Poke Bros Chain Review

Poke Bros Chain Review

Poke Brothers serves “poke”  (po-KAY) a dish that originated in the 70s in Hawaii. Traditionally consisting of diced seafood and rice or vegetables, some people describe it as “sushi in a bowl,” but to me, it’s more like ceviche. Created in 2016, the company has already grown to 37 stores across the Midwest and East Coast. With a set-up similar to Chipotle, if you “build your own” you move thru the line specifying what you would like for a “base” (salad or three different types of rice), choose your protein (chicken, shrimp, ahi, salmon, vegetarian, and then select from myriad toppings and sauces. They have a number of pre-set combinations if you feel like the first time you want to trust their judgment as to what’s a popular approach. We did one of each. The “High TIde” included chicken, shrimp, Edamame, pineapple, green onions, carrots, avocado, corn, cucumbers and sriracha aioli. Our “build your own version” stuck with ahi, shrimp, with a salad base, and included their signature OG sauce, cukes, green onions, crispy onions, and sesame seeds.

I only have one minor suggestion for them.  Using “salad” as a base, it’s 90% iceberg lettuce, which (I understand) quite a percent of the population find disagreeable.  The restaurant could probably offer an alternative or a mix. Spinach maybe?  Butter?  That’s all.

Two bowls, around $25. It’s all tasty and very fresh. The shop is immaculate, as are the restrooms. They utilize all the familiar delivery services if you choose to go that route.  See the “build your own menu” below.  Full menu at the link.

Menu   Locations

 

Poke Bros Chain Review

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Menu   Locations

 

Poke Bros Chain Review

Poke Bros Chain Review

 

Franks Chicago Shrimp House Review

Franks Chicago Shrimp House Review

Franks Chicago Shrimp House Review

Franks Chicago Shrimp House ReviewFor people who don’t live around Chicago, fried shrimp probably isn’t the first things that pop into their minds as a “Chicago food.”  No, you’re knowledge probably ends at Deep Dish Pizza and Italian Beef Sandwiches.

But fried shrimp is a thing, and there are dozens of outlets for it, including some mini chains.  Seems WW II GI’s, returning from the South Pacific, had developed a hankering for the tasty deep-fried morsels and more than a couple of them set up the first simple take-out stands.

Today, in addition to regular or “Chicago style” (slightly spicy), many stores sell a bit of chicken, fish, frog legs, scallops and fried vegetables.  Full typical menu looks like this:

My chain of choice is Franks Chicago Shrimp House with four outlets scattered around the city, including the one I patronize in the far northwest suburbs.  Food is sold in 1/4 increments. I always go for the catfish strips, and today, feeling bold, I threw in some onion rings and a couple of frog legs.  They do not offer local fish like walleye, smelt, perch or blue gills, but there are other places that do.

Their breading is a mix of flour and cornmeal, same for the onion rings which I suspect are made in house, because they are inconsistent, and I don’t mean that in a negative sense at all, but rather that they are irregular sizes and shapes.  Food service rings are usually identical in those regards.  It’s a nice size ring, with a juicy circle of real onion inside, not “onion bits” as some fast food joints sell.  BTW, best fast food onion rings?  Arbys.  Seriously.

The catfish is meaty flesh, slightly flaky, but firm. The breading is not seasoned, or if it is, it’s so slight as to not be detectable by old fart taste buds.  The usual array of sauces are available for dripping, tartar, cocktail, lemon juice, bbq and more.

I don’t get over there enough.  It’s a dozen or so miles from my house and I rarely have a reason to head in that direction.  I’ll make the effort in the future!

 

 

 

Frank's Chicago Shrimp House Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato
 

