Friday, August 12, 2011

Our Trip to Chicago Food/Beer/Fun--Monday Recap

For nearly two years my fiance and I have been talking about taking a trip to Chicago.  Finally, this past week we made the drive west to the windy city.  I'm going to break my recap down into four parts, one for each day we were there.  My goal with these recaps is to give you a mini Chicago guide to food, beer and fun!
Featuring Three Floyds and Piece Brewing and Pizzeria

Three Floyds Brewing in Munster Indiana
9750 Indiana Pkwy, Munster, Indiana
Before getting to Chicago, I planned a little detour to Munster, Indiana.  Whats in Munster...3Floyds Brewing!   3Floyds makes some of my favorite beer. Since it was only a half hour outside of Chicago, we stopped there for a few beers and to buy some to bring home of course!
When looking for 3Floyds bring a navigation and trust it!  The brewpub is located in the middle of an industrial area, but the key is to look for the town of Munster water tower because the brewpub sits right under it!  The brewpub itself was pretty small, and the pictures should give you an idea of what it looks like.
The food at 3Floyds included both small and large plates which had everything from mac and cheese to crispy frog legs.  I decided to get the chicken sandwich that came topped with chipotle, bacon, white cheddar, red leaf lettuce and a side of crispy french fries.  My chicken sandwich was moist and seasoned lightly.  The light seasoning was good because I liked the addition of the creamy chipotle sauce because it added a little kick to it.  I did wish the bacon was a little crispier because it would have given this soft sandwich some much needed texture.
My fiancee got the bbq pulled pork sandwich that came served on an onion roll with cabbage slaw and malt vinegar chips.   The chips were amazing and the pork was very tender.  She did feel the spice level of the sandwich was a little too much and wished they had a note about that on the menu so people knew its not an average bbq sauce.  She also felt there was simply too much slaw on the sandwich, but that was easily corrected by simply taking some off.  Overall the food for us was a 3.5/5.
3Floyds isn't on the map because of their food, they are on the map because of their beer!   I started out right away by ordering a sampler, plus a taster of a 5th brew.    For $6 I got four 4oz samples, plus we had a few other pints before we left.   The stand out beers for me were Dreadnaught, Arctic Panzer Wolf, Moloko, GumballHead, Alpha King, Zombie Dush and Gorch Fock.  I brought home a bottle of nearly everything they had to offer because to me, 3Floyds is doing a wonderful job making excellent craft beer! The beer at 3Floyds is a 5/5 and a must visit for craft beer lovers!
Don't believe I like their beer?  This is what we left with! wasn't all for me!
Three Floyds Brewing Co and Brewpub on Urbanspoon


Piece Brewery and Pizzeria
After settling into our hotel, we quickly got ready and headed back out.  Since driving/parking in Chicago is very expensive we decided to take the Blue Line Train up to Piece Brewery and Pizzeria.   The Blue Line stop to get off at is Damen and from there it was only a 2 minute walk.  The name of this places says it all, they are known for brewing great beer and making great pizza, so I was very excited to finally visit this place.

My fiancee ordered a salad to start which was mixed field greens, diced tomatoes, red onions, cucumbers,  pears, gorgonzola cheese and candied pecans.  The gorgonzola and candied pecans were a very nice touch which took this salad from average to slightly above average in terms of flavor.
After a long debate my fiancee gave in and let me order a traditional New Haven pizza.  This was a very simple pizza that comes with red sauce topped with garlic, extra Parmesan and olive oil.  (No melted mozzarella or other toppings.)  For me, this pizza was excellent.  I loved the extra crispy crust and the simple, yet flavorful toppings.   It came with crushed red pepper, Parmesan cheese and Italian seasoning, all of which I used a little bit to kick up the flavor just a bit.   I would order this pizza again, but I would also love to try their red and white pizza because I have heard they are also very good.  Food wise I highly recommend Piece if you want something different than the thick Chicago style pizza, 4.25/5!
Piece had eight house brewed beers on tap, plus several other guest taps available.   I started out by ordering a sampler of the Stout, Hefeweizen, IPA, and Double IPA.   I liked the DIPA so much right from the start that I had her bring me a full glass.  My fiancee, who is NOT a hophead, really liked the IPA.  She liked it enough to order a couple pints for herself.   The hefeweizen was average, and the stout had good flavor, just not enough body for either of us.  I was going to try a few other beers, but I noticed something very special on the guest taps, Firestone Walker Double Jack.  I have always wanted to have a fresh draft version of this, and let me tell you it did not disappoint!   Overall, we only had the chance to sample 4 house brews.  Two were hits, and two were just ok, but the guest taps they had were excellent so beer wise I'd give Piece a 4.25/5.
I give Piece a thumbs UP for you to visit if you are heading to Chicago.  The pizza and beer are good, and the Atmosphere is awesome.  We ended up making a night of it at Piece because we were having so much fun drinking craft beer and chatting it up with some very friendly locals. These locals gladly gave us the names of 5-6 more places we had to try, so we added them to our list!
Loved all of the natural light pouring in from the ceiling!
Piece on Urbanspoon

Wow...3 Floyds and Piece all in one day!!  It was a blast.   Now check out what we did on Tuesday!


Unknown said...

Chicago is like a living organism to me. It puts me in a comforting state of mind, and unlike lots of other places, I really don't have do be doing anything per se to be entertained. Immigration is made for many reasons, including economic, political, family re-unification, etc. It's got a tremendous sense of personality and character, and its grip has only grown tighter on my person in recent years. It's a part of who I am, and who I'll always be.

Renee said...

Brad, I cannot thank you enough for your tips on using the bus and train system in Chicago. I've been making regular trips to the city for years, but was never brave enough to try public transportation. I was also unsure how reliable and safe it was. You made us feel more comfortable with it and as a result we got to explore many new areas!

We found out about 3 days into our journey that our hotel sold unlimited 24 hour transit passes for $5.75. We spent more than that the first day just heading to Piece, as we didn't know how to buy transfers from the bus to the trains. (CTA passes are also sold downtown at Dominic's grocers.)

We later found out that CTA also offers unlimited ($14) 3 day, ($23) 7 day and ($86) 30 day passes! We'll definitely buy the 3 day pass in advance for our next trip!

Thanks, again!


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