I have always wanted to go in the Hound Dog on Grand Ave. but never have. When I decided to start a blog I said this was going to be the first place I blogged about. Maybe it was my reason for starting a blog. Well you all know this is not my first blog post, although it may sound like it! Maybe I didn’t want to go in because I wanted to keep the romance of it alive. In my mind, it was this great “find”; amazing food hidden in a store front that advertized burgers and teriyaki, egg sandwiches and bi bim bob. I was afraid to go in and have my illusion shattered, because I knew it most likely would be shattered, smashed, and then I would have to find a new place to fantasize about. I started passing it every Monday and Wednesday on my way to work about six months ago. Ohhh, maybe I would go in at lunch time. It was so close. Maybe I would stop for one of those $2.27 egg sandwiches on my way in. Nope, never happened. So when do I decide to go there? On my day off! Not that it is that far from my house. I needed a blog post. It was time….The fears started creeping in again. What if it totally sucked? I would have gone there for nothing and my little story would be ruined and I wouldn’t have a blog post. Well….being the HUGE gambler risk taker that I am (ha!) I decided I would write a blog post about it no matter what! Risky, huh? Plus I decided to go twice in one day. Once for breakfast and once for the Bi bim bob. Oh boy, this could be a very good day or a very bad day. I am trying to keep you in suspense. Is it working???? Ok here we go….
I actually went to Hound Dog in my pjs, which also happen to be my work out clothes. Is that bad? Just don’t tell Stacy and Clinton from TLC’s What Not to Wear! I have always wanted to be on that show! Laurent doesn’t think I could get on it. I keep begging him to turn me in. I haven’t seen any cameras following me around yet. Damn!
So I packed up my peppermint tea and got in the car to head over to Hound Dog. Yes. I brought my own tea. I am a morning beverage snob. I was not about to drink Lipton!
I had noticed picnic tables outside when I drove by, so I wouldn’t be drinking it IN the restaurant. I walk in and it is just what I expected. Menu boards with the plastic push in letters, molded fast food restaurant booths., Asian specials pasted on the walls printed on Astrobright paper from Kinkos.
But boy was it clean. It may smell like a fryer, had to throw my pjs in the wash after my visit, but it was clean. The line has a deep fryer, a flat top, a grill and a white apartment stove. I ordered the egg sandwich. The owner offered me white or wheat bread, English muffin, croissant or French bread. Wow, what a selection. I got it on French bread. That wasn’t $2.27, but it was still a steal at $3.50 or so. When I asked for cheese, there wasn’t that same choice like the bread. In fact he didn’t even ask me what kind I wanted. I knew what was coming, American cheese. Yes! There is a big neon sign in the front window that says Fast Food. Boy, was it fast. They weren’t lying. It was cooked fresh, but couldn’t have taken more than 2 minutes. The verdict. Screw you McDonalds Egg McMuffin. (Yes I do eat them once in awhile.) This egg sandwich blows you away! Think I might be craving this. Think I will probably stop on my way to work some Monday or Friday. Nothing fancy, but it did the job. I actually could barely finish it. The French bread took me straight back to my days working at my Aunt’s fast food restaurant. I am betting it was Gonella bread, which is made right here in Chicago, over by Chicago and Milwaukee. We used it for our steak sandwiches. It smelled the same in Hound Dog as it did in 5 Points, my Aunt’s restaurant, just like a fryer! If the owner would have been wearing English Leather, like my uncle, the olfactory memory would have been complete!
Phew! Breakfast passed the test. It didn’t suck. You don’t know how happy that made me. I didn’t feel so bad about coming back here for lunch, although my stomach will probably beg to differ. I am sure I will be craving veggies for days. I better bring my lunch to work tomorrow.
Ok, fast forward to my lunch trip to Hound Dog. I am sure the owner recognized me. People seem to spot my orange hair a mile away and remember it. I really wanted to get the teriyaki, because I think that is on the sign, but I don’t like teriyaki. I lied. I actually don’t think I know when I have ever had teriyaki. The word brings on visions of red sickly sweet sauce on chicken. Not a good start. I am sure the real deal in a good Japanese restaurant is amazing, but I don’t think Hound Dog was the right place for my initiation into the teriyaki world. I might be scarred for life. The egg sandwich was good, but I was not expecting miracle for lunch! I ordered bi bim bob, or BBB as the owner called out to his wife (?) who was doing the cooking. She cooked this up in about two minutes flat again. I guess it wasn’t rocket science and there were no foams, emulsions, reductions or sous vide to perform, but still, two minutes is fast. It was served in a real bowl too. A plastic bowl, but real, not a Styrofoam to go container. It saves them money, but I was still surprised. In fact, it was the same Asian bowl that I have at home. Yes, my bowls at home are plastic. They are the perfect size and shape and I haven’t found any ceramic ones to replace them yet. We eat mostly Asian food at home anyways, so it is fitting.
I ate outside again. This time I purchased a beverage. I am more of a morning beverage snob than anything. The bi bim bob was ok. Not great, but not inedible either. Would I order it again? Probably not. Have I had worse food? Yes, at the casino in our hotel in Green Bay a few years ago at Thanksgiving. Inedible Caesar Salad. Since when are there olives in a Caesar Salad? And how can you ruin a Caesar salad? Don’t ask me how, but they did. At least this resembled bi bim bob. Like I said. It wasn’t bad. It wasn’t memorable at all though. Which can be a good thing. I wish I could forget that Caesar salad!
Here is where I start getting philosophical on you since I have already told you about the food. This place just had a good vibe. When I was there I saw every kind of person come in; city workers, two blond girls (don’t know how else to describe them!), hipsters, a Hispanic family, an older Asian woman and some guys who looked like architects or something! And they all seemed like regulars. Here was a couple, living the American dream. They owned their own business doing what they knew how to do , cook. It was an honest living. They don’t run in food circles, they don’t judge you, they don’t offer you their politics. They cook and serve you fast cheap food. I get soooo tired of the food world with all the competition, the nasty back stabbing and the gossip. Did you hear so and so serves rice in his restaurant? And mangos? And uses vanilla extract in his desserts? Oh my gosh! What a crime. Those items don’t grow in the Midwest. He should be shot! Did you hear so and so is selling their restaurant? It must not be busy enough. Did you hear so and so is no longer working at so and so and said that…….blah blah blah. So much hypocrisy and one upping and political crap. It’s exhausting.
Was the food at the Hound Dog the best food in the world? No. Did my stomach hurt a little after eating there twice in one day? Yes. (Everything in moderation.) Would I come back? Yes. It was nice to just go and order an egg sandwich. A simple, plain, cheap egg sandwich., without a side of attitude and political correctness. And I am not embarrassed to say that I enjoyed it.
Hound Dog Burger and Teriyaki 2257 W. Grand Ave. 312-666-5797