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Friday, June 28, 2013

Skylark in Chicago

We were still in town for the podiatry convention and we were SO HUNGRY for TOTS so Andy took us to this dive/hipster bar called Skylark located in the recently gentrified Pilsen section of Chicago.

I guess the thing to do now is take over an old joint and have nice beers and food but leave it looking all dumpy.  Here is the front door.

The inside looks unchanged since the 50s, and THERE IS BARELY ANY LIGHT.  BTW, I'm glad that not only old people gripe about the lack of light in this joint.  Seems like 80% of the yelp reviewers have something to say about it too.

Fries?  Tots?  Yes, please!

Whoa!  Check out that old photo booth!

Whoa!  Check out those gross/creepy marble-topped pissers!

As I said, there is ZERO light in this joint so the pictures suffered.  These are the fries. 

Not great, not bad, just meh.  I'll give em a 6 out of 10.

But the TOTS!  OH MY the TOTS!  Look at that!

It was a half-moon of fries as big as half a basketball.  And the sauces ($1.00 extra but worth it) really sent them over the top.

$3.50 for this amount of hot, perfectly-cooked tots is ridiculous.  I don't think I have ever awarded an 11 out of 10, but I'm doing it for Skylark.  OUTSTANDING.  Do it!  But take night vision goggles if you are over 25.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Wildfire in Lincolnshire, IL

Wildfire is this snazzy 1940's style restaurant bar chain with 7 locations mostly around Chicago and (weirdly) in suburban Virginia.  We were in Lincolnshire to catch a concert by the Bellamy Brothers (of Let Your Love Flow fame) cause the drummer is one of Andy's buds.

Anyhoo, we ate at this joint cause it was right next door to where the concert was happening.  I will say that they had the 40's decor thing pretty well nailed.

The bar and dining room looked like a scene from The Great Gatsby.  Except most of the people looked like crap in shorts, t-shirts, etc.

The menu has a steak on it that is $39.95, so $2.95 for some fries seemed like a pretty good deal.

What the hell is this?  23 crappy, soggy fries?

Boo.  2 out of 10.

DRUMMER GUY: "Wow, you should have totally gotten a salad like me!"
GIBBY:  "Only a drummer would say that a salad is better than crappy fries."

P.S.  We had a blast at the concert.  Thanks again drummer guy!

Monday, June 24, 2013

Tuman's Tap & Grill Chicago

Went to Chicago recently for a podiatry convention.  The first night, my buddy Andy suggested we check out this joint called Tuman's.  It's not clear why the place is called Tuman's since to owners' names are Tom and Judy Magee (of Janis Joplin song fame), but they have 3Floyds Gumballhead beer and french fries so we were TOTALLY down.

In addition to 3F GBH, the beer list was astoundingly good.

Plus, fries for $3.  Pretty fair price for where this joint is located in the city.

In fact, because of the location I wasn't expecting a decent amount of fries for $3, but this is what came out!

Hold the phone!  Crispy, hand-cut, and actually cooked correctly.  Score!
10 out of 10.  A totally tasty value.

P.S.  Chachi got this cheeseburger that had so much stuff on it (including a fried egg) that is was taller than a pint glass.
Victory = Chachi

Friday, June 7, 2013

Golden Dragon Buffet

What the heck has happened with Chinese buffets?  Twenty years ago you didn't see things like prime rib, pizza, potato skins, macaroni & cheese, and SALAD sittin around with the general's chicken.  Ice cream was a nice addition, sure, but chicken wings and ribs?  WTF?

Of course, there is one inexplicable addition to the buffets I have seen recently that I can't disparage.  Ah, yes, delicious french fries.  I noticed some recently in Springdale at the Golden Dragon Buffet.

The dining area of this joint is swank.  Check those modernistical light thingys up there!

Chandeliers over the buffet?  But of course!

Heh heh.  The sign said "Dinner Rolls".  FANCY!

OMG!!!  This is what all football watching game food should look like.  This platter was like 8 pounds of (what the locals call) arkies!  Nom nom nom!

Perfect size, perfectly cooked, nice seasoning.

Hard to figure what an order of just fries off the buffet would cost, but the fact that you can eat as many as you want kinda negates the quantity vs. price aspect anyway.

10 out of 10.  Plus they have ice cream.  All you can eat. 
P.S.  I ate like 50.  Don't tell my wife.  Or the Grunion.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Willie James Restaurant & Pub

I heard about this place cause they brew their own beer.  I know, I know, this is a fry blog, but when eating fries, it's important to cleanse the palate liberally with beer.  Anyhoo, they also have fries so there you go.  Nice things first:  The building is beautiful. 

They have a huge indoor patio (is that a thing?) where bands play.

And they have those big oaky rafter thingys.  Pretty cool.

The fries and the beer are another matter.
***Hold on.  I just decided to kill this review.  I don't want to spend a bunch of time (and waste yours) writing about how the fries are meh, and how the service is rotten, and how the house-brewed beer is ridiculously bad.  I decided I would just provide you a link to the Yelp reviews.

1 out of 10 (but only cause they actually serve fries).

Monday, June 3, 2013

21c Museum Hotel

Bentonville has this fancy-schmancy hotel now called 21c.  Last weekend a bunch of us old parenty types decided to wreck their day and take a bunch of kids there to check it out.  Basically, it's an expensive hotel with a bunch of weird modern art all over the place.  Perfect for toddlers.  I didn't manage to get any pictures of the art cause I was keeping the Grunion from destroying everything.

The bar has a bunch of $10 drinks, and also $5 fries.  I was expecting to be fleeced.

This is what arrived.  WHA?  Perfectly cooked fresh cut fries with a tasteful, but not overbearing array of seasonings?

And in a skillet, no less!  How dare they?  Even the ketchup was fresh and cold.  Nice.

Big props to the schmancy 21c.  The fries are top notch, even at $5.

10 out of 10.  Do it.