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TAKOTRON NEWS
Sunday, 28 May 2006
SCHALLER'S PUMP
Topic: Food / Chicago
The other night I took Miss Keipop to the Bridgeport institution, Schaller's Pump, for dinner and a drink. Schaller's is a family owned pub that's been around since 1881, a staple of the working-class neighborhood that has served as the epicenter of Chicago politics and Sox-pride (on the walls are posters of the owner, Jack Schaller, holding the 2005 World Series trophy).

Once inside the square brick box at Halsted and 37th, we found ourselves in the midst of what felt like a small-town, old-timer bar. Miller and Bud are the choices from the tap, while the basic menu is similarly unpretentious, offering inexpensive burgers, sandwiches, and slabs of meat. The food was great, the people friendly, and the environment comfortable.

Partway through our meal a man came in to do what seemed like a regular 'dinner-music' gig, playing corny old tunes on an electric Yamaha piano. It was pretty charming, and some of the old-timers even came up and sang along, as Mr. Schaller himself hummed along the whole time.

Other write-ups:
Chicago Public Radio, Oct 25, 2005 (13 min through)
Metromix (Tribune)
Centerstage
Chicago Foodies
AOL Cityguide

Another folksy place that pulls for the Sox, if you're in the loop, is the Exchequer at 226 S Wabash.

Posted by thenovakids at 1:40 PM CDT
Updated: Monday, 29 May 2006 11:45 PM CDT
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Monday, 15 May 2006
DELUXE DINER
Topic: Food / Chicago
IIT M.Arch Program 3 Year 1 has ended, and I am back on earth, reemerging into society for the summer. It is high time I resume my duty of sharing with the world my discoveries in the complex folds of our contemporary urbanscape.

Let us start with Chicago's Deluxe Diner.
One of Long Island's key features is its plethora of 24 hour diners, complete with neon, chrome, and frosted glass. I remember at one point the short-lived, LI-based little sister of the Village Voice had a feature in which the author and a friend ate at 24 24-hour diners in 24 hours--a masochistic gastrochallenge. Small towns seem to have their own humble analogues in Perkins, Denny's, or Waffle House, but Chicago presents the late-night diner with a multitude of (fried) options: the delicious and ubiquitous Golden Nugget Pancake Houses, IHOPs, and independent greasy spoons like the personal favorite, White Palace Grill.

But if you find yourself on the far north side in the middle of the night, heavily intoxicated and in need of processed meat, pancakes, and/or onion rings, you absolutely must go to Deluxe Diner on Clark and Devon. Their food, accompanied by off-brand soft drinks (left), is a cut above the late-night expectations, and, in my experience, there is almost always an interesting incident. For instance, once a couple got in an argument and the woman threw her plate, smashing it against the wall. Another time there was an African-American man in a Hasidic get-up who kept wandering in and out of the restaurant, twitching and mumbling to himself. That same night a group of extremely drunk college seniors(?) arrived. The boys were all dressed identically in nice jeans and untucked, vertically-striped dress-shirts. One girl kept falling out of her chair and making loud, amorous phone-calls. Another eventually vomited all over the table and left a trail across the floor and out the door. Unfortunately, it also seems the Deluxe Diner was once host to a much less funny, more extreme incident. But don't let that discourage you. The servers are patient and friendly, and the food is tasty at all hours.


Posted by thenovakids at 11:17 PM CDT
Updated: Monday, 29 May 2006 11:49 PM CDT
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Saturday, 10 December 2005
Morry's
Topic: Food / Chicago
A week of finals remains, but my studio class has officially ended as of yesterday afternoon. It went out with an exhausting bang of sleep-deprivation, lots of coffee, and harsh critics. One evening while preparing my project, at the suggestion of Miss Hotoda, we bypassed my apartment's sink full of increasingly stank dirty dishes and went around the corner to grab some food.

Our target was Morry's Deli at 5500 S Cornell (Chicago, IL, for those who don't know), where a plastic sign outside has been advertising a 1.99 hot dog and fries special for the last couple weeks.

Now, you might think a place called "Morry's" with adds for Kosher beef and a menu full of pastrami would be a nice little kosher deli. But I've never seen any one Morry-looking around there, and they have cheeseburgers. The guys working there seem to be exclusively young Hispanic men with tattooed necks.
So we got our specials, and they were quite satisfying. They didn't ask what we wanted on them, and the default seemed to be everything, which my ketchup-purist companion doesn't dig, so we had to ask the guy to remake it, which pissed him off. I was happy with everything, AKA chicago style, and I'm not talking about paper layouts and your works cited page, but rather: a steamed poppy seed bun, mustard, relish, chopped onions, a kosher dill pickle spear, sliced tomato, sport peppers, and celery salt. The little tube of meat within all that was pretty good at Morry's--a beefier flavor than the standard Vienna Beef issue, so I surmise it was a kosher dog.

The next day, parked outside, was this awesomely decorated delivery truck.

Posted by thenovakids at 4:07 PM CST
Updated: Tuesday, 30 May 2006 12:13 AM CDT
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Friday, 25 November 2005
cheeto
Topic: Food / Chicago
Behind my apartment there have been a number of wildlife sightings around the garbage. In the past year I've seen the usual--crows, rats, an occasional vagrant, and a hissing raccoon. The other day there was a squirrel, notable because it had found a puffy cheeto. The crunchy ones are better.

Posted by thenovakids at 2:34 AM CST
Updated: Tuesday, 30 May 2006 12:14 AM CDT
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