Al’s Beef, Chicago

After tasting fourteen different beers on the Chicago Beer Experience in Wicker Park, which was a great time, I realized I was surprisingly hungry considering the amount of beer I had just consumed. Fortunately, on my walk down North Milwaukee Avenue, there was an Al’s Beef conveniently located to satisfy the other man’s second favorite food group (after beer), meat. I had seen Al’s featured on Adam Richmond’s show on the Travel Channel, and had been hankering for one of the sandwiches for quite some time.

Al's Beef

Al’s Beef

I went with the “Little Al”, their smallest sub. The beauty is in the simplicity, just thinly shaved beef between bread.( You can get peppers and cheese if your boat needs floating, or whatever the saying is.) The magic comes when they dip the sandwich in the juice. And not just a gingerly dip. It’s dunked, so the entire sandwich is soaked.

The sandwich was incredible.  The spices gave the sandwich a great flavor and a little heat. I imagine that cows dream of tasting like this when they are walking around the fields getting fattened up for me. And it was a meal you needed to roll up your sleeves to eat, and watch your shoes, because it’s messy.

I didn’t forget to take a picture of the sandwich, I just didn’t want to get my camera messy. My hands were dripping with juice, and even with my precautions, my coat felt the effects of the beef sandwich, too. So don’t take the threat of a soaked sandwich likely – it can get you when you least expect it.

You can spend a lot more money and not get a meal this good, especially in Chicago. Al’s Beef stores are all over town, so take the time to find one – they are definitely worth the trip.


Chicago-style hot dog at George’s, Chicago

In the Bucktown area of Chicago, at Damen and Cortland, is George’s. My experience with George’s came included with the Chicago Beer Experience, a wonderful, magical tour involving beer, rowdy Canadians, tales of crossing-dressing bar owners, goats, and more beer. But I digress.

I didn’t actually step inside the restaurant. Our tour guide, Bruce, ducked in to grab the hot dog awesomeness before serving us our tubular beef feast (that sounds dirty, doesn’t it?) at Lemming’s, a (very) nearby pub.

Chicago-style hot dog at George's

Chicago-style hot dog at George’s

Oh, what a hot dog. First, it was a Chicago-style dog, which meant it was a meal. I mean, onions, a pickle, tomatoes… and other stuff. I lost track. But what I didn’t lose track of was just how good it was. It was so good that I made the mistake of savoring the dog when I should have just enjoyed. The difference being that savoring took too long and the dog fell apart, so enjoying is much faster, and less messy. In either case, it was a great meal.

If you’re in the Wicker Park / Bucktown area and in the mood for some wonderful beef (that sounds dirty, too), George’s is the place to go.