A Couple of Nights with the Cookies

21 Feb

On my return to the city I received a phone call from one of my culinary school friends.  He told me that he was coming into town to eat with two other guys.  I knew this could be trouble, but I had to finish my curling binge.  So, our first night together was Wednesday.  We met up and had some Indian food in town and a quick chat.  Then my curling mom and I took off to play in league night at CCC (Chicago Curling Club)

My night began some time around midnight.  I drove down to Pilsen to a bar I have walked past many times Simones.  When I walked into Simones, I felt right at home with pinball machine art on the walls, electronic music spinning from the live DJ nestled on the second floor, TV sets playing JAWS (We are gonna need a bigger boat.), and a fireplace.  My cookie pals were tucked into the corner of the bar with the fireplace keeping warm and sipping on some beers.  I was so excited to see B, hugs for all!  I sat with him at the bar and ordered a “shortie” a drink that had mezcal (smokey), agave syrup, lemon juice, and a splash of soda (i could be wrong…..), it was one of their house cocktails.  I was hank marvin (starvin’) so I got a plate steak nachos.

We sat for a bit chatted about restaurants in the city and gossip from the Detroit restaurant scene and B informed us that it was his birthday.  Joy!!!!  A cookie birthday is the best.  More time for fun.  One of our local pals ordered us a round of Jeppsons Malort aka the Judge.  It’s a Chicago thing and oddly enough a niche curling thing too.  Malort is an interesting Swedish spirit; it is wormwood based and is bitter.  We like to call it herbaceous.  It is a drink you need to have at least once.  The Malort followed us to the next bar.

A quick trip down the road took us to Bridgeport.  We parked our cars near the police station as the cops in SUVs seemed to follow us around the block to watch us.  The 6 of us did look rather shady and it was 1:30 in the morning.  We bundled up and walked to a place called Maria’s or Maria’s Packaged Goods & Community Bar.  When you approach Maria’s it appears to be a tiny liqueur store, but when you walk in your ID is checked you walk to the back of the store (its tiny) to a wooden wall.  That wall is a door that opens up to the bar.  Way too cool.

The bar has late 70’s jazz funk playing and illuminating on the wall.  The bar probably fits 50 or so people.  There are tables and the bar area.  Maria’s has and extensive beer list (300 craft beers), cocktails (classics & tiki), scotch, bourbon, and more.  A great place to just chill and have some fun.  We met one of the operators Ed, who gave our clan many free tastes of beers.  One of which I liked, that was Avery’s Meth Addict (flavors of roasted malt, maple syrup, roasted espresso, vanilla and pretty bourbon-y.  Kinda tingly too.)  FYI I’m not a beer girl, I lean towards ciders/perrys, wine, and cocktails.  I also ordered a classic Palamo

The return to the car at 2:30ish am was crazy.  The taco joint we wanted to attack closed.  We saw the cook inside and pleaded as he shooed us away.  A true fist of rage. Damn!  I needed to escape back to the north.  B took me to the car where we exchange more food and beer.  B gave me 3 beers for the man and in return I gave him the most magical of cupcakes.  Sprinkles Cupcakes are to die for.  Perfect little cakes with tasty frosting.  I gave him strawberry and german chocolate cake, plus a bonus prize of pork rinds that were left in my car.  The remaining flavors of Sprinkles cupcakes were red velvet, peanut butter chocolate (yum), pumpkin (yum), and cinnamon sugar.  I devoured one in the car before I arrived home at 3:30am.  Holy crap.

DAY 2 with the Cookies
I did not meet up with the guys early.  If I did it would have been eating trouble.  They started B’s b-day binge at Urban Belly.  They ordered up all the rice dishes, kimchi, and all the dumplings.  Then they took off to the Publican.  I met them there.

The Publican was packed as I arrived at 8pm.  The guys were at a communal table, so I stood in the center behind them.  They already had a couple beers and had the charcuterie plate, pig trotter terrine, and fries.   I got a glass of the d’Arenberg “Hermit Crab”, McLaren Vale, Australia (viognier, roussanne) and it was food time.  The lot of us ordered the brussels sprout salad with pigs ears, cauliflower gratin (awesome), boudin blanc, boar tagatellie (tremendous), sweetbreads, and cassoulet (yummy, i wanted more beans).  We chowed this down, the guys ordered another beer; dessert and another restaurant was in sight.

I was surprised the guys wanted to eat dessert; two selections were made by the four of us.  The chocolate trifle with grapefruit segments, chocolate cake, dates, chocolate cream, and vanilla sorbet.  Then two scoops of the roasted malt gelato, which was amazing.  It reminded J and I of going to Tiger’s stadium as kids and ordering the malt cup that came with a wooden spoon.  I still crave that damn malt and here it was.  These desserts ended our stay at the Publican.

Next stop…. Merchandise Mart where the Gilt Bar hides in it’s shadows off Kedzie.  the clan of us stumbled in off the street only to find the place hopping.  Yes, it is great that this restaurant was buzzing, but it was literally filled with the beautiful and the rich.  Snobs and DBs were surrounding us.  I had to let the guys know that it was going to be ok.  We bellied up to the bar and asked for a cocktail.  I had a Pims cup and B had sazerac.  I also informed the lovely barkeep TJ that it was B’s birthday.  Then the damage begun and TJ was our guide for the night.

Food wise we told TJ just to bring out food.  And he did.  In less than 5 minutes we were served  triple cream délice de bourgogne cheese with apricot preserves (that i died for), tenderloin steak tartare with slow poached egg yolk, shallots & capers (@%*king amazing), spence farms hand roasted iroquois white cornbread (you could taste the bacon fat in the bread), and crispy kennebec fries (Super deadly).  TJ showed us many drinks, I had my first sidecar that I really enjoyed, a maple bourbon drink for J, and a few other cocktails.

Gilt bar is my fav place in the city.  Always a good time, great atmosphere, incredible food, and mind blowing cocktails.  The cookies were digging this place and they really hit it off with TJ and the office girl.  The night went on more drinks and more laughs.  We ordered a banana split and another steak tartare.  Binge eating with the cookies is the best.  I love being with the cookies.  I need more of them in my life.  I hope B moves to the chi.  We closed the bar, B had a great day, and the cookies loved the Gilt.

That was my adventure with the cookies.  My binge eating and drinking nights.  Good laughs, great chow, and quality bevs.  I can not wait for their return and for my next culinary adventure in the city.  Sorry for the delay I was in Fargo.

Simone’s
960 W 18th
Chicago, IL 60608
(312) 666-8601

www.simonesbar.com

Maria’s Packaged Goods & Community Bar
960 West 31st Street
Chicago, IL 60608-5828
(773) 890-0588

www.community-bar.com

Sprinkles Cupcakes
50 East Walton Street
Chicago, IL 60611
(312) 573-1600

www.sprinkles.com

Publican
837 W Fulton Market
Chicago, IL 60607
(312) 733-9555

www.thepublicanrestaurant.com

The Gilt Bar
230 W Kinzie St
Chicago, IL 60654-4908
(312) 464-9544

www.giltbarchicago.com


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