Monday, April 29, 2013

The Pita Pit

Location: 2404 N. Lincoln Ave., Chicago, IL 60614
The Pita Pit on Urbanspoon

A Quick Word:
After a long night out in the Lincoln Park area, a few friends and I were looking for a late night spot to grab a snack.  The Pita Pit was still open and we decided to try a "healthier" option.  The location is great for late nighters and for college students, yet the prices are a little on the higher side for the portion size.  And for claiming their restaurant to be a healthier option, I seemed to encounter one of the greasiest pita sandwiches ever made.  The flavors hit the spot and tasted very authentic and the pita vessel held up fairly well.  I would definitely come back for a late night meal, but not for a normal lunch or dinner.  For that reason I gave it an average 2.5 mile rating.

What I Ate:

Philly Steak Pita

The Philly steak pita has the ingredients of a traditional Philly steak, but is served inside a warm pita shell.  Specifically, the pita has thinly sliced beef, grilled onions, and grilled peppers.  After they cook everything on the flat top, you are able to customize your sandwich by adding several vegetables and sauces.  I chose lettuce, tomato, spinach, corn, black beans, mushrooms, black olives, and giardinera.  I also added cheddar cheese and a jalapeño ranch sauce.  The pita was extremely greasy and a great "drunk food" option.  The steak was plentiful and there was a great spice added by the jalapeño ranch.  All of the vegetables seemed fresh when looking at them, but after they are cooked down, they just look and taste like an oily mess.  But, can't complain too much for late night meal.

The DOs/DON'Ts:
- Open late... so definitely try it out after a night of drinking.

- Limited parking around the area.  I wouldn't suggest driving.

How far would I walk for this food?

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Insomnia Cookies

Location: 2260 N. Lincoln Ave., Chicago, IL 60614
Insomnia Cookies on Urbanspoon

A Quick Word:
Have you ever craved fresh baked cookies at 6pm?  or maybe at 9pm or midnight?  Well, Insomnia Cookies has finally opened a location in Chicago.  This cookie joint, located in Lincoln Park, offers fresh baked cookies and ice cream for late night cravers and even offer a delivery option that will facilitate our laziness.  The store front smells amazing... I swear they pump that cookie smell into the streets to attract customers.  My main complaint is the cost.  I understand it is a business, but when cookies cost $1.25 or $2.50 for a deluxe one, it becomes upsetting.  Just imagine spending nearly $5 per person for a couple cookies and a milk.  For that reason, I decided on a 4 mile rating.

(Left: Insomnia Cookies Menu; Right: The Milk Refrigerator)

What We Ate:

The Sugar Rush

My friends and I decided on ordering the sugar rush.  This is one of the more price friendly deals (which is still an outrageous cost) that consists of one dozen assorted cookies at $1 per cookie (rather than $1.25 each).  We wanted an assortment so ordered at least one of each cookie with a couple doubled up.  These cookies included peanut butter chip, double chocolate mint, m&m, chocolate chunk, sugar, white chocolate macadamia, oatmeal raisin, and snickerdoodle.  They are all placed into a custom pizza box and are ready to eat.  The first thing you will notice is the temperature... each cookie is kept in warmers after finished backing, allowing them to have that soft, gooey center, yet crisp edge texture to them.  All the "chip ingredients (chocolate, mint, peanut butter) are all still melted.  Personally, my favorite cookies included the double chocolate mint, the m&m, and the white chocolate macadamia.  All of them are extremely sweet and are all addicting.  You cannot just eat one, so don't just buy one.  Milk is also available for an additional cost.


After ordering a dozen cookies, we all spent the next 5 minutes looking thoroughly at the menu as we waited.  Once we saw custom ice cream sandwiches, it was over.  The cookiewich is made up of two cookies (your choice) and a scoop of whatever ice cream you crave.  We decided on a white chocolate macadamia-double chocolate mint base with Oreo ice cream in the middle.  And WOW.  The cookies immediately cooled to a temperature that could hold the ice cream without breaking apart.  This dessert is extremely rich and I highly suggest sharing it.  In fact, the nauseating feeling will arrive even if you share it.  And at $4.00 per cookiewich, you may just think twice before purchasing.  I will say it was amazing, but the consequences on both wallet and stomach may be too much for some.

