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Big Willi's Profile

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New pizza place on Grand

I can't wait. Does the restaurant have a name yet? Any idea when it will open?

May 10, 2007
Big Willi in Chicago Area

Really hot natural pepper sauces?

I love Marie Sharp's Fiery Hot Sauce. It has a great fragrant boquet from the Habaneros and a perfectly potent, lingering heat. The ingredients are listed as: Select red habanero peppers, fresh carrots, onions, key lime juice, vinegar, garlic and salt.

I've also enjoyed the El Yucateco's sauces for which bkhuna has provided a link.

Apr 26, 2007
Big Willi in General Topics

Attn. Steakhouse entusiasts: I need your help!

I love the steak at the Capital Grille. I have touted their dry aged sirloin and porterhouse as my 2 favorite steaks in Chicago for some time. After a trip to the Primehouse last week, I believe they have steaks that are almost if not entirely the equal of the Capital Grille. I had a delicious bone in ribeye which had been aged for 40 days. It was terrific. Others in my party tried the bone in filet which looked and tasted extraordinary. I think Primehouse would be the way to go. I was disappointed with Keefers on my only trip. I will have to try it again because of the dazzling reviews it usually gets by fellow hounds. I've heard very good things about the Saloon but have yet to try it myself.

Apr 19, 2007
Big Willi in Chicago Area

Natural Casing Dogs-Where to get them

Little Joe's just off La Grange Rd. in Countryside has nice snappy dogs. They use their homeade sweet giardianera instead of sport peppers unless you request otherwise. It's a nice touch. They also have some of the best beef and sausage in the area.

Apr 16, 2007
Big Willi in Chicago Area

Guys night out

Fogo de Chao in theory would be a great choice. The camraderie of men sharing skewered meat by the plateful sounds like a great idea. It raises within me a long-forgotten primordial urge. The problem comes when you have 2.5 to 5 lbs of meat sitting in your stomach and you attempt to go out for drinks afterwards. My friends and I tried to go out after my first Fogo de Chao experience and it was a mistake. We lasted about a half hour before we had to call it a night and head our seperate ways to rest. After this feast, a couch or comfortable chair is required to relax and digest. I think the perfect place for a guys night out is the Chicago Chop House. They have great steaks and the scene is perfect for a few fellas to enjoy themselves with a couple of drinks and beautiful cuts of beef meat. Can I come???

Apr 13, 2007
Big Willi in Chicago Area

Chicago Pizza & Hot Dogs - specific questions

Your trip sounds great so far. I've always found a tall boy of Old Style before or after the game at Murphy's Bleachers or Bernie's kitty corner to the stadium is as much a part of the Wrigley experience as Wayne Messmer singing the National Anthem or the seventh inning stretch. While at the park, there are several choices for sausage. There's the main stands that serve beer, hot dogs, pizza, cokes, and whatever else. I tend to avoid these guys as they can sell you everything but none of it is very good. Seek out the hot dog stands that stand alone and draw you in with the scent of grilled onion burning alongside their sausages. I've always found a dog "with"(grilled onions) is can't miss after drowning it in mustard. I think some of these stands serve polish sausage as well which has a much stonger flavor than the hot dogs they serve. You can't go wrong with either. I know Hebrew National has a couple of these stands and maybe Kosher's Best. Each brand serves delicious all-beef products.

Mar 20, 2007
Big Willi in Chicago Area

Interactive Cooking Restaurants

I agree with Wak. The chopping block is definitely the place for you. They offer interactive classes where you prepare a meal under their chef's instructions. Afterwards you sit down and enjoy it with the others in the class. It is fun and informative. Their classes range from a 1 hour knife skills class to a heavily involved series of classes teaching all the basics of cooking.

Feb 28, 2007
Big Willi in Chicago Area

Authentic Mexican in Western Suburbs??

I have made a few trips to a restauarant on the corner of Woodward and 75th in Lemont for lunch. It is called Los Arcos but the sign on the restaurant says only "Mexican Food" I have yet to be disappointed. They have a nice mix of authentic dishes(seafood soup, lengua, pork trip) and a nice assortment of more standard burrito/torta fare. It's a taqueria so don't expect white tablecloths or a wine list. There is, however, a waitress that serves your food.

Feb 14, 2007
Big Willi in Chicago Area

Ideas for a basic Immer tasting

Thanks very much for the responses. I'll let you know which wines I choose and report back!

Feb 01, 2007
Big Willi in Wine

Ideas for a basic Immer tasting

I just started reading "Great Wine Made Simple" by Andrea Immer. I've gone through the first tasting of whites. I used a 2003 Kendall Jackson Vitner's Reserve for the Chardonnay, a 2003 J Lohr for the Riesling, and a 2003 Silverado for the Sauvignon Blanc. I was amazed at how I could pick out specific flavors inherent in these wines simply by tasting the 3 next to eachother. I had never been able to place many specifics in wines that I had enjoyed. It was a great treat to be able to pull out different characteristics that I had not been able to enjoy before reading Andrea Immmer's book.

