Monday, July 25, 2011

Sprinkles Cupcakes

Anytime is a good time for cupcakes and free is just a bonus. Chicago, luckily, has several very good cupcake shops not to mention the trucks, independent or associated with a bakery. I had heard great things about Sprinkles Cupcakes, despite the fact that they are a chain, but I had never been to their shop. And while I had seen their truck, it has always been at a time when I couldn't stop. I came close to getting a Sprinkles Cupcake last week when they were parked outside Pitchfork Music Festival giving away free cupcakes but I was volunteering at the gate and I couldn't get free long enough to get out to their truck. There were several people at the gate that were able to get some cupcakes but I was not one of them. My luck changed yesterday when I was selling beer tickets at the Sheffield Garden Walk. They were parked outside the gate early and I had time to get away and grab a free cupcake. They were giving away their first 500 cupcakes for free so I ran out and grabbed a free cupcake. They were offering Ginger Lemon, Vanilla, Red Velvet, and Carrot Cake. I had had Vanilla, Red Velvet, and Carrot Cake cupcakes at other places but I had never had ginger lemon and it sounded interesting so that's the way I went. It was very good and actually reminded me of a very soft gingerbread. The frosting was cream cheese and the decoration on the top actually is used as an identifier. It was nice to hear one of the truck operators comment on the fact that it was nice to have so many adventurous eaters.

Sprinkles Cupcakes are very good their truck uses Twitter to indicate where they will be. I may have to follow them to make sure that I can actually stop when I see them.

Dunlay's on the Square

Sometimes a good place is found serendipitously. I had known about Dunlay's on the Square for years but with higher profile places, including one of my favorites, on the square as well, I didn't really pay attention to it. The story by how we came about trying Dunlay's on the Square is actually kind of humorous. I am someone that likes to get his friends and family to try something new and I knew that a couple of friends of mine had never been to Hot Doug's so we planned for a visit. Unfortunately, it had been blisteringly hot all week and was forecast to be hot on the day we were to go as well. Standing in line outside in the heat did not sound like a pleasurable experience so we changed plans. We were planning on going to Longman & Eagle, a Michelin starred bar/restaurant on the north side of Logan Square but found a sign saying that they would not be serving brunch that morning due to unforeseen circumstances. Quick thinking brought me to Lula Cafe, normally my goto place but I hadn't been sure due to the heat. It had rained heavily in the early morning so the temperature had come down so I thought Lula was a safe bet. They were given a Bib Gourmand by Michelin so the food is pretty good. We got there and found them closed as well because the 3 1/2 inches of rain had flooded their basement. I was stuck for a moment but remembered that Dunlay's on the Square was right around the corner from Lula. While I didn't know a lot about them, I did know that they had a big patio in front which indicated to me that they were pretty popular at times and did some pretty good business so we tried it out. The restaurant has a big glass front wall, high ceilings and a tin roof (painted brown). There is also art for sale on the walls. There is a bar area on the left side of the restaurant, the tables are in the center, and a row of booths, where we sat, that are slightly elevated. A look at the menu showed that we had made a good choice. Dunlay's on the Square is owned by the same group that owns Dunlay's on Clark, Smoke Daddy's, and D.O.C. Wine Bar. I had been to Smoke Daddy's and had heard good things about D.O.C. Wine Bar so I was confident that we would be satisfied.I started out with a Bloody Mary which was a meal in and of itself. A typical Bloody Mary has vodka, tomato juice, worcestershire sauce, and occasionally some hot sauce. In addition to this, the Bloody Mary itself had a splash of Guinness, a loaded garnish skewer (a full dill pickle spear, a slice of red bell pepper, a fresh mozzarella ball, prosciutto, and the ubiquitous olive), and was served with a 7 oz bottle of Miller High Life. It was a good start and my breakfast was a good continuation. I ordered a breakfast burrito which turned out to be very different from other breakfast burritos that I had had. Most breakfast burritos will have scrambled eggs, onions, peppers, and cheese, which this did as well, but the meat that is normally used is chorizo. This used pulled pork which shouldn't be a surprise, because this restaurant is associated with a barbecue place, and the burrito was grilled. I was given some salsa verde on the side and I ordered a side of fresh fruit as well.

Overall, the food was good, the service was friendly, and it turned out to be a good choice. It provides me with one more choice of places to go when I go out on the Square.

