Johnnie's Beef again:
I had the television in my room on, but my mind was elsewhere. Even after my meal at Kurumaya I was still thinking about food! Specifically, an Italian Beef Sandwich....especially since Johnnie's Beef was a couple blocks away. Finally after about an hour of rumination (and digestion), I jumped in the rental car and headed for Johnnie's. They were pretty busy as usual, but things move quickly, and really all I needed to say were three magical words when it my turn at bat; "beef......juicy....hot". Translated, Italian Beef Sandwich, " juicy" means it's left in the broth a bit longer than "dunked", and "hot" stands for the hot peppers (giardinera). It's just about the only time you'll get away without being slapped for uttering those three words at a restaurant counter.
The sandwich was just as good as my previous one was. It's not huge, so I didn't feel too bad about having it as a snack.
It was indeed "beef....juicy....hot....."
You can find more details on my previous post on Johnnie's.
1935 South Arlington Heights Rd
Arlington Heights, IL 60005
Mr Beef on North Harlem:
This was actually the first place I had an Italian Beef many moons ago. The Missus had made a request, so I checked out early and made it down to the area on the Northwest side of Chicago known as Dunning. I knew that Dunning was a traditionally Italian neighborhood, but after reading this I found out it that the area has a very strong Polish influence as well.
I wondered how my tastes had changed since I last ate an Italian Beef from this unassuming shop. I had arrived a bit before the posted 1030 am opening time, so I sat in the car checking text messages and such. I was concentrating a bit too hard as a little old lady knocked on my window scaring the daylights out of me! She lifted a sack up and told me "they're open already....you're late!" Which really cracked me up.....
Things looked exactly the same as I remembered......and the same really friendly guy was working the counter as well. I ordered my beef, juicy, hot, and we chatted about where I was from, the weather, the heavy flooding a couple of nights ago while I waited for my sandwich.
When my sandwich arrived I looked at it in stunned silence. I didn't recall it being as large and I don't remember being given a fork along with my napkins either. As you can tell....it was indeed quite juicy.
Man this thing was humongous. It basically sprung open as I unwrapped it.....
The beef was very tender but was not quite as herbaceous as what I had the evening before at Johnnie's Beef. I was just amazed that the roll made it to the last bite....can you imagine if I ordered it "soaked"? The giardinera was also much milder than what I recalled.
What was not up for debate was that this was indeed a two-fisted, juice dripping on your feet sandwich.
3917 N Harlem Ave
Chicago, IL 60634
The Missus' request? She wanted me to bring home a hot dog. Yep, all the way from Chicago on the six hour flight to San Diego...a hot dog.....I tried to convince Her that it would be a cold, soggy mess, and a total waste of time, but She insisted. Ok, you want a hot dog, you get a hot dog....but not just a hot dog.... but a Superdawg! I had thoughts of just grabbing a Vienna Beef dog in the standard issue Mary Ann poppy seed bun, dragged through the garden, but since was here, why not check out this iconic shop. I'd had a Superdawg before, it was a terribly limp dog, served up in a soggy bun with cold greasy fries. At least I pretty much knew what the Missus was going to be getting! Of course, that one was from Midway Airport...... This one was going to be from the location on North Milwaukee.
The menu is pretty compact, so I don't understand how the folks in front of me had such a hard time ordering, after all, they had a good long time to check out the menu while waiting. And furthermore, this place is called Super "dawg", right? So of course they ended up ordering burgers, grilled cheese sandwiches, and fish.....
If you're used to typical Chicagoland hot dog prices, you may go into sticker shock here as the Superdawg costs $5.25. Of course it comes with crinkle cut fries. Gene and Jude's this ain't.
The entire set-up of the place is very neat, part 1950's car hop drive in, part roadside attraction. There's a glass enclosed dining area next to the ordering window. With folks peering in at what I was eating, it felt like I was on display....
And what I was eating....was a superdawg of course. Yes, even after devouring that beef sandwich. You gotta love the packaging.....
The dog was tucked in nicely with fries lying to one side.
The hot dog is a bit different from the usual all-beef Chicago wiener. It is made by Vienna Beef using a proprietary formula with a different spice blend. There seemed to be a bit more more garlicky-ness and the dog was larger in circumference than the standard issue stuff. It did have a bit less snap than what I'm used to, and frankly I still enjoy the generic Veinna Beef dog more. What I did really like was pickled green tomato, the firm and crunchy sport peppers, and the very tasty fries. Looking at the fries I suddenly realized that the heat from the fries would end up making the entire thing into a soggy mess. But what the heck, She wanted a hot dog right?
There was quite a line as I made my way to the car...check out the dude with the camcorder.....
So, I sealed the Superdawg in a ziploc bag and stowed it in my carry-on. The Missus picked me up at the airport and when we got home She got Her hot dog....She did love the pickled green tomato and even enjoyed the hot dog, sogged out bun and all. Of course She went and put ketchup on the thing....yikes.....