I'm going to try round 2 with reds and I would love some recommendations. I am looking for less expensive wines($7-15) that capture the essence of each varietal (pinot noir, merlot, and cabernet sauvignon). I am interested in pulling out the basics of each wine, rather than concentrating on more complex nuances. Those, I hope, will come in later tastings.

Jan 30, 2007
Big Willi in Wine

Top 3 Hot Dogs

Any hot dog "run" must include a trip to Gene and Jude's. Unbelievable, snappy Vienna Dogs. The natural casing helps to hold in the flavor and gives every bite a burst of meaty flavor. They lack a couple of the ingredients of a traditional Chicago dog but their product is still top notch. You can eat standing up at the bar encircling this stand or take your bag o dogs back to your car and watch other patrons filing in. There is usually a line but it moves quickly. Every trip I can't help but smile as I make my way through the line and approach the counter to order. Don't ask for ketchup!!!

Gene and Jude's
2720 River Rd (Cross Street: Grand Avenue)
River Grove, IL 60171

Jan 26, 2007
Big Willi in Chicago Area

Best burger in the south suburbs?

There's two I can think of that haven't been mentioned. Hackney's in Palos on La Grange and Mc Carthy serves up a very good burger in an Irish pub setting. For a fast food offering, Pops on 127th and Harlem does a good job.

Jan 24, 2007
Big Willi in Chicago Area

Lunch around Brookfield Zoo?

It depends what you're looking for. My first suggestion would be The Village Pub on Cermak in North Riverside. They have good burgers, sandwiches, and a nice garbage salad. It is a pub so it may not be kid-friendly. Jedi's Garden on Harlem in North Riverside is pretty close and a pretty typical but above average Greek Diner. The Golden Wok on Maple in La Grange Park is a pretty good Chinese restaurant with a lunch buffet. Another option would be Irish Times along the tracks in Brookfield. Good, hearty stew highlights the pubbish menu. This is a bar as well.

Dec 11, 2006
Big Willi in Chicago Area

Good Date For Boyfriend's Birthday

I think a good idea would be to treat your boyfriend to a steak dinner. You will spend a bit more than you might at the Cheesecake Factory but the meal will be far more memorable. There are a ton of posts if you search the boards but my personal favorites are Chicago Chop House for an older clubby feel or The Capital Grille for a more modern setting. Both restaurants serve outstanding meat.

Sep 05, 2006
Big Willi in Chicago Area

Burr Ridge/Willowbrook Area

There is not much in Burr Ridge or Willowbrook. I've heard great things about Courtright's though I've never had the pleasure of dining there. Your best bet for steaks would be the Westchester branch of Morton's. It is only about 8 or 10 miles from where you'd be staying(about a 20 minute drive) It's a top notch steakhouse if you've never been to one of their many outlets. I haven't had too much luck with suburban Sushi. Vie Restaurant in Western Springs is another option for fine dining. As for lunch, The Country House has always been a favorite. They serve great burgers in an old, woody bar setting. Another lunch alternative would be Salbute in Hinsdale. They serve upscale Mexican fare. One final lunch suggestion is Bobak's buffet in Burr Ridge. They specialize in Polish staples such as pork tenderloin, dumplings, sauerkraut and the like.
Country House:

Aug 08, 2006
Big Willi in Chicago Area

Don's Butcher in Westmont or Morini's in La Grange Park

Thank you for the suggestion. That sounds like a great place. I have some family right in the neighborhood. I'll have to plan a trip under the guise of a visit to my aunts.

Jul 26, 2006
Big Willi in Chicago Area

Don's Butcher in Westmont or Morini's in La Grange Park

I'm looking for a quality butcher around the Western burbs. I live in La Grange and work in Willowbrook so I have a pretty decent sized range of where I can go. I've driven by Don's Prime Cut Meats in Westmont several times but never stopped in to check him out. Has anyone been? Does anyone have any suggestions for any other butchers in the area? I use to go to Marsh in Naperville for great, relatively inexpensive prime meat but they're going out of business. I've been to Casey's a bunch and their meat is very good but I'm looking for a new place that carries prime. I've also been to Prime n Tender and while their meat is good, if I'm going to pay Allen Brothers/Fox and Obel prices, I may as well order directly from one of those two places. I was all excited to check out Jim's in Cicero after going through some old posts but realized after a little research that they are Out of Business. I was also wondering about Morini's in La Grange Park since it seems to have some relation to Jim's.

Jul 25, 2006
Big Willi in Chicago Area