Saturday, July 23, 2011


There is no comparison between the food a restaurant/chef serves at a benefit or the Taste of Chicago and the food that is actually served in the restaurant. I had tried the food of Vermilion outside of the restaurant and had been positively underwhelmed. Vermilion serves a Latin-Indian fusion and even before going into it the first time, I was a bit skeptical because the only thing that I could think of that Latin cuisine had in common with Indian food is that they both could be pretty spicy and they both use a lot of cilantro. If you stretch things, you could argue that naan is similar to a tortilla. I was willing to try it again because Maneet Chauhan, the executive chef is very talented and has competed on Iron Chef America, The Next Iron Chef, and Chopped. The meal that I went to Vermilion for was a combination of those experiences so I gave her/them the benefit of the doubt. The meal was a ten course (or five because the courses were served in pairs). The first three plates were set as was the dessert. The 4th plate needs explanation which I will do when I get there. I ordered my drink, which they called a mango mint mojito. What it actually was was a caipirinha which is similar to a mojito, but is Brazilian and uses cachaça instead of rum.

The first course eliminated any trepidation I had about going there. As I said the courses were served in pairs. The first two courses were essentially vegetable dishes. On the left was a roll of jicama stuffed with orange on which was placed a Spanish Boquerone which is an olive marinated anchovy. On the right was what was called a crab-watermelon steak with a basil citrus vinaigrette. What it was was a block of watermelon on which was topped crab chunks with a basil citrus vinaigrette. It was also sitting on a bit of gazpacho. The jicama and anchovy weren't bad but the watermelon and crab were great. I wouldn't have thought that watermelon, crab, and gazpacho would have gone together but they worked incredibly well together. I finished the plate which they took away and we ran into a slight hiccup. There was a pause of about 10 minutes between the time that they took the plate away and the time they brought the next plate so I did a little looking around the restaurant.
Vermilion is a shade of red and the restaurant was trimmed in a bright red with the main colors being black and white. The ceilings are high and the tables were far enough apart to actually move around them. The bar is on one side of the restaurant opposite the main entrance toward the front of the restaurant. The place was pretty busy so it was a bit loud. While there was music playing in the background, I couldn't really hear it because of conversation noise from where I was sitting in the front. There was also an outdoor seating area that because of the heat of the day, wasn't really being used. After waiting for a while, my second plate showed up and it also looked pretty good. On the left was a fish taco using papadum and set on a curried yogurt sauce. I have to say that I was unaware of what papadum was and had to look it up but I have to say that it worked very well as a replacement for a corn tortilla and the curried yogurt sauce went well with it. On the right side, was what was called a Naan Tandoor Sandwich. What it was was a piece of naan placed on some mint sauce. On top of the naan was a slice of cucumber on top of which was a pile of pulled tandoor chicken. This was also a joy to taste.

The third plate was the fail of the dinner. While neither course was bad as such, they didn't compare to the rest of the dinner. On the left was what was called Potato 3 Ways and while I could figure out two ways, I am not sure what the third way was. What it was was a ravioli made of potato filled with goat cheese and topped with a sweet potato sauce. It wasn't bad and the sweet potato sauce was pretty good but the ravioli was made from what felt like raw potatoes. While it didn't taste bad, ravioli isn't supposed to crunch. The course on the right side reminded me of the tastings I had had in other places. It was called a kabab dog and was essentially a skinless chicken sausage with bacon and feta cheese on a skewer. While it wasn't bad, it was positively underwhelming. The bacon and sausage were very understated and the major flavor was roasted chicken. The chicken was pretty good but the course as a whole was pretty boring.

