After the Party, there’s the Pastry Party. After the Pastry Party, there’s the Burger Party and then the other Burger Party.
After 3 days of eating, setting up, serving, eating, tearing down, eating, serving, setting up, tearing down, eating (you get the picture) the first thing you want to do is eat and drink … without having to set up or tear down! Yup, that’s exactly what I wanted to do after 3 days of helping to run the Chicago Food Film Fest. After all the food, drinks, cooking & serving utensils, display tables, screens, mics and whatever the hell else used had been cleaned up and put away we had one last errand to run before we could officially take the load of our shoulders.
What to do with the beautiful Lowcountry Oyster Roasters that had to be hand built for the Uncle Bubsy’s Oyster Roast??!? So much time and care went into them and they couldn’t be just tossed aside. We took them apart, put them in a truck and brought them to Art Jackson.
But who is Art Jackson you ask? Art Jackson and his wife, Chelsea Kalberloh Jackson are the chef/owners of the Pleasant House Bakery.
Pleasant House Bakery
964 West 31st Street
Chicago, IL 6060
According to the “about” section on their website; “Pleasant House Bakery is a family owned bakery and cafe located in Chicago’s Bridgeport neighborhood. We specialize in traditional and modern savory pies and specialty sweets. We hand make our own Royal Pies using the best meats and quality produce—growing as much of it as possible at our own Pleasant Farms locations in Chicago.”
That pretty much says it all save for the most important part…THE FOOD IS FREAKIN’ AMAZING!
We had stopped by the bakery on Sunday night to drop off some Beer, Cheese, a few other goods and to hand over control of the precious Oyster Roasters to Art. Seth had suggested, since we were there, that we grab a couple of dishes to snack on. You see, the 7 of us that made the drop off were shortly thereafter meeting up with George and a few other friends of the festival for dinner. By the time we unloaded the cumbersome roasters, the food was ready. Well, what was supposed to be slightly nosh worthy turned out to be a farm fresh feast for a King … or 4 Kings and 3 Queens.
“The Sunday Special Carvery” (a different house-roasted meat each week, served alongside fresh Pleasant Farms sides) which this week was Roast Beef over Spätzle.
As you can imagine, at this point, we were practically bursting at the seems, filled with all kinds of baked happy goodness. AND WE STILL HAD ANOTHER MEAL TO EAT! But that wasn’t going to be enough in the eyes of the Jackson’s. That’s when Chelsea came out and presented us with another Pleasant House Bakery Special; High Tea. It consists of a 3 tiered mountain of traditional and modern Tea Sandwiches, Scones (complete with Clotted Cream and Jam), and various Sweets. I’m not much of a sweets person, especially when I know there is a Burger pending in the not so far off future but let me tell you, every single thing I tried was absolutely wonderful, especially the Candied Berries.
Everything, and I mean E-V-E-R-Y-T-H-I-N-G on the menu at the Pleasant House Bakery is fresh, hot, delicious, mouth wateringly AMAZING. It was as though every Grandmother’s best recipes came together in one kitchen to create the most deletable, home-style, comfort food available on God’s, no, the Jackson’s Green Earth. If lived near here, I’d never have to cook again.
Water Tower Place
835 N Michigan Ave
Chicago, IL 60611
After unloading the Oyster Roasters at Pleasant House, the only thing I wanted to do was eat. After devouring the outstanding food at the Pleasant House, the last thing I wanted to do was eat more. TOO BAD! George had set us up to check out the newest location of Chicago’s newest Burger sensation, M Burger. ,
M Burger is located in the food court at Water Tower Place, an amazing skyscraper filled with fantastic apartments, condos, a hotel, a nice shopping and an unbelievable food court. (What I wouldn’t give to live in something like this in NYC.) Brought to you buy the ever growing Chicago Restaurant giants, Lettuce Entertain You, this location marks the 4th M Burger in Chicago. The concept is simple, Burgers, Chicken Sandwiches, Fries, Shakes & Malts. It’s a no frills tribute to the Burger stands that built this country with only one special sandwich, The “Hurt Burger” with Spicy BBQ Sauce & Pepper Jack.
After a few quick “hello’s,” “nice to meet you’s” and you should really try our’s,” the Chicago Food Film Fest crew and friends had orders placed for them, mostly consisting of Double M Burgers with Cheese, Bacon and M Sauce.
