I got invited to this Super BowlPre Party at Helio Basin Brewing. The event was put on by azfoodie and sponsored by Vienna Beef. Pure Peru provided drinks for us and you can read about them in my post. This year Vienna Beef is celebrating their 125th anniversary. Vienna Beef was born in 1893 and is Chicago’s first-choice hot dog. It was first introduced at the World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago by Austrian-Hungarian immigrants Emil Reichel and Sam Ladany. They opened their first store a year later in 1894 and business takes off. Hot dog stands start popping everywhere and Vienna Beef becomes a part of Chicago’s community and culture. The famous Vienna Beef hot dog is eventually dubbed “The Original Chicago Style Hot Dog” (recipe below).
The Phoenix area is known for it’s large population of Chicago natives. Most of them visit because we are home to the Chicago Cubs’ spring training facility. Others visit to escape the cold windy winters. We have many Chi-town favorites like Portillo’s, Geno’s East and Giordano’s to choose from if you want a taste of home. I have many friends here from Chicago and they have introduced me to many things that make up the culture of the Windy City. Chicago style dogs are definitely one of them.
Hello Basin Brewing Co.
In addition to playing some fun patio games to get us hyped for the big game on Sunday, we got to eat some great food prepared for us by Helio Basin’s Chef Tamara Stanger. She incorporated some Vienna Beef polish sausage into one of the dishes. The food was amazing as always and of course we got have some of Helio’s great beer. You can read about my adventures at Helio Basin in this post. We were given jars of toppings so we can make our own Chicago style dogs at home. I rounded up my evening by taking some fun goofy photos with props in a photo booth with my fellow Instagram foodie community.
Below is the recipe on how you can make you own Chicago style dog! I made my own version of it with the toppings that were given to me by Vienna Beef.
Bacon & Cheddar Panini and a side of steel-cut oatmeal
I love this Corner Bakery in Atlanta. Every couple of years I fly into Atlanta for the Passion conferences and this is one of my favorite stops for breakfast before I start my day. It’s located right off of Peachtree St. in the heart of downtown Atlanta. Corner Bakery Cafe is a fast casual restaurant that started making artisan breads and freshly baked sweets on a corner in Chicago in 1991 and then eventually went to soups, sandwiches and salads. Now they have locations all over the U.S. We even have one in Phoenix where I live. I personally come here for their awesome breakfast paninis (my favorite is the Anaheim panini). The eggs are nice and fluffy and they use fresh ingredients. This most recent trip I got the Bacon & Cheddar Panini with a side of steel-cut oatmeal. Along with some coffee, it made for a great start to my morning.
When I was in Chicago earlier this year, I must have eaten out three times a day just so I could try all the food that Chicago had to offer. The one place that I tried to fit in on my trip was this little chain sandwich shop called Potbelly. It didn’t work out for me because of time. But now Phoenix has opened a few Potbelly locations across the Valley. Potbelly Sandwich Shop got its start in Chicago at an antique store off Lincoln Ave. A couple started serving toasted sandwiches there until someone bought the store and turned it into a restaurant with the idea of selling their popular sandwiches. Now there are over 200 stores in the U.S. Potbelly is also known for their shakes and showcasing musicians. A girlfriend of mine and I attended their opening week at Cityscape. The employee recommended I try their popular sandwich The Wreck – salami, roast beef, turkey, ham and swiss cheese on fresh-baked bread. Of course I loaded it with peppers too and got a bowl of soup. I was really impressed! I loved that they had live music from a local artist as well going on in the background.
Back in the 1930’s, Angelina Barro started cooking pizzas using the freshest ingredients in Chicago. Her sons have since opened up Barro’s restaurants all over America. There are many locations all over the Valley. I love what they do in the community and for kid’s sport leagues.
Barro’s Pizza is a long time favorite for the boys and I. We have been coming here after their sporting events and for family occasions since they were little. We even had a photo shoot here earlier in the year. It was Jake’s birthday and we had a little party here with his buddies from his church group. There was quite the turn-out and I literally watched these boys devour five pizzas. My Dad, sister and my nephews also joined in for the fun. Afterwards we saw “The Avengers”.
I went to an event at the Adler Planetarium late in the evening. The Adler Planetarium & Astronomy Museum in Chicago, Illinois was the first planetarium built in the Western Hemisphere and is the oldest in existence today. The event was catered and DJ Bearcat provided the music for the luau themed evening. All the exhibits were open to walk around and enjoy. As a boy, I wanted to be an astronaut and so I had fun reading up on some of the NASA facts. There were moon rocks, a lunar module and a theater where you can gaze at the night sky.
Portillo’s Hot Dogs was started in 1963 by Dick Portillo in a small trailer with no running water. It now has grown to a large corporation with multiple locations. I visited the one on Ontario St which has a 30’s and 40’s gangster theme to it. The place had a fun atmosphere to it. Several locals told me I needed to try one of their amazing Chicago dogs. I must admit that it was one pretty damn good dog!
The Bongo Room is a very popular breakfast and lunch restaurant in Chicago with the locals. They serve up fresh seasonal breakfast everyday. But what they are known for is their popular pancake and french toast creations. I’ve been on a blueberry kick lately and got the Blueberries and Cream hotcakes with eggs and potatoes. The cakes are topped with fresh blueberries, warm vanilla cream and blueberry coulis. I couldn’t believe how rich and creamy it tasted. Seriously – amazing!
Buddy Guy is the Chicago King of Blues. He is a legend in the music industry and owns this renowned blues club in downtown Chicago. Van Morrison, Albert Collins, Bo Diddley, The Rolling Stones, The Black Crowes, David Bowie, ZZ Top, Junior Wells, Slash, John Mayer, Stevie Ray Vaughan and Buddy Guy himself have all graced the stage here. The place is also full of memorabilia from several accomplished guitarists as well as Buddy Guy’s own personal music awards. J.B. Ritchie was on tap tonight and played a great show.
So this place isn’t exactly unique to Chicago because they are everywhere, but I was hungry and it was close by. I once worked at the Hard Rock Cafe in Phoenix back in my college days. It was fun to serve celebrities, but I only lasted about 6 months there. I haven’t eaten at one in years and didn’t recognize anything on the menu. I ended up getting the S.O.B. burger. It’s a hamburger basted with spicy chipotle pepper puree and topped with monterey jack cheese. It is served on a buttered-toasted bun with guacamole and grilled onions. I also got the Goose Island (local brewery) seasonal beer to help wash down it’s spicy goodness. I enjoyed walking around and looking at some of the music memorabilia.
Within 48 hrs of getting off the plane from Guatemala, I was on a plane to Chicago for an event. I had a day to get over being sick to get my stomach ready for some great food. This blog has generated a lot of interest and just got picked up, so I have felt the need to start adding some content to it. What better place to find great food and architecture than the windy city! So I am making this trip a culinary and art adventure as well. Even though I ate at a couple of fancy restaurants (I left my camera in the hotel), I decided to just include some of the highlights of some of the popular eats, art and culture of Chicago and my own personal experiences of them. I am enjoying my photography and art work and thankful I don’t feel the pressure to make money off it. God really has blessed me financially in amazing ways and it has freed me up to enjoy taking pictures for fun and to share with others. It also allows me to let God expand my creativity and make it about Him and not me. Even though my passion is taking photos of what is going on in the world, I also love taking pictures of food (even though it is harder than I thought) and architecture! I am looking forward to future travels of shooting and marveling at God’s beauty and creativity.