MMMM!

Dish 46: Good Dog burger, Good Dog, at 15th and Locust, http://www.gooddogbar.com/

Ms. Kelly and I had one of the best lunches ever. Tracy makes a lot of sounds when she eats, not chewing  sounds but enthusiastic “MMMM”s and “OHHH”s, and gleeful claspings of her hands, and those were the kinds of sounds and movements I had to restrain myself from during this lunch.

The List describes the Good Dog burger as stuffed with “fistfuls of Roquefort—soft and stinky, like the Good Lord intended”—which admittedly did not have the intoxicating effect on me that I believe the article intended. However, the “tangles of caramelized onion” and brioche bun convinced me that the burger could not harbor true evil, and Ms. Kelly and I settled on Good Dog as our destination today.

Ms. Kelly and I shared the Good Dog burger and the Grilled Cheeses over a discussion of Chicago’s St. Patrick’s Day traditions, the perils of Disney obsession, and the statute of limitations that must expire before tormenting parents with tales of high school naughtiness. Both sandwiches are served with heaps of French fries, a celestial mix of white and sweet potatoes that allow the eater—hmm, let’s call her a Gastronomist. I like that.—to nab a “half ‘n’ half grab” when she can’t decide whether she wants the sweet brand or the standby. And the aioli is a must-have.

The Good Dog burger finds new ways to make burgers into objects of lust. It is lightly crisped on the outside, and the stinky cheese adds woodsiness, darkness, and panache to the execution. The brioche bun is light; neither too much bun nor too little, not too chewy or buttery, but substantial and perfect. And the Grilled Cheeses, with apples and bacon! As Ms. Kelly said, “the butter and the bread have achieved perfect stasis”—it is outstandingly buttered without tasting or feeling greasy or too buttery. And the bacon—smoky, thick, and in balance with the apples, humbled me to repent for my bacon induced indiscretions of the past week.

As Ms. Kelly and I walked back towards the office, and I thought that there was no way such a pleasant luncheon could improve, we passed Max Brenner, and Ms. Kelly stopped abruptly and asked me if I had ever been inside. “You just have to smell it!” We ducked inside the sweet heavy blanket of melted chocolate perfume, inhaling deeply and admiring the astonishing rows upon rows of chocolate squares, vats of churning chocolate, chocolate, chocolate, everywhere, but we’re so FULL—and a salesgirl came up with a bowl of knobbly cocoa dusted treats, chocolate candied pecans, she said, and MMMM! I just couldn’t restrain myself this time. Thanks, Ms. Kelly, it’s always a pleasure.

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