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Portillo's Defames a Classic

Portillo's Defames a Classic
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  • Post #31 - April 5th, 2007, 7:33 pm
    Post #31 - April 5th, 2007, 7:33 pm Post #31 - April 5th, 2007, 7:33 pm
    On my 1st and last stop at Tasty Dog on Lake Street in Oak Park, I ordered a dog with everything, luckily I caught the guy as he was about to squeeze that red bottle on my dog.
  • Post #32 - April 9th, 2007, 11:17 am
    Post #32 - April 9th, 2007, 11:17 am Post #32 - April 9th, 2007, 11:17 am
    stevez wrote:I was on the go today and needed to eat quickly. I found myself downtown headed for the Expressway, so I decided to pull into the Portillo's drive thru on Clark and Ontario for a Polish. Now, Portillo's has never been my favorite place for getting a polish, but I thought they did at least a serviceable job. Today, they completely insulted me and every Chicagoan by serving a "Maxwell Street Polish" (grilled polish, grilled onions, sport peppers and mustard) on a piece of Gonnella bread, not a poppy seed bun. What the F**K is up with that? They are giving tens of thousands of tourists the wrong idea of what this Chicago classic is supposed to be...not to mention throwing off the taste/texture profile of the sandwich. It's just shameful. :cry:


    I'm with you on the softer bun to feel the "snap", although I'm no fan of poppy seed buns in general (I prefer sesame seed). But adding sport peppers is also changing the "Original Maxwell St. Polish". Is it not? And again, I'm a big fan of the added sport peppers. It just seems like they are both just variations on a theme. Count me as one Chicagoan who doesn't feel insulted. A real Chicagoan oughta have a thicker skin. They should just give people a choice of buns, so that each eater can have their sandwich the way they'd like.
    ...Pedro
  • Post #33 - April 9th, 2007, 3:44 pm
    Post #33 - April 9th, 2007, 3:44 pm Post #33 - April 9th, 2007, 3:44 pm
    YoYoPedro wrote:But adding sport peppers is also changing the "Original Maxwell St. Polish". Is it not?


    No

    YoYoPedro wrote:They should just give people a choice of buns, so that each eater can have their sandwich the way they'd like.


    I agree. and it would be easy to do. It's two different items. One is a "Maxwell St. Polish" and the other is a polish on Italian Bread.
    Steve Z.

    “Only the pure in heart can make a good soup.”
    ― Ludwig van Beethoven
  • Post #34 - April 9th, 2007, 5:25 pm
    Post #34 - April 9th, 2007, 5:25 pm Post #34 - April 9th, 2007, 5:25 pm
    stevez wrote:
    YoYoPedro wrote:But adding sport peppers is also changing the "Original Maxwell St. Polish". Is it not?


    No

    YoYoPedro wrote:They should just give people a choice of buns, so that each eater can have their sandwich the way they'd like.


    I agree. and it would be easy to do. It's two different items. One is a "Maxwell St. Polish" and the other is a polish on Italian Bread.


    I guess, like everything else in life, there are conflicting opinions, and everybody has one. You'll probably stick to yours, and I'll probably stick to mine. My idea of a Maxwell Street Polish is a crispy cooked (deep fried is best) Polish sausage (with those fine diagonal scorings through the casing) on a bun or roll, with mustard and a pile of grilled onions. I like mine with sport peppers.

    Vienna Beef says sport peppers are part of the deal, but allows a poppy seed bun or "warm roll".

    http://viennabeef.com/products/item.asp?PRODUCT_ID=3


    ABC7 says steamed buns, no mention of poppyseed, no mention of sport peppers. But their accompanying photo shows what looks like a Gonella-style roll with sport peppers on it.

    http://abclocal.go.com/wls/story?section=restaurants&id=3801110


    The treasurer of the Maxwell Street Historic Preservation Coalition mentions grilled onions as an "option", but doesn't specify sport peppers or bun type in his study guide, under vocabulary. Hmmm...

    http://pweb.netcom.com/~cowdery/sguide.pdf


    Wikipedia says that it's served on a bun, no mention of poppyseed, and offers sport peppers as an option to "add heat".

