leave your inhibitions at the door
All the good eats I had in Chicago weren’t just at Lollapalooza. My buddy Miguel told me about Longman & Eagle last year, but I haven’t had a chance to go there until now. It’s in an area called Logan Square that’s like Chicago’s other numerous little pockets of hidden gems that tourists never see. Just about all of my friends and co-workers who visit the city – even foodies like The Sicilian – never make it past the downtown/Magnificent Mile areas that tourists visit. Don’t get me wrong, there’s a lot to enjoy there and your money will run out before your options do. But not exploring the neighborhoods, both ethnic and eclectic, is really a crying shame. Logan Square was predominantly Polish and Latino, but has slowly been gentrifying. There are some parts that are still a little gritty, but overall it’s pretty safe. Just leave the fanny pack in your hotel room, OK? Actually, just leave that God-forsaken thing at home. In the garbage can.
Longman & Eagle is mostly a restaurant, but it is also a 6-room inn. I’m not sure that Logan Square is quite tourist-ready like Bucktown or Lincoln Park. So I’m guessing the people who would stay there are already very familiar with Chicago. I couldn’t figure out how to steal pictures from the site, but anyone interested in art and design HAS GOTTA check out the rooms. They look a little on the small side, but the prices are downright cheap, especially since each one is unique with original artwork, custom furniture, and glass-encased bathrooms. Room #04 has “…a media player, as well as a vintage Fisher Price cassette tape console and accompanying mix tapes.” How awesome is that?
We got there on a Monday at 7pm and, since they don’t take reservations, we had to wait around for 30 minutes. Miguel said weekend wait times could be pretty hairy – 1.5 – 2 hours or so. We haven’t seen each other in an unforgivably long time, so waiting around was not a big deal. We went back to this little courtyard bar and got some beers and caught up on old times.
What We Ate
When it came time to eat, we were given a cozy little outdoor table. The restaurant describes itself as “regional American fare” with a “farm to table, nose to tail aesthetic.” What does that mean? Well, let’s do this…
Ok, so I should’ve warned you that we went for the funkier stuff on the menu. Rest assured, there’s plenty for the less adventurous.
In addition to a fine craft beer and small batch wine selection, L&E has close to 150 different whiskeys. Many of them are offered daily for $3/shot to encourage trying a wide variety. Frankly, the only thing that would encourage for me is being a complete mess later at night.
Since we had a wide variety of food, we opted to stick with beer. We split Eau Benite, a Belgian-style Tripel from Quebec’s Unibroue. This is definitely a little lighter than their other Tripel (and one of my favorite beers) La Fin du Monde.
This was easily one of the best meals I’ve had in a very, very long time. It’s no surprise that they were awarded a Michelin star. If you’re going to Chicago and have had your fill of usual tourist stuff, head out to this place. I haven’t said it in a while but this still holds true – tell them The Food and Wine Hedonist sent you. It won’t get you anything but if enough of you say it, I might.