Franks Chicago Shrimp House Review

Franks Chicago Shrimp House Review

Van de Kamp Crispy Haddock Filets Review

Van de Kamp Crispy Haddock Filets Review

Van de Kamp Crispy Haddock Filets Review

"TV dinners" (frozen, pre-cooked, heat and eat meals) have been around for more than 70 years.  In all that time, very few manufacturers seems to have mastered having fried food emerge from the oven or microwave with any semblance of "crispiness."  Why is that? Van de Kamp's brand has been around since 1915 and started as a potato chip stand on the streets of Los Angeles.  Today it's own by ConAgra, and is one of the largest producers of frozen seafood in the country.  No doubt you have had many ConAgra products in your kitchen at one time or another.  Their diverse portfolio includes Slim Jims, Hunts, Duncan Hines, Redi-Whip, Vlasic, Birds Eye, Orville Redenbacher and many more. Couple months back I reviewed Young's brand frozen fish and chips, and I was quite happy with it.  You can read my review here.  I was looking for Young's the day I purchased the Van de Kamp product, but in retropsect the only place I have seen it is WalMart and I wasn't about to make a special trip.  Young's has nailed the crispiness factor and the fries are pretty good as well. Van de Kamp's is an adequate substitute.  While not as crispy as Young's, it's pretty good, and the fish is flaky with good flavor.  Some of the breading does come up when removing it from the pan. Incidentally, if you're a new reader, any frozen product that gives you the option of conventional oven heating or microwave, my reviews will always be based on conventional oven results. Call me old-fashioned. Anyway, I have VdK filets left over, think I'll go grab a couple!“TV dinners” (frozen, pre-cooked, heat and eat meals) have been around for more than 70 years.  In all that time, very few manufacturers seems to have mastered having fried food emerge from the oven or microwave with any semblance of “crispiness.”  Why is that?

Van de Kamp’s brand has been around since 1915 and started as a potato chip stand on the streets of Los Angeles.  Today it’s own by ConAgra, and is one of the largest producers of frozen seafood in the country.  No doubt you have had many ConAgra products in your kitchen at one time or another.  Their diverse portfolio includes Slim Jims, Hunts, Duncan Hines, Redi-Whip, Vlasic, Birds Eye, Orville Redenbacher and many more.

Couple months back I reviewed Young’s brand frozen fish and chips, and I was quite happy with it.  You can read my review here.  I was looking for Young’s the day I purchased the Van de Kamp product, but in retropsect the only place I have seen it is WalMart and I wasn’t about to make a special trip.  Young’s has nailed the crispiness factor and the fries are pretty good as well.

Van de Kamp’s is an adequate substitute.  While not as crispy as Young’s, it’s pretty good, and the fish is flaky with good flavor.  Some of the breading does come up when removing it from the pan.

Incidentally, if you’re a new reader, any frozen product that gives you the option of conventional oven heating or microwave, my reviews will always be based on conventional oven results. Call me old-fashioned.

Anyway, I have VdK filets left over, think I’ll go grab a couple!

"TV dinners" (frozen, pre-cooked, heat and eat meals) have been around for more than 70 years.  In all that time, very few manufacturers seems to have mastered having fried food emerge from the oven or microwave with any semblance of "crispiness."  Why is that? Van de Kamp's brand has been around since 1915 and started as a potato chip stand on the streets of Los Angeles.  Today it's own by ConAgra, and is one of the largest producers of frozen seafood in the country.  No doubt you have had many ConAgra products in your kitchen at one time or another.  Their diverse portfolio includes Slim Jims, Hunts, Duncan Hines, Redi-Whip, Vlasic, Birds Eye, Orville Redenbacher and many more. Couple months back I reviewed Young's brand frozen fish and chips, and I was quite happy with it.  You can read my review here.  I was looking for Young's the day I purchased the Van de Kamp product, but in retropsect the only place I have seen it is WalMart and I wasn't about to make a special trip.  Young's has nailed the crispiness factor and the fries are pretty good as well. Van de Kamp's is an adequate substitute.  While not as crispy as Young's, it's pretty good, and the fish is flaky with good flavor.  Some of the breading does come up when removing it from the pan. Incidentally, if you're a new reader, any frozen product that gives you the option of conventional oven heating or microwave, my reviews will always be based on conventional oven results. Call me old-fashioned. Anyway, I have VdK filets left over, think I'll go grab a couple!