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maxwell_Street_Polish


    Life In the USA leaves out the sport peppers as well.

    http://www.lifeintheusa.com/food/midwest.htm


    AllExperts.com says it's served on a bun, no mention of poppyseed, with sport peppers an option for added flavor.

    http://en.allexperts.com/e/m/ma/maxwell_street_polish.htm
    ...Pedro
  • Post #35 - April 9th, 2007, 6:01 pm
    Post #35 - April 9th, 2007, 6:01 pm Post #35 - April 9th, 2007, 6:01 pm
    All that really matters is how Jim's serves it. Coarse ground sausage with pork in the mix (all pork? pork and beef? dunno) and a natural casing, grilled on a griddle, with grilled onions, mustard, and peppers optional.

    Not on an italian roll.
    Ed Fisher
    my chicago food photos

    RIP LTH.
  • Post #36 - April 9th, 2007, 6:32 pm
    Post #36 - April 9th, 2007, 6:32 pm Post #36 - April 9th, 2007, 6:32 pm
    gleam wrote:All that really matters is how Jim's serves it. Coarse ground sausage with pork in the mix (all pork? pork and beef? dunno) and a natural casing, grilled on a griddle, with grilled onions, mustard, and peppers optional.

    Not on an italian roll.


    No poppy seed bun at Jim's, according to the guy that just answered the phone there. He said that he'd be happy to do a Maxwell Street Polish on a roll like an Italian beef comes in, but he doesn't have them. He says that he only has hot dog and hamburger buns there.

    Jim's Original
    1250 S. Union St.
    312-733-7820
    ...Pedro
  • Post #37 - April 9th, 2007, 6:37 pm
    Post #37 - April 9th, 2007, 6:37 pm Post #37 - April 9th, 2007, 6:37 pm
    YoYoPedro wrote: He said that he'd be happy to do a Maxwell Street Polish on a roll like an Italian beef comes in, but he doesn't have them. He says that he only has hot dog and hamburger buns there.


    Yeah, but then it wouldn't be a Maxwell Street Polish :lol:
    Ed Fisher
    my chicago food photos

    RIP LTH.
  • Post #38 - April 9th, 2007, 7:15 pm
    Post #38 - April 9th, 2007, 7:15 pm Post #38 - April 9th, 2007, 7:15 pm
    So what do you think that monstrosity that stevez has been eating, with the poppy seed bun, should be called? I wouldn't go so far as to call it an insult to Chicagoans, but...
    ...Pedro
  • Post #39 - April 9th, 2007, 7:22 pm
    Post #39 - April 9th, 2007, 7:22 pm Post #39 - April 9th, 2007, 7:22 pm
    Well, stevez is also a fan of the non-jims-style polish sausage, which is what it sounds like what portillo's is serving. This is what CSD described, an adult-spiced jumbo hot dog in a poppy seed bun, grilled or deep fried. This is what most of the dog stands in chicago serve.

    (for what it's worth, I'm a fan of both, but I'd only call the Jim's/MSE version a maxwell street polish)
    Ed Fisher
    my chicago food photos

    RIP LTH.
  • Post #40 - April 9th, 2007, 7:34 pm
    Post #40 - April 9th, 2007, 7:34 pm Post #40 - April 9th, 2007, 7:34 pm
    This arguing is for naught.

    If it's not made and served on Maxwell Street, then it's truly not a Maxwell Street polish, and all bets are off.
  • Post #41 - April 9th, 2007, 7:36 pm
    Post #41 - April 9th, 2007, 7:36 pm Post #41 - April 9th, 2007, 7:36 pm
    Previous Maxwell Street Polish Debate

    Polish at Jim's Original (Union St)
    Image

    Pork chop sandwich, Polish at Jim's Original (Union St)
    Image

    Pork chop sandwich, Polish at Maxwell Street Express (Union Street)
    Image
    One minute to Wapner.
    Raymond Babbitt

    Low & Slow
  • Post #42 - April 9th, 2007, 7:40 pm
    Post #42 - April 9th, 2007, 7:40 pm Post #42 - April 9th, 2007, 7:40 pm
    saps wrote:This arguing is for naught.

    If it's not made and served on Maxwell Street, then it's truly not a Maxwell Street polish, and all bets are off.


    So the Maxwell Street Polish is just a part of Chicago history? We have to call them Union Street Polish now? The dude cannot abide.
    ...Pedro
  • Post #43 - April 9th, 2007, 10:26 pm
    Post #43 - April 9th, 2007, 10:26 pm Post #43 - April 9th, 2007, 10:26 pm
    gleam wrote:Well, stevez is also a fan of the non-jims-style polish sausage, which is what it sounds like what portillo's is serving. This is what CSD described, an adult-spiced jumbo hot dog in a poppy seed bun, grilled or deep fried. This is what most of the dog stands in chicago serve.

