Exploring Chicago: Cigar Edition

 

Chicago's Restaurant Week is January 19th through February 4th! Did you know Chicago is ranked as one of the best food cities in the country? ūüĎÄ Not only do we love our food, but we love our city as well‚Äď which is why we're celebrating Chicago Restaurant Week with Ralph's Neighborhood Packs! Introduce your palate to a world of flavor and celebrate what makes Chicago one of a kind.

Whether you're trekking around the north side, the south side, or somewhere in between‚Äď there's no shortage of amazing food and fun things to do. Explore Chicago's neighborhoods with us!

Pilsen:

Pilsen is a neighborhood that has something for everyone. Whether you're a foodie, an art enthusiast, or a music lover, Pilsen has it all. The award-winning restaurants in Pilsen serve up delicious and authentic Mexican cuisine, showcasing the flavors and spices that are synonymous with Latino culture. From mouthwatering tacos to flavorful tamales, Pilsen's culinary scene is sure to satisfy your taste buds.

But Pilsen is not just about food. It is also home to iconic music venues that have hosted some of the biggest names in Latin music. From intimate jazz clubs to lively salsa bars, Pilsen offers a vibrant nightlife that will have you dancing the night away. The neighborhood is also known for its sensational murals, which can be found on almost every street corner. These murals tell stories of the neighborhood's history and culture, and are a testament to the artistic talent that thrives in Pilsen. Click here to view Pilsen restaurants participating in Chicago's Restaurant Week.

Carloni Cigars: In the short time that they have been around, Carloni Cigars has quickly risen to become one of the biggest tobacco companies in Mexico. Their success can be attributed to their commitment to quality and their exceptional range of cigar brands. Carloni Cigars takes pride in sourcing the finest leaves from the Dominican Republic, Mexico, and Ecuador, ensuring that their blends are of the highest caliber. One of Carloni Cigars' standout offerings is the Carloni Special Edition. This cigar is a testament to the brand's commitment to excellence. With a smooth and mild to medium strength profile, the Carloni Special Edition is a true beauty. It delights the palate with notes of earth, cream, and toast, creating a harmonious and enjoyable smoking experience.

Chinatown:

Chicago's Chinatown is a cultural gem that offers a unique experience for locals and tourists alike. With its rich history dating back to the late 1800s, this vibrant neighborhood has become a hub for Chinese culture, traditions, and cuisine. The distinct architecture, bustling streets, and authentic shops and restaurants make it a must-visit destination.

As you explore Chicago's Chinatown, you'll be captivated by the sights and sounds that surround you. The streets are adorned with intricate murals and traditional Chinese symbols. One of the highlights of visiting Chinatown is the incredible food. From dim sum to Peking duck, the neighborhood is home to a plethora of family-owned restaurants serving up authentic Chinese cuisine. Traditional music and performances add to the lively atmosphere, creating an immersive experience. Visit Holu in Chinatown for Chicago Restaurant deals!

2019 Punch Egg Roll: The Punch Egg Roll is a limited edition 4 1/2 x 50 Rothschild that features a shaggy, unwrapped foot that emulates the texture of cabbage when biting into an egg roll. A 5-country blend of fillers from Colombia, the Dominican Republic, Mexico, and the United States is held together by an Ecuadorian Sumatra binder and a dark and toothy Connecticut broadleaf wrapper. The Punch Egg Roll delivers a luxurious medium strength smoke, with an excellent draw, and a flavor profile boasting rich nuances of earth, pepper, and an underlying sweetness.

New City/Back of the Yards:

Located on the southwest side of Chicago, Back of the Yards is a neighborhood with a rich history. Part of the New City community area, it is also home to the neighboring neighborhood of Canaryville. The name "Back of the Yards" originated from the former Union Stock Yards that once occupied the area. This is the very neighborhood that Upton Sinclair wrote about in his groundbreaking 1906 novel, "The Jungle."

Back in the day, the Union Stock Yards were a bustling hub of activity, with thousands of workers and animals passing through its gates. However, as the years went by, the stock yards eventually closed their doors in the early 1970s. This closure marked a turning point for the neighborhood, as it underwent a significant transformation. Click here to view restaurants participating in Chicago's Restaurant week.

Drew Estate Kentucky Fire Cured: The Drew Estate cigar portfolio boasts top-selling blends crafted from the world's finest and rarest premium tobacco. The key distinguishing feature of Kentucky Fire-Cured is the incorporation of American fire-cured tobacco leaves sourced from Kentucky and Virginia. Unlike traditional Central American blends, these select leaves are air-cured in separate curing barns, a practice dating back over 200 years. This unique process infuses the tobacco with a smoky and almost meaty style flavor, setting it apart from other blends on the market. Rich notes of roasted hickory, oak, and a sweet nuttiness further enhance the bold and exclusive quality of this top-tier blend. An excellent cigar to pair with a delicious protein-rich dinner.

