#1 burger in Chicago?

KABOOMY!  We are told that this place serves up quite possibly the number one burger in all of Chicago–the joint is called Au Cheval…let’s check it out and see what’s what.

Au Cheval is located on West Randolph Street in the West Loop section of town right across the street from Girl And The Goat. . .this is prime feeding territory cuz GATG is GREAT!

Anyway, back to Au Cheval…this place is simply a slick, cozy, and happenin’ pub offering fabulous beverages and tasty pub grub…the music is at a good volume…the vibe is relaxed yet a bit scintillating…and the smell is alluring with the kitchen right behind the bar cooking endless burgers, strips of bacon, and fried chicken. . .damn, we are glad to be here–mmmm, aaaahh!!

The burger is thee thang here…it comes in “single” and “double” sizes–but the single has two patties and the double has three patties. . .under-promise, over-deliver…we like this–jaaaa!!

Before the burgers we start with a couple of appetizers: a chopped salad and an order of the chopped liver. . .served up choppitychoplikketysplit.  The chopped salad is refreshing, hearty and delicious. . .the chopped liver is served with a side of lardo and a pile of lovely buttery toast–this baby is DELECTABLE…I inhale it all with no problem at all…almost makes me forget about the chopped liver at Katz’s in New York…almost.

Next up are our burgers…my wife does the ‘single’ and I do the ‘double’ with bacon and a fried egg–yowza!  Both of these babies are extremely tasty and mouthwateringly good. . .my double has three thin patties of meat, gooey cheese, pickles, some kind of special sauce, thick delectable bacon strips, and a sunnyside fried egg…all served on a sweet shiny brioche bun…I add some mustard, mash it all together, and eat it joyfully until there is not one morsel left except the drippings that I clean up with the wonderful side of french fries that we have wisely included with our meal.  We wash all this meaty goodness down with a bottle of Portuguese tempranillo. . .veddy niiiiiiice!

I even have room for dessert once I hear that they are serving housemade strawberry sorbet…one order is two large scoops that we ingest with no problem at all…delicious.

So, is this the number one burger in all of Chicago?  I don’t know.  Is it an extremely satisfying meat experience served up in a cozy and happenin’ atmosphere?  Yes, it most indubitably is. Personally, I prefer one thicker 6-ounce patty of high quality meat cooked a perfect medium rare. . .this three-patty burger is served medium with a lot of meat and drippiness that I can live with, but it is not my favorite way to enjoy a burger.  Yet, with all of the extras that come with this baby: the wonderful bacon, the wonderful egg, the wonderful cheese, the special sauce, the sweet bun, etc., the Au Cheval burger is well worth the experience, and I definitely want to eat it again and again and again. . .and do the fried chicken as well the next time we pop in here–EAT IT ALL!

You can expect to wait to eat here…just put your name on the list, go somewhere up the block for a drink or three, and you will be seated in just under 2 hours. . .ah well, all part of the happenin’ experience and worth it, I would say.

I send you drippingly juicy and savory vibes from Au Cheval in the West Loop of Chi-town. . .feel them. . .they will make your end-of-the-night shower more enjoyable and necessary than usual.

It’s lovely out there.

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Tornado Steak House–

HMMM!  We have heard a lot about the Tornado Steak House in Madison, Wisconsin. . .time to check it out for ourselves and see what’s what…jaaaa!

The Tornado Room, as many people call it, is a classic Wisconsin supper club: lots of retro colorful lighting, dark bar, wood paneling, cozy booths, gallons of alcohol being served, friendly staff, and lots of meat on the menu.

We roll in early without a reservation and are told that we can sit in any booth in the front bar area. . .we score a nice one in a corner–fabulous!  We order cocktails…lots of people start arriving for their reserved tables and booths in the back–this place is poppin’!

For dinner we dive into a New York strip steak and a rack of lamb with sauteed brussels sprouts and crispy hash brown potatoes on the side.  The NY strip is cooked a good medium-rare, but it is not a great cut of meat–it is chewy and mealy…disappointing.  The rack of lamb is cooked a nice medium-rare and actually quite tasty–not bad at all.  The hash browns are cooked perfectly–Wisconsin knows how to do wonderful fried potatoes, no problem here. . .but the brussels sprouts are luke warm and without flavor–add some salt and pepper to the cooking process next time, and these babies will be better.

We wash everything down with a tasty Robert Sinskey cabernet so the evening is not entirely lost.

Please feel free to try the Tornado Steak House the next time you visit Madtown here in central Wisconsin. . .it’s good, but not great. . .we enjoy the supper club thing here in America’s Dairyland, and now we understand that it is all about creating spaces for brief respites from the hard work that is going on everywhere in this state, not necessarily a world class meal, just a cozy and comforting atmosphere to take the edge off.  By George, I think we are getting it…I think.

To see more magical images from around our teeny tiny planet simply click on a location of your choice in the category menu on the ‘About’ page of this blog. . .dive on in. . .so much to see and sooooo little time.

It’s lovely out there.

Rock-n-roll dude-n-food–

POW!  Henry Rollins is in Madtown…jaaaa!!  We gotta see him, and we gotta ingest some delectable grub. . .so we do so.

