As I know I've mentioned before, I've been happy to shamelessly utilize my Cubs tickets this season (clearly a "rebuilding" year under new GMs Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer) as an excuse to explore the dining environs of Wrigleyville and Lakeview prior to first pitch. On this particular occasion a few weeks back, Mrs. Hackknife had had a particularly grueling day at the office and was jonesing for some comfort food in the form of enchiladas. While searching in vain for an old, nondescript Mexican place on Broadway we'd frequented a time or two as residents of the neighborhood (discovering it to now be a sketchy-looking red sauce Italian joint), we stumbled across a sidewalk board advertising:
"Today's Special - Unlimited mussels and fries, $12.99"
or something to that effect. The board belonged to Hearty (3819 N. Broadway), a dining venture from local caterers and celebs the Hearty Boys (whom you may or may not recognize from the Food Network, having won the Next Food Network Star competition in 2005). Although the restaurant appeared to be a bit swanky for a quick pre-game meal, it was mostly empty and beckoned us over with the promise of abundant shellfish (which, of course, we proceeded to ignore, ordering other dishes). After a few minutes of visiting with our server and discussing the merits of Bermuda's national drink (the Dark & Stormy, a mix of 2 oz. Gosling's Black Rum and 8 oz. ginger beer), we picked our entrees, with my betrothed opting for the lobster roll. I decided that two of the small bites sounded too tempting to pass up; that is, the rabbit corn dog and the short rib "s'more".
While the corn dog might have resembled a giant version of what you would normally periodically clean out of a rabbit's cage (see photo above), I can assure you that it was quite delicious, only a touch gamier than your standard corn dog, with the batter encasing the rabbit sausage described as "red velvet" (I never did figure out exactly which ingredient was used to give it that characterization). The beer glaze dipping sauce and the cole slaw garnish were both nice additions to the plate.
Although not terribly large for $10, the short rib "s'more" (see photo above) packed a solid punch of flavor. In place of the Graham crackers were two rich, toasted pieces of brioche, in-between which were the succulent short rib meat (the "chocolate") and a dollop of soft feta cheese (the "marshmallow"). I liked that the brioche was able to soak up a fair amount of the short rib juices without becoming a soggy mess in my hands. With a 5 Rabbit Golden Ale to neatly wash everything down, the missus and I were less than concerned about the fact that we were going to miss the start of the game, content instead to nosh on modern comfort food until eventually arriving at Wrigley for the start of the 2nd inning....