The fourth plating was the mystery basket and was essentially the diner's choice. The diner was given a table divided into proteins, spices, and sides and the diner was to choose two from each section. There were about ten choices in each section with a pretty good variety and while it was possible to possibly come up with some odd combinations, I think most diners wouldn't want to risk their meal. While the diner makes the choices, he really has no idea how the chef is going to combine them. My choices? I chose New York Strip and scallops for my proteins, chipotle and tomatillos for my spices, and mango rice and sweet potatoes for my sides. The plating that came out was the two spiced proteins and the two sides. I got mango rice, scallops topped with blue corn tortilla chips and tomatillo sauce and chipotle spiced strip steak and really spicy sweet poptatoes. The mango rice tasted good but their really wasn't anything done with it. The scallops were very tender and went well with the chips and tomatillo sauce, the strip steak was medium well which is a little more done than I generally like but it was a very good piece of meat which was spiced well and the sweet potatoes which really surprised me. The initial taste was of a boiled sweet potato that tasted pretty good but the pepper hit quickly and did require a drink to clear my mouth. This was a fun plating and while the results weren't exceptionally exotic, they were done very well.After all of this came the dessert courses which, while they were both very good, one rose well above the other (in my opinion). I was presented with avocado beignets with a wild berry reduction sauce. When I saw this on the menu I wasn't sure how this was going to work. I wasn't worried about the wild berry reduction or a beignet with the sauce. My question was how an avocado was going to work as a beignet. It worked very well and this was one of my favorite courses of the dinner. The other dessert was a chocolate coffee doughnut frittata. It was a chocolate and coffee flavored frittata topped with powdered sugar. It was served with whipped creme and a slightly sweet chocolate mole sauce. It also was very good but as I said, I liked the beignets better.

Vermilion has changed my mind. The service was fantastic even with the hiccup between the first and second plate and the Latin and Indian flavors can go together well. While this is not a new favorite, it is very good and I would have no problem recommending it to others.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Food Culture

I happened to perusing the web recently and came across a "subway map" that describes the current food culture. It was designed by Hartman Salt, a leader in food trends and all things food. While the above picture is colorful, admittedly, there isn't much that can be read from it. A full size picture can be viewed here. The lines include packaged foods, modern cuisine, global cuisine, local, sustainable, media, and education and the stops include Michael Pollan (in the politico zone at the junction of local, sustainable, education, and food media), Michelle Obama (education and food media), Rick Bayless (packaged and local), Grant Achatz (modern and sustainable), and Mario Batali (central and packaged). It's an interesting map although I think that I would have found a way to connect a few people differently. For example, I might have added an Organic line and I definetly would have found a way to connect Rick Bayless with the Local and Sustainable Lines.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Bacon, Revisited

The last time I made some bacon, I commented on the fact that while it was really good, because I didn't have a smoker, the bacon tasted like Canadian bacon. Both American and Canadian bacon are made from pork belly, but only American bacon is smoked so what I made in my last attempt was Canadian bacon. My father has a smoker which he really enjoys using so this time around, I decided to do a joint operation with him. I would cure the meat and then send it to him to smoke. The recipe I used was the same as last time: sugar salt, brown sugar, and a tiny bit of pink salt, and the curing time in the refrigerator was the same, a week with a flip every other day. I did, however, put the bag in a baking pan to allow the meat more contact with the liquid that it lost. The last time I finished the cure, I rinsed it and threw it in the oven at a low heat for two hours. Because I wanted it smoked this time, I rinsed, rebagged, and froze it for transport.My Dad smoked it for a couple of hours with apple and cherry wood and I have to say that it looks really good. Hopefully there is some left when I come for a visit in a few weeks. Bacon is really easy to do and it was fun to make but I think the next time I do something, I will do pancetta and/or guanciale. They both look fairly easy to do as well and neither require smoking but they do take more time.

Sunday, July 17, 2011


I have mentioned before that I generally prefer not to eat ribs in public. When I go to a barbecue joint, I would normally order the brisket or the pulled pork, but I figured if I was going to talk about a barbecue place, I should at least try their ribs. Smoque has been my favorite barbecue joint because they have the best brisket in Chicago, bar none, and they serve it either chopped or sliced. Started by a group of friends that were home barbecue aficianados that thought they could add something to the lackluster choices that Chicago had for barbecue, they opened their place in the Irving Park neighborhood of Chicago six years ago. Like most barbecue joints, it doesn't look like much. It has cement floors, a chalkboard wall, and an unfinished ceiling. Most of the tables are long picnic tables that are shared between parties and the counter and kitchen are in the back corner. It looks to me as if someone set up a restaurant in their garage but barbecue joints are generally about the barbecue and not the aesthetic of the restaurant.