The DOs/DON'Ts:
- Delivery until 3AM.
- Parking is awful around the area, so just cross your fingers.
- They offer every type of milk and water to quench your thirst after diving into their rich cookies.

- Don't expect this place to be cheap... prices are outrageous, but what can you expect if you don't want to bake your own cookies.

How far would I walk for this food?

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Cafe Iberico

Location: 739 N. LaSalle St., Chicago, IL 60654
Cafe Iberico on Urbanspoon

A Quick Word:
When it comes to tapas in Chicago, Cafe Iberco has worked hard to establish itself as one of the top in the city.  If you are unfamiliar with tapas, they are a small portion of almost any food that are intended for sharing... "family style."  The menu is very extensive, making it easy to find a couple dishes or more to try per person.  One of the most appealing features of Cafe Iberco is definitely its location.  Being in River North, everyone would expect this place to be absolutely packed.  But, even when it is extremely busy, I always find it easy to just "walk in" or make last minute reservations.  The staff is excellent except for the musicians that can be annoying and definitely loud at times.  All the food is pretty good, but each dish has something that just wasn't too pleasing to me.  And for that reason, I decided on giving them a 3.5 mile rating.  Check out the reviews below to see what I did and didn't like!

What We Ate:

Croquetas de Pollo

First dish out (after the bread and olive oil) was the croquetas.  These chicken and ham puffs are made from a potato base, mixed with different meats, deep fried, and then served with red pepper aioli.  On first bite, you are hit by so many different textures and flavors.  Crunchy followed by mushy and bacon followed by red pepper.  I absolutely loved the crunchy aspect of this dish, but I did find the sauce to be a little on the creamy side, making it a lot richer than it needs to be.  In fact, the richness was almost nauseating.  Questionable to order again.

Pincho de Solomillo

I believe this dish was a spin on a classic Peruvian dish.  The Pincho de Solomillo is a beef tenderloin skewer served with both caramelized onions and french fries.  Yes...  french fries!  The beef was very tender for being more well done that I would have liked.  The caramelized onions added a sweetness to the entire dish.  And surprisingly, the french fries were delicious.  In fact, my friend and I thought the fries were the best part of the dish.  Just for suggestion... next time cook it a little more medium rare.

Queso de Cabra

Definitely my favorite dish of the night.  The queso de cabra which, I believe, translates directly to goat cheese is a classic hot tapas dish that is a must have.  The goat cheese sits in the middle of warm fresh tomato-basil sauce allowing it to melt, yet retain most of its creamy texture.  It comes with toasted baguettes rubbed with a little garlic/basil/oil.  Pile the goat cheese-tomato sauce spread on high and enjoy.  You will definitely have the problem of "so much dip... not enough toast."  I only wish they gave extra toast rather than having to scrap together a few slices of bread for the extra dip.

Patatas Bravas

I never know why I always order the patatas bravas.  Are they that good?  Is it a filler dish?  I think after this experience, I consider it more of the latter.  These potatoes are cooked with a "spicy" tomato sauce that may have been more bland than anything.  I mean it is a huge tapas dish and for the price, it is a great filler.  But next time I am going to try to stay away from these potatoes so I can try something new.

The DOs/DON'Ts:
- Valet parking is available.  But there is also plenty of parking usually on Superior.
- For last minute dinner plans, Cafe Iberco is a great choice.  The restaurant is fairly large so they can accommodate quite a crowd.  We didn't have reservations and we waited for maybe 2 minutes.
- I really wanted paella, but it takes about 1 HOUR to prepare... sort of ridiculous, but it must be amazing... so prepare for a longer dinner if you want it.

- Spanish musicians come to tables and play guitar and sing.  It actually gets obnoxious after hearing how loud they play.  Don't make eye contact and they won't come.

How far would I walk for this food?

