Ballpark Foodie: Hot Doug’s and Portillo’s Join Cubs at Spring Training

Whether you’re visiting Arizona for some Cactus League Spring Training baseball or a midwestern transplant just living in the area, you’ll get to taste some real Chicago delicacies at Sloan Park in Mesa, AZ. During their 15-game home exhibition schedule, the Chicago Cubs will feature sausages from Hot Doug’s and Italian beef from Portillo’s at their concessions like they do at Wrigley Field.

As many ‘encased meats’ enthusiasts know, Hot Doug’s owner Doug Sohn closed his fine Avondale gourmet sausage establishment back in 2014. However, Sohn has frequently brought Hot Doug’s back in pop-ups, on top of pizzas at Piece, and at a stand in the Wrigley Field bleachers.

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At Sloan Park, Hot Doug’s will rotate different selections that reflect the “favorites” from Wrigley. Up first starting Friday, will be the spicy polish and jalapeno-cheddar sausages that are named after Champ Summers and Steve Trachsel. The selections will change after every 5 games, so there will be 3 different pairings during Spring Training.

The Cubs’ newer Arizona facility has featured Italian beef in the past, but this time they have teamed up with Portillo’s because c’mon…it’s Portillo’s.

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There are two Portillo’s restaurants in Arizona already, Tempe and Scottsdale, and that reflects the Chicagoan presence living in the area. Now residence and tourists can get some more of a taste of Chicago while watching Kris Bryant and Kyle Schwarber jack home runs out of the desert.

If you attend Spring Training this year, please share your ballpark food porn pics with us on Facebook and Twitter!

The Best Pizza Party Ever Is Coming To Chicago

As you already know, we’re strong advocates for great pizza here.

Apparently so are Old Style, Do312 and Andrew W.K, as they will be hosting Chicago’s FIRST EVER Pizza Summit at The Chop Shop & 1st Ward in Wicker Park on April 3rd.

The event will feature 12 of Chicago’s best pizza places and chefs, serving slices and pizza inspired cuisine, and a keynote speech by A.W.K. himself. Saying the dude “loves partying and pizza” is an understatement.

Tickets for the pizza summit go on sale February 19th at 10 PM on the Empty Bottle website and TicketWeb, with two different sessions at 2:00 PM and 6:00 PM CDT. The sessions are open to the general public and tickets are $35 a piece, covering all-you-can-eat food and 5 Old Style beer tickets over 3 HOURS.

My only question is…

Who’s coming with me?! Let me know on Facebook or Twitter

 

Adele’s Audio Issues Lead To In-N-Out Burger After GRAMMYs. She Wins.

If you watched the GRAMMYs Monday night, you probably caught Adele’s performance. It wasn’t her best, no.

It sounded like something went wrong with her microphone at the start and it seemed to bother her the rest of the way.

Adele addressed the issue herself on Twitter, and it sounds like she’s rebounding perfectly.

 

Being in the midwest, I’m officially jealous of Adele and would happily trade places…simply for a “3 x 3” at In-N-Out.

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Hungry? Follow along for more on Facebook or Twitter!

Valentine’s Weekend Poll: Heart Shaped Doughnuts or Pizza?

First off, Happy Valentine’s Weekend to you.

Whether you have a hot date, reservations at a fancy sit down joint, or marathon RomComs with a pint of Ben & Jerry’s, at least you have plans. Regardless of your relationship status on Facebook (or how complicated it may or may not be), at least food won’t break your heart…so to speak. Everything tastes better with a fun theme too.

As you know, we have an appreciation for both doughnuts and pizza here. You can start your day with one and end it with the other, making it great day at that. This weekend you can eat something that represents your love for food, but let’s see which one you love more.

Do-Rite Donuts in Chicago and other shops will have these available all weekend.

(Actually, a box of doughnuts sounds better than just chocolates.)

Lou Malnati’sand other pizza places will be making pies like these to fix your craving.

 

There isn’t a wrong choice, and really you’d be better off having both, but which makes your heart jump first:

Heart shaped doughnuts or pizza? 

