Posts Tagged ‘Ham’
Not much I can think of. I have found my new “home away from home” for breakfast out, the Village Inn Family Restaurant, in Huntley, IL, a distant Chicago exurb. “Chicago area diners” lean towards large portions, and the Village Inn is no exception.
Throwing three eggs on a plate, next to (at least) a half pound of potatoes, along with your choice of meat and toast (rye, for me, always), their breakfast will satisfy any sized appetite.
Two things stuck out for me. First, I love ham. But I especially love GREAT ham. And by “great,” I mean “real,” not some pressed, chopped, and formed, ham-like meat. No, I crave real muscle meat, full of texture and flavor. Village Inn more than satisfies.
Second? I crave my ham to have a little “char” on it, adds to texture experience, and I like my breakfast potatoes extra crispy.
Scored on both accounts, in fact the waitress brought the eggs and toast first, said the ham would be up in a minute, she didn’t think the cook charred it enough. And when she delivered? Spot on.
I like going to Huntley. It’s a peaceful little town, away from the hubbub of the big city, but with all the requisite access to commerce and great little mom and pop places, like the Village Inn and Sal’s Pizza, down the street. Oh, and the most excellent Diary Mart. I also try to get out there to support local charity feeds, like the Boy Scout Pancake breakfast and such.
Village Inn? I shall return. Often. My compliments to the kitchen.
Village Inn Review
I quizzed Chowhound folks ahead of time to see where I might score some good Kentucky Country Ham in Louisville, and got lots of great suggestions where I could get it to nosh on or get a big ‘un to go.
I ended up at one of the top suggestions for sandwiches, Morris Liquor and Deli, a small liquor store in the center of the city with a deli counter. You walk up to the counter and select your bread, meat, cheese and condiments; sandwiches are sold by weight, and I can’t tell you what the price per pound is, but I can tell you I paid $13 for two sandwiches, two sodas and a bag of chips, which seemed quite reasonable to me.
I went with country ham on dark rye with provolone and yellow mustard. Also got a corned beef with Swiss on pumpernickel with German mustard. Both with superb. I would have bought sliced ham by the pound there ($16) but I knew I would be hitting a couple of groceries in search of a big chunk later, which I did.
This is a really excellent sandwich place, mostly take-out, a few tables inside and outside, great liquor selection as well as liquor mixers and such. Parking and entry/exit is a little dicey, but it’s worth taking your life in your hands for this country ham. Truly.
Morris Liquors and Deli Review
I have written about a lot of Aldi products; Aldi is the global discount grocer owned by the same German family as Trader Joes. At Aldi, you won’t find many big brand names, but rather Aldi concocted brand names that are manufactured under contract to Aldi’s specifications. (Also it will cost you a quarter to rent a cart, refunded when you return the cart to the line. Oh, and bag your own).
Where as my spawn professes to be a “ham hater,” I am a genuine ham lover, and adore it all. Except honey glazed. My domestic favorite is the slow salt cured beauties from the Carolinas; internationally: jamon serrano, prosciutto and the like.
Much of the ham in grocery stores isn’t very good, tho, and so it’s nice to run into one that isn’t full of fillers and other bits. The Appleton Farms Ham Steak is ham, water, salt, seasonings, and that’s about it.
It’s made for Aldi by a packer called “Gusto” and they’ve been running a ham and bacon operation west of Chicago for over forty years. Gusto was purchased by Butterball in 2012, Butterball is owned by Seaboard, a diverse firm dating back to 1918 and a single flour mill in Kansas.
They run a 200,000 sq foot facility in Montgomery, IL, capable of grinding out 6 million pounds of product weekly. Wow.
Their Appleton Farms Ham Steak? Superb. Highly recommended for real ham taste and texture.
Appleton Farms Ham Steak Review
They call themselves “Uber Sandwich Makers,” having nothing to do with rides on demand. Hannah’s Bretzel make quality breakfast and lunch sandwiches with top ingredients and creative condiments at five different locations in downtown Chicago. Baked dessert treats are also on offer, as are daily specials and a couple of healthy-leaning salads and soups.