Out of box frozen

"TV dinners" (frozen, pre-cooked, heat and eat meals) have been around for more than 70 years.  In all that time, very few manufacturers seems to have mastered having fried food emerge from the oven or microwave with any semblance of "crispiness."  Why is that? Van de Kamp's brand has been around since 1915 and started as a potato chip stand on the streets of Los Angeles.  Today it's own by ConAgra, and is one of the largest producers of frozen seafood in the country.  No doubt you have had many ConAgra products in your kitchen at one time or another.  Their diverse portfolio includes Slim Jims, Hunts, Duncan Hines, Redi-Whip, Vlasic, Birds Eye, Orville Redenbacher and many more. Couple months back I reviewed Young's brand frozen fish and chips, and I was quite happy with it.  You can read my review here.  I was looking for Young's the day I purchased the Van de Kamp product, but in retropsect the only place I have seen it is WalMart and I wasn't about to make a special trip.  Young's has nailed the crispiness factor and the fries are pretty good as well. Van de Kamp's is an adequate substitute.  While not as crispy as Young's, it's pretty good, and the fish is flaky with good flavor.  Some of the breading does come up when removing it from the pan. Incidentally, if you're a new reader, any frozen product that gives you the option of conventional oven heating or microwave, my reviews will always be based on conventional oven results. Call me old-fashioned. Anyway, I have VdK filets left over, think I'll go grab a couple!

After baking 

"TV dinners" (frozen, pre-cooked, heat and eat meals) have been around for more than 70 years.  In all that time, very few manufacturers seems to have mastered having fried food emerge from the oven or microwave with any semblance of "crispiness."  Why is that? Van de Kamp's brand has been around since 1915 and started as a potato chip stand on the streets of Los Angeles.  Today it's own by ConAgra, and is one of the largest producers of frozen seafood in the country.  No doubt you have had many ConAgra products in your kitchen at one time or another.  Their diverse portfolio includes Slim Jims, Hunts, Duncan Hines, Redi-Whip, Vlasic, Birds Eye, Orville Redenbacher and many more. Couple months back I reviewed Young's brand frozen fish and chips, and I was quite happy with it.  You can read my review here.  I was looking for Young's the day I purchased the Van de Kamp product, but in retropsect the only place I have seen it is WalMart and I wasn't about to make a special trip.  Young's has nailed the crispiness factor and the fries are pretty good as well. Van de Kamp's is an adequate substitute.  While not as crispy as Young's, it's pretty good, and the fish is flaky with good flavor.  Some of the breading does come up when removing it from the pan. Incidentally, if you're a new reader, any frozen product that gives you the option of conventional oven heating or microwave, my reviews will always be based on conventional oven results. Call me old-fashioned. Anyway, I have VdK filets left over, think I'll go grab a couple!

Cross-section

 

“TV dinners” (frozen, pre-cooked, heat and eat meals) have been around for more than 70 years.  In all that time, very few manufacturers seems to have mastered having fried food emerge from the oven or microwave with any semblance of “crispiness.”  Why is that?

Van de Kamp’s brand has been around since 1915 and started as a potato chip stand on the streets of Los Angeles.  Today it’s own by ConAgra, and is one of the largest producers of frozen seafood in the country.  No doubt you have had many ConAgra products in your kitchen at one time or another.  Their diverse portfolio includes Slim Jims, Hunts, Duncan Hines, Redi-Whip, Vlasic, Birds Eye, Orville Redenbacher and many more.

Couple months back I reviewed Young’s brand frozen fish and chips, and I was quite happy with it.  You can read my review here.  I was looking for Young’s the day I purchased the Van de Kamp product, but in retropsect the only place I have seen it is WalMart and I wasn’t about to make a special trip.  Young’s has nailed the crispiness factor and the fries are pretty good as well.

Van de Kamp’s is an adequate substitute.  While not as crispy as Young’s, it’s pretty good, and the fish is flaky with good flavor.  Some of the breading does come up when removing it from the pan.

Incidentally, if you’re a new reader, any frozen product that gives you the option of conventional oven heating or microwave, my reviews will always be based on conventional oven results. Call me old-fashioned.

Anyway, I have VdK filets left over, think I’ll go grab a couple!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Van de Kamp Crispy Haddock Filets Review

Van de Kamp Crispy Haddock Filets Review

 

Johnsonville Italian Meatballs Review

Johnsonville Italian Meatballs Review

 

Johnsonville Italian Meatballs Review

Johnsonville Italian Meatballs ReviewMy Johnsonville Italian Meatballs Review – they are pre-cooked and run about $6 for 28.  That’s very competitive pricing.

