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Twisted Spoke

Fried Egg Sandwich

I  like places with character. Places that speak their own voice, and offer me something I can’t find anywhere else.  With brick walls, and a gray steel tables and chairs, Twisted Spoke is clean, but gritty. Signs such as “Piss This Way” adorn the walls, and their menu is full of witty and inappropriate innuendos, or lack thereof (e.g. their “Hangover Breakfast” menu).

I’ve been here three times, (this past weekend being my third), and every time I exclaim “We have to come here on Saturday at 3am for Smut and Eggs!” Yes dear friends, this bar turned family brunch spot on Sundays shows porn with food in the wee hours of the weekend mornings. Now that’s something you can’t find anywhere else.

The food is great too. They make an above average Bloody Mary that’s spicy and comes with sausage and olives, and a shot of beer on the side. For me, the more crap there is in a Bloody Mary, the better. On my most recent brunch visit, I ordered the buffalo chicken sandwich, which they make with their signature wing sauce. Tangy, spicy, and HUGE, I wolfed that thing down with some yummy fries on the side, and washed it down with my Bloody.

If you’re more in the breakfast mood, I’d highly recommend the Mex Scramble which I had the last time I was there and was delicious. It’s made with eggs, chorizo, onions, cilantro, and cheese. My friend Lauren (who’s Dad incidentally frequented this place in his youth) got the Fried Egg Sandwich, which looked delightful (see above picture), albeit larger than her head. Three eggs, cheddar, bacon, lettuce, tomato, and onion on the largest piece of rye bread I’ve ever seen make up this concoction, and I may have to get it the next time I’m there. My fellow foodie friend (brush off my shoulders for some solid alliteration there) Nick ordered the corned beef hash with poached eggs, which I have also heard, is another favorite at this joint. My fourth friend had a burger, and though I didn’t try it,  it was gone from his plate within minutes, so I think it’s safe to say that it was pretty good as well.

I WILL be at Twisted Spoke for Smut and Eggs before I die. I’ll blog about it when I do. Until then, I know I’ll be back for their “hangover brunch.” I mean come on, with a title like that, ‘nough said…

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DMK

As I am writing this, Da Chicago Bears have just made tremendous moves and acquired Chester Taylor and Julius Peppers. So please forgive me if this entry is slightly distracted. I’m pretty effing excited. Anyway, last week I checked out DMK. Yes, yes another burger place. In my defense, I was invited, and who am I to turn down a new burger joint that just opened down the street from me? Exactly. Lauren was able to assemble a solid crew, and we all met and were merry at the place, which was co-founded by Chi-town chefs David Morton and Michael Kornick (hence the name, DMK).

After about a ten-minute wait, with which we all took the liberty of ordering a beer off of their extensive menu, the group was seated. All of their burgers were named numbers, and I obviously chose the No. 1 due its having aged cheddar, smoked bacon, red onions. However, I must add that I was sorely tempted to try the No. 4 which had green Chile, a fried egg, jack cheese, and smoked bacon. If I go back, I will definitely give that a try.

Now, there were two things that were interesting about these burgers: 1) The bun that they came on. It was powdery, and soft; it was almost too sweet to be paired with a hamburger. The best I can compare it to is an English muffin. It wasn’t necessarily bad, just wrong. 2) How they were cooked. Though I’m not sure how these burgers are prepared, mine tasted like it was McD’s fried and not Kuma’s Corner grilled.  Though it tasted good, I was thrown off by the lack of smoky flavor I was expecting.

Definitely my favorite part of the meal was their truffle fries. Fries (really, potatoes of all kinds) have got to be the best sides ever invented. And with the truffle sauce, I was in heaven, and would gladly have ditched the hamburger for just eating that whole serving of fries. Fortunately, I know better, and we were sharing said serving of fries. Far be it from me to be that big of a hoss.

All in all, it was a good time, mostly due to the people who I was with, and the truffle fries. I would recommend to go once, but now that I’ve tried it, I feel no need to go back.

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Kuma’s Corner

My poor attempt to capture the Pantera burger

Like any good Catholic, I had a hamburger for dinner on Ash Wednesday. “Shameful!” you might say, but if you haven’t read the About Foodie Finch section, you should. It details my fondness for hamburgers. Hmm, maybe I should have given up hamburgers for Lent… That would have been a sacrifice indeed… Anyway, I had made plans to go to Kuma’s Corner with my dear friend Emma long before I realized it was Ash Wednesday (like I said, I’m a really good Catholic), and I wasn’t going to bail on her for some really important religious tradition.

Kuma’s is not just a burger joint. While its hamburgers could be served Calumet Fisheries style, and I’d still go in the dead of a Chicago winter, Kuma’s has character…. And that character is Jesse James married to Sandra Bullock. The great thing about Kuma’s is its superficial contradictions that work.  Heavy metal blasts through the speakers, and drawings of bloody, half-naked women line the walls. All of their burgers are named after Metal Bands, and the staff looks like they stepped straight out of an ad for The Alley.

Here’s where the contradictions come in: The crowd is eclectic… Hipsters, yuppies, and yes, even families with children under the age of 10 are all in appearance. And while all of their burgers are named after Metal Bands, they’re not just the ones you know, like Iron Maiden and Metallica, but local Chicago bands as well (Kuma’s does this to promote these bands). They refuse to serve Miller and Budweiser, because they think they’re inferior products, and only want to serve the best. And the best they do serve.

Kuma’s is known for their burgers, beer, and macaroni and cheese. I’ve been there twice, and have had two out of three. Last night, I had the Pantera burger, which is topped with roasted poblano pepper, bacon, cheddar and monterrey jack cheese, house made ranchero sauce, and tortilla strips. It was served at a perfect medium, and of course, I had to get their side of waffle fries (you could opt for a salad or chips instead). Another unforgettable at Kuma’s is that their fries are served with ketchup mixed with jalapeno juice. Spicy ketchup? Freakin’ genius… genius I say! All this, I washed down with a draft of Belgian Allagash White ale, which was just okay. Too citrusy for me…

I have tried Mastodon, and while simple, (bbq sauce, cheddar, bacon, and onions) the flavors are solid, and it’s a darn good burger. But my first love will always be Plague Bringer, which I had on my first encounter with Kuma’s. This burger is topped with roasted garlic mayonnaise, tortilla chips, Chicago CO-OP hot sauce, fresh garlic, pepper jack cheese, and jalapenos. Basically, my favorite flavors (minus bacon) in one bite.

Their leaner meats require more than an honorable mention, too. Last night, my dining companion, who doesn’t eat red meat got High On Fire and substituted the burger for chicken and honestly, I feel like it probably tasted better that way. With siracha, prosciutto, roasted red pepper, grilled pineapple, and sweet chili paste, I actually liked it better than my Pantera, and I liked my Pantera a whole lot.

This entry went a lot longer than I thought it would so in summation, I haven’t had a thing I didn’t like at this place, unless you count the 45 minute wait. Carnivores, meet your Mecca. Go.

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