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Jim’s Original
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Jim’s Original

More than anything else on the Chicago Trip, I wanted to go to Alinea. I can’t imagine anything I would have liked to do more in Chicago. OK, maybe if there was a meet and greet with Rick Bayless or Grant, I would have taken either of those over Alinea. Maybe Oprah. Or Obama, if he was in town. And Ditka. Definitely Ditka. That’s it, though. I think back to my Friday afternoon – our only shot at going to Alinea – and we hung out with Lawrence’s friend and went to a crappy burger bar that had $9 Kobe beef burgers. There was no one in the bar, and none of the 0 people in the bar were ordering food. The burgers weren’t bad, but they weren’t memorable at all. I would have taken waiting at Alinea and getting negged on a table over this experience. Are there any restaurants you”re absolutely DYING to go to? I don’t know if Alinea or French Laundry would be my #1 in the US (obviously, El Bulli would be my #1 choice overall).

A couple nights ago, I had a hot dog at Crif Dogs,and it put all the sausage in Chicago to shame (except for Gene’s and Jude’s). That’s kind of a drag to think about – We’re on our third Hot Dog experience of the trip and the hot dogs are all very good, but there’s no wow factor like at Crif Dogs. I’m going to have to go there and write that place up, those Tater Tots up. Chili Cheese Tater Tots! The tater tot is also one of the most under-appreciated ways to fry a potato. These tots were damn good.

I did miss Hot Doug’s – Apparently, that’s the mecca of all things hot dog. They have foie gras dogs there. How do you lose with that? Duck fat fries? Fuck, make me some duck fat Ice cream and I will buy it. You don’t even have to taste test it, I’ll do that for you. Writing this that sentence on my Droid would have been real easy; it always seems to think I’m talking about ducks, duckers, duck, duckfaces, and motherduckers anyway. I don’t know if there’s a setting to fix this.

The one thing that stands out in my mind from Jim’s was the jalapeño. I’m a big fan of spicy foods, and I regularly kill whole jalapeños in a bite, but this guy … this guy was on another level. I figured that I could take it down in one bite and I was wrong.

I immediately bought a bottled water after I had the Jalapeño; didn’t help. Tried another bite of the sandwich. Nope. More fries? Not a chance that fire was going out any time soon. I’m not usually such a pussy, but that pepper pretty much PWN3D me. I didn’t stand a chance. Caution: The hot peppers at Jim’s Original will burn your ducking face off.

As far as the Polish Sausage goes, I felt like Hank Moody in Californication in the scene where he’s having sex with his ex-wife’s stepdaughter and she punches him. OK, the sex was good, but what’s with the punching? I only remember the punching part (jalapeño) and not so much the sex (sausage).

The Fries here were fantastic. You can tell they’re fresh cut because of the odd shapes and bubbled-up starch on the outside of each fry. I looked around on Yelp and all I found were people ragging on the fries, talking about how they’re better other places nearby, how they’re soggy, how they’re overcooked … I didn’t get any of that, but I also didn’t have many fries before my mouth was assaulted by the pepper.

Is Jim’s Original any good? I don’t know. I couldn’t taste it through the pepper. Yelpers like it. It’s got a bit of a cult following. There’s more than one location. It’s cheap. Don’t know what to tell you. Right now, I’m dying for some amazing thai food. It’s real hard to food tour when the staple cuisines of a city are deep-dish pizza and hot dogs. If you someone could deconstruct the duo and serve them to me in a few bites over eighteen courses, I’d be all set. I wonder who would do that …

Jim’s Original
1250 S. Union Avenue
Chicago, IL 60607
(312) 733-7820

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