I noticed a few months ago that Red Hot Ranch was opening on a stretch of Ashland Avenue that I traverse on a daily basis. I thought to myself, "great, another hot dog joint." They claim to have fresh-cut fries, so that's not a terrible thing. When they opened, I stopped and had a hot dog and fries. The hot dog was a perfect rendition of a Chicago-style hot dog and the fries were excellent. The menu was limited. You could get burgers or hot dogs in addition to the fries. So, I figured it was a nice little addition but not some place I'd give much thought to after this initial visit. Little did I know that I was completely underestimating the burger.
I grew up eating Korean food on a daily basis. Even then, going out for Korean BBQ was always a treat. To this day, it's still a treat and I always look forward to it. I think that little tradition is also taking hold in my family now. In addition, it's an experience that my family and I enjoy sharing with other families. I do feel fortunate that we have great Korean BBQ restaurants to choose from in our little corner of Chicago.
Gogi is fairly new. I noticed it recently as I was driving in the area. It occupies a space that was previously Hae Woon Dae, another Korean BBQ restaurant. I had been there throughout the years but it had begun to decline in quality, in my opinion, and I hadn't been in a while. I looked up some reviews for Gogi and it looked promising. So, I was quite looking forward to checking it out. We had made plans with another family to go out for Korean BBQ so this was the perfect opportunity!
In my opinion, BOKA has been one of those restaurants in town that you could always count on for a great meal. It may not always be the hottest ticket in town but it was always a tough prime time reservation to secure. The restaurant under Chef Giuseppe Tentori could always be counted on to deliver. So, when it was announced that new chef would be at the helm, it was a little cause for concern. That is, until I heard that Chef Lee Wolen would be taking over. Chef Wolen was most recently heading the kitchen at the Lobby Restaurant at the Peninsula Hotel. I had an excellent meat there last summer. He was best known for his whole roasted chicken, which was spectacular. But, all of the food that evening was delicious, so I was truly excited to see what he would do at BOKA.
I'm not sure where you live but here in Chicago, our winter has been brutal! Record cold temperatures and snowfall have been the norm. President's Day weekend usually comes at time when we all need a break. Some winters, that break is more welcome than others. This winter, that long weekend was crucial! We looked for last minute trips to somewhere warm but it just didn't work out as it's a very popular weekend for travel. As an alternative, we decided to stay closer to home and spend the weekend in Wisconsin. We spent one night at an indoor water park hotel for some faux warm-weather water fun, coupled with some skiiing/snowboarding.