    (for what it's worth, I'm a fan of both, but I'd only call the Jim's/MSE version a maxwell street polish)


    I hope it's not the "adult hot dog" Polish Portillo's is serving in a Gonella roll--that would seriously be an imbalance in the sausage-to-bread ratio.

    For the record, there's a place up the street here on Pulaski called Tony's that serves their Polish in an Italian beef roll (at least they did two years ago when I last was there). They don't call it a "Maxwell Street" Polish, just a regular Polish sausage, even though they use the thicker, bigger Maxwell Street style links. I was surprised at the presentation (I had never seen a Polish served that way before), but I have to say, it wasn't bad at all.

    Personally, I would not have been offended if they did call it a Maxwell Street polish--I use Maxwell Street to mean the thicker type of Polish sausage, smothered with grilled onions. The bun is not a consideration in my definition.
  • Post #44 - April 10th, 2007, 8:23 am
    Post #44 - April 10th, 2007, 8:23 am Post #44 - April 10th, 2007, 8:23 am
    A Chicago Polish is a big brother to a hot dog. The Maxwell Street version is larger, spicier, and greasier than a hot dog and has a natural casing. It's grilled or deep fried, rather than steamed or boiled. The original version was topped with mustard and onions and served on a plain hot dog bun. Later versions were served on a steamed poppy seed bun with sport peppers. Someone down the line used Dusseldorf mustard in place of yellow mustard. Now many stands do their own thing.
  • Post #45 - April 10th, 2007, 8:30 am
    Post #45 - April 10th, 2007, 8:30 am Post #45 - April 10th, 2007, 8:30 am
    YoYoPedro wrote:A real Chicagoan oughta have a thicker skin.

    Do you mean natural casing?
  • Post #46 - April 10th, 2007, 8:47 am
    Post #46 - April 10th, 2007, 8:47 am Post #46 - April 10th, 2007, 8:47 am
    cilantro wrote:
    YoYoPedro wrote:A real Chicagoan oughta have a thicker skin.

    Do you mean natural casing?


    Hehehe. One could have some fun here, but it IS a family-friendly board.
    Actually, I had been thinking that instead of calling a Maxwell Street Polish the "big brother" of a hot dog, I'd call it more of an uncle. You know, the thicker, greasier, spicier uncle with the gold chains and the big old Cadillac convertible, who likes to drive out to Vegas to gamble. Kinda always smells like onions and always pulls a dollar off a big fat roll in his pocket to hand out to the nephews?
    ...Pedro
  • Post #47 - April 10th, 2007, 8:57 am
    Post #47 - April 10th, 2007, 8:57 am Post #47 - April 10th, 2007, 8:57 am
    Call it "The King," like Elvis. Hot Doug does. On a warm day, you can still smell the grilled onions on Maxwell & Halsted.
  • Post #48 - April 10th, 2007, 12:53 pm
    Post #48 - April 10th, 2007, 12:53 pm Post #48 - April 10th, 2007, 12:53 pm
    wait a second! shouldn't we debate the degree to which the onions are grilled?????

    A sloppy, greasey, oniony mess is all fine and dandy, but a Maxwell Street Polish should have sliced, never chopped, onions that are grilled 'til they just start to caramelize for a slight sweetness.

    We need to settle this issue or this city is headed for a disaster of biblical proportions. Human sacrifice, dogs and cats living together - mass hysteria! :wink:
    Moses supposes his toeses are roses, but Moses supposes erroneously. Moses, he knowses his toeses aren't roses, as Moses supposes his toeses to be.
  • Post #49 - April 10th, 2007, 2:07 pm
    Post #49 - April 10th, 2007, 2:07 pm Post #49 - April 10th, 2007, 2:07 pm
    Kitchen Monkey wrote:wait a second! shouldn't we debate the degree to which the onions are grilled?????

    A sloppy, greasey, oniony mess is all fine and dandy, but a Maxwell Street Polish should have sliced, never chopped, onions that are grilled 'til they just start to caramelize for a slight sweetness.