 

Let me know on Facebook or Twitter

How Twitter Celebrates #NationalPizzaDay

Just 2 days after finally digesting your awesome Super Bowl spread…

Screen Shot 2016-02-09 at 10.54.34 AM

It’s National Pizza Day!

You may know already that there is quite an affinity for pizza on this website (See The Pizza Challenge List from last Spring) and that we also like to monitor how Social Media celebrates these National Food Days…aka, great excuses to eat something good.

So let’s take a look at what the good people are posting on this momentous day of deliciousness

We’ll update this post throughout the day. Feel free to share your #NationalPizzaDay posts with us on Facebook and Twitter!

 

NBA on TNT 

(A personal favorite photo of mine)

 

Epic Meal Time

 

Houston Texans

 

Dallas Cowboys

 

Good Morning America

 

Garfield

 

Washington Nationals

 

SLAM Magazine

 

Rock Pictures

 

Cincinnati Reds

 

NBC

 

Tumblr

 

The Walking Dead

 

Professor Snape

 

Vine

 

SI Vault

(The more Barkley pizza photos, the better.)

 

Breaking Bad

 

Blizzard Entertainment

(I think they produce World of Warcraft)

 

Chicago Sky

 

Andrew W.K.

 

Check back for updates later. Please share your own #NationalPizzaDay posts on Facebook or Twitter

Super Bowl 50: Denver vs. Carolina – Everything But Football

By now, nearly storyline and angle for the Broncos and Panthers have been hashed out going into the Super Bowl. The Prop Bets are available to keep the non-football fan interested, which include wagers on things like how long Lady Gaga will sing the anthem, which song Coldplay will play first, and what color the Gatorade is that will be dumped on the winning coach. Even the commercials are getting leaked early (although I think that takes some of the fun out of it).

The Denver Post and The Charlotte Observer are also in on the game with their own friendly bets. If the Broncos win, the Post will receive “No. 1 IPA beer in the country” Hop, Drop and Roll (brewed in Charlotte) as well as some World Famous barbecue. If the Panthers win, the Observer will receive a broad selection of Colorado craft beer and bison steaks.

A tradition that we began here a year ago was to go beyond the teams playing the game, and compare the regions they’re from in EVERYTHING BUT FOOTBALL. Last year, New England had the edge over Seattle in our game here and eventually won the Big Game itself.

So for the fans (and newspapers) of each team, lets see how they stack up.

Music

From Denver

John Denver, Ginger Baker (drummer), Earth Wind & Fire, Flobots, The Fray, India.Arie, The Lumineers, Glenn Miller (Jazz), Neutral Milk Hotel, OneRepublic, Pretty Lights, Big Gigantic, Judy Collins, The String Cheese Incident, and Nathaniel Rateliff and the Night Sweats.

From Carolina

James Taylor, Tori Amos, George Clinton, K-Ci & JoJo, Anthony Hamilton, John Coltrane, Ben Folds, Petey Pablo, Fred Durst, The Avett Brothers and Ryan Adams.

The Edge – Carolina

This may be the toughest call, considering how subjective music is for everyone. However I’m taking quality over quantity here. Fred Durst and the EDM of Denver cancel each other out for things I’m good without. There are more pop acts in Denver, if The Fray and OneRepublic are your thing. Both regions bring the Funk with George Clinton and Earth Wind and Fire. But I’ll take the Carolina singer songwriters (Taylor, Adams and Folds) over John Denver *skypoint*.

Bonus Points too for my favorite school slow dance song ever, “All My Life” by K-Ci & JoJo.

TV

 

Set in Colorado

South Park, Community, Diagnosis: Murder, Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman, Nikita, Stargate SG-1, The Real World: Denver, The Man in the High Castle, Dynasty and Mork & Mindy. 

Set in Carolina

East Bound and Down, Dawson’s Creek, The Famous Jett Jackson, One Tree Hill, The Andy Griffith Show.  

The Edge: Denver

There isn’t too much programming set in either region. Community and East Bound and Down duke it out pretty well for comedies. I do love Andy Griffith and that whistling will be stuck in my head for the rest of the month, but 19 seasons of South Park is too many to pass on. Sorry, One Tree Hill fans. 

