Sunday, my wife and I met some friends over at Sausage Fest. In previous years, this streetfair was known as the Lakeview Music Fest, which was not really all that interesting. The new theme seems to have made all the difference.
As in previous years, this street fair was located adjacent to Wrigley Field. This one was within walking distance from our place, but we were late meeting our friends, as usual. So we took a quick cab.
When we got there, there was yet another polka band playing, the third I would end up seeing live so far this year. This band was a little different than the others, most notably in both the music style and because Wrigleyville staple Ronnie Woo Woo was dancing on the stage with them.
The first thing we did was get a beer. Coronas and some other beers were available for 5 bucks. Some women were drinking wine, which I generally find weird at street fairs. But to each their own. I got some sort of pale ale with alliteration in it. I think it was pier pale ale or something like that.
With beverages in hand, we set out to find our friends. This gave me a chance to look over the various sausage purveyors in attendance at this mid-sized event. Eventually, we found them at near a street fair vendor selling 10″ italian sausages and pretty much every other street fair staple. They had just picked up an order of home made potato chips, a wonderful choice for this perfectly sunny day with a cool breeze.
The first thing I decided to eat was a turducken sausage from the Paulina Meat Market, a place that has been recommended to me several times. As the name implied, the sausage had turkey, duck, and chicken. And it was brilliant. This was probably the best non-pork sausage I have ever eaten. It came with onions, kraut, mustard, and cranberry horseradish. The cranberry horseradish was delightful and made me laugh. It had a very familiar flavor to it which only bolsters my opinion that all Chicagoans secretly want to put ketchup on their weiners, protestations aside.
Also at the Paulina Meat Market, our friends picked up an order of their Summer Sausage Chips. This was just a basket full of summer sausage sliced paper thin. So simple, yet really nice. The sausage was really tasty. But it did need a little salt, which was surpising for summer sausage.
The next thing I ate was from Chicago Dog’s House, a place I’d never heard of before and kept forgetting the name, which required me to walk back over to the stand multiple times to try and re-commit it to memory. They had some pretty gnarly stuff. They had a barbecue brat with white cheddar and bacon, which I only narrowly passed up. I instead ate an alligator sausage, which is the weirdest sausage I’ve ever eaten. It had tons of seasonings in it. Too many seasonings. The alligator didn’t taste like other alligator I’ve had before, which was a shame. It wasn’t all that great. It was supposedly marinated in some sort of Asian chile sauce. It didn’t taste like it. Overall, it was just really confusing. I didn’t know what I was supposed to be tasting.
The final sausage I would eat that day was a regular old beer brat from Bobak’s, a company that I was familiar with only because they have terrible commercials in the Chicagoland Area. I wanted to try some of the more exotic offerings at the sausage fest, but my wife doesn’t like exotic offerings at sausage fests, so I had to do something a little more mainstream. After taking a bite, my wife said, “finally, something I can eat.”
After everything else I had eaten that day, I thought it was rather plain. And we both agreed that the brats could have used a little more time getting seared on the grill.
To go with the sausages that day was some good music. We spent some time listening to Tommy & the High Pilots, a band I’d never heard of before but ended up liking quite a bit. They were really talented, which was apparent from the amount of hipster plaid and skinny jeans amongst the band members.