Saturday, October 17, 2009

The Bentley, a Loin and Stomach

Well week two of my Chicago excursion is over and I have two new restaurants to talk about and a return trip to another. However, before I get to that, you may be asking yourself, "What's up with this title?" "How does the Moan Man tie in a classic car (the Bentley), a loin and stomach"? One might think that my rental for the week was a Bentley, that all this good eating has gone to my mid-section and as far as the loin is concerned, I think I will stay away from that one altogether! So what exactly am I writing about? Lets get to my week of eating and the food "that made me moan"!

The Bentley

When you travel as much as I do, you need to make some decisions as to breakfast. The choices are, eat at the hotel's restaurant, go out and find a great breakfast spot or skip it all together. Knowing me as most of you do, you are probably saying to yourself, "Marty skip a meal, I don't think so" and you would be correct. So after having a dismal breakfast at the hotel on day one, I decided to try my luck to find a great breakfast spot. So armed with a GPS, Todd and I ventured out for the type of breakfast that will offer me the food that will "make me moan"! Where we ended up was Bentley's Pancake House.

After spending many agonizing minutes and a few cups of coffee deciding on what to have, I settled on the Irish Skillet. A deep dish delight filled with hash brown potatos, corned beef, onions, cheese covered with not one, two or even three, but four eggs!

This culinary masterpiece was nothing short of spectacular! The hash browns were cooked to a crispy perfection, the corned beef (the real stuff, not canned) were bite size strips of the most flavorful meat I've ever tasted in a breakfast meal. The cheese covering the beef and potatos was melted perfectly and the eggs, cooked over easy made for topping to die for. OMG what a breakfast! To say I moaned would be an understatement. In fact, as I am writing this, I'm starting to moan all over again (Cyndi just came running into the room to make sure I was ok)!

A Loin

As you may all remember from my previous blog, I spent an afternoon having lunch at a restaurant called Hog Wild. This is the fine establishment where I dined on a pork chop sandwich. I was told by Mark (Barb's husband) that I should make a return trip there for dinner and try their pork tenderloin sandwich. I told him that I would and last week with Todd, Barb, Mark and Narayan in tow, we went back to the Hog! Now since I already knew what I wanted, I walked up to the counter, placed my order and sat down at my table and waited quietly until they brought out this...

Anytime, you get a piece of meat on a plate and its hanging off of it, you got yourself a meal! The tenderloin was cooked perfectly, tender and moist. The potato's (which to me is a filler) that accompanied the tenderloin were too good to pass up. I wish there was something I could say to let you know what was going through my mind while eating this meal, but somethings are just better off left unsaid. Suffice to say, any visit to the Chicago area, must include a stop at Hog Wild.


As I wound my way around the Chicago area conducting business, I was trying to figure out where I was going to stop and have dinner. Since I was in an unfamiliar area, I checked the web to see if Triple D had been to a place that was going to be close by to where I was. As luck would have it, there was indeed a Diner (I'm a big diner fan) that was featured on the program that I knew I had to try. As I was conducting my business however, I was told by Lynn who was working the Service Desk at the store I was at, that I should try a local restaurant and she recommend Jim & Pete's.

So off we (Barb, Narayan & Todd) went to try the local cuisine. Now, being a huge fan of Italian food, I found myself in the usual quandary of what to order. Will it be a pasta dish, chicken or veal? Too many choices and they all sounded good. So as I'm scrolling down the menu trying to make that most difficult decision, my eyes spot a dish that was a must have, and this is what I ordered.............................................

That's right, Beef Tripe over a bed of linguine. Cow's stomach you might ask? To be perfectly clear, beef tripe is usually made from only the first three chambers of a cow's stomach: the rumen (blanket/flat/smooth tripe), the reticulum (honeycomb and pocket tripe) and the omasum (book/bible/leaf tripes). I'm sure what I had was the reticulum variety. Anyhow, let me digress and bring you back to the meal itself. We started off with an appetizer (Bruschetta) that Todd thought was appropriate for the evening.