They are pretty flavorful for a mass-market product.  Maybe Johnsonville could come up with a “sweet” and “hot” version like Italian sausage?  I heated them in my own sauce and served over pasta.  They are a finer grind and denser than ones I make at home.  (Recipe).

Ingredients are straightforwards,  pork, water, bread crumbs (bleached wheat flour, yeast, sugar, salt) and less than 2% of all those usual things that we have no idea what they are. Usually, mostly salt derivatives.   Happy there are no “corn syrup solids” in these guys.

This product is not in a resealable bag if that’s a consideration for your purchasing power.

Johnsonville’s balls come in a variety of styles in addition to Classic Italian, you’ll find “Homestyle,” and “Cheese Italian Style.”

You can quickly bring the balls to serving temp on the stovetop, oven, or microwave, in most cases, less than twenty minutes, shorter if thawed.

These are manufactured for Johnsonville by a Chicago based value-added protein processor OSI Industries, one of the largest privately held companies in the United States.   They boast 65 facilities and over 20,000 employees in 18 countries. They started in 1909 founded by Otto Kolschowsky as a family-owned meat market and butcher shop in the Chicago area as Otto & Sons, USA.  In 1955, they were named the first fresh beef supplier to McDonalds. They are also one of the co-manufacturers for Impossible Foods plant-based protein items.

To find a local outlet that stocks Johnsonville balls, use the company’s product locator.

I’d buy them again.

Inside the ball

Johnsonville Italian Meatballs Review

 

 

 

 

 

Johnsonville Italian Meatballs Review

Johnsonville Italian Meatballs Review

 

My Johnsonville Italian Meatballs Review – they are pre-cooked and run about $6 for 28.  That’s very competitive pricing.

They are pretty flavorful for a mass-market product.  Maybe Johnsonville could come up with a “sweet” and “hot” version like Italian sausage?  I heated them in my own sauce and served over pasta.  They are a finer grind and denser than ones I make at home.  (Recipe).

Ingredients are straightforwards,  pork, water, bread crumbs (bleached wheat flour, yeast, sugar, salt) and less than 2% of all those usual things that we have no idea what they are. Usually, mostly salt derivatives.   Happy there are no “corn syrup solids” in these guys.

This product is not in a resealable bag if that’s a consideration for your purchasing power.

Johnsonville’s balls come in a variety of styles in addition to Classic Italian, you’ll find “Homestyle,” and “Cheese Italian Style.”

You can quickly bring the balls to serving temp on the stovetop, oven, or microwave, in most cases, less than twenty minutes, shorter if thawed.

To find a local outlet that stocks the balls, use the company’s product locator.

Inside the ball

BBQ King Smokehouse Review – Huntley, IL

BBQ King Smokehouse Review

 

BBQ King Smokehouse Review

A friend wanted to check this place out, had never had brisket before and wanted to see what all the hubbub was about.  So we drove out to the Huntley edition of the BBQ King Smokehouse, we could have opted for his other location, in Woodstock IL, as well.  This one is newer.

We knew we were going to get the food to go, there’s a nice park/town square in Huntley, and it was a great day for a picnic lunch.

I’ve been lucky to have been to some of the great BBQ centers in the US, including five of the restaurants in Lockhart, TX, and a number of them along the Historic NC BBQ Trail, including BBQ Center in Lexington, as well as stops in Memphis, St Louis and the rest.

I’m not comparing this place to any of those.

I started with the oversized pretzel for $6, “glazed with butter and salt” and a side of “our house-made cheese sauce.”  It was the doughy type of pretzel, no exterior crispness. The cheese has some bite to it. The pretzel served me was devoid of any salt.

I ordered a hamburger, with bacon, cheddar, lettuce, tomato, and onion.  Each “topping” was 75 cents, so that added nearly $4.00 to an $11 burger. Included with sandwiches are fries and a couple of bites of slaw.

The burger patty itself was good enough, “100% beef brisket” the menu claims. The bun was bakery soft, but ample enough to hold the toppings.

The fries are the extruded variety, and if you’re a regular reader, you already know those aren’t my favorites. I can’t imagine why any restaurant uses them. Price? Speed of cooking?

Salad Anyone?

