Burgers In Chicago: A Hidden Gem From Andersonville

Burgers In Chicago: A Hidden Gem From Andersonville

"You Gave Up Burgers for Lent?"
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Last Wednesday began the Catholic season of Lent, a time where Catholics give up a particular item, food, activity, habit, etc. for forty days. There are no limitations when it comes to what you give up. It can be as simple as chocolate, "too late" night phone usage, or even for the very daring, alcohol. This year I decided to give myself one of the most significant challenges out of the past twenty-plus years of participating in Lent, cheeseburgers.

Now, some challenges pose this bold decision. First of all, Chicago is a gold mine when it comes to burgers: whether it’s Au Cheval (2015’s best burger in the world award winner) or Portillo’s, the area is loaded with delicious patties. Considering I order burgers quite often at restaurants, having the discipline and memory to not “accidentally” order one will be a hurdle. Lastly, Lent is forty days long, as stated before. That’s a substantial time without any cheeseburgers. How does one last?

The Tuesday before, also known as Mardi Gras or “Fat Tuesday,” I put a Facebook post up for best burger suggestions in the city. The recommendations were overall quite impressive. By 5:00 p.m., there were over twenty-five suggestions, and nineteen of those were unique, meaning no duplicates. Although some suggestions were located in the suburbs, the vast majority were well within a fifteen to 20-minute car ride from my apartment. With heavy debate and research on the websites, a decision was made: Little Bad Wolf in Andersonville.

After a quick Uber ride, there I was at the front entrance to Little Bad Wolf, my last burger order for the next forty days. Little Bad Wolf has a four-and-a-half-star rating on Yelp with over 926 reviews in the “American (traditional), beer bar, and cocktail bars” category. The location has been thriving since it’s inception in the late fall or early winter of 2014. And as I walked in, to no surprise, the small, dimly lit space was booming with people, but not to at an obnoxious volume level. Since there were no spots for a single table, the hostess suggested the bar, which luckily had one seat left – right in front of the beer tap (my kind of spot).

Looking over the beer menu, it was apparent this place didn’t mess around when it came to beer. There was a very intriguing IPA by 5 Rabbit Cerveceria (Bedford Park, IL) that looked like a delicious pairing for a burger, so I went with it. Beer is set, now it’s time for a burger. The Bad Burger, double-patty with house-made pickles and mayo jumped right out to my two eyes as I glanced over food options. We already know there wasn’t any deliberation of what would be ordered, just a matter of single, double or triple patty. Troy, the head bartender, and my waiter explained my side options. As he was going through them, the last choice was Brussel sprouts. Once again, this is a no-brainer call.

Maybe fifteen to twenty minutes pass by, and a plate arrived in front of my salivating mouth. The combination of smells between the burger, pickles and Brussel sprouts was out of this world. Eating this meal required one strategy, take a bite of the burger and then a couple of Brussel sprouts. Although the burgers at LBW are cooked at medium, the inside wasn’t red at all. It had perfect temperature, lightly fried bun, and the ideal amount of pickles and mayo. Each bite had me craving more, and before I knew it, the last bit passed. Now don’t forget about the Brussel sprouts. Those were on an equal level of precision with a carefully-curated combination of bacon bites, Brussel sprouts and fried onion strings.


For LBW, this burger and meal deserve a strong 9/10. The atmosphere gets a 10/10 and most importantly the service a 10/10. If you are looking to try a delicious burger in the city and time isn’t of any concern, take a hop up to Little Bad Wolf – you’ll be back before you know it. I know I'll be there after Lent.

Cover Image Credit: Michael Kocourek

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How To Play 'New Girl's' True American Drinking Game

"It's 75% drinking, 20% Candy Land, and the floor is molten lava."
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I think it's fair to say that anyone who watches "New Girl" knows about True American. This crazy, nonsense drinking game which pops up every so often throughout the seasons and first introduced in season one, episode 20.

The game, as described by "New Girl" character and fan-favorite Schmidt, is 75% drinking game and 20% Candy Land with a floor of molten lava.

The point of the game is for players to navigate through the Candy Land-like spaces to the "castle," which is a table in the center of the room that holds beer "pawns" and the "king" bottle. The first person to reach and sip from the bottle wins.

SEE ALSO: 15 Things "New Girl" Fans Know to Be True

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Here's how to play:

Step #1: Prepare the "castle"

First, set up your "castle." The castle is made up of beer "pawns" and the "king," a bottle filled with the alcohol of your choice.

The bottle should be in the middle of the table, surrounded by four lines of beer pawns. There is no exact number of beers necessary for each line of beer pawns. Choose any amount of beers that seems appropriate for the amount of players.

Step #2: Set up spaces

Set up spaces using pillows, chairs or any other objects players will be able to stand on. Place an equal amount of spaces around the table. You'll want about 5-8 spaces on each side, depending on the size of the room you're playing in.

Only four of these spaces should reach the castle, lining up with the parade of beer "pawns" and allowing players to take a beer pawn from the castle. For example, in the photo above, each of the chairs touch a corner of the table at the end of the line of beer pawns. Therefore, these are two of the four special spaces that allow players to take a beer. Unlike the pillows pictured, which are just regular spaces that the players can use to move around.