Henry is touring around the country sharing slides from his world travels and filling us in on his adventures, thoughts, experiences, and overall approach to enjoying the passage of time. . .veddy nice!

Afterward, we are hungry. . .we hit The Weary Traveler on Willy Street for burgers and such…we hit The Old Fashioned on Capitol Square for eggs and such…and we hit the Tornado Steakhouse around the corner for, you guessed it, steaks and such.  Everything is delicious and washed down with various glasses of bloodys, chasers, and wine. . .mmm, aaaahh!

Madison, Wisconsin continues to offer just enough good stuff to keep us interested and satisfied. . .how much longer can this last?  Answer coming soon.  Meanwhile, Go Badgers!

I send you full-belly vibes from various haunts in Mound City–the heart of America’s Dairyland. . .feel them. . .they will help you sleep deeply this evening and every evening.

To see more stupendous images from around our teeny tiny planet simply click on a location of your choice in the category menu on the ‘About’ page of this blog. . .do it. . .you know you want to.

It’s lovely out there.

Hungry for more…NYC–

KAPOWY!  Back in New York City and gobbling extremely tasty grub at Osteria Morini on Lafayette Street in the Soho section of Manhattan.

For today’s din-din I am ingesting an arancino, a crispy grilled octopus, a garganelli with cream, peas, truffle butter and prosciutto–DELECTABLE, and a grille misto with lamb chops, sausages, and skirt steak all cooked a perfect medium rare–DELIGHTFUL.  Everything is washed down with various glasses of blanco and rosso. . .perfecto!

Michael White is still the king of pasta of New York City, in my humble opinion, and Morini is still rockin’ it. . .please come down here for lunch or dinner the next time you are in town. . .you will love it–I gar-ron-taaaayy!

To see more magical images from around our teeny tiny planet simply click on a location of your choice in the category menu on the ‘About’ page of this blog. . .dive on in. . .the world awaits you NOW.

It’s lovely out there.

Diner extraordinaire…Chicago–

BAM!  Here we are doing some major gobbling at an extremely tasty joint in the Fulton Market section of Chicago: Little Goat Diner. . .let’s check it out and see what’s happenin’.

Little Goat Diner is right across the street from Girl And The Goat…both of these places are owned and run by Stephanie Izard–superstar chef of deliciousness.  Girl And The Goat is one of the best restaurants in town, but we have never tried the diner…and now we are glad that we have tried it because the grub they serve here is DELICIOUS!

Little Goat Diner is a diner on magic mushrooms…super-heightened feeding experiences can be had here.  During this visit I am sipping on a kimchi bloody mary–FABULOUS…and I am ingesting a bowl of housemade corned beef hash with sausage gravy, bacon, and three perfectly-cooked overeasy eggs all mashed together–TOTALLY SATISFYING!  Plus, I am drinking bottomless cups of black coffee that are intense, rich, and super-coffee-ish. . .mmm, aaaahh!

Please come to the Fulton Market section of Chicago in the West Loop the next time you are in town. . .do lunch or breakfast at Little Goat Diner then dinner at Girl And The Goat…this will be a food experience that you want again and again.

To see more magical images from around planet Earth simply click on a location of your choice in the category menu on the ‘About’ page of this blog. . .dive on in. . .so much to see and sooooo little time.

It’s lovely out there.

See and do Chi-town–

YES!  There is a lot of theater to see in Chicago…everything from touring Broadway shows to homegrown stuff at Steppenwolf to down-n-dirty up-n-comers workin’ things out at Second City and in any storefront or basement or black-box space that can accommodate a few actors and patrons willing to check them out.

Plus, there is a ton of good grub in Chi-town…Au Cheval…Stephanie Izard’s goat empire with the Little Goat Diner being a delicious option, etc….and then tons of watering holes for whiling away the evening or afternoon after dinner or lunch–Lone Wolf being one of BILLIONS of options.

Make your way back to Chicago some time soon. . .this town continues to rock and is here waiting to entertain and feed you. . .mmmm, aaaahh!

I send you midwestern big city vibes from The Windy One…feel them…they are good for your well-being.

It’s lovely out there.

We like it hot–

KAZOWY!  One hundred degrees in Chicago. . .just a few weeks ago…now those days are gone for at least seven or eight months–ugh!  I miss summer already.

It has to be at least one hundred degrees here to make even the thought of swimming in Lake Michigan bearable. . .we don’t get in there unless it’s hot, hot, HOT!…so these are perfect conditions for a dip.

Strolling along State Street, that great street, in the heat is most wonderful…folks are scurrying about here and there making their way from one air-conditioned building to another…we are all feeling the heat–mmm, aaahh!

The L is up above…the buildings rise high…the sun pops up over the shores of the lake and LSD (Lake Shore Drive)…no actual lsd needed as the heat opens all of our psychic doors of perception and makes us feel the life-giving presence and power of our solar friend.  “We are nothing without you, solar friend…we are nothing without you…thanks for the warmth and light.”

I send you enjoying-the-moment-vibes from the streets of Chicago…feel them…they will make the hairs on your arms stand on end.

It’s lovely out there.