Lakeview/Wrigleyville:

Lakeview's charm lies in its unique combination of relaxation and entertainment. The neighborhood's proximity to Lake Michigan provides residents and visitors with stunning views and a refreshing breeze. Whether you want to take a leisurely stroll along the lakefront trail or have a picnic in one of the many parks, Lakeview offers the perfect escape from the hustle and bustle of the city.

Located within Lakeview, Wrigleyville is a must-visit destination for sports enthusiasts. It is home to the iconic Wrigley Field, where the Chicago Cubs play their home games. The electric atmosphere on game days is unmatched, with fans filling the streets and nearby bars. Even if you're not a die-hard baseball fan, the energy and excitement of Wrigleyville are contagious. Click here to view Lakeview/Wrigleyville participating in Chicago's Restaurant Week!

Dominican Big Leaguer Cigars: When it comes to cigars, the Dominican Republic is renowned for its craftsmanship and expertise. And one brand that stands out among the rest is DBL Cigars, also known as Dominican Big Leaguer Cigars. This unique name is a nod to the Dominican Republic's passion for both cigars and baseball, two beloved traditions in the country. The DBL Habano blend is the result of a meticulous process that involved countless tests and tastings by a panel of experienced cigar aficionados. Each blend was carefully crafted and refined until the perfect combination was achieved. The end result is a cigar that is rich in flavor but not overpowering in strength. The DBL Habano features a stunning Ecuador Habano wrapper, which adds a touch of elegance to the overall smoking experience. The Dominican binder and the filler blend of Dominican and Nicaraguan tobacco create a woodsy profile with a subtle hint of spice. The perfect cigar to enjoy after a day in Wrigleyville!

Lincoln Square:

Located on the North Side of Chicago, Lincoln Square is a vibrant neighborhood known for its rich German heritage. This charming community offers a unique blend of old-world charm and modern amenities, making it a must-visit destination for anyone looking to experience a taste of Germany in the midst of the big city.

When you step into Lincoln Square, you'll be transported to a world of German culture and cuisine. The streets are lined with traditional German restaurants, bakeries, and shops, offering a wide range of authentic dishes and products. From schnitzel to sauerkraut, and from pretzels to Berliners, you'll find all your favorite German delicacies right here in Lincoln Square. Click here to view Lincoln Square restaurants participating in Chicago's Restaurant week.

Quesada Oktoberfest: Are you a cigar aficionado searching for the perfect smoke to accompany your favorite Mrzenbier? Look no further than the Quesada Oktoberfest. With an impressive 87-point rating from Cigar Aficionado, this limited-edition cigar is expertly blended to enhance the flavors of Germany's beloved Mrzenbiers. Released annually around October, the Oktoberfest is a highly sought-after cigar that is handmade in the Dominican Republic using a Dominican wrapper that encases a blend of rich Dominican and Nicaraguan tobaccos. The result is a smoke that offers a subtle hint of bitterness, complemented by notes of nuts and cocoa. 

Goose Island/Lincoln Park:

Chicago's Goose Island is an area located in the Near North Side Community. This area holds a significant place in the history of Chicago, with its origins dating back to the 1850s. It was during this time that William B. Ogden, a prominent figure in Chicago's early development, created Goose Island by cutting a canal across the meandering path of the Chicago River's North Branch. This man-made island was named after the wild geese that were often seen in the area. Art galleries, breweries, and distilleries also dot the area, showcasing the vibrant cultural scene of Goose Island.

Not far from Goose Island is the neighborhood of Lincoln Park. If you are¬†a nature lover seeking a tranquil escape from the hustle and bustle of city life‚Äď Look no further than this picturesque neighborhood, which offers a myriad of natural wonders to satisfy your cravings for greenery and serenity. With its manicured gardens, hidden lily pond, historic indoor botanical garden, and vast lakefront green space, this neighborhood is truly a dream come true for nature enthusiasts.¬†Animal lovers will be delighted to discover that this neighborhood is home to one of the country's oldest free zoos.¬†After a day of exploring the Lincoln Park Zoo, satisfy your taste buds at one of the neighborhood's acclaimed restaurants. Click here to view Lincoln Park restaurants participating in Chicago Restaurant Week.

Blackened M81 by Drew Estate:¬†BLACKENED Cigars ‚ÄúM81‚ÄĚ is a collaboration between Drew Estate and¬†Rob Dietrich of Metallica. Rob is the Master Distiller and Blender of BLACKENED Whiskey.¬†Blackened has a combination of¬†Maduro leaf tobacco.¬†The outer Maduro wrapper is grown in Mexico‚Äôs San Andres Valley. The blend includes a Connecticut River Valley Broadleaf Maduro binder and a filler blend of Nicaraguan and Pennsylvania Broadleaf Maduro tobaccos.¬†This cigar is¬†dark, bold, rich and powerful with alluring notes of espresso, leather and dark chocolate that pair beautifully with¬†a Goose Island¬†bourbon barrel-aged imperial stout.

