So the first post on eating too much in Chicago that I made a few days ago was primarily of the “Hey we’re walking around in touristy areas and eating what dem tourists eat!” kinda post. Well, this one is no different, except by this point, we’d fully mastered the art of the ‘L’ and could successfully ride it to Chicago’s various illustrious neighborhoods.
I’ve always had positive experiences with Polish food, so upon finding out that Chicago has a sizeable Polish immigrant population, I decided food must be had. We ended up at Podhalanka based on a random recommendation from some article I read about Chicago neighborhoods. Not fancy at all, had a diner feel to the place. We sat at the counter and watched the evening news as we waited for our dinner while dining on some fresh bread and butter.
And Holy Crap do they like their dill at this place. Not that I mind, especially when it comes to soup. I believe this was a white borscht soup, with pieces of sausage in it, and it was amazing. I really need to try making Polish soup sometime, as every Polish soup I’ve ever had has tasted amazing. This one was creamy and flavorful with soft chewy sausages.
The only pierogis I usually ever eat are ones from the frozen food section from King Soopers. Still tasty, mind you, but nothing compared to these babies. They were super stuffed with potato and cheese, with some bonus dairy on the side in the form of sour cream. Major comfort food here. Incredibly filling, too. I managed to eat five of them, fed Chris one, and then had two as leftovers. Totally ate one of them the next morning, cold, for breakfast, and it was still good! OK, not as good, being all cold and all, but I’m also not too picky at 9am when I’m hungry. On a related note, I should try making some homemade pierogis sometime. They’d be perfect for making a gajillion of, and then packing the extras away in the freezer for easy mealtimes.
Chris went with some ribs, with potato on the side, plus a few scant carrots stuck in there. The ribs were super soft, and though I enjoyed the potatoes, he seemed a bit put off by the massive volume of dill involved. His meal also came with a salad, but I totally forgot to photograph it. Oops!
If I remember correctly, all of this plus our drinks cost somewhere in the $25 range, including tip. Would totally go back to this place again if I actually lived in Chicago!
The day before we left, we didn’t really have any plans aside from seeing a Chicago Fire game in the evening. So I was all like, “We’re getting Vietnamese!” and off we went to whatever the heck neighborhood we ended up in where there were several blocks of solid Vietnamese restaurants and shops. OK, not completely Vietnamese – I wasted way too much time in some shop that was packed full of Hello Kitty paraphernalia. Plenty of Vietnamese restaurants though.
We ended up picking Cafe Hoang at random. For a beverage, I ordered “Young coconut”, thinking I’d get a glass of coconut juice. Instead, I got this!
So I knew that, in Mexico, there are street vendors that’ll sell you coconut in the style of “we crack it open for you and hand you a straw.” I hadn’t been aware that this was a Vietnamese style of coconut consumption as well. Really tasty! Great way of avoiding preservatives, too. Then, when you’re done drinking the juice, you can scrape out the coconut as well. So it’s like you already have dessert too.
I love me some bun. This particular bun had a spring roll along with shrimp. I was expecting “just shrimp”, but instead I got “skewered shrimp with grilled peppers and onions.” Which is a pretty sweet surprise if you’re into grilled and skewered food. This was so much food, I got through 2/3 of it at best and had to stop.
Chris went for some pork and egg with steamed rice. The pork was flavorful, the sausage was a bit too greasy for my tastes, and I did not try the egg as a.) I’m sure it tasted like egg and b.) you all know how I feel about egg. In any case, I preferred my entree.
I swear I gotta find some really crappy places to review sometime. I feel lame being all like “this place was awesome!!!” every place I eat at and review, but Cafe Hoang was totally awesome. Kinda wanna go back on vacation so I can continue to stuff myself silly at random places in Chicago.