Category Archives: boozeworthy
Just when I finish gushing about how much I adore Chicago in October, I’ll actually be spending a few weeks of the month in California for work-related events. I was in San Francisco this weekend (LA and San Diego next) and finally got to check out Bar Tartine, after an amazing experience at Tartine Bakery last fall. I’ll write more posts later this week about Tartine’s awesome bread, sardine and citrus-beet appetizer and ridiculously good cod dish we had, but the Sunny, Honey cocktail deserves a post of its own. The name intrigued me at first, followed by the simple ingredients, Sonoma-based Sutton Cellars dry vermouth (made with a variety of botanicals and herbs) shaken with ruby grapefruit and star thistle honey. Like all the best pre-dinner cocktails, it’s simple yet complex, and not too sweet, with hints of herb, citrus, and sweet that subtly take turns on your palate rather than ruining it before dinner.
Last spring I did a post on Blanche de Bruxelles and Goose Island Pere Jacques, two new brews that had recently captured my palate and became my favorite food-pairing selections. This week, I’ve discovered two more to add to the list, Radermacher blonde (experienced at The Bluebird and Rootstock in the same weekend!) and an amazingly random and delicious brew called Coney Island Albino python. Spotted at Rodan, the name caught my eye first, followed by the description which included white ale lager with spices of orange, ginger and fennel, and six different types of malt. If that wasn’t intriguing enough, the menu also said that a portion of the profits go towards restoring Coney Island..cool but creepy? When our waitress informed us there was only one 22 Oz. bottle left, we had to have it. Where had it been all my life? The beer had all the light-yet-robust notes of a Belgian white ale, with a spicy finish and easy drinkability (although it poured on the foamy side). After the initial sip and a rest on your palate, the spices and herb flavors are subtle and slightly fragrant. Right along with it was the Radermacher blonde from one of Belgium’s oldest distilleries (founded 1836). With hints of gin (from the juniper berries) and lemon and a slightly tart and an almost effervescent mouthfeel, this would be amazing with spicy or greasy foods. Or, as I indulged, all on its own.
I realized that it’s been ages since I offered up any report from the local hot dog front, so I felt it only necessary to indulge in not one, but a record-breaking three hot dogs this weekend (oy), and attend a doggie-themed charity event to boot. I was so excited for Juicy Wine Co.’s first annual Pug Chug benefitting the Northern Illinois Pug Rescue and Adoption organization, not only to get to play with pugs, but for the hot dogs, hand-dipped corn dogs and summer-friendly wines selected by host Alpana Singh. When I got there, I discovered only one resident pooch, Pugsley, roaming around, and lots and lots of corn dogs for the taking. I’d been craving a sweet, cornmeal-crusted dog on a stick for what seems like years or at least since I’ve repeatedly seen them served up next to the elephant ears and funnel cakes at those colorfully headache-inducing street fair food stands. These were actually good, and spotted next to a Domaine Chandon Pinot Noir and a Joel Gott Sauvignon Blanc.
And the wines, 16 to try and 1 sake. I love crisp, cool, apple-y Rieslings and couldn’t sip enough of the Charles Smith Kungfu Girl Riesling (and got a bottle for myself on the way out). The Sofia Riesling won out for prettiest bottle, but was bit too sweet. For reds, I also enjoyed La Posta Malbec, dry yet bursting with lush dark fruit flavors and slight bitterness. But the Murphy’s Law rosé was my favorite, light and fruity, a great wine for sipping on a sunny Saturday.
After the corn dogs, Juicy owner Rodney Alex fired up the panini press for a few rounds of hot dogs, which paired surprisingly well with the Kungfu Girl.
All in all I left full of great vino, delicious hot dogs, my corn dog craving sated for at least another year, and my desire for an actual (non-hot) dog greater than ever. Juicy Wine Co., 694 N. Milwaukee Ave., 312.492.6620
When my friend, fellow foodie, and blogger Jeff Kitler guessed the Naha mystery trees correctly I was happy for two reasons. First, because he tipped me off to a great “not-known-for” at Naha, fried calamari. The second because his guest post is on a bar/restaurant in Bueno Park, a ‘hood I have hardly explored. I am very intrigued by beer that flows out of a faucet, tequila-marinated steak tacos and a Big Sandwich with pancetta and a fried egg. I give you a Bar. That’s on Buena.
“I love The Bar on Buena for many reasons. First, and probably least importantly, it has a great name. The Bar on Buena lends to an incredibly lame joke, one I use over and over again and never grow tired of: “Where are you going for dinner Jeff? The Bar on Buena. What bar? The Bar on Buena! Duh, it’s on Buena. Yes I understand, but what bar?” And on and on. But seriously, The BOB is a sparkling gem stuffed with delicious food and intriguing beer. Hidden between Wrigleyville’s sport bars and Uptown’s pho shops, The BOB fills a void in Buena Park for those seeking quality food and an outstanding beer list. The BOB’s closet-sized kitchen sits behind the bar and offers a surprisingly large lineup of serious pub grub that includes pulled pork sandwiches, tequila-marinated steak tacos and the killer (literally?) B.O.B Burger topped with Red Dragon Cheddar, pancetta and a fried egg. And let’s not forget the brew! With more than 100 beers available by the bottle and 19 poured from the “faucet,” the beer selection alone is enough to please the biggest brew snobs. And don’t worry, the friendly staff is more than happy to help select a brew for those without their in-the-know enthusiast. The BOB is a great neighborhood bar located on one of Chicago’s most adorable tree-lined streets. With summer arriving soon (we hope!) The BOB’s sidewalk café is sure to be packed! Give The BOB a try…you can’t not find it.” The Bar on Buena, 910 W. Buena Ave., 773.525.8665.