Thursday, September 25, 2014

Rub's Backcountry Smokehouse

A few weeks ago, Greedy Eater 2 and I were in the Chicago area checking out some places. We decided to try this restaurant since they were at Baconfest Chicago this year.

We almost missed this place on N. Western Ave. in Chicago. We managed to find a spot to park on the street. On a side note, the parking in the Chicago area is a rip-off. Moving on...

We went in and the place was small, but there was decent seating inside and there was the option to sit outside and eat. It was a nice day, but since it was pretty hot out, we sat inside. While waiting to be seated, a customer recommended we try the cornbread. She swore by how good the cornbread was.

We got seated and took a look at the menu. Their menus are pretty neat because they are contained in album covers. The menu had a good variety of choices. On the table there were several BBQ sauces and a jar of dill pickles. We tasted all of the BBQ sauces and they each had a little kick to them, but the heat wasn't overwhelming.

We decided to split the Big Guys Meal which came with 1/4lb of pork, 1/4lb brisket, 3 rib bones, kettle chips and coleslaw. All three meats were tender. The pulled pork and brisket  The rub on the ribs was so good that we didn't need to put BBQ sauce on them. The kettle chips and coleslaw were pretty good too. (Side note: It wasn't until later on that night, that we looked at the menu again realized that this meal also came with 1/4lb of chicken, which we did not get. It was both our fault and the restaurant's fault for missing this, but yeah, we got shafted.)

We also ordered the Truffled Mac N Cheese and the Custard-Filled Cornbread in regular sizes. The Mac N Cheese was really good. It wasn't too cheesy or thick. It had a good consistency. As for the cornbread, I was glad we listened to the customer. The cornbread was great. We never had anything like it. In the middle of the cornbread was a custard filling with kernels of corn.

For dessert, we ordered the Wood-fired Peach Cobbler. Holy cow was it good. It actually ranked a close second to my mom's peach cobbler which says a lot. It came in a small cast iron skillet with this big chunk of ice cream on top. It had the right amount of sugar and crust on the top.

Overall, we thought the BBQ here was really good, even if we did get shafted out of the 1/4lb of chicken. The rubs and seasoning they use isn't like the other BBQ places we've been to which is a good thing.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Battle of the Taco Pizzas in Bloomington-Normal

Greedy Eater 2 and I wanted to do a comparison of taco pizzas offered by a few pizza places in town. We decided to try the taco pizzas from Casey's, CJ's, Rosati's, and Stolfa's. Here's our take:


The ingredients for this pizza were beef (but it really tasted more like the sausage they use on their breakfast pizza), lettuce, tomatoes, salsa, refried beans (probably out of a can), cheese, and nacho chips on the top.

This may be the most basic of the taco pizzas, but it tasted really good. Normally I'm not a fan of refried beans, but the amount on the pizza wasn't overpowering. The nacho chips were a good addition to the pizza.

The ingredients for this pizza were ground beef, lettuce, tomatoes, salsa, jalapenos, sour cream, and black olives.

This was a good pizza, but we felt the amount of lettuce was too much. One slice of this pizza weighed more than 2 or 3 slices of the Casey's pizza.

The ingredients for this pizza were ground beef, lettuce, tomatoes, salsa, jalapenos, sour cream, and black olives.

This was just an okay pizza. The salsa was watery and bland.

The ingredients for this pizza were ground beef, lettuce, tomatoes, salsa, jalapenos, sour cream, and black olives.

This pizza really wasn't that much different from CJ's pizza. The pieces of lettuce were just too big.

Verdict: We prefer Casey's pizza out of all four. The lettuce wasn't overpowering to the point where we had to take half of it off compared to the other pizzas. The pizza wasn't heavy considering it had refried beans on it. We also liked the chips on the top, which allowed the toppings to stay on the pizza better than the others. Casey's and CJ's would be our next choices.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Baconfest Chicago 2014

This was our third year attending Baconfest Chicago. As always, attending Baconfest Chicago is a lot of fun and is one of the food events we look forward to every year.

This year we were joined by another bacon-lover, J. This was her first time attending Baconfest Chicago.

The weather was great and the atmosphere was full of bacon love. One of the cool things about Baconfest Chicago is it brings everyone from different backgrounds together to share their love of bacon.

We thought this year's Baconfest Chicago was the best one so far. The chefs brought their A-game.

Here's what we had this year:

Ay Chiwowa: Puerquito Guacamole and Bacon Vodka

The guacamole was flavorful and light. The tortilla was freshly made and was also light and crunchy.  The vodka had a hint of smokiness and a little bit of a burn.

Bacaro: Bacon S'more

This was excellent. The graham cracker paired with the fudge and mousse was great. It was a very good twist on a S'more.

Benny's Chop House: Chocolate "Belly Flop" Cocktail and Bacon and Pecan Dragée

This was quite the cocktail. Vodka, liqueur, and bacon together with a chocolate flavor to it. 
The pecan dragée was good. At first they looked like little pellets.

Browntrout: Escargot and Bacon Ragu

The taste buds woke up on this one! Plenty of flavor and the bacon was delicious. The rice really brought out the bacon flavor.

Carlucci: Gnocchi Bolognese

This was very good. The ricotta and the bacon bolognese was a good combination. We could have eaten a pan of this dish.

Carnitas Uruapan: Authentic Carnitas

The pork was very tender and flavorful. The salsa mixture on top was good and flavorful which was a good combination.

