Thursday, April 22, 2004

Your teeth and Honey 1 Ribs

JoelF, in the comments asks what kind of "chew" one gets at Honey 1. My reply is below:

You need your teeth for Honey 1, but as I say, your teeth will quite enjoy themselves. There is no gnaw to the ribs though, yet they are hardly "falling off the bone." To be more exact, your teeth will first encounter a "wiv-crisp" layer, about one millimeter thick. This will provide just enough resistance to let you know you have encountered wood grilled meat. Then, your teeth will sink into a gorgeous depth of lubed up pork meat where they will stay for a few seconds. Finally, you will pull away, not with a struggle but with a happy force and take the meat down your gullet, where it will leave your entire tract coated with smoke and fat. Repeat until stuffed.

The hardest issue with BBQ is having it in the right state. The maximum Honey 1 experience will come from calling Mr. Adams and knowing the time YOUR ribs will be ready.

As to sauce, a lot of people have raved about Honey 1's sauce. I've found it nothing special. I was very happy with the meat plain. I am anxious, however, to try the ribs and tips with my favorite local sauce (and perhaps the best tip ever to come from Chowhound) Tapatio hot sauce. I did find the peach soda sold at Honey 1 to be a great accord with the meal.
After decades of rough going, 90-year-old blues legend Pinetop Perkins has finally gotten his act together

"He's had one arm sliced open in a bar brawl and the other broken in a collision with a train. He has performed his music at cockfights and played for a U.S. president. He has survived poverty, abuse, grief and alcoholism. He's an unsung forefather of rock 'n' roll and a living legend of the blues. As 90-year-old Pinetop Perkins is fond of saying, "I come up the hard way."

You can read the rest of the story here, but you should really find a copy of today's Tribune's Tempo section for the glorious color picture of Perkins and his fellow bluesman, Bob Stroger.

Tuesday, April 20, 2004

Blame it on Joel
Honey 1 BBQ

Chowhound JoelS may, just may, ignite a whole new BBQ explosion in Chicago. You see Joel organized a BBQ vanguard, with a dangerous agents scouring the city for potential and wily old masters lending their wisdom. And believe me, Bastille has been stormed. We will soon all thank Joel for his cause. Already, The Reader is being taken over as their reporter, Mike Sula, fights house by house on the pages of his newspaper. Lobbing his bombs of slow cooked and wood against the regime of grill and gas. Soon, we might even turn on our evening news and see such food. Such food you will no longer be able to get to bed. And like any revolution, this one has a shrine, a gathering spot.

I paid my homage today. Meeting the partisans at Honey 1 Ribs, 5135 W. Division in Chicago. Two hours later, my mouth, the inner cells of my cheek, the entirety of my soft palate, well down into my esophagus, remained coated in a lucious film of pork fat. See, while Honey 1 gets a nice veneer of smoke from a mix of hard woods, mostly oak, and a thin Wiv-crisp crust, and even a hint of seasoning, these ribs are all about pork fat. Not fatty let me say. They taste nothing of bacon, only of ribs. Yet, these ribs are strikingly different from the other rib stands around town. The Chicago rib tastes mostly dry. I always think of the meat as striated, as it seems to break into long thin spikes. Honey 1 ribs does not do that. Instead, it provides you a pillow to sink your teeth. Really, it is flat out fun to eat these ribs. Of course it is flat out fun to eat their rib tips and hot links too. The tips ARE fatty, but only in the best of ways. Robert Adams, the pitmaster of Honey 1 has been working on his link method, and his practice is paying off. He's slowed the heat down but also decided to cook the links less. The result is snappy and, well can I say lucious again in this report? These links are coarse but no where as coarse as other Chicago links. You are getting a fully emulsified sausage, no chunks of fat, no bits of gristle, but tons of spice, not many kinds of spice but many handfuls of one spice, cayenne pepper. Mr. Adams has no weak spot.

As has been well noted on Chowhound and the Reader, Robert Adams and his son, also Robert Adams, enjoy cooking their stuff as much as you will enjoy eating it. If you care, they will willingly engage you in Q-ology. And Cubs fans too!
Join the revolution.

It has been well noted on Chowhound that ribs are not necessarily there at Honey 1 unless you call in advance (773-626-5436). Do. Although you can still be quite happy with the tips or links.

Monday, April 19, 2004

Get Your Own BBQ Pit

One of the things I managed to acquire on the Mil - Walk - ee was a price list from Belvin J/F Sheet Metal Co. for Chicago style BBQ pits.

The pits ranged in size from 3 x 5 feet to 4 x 8 and could be had in standard black or stainless steel. Prices started at $1,650 and went up to $5,650. Fabrication and installation takes 3 to 4 weeks

Mil - Walk - ee II

Note, below, I've added some photo's from MikeG and SethZ. Both sets of pictures capture the event well. See here for Seth's and here for Mike's.

Based on SethZ's list, here's a bit more info on places I forgot to mention as well as a few names where my mind was drawing blank:

Gonnella Bread Factory - Chicago and Milwaukee

We tried to cajole a tour, all we got were hairnets.

Johnny's Snack Shop - Milwaukee near Concord
Looks rather normal on the outside but quite Algrenesque inside with full range of long forgotten Wicker Park characters. Chickened out on ordering as it was really a sit down place. This after one of the cooks (owner?) yelled at us several times to sit down.

The name of the bar with the charming old Polish tender, where we enjoyed our Okocims and sausage was called The Padalhie Club.

