The Golden Apple

June 16th, 2011 § 1 comment § permalink

Welcome to the big apple. Heh.

Some places are just a bit lost in time. Call it vintage, retro or just plain sad – it’s a fact of life.

The Golden Apple is one of these places.

“The best part of my meal was the fries-they were nothing to write home about, but still pretty yummy,” Caro said.

“The toasted bread and bacon were the best part of my sandwich, the turkey was really dry and there was not nearly enough mayo to compensate for it. I ended picking some of it off.”

Super cheap prices (for Chicago at least) and pretty palatable food make it pretty neat. I ordered a cheeseburger and fries with a diet coke. It was simple but got the job done. The meat was a little undercooked leaving me slightly anxious for food poisoning.

Luckily, I got out of it unscathed.

Service late at night is predictably “eh,” but you can hardly blame the lonely waitress so late at night.

This place is dirt cheap for Chi-town and gets the job down on a hungry night.

Not bad, but I wouldn't write home about it.

The Price Rating: The Photo Major- The true “starving artists”- is the cheapest category. Photo majors spend what little money they don’t use on chemicals and film to buy Ramen. Imagine a cute kid trying to struggle to survive, all in the name of art!

DMK Burger (2954 North Sheffield Avenue)

December 6th, 2010 § 0 comments § permalink

Quiet on a Tuesday night, but this place is generally hopping on Friday/Saturday/Sunday.

This place means true burger business. The menu: burgers, listed from #1-14, all $8. The decoration, minimal. Music blares as the perpetually cheery waitress takes our drink orders.

There are items for the hardcore carnivore, the selective omnivore and the staunch vegetarian. While they don’t allow substitutions overall, you can switch out any burger for a turkey burger, a portobello mushroom or a veggie burger. They also have a select few burger combinations that are made specifically in mind to be vegetarian or turkey-burgers.

“I’ve never been disappointed with a burger from DMK,” said my burger companion, Caro. “Even on it’s most mediocre night, their’s are better than most others I’ve tried. You can taste the difference in the meat, and the bun stands out because it could almost be described as fluffy.”

These fries give me hope in the human race. They're that good. They're also so rich that we couldn't finish them all.

After a few moments debating over the many burger options, I got a tasty bacon cheeseburger, substituting meat for a veggie burger (don’t judge the irony).

Caro got the #4, featuring hatch green chile, fried farm egg and sonoma jack cheese with smoke bacon.

“The burgers are the most unique thing about the place-they come in so many varieties that you’d never find anywhere else,” Caro said.

We split a table order of the Parmesan cheese and Truffle Oil french fries.

Out of the entire meal, the fries were my highlight. They. Were. Heaven. I’ve never once had fries that are this tasty. They were served European-style, with mayonnaise in place of ketchup. It was decadent. I may have gained 5 pounds in this sitting, but it was most certainly worth it.

For a little over $13 per person, we got a burger, fries and a soda. We left stuffed. This is a must for anyone who remotely enjoys burgers.

One of those places you'd take a friend to when he was in town, just to show how cool your town was.

The Price Rating: The Cultural Studies Major- These grass-fed people-watchers love food that’s good for you, and with a major with no guaranteed paycheck, they don’t want to break the bank, though they’ll sometimes go a little high for something special.

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Asian Mix Cafe (3945 North Broadway)

October 26th, 2010 § 0 comments § permalink

Papaya salad was a new venture for me. It was full of garlic, a little spicy, and delicious!

As my friends and I walked, I felt like we would never arrive. I was starving, and it felt like we had been walking forever. All of a sudden, my friend Dany opened a door to a tiny restaurant. We had made it to Asian Mix Cafe, a cheap but satisfying restaurant.

They offer a wide variety of options, from authentic Thai, Chinese and other cuisine, to more americanized entrees, there’s something for nearly everyone. They also have many vegetarian options.

Dany was raving about the papaya salad. She enjoys it so much, apparently, that she ordered two of them. One for herself, and one for the table to share. It was absolutely delicious. I’ve always equated papaya to sweet, but this was not. It mixed very well with garlic, carrots, pepper and the other spices that were on it.

While it was a tad bit overpowering (I took a large bite to start with, big mistake), it was really good.

Dany also insisted that I have a Bubble Tea, which I had also never had. The tea I ended up having had absolutely nothing to do with tea. It was essentially a strawberry smoothie with Tapioca bubbles in it. It was very good, just not what I was expecting.

A dessert take on Crab Rangoon, these crunchy treats were filled with a sweet, creamy inside. Topped with cherry syrup, they were pretty tasty.

My meal, which had a complicated (for me) name that I cannot remember, had wide udon noodles, tofu, vegetables and a slightly spicy sauce. While it was slightly boring, it was good and delivered hot and fresh.