My coleslaw was non-descript, neither sweet, tangy, or creamy.  Curiously, the dressing on mine was white, the dressing on my friend’s serving was yellow.  There’s a “Q” place in the Mississippi delta, Abe’s, I swear has the best slaw on the planet, and he swears the only ingredients are sugar and vinegar.  I don’t believe him.  (Abe’s has been open since 1924 and is located in Clarksdale, MS at the famous “Crossroads” where Robert Johnson sold his soul to the devil in exchange for becoming a guitar virtuoso). (So the story goes).  It’s only a ten-hour drive if you feel the urge.

On to the brisket.  Sandwich came with fries, slaw, and cornbread. In my experience, brisket should be the star of any BBQ joint.  It’s what some people work for years to perfect.

This shredded beef lacked much smoke flavor and was relatively sauceless.  The texture was good, it was a nice cut of meat.

Finally, our “to-go bag” was missing the following:  cutlery, salt/pepper, napkins, sauce, butter, or honey for the cornbread.

There were two tables in use when we walked in, and one server. She did a good enough job and was very pleasant.

Why a burger for me?  I like to see how restaurants do with menu items that aren’t their specialty.

I have friends who swear by this place, they just love it.  You probably will too.  All restaurants are having a tough time during the “difficulty,” but especially local mom and pops.  Give them your biz, whether you choose to dine in, carry out, or have delivery.

 

 

Menu.

Catering Menu.

 

 

 

 

BBQ King Smokehouse Woodstock Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato
BBQ King Smokehouse Review

BBQ King Smokehouse Review

Wendys Pretzel Burger Review

Wendys Pretzel Burger Review

 

Wendys Pretzel Burger Review

I haven’t been in a Wendy’s in years, but their new offering, the Pretzel Pub Bacon Cheeseburger caught my eye. I like bacon. And cheese. And pretzels. How bad can it be?

The “official” ingredient list: Fresh, never-frozen beef, warm beer cheese sauce, Applewood smoked bacon, smoky honey mustard, crispy fried onions, pickles, and a slice of muenster cheese all on an extra soft pretzel bun.

When I am trying something to write about, I always order it like they intended it. Then I deconstruct, try each of the ingredients, see how they stack up to the hype.

So here’s the deal.  The original “pretzel roll”  a German product called “LAUGENBROETCHEN” is a delight.  Soft, but ‘pretzely’, dusted with coarse salt.  I used to by imported ones from a German deli in Portland, Oregon.  Wendy’s are an Americanized version, as are most pretzel rolls/buns I have had in the US (they seem to be available everywhere now), soft, yet firm, right color, but American bakers seem to think sugar is a big ingredient, and I don’t care for that.

While there are many pretzel roll bakers in the US, a Milwaukee company has had a lot of success in restaurants and grocers, Miller Baking markets a collection of rolls called “Pretzillas.”

Beef patty. Good enough for fast food. I only got the single.  Are they supposed to be gray in color?

There are so many wet ingredients on the sandwich if the onions were every “crispy fried” is was long before they hit the patty.

I don’t, under any circumstances, like ‘honey-flavored’ anything – be it mustard, butter, dairy spread, corn bread or whatever. Again, extra sugar shoved into a savory item?  Not for me.

Wendy’s bacon is thick cut, cooked to perfection and a delight in every bite. Good on the pickles, too, and I always like Muenster cheese, because it melts so well, and here it’s no exception.

Warm beer cheese sauce was lost on me.  Not really an identifiable taste or texture.

Overall? I liked it.  I might try to order it again, sans some of the disagreeable elements. I might.

The combo was $7.89, $8.50 with tax.  In these parts, you can get Wendy’s delivered via Doordash, Grubhub, and Postmates. Do people actually get fast food delivered?  Doesn’t that double (or more) the cost of the meal?

Anyway, the photo up top is Wendy’s promotional photo.  Pictures of my sandwich are below. How does it compare?

Wendys Pretzel Burger Review

Wendys Pretzel Burger Review

 

Wendys Pretzel Burger Review

Wendys Pretzel Burger Review

Petes Hamburger Stand Review

Petes Hamburger Stand Review

My Petes Hamburger Stand Review.  For over 100 years, 112 to be exact as of this year, Pete’s Hamburger Stand has been opening Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays, summers only, to sell their unique hamburgers to a hungry public.

