Saturday, 1 June 2013

Day 1 Chicago

Burger reviewed: Billy Goat Tavern
Restaurants reviewed: Gino's East Pizzeria

With a domain and twitter handle of 'the burger addict' I've kinda pigeon holed myself into what I can blog about. I've had ridiculously good, non burger meals, and kept my praise or discontent to twitter, but with a month in America, no doubt there will be plenty of burger reviews but with this being such a once in a lifetime adventure(mine anyway), and for my memories,  I'll be posting reviews of the restaurants I visit, and snippets about the trip as well. Hopefully this can serve as a reference for anyone wanting to take this journey on the mother road, or even inspire you to do it yourself!

With my wedding in Sligo & Cork, Ireland (a story for another time) we flew from Dublin to Chicago, where Route 66 east to west begins.

This plane must have been one of the first to make the trip across the Atlantic. I'd thought in-seat screens were standard everywhere, we had no chance of watching the screen from our seat. Still, it got us there fine, and with having gone through USA clearance in Dublin, once off the plane you walk straight out of the airport.

Our car for the next 3 weeks. The car cost £836 for 1st June to 21st June with 2 drivers, a tank of petrol(gas) included with a one way fee of €250 due upon collection.

After booking our flights we realised Chicago had a big few events the weekend we were visiting, and the cheapest hotel we could find in the city was £700 a night, so, to the joy of the Mrs and really living it up on our 1st honeymoon night, I booked us into Hostel International for the 2 night stay. It was a private room with shared bathroom. It cost €104/£69 a night and I really couldn't have any complaints upon seeing the hostel and room. Still not the hostel prices I'm used to when travelling without the Mrs..

Billy Goat Tavern

Burger: Triple Cheezborger
Price: $6.85

Twitter: @Cheezborger

With just over 2 days in Chicago and well over a weeks worth of burger restaurants recommend I had to pick carefully where to go first, but it had to be the world famous Billy Goat Tavern located under the city streets. The burger pictures I'd seen didn't make it seem like one of the higher quality burgers I've ever had, but the venue and staff are legendary. Read the history here and watch the Saturday Night Live sketch below.

Walking in and down the steps it appeared quite smaller than I'd imagined from the outside, but the history and famous faces cover every inch or their walls.

I went for a tripple cheezborger. Famously they don't serve fries, they serve chips or as I know them, crisps.  

I got a glass of their great tasting glass ale from their bar. The burger, as I'd expected didn't deliver much. The bun, despite this being a triple patty, dominates the burger. It's quite a heavy bun also which gives you too much to chew on. The patty in all honesty isn't a million miles from the golden arches and doesn't give much flavour or soft texture. The cheese is good ol' American cheese, which despite it not actually being cheese, it's my favourite. Any addition toppings you want are at the side where you collect your burger and the minced pickles were the best part of the burger.

The venue is unique and definitely worth a visit. The bar staff were excellent and gave us restaurant hats to remember our visit, sadly the burger itself isn't worth remembering. 

Overall Rating 4/10

Billy Goat Tavern on Urbanspoon

Gino's East Pizzeria

Twitter: @ginoseast

You can't visit Chicago without trying a traditional deep pan, pizza pie and Gino's East was recommended as one of the best the city has to offer. Man Vs Food legend Adam Richman visited here on the show also.

Upside down/flipped from what is 'traditional', mozzarella cheese base topped with sausage and a tomato sauce. The base had an incredible, biscuit textured crisp and the sausage meat was also of a very high quality. Whilst I enjoyed the pizza a lot, and the change in style welcomed, I wouldn't pick it over a Pizza Pilgrims slice.

The pizza takes close to 45 minutes to cook, so not somewhere to go for a quick slice, but a must visit if in Chicago.

Gino's East Rating: 8/10

Original Gino's East on Urbanspoon 

Chicago at night really did look amazing.

Looking forward to tomorrow and from what I've heard, what could be the best burger I've ever had.

Extended snaps from this day

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