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Ready to Get Your German On?

Edelweiss1This Sunday we loaded up Das Auto and headed out for an Alpian adventure at Edelweiss located at 7650 W. Irving Park Rd in Norridge just west of the City line. The days of good old German dining have long passed in Chicago. Whether it’s the loss of the Golden Ox (formerly at 1578 N. Clybourn), Zum Deutschen Eck (Southport Ave.), or even the significant changes at the Bergoff (I don’t really consider this German dining any longer) you can always go home when you hit Edelweiss. The restaurant has all the creature comforts of German culture from the colorful bier steins, the wall plates or just the bar which looks like something out of a hunting lodge in the Alps. The staff always makes you feel Wilkommen in Edelweiss. The food is straight out of Bavaria such as Bayerische Schweinshaxe-a 3 lbs pork shank crisply baked and served with a beer sauce and 3 sides of your choice ($26.95); Rinsrouladen-a West Prussian favorite consisting of thinly sliced beef stuffed with delicious onions, pickles, bacon and spices bathed in a red wine sauce ($18.95); or Kasespatzle-for the vegetarian-homemade spatzle (I call it German pasta) baked with Swiss cheese, roasted vegetables and caramelized onions ($15.95), Edelweiss has it all and more.

Edelweiss2 This afternoon we started out with a small cup of the liver dumpling soup. Before you gag, it’s beef and liver molded into a dumpling and it is fantastic. Served in a steaming hot salty broth the generously portioned dumpling is a perfect way to warm yourself up on a chilly Chicago autumn afternoon. My wife’s grandmother was from Bavaria and used to make this dish during Christmas. Trust me: even if you’re not a liver fan you’ll love this. For the main show, I tried the Edelweiss Platter (pictured in the post-$22.95) and man was it good. Mounds of sweet and savory red cabbage that melts in your mouth, a small mountain of sauerkraut, pork schnitzel, ham, rinsrouladen, pork medallions and a veal brat make this dish almost too much to handle. Oh, and did I mention the pan-fried potatoes? Delish.  The meat is cooked perfectly and the flavors truly come forth. The veal bratwurst is tender and milky just as you’d expect, while the schnitzel sends you to heaven. My wife got the Schweinemedallions-($19.95) –juicy pork tenderloin medallions in a rich thick cognac sauce which was fantastic. Kids are welcome and they do have a kiddie menu. Our youngest hit the chicken schnitzel ($6.95 which included a soft drink and a small sundae). I’m glad he didn’t ask for pancakes. The oldest went with the man-sized Weiner schnitzel ($22.95) and could not come close to finishing it. Now, you can’t have German food without beer and Edelweiss has a great selection; however, it all depends on how you drink your beer. Ever drink beer out of a 2 liter boot? How about a 1 liter stein? Well you can try both at Edelweiss-just don’t operate any heavy machinery afterwards. I went with a normal sized Dortmunder (DAB) which is a pale lager perfectly situated for an autumn afternoon of Germanic delicacies. If you’re really adventuresome Edelweiss also has a selection of Lambic beers, a beer brewed in the Pajottenland of Belgium. What distinguishes these brews is that they are spontaneously fermented and supposedly exposed to the wild yeasts and bacteria native to the Senne Valley. Of course, what’s German food without a little musik? On weekends you can catch live music from local German bands (yes, there are local German bands) singing old time favorites including…wait for it…Edelweiss. It really gets you in the mood. They have a great Oktoberfest and next week their Hunter’s Fest begins (Nov. 15-24) where you can sample wild boar, venison, pheasant and-yes-rabbit (or hassenfeffer). Don’t knock it until you try it. So put on your lederhosen and march yourself on over to Edelweiss to experience a true Chicago classic.

Anthony McMahon
24/7 City Secrets Contributor

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