The Mailbag: Let’s Talk About Beef Sandwiches


Welcome to The Chicago Homer’s Mailbag. It runs once a week unless it doesn’t, and in it I answer questions from readers via Twitter or email. The questions can be about any damn thing you please, and there likely isn’t a question I won’t answer. There may be questions I can’t answer, but I’ll try.

If you’d like to submit a question for the next edition of the mailbag it’s pretty simple. Either ask the question on Twitter using the #AskTCH hashtag — as long as you use the hashtag I will see it — or send an email to

And now that you know how to do it, let’s get to the this week’s questions.

This is actually a cruel question to be asking me at the moment. A few months ago I decided that I was getting a bit too round for my liking and I’ve been on a diet since. Beef sandwiches, sadly, are not a part of the diet. God I wish they were.

Wouldn’t that be the best diet ever?

“Eat three beef sandwiches a day and watch the pounds and inches melt off!”

But they aren’t.  Neither is pizza, burritos, soda, candy, holy shit I’m hating this diet so much right now. If you were to put a pizza in front of me I would devour the entire thing in five minutes, and I might just take a piece of you as well. I wouldn’t let your arms linger as you placed it down.

Anyway, your question was about beef sandwiches. There are a couple of places I really enjoy, like Johnnie’s on North Ave. in Elmwood Park, and there’s also the BBQ beef from Russell’s Barbecue which is also in Elmwood Park.  I wouldn’t call either my favorite, though.

No, when it comes to my favorite I’d go with Mickey’s on Mannheim Rd. in Bellwood. I’ve been eating beef sandwiches — and hot dogs — from Mickey’s since I was a little kid thanks to my dad. I don’t know if they’re the best beef sandwiches I’ve ever had, but they’re my favorite. I wish I had one right now, the juice dripping down my chin and onto my shirt. It’s my favorite shirt, but I don’t fucking care, because it tastes so good.

Now, this wasn’t part of your question, but since we’re on the topic of beef sandwiches, I feel the need to get this off my chest.

The beefs from Portillo’s are the most over-rated I’ve ever come across. I can hear all of Chicago gasping since I said something bad about Portillo’s, but it’s true. You need to know it. It’s not that they’re bad, it’s just there’s nothing special about them. In fact, the only beef I can eat from Portillo’s is the beef and cheddar simply because the generous amount of melted cheddar cheese helps disguise the rather ordinary beef.

The truth is, the only thing I’d go out of my way to get from Portillo’s is a chocolate malt. That’s it.

Any song. Any song will work because the only thing I care about while I’m having sex is the fact that I’m having sex. You could put on Barry Manilow and I wouldn’t give a shit, cuz I’d be having sex and the only thing I’d hear is the voice in my head yelling “weeeeeeeeeeeee!”

Honestly, I don’t think he’d look all that different than what we have already in Matt Forte. The fact is that ever since Johnson busted free for 2,000 yards in 2009, he’s been a bit of a dud. The big plays are gone. Yes, he’s rushed for over 1,000 in each season since then, but he’s done so at only 4.2 yards per carry. Don’t get me wrong, I think he’d be successful in the Bears offense, as he’s a good fit, but like I said, the Bears already have a pretty good fit there. And an expensive one too.

I think the reason you even ask is because you want the Bears to sign Johnson. Well, as you’ve no doubt figured out from what I’ve already said, I disagree. He’ll cost too much money for a backup.

He’ll end up with the Jets is my guess, and he’ll have decent fantasy value since they stress the run game so much. So instead of hoping the Bears can get Johnson, you should probably just try to get him on your fantasy team.


I really don’t think so, no, and I felt that way before the injuries to Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane. Simply put, the Western Conference playoffs are going to be a bloodbath, so considering how the Blackhawks have played this season, I just think it’s foolish to believe they’re going to get through it.

In the first round they’ll get the Avalanche, a team they’ve gone 1-3-1 against this year. Should they manage to get past Colorado, odds are they’ll play St. Louis, a team the Hawks are 1-1-2 against (and will likely be 1-2-2 after Sunday). Then they’ll face whichever team survives the other side of the bracket, likely Anaheim, San Jose or Los Angeles. The Hawks have fared a lot better against those three teams, but a lot of those games came before the Olympic break, and the Hawks just haven’t been the same team since.

I know it’s easy to forget, considering they won a Stanley Cup last summer, but in the two seasons before it the Hawks were bounced in the first round. I get the feeling there’s another early exit in the cards for them this season.

I think a good ceiling for Avi would be Magglio Ordonez, which would be pretty fantastic if we could get it. Will he get there? I have my doubts. He’s only 23 so there’s still plenty of time for him to grow, but there are a lot of kinks in Garcia’s game. He’s a bit too aggressive at the plate, swings at pitches he has no need to swing at nor should be swinging at, and his swing is a bit long. The swing can be fixed. The rest?

Well, whether or not he fixes the rest will probably determine how close to that ceiling he gets.

The good news is he doesn’t have to be a superstar to have value to this team.

You know the answer to this question. No, no he can’t. Though I will say that his early success is certainly a good sign, and I do believe that Abreu is going to prove to be the best player the Sox have on offense in the coming years. We may have found the worthy successor to Paul Konerko and Frank Thomas before him.

But Abreu is going to hit a stretch this season where he’s going to struggle. Eventually the word will get out on him throughout baseball just like it does everybody else. Pitchers will figure him out, and then he’ll have to figure them out all over again.

I’m fairly confident he will, because most scouting reports say that he has trouble with inside fastballs. To that I say, “no shit.” Show me a hitter that loves a 95 mph fastball in on the hands. Go ahead.


His plate coverage is outstanding, his power is phenomenal. He’s going to have to adjust to the better stuff he’s going to see in MLB than he saw in Cuba, but he will.

I believe I answered this better last week. No, he’s not.

Nobody, because that movie is cursed. People have been trying to make it for years but something always goes wrong. And honestly, I prefer it that way. I love the book, and the book is all I need. A movie version of it would just leave me unsatisfied.

Though it really is a perfect novel to adapt to a screenplay.

The good news is they are planning on bringing the book to the stage, with none other than Ron Fucking Swanson playing Ignatius J. Reilly.

I will be just fine with it because the pool you’re in only has five people in it anyway. Which is Yahoo’s fault. Every damn year I’ve done my pool for family and friends on Yahoo, and then this year they made you give them your phone number to sign up.

So fuck Yahoo for that. I’m glad hardly anybody signed up.


And that’s it for this week’s mailbag. If your question didn’t make it send in a better one next time.

Keep up to date with everything in Chicago sports by following The Chicago Homer on Twitter.

3 thoughts on “The Mailbag: Let’s Talk About Beef Sandwiches

  1. Thanks for responding to my tweet (ChiTownBoogaloo). It was mostly in jest since I figured a few people probably asked that. I agree with CJ0K being too much money but it does still raise the point that I do think the Bears will need a better backup than Michael Ford or whoever is on the depth chart.

    My other question is have you noticed how terrible Avi Garcia has been in RF? I feel like there has been at least 5 fly balls that have gone right over his head that an above average outfielder may have been able to snag. I have not liked his approach on most fly balls and furthermore, I think the outfield defense has been way below average. I’d be interested to see some sabermetrics on what a good OF may have been able to prevent thus far in the season (Yes, I know it’s only 4 games).


    • Yeah, I’ve noticed. I remember last season he wasn’t an outstanding RF, but he certainly looked better than he has this year. He’s taken some bad angles on balls from what I can tell.

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