Monday, April 22, 2013


Location: 1330 W. Madison St., Chicago, IL 60607
Viaggio Ristorante & Lounge on Urbanspoon

A Quick Word:
I always have the hardest time trying to find good Italian food for a reasonable price.  One of my most popular suggestions to others is the Italian restaurant, Viaggio.  This restaurant, with locations in both West Loop and Lincoln Park, is not as mainstream as Rosebud or the Italian Village, but they serve traditional Italian dishes at a fair price.  Upon entering the restaurant, you will find the waiters and waitresses kneeling next to tables taking an extra minute to thoroughly explain the menu.  The staff is very animated, which can be too much on some days, but much appreciated on most.  As I mentioned earlier, the prices are fair... for instance, the eggplant salad is $5 less than the Rosebud option.  I did find the food to be cooked in a simple way, rather than adding too many additional ingredients.  The food here speaks for itself,  but because nothing was that "memorable," I decided on giving them a 4 mile rating.

What We Ate:

Zucchini Fritti

We all decided to share the fried zucchini appetizer.  It was extremely simple... just chopped up zucchini, breaded, and deep fried.  It comes with a side of marinara sauce for dipping.  The breading was a struggling just a little... in fact, it was falling off entirely on some pieces.  The sauce was nothing special.  Just a salty, oily appetizer to start.  Probably wouldn't order again.

Eggplant Stack

I decided to order the eggplant stack as my meal.  Ever since I was introduced to the eggplant salad at Rosebud, I have been hooked.  The stack consists of thinly sliced eggplant that has been lightly breaded and pan fried.  It is stacked with alternating mozzarella slices and vine ripe tomato slices until 3 or 4 layers thick.  The entire stack is topped with an arugula salad.  Unfortunately, unlike the Rosebud version, this one didn't have a balsamic vinegar (or if it did, it was almost non-existent).  Instead, I believe they added a little olive oil and freshly shaved parmesan cheese.  The eggplant was crispy, but the skin was left on pretty thick... leading to a little more bitter, eggplant flavor.  It was also much smaller than the Rosebud version, making it more of an appetizer than a meal.  My biggest suggestion is ADD BALSAMIC VINEGAR... a nice aged balsamic would add the necessary sweetness, tanginess, and overall depth in flavor that the dish lacked. (sorry for blurry picture)

Rigatoni with Sunday Pork Gravy

Two of my friends ended up choosing the rigatoni dish.  And, it was safe, yet delicious.  The rigatoni was cooked to al dente and mixed with a tomato sauce that has been cooked for hours with pork.  It comes with a scoop of fresh ricotta cheese which adds a rich, creaminess to the dish.  Definitely add ricotta cheese to each bite.  Great choice.

Chicken Parmesan

My friend decided on the classic Italian dish... Chicken Parmesan.  This huge portion came with multiple pieces of chicken that was lightly breaded and fried.  It was topped with fresh mozzarella cheese and a San Marzano tomato basil sauce.  The dish came with a the vegetable of the day and also a side of mashed potatoes.  The mashed potatoes threw me off (I wasn't expecting these).  I wasn't able to taste this dish, but it looked tasty.  My friend really enjoyed it so I will take is word.

Chicken-Prosciutto Bow Tie Pasta (Special)

After hearing the word "prosciutto," one of my friends was sold on that night's pasta special.  This bow tie pasta was mixed with a light cream sauce and finished with plenty of prosciutto, chunks of chicken, and asparagus.  I was able to snag a bite of his dish and was immediately greeted with a punch of prosciutto flavor.  Reminiscent of bacon, I knew immediately this dish would be tasty.  The pasta was cooked perfectly and it was a good size for a meal.  Delicious. (sorry for blurry picture)

The DOs/DON'Ts:
- Portion size is incredible.  Maybe appetizers aren't a great idea?
- Parking is free on most side streets off of Madison.  Take a little time to look for one of these spots.  If not, valet parking is available.
- MAKE RESERVATIONS... this place is packed on random weekdays just as much as on weekends.

- Alcohol prices are outrageous.  I think a glass of whiskey on the rocks was $15.00.
- Split charge of $3.00.  Disappointing.

How far would I walk for this food?