As we were finishing our meals, a welcome surprise was brought to the table. The cook had made a sweet take on rangoon- featuring the crispy shells and a sweet, creamy inside. With cherry syrup drizzled on top, they were yummy and, best of all, free.

Worth a return visit!

The Price Rating: The Photo Major- The true “starving artists”- is the cheapest category. Photo majors spend what little money they don’t use on chemicals and film to buy Ramen. Imagine a cute kid trying to struggle to survive, all in the name of art!

The Chicago Diner

October 7th, 2010 § 0 comments § permalink

“Meat free since ’83,” has a nice ring to it. So does a vegan country-fried steak.  The Chicago diner has both. Having served their delicious non-meat items for over 15 years, they make food that could make a carnivore go veg.

I’ve been several times, and have been consistently happy.  On my latest trip, however, my buddy Caro and I were a bit let down.

Country-fried steak. Yum, but needed to be warmer.

Venturing there on a slightly chilly September night, the wait was a good 30 minutes. We were eventually seated in the outdoor patio, which was a new experience for me.

It’s an excellent change of pace from the indoor seating. Inside is loud and slightly cramped (unless you’re in a booth). The patio was much quieter, albeit it a little cold (we were not dressed warmly enough, granted).

We were brought water and got our drink orders placed right away, and also placed an order for vegan buffalo wings. They came out quick and were absolutely delicious (particularly so, considering that Caro and I have wildly different taste preferences and we both adored them).

Mac 'n Cheese. Pretty much frozen.

For supper, I ordered the Country-Fried Steak (I marvel at how meaty this thing is, without actually have animal products in it!) and Caro got a bowl of macaroni and cheese (also ridiculously creamy for containing to cream).

Here’s where the problem came it. We had already waited a good while for our table, which our waiter had no control over. But, we started judging when our food never appeared. About 30 minutes later, a cute employee asked us, with just a hint of guilt in her voice, what we had ordered.

Another 20 minutes, and our food came. But here’s the strange thing- it wasn’t particularly hot. It was as if they had it waiting for us and then just kind of got lazy. My country-fried steak was superb, but the mashed potatoes weren’t even steaming (which, considering how chilly it was, shouldn’t have taken much). To boot, my spinach was lukewarm.

Caro was not pleased at all with her mac and cheese. After sampling, I understood. It was creamy, yes, but hardly warm and rather sticky, and not in a fun way. In a “this may have been dropped on the floor” way.

Hopping for a little better luck, we both ordered dessert. They have a peanut butter cup with a chocolate filling. ‘Nuff said. I was morally obligated to order it. It was heaven. So many calories. So much peanut butter. It left me sated.

Caro’s was slightly less stupendous, but not bad.

In all, we weren’t spiteful of our experience, but we do hope for better luck next time.

Nommy. Not super nommy, but nommy nonetheless.

Price Rating: The Cultural Studies Major- These grass-fed people-watchers love food that’s good for you, and with a major with no guaranteed paycheck, they don’t want to break the bank, though they’ll sometimes go a little high for something special.

Wilde (3130 N Broadway)

August 25th, 2010 § 0 comments § permalink

Totally delicious, totally unhealthy mac 'n cheese.

With a strange homage to the famous playwright and all-around eccentric man, Wilde finds a way to incorporate Oscar Wilde into many aspects of their restaurant.

Their logo features a silhouette of Mr. Wilde, they have an in-house library featuring his works and their menu makes a playful reference or two to him.

Their restaurant isn’t all novelty, though. The menu has diverse offerings, with the staples of American cuisine served up in a unique fashion. The ambience is yuppie but welcoming., but it can be loud. The staff is generally helpful.

As for food, they offer mac ‘n cheese, but it features a heavy cream, diced onion and bacon with a nice helping of bread crumbs baked on top. It is a delicious take on the American classic, and it is almost too rich for one person to finish.

Another good option is a burger or sandwich, which are decently portioned and typically pretty tasty. I sampled a grilled chicken sandwich. It wasn’t bad, but had a very mild flavor.

Burger. :)

Wilde has a full bar, albeit slightly pricy, as well as a few stellar dessert options. If you come in summer or autumn the front of the restaurant is open, making an awesome atmosphere that combines the energy from inside the restaurant with the non-stop mantra of boystown.

In all, it’s a good option if you’re looking to change up your evening and don’t mind paying a bit extra. It can be loud, so don’t expect to whisper gently to your boyfriend.

Worth a return visit!

Rather, go out with some friends who don’t mind yelling to be heard.

The Advertising Major- Kids who know they’ll get filthy rich soon enough- is the moderate category. Picture a kid with a briefcase and a blazer jacket.