:22 am
    Following up on last year's adventure, it was understood this year -- without even a bit of discussion -- that the day after Thanksgiving meant the family and I were going out to try some new places. So, after sleeping off the turkey hangover on Friday morning, we grabbed the camera and a cooler and jumped in the car, heading for parts mostly unknown . . .

    First stop was GNR, Riviera Foods, where I'd been before but the wife and son had not. We tasted a couple of delicious, made-to-order sandwiches . . .

    Italian Sub

    Diablo (we ordered a Will's Special and this is what they gave us. I'm not sure if they are one and the same or not).

    The sandwiches were, of course, top-notch. The bread was fantastic and fresh, and everything on the sandwiches was excellent, too. The meats, cheeses and condiments were all outstanding. Even so, these creations were more than the sum of their parts. We also grabbed some imported cheeses and salads from the deli to take home with us.

    Next, we headed south and east, hoping to give GNR, Moon's Sandwich Shop a whirl but the gates were locked. I'm not sure if it was too late in the day (it was 1:30 pm) or just a day on which they were closed. So, we continued south and east to GNR, Spring World in Chinatown, where we ordered several items to taste. I enjoyed the crispy duck, the cold sesame noodles and a few items from the cold bar but for me, there were a couple of definite stand-outs . . .

    Mushrooms and Beef (from the Mushroom menu)
    This was a fantastic culinary experience because not only was the meat tasty and tender but there were so many varieties of earthy mushrooms involved, I could barely count them.

    Ribs Yunnan-style
    This is basically the pork equivalent of 'chicken crack,' from Lao Sze Chuan. It was a wee bit salty but the flavors, heat and crispy texture made it hard to stop eating, even though I was trying to save room for the next stops.

    We were in the neighborhood, so we thought we'd give Honky Tonk BBQ a chance. Unfortunately, it was about 3:15 and they don't open until 4:00 so we kept going north and ended up at Cafecito in the Loop . . .

    Cubano from Cafecito
    There was a lot to like about Cafecito, including the extraordinarily good value it provides (there's nothing on the menu that's over $6.00) and the extremely friendly service but in all honesty, the sandwich did not blow me away. It was certainly good and not dry like so many other renditions in town but it didn't transcend, as I hoped (and expected) it would. I've seen pics that others have taken and the cheese always seems gooey. Here, while the cheese was soft, my pic reveals that it wasn't really melted or gooey. I thought the seasoned mustard distracted a bit, too. We also tried the Jerk sandwich, which featured Caribbean spiced chicken breast and habanero lime mayo, and I actually enjoyed it more than the Cubano.

    After Cafecito, we were feeling pretty full but what's a food crawl if you don't stuff yourself to the point of slight discomfort? It was a quick jump up to Division Street, where we stopped in for some delectable grub at GNR, Papa's Cache Sabroso. I knew we'd made a good choice because upon the first taste, I immediately wished we'd stopped in at Papa's with a bit more room in the tank. The crispy pork chop was terrific but what blew me away were . . .

    Pollo "Chon"with Yuca
    This chicken was moist, tender and totally delicious. Given how much turkey I'd eaten the day before, I was surprised how much I liked this bird. As far as roasted chicken goes, this was an exemplary rendition.

    This was, hands down, the best jibarito I've ever eaten. The plaintain was crispy, the meat was tender and flavorful and there was a perfect level of garlic, which was sweetly aromatic but not over the top.

    By making a list ahead of time and loosely following it, we had a great day traversing the city. We called a couple of audibles along the way and unfortunately, didn't get to hit all the places we wanted to. Almost as interesting as the food was seeing a new cross-section of the fabulous city ---- one neighborhood at a time -- on a gloriously sunny day. I wish we could have made more stops but even with the limited amount we ate at each stop, we got full way too fast. Of course, the cooler we brought came in handy, as we had leftovers from each of our stops. Still, though, it's been about 17 hours since we left Papa's and I'm only now beginning to feel hungry. But today, it'll just be a one-stop lunch. :wink:


    Riviera Italian Imported Foods
    3220 N Harlem Ave
    Chicago, IL 60634
    (773) 637-4252

    Moon's Sandwich Shop
    16 S Western Ave
    Chicago, IL 60612
    (312) 226-5094

    Spring World
    2109 S China Pl
    Chicago, IL 60616
    (312) 326-9966

    Honky Tonk BBQ
    1213 W 18th St
    Chicago, IL 60608
    (312) 226-7427

    26 E. Congress Pkwy
    Chicago, IL 60605
    (312) 922-2233

    Papa's Cache Sabroso
    2517 W Division St
    Chicago, IL 60622
    (773) 862-8313
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  • Post #2 - November 29th, 2008, 1:38 pm
    Post #2 - November 29th, 2008, 1:38 pm Post #2 - November 29th, 2008, 1:38 pm

    What a relaxing way to spend the day after Thanksgiving.


    "You'll be remembered long after you're dead if you make good gravy, mashed potatoes and biscuits." -- Nathalie Dupree
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  • Post #3 - November 30th, 2008, 12:28 am
    Post #3 - November 30th, 2008, 12:28 am Post #3 - November 30th, 2008, 12:28 am
    A tip of the hat to the Food Geek for an extraordinary day after.
    Hold my beer . . .

    Low & Slow
  • Post #4 - November 30th, 2008, 8:38 am
    Post #4 - November 30th, 2008, 8:38 am Post #4 - November 30th, 2008, 8:38 am
    Quite the "food adventure," as Sparky and I call it, Ronnie!
  • Post #5 - December 3rd, 2008, 4:13 pm
    Post #5 - December 3rd, 2008, 4:13 pm Post #5 - December 3rd, 2008, 4:13 pm
    Great post, Ronnie! I think it's great that you took the family along. Is there a Father of the Year award in Chicago?