Thursday, August 12, 2010

MASTICATORS Abroad | Hot Doug's, Chicago Edition

At the beginning of July I traveled to Chicago for a friend’s wedding. I think it was my fourth trip to the city — I love that place — so we didn’t do any of the typical tourist-type stuff.

One place we were able to hit was Hot Doug’s – The Sausage and Encased Meat Emporium. After a $20 cab ride and a 1-1/2 hour wait in line we finally got to taste what all the hype was about. The place has been touted on a bunch of food shows and blogs and, while that doesn’t necessarily mean it is good, Dan MacAdam of Crosshair Chicago ensured us that it does, in fact, live up to its mythic status. Pretty much everybody from Chicago on and anyone else that’s been there confirmed Dan’s statement as well. I’ll add to the hype. The place is awesome.

Here’s my evidence:

About 3/4 through the 1-1/2 hour line.

The daily specials board. It was a tough decision – as you could imagine. I mean… look at it!

I ended up ordering 1 Jimmy McNichol.

Hot Doug himself.

Hey, after 1-1/2 hours in a line for HOT DOGS I think you’d order wayyyy too much too. That drink on the left was pretty damn good. Sioux City Cherries ‘n Mint Soda.

The Jimmy McNichol (See the board above for ingredients)

Hot Doug’s B.L.T.(See the daily specials board for ingredients)

We also got the duck fat fries. Yes, fries... fried in duck fat
(Only on Fridays and Saturdays! We lucked out that we were there Friday!)

If you're ever in Chicago Hot Doug's is a must. Expect a long line — but expect to be rewarded for enduring it.

Also, look for me in my Hot Doug’s tee shirt!

Culver's = Comfort Food

Deluxe Bacon Double Butterburger® (macro style)
Deluxe Bacon Double Butterburger®: Grand Forks, ND – April 15th, 2006.

A Culver's stop is always on the itinerary if I'm stateside. Of course, I have yet to visit a state that doesn't have at least one Culver's restaurant...which means I should look beyond visiting Illinois, North Dakota, Minnesota, and Wisconsin in the near future (y'all know I'm kiddin', Midwest. I love you!).
My wife – then girlfriend – informed me about these amazing things called "Butterburgers" back in 2005 in vivid detail. So vivid, that I made sure I went to one while my classmates and I stopped for food en route to Chicago. I order up one of those lightly-toasted, lovingly-crafted Butterburgers, and I was instantly hooked. I figure I've been to at least four locations in the aforementioned states, and one thing has hit me about this place: consistency. The service (pleasant and polite), decor (simple blue n' white color scheme...reminds me of a picnic for some reason), food quality (definitely satisfying), and cleanliness (terrific) have been the same every time.

Fried Awesomeness
Don't front on the cheese curds. You'll be sorry.

How can I describe biting into a Butterburger? Well, I guess I'd start with the comfort of the toasted buns, which were gently kissed by heat and buttered generously, but never to excess. Follow that with an immediate hit of freshness from whatever toppings you requested. Me, I love onions...much to my wife's dismay. Then, of course, comes the double whammy of a well-seasoned patty that isn't chopped and formed, and real Wisconsin cheese.

Sorry...I need a moment.

Did I mention the frozen custard? So good. I tend to eat mine with nothing but peanut butter. That's all it needs.

Writing this has served as a reminder for me to renew my passport.


Wednesday, August 4, 2010


Bison Smokie On Donald & Portage
An Amazing Dog bison smokie on Donald and Portage.

Hey there, folks! Welcome to Masticators, a Winnipeg-based food blog written by three dudes (me, Evan, and Mark) that love to eat. That's pretty much the concept, man...nothing high-falutin'.
This is a work in progress, but we plan to write about things we've eaten here and abroad, local food issues, and maybe even share some recipes.
We'll be updating this as much as we can, so be sure to throw our RSS feed into the reader of your choice so you won't miss a thing.