Showing posts with label CHI. Show all posts
Showing posts with label CHI. Show all posts


Shoeless Joes BBQ Pork

Shoeless Joe's BBQ Pulled Pork

While at the National Halloween trade show hosted at the Rosemont Chicago convention center, the host had a “Taste Of Chicago” evening for the exhibitors and buyers in the Hilton Hotel on Friday evening. Inside the great hall, many of Chicago’s top restaurants had set up temporary stations and were cooking their best dishes for all to taste and sample. Of course we were there. The first station we stopped at was Shoeless Joe’s Restaurant.

After finding a table, we made a bee line to shoeless Joe’s. I sampled the pulled pork sandwich and their BBQ ribs. The ribs were the “Fall off the bone” variety. (The best kind!) The BBQ sauce was tangy and perfect. The taste, well, the ribs were exquisite. If there weren’t 9 or 10 other restaurants to sample I would have went back for a full slab of ribs.

After the ribs, I moved on to the pulled pork sandwich. Again, a very tasty BBQ sauce smothering tender pulled pork. The hard roll was a perfect combo.

I was really liking this “Taste Of Chicago” event so far. I couldn’t wait for the next restaurant.

The Grassy Knoll Institute scores 5 out of 5 shots and recommends Shoeless Joe’s of Chicago for dinner.



Metro Grill - Cheeseburger And Fries

Crowne plaza metro grill cheeseburger
Metro Grille - Chicago

I was in town during the Transworld Halloween show was in Chicago and made my hotel reservation with the Crowne Plaza. The Plaza is just a five minute walk to the convention center where the show is housed. Winning! Being in a suburb of Chicago and without a car, the dining experience was limited. The first night I opted for the hotel restaurant, the Metro Grille.
The restaurant was not crowded when we walked in. I recall perhaps ten people dining. Perhaps this wasn’t a wise choice. The hostess seated right away and brought us some water. A few minutes later our waitress took our order.
metro grill cheeseburger
Cheeseburger And Fries
I went with a safe bet, a bacon cheeseburger and fries and a diet Coke. Like Indiana Jones, I choose wisely.
In about ten minutes my order was delivered to our table.
As you can see, it was a bacon cheeseburger. Upon further inspection, I noticed the bacon was not cooked completely. It was still fatty and greasy. I could overlook that if the rest of the burger was alright. A quick glance to my left to survey the french fries, which were well cooked and standard tasting, but seriously, if you can count the fries on your plate, the portion is small.
To the burger itself. The bun was fresh, lightly buttered and toasted. The beef was well cooked, well done as I specified. It was juicy with good flavor and the cheese melted added that extra touch. It wasn’t a big burger, certainly no half pounder, perhaps a little larger than a quarter pound, but no more. Nothing special, nothing terrible, just a typical burger.
The cost of this feast was $15 dollars without tip. Let’s see, uncooked bacon for a topping, a scant amount of french fries, a less than average size burger, for $15 dollars. It should have been set at around $10 dollars, no more.
The Grassy Knoll Diner scores 2.25 out of 5 shots and only recommends Metro Grille Chicago for dinner for it’s convenience and proximity to my hotel. If you have a car, take the ride to plenty more options.



Gibsons Steakhouse - Chicago - Filet Mignon

Gibsons Steakhouse
If you ever find yourself in Rosemont, Illinois, does yourself a favor and head on over to Gibson’s Bar And Steak House for dinner. It’s just across the street from the Donald E. Stephens convention center.
If you get there before 6pm, you should be able to find a table. After 6, expect a long wait as the restaurant. We have been here several times before over the years. We made it before six and our hostess seated us and our waiter was over in a few minutes to take our drink and dinner order.
I ordered the Filet Mignon, (Here is a tip for you diners out there: If the restaurant has “Steak” in its name, you order the steak for your meal) The price of my entre was $33.00 plus a diet soda.
The Filet was a solid 8 ounce size, cooked to my specifications, and they nailed it. It was full of flavor, tender, juicy, and cut like butter.
Roll And Butter
Don’t worry, I didn’t forget about the rolls and bread that came with the Filet. The steak was just that good. The bread was also very good, a pretzel style bread roll that when topped with butter, was very tasty indeed.
Hash Browns
Instead of the atomic size baked potato that is a popular side dish option, I went off the grid and selected the house home style potatoes, or hash browns as many people know them by. The portion was generous, the potatoes hot and well cooked, and was a good variation from the standard baked potato.
What you see here was $36.00 before tip. When you look at the 8 ounce Filet, the rolls, and the hash browns, the price was in line. Add top shelf service, a clean restaurant, and you have a fantastic experience and meal.
The Grassy Knoll Institute scores 4.25 out of 5 shots and recommends Gibsons Bar and steak house in Rosemont for dinner.



