Tag Archives: Chicago

A Visit to the Vienna Beef Factory Store

While planning my trip to Chicago this past October, I came across a tour that I really wanted to take. However, there were a couple of problems.

  1. The tours are only given on Wednesday mornings and we were arriving Thursday night
  2. The tour was booked up through winter 2014

The tour that would elude me was a visit to the manufacturing facility of Vienna Beef.
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If I couldn’t get to learn about how hot dogs were made at VB, I decided to do the next best thing- visit the Vienna Beef Factory Store & Cafe.

Food Review: Pizza Pot Pie- Chicago

While putting together a list of places to visit for my (recent) trip to Chicago I remembered hearing  about a restaurant that made a very interesting and unique kind of pizza.

I had seen the restaurant on TV a few years back but had a little problem- I had no clue what it’s name was! However I did remember that they made an upside-down pizza.

Chicago is known for it’s awesome deep dish pizza so I figured this place would be relatively easy to find since it was so different. While searching online I came up empty handed at first..

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Heavy Metal Burgers at Kuma’s Corner

I first heard about Kuma’s Corner when it was on food- television show Diners, Drive-Ins & Dives a few years back. Since then, they have been on a bunch of other shows.

I’m a huge fan of burgers so eating one at Kuma’s Corner was at the top of my list on my recent trip to Chicago. It was actually the first thing we did after checking in to our hotel!

I remembered that many of the burgers were named after heavy metal bands but forgot how huge they were. Some of the burger names are: Iron Maiden, Lair of Minotaur, Led Zeppelin, Megadeath, Metallica, Pantera and Slayer. Continue reading Heavy Metal Burgers at Kuma’s Corner

Hotel Review: Radisson O’Hare- Chicago

Radisson stock photo

On our brief visit to Chicago, my brother and I decided to stay at the Radisson O’Hare.
I rarely stay at airport hotels but decided to do so for a couple of reasons.

  1. The early start of the O’Hare 5K runway run
  2. The Radisson 1 for 1 promotion

With the Radisson promotion my brother and I each earned one free night for booking a night. To make this offer work for both of us, we each booked one night of the stay.
(Check out my Chicago trip planning post HERE)

My first impression of the Radisson O’Hare (from the exterior) was that it looked old, shabby and dated.  It actually reminded me of the Alamo just not as cool. However looks are not so important as long as the room is decent. Overall we were happy with our stay due to it suiting our needs for the visit. We didn’t use the common spaces in the hotel but there was a sitting area and small bar.

The Alamo
(Image from Google search)

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The Shit Fountain- Chicago

I mentioned in my post about The Doughnut Vault that prior to heading to Chicago I was looking to find some places that seemed a bit more off the beaten path.

When I came across the Shit Fountain I knew that I had found possibly one of the oddest sites.

The fountain is located outside of a private home at 1005 N. Wolcott Avenue. It was created by Chicago artist Jerzy S. Kenar due to being pissed about locals not cleaning up after their dogs.

Continue reading The Shit Fountain- Chicago

The Doughnut Vault- A lot of Taste in a Tiny Space

Before heading to Chicago I did a little research to find out some interesting things to do. I had been to Chicago a few years back with Kim and wanted to find some places to visit that seemed a little more off the beaten path.

One of the places I came across was a tiny doughnut shop that was only open a couple of hours a day. Let me explain. The Doughnut Vault makes around 1,000 doughnuts per day and keeps very odd business hours. They are open Tues.-Fri. 8:00am ’til Sold Out and Saturdays 9:30am ’til Sold Out. You read that right- they have opening hours but no real closing hours. Once they sell out of their doughnuts, that’s it for the day.

We only had around 48 Hours in Chicago and trying out the Doughnut Vault was at the top of my list of things to do. It took a bit of effort to get inside the vault. On Friday morning my brother and I arrived at 11:00am and the doors were already locked. The friendly girl that works there opened the door and apologized, explaining that they were already sold out. She said that they had sold out early, about an hour before we got there. Pretty amazing- two hours open and 1,000 doughnuts sold.

I was a bit disappointed that I missed out on trying the doughnuts. I figured that I would have to try to get there on my next trip to Chicago not that I was sure when that would be…

It turned out that the Community Day Event after the O’Hare 5K Runway Run wasn’t too interesting and we were done by around 9:00am. My brother and I were thinking of what to do with the few hours we had left before heading home. I suggested giving the Doughnut Vault another try. We headed over there and arrived at 9:45,15 minutes after it had opened and the line was already around the block!

I didn’t really mind the line so much due to the friendly vibe in the air. The line actually added to the experience! Doughnuts were on everybody’s mind. Many people were chatting and joking around which made the time seem to move a little quicker. The Doughnut Vault also updates what is left of their inventory throughout the morning on Twitter which makes for good conversation.

After waiting on line for about 45 minutes we made it inside. The shop was tiny as could be. It was basically a hallway about ten feet long with a few mirrors hanging on the walls. We waited another 5-10 minutes before it was our turn to order.

Before ordering I was shown which doughnuts were left and ordered five. I figured that it would be nice to bring some home for Kim.

Here is what I ordered:

  • Two Buttermilk Old Fashioned
  • One Gingerbread Stack which actually came with 3 small doughnuts
  • One Chocolate Glazed
  • One Vanilla Glazed

The glazed doughnuts were massive. I found them to be good, not great. I preferred the vanilla glaze over the chocolate. Kim and I really enjoyed the old fashioned. They were really tasty and moist. I found the gingerbread stack to be the best deal and best tasting from what I sampled. They were sweet and spiced with a really good cakey texture to them.

Overall I found the effort worthwhile to try out The Doughnut Vault.

I can’t say that they are the best doughnuts that I’ve ever had. I can think of two in NY that are better (minus the one hour wait). However, the whole experience made it a positive and fun time.

The Doughnut Vault is located at 401 1/2 N. Franklin Street, Chicago
Twitter: @doughnutvault

Chicago O’Hare 5K Runway Run Recap

This past Saturday I ran in my fourth runway run of the year at Chicago’s O’Hare Airport (ORD).

I ended up flying to Chicago for a quick, mini-trip with my brother. You can read about it here

It was a pretty chilly morning but once we got moving, the weather wasn’t a problem. 

This was possibly the busiest runway run that I participated in to date. It was announced that over 2,500 runners & walkers participated and over $25,000 was raised for the Wounded Warrior Project. Nice job race organizers!

Some of the pre-race crowd

Continue reading Chicago O’Hare 5K Runway Run Recap

48 Hours In Chicago In A Nutshell

The Bean

I decided to take a quick trip to Chicago with my brother to run in the O’Hare 5K Runway Run. We couldn’t justify a trip to Chicago to just run in the 5K so we made the visit into a mini-trip. We had around 48 hours in Chicago and made great use of our time and were very busy!

We left from New York (JFK) at 7:00pm on Thursday October 18 and were on our way back home from Chicago (ORD) on October 20 at 3:00pm.

Here is how we spent our time:

Continue reading 48 Hours In Chicago In A Nutshell