Humboldt Park:

Humboldt Park is a neighborhood in Chicago that has become a hub for Puerto Rican culture and heritage. The area is known for its strong sense of community and its dedication to preserving and celebrating its roots. The neighborhood takes its name from the beautiful 207-acre park that sits at its center, offering residents and visitors a green oasis in the heart of the city.

One of the highlights of Humboldt Park is its diverse culinary scene. The neighborhood is home to a wide range of family-owned restaurants that serve up traditional Puerto Rican dishes with a modern twist. Humboldt Park is a haven for artists, with colorful murals adorning the walls of many buildings. These vibrant works of art tell the stories of the neighborhood's history and culture, showcasing the talent and creativity of local artists. Visit Aztec Dave's Cantina or Segnatore in Humboldt Park for Chicago Restaurant deals!

Marrero Bellartes:¬†Puerto Rican tobacco isn't commonly used in cigars‚Äď but a hop and a skip away is Costa Rica.¬†Marrero Cigars is a Costa Rican company that is the brainchild of¬†Joel Vazquez Marrero. The tobaccos featured in Marerro's cigars are¬†grown, aged and rolled on a single finca in Costa Rica called Tabacos de la Cordillera that provides¬†a unique opportunity to sample Costa Rican tobaccos. The Bellartes was one of his first lines and features a Habano Rosado wrapper, Ecuadorian Habano binder, and fillers from Ecuador, Nicaragua, and the Dominican Republic. This cigar is expertly rolled with a great draw and perfect burn. Expect a medium-bodied smoke with notes of cedar, white pepper,¬†leather, dried fruit, and a caramel sweetness.

Ukrainian Village:

Ukrainian Village is a hidden gem nestled in the¬†near west side of Chicago. This low-key neighborhood offers a charming blend of residential brick row houses and townhomes, creating a picturesque streetscape that transports you back in time. But what truly sets Ukrainian Village apart are its four stunning turn-of-the-20th-century cathedrals, including the Arts & Crafts‚Äďstyle Holy Trinity Orthodox Cathedral.¬†

When it comes to authentic Ukrainian cuisine, Ukrainian Village is the place to be. Chicago, Western, and Division avenues are home to a plethora of Ukrainian eateries that will satisfy even the most discerning taste buds. From traditional pierogies to mouthwatering borscht, you'll find a wide range of delicious dishes that celebrate the rich culinary heritage of Ukraine.

Falto El Procer:¬†The Falto El Pr√≥cer ‚ÄúHistorias‚ÄĚ is a cigar that stands out from the crowd. It features a beautiful and oily Dominican Habana 2000 wrapper, which not only adds to its visual appeal but also contributes to its rich and complex flavor profile. The Cameroon binder further enhances the smoking experience, providing a unique twist to the blend.¬†This cigar offers a balanced medium to full profile that will satisfy both seasoned smokers and newcomers alike. The sweetness of the tobacco is complemented by notes of creamy coffee, dark chocolate, and a hint of black pepper.¬†Aside from its exceptional flavor profile, the Falto El Pr√≥cer ‚ÄúHistorias‚ÄĚ is also visually striking. Its attention-grabbing blue and yellow band¬†shares a likeness to the bold colors of the Ukrainian flag, making it a standout in any cigar collection. Whether you're enjoying it alone or sharing it with friends, this cigar is sure to impress.

Little Italy:

Little Italy is not just a neighborhood; it's a living legacy that showcases the enduring spirit of Italian-American culture. The area's roots can be traced back to the late 19th century when Italian immigrants flocked to Chicago in search of better opportunities. Over time, they established a tight-knit community that has thrived ever since.

Food is an integral part of any culture, and Little Italy is no exception. The neighborhood is renowned for its authentic Italian cuisine, with restaurants serving up traditional dishes that have been passed down through generations. From mouthwatering pasta to delectable cannoli, every bite is a celebration of Italian culinary traditions. Visit Chez Joel Bistro in Little Italy for Chicago Restaurant deals.

One of the notable establishments in Little Italy is Ralph's Cigars. Established in 1997, Ralph's Cigars has been a staple on Taylor Street and has gained notoriety for their flavored and infused cigars. This family-owned business offers a wide selection of premium cigars, creating a haven for cigar enthusiasts. Whether you're a seasoned aficionado or new to the world of cigars, Ralph's Cigars is the perfect place to indulge in a fine smoke and learn about the art of cigar making.

Fratello Classico: When Fratello (which means "brother" in Italian) made its debut in 2013 with the Classico blend, it immediately caught the attention of cigar enthusiasts. The Classico is a medium to full-bodied blend that offers a unique flavor profile. With undertones of leather and pepper, this spicy and creamy cigar provides a very clean full-body finish. What sets Fratello Cigars apart from other brands is its meticulous attention to detail in the blending process. The Classico blend features a Nicaraguan wrapper, Ecuadorian binder, and filler tobaccos from Peru and Nicaragua. This combination of high-quality tobaccos creates a harmonious and complex flavor profile that appeals to both novice and experienced cigar smokers.

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