Chicago Style Pizza - No, Not Really

Chicago Style Pizza - Not Really
Back in late February this year, I attended the national Halloween trade show in Chicago, Illinois. Once inside the convention center, you are pretty much at their mercy when it comes to breakfast and lunch. To leave the building for lunch would take too much time so we conventioneers dine under the roof.

This year, the convention offered very few choices for sustenance. Choosing the lesser of several evils, I ordered a piece of pizza and a diet Coke. Now I know some of you are thinking, hey, you are in Chicago, home of the famous Chicago style pizza. It has to taste fabulous right? It's Chicago!

Well, as you can see, this piece of pizza had absolutely no style. The only positive was that the pizza was warm. Not hot, but warm. heat lamps were doing their job that day. The crust was flat, a little doughy, and bland. The cheese was present, and that's all I have to say about the cheese. The sauce, well, there was red and orange fluid on the pizza which I guess could substitute for pizza sauce. The taste, well, it was filling and curbed my hunger allowing me to photo more sexy Halloween models in skimpy costumes. The cost, $5 dollars. Per slice. To put that in perspective, an 8 slice pizza would cost $40 dollars.

The Grassy Knoll Diner scores 1.5 out of 5 shots and under regular circumstances would never recommend this pizza. However, with very few food options inside the convention center, we recommend Chicago's Rosemont Convention pizza for lunch.



River Rock Deli – Pizza

River Rock
The River Rock Deli, inside the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Rosemont, Illinois is a convenient choice for a fast dinner after a long day at the convention center. And with the Transworld Halloween show returning to Chicago in late February 2010, I will again be visiting.

River Rock Pizza
As stated earlier, the River Rock Deli is convenient. I ordered a large sausage and pepperoni pizza, cost was $12 dollars and a Coke. (Yes, this was before my Coke Zero switch) I paid the cashier and took one of the available seats. Twenty minutes later my order was called and I went to retrieve my pizza.
The pizza still came in a box, which I found strange, but hey, I'm not eating the box. (That sounded a little dirty) Of course the pizza was hot, the crust crunchy enough to support the weight of the cheese, sauce, and toppings. (I hate when you order a pizza and the crust is so thin and soggy that it just flops down and all the toppings fall off)

I only had three slices, because the other option, the small, was an 8 inch pizza that looked really small. The Pizza tasted good, nothing special, but not bland either as many pizza's can be.
The Grassy Knoll Diner scores 3 out of 5 shots and recommends River Rock Deli for dinner.

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Crowne Plaza Hotel Room Service – Cheeseburger And Chicken

Chicago Crowne Plaza Room Service
Sometimes when I'm on the road, I am just to tired to go out for dinner. At those times I rely on room service. Sometimes you get the bull, sometimes the bull gets you. Today, I got the bull. As in a side of beef.

I was in Chicago for a trade show and stayed at the Crowne Plaza Hotel, just a quarter mile from the convention center. The flight was long and late. Tonight I would dine in room. I dialed up room service and ordered a bacon cheeseburger, fries, and an appetizer of chicken planks. And of course a Coke.

Twenty minutes later there was a knock at my door. My dinner had arrived. I signed and tipped and the waiter was on his way.

As you can see, the portions were huge. I underestimated the generosity of the Crowne. The bacon was crisp, thick, spicy, and hot. Three thick pieces covered the burger. The cheese was spicy and was also generous. The burger itself was a half pound of grade A beef. Perfectly cooked and juicy. The bun was lightly toasted and buttered. Combined, it was one hell of a cheeseburger.

On to the chicken planks. Lightly golden browned, crisp, tender chicken, with just the right spices. Very good. And let's not forget the fries. Very crisp, not soggy and undercooked. Very little grease present on them. And they were hot and very tasty.

All this for around $25 dollars with tip and room charge. Pretty damn good.

The Grassy Knoll Diner scores 3.5 out of 5 shots and recommends the cheeseburger from the Crowne Plaza hotel in Chicago for dinner.



Crowne Metro Restaurant - Grilled Chicken

Crowne Metro Salad
The Crowne Metro restaurant located inside the Crowne Plaza Hotel located in Rosemont, Illlinois, a suburb of Chicago, is the next stop on our list of critiques.

Upon entering the restaurant, there were only about a dozen people eating. That is a bad sign especially during a trade show when thousands of extra people are in the city. Anyway, we were seated immediately at a table. I ordered the grilled chicken as the main entree and the house salad.

The salad was adequate at best and a little on the bland side. No celery, no bacon, cheese, eggs, olives. Just some lettuce and a few croutons. I wasn't holding out much hope for the chicken.