Movies

 

Set in Colorado

The A-Team, About Schmidt, Aliens vs. Predators: Requieum, Beerfest, The Big Short, Blades of Glory, City Slickers, Cliffhanger, Interstellar, Misery, Phantoms, The Prestige, The Shining, Stargate, WarGames, and Dumb and Dumber

 

Set in Carolina

Cape Fear, Carrie, Cold Mountain, The Descent, I Know What You Did Last Summer, Kiss The Girls, Maximum Overdrive, Pitch Perfect, Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby, Tin Cup, A Walk To Remember, and Bull Durham.

The Edge: Denver

Carolina makes a case with solid Kevin Costner sports movies. But Denver has two amazing Christopher Nolan films (Interstellar and The Prestige) the better Stephen King horror flick between The Shining and Carrie…and Dumb and Dumber. 

Food

From Denver

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From Carolina

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The Edge: Carolina

It was a tough call, but I drooled the most researching all that southern comfort awesomeness. 

Landmarks/Sights

In Denver

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In Carolina

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The Edge: Carolina

Both seem perfect if you love the outdoors. I think if you love skiing/snowboarding and weed, you’ll probably lean toward Denver. The idea of mountains, beaches, and some college sports staples have me wanting to visit Carolina first. Red Rocks is a hard venue to pass up though.

Craft Beer

In Denver (327 Craft Brewers)

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In Carolina (151 Craft Brewers)

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The Edge: Denver

This one is depends on your tastebuds, but I’ve always been partial to Colorado beer. Carolina seems to be on its way though.

Sports (other than football)

In Denver

  • Colorado Avalanche
  • Colorado Rockies
  • Denver Nuggets
  • Colorado Buffaloes 
  • Colorado State Rams

In Carolina

  • Carolina Hurricanes
  • Charlotte Hornets
  • Duke Blue Devils
  • North Carolina Tar Heels
  • North Carolina State Wolfpack

The Edge: Carolina

The two Stanley Cups won by the Colorado Avalanche are admirable, but 12 Men’s Basketball National Championships won by Duke (5), North Carolina (5), and North Carolina State (2) are a bit more impressive…

…plus the fact that state produced the greatest player in NBA history. 

Michael Carolina

 

Final Score

 

Denver –   3

Carolina – 4

 

Who has the edge, in your opinion?

Let me know what you think on Facebook or Twitter

Big thank you to Dago Cordova, Mike Kvackay, Jennifer Witkowski and Donald Moenning for help with firsthand research. 

#DoughnutFriday Roundup – January

#DoughnutFriday started out as an office tradition I had with coworkers in the Sun-Times building over a year ago. Every week, someone else took it up themselves to impress the rest of us with their awesome doughnut spot that nobody had tried before. I would get geeked about the opportunity when it came to my turn because I LOVED sharing the doughnuts I grew up with and making new people understand why.

2016 started on a Friday and I thought this could be a fun tradition to expand upon and an opportunity to connect with doughnut lovers everywhere. Every Friday this year, I want to try a new doughnut shop and would encourage others to do the same. You can either recommend new spots for me to try (and I will) or just share a photo from the shop you’re trying yourself on either Facebook or Twitter. At the end of each month, I’ll post here about all different places I tried as well as any photos you share with me…Could be a good bit of fun.

This month’s #DoughnutFriday features are all pretty close to home for me in the Northwest Suburbs of Chicago, but I’ll begin making the rounds to different areas starting in February.

EggShells – January 1st, 2016

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596 W Main St, Lake Zurich, IL

Website / Facebook 

Please complain sometimes about not being able to order breakfast for delivery. Guess what? EggShells delivers! The semi-cramped layout of the place adds to the charm. The bagels and lunch sandwiches are delicious as well.

 

Spring Donut – January 8th, 2016

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113 S Cook St, Barrington, IL

Facebook

This was a fun new discovery in Barrington. They make their Kurtos (Hungarian Doughnuts), also known as “chimney cakes”, fresh as you order them, and fill them with your choice of peanut butter or Nutella. It’s fantastic. They also serve other pastries, sandwiches, soup, coffee and dessert drinks.

