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Hard Habit to Break: The last hurrah in Chicago (this season)

4 May

So, I know I said that I was going to go to new places on this epic Chicago excursion, but sometimes you just need your creature comforts. That is what happened to me last Friday after my event. I worked all day, not having a chance to eat something. So by the time 4 rolled around and I was back in the city, I was starving. I knew exactly what I wanted, and my car took me there.

Kuma’s Corner is a heavy metal bar and burger joint in the Avondale neighborhood. I first heard about it from my friend Kermit, who has in the past shown me the way of deliciousness in Chicago. Kuma’s opened in 2005, and has been a staple in epic Chicago burgers ever since. Things to know about Kuma’s: it is LOUD. The burgers are named after metal bands. They have whisky on tap. You may have to wait up to 2 hours. They do have veggie burgers. It is worth it.

Luckily I was going early enough on a Friday where I knew I could get in and out fast. I had to meet my friend J for a show at 6, so time was of the essence. Especially when you factor in Chicago traffic, which is some of the worst. 45 minutes to get 3 miles? Not unheard of. I rolled in to Kuma’s at about 4:30 and bellied up to the bar.

I know in my heart of hearts I should try something I haven’t tried on the menu. However, I am such a creature of habit when it comes to this place. The first burger I ever had here is the one I get every time. I almost buckled this time and got the burger of the month, but the bartendress came up to me and I ordered my usual. Jameson soda with a lime and the High on Fire.                                                                                                     

The High on Fire consists of a hand made pretzel bun (all of the burgers are on pretzel buns) a giant burger with sweet chili sauce, grilled pineapple, roasted red pepper, sriracha and prosciutto. This burger is not to be trifled with, sweet, spicy, perfectly medium rare. They have recently changed their fries, and thank Godzilla they did. They now have hand cut fries that are a perfect accompaniment to their burgers. I will say that they also have a fantastic side salad, the basil vinaigrette they make is to die for.

In summation: I can’t say anything bad about Kuma’s on Belmont. I will say Kuma’s Two in Lincoln Park is way to clean and sterile for my tastes. I want my metal burgers METAL.                                                                                        

Post Script: #JBFA

So, I had totally forgotten that the James Beard Foundation Awards were taking place in Chicago this year. My girl Michelle is up for best chef (go girl go!) and she was flying down to Chicago on the last day I was to be in town. Uh-Oh. After work I met up with her and her girls Brennan and Shannon at GT Fish and Oyster. Everything kind of became a blur: but here are some photos from GT, Yusho, and the Soho House. My liver still hurts, but man was that fun. Kinda wish I would have stayed the extra couple of days to hang with these ladies. But I’ll be back in Chicago soon enough.                                                                                                         





















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