Has it been a year already? A full year since I made a commitment to one woman for the rest of my life? A full year since all of our family and friends gathered to celebrate, drink and dance the night away? A full year since I’ve actually slept on a proper 1/2 of a bed? Wow…
In honor of our one year wedding anniversary, Celeste thought it would be a perfect time to travel to Las Vegas for work… Actually, it wasn’t her choice. Her new job requires her to travel a couple times a year for trade shows and the first one just happened to be on May 19th. It was a little annoying that it happened to fall on that date, but the way we look at it is there will be plenty more anniversaries in the future, so no need to be mad about missing this exact one. Plus we weren’t going to eat the cake that’s been sitting in our freezer for a year anyways… 1 year old buttercream, frosting and whatever else goes into a cake… no thanks. All I can think about is the Seinfeld episode where Elaine eats the old cake from her bosses fridge, gross.
So due to the fact that we weren’t going to be together on our actual anniversary, and we had a wedding to go to Saturday night, we decided to use Friday night as our celebratory night. We’ve been on a pretty big Barbecue kick recently and were given a gift card to Chicago Q by my brothers for Christmas last year, so we figured this would be the perfect opportunity to use it.
We met a friend at RockIt on Hubbard for a drink before heading over the restaurant, only because we had some time to kill before our reservation and since Celeste was already down there for work. Upon arriving at Chicago Q I found a much different restaurant than I had pictured in my head. For some reason I envisioned a more rustic, sports bar type atmosphere, and what I got was a more upscale, less-casual-than-expected, restaurant. I’m also glad that I decided to dress a little nicer than I normally do, and actually wear a button down shirt as opposed to just a shitty old t-shirt and a hoodie. Not that Chicago Q necessarily requires a collared shirt, but I would have felt really out of place had I not worn at least a nice t-shirt.
Our reservation was ready and waiting for us as soon as we arrived, thanks Open Table, so we had no problems getting seated at 7:15 on a Friday night. The restaurant was definitely crowded though so if you do plan on checking it out, be sure to plan ahead. The Open Table app is perfect if you’re like me and don’t really like to talk to people on the phone; just a couple clicks and you’re done. The only thing I don’t like is that it’s so easy that Celeste makes reservations at like 4 different places whenever we’re going out, just in case one of them falls through, and the account is mine, so I get all the phone calls and emails asking why we didn’t show up… But I’ll save all of those stories for another time, lets get to the food.
My BBQ “goto” has always been pulled pork, so naturally my instinct was to go with what I know I would love… but that’s not why we were going to this place. We were going here so that we could try different things that they had to offer, and with a $75 gift card for 2 people, we were definitely going to take advantage. Celeste ordered a sampler of their pulled meats, which was basically just pulled pork and pulled chicken, with a side of corn bread. I knew I wanted to try the pulled pork, but having recently become a big proponent of ribs, thanks to Big Bricks, I decided I needed to try the baby back ribs as well so I went with a plate that had a 1/2 slab of baby back ribs and pulled pork, along with a side of corn bread topped with delicious, delicious honey butter. I don’t know what it is about honey butter, but I’m obsessed (I’m guessing it’s the honey). I haven’t had honey butter since this steak place that used to be in Deerfield called Stoney River so I knew I had to get that on my corn bread. I mean seriously, corn bread… which is amazing in itself, topped with what can only be described as heaven in fat form… like the tears of fat jesus melted all over… I’m drooling just thinking about it. I knew we were in for a treat with the bread and the meats, but we weren’t stopping there. We ordered a side of mashed potatoes as well as a side of macaroni and cheese; clearly our eyes were bigger than our stomachs since we took a lot home, but it was worth it.
When the food comes out, you’re given 4 choices of BBQ sauce, one original molasses/thicker, one with some spicy chipotle type stuff in it, one vinegar based sauce and one mustard based sauce. I’m all about the original, molasses based, thicker BBQ sauces, so I knew immediately which one I was going to like, but seeing as how I’m trying to be a bit more adventurous I tried them all. As expected I liked the original one the best, but the chipotle one was actually pretty tasty as well, but I’m not that big of a spicy guy so I passed. The vinegar one was also not that bad which surprised me because I really don’t like those. And the mustard one was not my style at all.
The food itself was amazing. We’ve only been to a handful of BBQ places in Chicago over the past couple years, but out of those 3 (Smoke Daddy, Chicago Q and Big Bricks) I’d put this one at the top. Obviously that’s not a big enough sampling of restaurants, but for now it is what it is, the list will definitely grow this summer. The other surprising thing is, apparently I really like ribs. Apologies ahead of time to my mom, but growing up I never really liked eating ribs at home, I don’t know why. I don’t know if it’s just that I only like these ridiculous ribs from the star BBQ chefs, or if I didn’t like getting my hands dirty while eating. I honestly don’t know what it is, but between Big Bricks and Chicago Q I have a new found love for ribs and will probably have to get them at every BBQ place we go to going forward. Hell, last year at rib fest I didn’t even eat ribs, I got pulled pork!
To wrap things up, I definitely recommend Chicago Q if you’re looking for a good taste of BBQ in Chicago. I know there are other places in the city that people will say are better for cheaper, but between the atmosphere, the great service and the quality food, you can’t go wrong. It’s definitely not someplace I would go on a regular basis, just because it’s kind of expensive, but I have a feeling we’ll be going back in the near future. So thanks again to my brothers for the christmas gift that turned into an anniversary gift, much appreciated. And Happy Anniversary to my beautiful, amazing wife. Love you.