I assumed that because they do such fantastic brisket and really good pulled pork that their ribs would be the best as well. I assumed this without trying the ribs beforehand. After trying them though, I have to say that while their ribs are really good, they are not the best that I could imagine. The ribs are done in a Memphis style with a dry rub and the sauce on the side. The meat is nicely smoky and has a good smoke ring and the rub is spicy. The sauce has a spicy tang with a little sweetness at the end that really adds well to the smokiness and the spice on the ribs. While you can pull the ribs apart with your hands fairly easily, they have some texture and are not as soft as baby food. Having said all of this, the meat was actually a little dry and there has been a rib joint that I have been to recently whose ribs were meatier and juicier (although not as smoky). As far as sides were concerned, I think that corn bread is one of those things that you have to have and theirs is pretty good, with whole corn kernels in the bread, a slightly grainy texture, and a little sweetness at the end. The mac and cheese is the baked variety with a crumb coating on the top and, I think, multiple cheeses. It is rich and very good. The cole slaw is not so finely cut as some cole slaws and has a nice tang to it.

Smoque is still my favorite barbecue joint around but I do know that there are things that they could do a little better and I am very open to trying other places. There are six that I can think of off the top of my head so I should keep exploring.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

3rd Coast

Nestled in the heart of the Gold Coast on the corner of Dearborn and Goethe, is the 3rd Coast Restaurant & Wine Bar. While there is a sign on the window, it is a little difficult to figure out exactly where the entrance is because the entrance to the restaurant is located in the lobby of an apartment building. Once you do enter the restaurant though, the atmosphere is very friendly and inviting and the design is distinctly vintage. The floor is carpeted and the tables and chairs are hardwood paying homage to the Art Deco school.

Most places with wine bar in their name, are wine bars first and while the food that they might serve might be good, it is distinctly secondary to the wine. 3rd Coast seems to be a neighborhood restaurant first with a good wine list from all over the world. The menu lists bottles available and notes those that are also available by the glass. My thought is that the idea is to sell a bottle for those people who are there to have a meal. In addition, they have a pretty good craft beer list. It isn't extensive as far as the number of beers offered, but it does have good repesentatives of the different styles available. The menu does have some small plates and entrees as do most wine bars but it also features all day breakfast and a weekend brunch which is what I went there for. While the all day breakfast is pretty extensive, the brunch adds even more dishes. I ordered the chilaquiles. Which, while they looked and tasted pretty good, weren't precisely chilaquiles. Chilaquiles are fried tortilla chips with salsa and served with scrambled eggs, onions, and cheese or sour cream. What I was served had the tortilla chips, scrambled eggs, onions, tomatoes, fresh avocado, and sour cream. While this is frequently confused with chilaquiles, what it actually is is Tex-Mex migas. I will grant that more people know what chilaquiles are than Tex-Mex migas and they are frequently confused. It might simply be a case of culinary shorthand or it could have been confusion but in any case, I would have really preferred the spice that comes from the salsa in chilaquiles than having to add Tabasco sauce.

Aside from this small disappointment, the staff was friendly, the restaurant was nice, and the menu did look good. I would go back here but I probably won't get the "chilaquiles" again.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Birchwood Kitchen

It's a lot harder to compare sandwich shops than it is burger joints. While you might find similarities between one sandwich shop and another, there is a lot more room to carve out a niche in the sandwich shop realm because of the variability of the ingredients. While there might be a wide variety of things to put on the hamburger, in the end, a hamburger is a sandwich with a piece of ground meat between two buns. A sandwich, on the other hand, has the two pieces of bread with just about anything between them. While I have talked about several sandwich shops, they exist in their own realm because they all do things differently. Birchwood Kitchen is another sandwich shop in Wicker Park that I visited recently that really can't be compared (as far as food is concerned) to any other sandwich shop. Their concept is to offer a menu of local, seasonal, and sustainable products. Having said that, there will frequently be some sort of cheese, some sort of ham or other cured meat, and a variety of baked goods. It is located in a small space with the counter and kitchen on one side of the room and a row of about 10 tables on the other side. In the summer, they also have a nice fenced in patio area in the back and as it was a nice day, that's where I dined.

I was thinking, before I came, of getting a proscuitto sandwich because it is really good but when I saw the goat cheese and beet sandwich, that's the way that I had to go. The sandwich was served on a baguette and also had arugula and walnut pesto and while it was really good, I would have preferred the beets sliced a little thicker. The sandwich also came with some pickled green beans which were nice and tart and crunchy and some house made potato chips garnished with chives. In addition, I had a chickpea salad with celery, red pepper, radishes, cilantro, and a vinaigrette. It was also very good.

