Bit o’ Philly in Chicago

On your day, you should be able to do whatever you want. As a child, your day is your birthday. That’s all you get because you’re a kid and pretty much have it easy and don’t understand the awesome power of having an entire day in which to do what you want.

As we grow up, we realize that we shouldn’t waste your private day. This is an awesome responsibility so as a grown-up, you might get an extra day or two. If you’ve served your country, you get Veteran’s Day. If you’ve served your country in the Marines, you get November 10. If you’re Irish, you can call St. Patrick’s Day your own. If you’re a big flag enthusiast, have at it on Flag Day.

And, more commonly, if you’re a father, you get Father’s Day. So, I ask Paul what he wants to do on Father’s Day and we have the following exchange:

  • Me: What do you want to do on Father’s Day?
  • Paul: Go to the skate park. Skate. (He means on his skateboard. Have I mentioned that I’m married to a 12 year old in a 30-something body who often feels like he’s in an 80 year old body? Probably because he skates on a skateboard.)
  • Me: Cool. Anything you want to do with… I don’t know, your son?
  • Paul: Sure.
  • Me: What do you want to do?
  • Paul: Um…. uh….
  • Me: Do you maybe want to go to brunch?
  • Paul: Sure. But not on Sunday and not so early.
  • Me: So, you don’t want to go to brunch at all. But rather lunch on Saturday.
  • Paul: Yeah.
  • Me: Where?
  • Paul: Do I have to do everything around here? Fine. I’ll find a place.

Monti's LogoHe found Monti’s. A restaurant owned by a Philadelphia native husband and wife team which apparently has the best Philly cheesesteaks in Chicago. And, because Paul loves loads of meat on bread, it seemed like a perfect thing to do on his day. They also have a full bar. I happily went along because as we know… where Paul loves his meat, I love my drink. Monti’s is kind of a cross between diner and shi-shi bar.

They have two and half booths in the back and the rest of the tables are high tops. So, if you have a small child and those booths are taken, you’re kind of out of luck. But they do have a high chair or two, so if you nab that booth, you’re good to go.

What We Ate

Paul had the 12” Philly cheesesteak with provolone and I had the same thing except in an 8” variety. It comes on a mini sheet pan with a side of fries. I’ve never had a cheesesteak. In fact, I’ve never even been to Philadelphia unless you count that one time in the middle of the night when we got lost driving from Trenton, New Jersey to Boston. (Yeah, we were that kind of lost.)

But, back to the cheesesteaks. Paul thought they were pretty darn good and started waxing a bit nostalgic. I thought that they were supposed to be messy and gooey. But I’m wrong a lot. They were good. The bread was fabulous. And, the fries had some sort of seasoning on them that was salty but not overly so.

The Moo had the coconut chicken strips which came with a side of horseradish yuzu marmalade. These were mega strips. Like four boneless chicken breasts covered in coconut. Completely tasty. I could eat that marmalade on toast. I know because I took the three leftover strips home and had them the next day. Silly small stomached Moo.

In addition to the cheesesteaks, they also have hoagies, grinders, pizza, salads, and cheese plates. AND, gluten-free bread, if you need it.

What We Drank

Paul had a few glasses of craft beer from Philly. I had a drink that the bartender just mixed on up for me. It was a bit of sweet tea, vodka, and bourbon. A perfect summer beverage when you’re scarfing down a big old sandwich.

Location: 4757 N. Talman Avenue. Just south of Lawrence (it’s squarely on Talman, so you probably won’t see it if you’re driving by on Lawrence). Talman is one block west of Rockwell.

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