Leo’s Coney Island

July 4, 2011

Leo’s is a chain hot dog  joint first opened in 1972. There is only one Chicago location (Lakeview – fairly close to Wrigley Field). This place is great because it is really cheap, and the food is better than what you will find at most greasy spoon diner-style restaurants. The menu is large and varied, featuring a mix of hot dogs, sausages, burgers, salads and Greek items.

The cornerstone of the menu is the Coney Island Dog. This Detroit-style tube steak is a snap dog with chili, mustard and onions on a steamed bun. It is a great hot dog, but if you eat more than one you seriously need to remain close to a toilet for the rest of the day. I am not joking. Eating things like this can easily lead to a horrific, jeans-ruining shart. There is also a Chicago Dog, and many other items can be topped with the delicious (albeit very salty) chili. I had the chili cheese fries, and the resulting stool looked like the power brick for my Xbox 360.

Another attractive thing about this place is that they have quality craft beers for $3/bottle. I am talking Bell’s and Goose Island. If you live in some piece-of-shit hick town and do not think that sounds like a good deal, you can straight fuck off.

If you visit the Chicago location, ask for Alex and tell him that Flatulator sent you. He will give you a Coney Dog with extra chili and an adult diaper.

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Chicago Pizza: My Top 3

June 17, 2011

Piece

Yum, look at this good shit!

It's on a cookie sheet, son

Welcome to Diarrhea Village, population you

Piece is my favorite pizza in Chicago, and may be the best pizza I’ve ever had, although I have eaten a lot of pizza while drunk off my ass, so who knows.

Piece is located in Wicker Park, which would be easy to get to if the traffic wasn’t so goddamn horrific much of the time. It can be hard to find parking, so the Damen Blue Line stop might be a better option. This restaurant does not take reservations for parties of less than 10 people, so you will need to plan your arrival time carefully. I don’t even bother going to this place on Friday and Saturday nights. Piece fills up quickly, and a 2 hour wait is not uncommon. To truly appreciate Piece on your first visit, it’s a good idea to go for lunch when you can move around without tripping over a fatass or some mustachioed pole-smoker in skinny jeans.

Piece also contains a great brewery; the beers have won many national awards. My favorite beer is the Camel Toe Egyptian Pale Ale, which, at 10% ABV, will help you forget what a fat fuck you’re becoming by inhaling seven slices of pizza.

Piece only delivers to the Loop with a minimum order of 10 pizzas; an offer meant to appeal to businesses. My cheap-fuck boss would rather get rectal cancer than spring for this sweet deal, so I can only imagine how delightful it is to have Piece delivery to take one’s mind off of a soul-crushing work environment where the only relief is found while jerking off in the handicapped stall.

You can tell Piece knows what they’re doing based on their menu. It is small and simple, meant to showcase what they do best. There are not many non-pizza items on the item, but the Cesar salad is excellent. It easily contains enough for two people, and it will help force the pizza BM out of your ruby starfruit once it is finally fully digested three days after being consumed.

There is also live band karaoke on Saturdays, but I would rather go down on my mom than suffer through that for 45 seconds.

Pequod’s 

It's not burned, it's caramelized

This place is fairly close to Piece, but the pizza is very different. I am not a huge fan of deep-dish in general, but Pequod’s has a very unique and delicious spin on this colon-clogging Chicago stereotype. The crust is caramelized and extremely flavorful, but, like all deep-dish, eating more than two pieces will give you gas that smells like the suffering of the Holocaust.

Pequod’s thin crust is also superb. It is actually slightly thicker than what is normally considered thin crust, but that does not detract from the flavor. Try ground beef instead of sausage – amazing.

In terms of non-pizza offerings, the cheesy garlic bread and house salad (with Italian dressing) are great. I would skip the appetizers when ordering deep-dish, unless you want to birth a brown bowling pin.

My main complaint about Pequod’s is that the beer selection sucks nutsack. There are the usual shitty brands, one Goose Island seasonal, one Sam Adams seasonal, and , if you’re lucky, a Half Acre selection. An establishment with such excellent food should really step it up and get some more interesting options in rotation. If you’re having trouble deciding between Piece and Pequod’s, the exquisite beer at Piece may be the deciding factor. Piece’s website is like a Da Vinci creation compared to the abortion Pequod’s has vomited onto the web, so that’s another thumbs up for the geniuses at Piece.

Sadly, Pequod’s owner’s daughter died from a rare form of cancer, and a foundation has been set up in her name. There are pictures of the daughter and descriptions of the foundation placed throughout the restaurant.  This is wonderful, and the fact that I did not get too sad is a testament to the quality of Pequod’s offerings. Normally a downer like this would prevent me from eating that ninth slice and cause me to get shitrocked on Jameson even faster than normal, but I powered through and got diarrhea that looked like a melted Snickers bar going through a wood chipper.

There is a skinny manager at Pequod’s who seemingly adores Celine Dion. Try to catch him gazing lovingly at her HD concert special when the dining room is not too busy.

Like Piece, Pequod’s gets crazy busy at night and parking can be difficult. Get ready for a significant wait.

Coalfire

Coalfire is my wife’s favorite Chicago pizza, and I rate it only slightly below Pequod’s. This establishment is less crowded than both Piece and Pequod’s due to its location at the edge of the West Loop. The space is small, so being able to get a table at Coalfire at nearly any hour makes this place a sort of hidden treasure, if you consider explosive squirts to be some sort of prize.

The coalfire oven creates pizzas that come out quickly with a great, crisp, yeasty crust. The fresh mozzarella creates a pie that looks like a water buffalo blew a load all over it, but the taste is slightly sweet and delectable. Our pizza had so much pepperoni that it was swimming in grease, but in the best possible way, not the, “holy shit, I just woke up and the Exxon Valdez crashed in my boxers” kind of way.

Like Piece, Coalfire has an impressive Cesar salad that is perfect for two people.  This fiber can really influence how many pages of ‘Eat, Pray, Love’ you get through on the can.

The beer selection is more creative than Pequod’s (Bell’s Two Hearted is available), but not too exciting. The wine is shit, but the wine is also shit at Piece and Pequod’s. Don’t drink wine at these restaurants.