6. Wild Boar Sloppy Joe, Longman & Eagle, Paul Anderson
I don’t know what all I can say about Paul. Paul is a huge personality, a sort of spitfire.
Hanging with Paul is always a welcome adventure, and like any adventure it can be as challenging as it is rewarding…but it’s always rewarding eventually.
This said, it was surprisingly difficult to get him to sit down to a sandwich with me. We have a pretty similar taste in food – the Smoke Daddy on Division Street is a regular lunch spot for us – and he’s the only other Bridgeport High School graduate I know in Chicago. Along with my cousin Laura, Paul’s presence was one of the things that made Chicago an easy choice when I decided I was going to realistically pursue standup. He tagged along to all my first open mics, and was encouraging even when they didn’t go so well. Despite all this, I can never seem to catch him around lunchtime.
So when he texted me for lunch, I looked at the sloppy joe in my hand, had an inspirational flash, and texted back “dinner?”
Longman & Eagle has been on my destination list since long before I moved to Chicago. Here with my parents one summer, I looked up best restaurants in an attempt to broaden my horizons, and hopefully get them to pay for it. We ended up having cocktails and pretty impressive charcuterie at Sable, but the meat heavy beer and whiskey place on the list with two names caught my eye, and I’ve been meaning to go ever since. The question is, was it worth the wait?
Absolutely. Skipping the wait for a table (the place was packed!) we sat at the bar and grabbed a cocktail. The New Black, their house version of a Black Manhattan was invigourating, while Paul’s “Diamondback” eschewed any sense of modesty and rather curtly reminded you “you’re here to drink.”
Drinks were followed by a monster of a sloppy joe, Number 15, filled with a sweet, almost tangy meat seasoned with a unique sloppy joe sauce and full leaves of sage. I really wanted to taste the boar, and worried that the sauce was perhaps covering its flavor. Having tasted boar since, I realized it really wasn’t. This is a really intense meat that’s full of subtleties (and not-so-subtleties) that you can only hope to compliment. Longman & Eagle succeeds.
Even after all this, after stuffing ourselves with beef-fat fries, we were able to go to a birthday party for a mutual friend where we managed to not sing karaoke, and then just a little later I went to Cole’s Bar and was able to do a solid set, feeling full, relaxed, and just kind of happy with the things in my life.