    We need to settle this issue or this city is headed for a disaster of biblical proportions. Human sacrifice, dogs and cats living together - mass hysteria! :wink:


    I suppose then we'll have to debate whether they are indeed caramelized or just having a mild maillard reaction...

    :roll:
    ...Pedro
  • Post #50 - April 10th, 2007, 4:56 pm
    Post #50 - April 10th, 2007, 4:56 pm Post #50 - April 10th, 2007, 4:56 pm
    I have no opinion whatsoever on what constitutes an authentic "Maxwell Street" polish sausage, but I will say that I was very disappointed with the polish I got a week or so ago from a suburban Portillo's location. The sausage was overcooked and a tough chew, no juiciness left at all. And it was served on one of those Gonella bread rolls instead of a hot dog bun, which I did not expect. Now, I don't mind one of those chewy rolls at all for a different kind of sandwich, when I know what I'm getting. But I didn't know my polish sausage was going to come on that. Between the tough bread and the tough meat it all was too much of a workout to eat, and I didn't enjoy it at all -- which is saying something, since polish sausage is my favorite fast food sandwich. Next time I'm at Portillo's I will make a point to ask if it's possible to get a bun instead of a roll, and also ask that they cook me a fresh polish sausage, rather than one that's been sitting off on the side of the grill drying up all evening.
  • Post #51 - April 10th, 2007, 5:39 pm
    Post #51 - April 10th, 2007, 5:39 pm Post #51 - April 10th, 2007, 5:39 pm
    KM, not only should the onions be grilled, they should be carmelized in butter with a pinch of sugar or some Coca Cola added for the extra sweetness factor. This is how they were prepared on Maxwell Street when I was a kid in the late 40's/early 50's, living on Roosevelt & Keeler. Make mine well done, please!
  • Post #52 - April 11th, 2007, 8:40 am
    Post #52 - April 11th, 2007, 8:40 am Post #52 - April 11th, 2007, 8:40 am
    Mmmmmmmmm!!!!!!!!! I've got a new desktop background!


    Image
  • Post #53 - April 12th, 2007, 1:57 pm
    Post #53 - April 12th, 2007, 1:57 pm Post #53 - April 12th, 2007, 1:57 pm
    Katie wrote:I have no opinion whatsoever on what constitutes an authentic "Maxwell Street" polish sausage, but I will say that I was very disappointed with the polish I got a week or so ago from a suburban Portillo's location. The sausage was overcooked and a tough chew, no juiciness left at all. And it was served on one of those Gonella bread rolls instead of a hot dog bun, which I did not expect. Now, I don't mind one of those chewy rolls at all for a different kind of sandwich, when I know what I'm getting. But I didn't know my polish sausage was going to come on that. Between the tough bread and the tough meat it all was too much of a workout to eat, and I didn't enjoy it at all -- which is saying something, since polish sausage is my favorite fast food sandwich. Next time I'm at Portillo's I will make a point to ask if it's possible to get a bun instead of a roll, and also ask that they cook me a fresh polish sausage, rather than one that's been sitting off on the side of the grill drying up all evening.

    I had that same experience from the Portillo's near Old Orchard on Skokie Boulevard. I was totally expecting the soft non-poppyseed bun from Jim's Original, and was shocked to receive a Gonella roll instead. Quite a letdown, beyond the qualitative difference in taste from Jim's. At any rate, I suppose it would be good to expand my Polish horizons (of the bigger, Maxwell Street-size variety). Can anyone recommend an excellent example of the poppyseed style on the far-North Side/near-north suburbs?

    --Dan
  • Post #54 - April 12th, 2007, 2:01 pm
    Post #54 - April 12th, 2007, 2:01 pm Post #54 - April 12th, 2007, 2:01 pm
    Wolfy's, Poochies, etc. I'm not sure how Gus prepares 'em at Wiener and Still Champion, but I bet they're good either way :)
    Ed Fisher
    my chicago food photos

    RIP LTH.
  • Post #55 - April 12th, 2007, 2:03 pm
    Post #55 - April 12th, 2007, 2:03 pm Post #55 - April 12th, 2007, 2:03 pm
    gleam wrote:Wolfy's, Poochies, etc. I'm not sure how Gus prepares 'em at Wiener and Still Champion, but I bet they're good either way :)

    Cool, man. I think I've ordered regular Polishes from both locations before, but not the bigger Maxwell Street-size sausages. Poppyseeds, here we come! (Just beware of applying for a job with drug testing directly thereafter. ;))

    Thanks, man,
    Dan
  • Post #56 - April 12th, 2007, 3:00 pm
    Post #56 - April 12th, 2007, 3:00 pm Post #56 - April 12th, 2007, 3:00 pm
    gleam wrote:Wolfy's, Poochies, etc. I'm not sure how Gus prepares 'em at Wiener and Still Champion, but I bet they're good either way :)


    Here you can get it char grilled or fried (which is my preference) and all we have is the poppy seed buns. People have asked for it on french bread but that is few and far between.

