Mad Girl Eats Gus’s Fried Chicken in Chicago

wp-1469384997756.jpg

Gus’s World Famous Fried Chicken, 847 W Fulton Market, Chicago, IL. Located in the West Loop with multiple locations in different cities.

Short and sweet. I had chicken and only chicken….and really, thats all that matters. First bite was an OMG moment. A perfect crisp and gentle bite, sunken deep into super moist and flavorful chicken. A medium spicey heat where the chicken doesn’t get lost. You’re not wiping your brow, nor crying due to your mouth being on FIYAH! More please!

Superbly done. This chicken is worth the trip.

Hours: Sun-Thurs 11:oopm to 10:00pm, Fri-Sat 11:00am to 12:00am.

Gus’s World Famous Fried Chicken

5 out of 5 perfect poultry points!

Mad Girl Eats Little Goat Diner in Chicago!

wpid-photogrid_1440100489942_wm.jpg

Little Goat Diner, 820 W. Randolph St, Chicago, IL. Located in Chicago’s West Loop.

Little Goat Diner is the little sister resto of Stephanie Izard’s mega famed Girl and the Goat restaurant across the street. You walk in and the interior is far from any ‘diner’ I’ve ever seen.Think chic industrial.  Super busy per usual at lunch time, I opt for a sandwich to take out and am directed to the Bakery bar area. After perusing the menu, I decide on a signature goat item, the Goat Almighty. As you can see by the photos above, it was aptly named.

I opened it up and was like….Holy Toledo Batman, this is a gargantuan burger! How do you even begin to eat it?! Let me lay it on you….it consists of a goat burger, braised beef, bbq pork, pickled jalapenos, salsa verde, onion rings, cheddar cheese, and  pickles all inbetween a yummy bun. The only way I could possibly take a bite is by halves…top and bottom. It was fantastic, but the only thing I couldn’t get was a good overall sense of all components in one bite and how they worked together. Other than that, it was good!

Little Goat offers an awesome menu for Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner. Diner food twisted into something special. My next trip back I want to try a Pork Belly Pancake, a Smoked Pork and Toffee Crunch Shake, a delight from the Bakery, or maybe something coo coo crazy from their Breakfast menu which they serve all day. I love that!

Diner Hours: Sun – Thurs 7:00am – 10:00pm, Fri – Sat 7:00am – 12:00am  Bakery Hours: Everyday 6:00am – 6:00pm.

http://littlegoatchicago.com

Don’t be surprised if wait time for a table is an hour. Reservations accepted for Dinner only.

4.75 out of 5 points.

Mad Girl Eats Publican Quality Meats in Chicago

wpid-photogrid_1420494822295_wm.jpg

825 West Fulton Market, Chicago, IL.

What is better than a Butcher shop? A Butcher shop that is also a café, bakery and gourmet market across the street from their awesome fine dining restaurant. Yeah, that’s right. Publican Quality Meats is directly across the street from The Publican. If you watch out the window, you will see employees running between the two.

A tight, but fantastic space. You can order baked goods, soups, sandwiches, charcuterie, hunk o’ meat, coffee drinks, etc to go… or stay and be waited on at a table. The tables are few up front, and in the back are 3 long communal tables. After a 25 minute wait (I did arrive at lunchtime) I was seated next to the window at the end of a large communal table. Service was rushed but friendly, but I was rushed but friendly too. I needed to get my hands on a tried and true menu item, the “Return of the Gyro”.

Soon enough my wrap arrives and it looks sensational. This is not your normal food court gyro. Listen up: Braised pork belly, raita (yogurt sauce with herbs and spices), escalivada (roasted veggies), pea shoots, and calabrian chili vinaigrette all snuggled together in a rolled up rug of griddled flatbread. This sandwich brought it. Flavor bombs in every bite….rich pork belly that is balanced with the raita, excited vegetables and a kicky vinaigrette makes this sandwich moan-worthy. It came with a bowl of slaw and a dill pickle spear. Leave the slaw, devour the pickle.

Wow. Just wow. I will go back when I have time to eat up more of the menu!

http://publicanqualitymeats.com

Hours: Mon – Sat 10:00am to 6:00pm, Sunday 10:00am to 5:00pm, Lunch everyday starting at 10:00am.

5 of 5 bodacious butcher shop bites.

 

Mad Girl Eats Au Cheval in Chicago

image

Au Cheval, 800 W Randolph St, Chicago IL.

After reading and hearing amazing things about Au Cheval Bar and Diner, it was my second shot at eating there, and I took it. In the freezing, dead of Winter, I was put on the waitlist for one and a half hours….with specific instructions. Don’t let the wait stop you. I would rather wait hours for fabulous, than 20 minutes for mediocre.

The most noted, their Cheeseburger with thick cut peppered bacon and one fried egg, was my number one choice. Second up, the
Crispy potato hash with duck heart gravy, topped with egg….I couldn’t resist.

