We’re not 21 anymore, so all of this drinking needs to slow down, I don’t know how much longer I can keep this up. Last week with the 4th of July and a 4 day weekend, it seemed as if I drank every single day, so I thought this weekend would be a little more low-key, I was right and wrong. Usually our weekends don’t start until Saturday since we’re usually too tired to do much on Fridays outside of maybe grabbing a bite to eat in the neighborhood, but not this weekend.
This weekend started promptly at 4:30PM on Friday night with happy hour drinks at John Barleycorn River North (ugh, kill me). It wasn’t the ideal location, but it’s close to Celeste’s office and it was technically a happy hour for her and her co-workers, while also giving significant others a chance to meet everyone we’ve heard so much about. I’ve never been to one of these happy hours, but I’ve had to deal with the aftermath of a couple of them and now at least I see why. I took the L downtown after letting the dog out and was promptly met by 3 of Celeste’s coworkers, a significant other, a friend and a drink. There was a plate of fries on the table, but they were pretty much gone by the time I got there and aside from some mozzarella sticks we would order towards the end of the night, that was all the food we would eat… big mistake. We drank and talked until about 8:45 or so, when Celeste and I decided to call it a night and try to catch the Metra home instead of the L. We were literally the only ones to leave, and the rest of the crew stuck around till god knows when. I felt like shit Saturday morning as it was, I couldn’t even imagine how I would have felt had we stayed. But it was an awesome night and I’m glad I finally got to put names with faces.
Saturday morning was a bit slow going as the previous night of not eating, and basically drinking our dinner, hit me pretty hard, but I knew we had plans for the day so I had to suck it up and do whatever I could to feel better… and not complain the entire time. So I chugged some gatorade, popped a few pills, “played some candy crush saga” and we were off to the Roscoe Village Burger fest for the day to meet Nick, Tom and Jill. That group would pretty much double as they day went on though.
[Peter] Parker the puppy came along for the excursion and did a lot better at this fest than he did at Do Division, but we were also there for a lot long so I think he just tired himself out after a while. We got to Burger Fest at around 1:30, grabbed a beer and made our way down to the far stage to see one of Celeste’s friends from college’s wife perform, we also added one more to our group in the form of Neal. We hung out there for a while, drank a couple beers (even though I swore I wasn’t going to drink), watched the performance and taunted the businesses along the street with Parker (see photo above). Once the performance was over we decided it was time to grab some burgers because, after all, this was burger fest. Neal had to head out for the night to a prior engagement, so we were back down to our original crew while we sought out a table to plant ourselves at while we ate. Thankfully Celeste is a master at snaking tables away from people that are about to leave. In fact, she’s so good at it, half the time I don’t even think the tables are ready to get up, but they do, only because this creepy girl is hovering over them with her hand on the table. But hey, we’ll take it because it got us a full table for the rest of the afternoon… and even lead us to make a new friend, but I’ll get into that in a minute. First, let’s talk burgers.
Nick, Tom and Jill started off with burgers from Butcher & The Burger. I believe Nick got a Bison burger while Tom and Jill just got the normal burger. Nick seemed to enjoy his, but Tom and Jill thought Tom’s second one from Select Cut was a little better. I also opted for a cheeseburger from Select Cut, but only because Stanley’s Kitchen & Tap refused to do any sort of special order burgers. And before you give me shit for ordering the burger a special way, I know… It’s a competition between the different restaurants to see which burger the public votes the winner, I get that. Each of the restaurants have hand crafted a burger that contains specific ingredients that they feel work perfectly together and to remove any one of said ingredients would compromise the integrity of the burger and not give you the full experience they are trying to deliver. That’s fine, but if you turn me away because you don’t want to just remove your stupid special sauce, do you really think I’m going to vote for you anyways? I actually made it a point to vote for Select Cut because they were able to accommodate my desire for just a plain cheeseburger when Stanley’s wouldn’t. Had Stanley’s just taken off the special sauce, they would have gotten my money and my vote, but because they didn’t they lost out on both. However, Celeste did get the StanBurger from Stanley’s and enjoyed it, but I’m pretty sure she didn’t vote so it didn’t matter.
After polishing off our burgers we decided to just chill at the table we had and drink a few more beers. The original plan was to hang out for a bit, bring the dog back to Nick’s, then head to a neighborhood bar/restaurant and grab some more drinks and food… Well that didn’t really happen as planned. My co-worker Anthony showed up and met a few of his friends there who joined us for a couple more rounds. Then our buddy Gurleen and his girlfriend happened to see us sitting around and came by to say hi. They didn’t stay too long, but it was great to see them. After they left was when things started to get interesting. So we had a rather large table and the majority of us were sitting towards one side of it so we could all talk, which left a bit of a gap on the other side. I honestly didn’t think anyone random would just come sit with us, but I was 100% wrong. Aaron, late 30’s male, puerto rican, from NYC, and his 3 year old son decided to belly up to our table. I didn’t think anything of it until he went out of his way to go find a chair and bring it back. He introduced himself to us, we all chatted for a bit and everything was cool… He stuck around for probably 3 hours with us and drank. He even took Tom (and his 3 year old kid) to The Beat Kitchen across the street to take shots. He probably took off around 7, which worked out perfectly cause Pat and Jen met us over there for a few minutes.
Pat and Jen left to go grab food, Sarah came over to say hi before also heading out to get food and we took off, leaving Anthony sitting at the table by himself while his friend went to the bathroom, sorry bud. We had to leave though because Black Dog Gelato closed at 9 and we had to make sure we made it over there in time or Celeste would probably have killed me. So what was supposed to be just an afternoon at burger fest, turned into an entire day from 1:30 to 8pm, but the day wasn’t over yet. Even though we were at burger fest and we were still hungry, the crowd had grown exponentially since we first arrived and there was no way we were going to try and fight the crowds to get another burger.
We made our way back to Nick’s place to drop off Parker so we could go find somewhere to eat and have a few more drinks before calling it a night. Again, I told myself I wasn’t going to drink at all that morning and yet here I was on hour 8 of drinking. So we made our way down Irving Park to The Piggery, which we had had been meaning to try in the past, but then all of a sudden one day it was closed. It turns out they had a fire in the kitchen after only being open for a little while, so they were forced to shut down and repair the damages before they could reopen a couple months ago. It’s a cool place too, lots of TVs, lots of tables, plenty of space and an awesome patio. Had we known that they had that patio, and that dogs were allowed, we probably would have just brought Parker, but we didn’t… so maybe next time.
As far as food goes, we had already had burgers during the day, I had just had pulled pork for lunch the day before and I didn’t really feel like getting a 1/2 slab of ribs right then, so I settled for their pizza, which was delicious. It’s thin crust, but has tons of sauce which is my only complaint about some of the thin crust pizzas in the area. I know Chicago is known for deep dish, but that doesn’t mean you should skimp on the sauce for your thin crust. I think Tom was the only one that actually got Pork (at The Piggery), so we definitely have to go back so I can try some of their speciality stuff. He said the pulled pork sandwich was really good, Nick liked his cuban sandwich and Celeste and Jill split a wrap of some sorts and seemed to enjoy it, so we’ll definitely be going back at some point.
So while there wasn’t a lot of crazy/different foods on the menu this weekend, mainly because I wasn’t feeling well Saturday morning, there was definitely enough of it. Combine that with the fact that the weather was absolutely perfect and Parker was very well behaved around all of the people and music and it turned out to be an awesome day. Next weekend we’re heading out near Lake Geneva for a couple days so I don’t know if I’ll have anything to write about, but you never know.