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Epic Burger

Location: 517 S. State St., Chicago, IL 60605
Epic Burger on Urbanspoon

#MushroomMondays at Epic Burger

Portobello Mushroom Burger w/ Fries

After running through most of the Epic Burger menu (see post below), I began to wonder about how their vegetarian option, the Portobello Mushroom Burger.  "How did it taste, and, just as important, how did it compare to their meat options?"  #MushroomMondays at Epic Burger was brought to my attention, and there it was, a huge portobello burger sitting it front of me.  Served on a whole wheat bun, a huge, well-seasoned mushroom is lightly sautéed and then topped with cheese (I chose cheddar), lettuce, tomato, raw and grilled onions, pickles, and their epic sauce.  Just like their meat burgers, the portobello hangs over the edge of the bun and is full of flavor.  Personally, I thought the portobello was very meaty and had enough substance to fulfill my burger craving.  And at significantly lower calories, it may just be the best choice for everyone.  I did wish the cheese option catered more towards the portobello... maybe an organic goat cheese and some kind of sweet jam option?  I lot of restaurants have been adding a fig jam option which would be incredible on this burger.

Now about #MushroomMondays... starting on April 22 (Earth Day), Epic Burger has decided to participate in the rapidly-growing Meatless Monday movement.  This campaign is targeted towards attacking the problem of greenhouse gas emissions generated by the meat industry.  To help promote this cause, Epic burger will be offering 20% off their Portobello Sandwich combo meals every Monday, indefinitely.  I highly recommend the sandwich and hope everyone will give it a try!  And remember, students get 10% off their menu!

For more information about #MushroomMondays or the Meatless Monday movement, check out:


A Quick Word:
Epic burger is another one of those local fast-food joints that are trying to be more health friendly and less McDonald's like.  They have a smaller menu, but try to make everything on that menu great.  I really enjoy the effort on making their food from all-natural products or organic labeled ones... but in the end, I realized I was still eating a burger and fries which can't be that great for me.  Anyway, the overall experience at Epic can be summed up into a couple phrases:  good food and too expensive.  The price you pay for a burger meal here will set you back nearly $10, especially if you order a milkshake or smoothie.  The amount of food you get is nice and the quality is significantly higher than some other burger joints, but in the end, I decided to give them a 3.5 mile rating, mainly because of cost (which could be decreased with smaller portions of french fries or using student discount).
This is the Streeterville location, but I have been to multiple locations
and they food and experience is the same.
What We Ate:

Epic Burger

The epic burger is their all-natural beef patty served on a whole wheat bun and topped with the typical lettuce, tomato, pickle, and in our case, both grilled and raw onions.  The option of both onions is such a simple concept, but makes the burger that much better.  Also, giving the option of a regular bun versus the whole wheat is another nice touch.  The burger itself is different from the "fast food" restaurants most people are used to.  Instead of being a small, uniform patty, Epic Burger uses never frozen patties that are smashed down into a thin patty and cooked to have crisp edges but still a juicy burger.  When the burger arrives, the patty hangs so far over the edge that you can't even see the bottom bun.  You have the ability to add additional toppings like bacon or a fried egg, but in this case, my brother decided not to.

Turkey Burger

After eating here multiple times in the past, I decided to try the turkey burger.  The turkey patty was similar to the beef in terms of thickness and crisp edges.  The main difference was obviously the flavor... the turkey burger was great because it actually had a thanksgiving turkey-like-flavor, but overall still reminded me of a burger.  It was juicy and just appeared to be less greasy than the burger.  I opted to have a fried egg (over easy) added to my burger.  The egg yolk added an almost sauce-like consistency to the burger and also a lot of richness.  I highly suggest adding an egg to the burger and also recommend trying the turkey burger at least once.


The fries here are better than average but nothing incredible.  They are fresh cut, fried in trans-fat free oil (whatever that really helps? especially when eating a pile of these fries), and topped with sea salt.  I guess they are made as healthy as possible... but remember, you are still eating fries.  These aren't the super crispy fries everyone is used to.  Thick crisp outside, soft inside... and they actually taste like potatoes.  The portion size is way too big for one person so definitely share.  At $1.99 per order, I wish they offered a smaller size at a more friendly cost.

Strawberry Milk Shake

Now the milkshake...  They have different flavors and also a variety of smoothies.  I chose to try the strawberry because I was craving something more fresh and fruit-like.  The milkshake is extremely creamy and thick, but still easy to drink through a straw.  The strawberry flavor was strong and chunks of pureed strawberries were mixed in.  They do use an all natural ice cream but overall I couldn't really tell the difference.  I am still a bigger fan of the M Burger milkshake.