Grilled Chicken
About 20 minutes later, my dinner arrived. The chicken was cooked well, wasn't juicy, but wasn't dry either. The lemon helped add a little flavor to the chicken. The portion was generous, two medium sized pieces.

The baked potato was average sized and well cooked. Butter was the topping of choice.

The cost was a little steep, $20 dollars without tip.

The Grassy Knoll Diner scores 2.5 out of 5 stars and barely recommends Crowne Metro for lunch or dinner.



Ginos Pizza - Chicago

Gino's Pizza - Chicago
While at the Chicago Halloween show, we had to have Chicago pizza. We asked many locals where the best pizza was. An almost unanimous reply was Gino’s just off Mannheim road. To the taxi.
The restaurant was packed, about 25 people waiting to be seated, which was a good sign. An empty Italian restaurant does not bode well. After about 20 minutes, we were seated and we placed our order. A large pizza was ordered with half with bacon and half with pepperoni and green peppers. My half was the bacon half.

Twenty minutes later, the pizza arrived at our table. As you can see, it looked delicious. The slices were cut all the way through, the crust was crunchy, the cheese perfect, the sauce hot and tangy, and the bacon cooked under the cheese was well cooked.

And the taste, very good. The service, very good. The cost, not bad for Chicago, 20 bucks for the pizza and two cokes. Putting it all together, the Grassy Knoll Institute awards 4 out of 5 shots and recommends Gino’s pizza for dinner.



Gibsons Steak House Filet Mignon

Gibsons Steak House - Chicago
 Each year I travel to the Transworld Halloween and Party trade show held in Chicago, Illinois. Actually, it’s held in Rosemont, Illinois, a suburb of Chicago. And each year, I make it a point to have dinner at Gibson’s Steakhouse. It’s right across the street from the Rosemont Convention center.
As you can see, the tables are tight, not standard size tables, it allows more tables and hence more patrons to be seated. Even with the crowded space, it was plenty of room.

Beating the rush, we were seated without delay and our waiter brought us fresh warm bread and took our drink order. I of course ordered a Coca-Cola and although it had Santa Claus on it, the coke was crisp and fresh, and cold.

Perusing the Menu I noticed the prices were very reasonable. As predicted, I ordered the Filet Mignon, medium well done. It was prepared exactly as I like, was juicy, hot, and very flavorful. The baked potato was large, hot, well cooked, and loaded with butter as ordered.

The cost was just over $40 dollars without tip. The Grassy Knoll Institute awards 4 shots out of 5 and recommends Gibson’s Steakhouse for dinner.



A Vile Breakfast In Chicago

Chicago Rosemont Convention Center Breakfast
While at the Chicago Halloween show I was actually on time to stop in and have a quick breakfast before the show started. I decided on the Cafe inside the convention center. That was a big mistake.

I ordered scrambled eggs, hash browns, and sausages with orange juice. The eggs were dry and overcooked. The hash browns were soggy and cold. The sausage had an orange taste to them. The orange juice was warm, no ice and glass. Just a little carton. All this for just under 10 bucks……

The Grassy Knoll Institute does not recommend the Chicago Rosemont Convention Center Cafe for breakfast. It’s begrudgingly awarded 1 shot out of 5.



Carver Turkey Sandwich - Rosemont Convention Center

Trade Show Convention Food
Anyone that has attended large trade shows and conventions know about the so-called cuisine served there. Its terrible. And whats worse, the food is expensive. An example is a regular hot dog costs $3.50 each. And if you want ketchup or mustard, its an additional 50 cents per packet. A twelve ounce beverage, Coke, Pepsi, water, is $3.00 per beverage. Pizza is $4.00 a slice. You get the gist. And I guess it wouldn’t be so awful a price if the food was good, or at least edible.

However, a saving grace is a little known secret at the convention centers around the nation. Its called Carver Food Service. Carver is at the Rosemont Convention center in Chicago and the Sands Exposition center in Las Vegas. In Vegas, its downstairs and out of the mainstay of the garbage food passed out. Those that don’t venture downstairs never see Carver. In Chicago, its all the way in the back with curtains blocking most of the entrance.

OK, to the critique. The lunch costs $12.00 either in Chicago or Vegas. You get your choice of turkey, roast beef, or ham on a roll, chips or slaw and a cold pepsi.

The turkey was real turkey, not processed lunch meat. It was hot, juicy, and smelled great. Several chefs are on hand to carve your turkey fresh. They do serve an ample amount. The roll was fresh and large. The chips were standard fare and the pepsi, although I prefer Coke, was cold with enough ice. All this on a cardboard carrier.

Grassy Knoll Institute rates Carver of Chicago 4 out of 5 shots for its value compared to other venues and its taste which is superior to other convention food.