Carnivale: Bacon Wrapped Dates

Really liked the taste and presentation of this dish. Definitely could have eaten a whole tray of these.

Chicago Q: Pig Powder Dry Rubbed Candied Bacon

What better way to eat bacon than for it to be dry rubbed and candied?? This had a kick to it, but it wasn't overwhelming.

Firecakes: Maple Glazed Pineapple & Bacon Donut

I believe we had this last year. You can't go wrong with mini glazed donuts with sprinkles of bacon.

Firefly Grill: Pork Belly Steamed Buns

These were awesome!! We scarfed these down pretty quick. The buns were soft and the flavors were great.

Hash House A Go Go: Confit Pork Shoulder Sliders

The coleslaw took this slider to the next level. Not too sweet and not too vinegary, but just enough to bring out the pork and cheese flavors.

HUB 51: Bacon Tacos

These were pretty good. Little pieces of bacon with a nice sauce and lettuce. We could have eaten a platter of these.

Jellyfish: BLT Roll

This was an okay dish. Just enough spin on the bacon.

Laughing Bird: Bacon & Shrimp Dumpling

This brought a little spice to the mouth. It really woke up the taste buds with the heat.

Lillie Q's: Bacon Float

We weren't sure what to think of these initially. The saltiness of the bacon with the sweet taste of the float was really good.

Lobby Lounge: Bacon Popcorn

The best part of this was the bacon. The popcorn itself was okay.

Manbque: Braised Bacon Tacos with Bourbon County Molé

What a great way to enhance tacos!! This was a pretty good combination.

May St. Cafe: Flan

Not everyone can make flan, but the taste of this flan was special because it had bacon in it. Good combination of the bacon, praline and berries.

Mexique: Smoked Bacon Crème Brulee

Loved this dish! Very smooth and light. This was melt in your mouth good.

Mrs. Murphy & Sons Irish Bistro: Candied Bacon Root Beer Float

This was a good twist on the regular root beer float. Bacon, ice cream, homemade root beer, and candied bacon....Yum!

Pleasant House Bakery: Royal Bacon Sausage Rolls

This was an interesting dish. It wasn't bad, but it definitely wasn't one of the worst. Not sure what was missing with this dish.

Quince: Lemongrass Glazed Bacon

Loved the taste of the bacon, especially the pieces that had bacon fat.

Red Butter: Bacon and Paneer Samosa

Loved the chutney with the paneer. We could have gone back multiple times for this.

Revolution Brewing: Bacon & Egg Tart

Served chilled!! Greedy Eater 2 enjoyed this the most. This was quite different and a new taste to experience.  The bacon and the custard had the perfect marriage.

Rub's Backcountry Smokehouse: Napolean Dynamite

Bacon with a slightly hot cherry. This was pretty good. This had low heat from a spice standpoint.

Smallbar: Bacon & Tomato

Looking at this dish, it could either be good or bad. This was an acquired taste.

South Water Kitchen: Bacon Jam Filled Doughnut Holes

We popped these like tic-tacs. The bacon bourbon jam was really good.

Spacca Napoli: Ciliegine di Bufala

This was another acquired taste. The bacon was rolled around the cheese, and packed with flavor.

The Chop Shop: Chop Shop Porchetta

This was another really good dish. Mixing the meat with the sweetness of the sauce tasted really good. We could have eaten this bacon and pork loin all day.

Troquet River North: Balsamic Glazed Pork Belly

Originally we thought this dish was from Old Town Social, but that wasn't the case. This was a very nice piece of bacon that had a tremendous amount of flavor. Just the right amount of salt from the bacon.

ZED 451: Sweet Potato Maple Cajun Bacon Tartlet

Didn't really get a taste of the sweet potato, only bacon. Not a bad thing though. Could have eaten a tray of these.

Vendors at Baconfest Chicago

Nosh This: Bacon Salted Caramel and Bacon Crack

Glad to see this place back at Baconfest Chicago. The salted caramel melts in your mouth and the bacon crack is addicting...just like crack....not that I would know anything about crack.

Salted Caramel: Bacon Popcorn

This bacon popcorn tasted better than Lobby Lounge's. Caramel coated popcorn with bacon.Yum!

Whole Foods: Mini Cupcake with Bacon

Who knew Whole Foods offered such a cute little cupcake. Too bad it was only cute for 5 seconds before it was devoured.

Stumptown Coffee Roasters

The coffee was chilled and was very refreshing.

We were going to try Atlas Brewing Company, but we didn't see them. We were also going to try Untitled, but they had ran out by the time we made it over.

Greedy Eater 1's T-shirt for Baconfest Chicago

The Baconfest Chicago 2014 Menu can be found here:
Go to the Saturday lunch menu.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Reality Bites

We're a little late with our review of Reality Bites. Greedy Eater 2 and I ate at Reality Bites for the first time earlier this year. We heard that the food was good so were finally able to go. Overall the dishes and the service was good.

Greedy Eater 2 ordered the Ceviche and Bourbon Flatbread. The ceviche was not up to par. It smelled and tasted fishy. Definitely would not order again. However, the Bourbon Flarbread was great!! The sauce had a hint of bourbon which gave it a sweet taste. Definitely would order this again. Also, would recommend the Chocolate Mint Martini to top off this meal.

I ordered the Bacon Wrapped Dates and Bites Chicken. The bacon wrapped dates were the best I've had so far. The chicken was actually cooked and wasn't really dry for it being a chicken breast. I really liked the cheese and bacon on top of the chicken.