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Annual Black Friday Food Crawl - 2012 Edition

Annual Black Friday Food Crawl - 2012 Edition
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  • Annual Black Friday Food Crawl - 2012 Edition

    Post #1 - November 29th, 2012, 12:46 am
    Post #1 - November 29th, 2012, 12:46 am Post #1 - November 29th, 2012, 12:46 am
    Once again, as rabid shoppers elbowed each other in search of early holiday-season deals, my family and I hopped in the family truckster and ate our way across town . . .

    Stop 1 - Schoop's Hamburgers - 215 Ridge Rd, Munster, IN
    I'd never been to Schoop's and a few trusted sources informed me that this Munster outpost is one of the stronger units in the chain, so it's the one we decided to hit.

    The Mickey
    A single, crispy-edged patty and 2 slices of cheese. I opted for a single because it was my first time out and I thought it best to go with the most standard item. And because we had a big day of eating planned, my wife and I split a burger, while my son had one to himself. I really liked it but I think I'd go for a double or triple next time around because there was a little too much bun to meat for me on a single. The sweet pickle chips on the burger were a nice touch.

    Onion Rings
    Some of the very best I've ever had. They were battered, light and really crispy. They were so good, they kind of stole the show from the burger. Not pictured are some fries and a cup of chili, neither of which were worth writing home about.

    Stop 2 - Mini Hut - 6659 W Archer Ave, Chicago
    I'd read a lot of recent comments on this thread proclaiming that Mini Hut has the best fried chicken in Chicagoland. I don't know about that but it was really tasty.

    8-Piece Dinner
    For a deep-fried version, the crust was especially delicate and light. One of the guys who worked there explained to me that because of the butter in the crust, it cooks up pretty uniquely. The chicken was fried perfectly, seriously moist and had a really nice flavor. Great stuff!

    Stop 3 - Nicky's The Real McCoy - 5801 S Kedzie Ave. Chicago
    I've had Big Babies before but reviewing this thread, started by the esteemed Rene G, I realized that I'd never had the version he recommended starting with, so we made a point of stopping by.

    Big Baby
    I was expecting a lower-grade product because so many corner joints in town overcook their burgers but this was really nicely cooked, with a little pink in the patties and the cheese nicely melted between them. I'm sorry my picture doesn't really capture the most distinctive elements of this South Side classic.

    Stop 4 - La Chaparrita - 2500 S Whipple St, Chicago
    Unfortunately, they were closed. :(

    Stop 5 - Au Cheval - 800 W Randolph, Chicago
    This had been on the top of my "must try" list for some time but I'd never made it over there. With La Chaparrita closed, we were able to hit it at a great time: 4:30, about a half-hour before dinner service commenced. We grabbed a booth, ordered a few beverages (adult and other), and played a few rounds of Akinator on my son's phone while we passed the time. RAB and REB decided to join us, so when they arrived, we pulled a stool up to our booth, made it a 5-top and ordered up some items to share . . .

    Foie Gras Terrine with Strawberry Jam
    Tasty and as others have mentioned the strawberry was an inspired pairing.

    Green Salad with Pickled Shallot, Herbs and Sherry Vinaigrette
    Great flavors and the bacon, which is also served at Bavettes, was stellar. The greens were a bit watery. I'm not sure if that was from the dressing itself or some excess moisture that hadn't been removed before they were dressed.

    Fried House-Made Bologna Sandwich with Egg
    The bologna could have been a bit crispier but it was still delicious.

    Crispy Potato Hash with Duck Heart Gravy
    Supremely crispy potatoes (again, very similar to a version served at Bavette's) topped with earthy, rich duck heart gravy.

    Single Cheeseburger
    A single is actually a double and a double is actually a triple. Go figure. As much as I'd read and heard about this burger, it wasn't overhyped at all. It was really tasty and very skillfully prepared, with a good sear on the outsides of the juicy patties and lots of pinkness inside.

    Raw Vegetable Salad with Apple and Blue Cheese
    REB wanted this for dessert and we all shared it. I loved that all the veggies had been sliced ultra-thin on a mandoline. It was a great preparation. I especially enjoyed the beets in this form.

    So, not quite as many stops as in previous years but still a great day of eating -- everything from griddle burgers to foie gras. I managed to try 4 places I'd never been before, spend the day with my family and hook up with some dear friends, too. Funny how lately it's the day after Thanksgiving on which I really feel like giving thanks.

    By protecting others, you save yourself. If you only think of yourself, you'll only destroy yourself. --Kambei Shimada

    Every human interaction is an opportunity for disappointment --RS

    There's a horse loose in a hospital --JM

    That don't impress me much --Shania Twain
  • Post #2 - December 31st, 2012, 12:09 pm
    Post #2 - December 31st, 2012, 12:09 pm Post #2 - December 31st, 2012, 12:09 pm
    Nice thread.

    I may try to get to the Mini Hut, as fried chicken is about my favorite & theirs sounds very interesting.
  • Post #3 - December 31st, 2012, 5:28 pm
    Post #3 - December 31st, 2012, 5:28 pm Post #3 - December 31st, 2012, 5:28 pm
    thanks Ronnie, some gems out there far afield in the Chicago area!