Chicago, IL-Sitting down and paying $50 for a glass of tomato juice with Popov, a sliver of translucent bacon and some sopping wet eggs you can see your reflection in, is a favorite past time for most Chicagoans. As is engaging in a war of attrition against a crippling hangover that is pummeling you closer to the pavement with every excruciating moment as you stand in a lengthy line, waiting to eat half of whatever slop you order before succumbing to booze fever and nausea.
Your eyes calculate if the water glass on the table could withstand a stomach sized load of bile.
Contributing to these feelings is the table adjacent, containing a smug looking man with a goatee and a summer scarf, a woman with oversized sunglasses dressed head to toe in luxury athletic apparel, and their diarrhea snowflake…Jake. Though never actually addressed as Jake, his behavior and look suggest it as the most likely name.
The idiotic salon styled Mohawk. The soiled little league jersey. The perpetual fart stream. The unmistakable look of complacency that accompanies being worshipped as a god and breast fed over the age of 10. Jake exists in every brunch, happening at any given moment, past, present or future. He doesn’t give a fuck about you or your hangover and he’s having a “me day”.
His parents will look on with pride as their perfect creation hauls ass around the restaurant, stomping toes, flicking boogers and ripping eye stingers. We all deserve to share in this prize they’ve selflessly delivered to the world. We all deserve to have an already idiotic morning ritual ruined by the likes of a privileged insect and his disinterested parents.
Realizing that the majority of the country has no chance of actually making it to Friday to seek refuge in their customary garbage piles of bogo knuckle steak jammers, jalapeno shooters, nummy chicken nubbbies and vodka mudslides, TGI Fridays has launched TGI Wednesdays.
Described as “a midweek, strip mall orgy on a budget,” TGI Wednesdays hopes to provide a haven for the majority of the country that require getting blacked out and eating shitty food on a Wednesday to maintain sanity in the otherwise brutal state of humanity.
There will be some certifiable psychopaths in tow, as is the case with any TGI Fridays location, but for the most part TGI Wednesday will cater to the disgruntled after work crowd who have spent the entire day churning out digital waste comparable in quality to the shoddy décor in a Wednesday themed bar and grill.
With a menu that encourages gorging your sadness into oblivion, the feeling of being uncomfortably full will soon distract from what ails you. The TGI Beef Fingers, a 60-40 mash of ground chuck shaped into a knotted human hand, deep fried Barefoot Rose’ and garnished with ostrich feathers are certain to loosen your worries and tighten your waistband.
Wash it down with a frosty mug of cocktail award winning Puckered Brown Eye and watch your cares melt away like the ice your stagnant cup of nutria infused Sour Apple Pucker. Forgetting about family and loved ones and knowing only the unique warmth provided by a franchised casual dining establishment.
The slogan for TGI Wednesdays has been confirmed as “Fuck it, it’s Wednesday”. So treat yourself with a full blackout for making it halfway through another forgettable week.
Bubba Gump’s Shrimp-Nestled into one of the more secluded and unknown parts of the city, in a quaint part of town known adoringly by locals as Navy Pier; Bubba Gump Shrimp will submerge you in the scenic waters of Lake Michigan. Unfortunately Bubba Gump’s is only for the most hardcore of seafood snobs, offering up unorthodox interpretations on shrimp like popcorn shrimp and coconut shrimp (both styles uniquely Chicago) and a variety of intriguing pairings for the seafood like Moscato and Samuel Adams Boston Lager. The perfect romantic place for an anniversary or to show off the diverse offerings of a big city to an out of towner. Bubba Gump’s Shrimp will bring any seafood gourmand to their knees and have them begging Poseidon for one more piece of buttery flaccid shrimp!
Margaritaville-Adjacent to Bubba Gump’s Shrimp is a charming beachside bungalow called Margaritaville. The perfect place to take a load off and enjoy a few $9 domestic beers. Nothing will melt your cares away faster than listening to, local favorite, Jimmy Buffet’s Cheeseburgers in Paradise on repeat for the entire duration of your meal. It’s the absolute perfect escape from big city living, a little slice of trendy 1940’s Tiki culture right in your own backyard. People will be amazed at the authenticity of the décor and the cocktail program that only uses artisan flavored silver rums like Parrot Bay. No shirt, no shoes, no problem…it’ll be our little secret.