I opted for the Serrano Ham and Manchego cheese; the standard toppings include shaved fennel and fig chutney, which I passed on. The sandwich, like most items offered in the shop, is served on a pretzel baguette. A second bread choice is a “wecken” ™, which is a bun-shaped pretzel roll. You’ll find that item fairly common in the Northeast, and especially parts of New York State where you’ll hear people order “beef on a weck.”
It was grand. And a bit spendy, about $10 for relatively small sandwich compared to chain sandwich shops But I’m glad I bumped into the place, and would go again. Full menu.
Hannahs Bretzel Review
Ran into a product I hadn’t seen before, a boneless half ham from Frick’s Meat, a purveyor from Washington, MO (about 40 miles west of St. Louis, halfway between I-70 on the north, and I-44 on the south. Frick’s has been around for nearly a century and a quarter, and manufacturers processed pork products, including hams, bacon, and sausages.
Family owned and operated for four generations, the products are widely distributed. The ham is fully cooked in the wrapper, but has a 10-15% shrinkage when pan-fried.
This is a product I really enjoyed, other than the price, but I have that objection to all meat these days.
My favorite hams are the naturally cured ones for a long period of time from Virginia, especially the biscuit-sized pieces, which aren’t available in the stores near me, but I order by mail a couple times a year.
The hams are processed at Frick’s factory in Washington, MO at 360 M. E. Frick Drive. The factory is pictured below.
Fricks Ham Review
Mrs. BurgerDogBoy and I decided it was take out night, well, really, it happened by ‘accident’, she had received a gift certificate good at Porcelli‘s, courtesy of one of the time-schleppers that calls on her.
So she instructed me to hit up that place after I made a stop at Les Schwab (aren’t these guys utterly fantastic?!) for an “adjustment”. (On the car, not on my attitude, tho that could come in handy lately, too).
The gift certificate was only $25, so my selection was limited to a few appetizers, a. There is a wider variety of appys on the dinner menu, than on the lunch one (it was about 230 in the PM).
This not being enough to sustain us, I headed down the street to Reo’s Ribs.
My own repast would be supplemented at home by some handsome prosciutto that Mrs. BDB had picked up for me the day before at Foster & Dobbs. (She is SOOOO thoughtful and good to me!)
So, Porcelli’s. Never been in there before, and instantly regretted that, after seeing the place and perusing the menu. This is old school Italian (menu), with three chefs hard at it, in the open kitchen, cooking up favorites in an ambience-lacking atmosphere (who cares, I wanna stare at my plate at a place like this), and a waitress that was da bomb.
I picked up their hot artichoke dip, bruschetta, and the antipasto plate, each beautiful in their own right, even in take-out boxes. I don’t know if they bake or buy their bread, but it’s damned fine, and the bruschetta topping was chopped, diced, and spliced in front of my eyes. Even the olives on the antipasto plate were top notch, an interested variety of blacks and greens or different sizes. I’m sold. I’ll be heading back there a lot, solo, pigging out on whatever I fancy at the time.
Reo’s Ribs, I have hit before, but only for a sandwich. I picked up a half-rack of baby backs for Mrs. BDB, and two sides, mustard/collard green mix, and cheese grits. She pronounced them all fine, and I had a bite of one rib, even tho it’s not my thing, and I liked it a lot. She even went so far as to say she loved the greens, which is a big step for her, as nobody, but nobody, makes better greens than Mrs. BurgerDogBoy. And she’s a cheese grits fan from way back, which is kinda funny, I never knew this about herwhen we were living in grits-ville.
Foster & Dobbs? Superb wine shop and up market deli with to die for foodstuffs. It’s near a client of Mrs BDB, so she’s been in there a lot lately, which is good for me!
Last week she brought home some truffle butter, big trouble for both of us (as is anything “truffley” lately).
The prosciutto is top-grade, melts in your mouth, not in your hands, like eating ‘buttah”. Can’t get enough of it. Or jamon serrano, for that matter. Thank god the latter is finally legal in the US, tho I don’t understand why there was ever a ban on it.
Next time you see me, ask me to tell you the story of the “ham beagle” at JFK. It’s a stitch!