What’s up, everyone out there! Welcome to another funky-fresh edition of Mastication Monologues! While the weather has been getting better, that means that more and more people are getting out and about in Chicagoland. During much colder times, Janice and I visited the Firehouse Grill in Evanston and had a wonderful time there.
The overall ambiance is of the general pub variety, so no need to bust out your Sunday best when checking out this casual eatery. Looking over the menu, it wasn’t pages and pages of items, but what Firehouse does offer is tons of variety on every page. You want bacon wrapped jalapenos? Pierogi? Sweet smoked pork tacos? You got it! We started our meal with a couple of drinks. I got the decadent cookie dough milkshake ($5) while Janice got the Secret Stache Stout. My drink was as delicious as it sounds with plenty of creamy vanilla ice cream jam-packed with pieces of chocolate chip encrusted cookie dough, and Janice’s beer was a super stout with hints of vanilla and chocolate throughout the ebony brew. As for an appetizer, Janice was feeling the warm pretzel with the warm cheese sauce on the side ($7). We shared it, but I don’t think it was worth it. True, the bread was warm, soft on the inside, and slightly crispy on the outside, but it was on the smaller end along with an extremely liberal coating of salt atop it. Not my style. However, my entree ended up being the Gaucho Burger ($13). It was simple but everything I enjoyed in a burger. The goat cheese was plentiful, and the chimichurri sauce on the side was the icing on this cake of beef. I could now see why they called it the Gaucho Burger because of two clearly Argentinian cultural items. First, the gauchos were like Argentina’s answer to America’s cowboys, but they dressed a little differently, din’t carry guns but a giant knife instead, and were more prone to violence even over extremely small things. Second, there is the chimicurri sauce that is an icon of Argentine cooking. The South American country is well known for its high quality steak, which was connected to the gaucho’s herds of cattle, but instead of slathering A1 on a nice porterhouse, they dip pieces into this garlic, oregano, and olive oil based sauce. The name of the sauce is unknown, but I think the most logical answer is that it comes from the Basque word “tximitxurri” which roughly translates to “A mix of several things in no order”. Whatever it means, I didn’t care in that moment as I combined it all into one hearty and flavorful burger. The bun was sturdy and fresh with a light coating of flour on the bottom that made it easier to grip even though it was never going to fall apart in the first place. The bold and notable goat cheese melted on the medium well beef and combined very well with the garlic and herbal notes from the chimichurri’s olive oil. I was greatly satisfied with my meal, and Janice was as well.