Rainforest Café-Perhaps the most discreet restaurant in Chicago, there is no way for anyone (except veteran Chicagoans) to tell that what lies inside is a gorgeously exotic rainforest themed bar & grill. The ingenuity behind a hyper real amazon experience is unrivaled. The misters will turn any entrée into an elegant soup, and at points the dark, hot, cramped space can make you as delirious as a Malaria induced fever. The smell of dirty diapers is a true bonus and the souvenir shop is ripe with treasures that will be conversation starters for decades. Do you have what it takes to survive in such a new and unusual neighborhood spot?
ESPN Zone Chicago (CLOSED TO PUBLIC, BUT AVAILABLE THROUGH A SECRET HOBBIT DOOR LOCATED IN THE BASEMENT OF EATALY)-Anything with Chicago in the name will clearly be the life force of the city, and ESPN Zone Chicago is no exception. A family run post-futurist restaurant with plenty of eye candy found in the thousands of inescapable plasma screen televisions. Nothing like supporting the local economy with this mom and pop run restaurant. They provide a modern twist on old classics like deep frying chicken tenderloins and deep frying mozzarella cheese. What could be more modern and edgy than having 0 interactions with the person you’re out with? Have a mixologist craft you up a toothsome whiskey and coke to go with staring lifelessly into a monitor, what better way to enjoy the sights and sounds of a big city?!
Reports documenting how lunch meat is made have ruined the cold cut buffet culture at strip clubs. Videos showing how Gummy Bears are made transformed an adorable candy into a tiny bear shaped sack full of crushed animal skin and bones. And now the shredded raccoon carcass caked on the side of the highway, which serves as a great low carb snack on road trips, may have a similarly perverse origin.
Raccoon meat is known by most as the filet mignon of vermin. A tender, delicate meat, best enjoyed fur-on, medium rare with a glass of earthy Sutter Home. Which is why the yearning for that old familiar taste is so consuming as you pass the crumbling corpse on the side of the road.
What most people don’t realize is that the tire treads and collapsed skull, assumed by many to signify a peaceful passing by natural causes, are anything but. In over 50% of cases these can signify contact with a moving vehicle, which can contain bacteria that most humans are intolerant to! Can anyone say upset tummy?!
And that sweet taste of highway medium raccoon flesh, almost bordering on acrid, that lures you back time and time again like a sirens song is actually the meat spoiling further between every chew. If you catch it even a day too late, it can cause severe nausea! Yuck! Who would have thought?
Knowing that the raccoon filet swarming with flies in the hot sun could have possibly been struck by a car AND might be rotting is a total bummer…but NOW YOU KNOW!
In a piece of shit world thirsty for any morsel of news or controversy, celebrity chef Guy Fieri made headlines confirming that he had his first solid bowel movement in over 2 decades. The rare feat happened on Saturday at approximately 2:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time and was met with an obligatory ovation from Fieri’s hoard of Ed Hardy touting servants. “Shut the front door, these guys are what made it happen, they make a porchetta that you won’t forgetta…if yah catch my drift!” chortled a glistening Fieri in a near delirious state after feeling more human than he has in years.
It remains unclear what caused the fleeting glimpse at a healthy digestive tract, but experts plunging into the monstrosity like the sick triceratops scene from Jurassic park have confirmed it could either be the diseased raccoon tartare or tuna sausage consumed minutes prior. The act has caused universal outrage though no one is quite certain why.
“I’m used to it being radio silence down there or looser than creamed corn! That stool is so fresh it’ll slap ya!” continued Fieri being a nuisance and a health hazard in the kitchen with a piece of custom made leather toilet paper hanging repulsively from his camouflage Crocs.
As our stupidity evolves, examining celebrity shit will be a highly influential part in human culture.