Why unique?  Because they are BOILED. But in the interest of accurately, I think “simmered” (in water) is more accurate.  Also swimming in that water on the flattop? A gajillion pieces of sliced onion.

Don’t get it?

Here’s a short video I found on YouTube.

The menu is as basic as a food seller can get.  Hamburger. Canned soda. Chips.  End of story. My pic at the top shows a burger without onion on the left, with on the right.

There are a modest number of condiments available.

$5.00 for each smash burger.  And worth it.  And worth the drive, from whereever you are, because Praire du Chien, WI is not on the way to or from anywhere!

But it is also home to Valley Fish and Cheese, a really fun stop that I have also written about. Somewhere on this site. LOL

Petes Hamburger Stand

Minutes before opening bell

 

 

Pete's Hamburger Stand Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Petes Hamburger Stand Review

Petes Hamburger Stand Review

For over 100 years, 112 to be exact as of this year, Pete’s Hamburger Stand has been opening Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays, summers only, to sell their unique hamburgers to a hungry public.

Why unique?  Because they are BOILED. But in the interest of accurately, I think “simmered” (in water) is more accurate.  Also swimming in that water on the flattop? A gajillion pieces of sliced onion.

Don’t get it?

Here’s a short video I found on YouTube.

The menu is as basic as a food seller can get.  Hamburger. Canned soda. Chips.  End of story. My pic at the top shows a burger without onion on the left, with on the right.

There are a modest number of condiments available.

$5.00 for each smash burger.  And worth it.  And worth the drive, from whereever you are, because Praire du Chien, WI is not on the way to or from anywhere!

But it is also home to Valley Fish and Cheese, a really fun stop that I have also written about. Somewhere on this site. LOL

Golden Dome Cafe Review – Fairfield, Iowa

Golden Dome Cafe Review

 

Back in the “before times” I was making one of my annual treks through Iowa, and the route took me thru Fairfield, population 10,000 and home to Maharishi International University (MIU),  is a private university in Fairfield, Iowa. It was founded in 1973 by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi and features a “consciousness-based education” system that includes the practice of the Transcendental Meditation technique.

The “University” was founded in 1973 when the group purchased the bankrupt Parsons College. The University’s influence on the town has grown and added to its population and economy.

As a lark, I decided to eat at one of their two cafes open to the public. The “Golden Dome” referred to is in relation to one of two huge twin structures dedicated to group meditation.

The cafe was on the second floor of a small organic-centered market; most everything I saw on the shelves were the normal organic/vegetarian brands you see in groceries, but at a higher price (captive audience).

I was there at lunchtime, and the cafe had a very small cafeteria-style offerings, point and it will be put on your plate. Prices are by weight of your plate.  Makes accounting simple, I guess.

It appeared most of the help were students.  It appeared most of the help did not welcome strangers. There was a pitcher of cool water and paper cups, with a sign indicating said water was for diners only.  Reflecting on my visit, there were a lot of signs around the campus.  A lot of rules.

I had $9.00 worth” of food, nothing to write home about. Vegetarian lasagna was OK.

Asked if I could peek inside the Dome and was med by a resounding “NO!” and a security guard led me away from the entrance.

Fairfield, itself, is cute, a typical small town in Iowa, with stores and (a disproportionate number of ethnic) eateries surrounding a town square.

So I enjoyed the town, but not the people or cafe at the University.  Bland and overpriced. (Cafe food, can’t say about the people).

They had hopes of building a housing subdivision with all the amenities.  It’s just outside of town. There were less than half dozen homes completed.

Golden Dome Market and Cafe Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato
Golden Dome Cafe Review

Golden Dome Cafe Review

 

Asadoras Argentinas Burgers Review – Oswego, IL

Asadoras Argentinas Burgers Review
Asadoras Argentinas Burgers Review

Tipcia Burger

My Asadoras Argentinas Burgers  Review comes with a spoiler. It’s terrific!

I’ve had a great deal of satisfaction lately in exploring unique restaurants in small towns in the Upper Midwest.  You stumble on to them and are almost tempted to say “what the heck is that doing here?”

