Monday, November 1, 2010

Meat, Metal, and Mac 'n Cheese for the Table: Kuma's Corner

Although it seems to be all I write about anymore, I promise this isn't going to turn into a food/eating blog. I mean, yeah, food and eating take up a lot of my time, what with being a part of my damn family, living in a city with delicious and interesting restaurants, and personally feeling excitement and motivation about cooking and baking. But there are other things in life too, right? Like...nature ? I don't know. There are other things. I promise. There are already enough fantastic food blogs out there. Here are some of my favorites:

Epic Portions: I'm pretty sure one of the writers on this site is my soul mate. Maybe we'll get married. Also, he's real into "eating challenges," like when you get your picture on the wall for finishing 4 pounds of bacon. Excellent.

This Is Why You're Fat: This site is gross. But it's also entertaining and funny.

Everybody Likes Sandwiches: This woman has pretty healthy, but delicious-sounding recipes, and really cute layout and pictures.

Delicious Food: THIS one! The writer behind this site is a genius. I'm sorry, but she is. She can be kind of an ass sometimes, but she's good.

Okay. So with that in mind, here's another story about eating and food. Better yet, it's a story about eating food with my family! This family of mine, they are voracious eaters. When I was a teenager, I witnessed my cousin Samer finishing an entire turkey leg from the Taste of Chicago, which I'd never seen before. If you've been to The Taste, you know what I'm talking about; giant turkey legs, meaty and dripping, being carried around and not finished by grown ass burly men. And my little 14-year-old cousin showed them all up when he polished off the turkey leg and went back for more.

Luai and Laith will often partake in all-you-can-eat sushi. Several of us used to get a "platter" of wings (now called a "party pan," apparently), which serves 8 - 16 people, from Buffalo Joe's and eat them in my parents' backyard. Most likely, it served 8 or less. I myself ate an entire Awesome Blossom once, but to be fair, it was because of my family, and a wonderful bet, that I did it. There are rarely any Thanksgiving leftovers. I mean, look. We know how to eat.

Despite this, I was surprised to realize the group that had convened when we'd planned a big trip to Kuma's Corner in Chicago one weekend: Layla, Lameis, Emil, Mladenka, and myself. Not the biggest of the eaters, which made me a bit nervous, but I knew they'd pull through. You see, Kuma's is an adventure, a challenge, and quite an experience, to say the least. Kuma's is known for it's burgers that are all named after metal bands. They're served on thick pretzel rolls, and you get the option of a 10oz. burger, boneless chicken breast, garden burger, or chicken tenders. The plates come with the sandwich and on the side, a heap of waffle fries or homemade chips. Even the ketchup has jalapeños in it. Everything is so intense.

Have a listen to what this jackass has to say:

Since being featured on The Food Network, Kuma's is near impossible to get into - that is, without waiting for hours. And so, it was pretty dumb for us to go on a Friday night, but it was the earliest I could get to town and our only night free together. However, we went into it with a good attitude, the knowledge that we'd be waiting for a long time, and the intention to have a few drinks. And it totally worked.

A word of advice. Don't drink beer at Kuma's if you plan on eating. You'll get too full! Have a few vodkas. Leave some room in your stomach. Because dudes? Besides the famous burgers, there is an option to build your own mac n' cheese. Holy crap. I actually think this is the most delicious thing on the menu. We get an order "for the table" and add in bacon and mushrooms. Ugh. So ridiculous.

Alright, so the burgers. The Kuma's Burger has a fried egg on it. I love fried eggs on burgers and sandwiches. I'm sure it's prety much the unhealthiest thing you could ever eat, but it's so good! Here are a few views of the Kuma's Burger, which Mladenka ordered. Bacon, cheddar, and a fried egg!
Look at that wobbly yolk! Ha, gross.
And the tallness of that burger...impressive.
Emil got a burger none of us had ever ordered before: The Goblin Cock. One of my favorite moments of the night was when he looked up at the waitress, all wide-eyed and innocent, and asked, sincerely and geniuinely, "How's the Goblin Cock, in your opinion?"
It's pretty much like getting an entire hot dog on your burger: Bacon, cheddar cheese, a ¼lb. Vienna hot dog, tomatoes, onion, neon green relish, sport peppers, pickles, celery salt, and mustard.
Layla also tried a new one: the Neurosis.
This had cheddar, swiss, sautéed mushrooms, caramelized onions, and horseradish mayo. Layla commented that the burger really could have used an additional meat on it, like bacon. So proud of my cousin. So, so proud.
Lameis and I both opted for an all-time favorite: The Mastodon.
This one has BBQ sauce, cheddar, bacon, and frizzled onions on top.
You can feel and hear the onions crunch when you take a bite.
Here's Emil, good old L'il Brudder, showing off the Goblin Cock that he proudly ordered.
Here's Layla and I with our burgers. Look at the determination in Layla's eyes!
That's the wide-eyed, innocent look I was telling you about. Strange, isn't it?
One more view of the Kuma's Burger. Look at that melted cheese and egg in there! Oh god, I love layers and pictures of layers.
Here's our receipt. It does not include any of the pre-dinner drinks. I wish I had evidence of that.
The after effects of a night like this are numerous, and often unpleasant. Thankfully, we as a family have somewhat realized some limits in our adult years, and each of us only ate half of our burgers (you can eat the rest later!) and took the other half home. Nevertheless, this still happens:
We were also very thankful that Layla lives about 30 feet away from Kuma's, so we all trudged up to her place to rest for awhile. There was not a lot of talking; mostly groaning and mumbling. We couldn't even drink water for awhile. Eventually the others left and I passed out and had insane dreams, I'm sure. The next morning I woke up to a still-full stomach, a greasy wallet in my purse, and a view of this line to get into Kuma's for lunch. It was 11:00 am.

So what's the moral of the story, you ask? Well jeez, there doesn't always have to be a moral, you know. Relax. But in this case, there is. I heard a lot of criticism and judgement about the fact that we waited almost two hours to eat at Kuma's. But you know what? If you were with my awesome family, you wouldn't mind waiting 2 hours. Because we have fun, man! We have a good time! And sometimes you have to just calm the hell down and wait for awhile and enjoy your company, and then two hours later, you get the reward of a giant burger called The Goblin Cock. And a mac n' cheese for the table. And a wonderful story to tell.

Trust me, it was worth it.


SophisticatedBrew said...

I sincerely hope I can partake in Kuma's with you one day. Also there are some really good BEVERAGE blogs out there, along with the food blogs. Just sayin'.

nichole said...

Love this, love the food writing. Because the way you do it, it's about more than the food!

Reem Tara said...

Thanks so much, Nichole! I'm a big fan of your website, too. =)

Elizabeth said...

Well done, Reem! I think it's a really healthy message to put out there that there are awesome women who are shamelessly into food, and are proud of it! :)