The DOs/DON'Ts:
- When first arriving, just check out the menu, order at the cash register and pay.  They will give you a number, choose your seat, and they will bring your meal to you.  They tend to rush a little bit so try to know your order as soon as you can.
- Definitely check out the meal options... it does raise the price quite a bit, but the milkshakes are great.
- The egg is a great topping to add to any burger!
- EPIC SAUCE... definitely dip your fries into it so get the sauce on the side rather than in your burger.
- 10% off discount for students!  Just show your ID!

- Don't add the bacon... it isn't much bacon and doesn't add too much to the burger.

How far would I walk for this food?

Big Jones

Location: 5347 N. Clark St., Chicago, IL 60640
Big Jones on Urbanspoon

A Quick Word:
Big Jones definitely offers one of the most authentic Southern style, soul food meals I have ever eaten (outside of being in the south).  Their boarding house lunch special is easily one of the greatest values in Chicago, and I believe everyone should try it!  They offer southern classics like fried chicken and greens and they do it all for a great price.  The sheer amount of food is unreal and the atmosphere of the restaurant is very comforting.  It would have received a perfect rating if it wasn't for the dry biscuit... yes a dry biscuit can ruin perfection. Anyway, I can't rate the other food outside of this lunch special at the moment; but from what I have eaten, I will definitely come back and recommend everyone to come try the place!

UPDATE 4/18/13:
Big Jones also offers an incredible menu for weekend brunch.  They take reservations and can accommodate larger parties (we had 8).  I like to say they put twists on traditional breakfast entrees like using popovers instead of english muffins for eggs benedict.  I was only able to snag a picture of my meal but definitely check it out below.

What We Ate:

Eugene's Breakfast in Mobile, circa 1930 (Update 4/18/13)

No one can probably guess what makes up this dish from its name... I couldn't either.  But after reading the description, I was sold.  This dish is made up of a huge farm-raised catfish filet that has been breaded and fried in a gold rice and flour mixture.  It is served with a side of black beans, a side of buttered rice, and of course, fried plantains for sweetness.  The meal was excellent.  All of the sides played a key role in the dish, adding additional depths in flavors and also overall portion size.  The catfish was fried to perfection, but I did find it lacking a little salt.  I was hoping for a saltier filet that would be balanced out by the plantains, but instead needed to add a little hot sauce to help with the taste.  Regardless, it wasn't fishy, it was a perfect meal, and a great breakfast.  Maybe they could offer a fried egg as an option?  Just a thought...

This is the lunch special Big Jones offers from M-F 11am till 3pm.  It costs $16 per person, minimum 2 people and the entire table is requested to participate in the special.  Everything I list below is included and trust me... there is nothing else you should order if you come for weekday lunch.  
Without question, you will bring enough food home for dinner!

Cornbread Muffins with Honey Butter

These muffins were incredible.  I really love corn bread that actually has whole corn kernels in it.  And, these did.  They were extremely moist and when you add the honey butter, it was the perfect mix of sweet and salty.  Only bad part was it only came with three muffins.  I wanted so many more.

Fried Chicken 

Without question, this is some of the best fried chicken I have ever eaten.  Each platter comes with a minimum of a whole chicken for two people and just increases depending on how many people are in your party.  The chicken comes out piping hot because it is made to order (taking around 20 - 25 minutes).  The recipe includes an incredible breading that is not too thick, and has a great blend of spices.  I did wish it had a little kick to it.  Also, the chicken is deep fried in a cast iron kettle with fresh leaf lard, butter, and of course, a ham hock!  The chicken is extremely moist and doesn't need anything else... no gravy, no extra sauce.  It is perfect by itself.  It is hard to find fried chicken these days that follow old time recipes; Big Jones does an amazing job by bringing back the past.

(see Fried Chicken picture above)

I was excited to have homemade biscuits... unfortunately, they were awful.  The best way to describe them were DRY.  Honestly, two bites of this biscuit would coat your entire mouth just like peanut butter would.  I suggest adding a lot of the honey butter from the cornbread to make them a little better.

Mashed Potatoes with Gumbo Gravy

These aren't any ordinary mashed potatoes.  These are rich in butter and have nice chunks which make people forget those pitiful instant ones that every eats last minute.  The gumbo gravy was also something I had never really tried.  I assume it is some of their gumbo that is thickened a little.  Whatever they did, it was excellent. 