Look, the comparison is obvious, so need to avoid it. Conceptually, M Burger is a lot like In-N-Out without the Drive Thru component. Fresh, Fast, High-Quality Burgers with no fuss. I love me some In-N-Out and have mad respect for what the company has built but by no means do I think they should hold the concept exclusively. These Burgers are juicy, hot, delicious, flavorful and not so big as to slowly end your day. (Even if you had just polished off a massive home cooked style feast!)
So with that out of the way, let me tell you, this is one awesome Burger. Seldom can one provide an example of a great fast Burger available in a shopping mall but me thinks after you taste an M Burger, you’ll wish your mall had 2 of them!! In fact, if the mall nearest me house an M Burger, you can bet my answer would be “OH HELL YEAH” every time my wife wanted to go shopping!
Billy Goat Tavern, Original
Near Tribune Towers and Wrigley Building
430 N. Michigan Ave at Lower Level
Chicago, IL 60611
Well, I always say “if it’s worth doing, it’s worth over doing.” Clearly tonight, George was going to make me, and the rest of us, live every word of that saying. We packed up into our cars, headed across town for the next stop on our post Fest wrap party … to eat another Burger. As if to do the opposite of what we had just done, George took us for one of the most famous Burgers in all the land.
Originally opening in 1934 by William “Billy Goat” Sianis across from Chicago Stadium (now United Center), they served Burgers and beers to a primarily sports crowd. In 1944 the Republican National Convention came to town and William put a sign in the window which read “No Republicans Allowed.” This attracted, you guessed it, Republicans coming into the restaurant demanding to eat. In 1964 the Goat moved to it’s current location, underneath Michigan Ave and if someone didn’t point you in the right direction, you would never find it. There it lived until 1978 when a couple of young comedians on a late night TV show once acted in a skit that made fun of a local Chicago sensation and then the legend of the Billy Goat Tavern was no longer just for locals.
On the Billy Goat Tavern menu, you’ll find “Cheezborgers,” “cheeps,” and sorry to upset you and the comical legend, but they also have other Sandwiches & yes, Breakfast. However, if it’s your first time, like it was mine, you best be getting a “Cheezborger.” Unless you’re having a “lager” (which is how the taps are labeled) you can wash it down with a Coke.
As George, and many others tell, it, the Billy Goat Cheese Burger is best had after several beers or cocktails, whatever your fancy. With that, and already full bellies, we sucked down a few “lagers,” shared some laughs from the weekend and generally enjoyed our time in a dining room covered with historical photos, signs and memorabilia. At the first sign of the slightest bit of room in the belly, Seth piped up and just screamed out “CHEESE BURGERS.” Moments later we were at the grill counter ordering exactly that.
I’ve seen it on TV, I’ve read about it in books, I’ve heard the legend time and time again and now it was time to finally sink my chompers into the famous Billy Goat Tavern “Cheezeborger.” If the environment was so awesome, the story so compelling and my company not so amazing, my review of this Burger of grand legend would be “ehhhhhh.”
The Burger is served on my least favorite roll of all times, the way too thick and dry Kaiser Roll. The Patties are thin and overcooked. The Cheese, well it’s just a regular old slice of American. Even if I had stopped at the toppings bar, I don’t think it would’ve changed my thoughts on the Burger itself. Was it bad? No but it wasn’t good either. Would I tell you that if you have never been you should go and eat one? UNQUESTIONABLY YES!
In fact, as I write up the final words of this review and tell the final moments of the story of the Chicago Food Film Fest, I am wishing I was there now, eating one while washing it down with a “lager” and hanging out with some of the hardest working, most creative, friendly and appreciative people I have ever met. Love you guys and can’t wait for the next Food Film Fest. Please remind me to pack stretchy pants.
Nov. 20, 2011 – 11:40 pm
THE BURGER COUNTQUEST
The Rev Meter for Social Community
“The Rev Meter” is a social community meter for assessing how optimized a bar or restaurant is with social networking. By taking what he considers to be the 10 most important social networks and creating a point system, The Rev can accurately asses how well the business is using social networking as a tool. His goal here is to educate and assist great business to better effectively use these tools
4 points or less You’ve missed the 5 basics and are less than optimized
5 points You’ve covered the basics, which is better than most but far from optimized.
6 to 9 points You’re doing better than most and on your way to becoming a well respected social community whiz.
10 points Congrats on a perfect score! Are you hiring?