I forgot we stopped at the deli part of Staropolska, near Belmont, for dry sausage, and I mean dry as a descriptor not as a style of sausage.

SethZ sez we stopped at some place called Michaels, but right now, I cannot remember it for the life of me.

The place with the home made huaraches and quesadillas was called El Gallo #2.
Talk Better When You Talk the Talk
Think About Taking a Class with Voicescape

Upcoming Workshop...One Shot Deal to enhance your business communication skills. Thursday, May 6, 2004

How do you present yourself to others? Using creative techniques from the world of actor training, VoiceScape's one day workshop will enable you to find your best business voice, postures, gestures and mindsets for use in meetings, presentations, speeches, interviews and more. We offer fun actor-training exercises and mindsets that are easily transferable to all kinds of business scenarios: speeches, client pitches, videoconferences, interviews, networking events and more! Spend a day away from the office with us learning presentation skills with a theatrical spin, and then applying new techniques to a final short presentation. Includes videotape analysis and feedback. Keep your 40-page workbook as a reference tool. Lunch is provided.

Taking the Stage: Creating a Dynamic Business Presence
Presented by VoiceScape, Inc.
with VoiceScape President Kirsten D'Aurelio
For information/registration, visit or 312.339.9555
Mil - Walk - ee

I will write a longer and better on the Mil - Walk - ee, but until then, here's a quick rundown on the places we visited.  Amazingly, as you will see below, right now, I do not have particularly accurate information on all the places.  Luckily, with the blog, I can update as I remember stuff (or otherwise get the better info).

Moving SE to NW

Blommers Chocolate Factory - We poked around, tasted the samples and then, with heavy guilt, left. 

Podhalanka - Polish diner on Division, just off of Milwaukee

MikeG sez, "menu sets time warp tone."

VI sez, excellent renditions of homey food.  It was good that we had a bit of walking under our belt.  Learned the secret behind white borsht (fermented flour), enjoyed the potato pancakes and sour cream.  No beans Breton style to try.

Big Tony's Pizza - Between Division and North/Damen - Looked lousy, tasted lousy

Artemio's Bakery - Between Division and North/Damen - Too sour guava "squashed pie" but excellent chewy macaroon.

Red Hen Bakery - Just past North/Damen - Did not try but others did.

Margie's Ice Cream - Armitage/Western -

All the kidz got cones: chocolate, NY cherry and strawberry.

Campeche Fish Stand - Between Western and California

Seth asked for ceviche, got cocktail, and an extremely ketchupy version therein.  Inside, there was fresh fish that can be cooked to order, and extremely fresh versions therein.  Worth a return visit.

Maroon van, now periwinkle van - Just south of California -

MikeG eats famous fare from no longer maroon van.

A wide array of stuff, none of it especially great: fried taco's with assorted fillings; soft tacos with potato, chicken, beans and chicharron; sopes with potato chunks; shrimp cocktail quesadilla.  Skipped the various atoles. 

Cafe Mariano - 2246 Milwaukee - Pretty good, not great cafe cubano, pretty, pretty good steak sandwiches, still chaotic ordering as it took SethZ two tries to get his order (for MikeG) across.

Blue van, still blue but absent the word's greatest sopes - Several people including the chowhounditas got the chunks of fresh fruit dressed, al gusto with lime, salt or chile.  A shame they had no sopes 'cause I was not so impressed with the Maroon van sopes.  The blue van sopes are crisper on the bottom, making for a wonderful contrast of textures. 

Mega Mall - 2502 N. Milwaukee

No one tried the Casa de las Gorditas, but Seth had a liquado.

El Condor - 2349 N. Milwaukee - This was the best food I ate during the day.  We got the house plate: roast pork, simple boiled hominy ("mato"), fried corn kernels and an excellent orange hot sauce.  Also, incredible house-made popsicles from assorted fruits.  These would be worth it just for the jaunty angle they come out of their aluminum cups, but even more worth it for their intense and real flavor.

Islas Marias - Nayarit style seafood - Dickson or others can fill in as I did not eat any until well after it cooled down.

Kurowski Sausage/Polish bar on Oakdale (I cannot think of its name)/- 2976 N. Milwaukee -

Would you know what to order?

This place smelled incredible.  SethZ did a grand job of buying sausages, bread, butter, herring (for me) and a few other things that we took over to the bar on Oakdale for a dark picnic.  Everything tasted great, but the taste that stood out the most was the super-fresh Clarendon Hills butter.

Polish Bakery - Slightly north of Kurowski with great curved glass window - Polish speakers kept on getting served ahead of us, should have taken the hint as most of this stuff sucked.

Mambo Club - 3336 N. - Ask ErikM how the cafe cubano was

Peacock Lounge - 3394 N. - Not a lot of drinking interest, but ErikM and I quaffed a quick buffalo grass vodka

Tobacco Room - 4020 N. - Good prices on cigars.  I got a Punch Rothchild for a quick fix.

Mexican place in Jefferson Park (around Lawrence) - Really, really good hot sauce with chunks of avocado in it.  This is how I'd prefer my guacamole.  Handmade huaraches and quesadillas, but the stuff was a bit chunky and artless. 

Superdawg - 6363 N. - Only Rich, Bob and I approached Superdawg, like pilgrims visiting Jerusalem on foot, but that's for another post. They gave me black bread for my whoopercheesie about 3 days past its prime. Still everything else they gave me tasted super. Too super. I wanted to stop eating the fries, as well as you can see, I ate a fair amount already, but I could not stop until I found no more in front of me.