Enjoy these highlights from the Macku Signature (2925 North Halstead) prix fixe dinner put together for Valentine’s Day.
Seems like burgers are on every menu these days, and stand alone burger concepts have invaded the city. So how do you stand out in the crowd? Make your burger with 100% Angus beef, serve them with fresh-cut fries, and keep an eye on sustainability while cultivating a local audience.
That’s the idea behind Burger Boss. After opening a successful location in Elmwood Park, owners Anthony and Nick Gambino decided to bring their tasty burgers to Chicago.
How did they do? Let’s break this down….
First of all, the options are nice. All burgers are served with a brioche bun, but you can change them out for pretzel or whole wheat topper. Vegetarians aren’t forgotten and get a choice between Portobellos or black bean burgers. There’s also a burger flavor of the month. If you want to invoke the tropics, go with the Bahn Mi Boss, topped with pickled carrots and radishes, cucumber slices, jalapeno peppers, cilantro, and a sriracha hoisin mayo. Hungry yet?
There’s an option to build your burger your way, or choose from the already fab signature compilations. I zeroed in on the 8am Burger, which comes served with a runny egg, applewood smoked bacon and loads of American cheese. Let’s be honest, this was more than breakfast — it was lunch, dinner and late-night snack on a bun.
My lunch partner picked the Southport Boss, a local shout-out to the neighborhood. It featured bacon, as well as grilled onions and cheddar cheese. Both burgers were fresh, yummy, and completely filling. Dare I say, boss? Yes.
Both the Idaho potato fries and sweet potato fries were cut perfectly, in my mind. Not too thick that they weren’t get crunchy, and not too thin to miss the tender bite of potato. After the fact, I noticed the burger sauces were also available as a dipping sauce for 50 cents. Next time!
It may be cold out, but that’s never a reason to forgo a milkshake. Especially a tasty one. Make the tough choice between vanilla, chocolate, and strawberry or hold out for the flavor of the month.
I managed to sneak under the December deadline for the peppermint shake topped with whipped cream, which was quite excellent and will leave me craving another for the next 11 months. Or maybe I’ll treat my taste buds with January’s flav, coconut.
All shakes are topped with real whipped cream, though you can ask them to leave it off. I also liked that the shakes were proportioned nicely. I finished mine along with my burger — a small thing, but notable in an age of outrageously super-sized drinks.
Once Southport takes off, expect more Burger Boss locations to pop up around town. I’d like to put in a plug for a Lincoln Square location so I can continue to work on my milkshake addiction and get my 8am burger closer to the implied timeframe. How about it, guys?
Brave the cold and make it to one of their locations:
3208 N. Southport Ave.
7512 W. North Ave.
Elmwood Park, IL
Expect to pay $5 to $15 per person.
November 1 is World Vegan Day, or as I like to refer to it, a convenient excuse to go hunting for a new Thai restaurant. It’s easy to pull together a vegan/vegetarian feast at most Thai places if you’re not fussy about certifications or techniques. Plus, there’s just something about hot and spicy food that beats fall weather into submission. A friend suggested we visit Jitlada Thai House so she could get a gluten-free meal while I satisfied my veg requirement.
We started with a standard order of edamame and a garden salad. The edamame was fine, however I was surprised at how good the mix of blanched broccoli, fresh cucumbers, tomatoes, and bean sprouts really was. I think I developed a mild addiction to the lime dressing that came on the side. I would definitely order this again, which is not something I’ve said about a garden salad, ever.
She got the vegetarian version of the Tom Yum soup, since I wasn’t entirely sure of the broth. Unfortunately, we forgot to ask for “American Hot” spiciness. We left the spice factor up to our waitress, who brought back enough heat in that bowl to warm up the entire month of November. I did try the soup and it hurt going down. It hurt so good. Each spoonful had a nice bite of lime and a heaping pile of vegetables.
For our entree, we split an oh-so-delicious tofu-stuffed curry, filled with pumpkin, corn, zucchini, and snow peas that represented each of the four seasons. Underlying all of it was savory-sweet coconut milk and the fresh bite of basil. While I loved it and didn’t miss the meat at all, I felt the dish could have used more vegetables! More, more!
I think I managed a vegetarian meal, if not 100% vegan, my friend stayed gluten-free, and we both walked away with a delicious meal. Next time I go out for a “vegan” meal, I’ll plan a little better, but I’m calling success and moving forward. Did you go vegan today?
Jitlada Thai House
3715 N Halsted Street
Chicago, IL 60613