A rusticly chic, warmly sophisticated atmosphere enveloped me, soothing me from the Windy City winter. Quickly the food arrived, and it was abundantly beautiful.

I first tasted the potato hash. The duck heart gravy was rich, meaty, and herbaceous. With mornay sauce and the broken egg yolk oozing throughout the perfectly done hashbrowns, I wanted to cry with delight. Ok Avery, step away from the dish of yumminess and dive into the burger.

Upon first bite, OMGreatGoodness. I mean…just let me moan. This burger exceeded my expectations. Superb beef, cheese….yada yada yada…the freakin bacon, and another ooey gooey egg brought a tear to my eye. I was leery because they only cook their burgers medium or well done, and I’m a rare girl. The medium did not disappoint and kept it’s outrageous flavor. One of the best burgers to date. Chicago does burgers right. Carnivore Heaven!

Au Cheval, I love you. I’m intrigued to eat my way through your entire menu.

Located in the burgeoning foodie area of Chicago’s West Loop.
Hours: 11am to midnight.
http://auchevalchicago.com

Mad Girl Eats The Purple Pig in Chicago

wpid-photogrid_1406509840909.jpg

The Purple Pig, 500 N Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL.

With the words “Cheese, Swine, Wine” emblazoned across the entrance of The Purple Pig, I knew I was in for a thrill ride of a meal! The menu is filled with tapas fare, original dishes, concoctions of the “wild” side, a perfect place to step into bliss… instead of the ho-hum ordinary.

With a myriad of selections, I decide on the fried pig ears with crispy kale, pickled cherry peppers, and a beautiful sunny side up egg on top. Next, I dare to try their version of Chicago’s Italian Beef sandwich, made with pork heart and giardiniera. As requested, I received a tall glass of ice water and a lovely bottle of water also arrived. Nice touch, I do recognize and appreciate the details put forth.

The first to arrive was the pig’s ears. To my delight they were cut thin and fried, and resembled onion straws. Hallelujah, they were an incredible edible! The kale was crunchy good, the pickled cherry peppers had just enough vinegar to cut the richness of the rest of the dish. They bring you a large fork and spoon to break the egg yolk so it oozes all over, and toss it around a bit. Dang. The flavors and textures just sung in perfect harmony. Man, did I love this dish!

I was leery of the heart, but upon arrival it looked pretty damn tasty! Shaved pork heart (deli style), superb veggie giardiniera, all on an astounding crusty bread. Wow. I thought it may be minerally, or have a barnyard flavor, it didn’t. It actually tasted like corned beef. Delish!

I can’t swoon enough over this place! The menu, food, décor, service, ambiance, and it’s surroundings were spectacular in every way. I only hope I can return and try more creative delights they have to offer, sooner than later. The Purple Pig will definitely be added to my “Best Of” list. Brava!

http://thepurplepigchicago.com

5 out of 5 perfect piggy points.

 

Mad Girl Eat’s Summer Tour 2014!

I’m hitting the road in June on my annual Summer Tour, eating my way around the U.S.A! My itinerary thus far on the first half of my journey is: 

~NEW ORLEANS, LA  ~HOUSTON, TX ~ SAN ANTONIO, TX ~TUCSON, AZ  ~ PHOENIX, AZ ~LAS VEGAS, NV ~SAN DIEGO, CA ~LOS ANGELES, CA ~SAN FRANCISCO, CA. 

We are still organizing the second half of this trip, but MINNEAPOLIS, MN AND CHICAGO, IL are definite.

If you have any restaurant recommendations in any of these areas, I would love to hear about them! Like my motto says….Food Trucks to Five Star. If it’s a great eat, I want to know. Post them here or connect with me on Twitter @MadGirlEats. Thanks!

Summer is looking pretty fine from here!

Mad Girl Eats XOCO in Chicago

XOCO, 446 Clark St., Chicago, IL 60654 .

Chef Rick Bayless, winner of Bravo’s Top Chef Masters, knows Mexican flavors like no other..as seen on Unique Eats. His fast service restaurant XOCO, is first-rate food at a nice price and perfect for lunch. On a cold, Chicago Windy City day, nothing warms the cockles like his caldos (meal in a bowl) creations. wpid-20120724_163134_wm.jpgThe Pork Belly Vermicelli is what I keep coming back for. Crispy pork belly, oodles of noodles, mushrooms, zucchini, avocados, salsa negra and a broth that has a bold rich flavor that can’t be ignored. It is addictive. From the first spoonful, you feel satisfied, relaxed, warmed, and ready to shout “Fantastico”! $12.00 for these huge dinner bowls of happiness. Score.

http://rickbayless.com

Tip: XOCO is located on the corner of Clark St. and Illinois, next to Chef Rick’s other great restaurants. Enter XOCO on the Illinois street side. Closed Sundays and Mondays. Don’t be afraid of a line, they move pretty quick. Seating is available indoors, tables are very very close to each other. Cozy 😉

4 0ut of 5 simmering sensations.