Voodoo Greens

On my first bite, I was a little overwhelmed with the way they cooked their greens.  It seemed like a lot of vinegar was used.  But, after expecting the vinegary taste, the greens got better with each bite until I couldn't stop eating them.  Their recipe calls for greens with smoked mushrooms, onions, vinegar, chiles, and black pepper.  There was also small chunks of bacon or ham hock throughout... so this is not a vegetarian option.  The vinegary greens broke up all the oily and buttery parts of the meal and was definitely a nice touch.

Red Beans and Rice

Such a simple recipe, but so much flavor.  This was by far my favorite side that came with the lunch.  It was sort of a play on hoppin' john, a classic southern dish using black-eyed peas and rice.  Instead, the chef did the red beans and rice classic with a little bit of crunchy bacon sprinkled over the top.  The rice was perfectly cooked (unlike other places I have tried).  I could eat bowls and bowls of this rice with some of their chicken.  A must try!


This was an interesting way to end the meal...  I was confused because we were eating an amazing southern style dinner but eating a random cookie.  Luckily, they were great cookies;  a nice soft center with enough of a crust to give it a crunch.  The cinnamon was nice and strong too.  I did wish they gave us some sweet potato pie or some other southern dessert, but, I guess, this worked.

The DOs/DON'Ts:
- Come during the specified time and enjoy this amazing lunch.  You will not be disappointed.
- Do limit your table size to 2 people or 3 if you want to maximize the amount of food per person.  I found that the bowl sizes for the sides didn't really increase for tables of 4 even though the amount of chicken definitely doubled.
- Plenty of parking around the area... $1.75 an hour for street parking or a bunch of free parking one block west on Ashland.

- Don't order anything else of the menu if you meet the criteria for the Lunch Special.  I swear, the lunch is enough for two people's lunch and dinner and probably more.

How far would I walk for this food?

Map Room

Location: 1949 N. Hoyne Ave., Chicago, IL 60647
Map Room on Urbanspoon

A Quick Word:
Located in the Bucktown neighborhood, about one block west of Damen and Armitage, the Map Room has become one of my favorite places to not only grab a beer, but a coffee in the mornings.  I tend to gravitate towards this area on weekends because of the quiet atmosphere and bottomless cups of coffee that are offered.  This may be considered one of Chicago's best kept secrets in terms of bars with an extensive beer menu, but their study friendly morning atmospheres is even more a secret.  Some food is offered, but tends to be on the pricey side.  They don't bake their own pastries but rather they purchase from a nearby grocery boutique.  The food options are the only reason why I decided on just giving them a 4 mile rating.

What I Ate/Drank:

Bottomless Cup of Coffee & Blueberry Lemon Muffin

I absolutely love this place for both drinking beer and studying.  On study weekends, I arrive around 7AM or 8AM and immediately order a bottomless cup of coffee.  They proudly serve Intelligentsia coffee and at $2.50 (tax included) for unlimited refills... it is a steal.  The coffee isn't brewed every 5 minutes like other places, so it tends to get a little on the cooler side towards the end of the pot.  It is brewed well, with no burnt/bitter flavors you sometimes experience at other coffee shops.  The blueberry lemon muffin is my favorite pastry.  Unfortunately, after the day is over, I see them placing them into a back refrigerator (hopefully not for the next day's offerings).  Once 11AM hits, the free pretzels hit the table and the beer menu is available.  With over a dozen beers on tap, this place (after 11AM) can actually be detrimental to studying.  It usually doesn't get packed on weekends till around noon and on weekdays studying can be done till 1PM or so.  Definitely check it out if you need to switch up your study space.

The DOs/DON'Ts:
- 11AM is when they start serving alcohol.
- Free parking is pretty much everywhere.  Hoyne is my preference since it is just across the street from the Map Room.
- If studying, definitely order the bottomless cup of coffee for 50 cents more.

- They offer breakfast sandwiches, but they are pricey.
- Don't buy coffee at nearby starbucks.

How far would I walk for this place?

