Stranded in Chicago by Stella

Theory, Chicago


Carne Asada Sandwich. Photo provided by Joel Sorinsky

I started my four-day trip on Sunday knowing that Stella was going to somehow mess up my trip on Tuesday.  We were scheduled to spend fifteen hours in Portland, Maine, but our ORD to PWM leg canceled before we even left YWG.

When we arrived at the downtown hotel in ORD, the crew and I decided to meet up and go out for some food.  We convened downstairs and after a quick search on Yelp we agreed on a place called Theory, and we could not have picked a better location!

After a short six-minute walk we found the sports bar and walked into a Hip-Hop Barbecue of music, nothing but old-school hip-hop (Hip-Hop Barbecue is a channel on Pandora).  It was like stepping back in time to my days of high school when hip-hop music was good! Nothing but old-school favorites like Biggy, Cypress Hill, Ludacris, Eminem and Snoop Dog, just to name a few.

Our bartender handed us our menus and a round of drinks, and I asked my usual question, “What are the most popular items on the menu?”

She rattled off a few things, but nothing that hadn’t already caught my eye, so I had to ask, “How is the Carne Asada sandwich?”

With that her eyes lit up and she said, “That’s MY favorite!”

“Done!”  I said.

As soon as the food showed up, Joel, the manager was right behind thanking us for coming in and offered his advance, “Enjoy the food.”

The first thing I noticed was the incredibly fresh brioche bun, we all know a sandwich can be judged on this alone!  A stale bun is the first sign of a bad sandwich.  I fell in love at first bite with an incredible explosion of taste!  The meat was perfectly seasoned, incredibly tender and cut up small enough that you are not ripping pieces apart with your teeth. The pepper jack offered a nice kick of heat, yet the guacamole, chipotle aioli and pico de gallo moistened and balanced it out perfectly.  Finally the bun that looked fresh was beyond fresh and just melted in my mouth.

I knew after two bites that This Sandwich was beyond good enough to make it into Food Bites!  Joel came around again and I motioned him to stop by.  I had to compliment him and I mentioned this column.  Luckily, my First Officer, Pablo, ordered the same sandwich, and we both complimented Joel on this amazing achievement and balance of perfection.  My Flight Attendant, Cotty, ordered the pulled pork sandwich, which also looked incredibly tasty! I will have to order that next time, maybe… I might just stick with what I know!

Carne Asada Sandwich. Photo taken by Craig Pieper

I paired my sandwich with a double IPA made from an Illinois local craft brew, Solemn Oath Beers, which just happened to be on special that night.  The Double IPA had an incredible hop flavor that I particularly like and it married very well with the Carne Asada.

As I write this piece, it’s lunchtime, the day after, and my biggest regret is not ordering a Carna Asada for the road!  I guess it will have to wait until next time!  If you happen to be in downtown Chicago, be sure to stop in a little place called Theory and grab a hold of this amazing sandwich, say “Hi!” to Joel.

As always be sure to enjoy any alcohol responsibly.  If you have any great spots to eat at, feel free to share them with us…


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