Such was the case in Oswego, IL, and finding Asadoras Argentinas Burgers. Oswego is 45 miles west of downtown Chicago, just off I-88. A bit more from Rockford, IL, 72 miles Southeast, I-39 to I-88.

Asadoras (Spanish for “roasted” or “grilled”) serves char-grilled hand-pattied burgers (about 1/3 pound, at least) with Argentinian style toppings, somewhat adapted for the American palate. We tried the Criolla Burger, which was topped with Mozzarella, salsa criolla, and chimichurri mayonnaise.  Burger number two was the “Tipica,” topped with lettuce tomato, honey ham, cheddar, fried egg, and red bell pepper strips.

Both were superb.  Cooked perfectly, perched on an ultra-soft bakery roll that was still firm enough to hold the ingredients without collapsing in your hands. (Don’t you hate it when that happens? I sure do!)

The primary side is a very unique extruded fry, which they call “side wedges.”  By extruded, I mean these are made from a potato slurry and pushed through a mold to gain their unique shape.  Very crispy on the outside, and pillowy inside, we opted for the chimichurri style, so the fries were decorated with dollops of the famous chimichurri sauce, as unique an Argentinian condiment as you can find.

Asadoras Argentinas Burgers Review

Chimichurri Fries

Although it’s served throughout the Western hemisphere now, its roots are solidly Argentinian, but by way of (most common story), a British soldier stationed there in the early 19th century. It’s (usually) a melange of finely chopped parsley, garlic, pepper, oregano, vinegar, and olive oil.

The unique shape of the fries holds the condiment well.  You can also opt for regular fries, paprika fries, or cheddar bacon. Optional side sauces include Criolla, Avocado Mayo, and Poblano.

There are other sandwiches, and wings on the menu, a vegetarian sandwich and a kid’s menu.

If you’re a fan of great burgers, this is worth a stop. Very friendly and helpful staff, too!   Facebook page.

 

Here’s the burger menu, click to enlarge.

Asadoras Argentinas Burgers Review

 

 

 

Asadoras Argentinas Burgers Review
Asadoras Argentinas Burgers Review

Smokin Coop BBQ Review

Smoking Coop BBQ Review

Smokin Coop BBQ Review

Smokin Coop BBQ Review Belvidere Illinois. Out in the West Texas town of El Paso, I……wait. Never mind. On a country road between Chicago and Rockford, IL, there’s a guy doing BBQ every summer, Mon-Sat, lunch, and dinner. Completely “al fresco” there are picnic tables and chairs scattered under the trees just off the road.

There is a port-a-potty.

The menu is is ribs, chicken, beef, and some creative sandwiches, like smoked ham or a turkey club. I went with the latter, and it was superb. Not the best club I’ve ever had in my life, that honor goes to Portland Oregon’s oldest restaurant, “Hubers” who specialize in all things turkey.

There are lines for food, lines for beverages.  There is a loaded baked potato that people rave about.

All dinners come with two sides and a piece of cornbread.  Sides choices include slaw, beans, potato salad, or apple sauce.  Plates run between $7 – $20.

This is a great place to take advantage of COVID dining.  Plenty of distancing and open air.

This energetic couple made  a video of their visit and got some insider secrets.  Nobody ever gives ME any!

 

Full menu.

Smokin' Coop BBQ Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Smokin Coop BBQ Review Belvidere Illinois. Out in the West Texas town of El Paso, I……wait. Never mind. On a country road between Chicago and Rockford, IL, there’s a guy doing BBQ every summer, Mon-Sat, lunch, and dinner. Completely “al fresco” there are picnic tables and chairs scattered under the trees just off the road.

There is a port-a-potty.

The menu is is ribs, chicken, beef, and some creative sandwiches, like smoked ham or a turkey club. I went with the latter, and it was superb. Not the best club I’ve ever had in my life, that honor goes to Portland Oregon’s oldest restaurant, “Hubers” who specialize in all things turkey.

There are lines for food, lines for beverages.  There is a loaded baked potato that people rave about.

All dinners come with two sides and a piece of cornbread.  Sides choices include slaw, beans, potato salad, or apple sauce.  Plates run between $7 – $20.

This is a great place to take advantage of COVID dining.  Plenty of distancing and open air.

This energetic couple made  a video of their visit and got some insider secrets.  Nobody ever gives ME any!

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