    As for the grilled onions, there isn't a big demand so they are made when the order is placed. Now , an old lady that claimed to have worked down on Maxwell Street back in the day told me that the onions were baked, skin on,wrapped in foil then chopped up and finished off on the grill. Take that for what it's worth.
  • Post #57 - April 12th, 2007, 7:38 pm
    Post #57 - April 12th, 2007, 7:38 pm Post #57 - April 12th, 2007, 7:38 pm
    Way back when at Poochie's, and I think even at my other go-to dog & Polish place in those days, Sherm's (Bryn Mawr & Kedzie?--help me out someone) they used to advertise 'gribness in season'. Never had the guts to order it, or to even ask what it was and what it went on...

    Wasn't until a couple years ago, discussing it with my boss, he told me that gribness is rendered & fried chicken fat--schmaltz, as it were.

    Can't imagine what gribness would go with, or whether it was just to be snacked on, like pork rinds.

    I'm sure some LTHer has the answer...
  • Post #58 - April 12th, 2007, 8:57 pm
    Post #58 - April 12th, 2007, 8:57 pm Post #58 - April 12th, 2007, 8:57 pm
    jnm123 wrote:Wasn't until a couple years ago, discussing it with my boss, he told me that gribness is rendered & fried chicken fat--schmaltz, as it were.


    Gribbenes are not the same thing as schmaltz. Schmaltz is the fat, gribbenes are the cracklin'. Although, they are closely linked since they're often the product of the same process.

    Although I'm not sure what "in season" means. If there's a dead chicken to be had, 'tis the season.

    It's always gribbenes season in my house.

    Best,
    Michael
  • Post #59 - April 13th, 2007, 11:23 am
    Post #59 - April 13th, 2007, 11:23 am Post #59 - April 13th, 2007, 11:23 am
    eatchicago wrote:Gribbenes are not the same thing as schmaltz. Schmaltz is the fat, gribbenes are the cracklin'. Although, they are closely linked since they're often the product of the same process.


    Although I concur with the explanation, in point of fact I have never seen or heard of gribenes (double 'b' spelling typical of Galitzianer heritage, no doubt :D ) outside the context of schmaltz. You find gribenes in schmaltz; although--in theory--one might find them elsewhere, I have never heard of reality confirming that particular theory.
    Gypsy Boy

    "I am not a glutton--I am an explorer of food." (Erma Bombeck)
  • Post #60 - April 13th, 2007, 12:06 pm
    Post #60 - April 13th, 2007, 12:06 pm Post #60 - April 13th, 2007, 12:06 pm
    Gypsy Boy wrote:
    eatchicago wrote:Gribbenes are not the same thing as schmaltz. Schmaltz is the fat, gribbenes are the cracklin'. Although, they are closely linked since they're often the product of the same process.


    Although I concur with the explanation, in point of fact I have never seen or heard of gribenes (double 'b' spelling typical of Galitzianer heritage, no doubt :D ) outside the context of schmaltz. You find gribenes in schmaltz; although--in theory--one might find them elsewhere, I have never heard of reality confirming that particular theory.


    Zigeunerbub',

    Grieben kann man allerdings ohne Schmalz fressen -- jedenfalls in einem deutschen Zusammenhang -- und das tue ich stets, wenn mir die Gelegenheit vorkommt, zum Beispiel, bei Laschet's:
    Image
    http://lthforum.com/bb/viewtopic.php?p=31926#31926
    (In diesem Fall waren die Grieben ganz bestimmt nicht Koscher -- vom Schweinche kamen se!)

    Antonius
    Alle Nerven exzitiert von dem gewürzten Wein -- Anwandlung von Todesahndungen -- Doppeltgänger --
    - aus dem Tagebuch E.T.A. Hoffmanns, 6. Januar 1804.
    ________
    Na sir is na seachain an cath.

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