Now, I view eating bread as a filler, which is something that fills me up so I can't enjoy my main meal to the fullest extent. But I was willing to go along with Todd's suggestion and I was not disappointed. The bread was toasted just right and was buttered with a garlic butter mix. The topping was fresh with just the right amount of tomato mixture on each slice so as not to overpower the total package. A great start to what I was hoping would be a great meal. After a cup of soup, out came the main course. This was a meal that was fit for king. The pasta was cooked al dente, the sauce was as good as any that I have had outside the home, and the tripe, simply put, was magnificent! The only problem I encountered, was how on God's green earth would I be able to eat the entire bowl that was put down in front of me! I'm excited to say, it was not as much of a problem as I originally thought. You see, as soon as I took my first bite, and there was that flavor explosion in my mouth of this wonderful mixture of tripe, pasta and sauce, what was in front of me may not even be enough! But of course it was. In fact, I did indeed have to leave a little left in the bowl (damn filler I ate beforehand). Now I know tripe is not for everyone, but for those of you that like to partake in this delicacy, Jim & Pete's is the place to go. On a moaning scale, I would give it (and of course I did) a 5 out 5 moans! Now that I was completely satisfied and full to the brim it was time to head out. The only thing left to do was pay the bill and mosey on back to the hotel. That is when our waitress (I'll call her Patty), came out with a little thank you dessert that they offer free to all new comers.

Those would be Todd's hands you see clasped in prayer asking to be given strength to have enough room in his belly to enjoy this masterpiece that was set down in front of us. I wish I could convey to you how delicious this was, but you will just have to take my word for it. These puff like pastries, were covered with powered sugar, drizzled with chocolate sauce, add in whipped cream and vanilla ice cream and topped off with a few cherries, we had an excellent ending to a most memorable meal.

Well that my fellow followers was week Two in Chicago and the experiences I had with "Food That Made Me Moan". It's off to Denver now and I hope to have many more meals to write about next week. Please feel free to add your comments to my blogs as it is great to hear from each of you that read this. Wish me well, and I will write my next blog with Meals from the Road of Denver.

Monday, October 12, 2009

The Hog, The Coach and a Butter Burger

Last week I spent some time in the windy city of Chicago. During my trip there, I had the pleasure to have three memorable meals that "made me moan". My first meal was a late lunch at Hog Wild, a quaint little place that made a pork chop sandwich you could really sink your teeth in. To say this was a lite lunch would be a total fabrication. The chop was so tender that I had no problem cutting it with the plastic knife that I was given to use at my discretion. I chose not to eat it as a sandwich based on the thickness of the chop and the bone that it came with! Because I like to eat many of my meals "wet" they also gave me a side of their homemade au jus to drown my sandwich in. WOW, what a start to my week!

It took me a couple days to recover from the "lite" lunch at Hog Wild, when I let my counterpart from the west talk me into going to Mike Ditka's for a small bit of beef. Having heard many good things about the coach's place, I decided that it was a must stop for us. After mulling over my choices, I went with a wedge salad (one of my all time favs) and the 16 ounce Prime Rib, cooked medium rare. After consuming what I would say was one of the best wedge salad I ever ate (outside of my wife's that is), out came the main course. As I cut into this most tender piece of meat, I knew my taste buds were in for a flavor explosion, and sweet Jesus, I wasn't disappointed! The "moans" came out of me after the first bite and continued right on through to the very last morsel. I have taken in some mighty good rib in my days, but the Coach won the super bowl with this offering!

My week ended with a simple offering of a Butter Burger from Culvers. How did I come about Culvers you may wonder. Here is what happened, I was dining on a slice of pizza with some customers and co-workers, when I was told I must try the BB at Culvers. It didn't take much cajoling for me to agree to meet my customer and her hubby for what I was told would be a great tasting burger. I chose the Culver Deluxe and a side of cheese curds. Mmm, mmm, mmm, it was a moan at first bite. Even when I wasn't thinking about it, the moans just came out. You know you had a special burger to make that happen! I was so impressed with the meal, I agreed to try the Turtle sundae which is made with two scoops of vanilla frozen custard, hot fudge, hot caramel, Spanish peanuts and topped with a cherry. What a great finish to my meal and my week in Chicago.
Well, that was the "food that made me moan" in Chicago. I look forward to my return trip to see what else Chicago has to offer. I'll let you know next week.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

In the Beginning

Well this has been a long time coming I guess. After much encouragement from family, friends, co-workers and clients of mine, I have decided to take the leap and join the blogging era. My blog will tell you of the restaurants (specifically the food) that I have visited that have had a special impact on me. For those of you that know me and have experienced my dining habits, you know I tend to moan when eating great tasting food (hence the name of my blog). My blog is in no way a testimonial of a restaurants food, service or anything else. Simply put, it's food that I ate that made me moan! Based on the fact that my job has me on the road a great deal, I get to visit many restaurants throughout the United States. It is with these visits, that I will share with you in pictures and verse the food that made me moan. I will lay out for you monthly what states I will be visiting, so if anyone has any suggestions for a restaurant that serves good food, you can let me know. For the remaining month of October, I will be visiting, Chicago IL, Denver CO, St. Paul MN and Anchorage, Alaska. Check back often, as I'm sure you will get a laugh or two with what you see and read. I look forward to many great tasting meals on my trip across the states and many moans to go along with it.