What a surprise, another post about a burger…
I’m sure most of you are sick of me writing about burgers around Chicago and the suburbs, but it’s pretty much my go-to when we go out, unless I’m feeling particularly daring one night. So while I do advertise this site as a place for me to write about foods my wife makes me eat, it’s really just a blog about me eating the same shit over and over again at different restaurants.
I guess it’s not the worst thing in the world, but I could see how it could get old. But here we go with another article about burgers, fried cheese and pretzels.
Goebbert’s Farm & Garden Center
We try to make the most of our weekends these days, especially with the weather getting colder, and this weekend was no exception. We decided to get out of the house and celebrate Iman’s birthday/Halloween/Fall, with a trip to Goebbert’s Farm and Garden Center in South Barrington.
If you’re unfamiliar with this place, it’s basically a huge farm, in the middle of even bigger houses, with pumpkins, pony and camel rides, corn mazes, tons of animals to feed, and of course, pig races. It’s basically a big farm that people with kids go to, to kill a Saturday during the fall.
And that’s exactly what we were doing.
It was 35 degrees Saturday morning when we woke up, but we still got the kids all bundled up and made our way out to South Barrington for some pumpkin fun.
The farm is huge, if you’ve never been there, which we had not, but you can get through almost everything in about a half a day. You don’t have to pay admission in order to buy a pumpkin or their delicious Apple Cinnamon Donuts, of which I’ve eaten a dozen of already, and it’s only Tuesday. But you do have to pay in order to gain access to pretty much everything else.
$15 per person (small kids are free) gets you into the area where you can pet/feed the animals, check out a giraffe, watch some pig races, etc. While an additional $6 per ticket will get you in to one of the other attractions, like the pony rides, bouncy bubble thing, and haunted house.
We opted to just do the bouncy thing and the pony ride for our daughter, so that was an additional $12, putting us at $57 on the morning. Not terribly expensive, but I do think that the $6 ride tickets were a bit too much. They gave the kids a solid 10 minutes or so on the bouncy thing, but the pony ride was literally like 2 minutes long, which was disappointing. I probably wouldn’t recommend the pony ride, only for the sheer fact that you don’t get your money’s worth. Check out the camels instead.
We knocked out the rides before we even went in to the main park area, and that was a great choice. By the time we had finished our rounds on the main park area, the lines for the rides were a lot longer than when we did them. So if you get there around lunch time, be prepared to wait, as the crowds tend to increase as the day goes on.
We got there around 10am and while there were a bunch of people there, it wasn’t bad at all. However, it was extremely cold for a while.
So after checking out pretty much all that we wanted to see at Goebbert’s, we grabbed our Apple Cinnamon Donuts, and our cider, and made our way to The Lucky Monk for lunch.
The Lucky Monk – South Barrington
This is actually the 2nd time we’ve been to The Lucky Monk, but I don’t believe I took any pictures or wrote about it, the first time we went. I honestly don’t even remember what I ate when we went there last time, maybe the pulled pork.
But this time I was getting a burger, since that’s apparently what they are known for.
Of course, we finished our meal and I realized that I never took a picture of said burger, so you’ll just have to visualize in your head when that burger may have looked like.
But before we talk about the burger, lets talk about the appetizers.
We ordered the Bavarian Pretzel and the Wisconsin Cheese Curds to start, as well as some chicken fingers for the kids, while the adults sipped on their alcoholic beverages.
Quick note, I don’t really care for beer, however I did order one here because I was thirsty, and sometimes when I’m really thirsty, a Tito’s and Soda just doesn’t cut it.
I went with the Tritica which is a Weiss beer, and probably the least hoppy beer they have on the menu. It was pretty good. So if you’re looking for something less intimidating, or you’re not a huge beer drinking, but want to try one, I would definitely suggest the Tritica beer.
Anyways, this isn’t a beer site, so let’s talk about the food.
The Bavarian Pretzel came out and it was legit bigger than our baby’s entire body. It came with a side of tomato fondue as well as a chocolate fondue… I tried neither. When I get a giant pretzel like that, I just want to dip it in some mother f—-n cheese sauce. None of these fancy dipping sauces, but regardless of the sauces, the pretzel itself was pretty good.
My one complaint would be the presentation of the pretzel. It came out hanging from a hook, which served zero purpose, because as soon as you start ripping off pieces, it will no longer stay hooked up. So it just lays on the plate anyways, as you can see from the picture at the top. I get that a pretzel that big would require a pretty large plate, which in turn would take up a lot of space on the table, but the hanging presentation is just pointless.
At least it tasted good… but not as good as these cheese curds.
There is not much in this world that I like more than fried cheese, of the cheddar or mozzarella variety. Mozzarella Sticks are one of my absolute favorite foods, and Cheese Curds are a close second… since they are basically the same, with just some minor tweaks.
These cheese curds came with a side of spicy dipping sauce and tomato fondue. Again, I didn’t try either of them. I like my breaded fried cheese smothered in marinara sauce, not something fancy. Keep it simple, let the cheese speak for itself.
And it certainly did… to a point.
The cheese curds at The Lucky Monk were fantastic. They were lightly breaded, full of cheese, and absolutely delicious… until you got to the bottom of the bowl.
For some reason, The Lucky Monk thinks that the best way to serve these cheese curds is on a bed of lettuce. I’m not sure if there’s a reason behind why they do this, maybe to soak up some of the grease or something, but it’s a mistake… a terrible, terrible mistake. And they should absolutely change this practice.
When you get down the bottom of the bowl/basket of the cheese curds, and you start eating the curds that have been sitting on top of lettuce, all you taste is a weird lettucey taste with every bite, and it absolutely kills the taste of the cheese curds themselves. I almost wanted to drown them in ketchup to get the lettuce taste off of them, but I refrained and just stopped eating them instead.
Seriously, it was gross.
If anyone from The Lucky Monk reads this, please stop this practice right now… you’re ruining some incredible food.
Blah, just writing about it brings back that awful taste… let’s talk about something else.
The Lucky Monk has a variety of different burgers on the menu, all of which are supposed to be great. They even have a couple burgers where they replace the buns with grilled cheese sandwiches, and if I were hungrier, I may have gotten one of those.
In addition to that, they also offer Merkts cheddar on their Patty Melt, which immediately caught my eye. But since I don’t like Patty Melts, I just went ahead and ordered a cheeseburger with Merkts cheddar and bacon…. or at least I thought that was what I ordered.
When the food came out I was pretty disappointed to see that my burger did not have Merkts cheddar on it, it just had a sad melted piece of normal cheddar cheese… lame.
And since I’m not really one to send food back, especially if I would still eat the food in the state that it is, I just sucked it up and ate the burger as it was.
And it was still pretty good.
I do feel that it would have been enhanced with a slathering of God’s favorite cheese spread… Merkts, but it was still a pretty good burger. Was it the best burger I’ve ever had? Certainly not, but I would definitely order one again if we ever came back, but I’d make sure they heard me correctly when asking what kind of cheese I wanted.
So that was our nice little Saturday this weekend.
We got to hang out with some good friends, make some good memories, eat some decent food, and celebrate Iman’s birthday/Halloween/Fall.
And as for The Lucky Monk, if you’re in South Barrington and looking for somewhere to eat, I would definitely recommend it. The food is solid, the service was good, and the beer was pretty tasty… considering it’s beer.
Sorry I didn’t take any pictures of the cheeseburger… you’ll just have to live with pictures of the pretzel and cheese curds.