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Charlie Trotter Topic


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#1 awbrig

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Posted 02 September 2002 - 02:55 PM

He 's got to have his own thread in the Chicago Sessions!

Feel free to talk about the restaurants, the store Trotters to Go , the food products, the cookbooks, the service, questions about the cuisine or the man, etc... etc...

#2 Fat Guy

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Posted 02 September 2002 - 03:10 PM

I'll start by contributing his Web site:

http://www.charlietrotters.com/

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#3 Andy Lynes

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Posted 02 September 2002 - 04:18 PM

On holiday in the US, Charlie Trotter was one of the few chefs I got to see on the TV, as our rented home did not have cable (and therefore no food tv). He was exactly as I expected him to be, a sort of young Spielberg.

The food was pretty horrible though, liver and sprouts if memory serves, amongst others. I'm looking forward to him opening in London at the end of the year, but I must admit to not wanting to have to get a second mortgage to eat there.

#4 Andy Lynes

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Posted 02 September 2002 - 04:19 PM

I'll start by contributing his Web site:

http://www.charlietrotters.com/

Steven, how did you ever find that !!!!!

#5 awbrig

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Posted 02 September 2002 - 04:45 PM

find that? its one of my favorite sites and well visited here in Chicago...I didnt think it was that much of a secret?

#6 Jinmyo

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Posted 02 September 2002 - 05:27 PM

I admire Trotter's efforts to educate civilians and the public not only about food but about what he calls "excellence".

As I understand it, there are almost weekly school trips from high schools that
1) receive a great meal
2) a tour of the kitchen, wine cellar, studio room
3) and a lecture from Charlie, light gleaming off his glasses, hands clenching and slashing, about not wasting their youths but going for it, "striving for excellence".

Scary stuff probably, but very well intentioned.
"I've caught you Richardson, stuffing spit-backs in your vile maw. 'Let tomorrow's omelets go empty,' is that your fucking attitude?" -E. B. Farnum

"Behold, I teach you the ubermunch. The ubermunch is the meaning of the earth. Let your will say: the ubermunch shall be the meaning of the earth!" -Fritzy N.

"It's okay to like celery more than yogurt, but it's not okay to think that batter is yogurt."

Serving fine and fresh gratuitous comments since Oct 5 2001, 09:53 PM

#7 Fat Guy

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Posted 02 September 2002 - 07:10 PM

Awbrig, I think Andy was busting my chops. :laugh:

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#8 Steve Plotnicki

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Posted 02 September 2002 - 08:55 PM

A recent meal with friends whose palate we trust, reported that a recent meal they had at Trotters was "phenomenol." So that inspired six of us to organize a Chicago road trip over a weekend in November. And I am now holding a reservation for dinner at Trotters. I haven't been since 1994. I hope the food is better than the last time I went.

#9 Andy Lynes

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Posted 03 September 2002 - 04:47 AM

Awbrig, I think Andy was busting my chops.  :laugh:

Correct - this is what passes for humour in the UK.

#10 awbrig

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Posted 03 September 2002 - 02:18 PM

thats hilarious

#11 Andy Lynes

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Posted 03 September 2002 - 02:29 PM

Hey awbrig thanks!!!!!! :biggrin: :biggrin: :wub: :wub:

(Now I'm "busting your chops". Do you see? Join in whenever you feel comfortable.........and relax. Well done class!).

#12 awbrig

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Posted 03 September 2002 - 02:33 PM

What? I really dont understand British humor at all...Im sorry...

Please try to put something about Charlie Trotter in your next humorous post...

Thanks!

#13 Lady T

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Posted 05 September 2002 - 02:46 PM

Good to hear you're coming to visit, Mr. Plotnicki!

I last hit Trotter's this past April with a friend who'd been underwhelmed on a previous visit, and we were both blown completely away. Superb food and imaginative, elegant food/wine pairings made it a very fine three and a half hours. We did make some major effort to make sure the phone-reservations people registered our likes and dislikes in advance, and we took the suggestion from the Lawler book "Lessons in Service" (the rest of that volume is, IMHO, hagiography; cute, and worth a read in the public library, but not worth purchasing) to go off-menu and let the Charlie & Co. kitchen cook for us. BIG return for the effort, and I recommend the tactic.

A group of eGulleteers will be going to CT's in late September (Aurora will be there and so will I; check out the details pinned at the top in 'The Heartland', if you like), and odds are good that we'll be discussing and reviewing the outing, probably at high volume.

As the date approaches and your plans develop, let us know if perhaps you might have an hour or two for drinks with some of us locals in the course of the weekend. :biggrin:
Me, I vote for the joyride every time.
-- 2/19/2004

#14 Steve Plotnicki

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Posted 05 September 2002 - 03:06 PM

I will be with 2 other couples but I thought I might come into town a night early by myself for an eGullet dinner. I'm not sure where we will be eating the second night. Patrice's review of Trio has me intrigued. What do you think? Or how is Frontera Grill these days? That used to be an old favorite of mine.