Step #3: Pick teams

Teams are optional. To pick teams, all of the players will place a certain number (1 to 5) of fingers against their forehead on the count of three.

Any players who hold up the same number are a team. Unmatched players can team up as needed or simply pair up with the person standing closest to them.

Step #4: Begin

Begin with a shotgun "tip-off" to determine which player goes first.

The winner of this shotgunning contest will yell, "One, two, three...JFK!" to announce the official beginning of the game. All players will enthusiastically respond, "FDR!" then quickly grab a beer pawn from the castle and run to any space they wish to start at, excluding for the four special spaces that reach the castle.

Step #5: Make moves

The winner of the shotgunning contest has earned the first turn. From then on, the order of turns will move in a clockwise rotation. During each turn, the player will move one space toward the castle and choose to play one of the following mini-games.

Mini-game No. 1: The player whose turn it is will count to three then all players will place a certain number (1-5) of fingers on their forehead. Any player who selects a number no one else selected can move ONE space.

Mini-game No. 2: The player whose turn it is will recite the beginning of a famous American quote. The first player to complete the quote can move TWO spaces.

Mini-game No. 3: The player whose turn it is will name two famous American people, places, or things. The first player to identify what the two have in common can move THREE spaces.

For example, say it's your turn. You will move one space then choose one of the three mini-games. You and all of the players will participate in that game, and the winner will move accordingly. After this, your turn is over and it's the next player's turn (in the original clockwise rotation).

Step #6: "Play on, playa."


Continue playing by these rules until one lucky winner reaches the bottle and sips from its royal glass.

The bottle cannot be opened until every last pawn is removed from the castle. Any players who fail to keep at least one beer in hand, who accidentally end up with more than three beers in hand, or who touch the lava are immediately disqualified. Disqualified players can rejoin the game by shotgunning a beer.

Congratulations!

You are now able to impress all of your "New Girl"-loving friends with knowledge of the workings of the epic True American drinking game. Know your limits, drink responsibly, and enjoy!

Cover Image Credit: i.amz.mshcdn.com

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'Oh, You're A Vegan?'

When I tell people I'm vegan, people give me that exasperated look.

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When I first decided to try and become vegan, I got a lot of mixed results. Some people were extremely for it, while other people looked at me like I had gone off the deep end. After a while and even now, I like to play a game of guessing what reaction I will get from people when I tell them about my dietary habits. Unlike a lot of other people who decided to go vegan for the ethical reasons, I kind of fell into it based on me realizing that half the stuff I was putting into my body was making me want to curl up in a ball and only come out for dollars on Wednesday nights at Taylor's. Through the last year and a half, I have learned a lot, from tips and tricks to making food taste good, to some added benefits of being on a plant free lifestyle. So for all the haters, vegan enthusiasts and people looking into making the leap, enjoy!

1. Trust me, its not all just vegetables.....there's other stuff too.

One of the biggest mistakes or misconceptions about being vegan is that all we eat are plants or vegetables. I will be the first to assure you that that piece of information is not true. There are tons of things we can eat if you are creative. Learning what you like and what you can eat will all come with practice. You might have to experiment a little before you find your groove, but it will happen. I would also put money on the fact that you might find yourself having that moment halfway through a bowl of Cornbread Cafes vegan Mac and cheese. Just saying.

2. No allergies in Eugene, too good to be true!

One of the best things that I noticed about becoming vegan didn't become obvious until a few months later. For anyone who has lived in Eugene, OR through the springtime, you know what I am referring too. Allergies are monstrously bad here as we are in the middle of a basin and many people have to shut in themselves to not like, die. I was always one of those people, but last spring and this one so far as well I have noticed a crazy change. While I still get itchy eyes and sneeze occasionally, I no longer want to live in my bed where the pollen can't reach me! The vegan diet has been proven to reduce the levels of allergy issues that people have faced so basically if you're driving people crazy with your sneezing, maybe cut out the glass of milk in the morning.

3. Happy skin, happy day! 

Another benefit to being vegan is clear skin. A lot of people who are vegan tend to have clear skin that is acne free. That is not always the case, but there is 1 key reason why shiny skin comes from veganism. Dairy and meat products are not the skins best friend according to dermatologists. Both are chock full of hormones that aren't good for our bodies. Dermatologist William Danby even calls cow's milk "nature's perfect food for the creation of acne." So you might want to kiss that ice cream goodbye.

4.  There are lots of Vegan options, you just have to look!

Like I said above, there is a gross misconception that the only things Vegans eat are vegetables. There are so many different things that are incredibly good and don't have any animal products in them. Also, vegan restaurants are popping up all over the place now so you will able to eat out in peace and rest easy knowing your environmental footprint will be smaller. Some of my personal Eugene favorites are Cornbread Cafe, Morning Glory, the Veg and surprisingly Tacovore. Their tofu tacos are to die for! If you're more of a homebody though there are a lot of different well-known brands such as Ben and Jerrys and Carls Junior that are coming out with vegan alternatives!

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