Chicago, IL-A relaxing barbeque amongst friends transformed into a knock-down-drag-out drinking extravaganza in record time over the weekend. Like all Chicago barbeques, food was meticulously curated and friends and spouses alike agreed it would be the perfect opportunity to enjoy some good food, good company and perhaps even a beer or glass of wine before retreating home to watch a movie and get an adequate amount of rest before the impending work week.
As the day progressed, and one beer turned into a handle of Rumplemintz with a carton of American Spirits to boot, it became apparent that food had lost relevancy. The early start of the BBQ, originally functioning as an early curfew safeguard, ended up merely piling on additional hours of frenzied drinking.
Prospective burdens of the week melted with the ice in the cooler, and a feeling of regal invincibility settled in as wine glasses swelled like the livers they poured on. Monday would never come, or if it did it would surely be someone else’s problem. The impending hangover would serve as a lesson to employers, a reminder that wrestling with Monday hangovers are as much a part of the weekend as Sunday drinking.
As the barbeque concluded, the guest’s divinity receded with each glass of water, each minute of restless sleep, and they became fully aware that Wednesday would be the next time they felt human.
Chicago, IL-Bottled Blonde in River North is embracing the backlash experienced after the bar’s questionable dress code was leaked like a steady flow of asparagus piss down a pair of pleated khakis. The dress code, which banned things like Jordan brand shoes, sagging pants, bright clothing and other discriminatory items, has been celebrated by management, as they begin a transition to the new bar, owned by Last Man Standing’s Tim Allen, known as Blondes & Bigots Bar & Grill.
“A bigot is a type of super elegant French pastry,” said bar general manager Chase Wiley installing a new confederate flag glory hole in the bathroom. “The & is self explanatory, any restaurant worth a damn has a & in the name, but while we wanted to stay extremely classy, we also wanted to relive the glory days of segregation and give people hope that some day the South could rise again,” continued Wiley hanging a massive signed picture of Michael Richards.
Blondes & Bigots Bar & Grill is being pitched as a cozy speak easy where racists can gather without fear of judgement. With a cocktail program that includes something called David Duke On the Beach and more traditional horrible drinks like Vodka Mudslides, the restaurant and its piece of shit owners should go belly up in less than 24 hours, to be mercifully replaced by another Rainforest Cafe.
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!
Little Chute, Wisconsin-Jack’s Pizza has been making moderately edible pizza for over sixty years. A flimsy mechanism for delivering your daily recommended dosage of Hidden Valley. With toppings that whimsically drift inches above the pie itself and vacate onto your chin with even the tiniest nibble. Shedding the scolding hot cheese and pepperoni like a snake molting in the middle of June.
There’s really only one way to eat Jack’s pizza and it involves coming home out of your mind on well-whiskey and whippets, turning the oven to 600 degrees, neglecting the preheating process entirely, and hastily throwing the pizza in the oven with the cardboard still planted steadfastly beneath it. Though as the whiskey eases your brain into a slow rolling Jacuzzi of ether and the siren song of the couch grows ever more persuasive, the likelihood of you actually waking up to retrieve the pizza out of the oven decreases dramatically.
That’s why Jack’s Pizza has partnered with Fireball Whiskey to create the Jack’s Fight Fire with Fire Party Box: Sometimes the Only Way to Put Out a Fire is to Start a FireTM. The box comes with a flame retardant pizza, a parliament cigarette the size of a breadstick and a signature Fireball marinara that will torch your ring piece but NOT your house.
You’ll wake up the next morning filled with delight, knowing that you haven’t been engulfed in a fiery tomb and can now eat an uncooked pizza smothered in Fireball whiskey. Let the Jack’s Fight Fire with Fire Party Box ignite the fire in your soul.
There have always been two significant problems with Mexican food; hearty delicious portions packed to the brim with delightful textures and spices and sensible, often breaching dirt cheap, prices. The biggest regrets I experience after eating a reasonably priced taco is the absence of feeling completely famished (the downright enchanting feeling of light headedness accompanied by stomach pangs) and a regrettably full wallet. Fortunately Cantina 1910 in Andersonville has heard the cries of the people and has created an imaginary authentic Mexican experience to render both stomachs and wallets charmingly empty.
I was uber pleased to see there weren’t any massive margaritas on the menu, because I absolutely despise the taste of fresh lime juice mixed with good tequila and couldn’t be more opposed to getting pleasantly drunk on the cheap. Instead I ordered what tasted like Parrot Bay mixed with Deans 2% milk. It had such a challenging flavor profile that I almost hurled instantly. The milk sat comfortably at the bottom while the Parrot Bay lingered on top like a finely hocked loogie. The harder it is to struggle down a cocktail the more sophisticated it ultimately is. Also milk goes with everything. My wife ordered a tequila flight that arrived in champagne flutes, the most interesting thing was they all tasted identical (mostly like a sopping wet campfire in which the logs were replaced by massive hotdogs and the kindling was aged donkey fur)…what a fresh interpretation on a tequila flight!
Fortunately when my wife clearly didn’t like the cocktails she was confronted awkwardly by the waiter who asked “You didn’t like the tequila flight did you?” when she politely said “No not really for me, that’s ok though,” he stood unwavering for thirty seconds, unblinking and with quivering lips before gleefully sprinting away. Excruciatingly awkward staff interactions are a vital part to any fine dining experience. This interaction was executed perfectly.
Next up were a batch of microscopic tacos surprisingly unaccompanied by any beans or rice. Thank god because savory beans cooked in pork fat and plump, freshly cooked rice have no place in Mexican cuisine. The tacos were delightfully underwhelming and it took me six to remember what it was like to be marginally full. When the bill came I couldn’t have been more excited, I giggled uncontrollably for several seconds before subduing my excitement and feverishly laid down my credit card. 80 dollars for 8 tacos and two cocktails…the room started to spin and my consciousness quickly faded…was this a dream?
A glass of milk and Parrot Bay, no rice and beans, microscopic tacos and an unwieldy bill…this version of imaginary traditional Mexican fare is starting to grow on me.
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.