 

Morkes Chocolates – February 15th, 2016

Screen Shot 2016-01-29 at 12.41.00 PM

1890 N Rand Rd, Palatine, IL

Website / Facebook / Twitter

Yes, it’s primarily a chocolate shop, but the doughnuts are excellent as well. It’s also one of the few places in the area that serves cider doughnuts. If you grew up around here, you’ll feel nostalgic for the Orchards in Lake Zurich or the apple cider shop in Long Grove.

 

Spunky Dunkers – January 22nd, 2016

Screen Shot 2016-01-29 at 12.41.49 PM

20 S Northwest Hwy, Palatine, IL

Website / Facebook / Twitter

One of the best doughnut shops in the area. There’s a new location in Arlington Heights, if you so happen to live that way. Always fresh, always delicious. I’m partial to the honey dipped doughnuts, but you really can’t go wrong. Also an awesome choice for Paczki Day!

 

Old World Bakery – January 29th, 2016

Screen Shot 2016-01-29 at 12.42.39 PM

64 N Old Rand Rd, Lake Zurich, IL

Facebook

So those doughnuts I mentioned earlier that I was excited to make my coworkers believers for…these are them. That big soft gooey looking thing is called a “Big Cin” and it’s a totally different level of cinnamon roll. The long johns are top notch and there’s plenty of other options as well.

Have some doughnut photos or recommendations to share? Pass them along on either Facebook or Twitter. I’ll be looking your way next week, downtown Chicago. 

Chicago Restaurant Week 2016: The Full List of Participants

It’s actually 2 weeks (January 22nd – February 4th, 2016), but who’s complaining?

For 14 days, 350+ restaurants in downtown Chicago and the suburbs participate in the annual event with great deals and prix fixe menus starting at $22 for lunch, then $33 and/or $44 for dinner (excluding beverages, tax and gratuity).

Below you can navigate the full list of participants in alphabetical order, with websites and menus included. Whatever you have a taste for, it’s probably on the list.

[A-F] [G-L] [M-R] [S-Z]

And please do share your pics from Chicago Restaurant Week with us on Facebook and Twitter!

Chicago Restaurant Week Spots (A-F)

 

[A-F] [G-L] [M-R] [S-Z]

Italian
Loop
 
 
American
Magnificent Mile
 
 
American
South Loop
 
 
Italian
West Town
 
 
Italian
Hyde Park
 
 
Italian
Loop
 
 
American
West Town
 
 
American Contemporary
Loop
 
 
American
Magnificent Mile
 
 
 
American Contemporary
River North
 
 
Japanese/Sushi
Lakeview
 
 
American Contemporary
Andersonville
 
 
American
Lincoln Park
 
 
Japanese/Sushi
West Town
 
 
Latin
Lakeview
 
 
GastroTavern/Pub
Northwest Suburbs
 
 
American
West Suburbs
 
 
American
Loop
 
 
Mediterranean
West Loop
 
 
Italian
River North
 
 
Italian
Lincoln Park
 
 
Wine Bar
Lakeview
 
 
Italian
West Loop
 
 
Latin
West Loop
 
 
Italian
Magnificent Mile
 
 
Latin
West Suburbs
 
 
Mexican
Lakeview
 
 
American Contemporary
Streeterville
 
 
American Contemporary
River North
 
 
American
Bucktown/Wicker Park
 
 
 
Asian Fusion
West Loop
 
 
Steakhouse
River North
 
 
 
Southern
Andersonville
 
 
French
Lincoln Square/Ravenswood
 
 
French
River North
 
 
French
Gold Coast
 
 
French
Gold Coast
 
 
American
West Loop
 
 
American Contemporary
River North
 
 
French
Lincoln Park
 
 
American Contemporary
River North
 
 
German
River North
 
 
American
Lincoln Park
 
 
American Contemporary
River North
 
 
American Contemporary
Irving Park
 
 
American
Bucktown/Wicker Park
 
 
BBQ/Ribs
River North
 
GastroTavern/Pub
River North
 
 
Spanish/Tapas
Lincoln Park
 
 
 
