Eggs are up and they’re looking sunny,
Yellow yoke is warm and runny.
Tomato halves are grilled and lying,
Next to the white bread fresh from frying.
Thunderstorms are on the way,
Just another Irish breakfast day!
– Gaelic Storm, “Irish Breakfast Day”
IRISH BREAKFAST BURGER
- Fried egg
- Irish bacon
- Irish sausage
- Black pudding
- White pudding
- Aged Irish cheddar cheese
- 8oz. prime beef patty
- Red onion
Cozily situated on W. Diversey, Paddy Long’s Beer and Bacon Pub unsurprisingly specializes all things related to sizzling creations of bacon, and tankards of foamy beer. And it’s a pub. Paddy Long’s is one of those deceptively tiny places on the outside which surprise with an elongated and larger than life interior, and if someone out there decides to study the warp in space in time caused by large quantities of bacon and craft beer in one place, they should definitely pay a visit to this divey place, though I’m sure that all attempts to get an accurate measurement will be as futile as they were in The Navidson Record.
18 beers on tap, a large selection of craft brews,$4 beers of the month, great appetizers (50% off on Mondays), and the unmistakable, unbeatable aromatic aura of bacon make this a great place to sit down and listen to your tongue whetting a vorpal appetite.
And speaking of appetite.. Paddy Long’s menu does not need pictures, and I did not need much convincing to order the Irish Breakfast Burger. Yes, this place is The Bomb when it comes to bacon, but the absurd list of ingredients on this shout out to the Full breakfast culinary masterpiece just begged me to devour it, and devour it I did. The IBB is by far one of the meatiest burgers I’ve ever had the pride and joy to stuff down my gullet, boasting three different kinds of regional Irish specialty sausages, actual Irish bacon, and of course a 1/2lb. prime beef patty, all of which were charred quite well and full of smoky, grilled goodness. The fried egg adorning this pile of meat was huge and fried to perfection before the egg white had had time to shrink, and although I prefer my eggs with a runny yolk, I really enjoyed how soft and good it was. The Irish bacon was fantastic and just a tad sweet and without the crumbly or leathery texture of regular cuts of your run of the mill bacon. The Irish sausage was all over the place; though it was nice and seared on the outside, it was quite juicy on the inside and I enjoyed eating it on the side as well. It was just cooked to perfection. Seriously, there’s a lot of this good stuff. I know that there was supposed to be some Irish aged cheddar cheese, but it was not enough to permeate through the wall of flesh, somewhat blending with the richness of the egg for a uniform flavor. Personally, I’d go with some more cheese to attempt to “bind” the various bits and pieces of meat together, though even then it will probably pale in contrast. Under the cheese were a few puck-sized slices of the oatmeal-stuffed black and white pudding with the pork blood-enriched, unctuous black pudding eventually outshining all of the other ingredients with a bold, earthy flavor followed by the sweet taste of iron. The thick slices of both puddings added a great deal of chewiness matched only by the seared on the outside medium-rare burger, and towards the end of the ordeal I was seriously afraid of not being able to finish it all. It’s seriously a lot.
Last, but not least was the trio of tomato, lettuce, red onion and pickle. It’s quite the usual, if a little boring, topping selection for many burgers out there, but the veggies really added a lot of much needed refreshing crunch in each bite. What a great example of something so simple and usual really bringing and improving on all the flavor! I mean, as much as I love meat, I also love my vegetables. What I found to be truly impressive about the Irish Breakfast Burger was how well grilled all the meats were, and just overall how unpretentious and “home-cooked” it all felt. I am not Irish at all, but I have a feeling that those lucky enough to be will be able to taste at least some authenticity.
With the anticipation of the Irish Breakfast Burger I was tempted to take advantage of Monday’s Half Off on all appetizers and decided to go for something different and free of meat, because I was afraid of protein overkill. Thus, I ordered the Alpha King Beer Battered Pickle Spears. Battered in the amazing, amazing Three Floyds Brewing Co. & Brewpub Alpha King American Pale Ale [7.0% ABV] (available on tap!), the pickles were actually very lightly fried and still juicy with a slight hint of vinegar brine, crunchy and all covered with a thin, crispy batter. First of all, using Alpha King is all kinds of crazy considering how much a 6-pack of it goes for around here, though I guess it’s less of a burden when you get it by the barrel and when you have a successful business, and your job does not make you, as Chicago’s very own (and only) wizard and detective extraordinaire Harry Dresden once said, “…. suffer through doing annoying and humiliating things until you get paid not enough money. Like those Japanese game shows, only without all the glory.” I wasn’t really able to taste the magnificent Alpha King in the batter, but I might need to take the monetary hit and use it for when I fry things at home if it’s all that’s needed to magically turn batter into tasty, tasty gold.
I was also able to try the Beer Battered Bacon Strips, which had that cracked pepper applewood smoked bacon in a similar beer batter, as well as one of their Quesadillas. With cracked pepper bacon! Seriously, bacon quesadillas are all kind of amazing. Why haven’t I hear of them before?
Sure, I instinctively ached and itched (should I see a doctor?) for a pint of Guiness Ltd. Guinness Draught Irish Dry Stout [4.20% ABV], but my senses eventually stopped me from doing so; it was going to be too rich and too filling for the Irish Breakfast Burger. Instead, I opted in for something lighter and ordered a pint of Tallgrass Brewing Company Tallgrass 8-Bit Pale Ale American Pale Ale [5.20% ABV], which was the $4 Beer of the Month. Though this was just a classic example of an APA and only stood out with an above average hint of grassy leaves and lemon zest for its type, the 8-Bit was just what I needed to wash down the IBB with. It was light, hoppy and balanced with a citrus flavor here, and a floral aroma there. Not great, but better than good indeed, and superb enough to order a second one. The tip of the libations iceberg, and the drink to celebrate my triumphant act of overeating, however, went to…
The Yellow King – Jeppson’s Malört, Cynar, ginger liquor, sweet Vermouth, bitters – $9
With a name like that, how could I refuse the challenge? More and more cocktails popping up all over the place after the mysterious force from the popualr True Detectives and Chambers’ The King in Yellow, but I feel like this is the only cocktail crazy enough to capture the otherwordly, alien insanity of Carcosa. To properly describe the cocktail’s weird taste I want you to picture the cliched scene of a shaman giving you a potion that’s “good for you”, or your 12-year-old self chugging whisky for the first time. That’s the Malört face you just pictured and probably made, that’s the cosmic strangeness of the King in Yellow, and that’s the bitter-sweet ordeal of sipping Paddy Long’s Yellow King cocktail. It smells fantastic. All the florals and herbs, the predominant wormwood and distant hints of the Cynar’s artichoke, the hints of quinine, ginger, cloves and orange peel and Hastur knows what other botanicals create a very intoxicating and attractive aroma. It’s like medicine that you know is going to suck going down, yet you want to take a sip of it anyway just to see what happens. This is definitely a digestif cocktail meant to be consumed slowly, patiently and carefully while having a conversation with your friends.. proooooobably about the cocktail. No flair, no umbrellas, no garnishes whatsoever, but it still had the complexity and color of a Scotch or brandy, and I found myself slowly turning the glass and moving the liquid inside while pondering my own impending doom. And you know what? It got better the more I sipped on it, until I was eventually able to take normal-sized drinks, and laugh hysterically, and somewhat maniacally in the face of danger. Overall, it was interesting, maybe even decent, especially considering the infamous Jeppson’s Malört, and if I had the stuff to make this I would probably use it to ward my soul from the onslaught of Chicago’s winters.