I’ve become increasing unwell since first seeing it. The stinking flesh pinecone that was served to me at Old Crow in River North. Baptized daily in waves of uncontrollable nausea. The sickening misshapen knuckle patty, cooked in a Vaseline Sous Vide has since spoiled burgers for me as a whole. I will always remember the granular tissue of the patty jutting out in every direction, cartilage rupturing through mucous covered smooth portions of the burger like breaching icebergs. I fear the permanence of it all. What was that sound I heard? That a pained squawk from the kitchen. The black feathers on the floor. Something unspeakable happened in that kitchen I’m sure of it.
The burger was made with hatred that much was certain. Born from a shrine of pure loathing. What could cause such unbridled abhorrence to be infused into a patty? I was extremely drunk and even through the all forgiving brain of someone nearing a blackout the burger was still discernibly an abomination in every sense of the word.
As the weeks pass and I crawl deeper into reflection, certain morsels of memory from that day surrender themselves. Pried loose from the shackles of repression. There was a crow in the kitchen that much I’m certain, wearing a tiny chef hat and a branded collared shirt. It appeared to be angrily mincing the patties with its tiny claws, its eyes terrifyingly black and indignant. Other feebler looking crows, malnourished and sickly, were being added to the pile of meat which the crow chef was mincing and grilling. The memory provides a satisfying clarity to the disgusting nature of the burger.
Old Crow is the most authentic crow burger you will eat in this city.
By rule I don’t eat at any restaurant that doesn’t also have a presence in Fort Lauderdale, Cancun and or Mall of America. If there’s only one of a restaurant it’s because it’s not good enough to have more. If you can survive the black hole between Spencer’s Gifts and Gadzooks, than goddamnit, you can make it anywhere.
As is the case with Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. You think a culturally void restaurant franchise based off of a movie from 1994 got to where it was by locally sourcing ingredients or worrying about the relevance of Forrest Gump decades later? Fuck no. It got where it is by strong arming the movie Forrest Gump back into relevancy and giving people the perception that they’ve graduated from T.G.I. Fridays.
You go to Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. for the rustic southern atmosphere, the Forrest Gump replica memorabilia and to avoid conversations with family members by staring blankly at the loop of Forrest Gump playing on one of the thousand flat screen TVs. Most of these restaurants appear completely deserted, occupied only by a disheartened host or hostess touting a sheepish smile. Most people are too scared to enter, either because they haven’t brushed up on their Forrest Gump trivia (idiots) or because they feel uncomfortable when the host/hostess is forced to play guitar nude in front of the restaurant…just like Jenny. Nothing like biting into a steaming hot, garlic jumbo shrimp the size of your head and watching a painstaking guitar performance as scolding hot butter drips down your chin! Mm hmm! Yum!
But fear not! This list of handy tips and tricks will have you ordering like a clueless tourist in no time!
- Load up on over-embroidered, oversized Bubba Gump Co. t-shirts. Every family member should be wearing it tucked snuggly into their jeans. There should be tremendous bunching right at the crotch that causes a perpetual state of adjustment for the entire meal. After the purchase look for dad to stare perplexed and enraged at the receipt wondering how 5 shirts could cost $200.For extra fun, buy a trucker hat or visor and turn upside down or sideways, the wait staff loves it! You didn’t hear it from me…you may even get a free shrimp tail!
- Be sure to leer and mockingly scream Run Forrest Run! At the disgruntled wait staff as they wearily traverse the slick floor with a massive tray of loose shrimp and novelty cocktails. As a fun prank yell Stop Forrest Stop! To get them to look at you right before you break into a giggling fit with the rest of the family. A story that you can tell your kids to truly portray that you were just as big of an asshole then as you are now!
- Indulge in hilariously named dishes and cocktails like; Lt. Dan’s Drunken Shrimp and Lt. Dan’s Pomegranate Punch, which transform depressing alcoholism into charming novelty cocktails and unexceptional seafood!
- Most importantly…reminisce and create new Forrest Gump memories with family and friends. The foundation to any great relationship is the movie Forrest Gump. So tear into a couple of shrimp that haven’t sniffed a deveiner and create memories of watching the movie Forrest Gump that will last a lifetime.