Italian
Magnificent Mile
 
 
Mexican
River North
 
 
Steakhouse
West Suburbs
 
 
Steakhouse
Streeterville
 
 
American
O’Hare
 
 
Italian
Gold Coast
 
 
Latin
West Loop
 
 
 
Seafood
Loop
 
 
Italian
Lakeview
 
 
GastroTavern/Pub
West Loop
 
 
American Contemporary
Loop
 
 
French
Little Italy/University Village
 
 
French
Lincoln Park
 
 
Seafood
South Loop
 
 
BBQ/Ribs
Gold Coast
 
 
Soul Food
West Loop
 
 
American
Bucktown/Wicker Park
 
 
Steakhouse
South Loop
 
 
American Contemporary
Magnificent Mile
 
 
BBQ/Ribs
Southwest Suburbs
 
 
BBQ/Ribs
West Suburbs
 
 
Seafood
Loop
 
 
Mediterranean
West Loop
 
 
Italian
River North
 
 
French
Loop
 
 
Italian
River North
 
 
Italian
Streeterville
 
 
Pizza
Bridgeport
 
 
Pizza
Gold Coast
 
 
American
Gold Coast
 
 
 
Italian
River North
 
 
American
Gold Coast
 
 
Steakhouse
River North
 
 
American
West Town
 
 
 
International Fusion
Lincoln Park
 
 
 
 
Seafood
River North
 
 
American
West Loop
 
 
Steakhouse
Gold Coast
 
 
Italian
River North
 
 
American Contemporary
Bridgeport
 
 
American
Lincoln Park
 
 
American
Lincoln Park
 
 
Seafood
Streeterville
 
 
 
Spanish/Tapas
West Suburbs
 
 
Bakery/Café/Deli/Diner
Dunning
 
 
Asian Fusion
West Loop
 
 
Wine Bar
River North
 
 
Japanese/Sushi
Bucktown/Wicker Park
 
 
American
River North
 
 
GastroTavern/Pub
River North
 
 
American
North Suburbs
 
 
Mediterranean
Gold Coast
 
 
 
Wine Bar
West Suburbs
 
 
American
West Loop
 
 
Italian
Gold Coast
 
 
American
Northwest Suburbs
 
 
Italian
Edgewater
 
 
 
Italian
Little Italy/University Village
 
 
 
Italian
Lakeview
 
 
 
American Contemporary
River North
 
 
Mexican
River North
 
 
American Contemporary
West Town
 
 
American Contemporary
West Loop

Chicago Restaurant Week Spots (G-L)

GastroTavern/Pub
Loop
 
Indian
Magnificent Mile
 
 
Fondue
Lincoln Park
 
 
American
Lincoln Park
 
 
Steakhouse
River North
 
 
 
GastroTavern/Pub
Old Town
 
 
GastroTavern/Pub
Lincoln Park
 
 
Bistro
West Loop
 
 
American
West Loop
 
 
Greek
West Loop
 
 
Vegetarian/Vegan
West Town
 
 
American Contemporary
River North
 
 
Steakhouse
Magnificent Mile
 
 
American
Northwest Suburbs
 
 
 
Seafood
River North
 
 
 
American
North Suburbs
 
 
American Contemporary
Magnificent Mile
 
 
 
American
River North
 
 
American Contemporary
River North
 
 
Steakhouse
Loop
 
 
 
American Contemporary
Lincoln Park
 
 
Mexican
Albany Park
 
 
Japanese/Sushi
Bucktown/Wicker Park
 
 
Japanese/Sushi
Gold Coast
 
 
Seafood
River North
 
 
 
Indian
Southwest Suburbs
 
 
American Contemporary
West Town
 
 
French
River North
 
 
Seafood
River North
 
 
Steakhouse
River North
 
 
American
Lincoln Park
 
 
Mediterranean
South Loop
 
 
American
North Suburbs
 
 
French
West Loop
 
 
Latin
River North
 
 
 
Italian
Gold Coast
 
 
French
South Suburbs
 
 
Steakhouse
Magnificent Mile
 
 
Vietnamese
Gold Coast
 
 
 
Bistro
Streeterville
 
 
 
American
Gold Coast