Early Bird Gets the Bison: Ted’s Montana Grill


Ted’s Montana grill is a longtime friend to TheBachelorBasics and has quickly become the go-to spot for a nice meal out with my girlfriend. (Read the last review here)

Ted’s occupies a unique dining niche. It’s a step above fast casual, but not a full-on steak house. Teetering between these two worlds ultimately benefits the dinner with a tab that won’t slaughter you. When you order a steak you know they know how to cook it well–or medium rare in my case–and the meat is steps above something you’d get at an inexpensive chain.

One year my team insisted on taking me out for Manager’s Day.

“We’re going to get you steak!” a woman on my team exclaimed. I replied that they could get me steak tacos instead, but off we went to a steakhouse in the city. This steakhouse promises a steak lunch for $7.99. Hungry Chicago carnivores know this spot. When I got to the counter, they asked how I wanted my steak. No sooner did I finish saying “medium rare” before I was handed a plate with a thin, gray slab of meat with grill marks.

On the other end of the steak-spectrum, you have the uber fancy establishments where you expect someone to burp you after your meal or provide resuscitation when you see the bill.

Ted’s lives comfortably in between those two extremes. Continue reading Early Bird Gets the Bison: Ted’s Montana Grill

Bison: A Beginner’s Guide

bison filet

My super smeller picked up the scent a block before arriving at Ted’s Montana Grill in downtown Naperville on a crisp Saturday night.

The aroma is unmistakable and almost every bachelor cherishes it. For me, few things trump the smell of searing beef on a grill.

We had a reservation for half past six and we were greeted promptly before being led to our booth. There was a decent crowd waiting for tables, so make sure to plan ahead for your visit. Ted’s Montana Grill is a hybrid between a steakhouse and casual restaurant. The décor is warm with all the things you’d expect from a steakhouse: wood, leather, a robust list of scotches. It differs in the attitude of the staff and it isn’t dimly lit (ideal for food photos). I have been to a few steakhouses and some exhibit a stuffy exclusivity. There’s none of that at Ted’s. Continue reading Bison: A Beginner’s Guide

Pie Five: First Tastes

pie five chicago

The contents in the manila folder changed each week in Mrs. T’s classroom. She would put a new mind bender problem in the folder. And each week, I would take the white sheet of paper and work toward finding a solution. Some of the sheets were easier than others. Many had logic problems where you’d have to make grids to figure out what color shirt Jim was wearing. Others were probability and permutation puzzles. At the bottom of every problem, Mrs. T. reminded us to show our work.

new yorker

Next to the folder pinned to the wall was a standings sheet listing the students with the most points. By attempting the problem, you could receive one point. If you arrived at the correct solution, you would tally two points. There was a greater goal than mere competition against your prepubescent peers. If you earned 50 points by the end of the year, you won a pizza party where you got your very own personal pan pizza, with whatever toppings you wanted.

As a kid, I loved pizza. What’s better than pizza? Free pizza. Continue reading Pie Five: First Tastes

Pizza for the Procrastinator | Recipe & Story

world cup, fifa, lunch, salad, wrap, pizza


I like to believe that I’m unique, but there’s one thing I trust I share with most people: I procrastinate when it comes to food.

Most of my free time is spent watching cooking shows, reading recipes and cooking. I also nap more than a newborn. Planning meals is not listed in that rundown. I improvise in the kitchen and oftentimes it works out well. But certain food needs advanced thought, especially anything involving a dough.

If you stalk me or are just vigilant about reading my semi-occasional posts (I appreciate all my readers), you may recall that time I tried making pizza a few weeks ago. The toppings were a bit off and the pre-made dough needed salt. While sitting on the couch watching the World Cup, I found a blog post for tw0-ingredient pizza dough that didn’t require yeast or time to rest/rise/rest.

For the dough: 1 cup Greek yogurt and 1 – 1 1/2 cups self-rising flour.

I didn’t have self-rising flour, so you can add 1 teaspoon of baking powder.

BOOM! You are now one step closer to your own show on the DIY Network.

The story before the pizza:

My lady friend and I attended the Summer Lovin’ fundraiser for Northwestern Memorial Hospital. I had gone a few times in the past to sample the finest food the Windy City has to offer and the finest singles Chicago Magazine selects. I’m still waiting for the email or phone call, editors of Chicago Mag. This year was the first I went where I wasn’t single.

Singles events are like the World Cup. Take the corner kick. Everyone crowds the net waiting for the perfect opportunity to head the ball into the net. Every time someone passes by, you hope they stop or that you can engage them in some repartee. Or maybe you run around looking for the right opportunity.

But here’s my pearl of wisdom from dating the majority of women in the metropolitan area: free kicks are rare. You have to make your own opportunities, and I’ve found they don’t happen at singles events.

No one wants to go to a singles event solo. So they rally the army for a night out. Instead of having one-on-one interactions, you have the choice of 1-on-5, or, if you have some confident friends, 2-on-5. Oftentimes when you look around you’ll see one guy talking to two or three women. That takes confidence. Or drunkenness. Either way, you have to make the move and find a group that doesn’t look like they are discussing how to cure cancer.

The night and scotch reminded me of all the time and events I went to trying to meet an adventurous gal. As soon as the security guards started ushering the pretty people toward the exit, everyone suddenly was in a meaningful conversation. It’s like the referees had just added bonus time to the match.

After briefly checking out the after party and a short stroll around downtown, we headed back toward the ‘burbs.


Saturday (aka PIZZA DAY)

The sun was out and all was right with the world. My lady friend and I went for a walk in a forest preserve. She didn’t kill me and leave me for dead. So there’s that.

After wandering around and not seeing the pretty parts of the trail, we eventually migrated to another walking path. This time by a river. We spotted four couples taking wedding photos. Apparently everyone wants to get married on the longest day of the year.

Ominous clouds crept in and we made it back to the car just before the downpour. We loaded up on extra foodstuffs at Trader Joe’s for the pizza and detoured around closed streets before firing up the oven for Pizza Night: Round 2.


  • Sauteed red onion and mushrooms
  • Kalamata olives
  • Salami
  • Shredded cheddar

Notes: The dough is incredibly sticky. The flavor is decent, it needs a teaspoon of salt. Next time we will try 1:1.5 cups ratio. The dough may not have been fully cooked in the center, so make sure you roll it out to an even, thin layer. But we nailed the toppings.

You know what they say about the third time? Stay tuned for Pizza Night: Round 3.