Monday, April 15, 2013

Emerald Loop

Location: 216 N. Wabash Ave., Chicago, IL 60601
Emerald Loop on Urbanspoon

A Quick Word:
Numerous Irish pubs line the streets of downtown Chicago.  Unfortunately, I haven't tried to many.  One of my friends had a gift card to Emerald Loop and was willing to take us all out to lunch (thanks!).  Anyway, Emerald Loop is located just off Wacker Drive and is difficult to find, unless you are looking for it.  Once inside, you encounter a huge restaurant and bar with plenty of televisions and tables for their customers.  In fact, I would expect this bar to be great for sporting events.  When concerning the food, there is an extensive menu ranging from traditional Irish cuisine to more pub friendly burgers and sandwiches.  Unfortunately, the extensive menu doesn't mean all the food is going to be great.  Personally, I found the burgers to be extremely overcooked.  Their sides were good and their portion sizes were incredible.  But because of how they fell short in most of their dishes, I decided on giving them just an average rating of 3 miles.

What We Ate:

Pub Nachos

We all decided to share an appetizer.  We chose the Pub Nachos which can either be served with a meat chili, chicken, or a vegetarian chili.  They melt mozzarella cheese on top of the nachos and top it with a healthy helping of pickled jalapeños.  It also comes with a side of salsa and sour cream.  We had a bad experience with ordering these as an appetizer.  They forgot to bring them out and eventually brought them to us after having a few bites of our burgers.  These weren't anything special.  Just a pile of nacho chips topped with beans (their vegetarian chili) and the normal nacho toppings.  Don't expect much.

Crazy Twist Burger

After a long thought, I decided on getting a burger... the Crazy Twist one specifically.  I requested the burger to be cooked medium rare.  It was topped with goat cheese, crispy pancetta, pickled onion, and a mushroom aioli.  Mine was served on a typical hamburger bun and served with lettuce, tomato, and onion.  Rather than fries, I chose to have mashed potatoes and gravy as my side (for no additional cost).  My burger was definitely overcooked.  It was more on the medium well side than the rare.  I was extremely disappointed about this.  The toppings were delicious, but an overwhelming amount of goat cheese was used.  It out shined all of the other toppings, especially the pancetta and the pickled onions. I think they either need to add extra pickled onions or reduce the goat cheese; I would prefer the latter.  The mashed potatoes were excellent.  They are on the chunkier side and well seasoned.  They are served with a side of gravy, which adds an amazing saltiness to the already delicious potatoes.  Its hard for me to say, but the potatoes were the highlight of my meal.

New Mexico Veggie Burger

Two of my friends ordered the New Mexico style burger, but rather than meat, substituted for the veggie patty.  The New Mexico creation was topped with roasted peppers sauteed onions, tortilla strips, pepper jack cheese, chipotle mayo, and of course the typical lettuce, tomato, and onion.  All these great toppings were stuffed inside a tomato focaccia bun (an excellent substitution to the hamburger bun I received).  I was able to snag a bite the burger which was nothing special.  I couldn't really make out what the burger was made from, but it served its purpose.  I enjoyed the toppings and the bun more than the veggie burger patty itself.  For and additional $2.00 charge, one of my friends substituted their side of fries for onion rings.  These beer battered onion rings were incredible.  It came as a huge side order with more than ten deep fried rings.  I wish they had a special aioli for them.

South of the Border Veggie Burger

My roommate decided to make the South of the Border burger vegetarian friendly.  By doing so, he had the burger switched for the veggie patty, the bun switched to the tomato focaccia, and the chorizo removed.  What remained was a veggie patty topped with mozzarella, guacamole, and a chipotle mayo.  I was a little confused with the choice of mozzarella rather than a nacho cheese or a Mexican blend, and was unsure what it added to the burger.  My roommate really enjoyed the burger.  Rather than having fries, he also opted for the $2.00 substitution, but chose mac & cheese for his side.  Their mac & cheese is made with cavatappi noodles, a mild cheddar, a Wisconsin sharp cheddar, and parmesan cheese.  I didn't really have much of a bread crumb topping which I tend to like.  The mac & cheese was on the soupy side, which I also enjoy rather than the thick version that some places offer.

The DOs/DON'Ts:
- The portions are huge... if ordering burgers, no appetizer is necessary.
- I highly suggest ordering the mashed potato as the side for no extra cost.

- Definitely DO NOT drive.  There is minimal parking.  In fact, we walked over four blocks  after luckily finding a parking space.  And, it is $6.50 an hour on the street... ridiculously expensive.

How far would I walk for this food?