The menu is small and the place is small, but the people are very friendly and the food is fresh and very good. Because of the seasonality of the shop, it is not a place that you can find something you like and continually come back to it. It does allow you though, to stretch your boundaries and potentially enjoy something new.

Monday, July 4, 2011


There are several negative things that I could say about Watershed. First, it's kind of hard to find. Located in the old Tree Studios in the basement of Pops for Champagne (and a few doors down from Grahamwich), there is one sign on the window to let you know that you are in the right place and unless you know where you are going, it's best to be directed to the entrance. Another negative is that it is really too dark to shoot any pictures without a flash. While I did try to shoot some pictures, because of the low light, I ended up with silhouettes that looked largely the same and so were pointless to post. Having said that, one may get the impression that I disliked Watershed. This is not the case at all. Despite these negatives, it is a place that deserves several visits. The name comes from the fact that everything served at The Watershed, with the exception of some small batch whiskies, everything was produced in states bordering the great lakes, and most prominently, Lake Michigan. The walls are cut stone and the decor has a retro basement rec room feel. There is also a map of the Great Lakes on one wall. The playlist was very cool. Most of the playlist could be described as mellow indie rock but there was also some vintage country thrown in occasionally. The playlist is apparently on Itunes and if you have an Iphone, there is an app that allows you to check out the playlist and make requests. It's a place that would be nice just to hang at. The food is fairly simple and is served in a small plate style. As it shares a kitchen with Pops for Champagne, the menu is very similar but in addition to the Bites, Entrees, and Desserts that Pops offers, it also has a Cheese list and a Charcuterie list. While I didn't try any bites, I did try a little of everything else. I started with a Founder's Cerise Cherry Ale. I decided to more or less keep with a theme of fruit for the evening. I ordered two cheeses and one charcuterie. My cheese were both blue. One was a triple cream which was incredible and the other contained ginger and sesame. My charcuterie was a Finnochetta which was a sweet dry sausage. These were all served on the same plate with sweet and sour pickles, apricot puree, and a course ground mustard. It was served with flat bread on the side. My next plate was a Boar & Duck Paté with wild blueberry, pistachio, orange-grapefruit marmalade, and a small watercress salad with vinaigrette. This was served with several slices of baguette. This was also very good. My next dish, I probably wouldn't order again. It was the Lamb Belly Confit served with pumpernickel croutons, baba ghanouj, and sheep's milk yogurt. Lamb has a bit of a strong flavor and the confit seemed to enhance it. The outer layer also seemed a bit stiff. I could have stopped there but there was dessert still to be tried. I got a Rhubarb Panna Cotta with a Strawberry Gelee werved with mint and a topping of crushed almonds. It went well with the beer and ended the dinner on a high note. I really enjoyed my time here and could see it as a regular stopping off point when I am in River North.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Fat Willy's Rib Shack

Chicago has a wealth of barbecue joints but surprisingly, there is no Chicago style barbecue. It's surprising because Chicago used to be known as the Hog Butcher to the World. It could be argued that places like Gale Street Inn, Robinson's, or Carson's serve Chicago style ribs but their ribs aren't smoked and try to make up for it by slathering them in overly sweet barbecue sauce. There are enough barbecue joints in the city though, displaying different styles that a distinct Chicago style isn't really missed. I went to Fat Willy's Rib Shack on Friday to celebrate the 4th of July because what is the 4th of July without barbecue? Fat Willy's basically serves a Memphis style rib although does offer St. Louis Style spare ribs, as well as Carolina vinegar based, and a spicy sauce on the side. They also offer some really good pulled pork and brisket sandwiches. Their signature sauce is very thick, and has a sweet and smoky flavor with a little spice is served on the rib as well as on the side. The restaurant is aptly named because it looks like a shack. The walls and floor are weathered plywood and the tables are covered with an imitation cow hide. There is also a sheltered outdoor dining area that you actually have to walk through to enter the restaurant. One side wall on the side of an elevated dining area is a chalkboard that people are allowed to do birthday wishes on. The background music was a lot of old-style music similar to the music used on O Brother Where Art Thou? The service was friendly and I was seated quickly after I arrived. I didn't plan on pigging out (if you will excuse the pun) when I arrived so I ordered a half-rack of Baby Back Ribs that came with a side of fries and Texas Toast. If it isn't clear from what I have said previously, it was very good if messy, and the meat came easily off the bone. If I had stopped there, I would have been easily satisfied. The dessert menu, however, was written on the opposite wall and I kept on coming back to the Chocolate Peanut Butter Pie. This is as decadent as it sounds. It had a dark chocolate cookie crust with the main part of the pie being peanut butter. On the top was a layer of milk chocolate sprinkled with crushed peanuts. It was very good if not something that I would (or should) offer every day. I enjoy Fat Willy's and will enjoy coming back to it after I visit some other barbecue places.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Northside Bar & Grill

