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Shoveling Schnitzel

Misty gets a head start on her 2008 German vacation with lots of sausage at Resi's Bierstube.
Sunday Jul 22, 2007.     By Misty Tosh
Centerstage Chicago Nightlife City Guide Arts

All month I've been researching my next great escape, daydreaming about tropical environments, Tuscan vineyards and the sweltering heat of Indonesia. After much exploring, I located an olive farm in Italy that trades free room and board for a week of toiling in the fields picking olives. I was ready to book away, but the available dates coincided with my month-long Indo volunteer/learn-to-scuba-dive trip I planned for November. Bah!

Back to the drawing board, I thought, until a pal phoned with news that she was getting married next summer at her fiance's family's vineyard in Germany. Perfect timing! I could enjoy a beautiful wedding while picking grapes in a classic vineyard. Having planned my first trip of 2008, I decided to celebrate at Resi's Bierstube, a German tavern on Irving Park with a fantastic beer garden out back. If you're like me, you've driven past it a hundred times, never acknowledging its existence. What a shame. It makes for the perfect hideaway to plot future escapades, especially if you go early to catch prime patio seating.

I've never sought out German food in Chicago; despite living in Deutschland as a kid, its cuisine doesn't tempt my taste buds, and I'm not a beer drinker. Still, who says you can't order a Cuba libre instead of a stein? I started my meal at Resi's with a couple of those stout, rum-filled babies, and soon it was time to dig into the menu. All quasi-vegetarianism goes out the door when it comes to German food.

A bocce ball-size wiener schnitzel sandwich on a soft bun with gobs of sauerkraut piled on top; thick bratwurst with dark coarse mustard; crispy fried potatoes; potato pancakes with vats of sour cream and rye bread; and a huge pile of semi-sweet applesauce arrived at our table. After plowing through this "appetizer" course, we nearly made ourselves sick by ordering a truckload more. Another brat? Sure! Anyone up for one more schnitzel? Hell, why not! When our neighboring table received a ginormous pile of rahmschnitzel, a delightful mix of breaded schnitzel, creamy mushroom gravy and buttered egg noodles, we begged our stunned waitress to bring us a plate.

I cannot remember another time when I ran home so quickly, tossed on my pajamas midday (hey, we start early) and lay in bed curled up in a tiny ball trying to soothe my ailing stomach. Was it worth for all that sensational food? Of course. Will I be doing the same thing next year in Germany? Heck ya! I guess I do love German food, so maybe I'll make like the locals and down a beer next time…that might be pushing it. Thank God rum tastes good with everything under the sun!

The Final Rave: On a pretty day, the beer garden fills up fast with impossibly young parents, happy babies and enormous glasses full of cold Weiss. Go early.

Keep It Going:

Eat It: Romanian Kosher Sausage Company
This butcher shop has the most unbelievable garlic sausage I've ever tasted. You will never look at sausage the same way after tasting it.

Drink It: Hopleaf
Like I said, I'm not a beer drinker, but this gem has the best selection of brew in the city. They also have killer mussels and frites.

Do It: O'Donovan's
Just down the street from Resi's sits this perfect neighborhood hangout. Loads of hipsters claim seats at its Sunday brunch; but if you swing your timing just right, you can get in, get full and get on your way before most folks open their sleepy eyes.

Get Crazy With It: Oktoberfest
People all around the world celebrate this fest come September. Be prepared to eat loads, drink more and crash at dawn.


Explore More

Bars & Clubs

Brand-New Bars

Brand-New Bars

Get divey on Grace; go downstairs at River North's Curio.

Food & Dining

New Restaurants

New Restaurants

Go Dutch at Vincent and satisfy a familiar sweet tooth at BomBon.

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