After enjoying the delicious Beef & Cheddar from Gilbert's new sausage stand at Wrigley Field, I couldn't wait for a short line to try one of their other signature sausages. During many games, the line has been at least 15 deep from the fourth through sixth innings. That's the time of the game when the smells of ballpark food waft throughout the Wrigley and become irresistible, creating an un-navigable human traffic jam in the narrow halls of the 100-year-old ballpark that was built at a time when people were, well, smaller. But my hunger and wait times finally aligned this past Sunday afternoon and I walked up and ordered an Aloha Sausage.
Let me tell you a bit about the Aloha. It's billed as a "Chicken sausage topped with pineapple salsa, lime aioli, hot sauce and crushed potato chips." I can already hear Chicagoans grumbling, "Pineapple on a sausage? Potato chips? What is this, California?" But remember, we all said this about ham and pineapple pizza at first, but you now must admit it's pretty good, even if it's what you wouldn't regularly order.
And I wouldn't regularly order a chicken sausage. Especially after eating the delicious Beef & Cheddar which is probably the tastiest food item I've ever eaten at Wrigley. But seeing as how there are only three sausages I to need to eat to complete the Gilbert's cycle (the other one being the Caprese), I figured what the heck, Aloha Sausage it is!
In the Hawaiian language, "Aloha" means affection, peace, compassion and mercy. That's a lot to ask from a sausage! More colloquially, mainlanders use "Aloha" as a generic "Hello" or "Goodbye" saying which more aptly applies in this case. "Hello, Sausage!!" (crunch crunch crunch) "Goodbye, Sausage!!"
Given the high bar set by the Beef & Cheddar, I kept my expectations of the Aloha in check. After all, it's a totally different animal. Literally. And chicken is ostensibly a healthier option when trying to avoid red meat and extra calories. This is why my friend Scotty (of ill fated ex-wife on a Cubs brick paver fame) tried the Aloha Sausage. He was trying to get, well, smaller, and ordered the Aloha as an alternative and gave me a lukewarm review of it. But diet food rarely tastes good. Of course a beef sausage covered in bacon and mac and cheese is gonna taste better than a chicken sausage covered in fruit. But I tried to think like a chicken sausage person. You know who you are.
And you chicken sausage people... you'll love it! Gilbert's makes a quality chicken sausage. The toppings are flavorful, well-proportioned and fun. I imagine enjoying this Aloha Sausage on a hot summer day when you don't want anything too heavy, and a little sweet, salty and savory sausage action will do the trick to soak up the Goose Islands you've been drinking. The Aloha is really the perfect wiener to satisfy all your culinary carnal cravings.
The pineapple and lime aioli bastes your buds with sweet and tart. And the crunchy chips make every bite fun while returning a bit of the salty flavor associated with your more artery clogging beef sausages. Quite importantly, the toppings are well-proportioned and hold together well in the bun. Sometimes when there are novelty toppings on a dog or sausage, the poor bun caves under the soggy soupy accoutrements, but not on Gilbert's S. Rosen Sausage Roll. The flavors of the fixings are top notch and there's just enough of all of them to make the sausage edible, flavorful, and not fall apart all over your prized Nomar Garciaparra jersey.
I personally would have liked a spicier hot sauce, but that's a matter of personal taste. I have burned off my personal taste with 20-plus years of smoking. So take my advice with a grain of salt, or a pinch of snuff as the case may be.
Cubs fan chicken sausage people of the world, rejoice! Gilbert's has you deliciously covered! But after I eat and review the Caprese, also a chicken sausage, but topped with basil, tomatoes, mozzarella cheese and a balsamic glaze, I'm going back to Beef & Cheddar.
Gilbert's is located halfway down the third-baseline concourse, behind section 211, and you can buy me one anytime.