Humanity has struggled for decades to determine what makes a restaurant or bar eccentric and quirky. Some would say it’s a combination of ingenuity and an incredible product…and they couldn’t be more wrong. Hip people don’t want something as trivial as a Michelin star or a nationally ranked cocktail program, they want an “&” in the name of wherever they’re going. Without a strategically placed “&” that bar or restaurant loses all credibility to anyone who has a perceived knowledge of fine dining. Examine the random words below:
These words alone would never beckon the most obnoxious, self-proclaimed food snob. However when combined, something fascinating happens. The “&” creates a pretentious bond between the words that functions as a siren song to people who know far more about food than you do:
Fox & Ivy
Tinker & Toil
Ring & Piece
Suds & Sofa
Boots & Pine
Ribbon & Hare
Each combination is oozing with a relentless smugness, which is somehow both quirky and edgy. Only someone with an imaginary background in sophisticated dining can truly understand what makes these places so special. Unfortunately bars and restaurants across the country have noticed the growing trend and before long the “&” will have penetrated every facet of our quaint lives. Be prepared for a lifetime of aerated High-Life gel, challenging interpretations of fried chicken, rustic exposed brick and string lights galore. All passable, uniquely generic, and completely indistinguishable.
Roscoe Village conceptual brunch spot Endgrain has officially closed it’s doors to reconceptualize. Maybe when it comes back it will be more than just conceptual brunch and actual food will be served. It’s a risky idea that could be considered too corporate, but the exchange of services for money could pay dividends. I tried to go here three times with the same perplexing result every time.
1.) Walk into empty Endgrain around 9:00 a.m.
2.) Ask hostess if we can just sit ourselves or if she needs to seat us
3.) Hostess looks intently at blank piece of paper for 50 seconds to a minute, in complete radio silence
4.) Hostess looks up from sheet and studies face, purposefully sighs
5.) Smugly reports that there aren’t any openings until around 4:30 p.m.
The confirmation of no openings made the hostess so happy she could barely get the words out. She giddily looked at us as though we were escaped felons who had no business in the establishment. Fighting through tears of joy she finally gave us the news and relished in our disappointed looks. I’m pretty sure she smoked a cigarette after. I literally couldn’t be more certain that this place was selling the idea of brunch. If you had an ironic enough mustache you were seated, and got the opportunity to discuss imaginary food pairings. I’ll be damned if I give whatever pompous turd emerges from this a chance.
It was 20 full seconds before I realized I had been scrutinizing the last, oddly abused looking, box of Doritos loaded at the 7-11 on Milwaukee Ave. It sat there quiet, in meditation as it soaked in the radiation from the heat lamps above. The lamps function flawlessly in terms of keeping food slightly under room temperature at full blast. “Have these been selling well?” I found myself sheepishly asking, shifting my weight from side to side. Small talk stalling. Waiting for the perfect moment where my inhibitions and embarrassment had diminished enough to make the courageous purchase. I imagine the feeling is similar to when the entire store would stare at whoever emerged from the hastily covered (usually by a beaded door curtain) adults only section at Blockbuster. “What do you think?” she responded in a surly manner bordering on complete fury. “Good?” I wearily responded. “What’s better than a big ass, motherfucking buttery ass, cheese filled Dorito, now you tell me.” It was a convincing enough endorsement and I purchased the final box in silence.
The texture of the orange triangle was otherworldly. Somehow both moist and granular, firm and wet. Aggressively lukewarm, though no fault of its own. The orange dust on them appeared infinite and in constant conflict. Astronomers could study these occurrences for a better understanding of Jupiter’s Red Eye. No less than 10 layers of this dust were shed onto my hands, staining them for the rest of the day. An unmistakable mark announcing to the world I had eaten the dust of the gods.
The texture of it in my mouth was somehow even more alien than in between my fingers. There were notes of an undetermined white fish. The aroma from the hot dogs spinning below had also found a home on the chalky surface. Inexplicably gamey and slightly sinewy. As the alien food continued to probe my mouth, it was apparent that the texture closely resembled a bathroom sponge that had been used to scrub a Comet filled bathtub several weeks prior. Or the amorphous blob of leftover dishwasher soap. If you can somehow get over the texture and the oddities contained in certain bites this salt ridden, deep fried cheese log has a certain Midwestern charm that reminds me of home.