Mad Girl Eats Al’s Italian Beef in Chi

image

Al’s Italian Beef, 169 West Ontario St., Chicago, IL .. with more locations.

Another worthy choice for lunch in Chicago..or anytime, is Al’s Italian Beef with many locations throughout Chicagoland. This sandwich is one of my top 5 in the country and definitely worth a try. Like Chicago style pizza and hot dogs, Italian beef is also a Foodie’s battleground as to the best in this city. I pick Al’s! Every aspect I prefer, the roll, the meat, the au jus, giardinere, sweet peppers….it suits my taste buds and makes them dance. You must have the sandwich dipped, it’s the only proper way to eat it, dipped in the warm lovely seasoned beefy broth. If you don’t dip, then don’t bother…you miss the scrumptiousness of the entire experience. And eat it right away. You can also learn the Al’s leaning stance, like Adam Richman did. If standing at the counter to eat, you want to set your feet back a bit and lean into it as to not becoming a hot mess.  Want a kick? Add giardinere. Bonus!

imageSorry for the half eaten shot…I couldn’t resist digging in ASAP! As seen on Food Wars, Man vs Food, and Adam Richman’s Best Sandwich In America.

5 out of 5, never disappoints my happy place. A must stop when visiting Chicago.

http://alsbeef.com for menu and more locations.

Mad Girl Eats David Burke’s Primehouse in Chi

To finish out my sampler platter of places to lunch in Chicago, welcome back to David Burke’s Primehouse., 616 Rush St., Chicago, IL.

You know when you have been to a restaurant, had a über fabulous meal, chomp at the bit to return and the food doesn’t live up to the memory? Well, upon my follow-up visit to David Burke’s Primehouse in downtown Chicago, I was anticipating excellence once again. Once again, that is exactly what I got!!!! No wonder they were on Food Paradise, Steak Paradise. I was, in Paradise.

I crush hard on this restaurant. Different staff this time, still exceptional. Different burger this time, still “Slap My Bootie and Call Me Susie” fantastic. It was Sunday, and their version of Brunch, so their menu was different than during the week.wpid-20121230_124122-1_wm.jpg The Fatty Melt Sliders I adored a few months back weren’t on the menu. When making reservations, asking about that menu item and letting them know I was traveling, the Hostess spoke with the Manager and said they would make them special for me. Really?! I love you even more! PSA – Just because I mentioned this, don’t be a jerk and demand off the menu items. They had 3 days to prepare before my arrival. Good people.

wpid-20121230_124319-1-1_wm.jpgBack to the meal. They have a nice offering for brunch, but adoring their dry-aged beef burgers, the special burger for the day was top choice at my table, the Chipotle Burger. Excuse me a moment while I wipe my mouth in remembrance of the first bite………………..okay. Freaking A-#1 incredibly delicious! An impeccable blend of flavors, not too spicy or overwhelming the taste of the beef. You just can’t go wrong with one of their burgers. Cooked to my perfect RARE perfection, thank you. Oh baby, it may be cold outside but dang! My innards are toasty and completely satisfied now. If you felt the need to light a cigarette after (outside of course), I wouldn’t blame you. 😉

5 out of 5 beef butter love smacks. MUAH!

Mad Girl Eats Hot Dougs in Chicago

UPDATE: Unfortunately, Doug decided to close up shop. What a shame, this was my go-to spot every visit to Chicago. Doug and his Hots are terribly missed.

Chicago is one of the greatest Foodie Towns in the world. Lunch here can be simple or high end, both can be economical. I’m doing a mix of lunch sampler posts honoring a few of my fave Chicago lunch go-to spots. First up…

Hot Dougs, Sausage SuperStore and Encased Meat Emporium, 3324 North California Ave, Chicago, IL 60618. This small resto has jumbo flavor and creative concoctions. Hot dogs and sausages range from $2.00 upward and maybe over $9.00 depending on your choice of crazy bites. At times I try their Game of the Week.wpid-20120723_113331.jpg  Once a Rattlesnake sausage, this past summer Kangaroo sausage, both extreme goodness. Other outrageously delicious sausages and ‘dogs’ I’ve fallen in love with: Fois Gras and Sauturnes Duck sausage with truffle aioli, fois gras mousse and fleur de sel, a Boudin Blanc sausage masterpiece, and my all time pick for Best Chicago Hot Dog, “The Dog”…for 2 bucks and all the quality and flavor you could ask for in a Chicago-style hot dog.wpid-20120723_114239.jpg Listed on Anthony Bourdain’s, “Places to Eat Before You Die”. I concur. I love Hot Dougs!

Tips: Cash Only. Doug himself will take your order and money. Nice nice guy. Duck Fat Fries…2die4..only available Fri and Sat. Resto regular Hours are Mon-Sat 10:30am – 4:00pm. Long long lines do form, I get there at 10am.  Closed 2 weeks over Christmas and New Year. Updates on their website.

http://hotdougs.com

5 out of 5. Hands down happy tummy.

*****************************************************************************************************

%d bloggers like this: