Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Bourbon Belly: Longman and Eagle

This is a post about wanting. Wanting a sense of newness, wanting whiskey, wanting substance, wanting to do the right thing the right way. Tuesdays are just wanting kind of days.

Which is not to say they can't be grateful days as well. Particularly when all of my wants meet such satisfying ends. Enter Longman & Eagle. Here is a place I'd been wanting to try. Nestled on Kedzie just up a major artery from the heart of Logan Square, the byline for this place reads "Eat Sleep Whiskey." I'll get down to the first and the last shortly but the first thing I remember hearing about this place was that it would be an inn. A proper, rock'n'roll inn where you pick up your key from the barkeep and get a cup of coffee and a shot of whiskey in the morning. That is up the alley of so many favorite people, I run out of fingers and toes to count them on.

My last few months have been glazed by greener grass fixations on places like New York and Nashville. Longman & Eagle reminds me of the famed fleaholes of yore on Manhattan's Lower East Side, only less fleas and coming with spirits knowledge that borders on encyclopedic. The neighborhood applies a little bit of Flatbush, a little bit of East Nash and a lot of Chicago which appears to be the crux of both.

I needed out of my routine for a night and requested Molly for a single but proper cocktail just off the blue line last week. We walked in and sat right down at the bar (my preferred seat so I can stare at the selections). Our bartender introduced himself (Derek) and promptly whisked us away from our good intentions. A cocktail and maybe a nosh we said. We started with whiskey sours (top picture) and the sun set right on top of the glossy foam topper only egg whites can give. It was glorious.

We set in on the menu, laying our top choices out to Derek, who said all of those things were good, but they would be there another time. The Flight of the Pig would not.

I'm familiar with Slagel Family Farms. They sell their wares out of the walk-in at mado (another place high on my to-dine list) and appear at the farmer's markets from time to time. Pigs in general seem to give me pause these days. They are smarter than the dogs I love so dearly and I can't bear the pain they suffer at the hands of a industry sorely in need of reform...and yet I eat pork. The caveat being that I (enthusiastically) eat pork that's been raised with the attention actual farmers give. Farmers like the ones running Slagel, Gunthorpe or Jake's. Makes all the difference (all taste, no tears) and I love supporting restaurants who are of a similar mindset (and usually even better educated on some less traditional cuts- see menu above).

That was an incredible meal in a low-key, unassuming new place. Sitting at the bar in the middle of the week, sharing course after course with my best girl and bantering with a fantastic mix-sir... some courses tasted like candy, some like salted rinds. Black Olive Caramel- who thinks of this stuff? All while sipping on a whiskey sour or a local brew. Toward the end of the night, Derek mixed up what will become Longman & Eagle's answer to a mimosa at brunch- the Seelbach.

It was the perfect note to end on because it secured that I'd be back. As a matter of fact, I'm headed that way shortly. And I won't be left wanting.

Longman & Eagle
2657 North Kedzie Avenue
Chicago, IL 60647-1607


Jessica (Bayjb) said...

I cannot wait to try this place. It sounds divine!

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