Sunday, August 12, 2007

Paradise Pup

Paradise Pup
1724 S River Rd
Des Plaines, IL 60018

Well, it was quite the schlep up to the north Burbs to hit up this summertime legend, and the final verdict was: very good, but perhaps another victim of circumstance. You see, talking to my brother about the burger project, he suggested that Nat and I may have peaked too soon in the game, hitting up clear winners very early on. And yes, sadly, any fast food burger that I have for the rest of my life must endure the fate of being compared to the one at That's-A-Burger, the maiden voyage of the CBP. Perhaps they are different sides to the same coin: PP is in the NW burbs, while TAB rests on the South Side. PP makes a damn good preformed patty, TAB makes a massive Rorschach inkblot of meat. PP hosts a nice set of picnic tables, TAB has no seating. And ultimately, when it comes down to it, I prefer the TAB burger for a simple reason: The TAB burger was appropriately dry, whereas the PP burger was downright, well, wet. This is a complete matter of subjective taste, I know, but there is something about the PP burger that seemed all too standard, whereas the TAB burger was a different genre of meat sandwich all together.

The inevitable TAB comparison out of the way, let's analyze the PP burger on its own merits. It's big, it's charred, it comes on a challah roll, "everything" includes mayonnaise. Nat ordered a cheeseburger, I got a double bacon charburger, and our faithful companion, Andrew Kachel, was the only one of us to have his with the mayo. It's a damn fine burger, specifically a damn fine char job. I don't have much for comparison, but the char was even and made the burger smokily flavorful. Its deficiencies were straightforward: too much lettuce, (which tasted like air--is it fair to even complain about lettuce on a fast food burger?), a tad greasy, and for the doubleburger, the bun was an absolute joke. It was like a paper towel trying to support an anvil, which ended up making my meal somewhat of a burger salad. Reports are, however, that the bun provides the perfect amount of coverage for the single burger. Oh, and I should mention that the bread is quite good and very fresh-tasting.

As accompaniments, Kachel and Nat split the three-way fries, I got the small "cajun" fries and a chocolate malt, and Nat got a chardog. The three-way fries (sour cream, bacon, and Merkt's cheddar sauce) were decidedly above average. I actually quite enjoyed the seasoned cajun fries, although I couldn't really distinguish them from other fries I've had of that nature. The chardog was evidently solid but nothing to write home about. And the highlight of the whole experience, for me at least, was the chocolate malt. Whipped up quickly and with plenty of powder, this was the best chocolate malt I've had at such an establishment next to the one served at The Smokehouse in Berkeley, CA.

All in all, Paradise Pup is a charming place way too far from where I live to make a second pilgrimmage to. To put it all in miles-for-meat perspective, I would travel such distances for Kuma's, the Rosebud, and That's-a-Burger if they existed in Des Plaines. I would go to similar lengths to eat at Hot Doug's, Al's Italian Beef (the Taylor St. joint), Jim's Original, and maybe even Manny's. But PP didn't quite have the wow-factor of those other establishments. Now for the payoff. Nat took some great photos, most which speak for themselves, so I'll give em to you--uncaptioned--below:







27 comments:

Katherine said...

Hah, what an awesome project. You should have an ongoing "Chicago Salad Project" at the same time, to even things out a bit ;) If you need any extra tasters, let me know!

Kudos!

j.dot said...

omg...i saw a special last night on this burger and immediately thought of you. a greasy cheddar burger? wtf? im definitely gonna try it...adam is crazy...peace.

exmrsd said...

This place is the greatest!! Anyone catch it on the Food Network?? They were on Diners, Drive ins and Dives.

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Damian Hallace said...

I confused the address (1724 S River Rd Des Plaines, IL 60018) with the Viagra Online building's address....
So I love this kind of burgers because are so delicious and with a lot of fat and flavor.

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Man that looks awesome. Nothing is better a cheese burger with loads of roasted onion.
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