I went out, Monday night with some friends to Northside Bar & Grill in Wicker Park (in Chicago). Coming in, I will admit, I wasn't expecting anything special. It's in a high traffic area so even if it was average, because it's in a good area, it would get a lot of traffic. It was a warm night aand it has a large outdoor seating area so it was kind of busy when we arrived. We actually sat inside the bar but right in front of the big French doors in front so we might as well have been outside. It was nice. A bar and grill will have a fairly standard menu of grilled sandwiches, burgers, wings, nachos, salads, and the occasional flat iron steak. There were no real big surprises when it came to what was on the menu although it was a little bit of a surprise to see falafel and hummus. The beer list, on the other hand, was pretty good as were the prices for the beer, so I was able to find something that I liked pretty easily. There were eight of us in our party so it was surprising how good our service was. A larger party will typically be a bit slower but she brought us our beers quickly and took our orders and our food didn't take a tremendously long time to come out. A lot of burgers and nachos were ordered (as well as a salad). I ordered a bacon bleu cheese burger which was served with lettuce, tomato, and onions on a kaiser roll (some burgers were served on a pretzel bun) with fries on the side and my neighbor ordered chicken nachos which aside from the house made tortilla chips (and the chicken) had refried beans, spicy jalapeno cheese sauce, pico de gallo, sour cream, guacamole, and jalapeno peppers. Most burgers at a given place will look fairly similar as will nachos so I didn't feel like being redundant and just shot the picture of my burger and my neighbors nachos which I sampled. While it is fairly standard bar fair, it was presented pretty well and also tasted pretty good. It's a good value for the money, the beer list was good, as was the service. It's a good place to meet friends over a beer and to watch the game and I can see it happening at a later date.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Cemitas Puebla

If you ask someone about Mexican street food, the first thing that most people think of is tacos and burritos. If you continue to press, you might come up with elotes or tamales. The only people that might come up with tortas are those that live near a significant Mexican population but almost know one would come up with cemitas, a regional Mexican sandwich originating in Puebla, Mexico that is similar to the torta except that the bread is egg based and is topped with sesame seeds. In Chicago, there is one retaurant that specializes in cemitas. That restaurant is Cemitas Puebla and I am lucky to live within walking distance. The restaurant has been featured on Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives, a TV show on the Food Network that I don't regularly watch because I don't care for the bigger-than-life personality of host, Guy Fieri. Having said that, I do see it occasionally and I do think that the show features some really good places. I had seen the episode and saw that Guy had eaten and raved about the Atomica Cemita, a sandwich featuring milanesa (a breaded pork chop), carne enchilada (guajillo chile marinated pork chop), and jamon (ham). It sounded good so I decided to try it. I thought it was good but not as great as Guy seemed to make it out to be. Several local media entities also recognized and raved about this sandwich so I wondered what I was missing and decided to try it again. The first time I tried this, I didn't add any salsa so I decided to see if salsa made the difference. The sauces offered were a chipotle salsa and a salsa verde. I tried each separately with the sandwich and together and decided that the salsa, particularly the chipotle salsa, really added to the flavor. I went here last weekend with my brother and was able to try a few other things. Besides my Atomica, we ordered chalupas which are nothing like the chalupas that you might find at Taco Bell. Chalupas consist of a layer of corn tortillas doused in salsa verde and salsa roja and topped with onions and aged cheese. You can get it also topped with chicken, steak, or chorizo but we decided to try it as it was. It was messy and a bit plain, it would have been better with meat, but it wasn't bad.
The other sandwich we had was an arabe cemita which is spit-roasted pork and onions with avocado, lettuce, Oaxacan Cheese, and Chipotle sauce. The Atomica is the sandwich that is crowed about but after trying this (the Arabe), I think I like it better. This has convinced me that while I have liked both sandwiches, I need to try them all. I am really glad that this is close.