Chi-Town Stories.

The day has finally come. After five months of waiting and anticipating, I am thrilled to finally share my Jewel Osco Chi-Town Stories segment with you!

When I was first approached to be a part of this project I was excited, thrilled even. But what I didn't realize was how much I would get out of the experience. How much it would show me about what I wanted for this website. Having the opportunity to share my passions with new people, with friends, and now with the entire world through this video is unlike anything that I have ever experience. It's reminded me why I started Smak and why I enjoy cooking and food so much. Sure, I like to eat. I like to feel full and satisfied. Let's not fool ourselves, we eat to survive.

But what about more than the physical? So we eat because our body needs substance and nutrients. But is that all we get out of it? Is that really all that food has to offer? No. Food, cooking, dining, it all brings a sense of identity and community to those that partake. So I make a marinated cucumber salad and gravlax? It absolutely tastes delicious, but it helps inform others of where I've been. Of who I am. And of the story that I bring.

With that said, I hope you enjoy my story. It's a little piece of Smak, of Tommy, that you can sit back and enjoy. I hope you like it! And please, feel free to share with your friends and family!

Special Thanks to:

Door County SMAK: Al Johnson's

Okay, so we've had our fair share of Door County posts over the last week. I promise you this is the last one, for a while at least.

Al Johnson's

If you have heard of Door County before, it is safe to say that The name Al Johnson's may have come up in conversation. This Swedish restaurant is located in Sister Bay, Wisconsin and is famous for having goats atop its grass roof. This is absolutely the first thing most people mention when talking about the restaurant.

goats on the roof

Complete with a store, Al Johnson's has everything needed for a complete 2-hour Swedish overload. The absolute must however is to wake up and sit down for a breakfast of coffee and Swedish pancakes. Similar to crepes, these pancakes are more dense and moist than normal pancakes. Once you go Swede, you'll never go back! Most important is to top your pancakes with lingonberries - a berry native to the forests of my native homeland.

The other Swedish staple most think of is meatballs. Pour a little gravy on top and eat them with your pancakes and I am not sure you could get a more perfect balance of savory and sweet. Unfortunately, I cannot say that I was thrilled with the meatballs at Al Johnson's.


No matter what meatballs Al Johnson's prepares, the restaurant will always hold a dear place in my heart, perhaps solely due to my extreme pride in my Swedish heritage. I've included a recipe for Swedish pancakes before, so please be sure to try them out and let me know what you think.

Swedish Pancakes 


6 eggs 2 1/2 cups milk 2 tablespoons sugar 1 1/2 cup flour 1 teaspoon salt 1-2 tablespoons butter


  1. In a large mixing bowl, stir ingredients together until batter is no longer lumpy.
  2. Preheat a non-stick electric skillet to medium heat.
  3. Pour a thin layer of batter on skillet, and spread to edges. Cook until top surface appears dry. Flip to other side and cook for another 2 minutes, or until golden brown.
  4. Roll each pancake up, and serve.