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Posts Tagged ‘French dip’

Cary, IL – Bambino’s Beef

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Just like in the Pacific Northwest where you’ll see innumerable small restaurants with the word “Teriyaki” on them, in Chicagoland, you’re apt to see countless outlets with the word “Beef”, which is a reference to “Italian Beef”,  thin sliced, slow-simmered, seasoned roast beef served on a roll.   Make it a “combo” and they add an Italian sausage.   Usually dressed with your choice of sweet or hot peppers, and the roll is slightly wet from the au jus.   If you want it ‘wet’, ask them to dip it.

Bambino’s Beef is one such place in the Northwest suburban community of Cary, an hour plus on the Metra train from downtown.

Bambino’s features all the Chicago favorites, Chicago style hot dogs, Italian beef sandwiches, and gyros.  The suppliers of the latter in local Devanco foods, which manufacturers gyros, sausage, beef, and burger patties for the trade and retail.

Hot dogs come from Red Hot Chicago, started in 1986 by a grandson of the founder of legendary Chicago hot dog giant “Vienna Beef”.

Bambino’s uses an all beef skinless dog from Red Hot, which is fairly indistinguishable in taste in texture, in my opinion.  I always personally prefer a natural casing dog, with stronger flavoring.

But the beef by Devanco really stands out.   It’s very flavorful and tender, tho one must acknowledge that although this product generally comes to restaurants pre-cooked, requiring only a warm-up, it’s easy to goof up that process, and many establishments do.

If you’re heading out of Chicago on highway 14, bound for Wisconsin, and feeling a might puckish, stop in Bambino’s for a beef.   The 10” size will give you enough for a meal and more.

Bambino's Beef Cary Illinois

 

Bambino's Beef Cary Illinois

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Algonquin, IL – Nero’s Pizza and Pub Review

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(2nd contribution from our Chicagoland reporter, thanks!)

In the far Northwestern suburbs of Chicago, Algonquin is a sleepy burg, with its share of housing divisions and strip malls. In one such mall, on Algonquin Road, you’ll find Nero’s Pizza and Pub, a full menu restaurant and bar, open from 11AM daily.

On the Monday nite following Superbowl, we expected to find the joint deserted, but the bar was busy with the local regulars, and the restaurant had several tables taken as well.

Our waitress was friendly and helpful.

My guest went with an Italian Beef/Sausage combo (2nd foto below), accompanied by fries and slaw.   It was excellent.   I went with the thin crust pizza, sausage and pepperoni, also excellent.   There was a slight char on the crust, which didn’t put me off.

The tomato sauce was a bit sweeter than East Side Joey’s, down the road,  but nice nevertheless.

While I would say I preferred Joey’s toppings,  either pie is worth going to if you are in the NW burbs.

Nero's Pizza and Pub, Algonquin, IL

Nero's Pizza and Pub, Algonquin, IL


Nero's Pizza & Pub on Urbanspoon\

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Portland, OR – Marco’s Cafe

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Marco's Cafe Portland

Marco's Cafe Portland

A nooner of a different color – I love the days when Mrs. Burgerdogboy calls from the road and says “wanna go to lunch?” Oh yeah, sez I.

We wanted something tasty and nearby, and she had talked about Marco’s Cafe in Multnomah Village before, so we headed over there. There was a slight wait for a table, but that was fine, we caught up on what each other had been doing for the morning.

Seated, we were promptly offered menus, including the day’s specials, and our drink orders were taken. Marco’s has a fairly standard breakfast and lunch cafe menu, with all the favorites, and works hard at the sustainable/local aspect popular with restaurants these days.

It was tough deciding what to have: I had my selection narrowed down to a) breakfast, b) club sandwich, c) French dip…….and that was before I even noticed they had burgers!

Mrs. BDB went with a half sandwich (grilled cheese for grown ups) and a half salad (some wild thing with dried cherries), and I went with the French dip, fries on the side. Another side option is house-made chips, a mixture of regular and sweet taters.

The food arrived and we dug in, Mrs. BDB was “starving”, and I was….hungry. The dip was on a very nice, crusty, toasted French roll, ample in size, melted mild cheese, REAL roast beef, (not pressed, chopped, and formed), and a good size bowl of au jus which I will assume was made in house as well – it didn’t have that undercurrent of flour taste the package mixes have, and it was noticeably pleasantly peppery. The fresh cut fries were dandy as well.

I’m guessing we’ll make Marco’s a regular stop…..it’ll be for breakfast next time. Prices were more than fair, as well.


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Marco's Cafe Portland French Dip

French Dip and Fries

Marco's Cafe Portland French Dip

French Dip and Fries

Marco's Cafe and Espresso Bar on Urbanspoon

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Salton City, CA – Travertine Sports Bar & Grill

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salton PNG

A review on Yelp said this place was “better than it deserved to be”, and although I am not exactly sure what that means (I think it is a compliment), this place is a big surprise for where it is located.  The Salton Sea isn’t exactly a dining (or anything ) destination these days, but I was idling away around the California desert, drove down this highway, and found myself here at lunch time.

It has a surprisingly diverse menu, covering most of the pop ethnic cooking categories.   A couple of days hence, I was anticipating being in L.A. and hitting Felippe’s or Coles for a dip, and couldn’t wait, so I ordered the French dip here, fully prepared for it to be mediocre.

And I was surprised.  It was excellent, and a good value.  I hesitatingly upgraded the side to rings for a dollar more, and they were excellent as well, with a crispy tempura batter, nice size, nice crunch. The sandwich bread is some of the best I have had, second only perhaps to the best in the country, Leidenheimer’s in New Orleans. No kidding, it was that good, crispy and moist french.

The au jus for the sandwich had none of the negative qualities one can often find accompanying these sandwiches.   This tasted akin to home-made.

I doubt I will ever be in the area again, but I would go back.  They serve all three meals, have a nice bar, and hoity-toity coffee drinks as well.   They were surprisingly busy, so wait service was a little slow, but not enough to result in a negative remark from me.

This Google map is slightly off, the restaurant fronts the highway.


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