#15 britcook

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Posted 05 September 2002 - 03:39 PM

I snapped up a place at the Kitchen Table at Trotter's at Easter, just unbelievable. The food, service, ambience, tour were peerless (I could bore you with the pictures but won't). Certainly the best food I have eaten in the USA and ranks pretty high on a worldwide scale. We actually flew back to the UK from NO via Chicago just to dine there with absolutely no regrets. And Vong's Thai Kitchen provided an excellent counterpoint.

#16 Lady T

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Posted 06 September 2002 - 09:05 AM

Mr. Plotnicki:

Sorry to be the bearer of bad rumor (not yet news; coming, however, from too many reliable sources to ignore), but I'm hearing that both Frontera Grill and Topolobampo have slipped several notches, allegedly because Rick Bayless is not spending enough time at the helm due to celebrity-chef-type commitments. Take that with a grain of salt. Take it with a LOT of salt, maybe...but I'm gonna count my shekels, and once the Days of Awe are over, I'm swinging over to Frontera after work to check the rumors out. Stay tuned, sports fans...

In the meantime, the Chicago rumor mill offers you a couple of interesting new Mexican possibilities, both owned by one Geno Bahena: one by the name of Chilpancingo not far from Frontera, and one called Ixcapuzalco. (At least, I THINK those are the spellings!) The latter is, I believe, the older location and is certainly the one that started all the buzz. Prices are a tad bit lower than at the Bayless locations, and the one thing agreed upon by just about every foodie who's been there is that the service is WAY better. Check out the mole-of-the-day dishes if you wind up going to either place: they're never less than intriguing, and sometimes you luck into a flat-down-damn masterpiece.

Trio is a place I haven't visited since Ackatz took over; I think I want to let a few more months go by and let him get both feet under him. At the local level, I'm hearing everything from "such imagination...he's a genius!" to "foam on/with everything...what a mope!" I saw Patrice's review too, however, and it's certainly recent enough. Your call!

Aurora? Awbrig? Hopleaf? Have you folks been to Trio yet? Any light to shed?

mk (that is honestly the lower-cased name of Michael Kornick's restaurant; I didn't forget to capitalize!) has a wine list that might interest you.

Eric Aubriot, at his eponymous place virtually around the corner from Trotter's (Charlie's even been seen eating there...I would have loved to see the scene in Chef Aubriot's kitchen when they recognized the neighbor who'd come in for a bite!), has been doing top-flight food recently, and for slightly less dinero than Trio charges.

Any interest in other cuisines? Let us know!
Me, I vote for the joyride every time.
-- 2/19/2004

#17 Andy Lynes

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Posted 06 September 2002 - 10:14 AM

(I could bore you with the pictures but won't).

Oh, go on! I'd certainly be interested.

#18 britcook

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Posted 06 September 2002 - 10:59 AM

Damn, caught out. Got to try and work out the process. Tried Imagestation but it doesn't seem to work with the format requested here. Will try later when I have time to experiment.


So far only managed to post a few in this linkTrotter album

#19 Andy Lynes

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Posted 06 September 2002 - 11:01 AM

OK, great.

#20 awbrig

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Posted 06 September 2002 - 03:55 PM

ill have to post my pics of CTs dinners for you...

#21 Andy Lynes

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Posted 07 September 2002 - 01:18 AM

You will indeed.

#22 awbrig

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Posted 10 September 2002 - 08:02 PM

Here are a few pictures Andy, I will add lots more when I have more time...



my Mother and my wife Allison getting ready to goto Trotters
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#23 awbrig

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Posted 10 September 2002 - 08:05 PM

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#24 awbrig

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Posted 10 September 2002 - 08:21 PM

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#25 Aurora

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Posted 10 September 2002 - 11:19 PM

Mr. Plotnicki:

Sorry to be the bearer of bad rumor (not yet news; coming, however, from too many reliable sources to ignore), but I'm hearing that both Frontera Grill and Topolobampo have slipped several notches, allegedly because Rick Bayless is not spending enough time at the helm due to celebrity-chef-type commitments.  Take that with a grain of salt.  Take it with a LOT of salt, maybe...but I'm gonna count my shekels, and once the Days of Awe are over, I'm swinging over to Frontera after work to check the rumors out.  Stay tuned, sports fans...


Wow, Lady T! Great post.

Yes Plotnicki, what Lady T shares regarding Frontera and Topolobampo are the buzz. The last time I was at Topolobompo it was fantastic. What I now hear is good, but currently not great and that is the direct result of publicity tours for the new companion book for Mexico: One Plate At A Time, and a brutally tight production schedule that illogically bounces back and forth between Chicago and a multitude of locations in Mexico (I believe he has committed to one or two more seasons). He will return, and good will once again be great.

It is also true that Chef Bahena is taking all that he gained at Frontera and Topo and expanding upon it in wonderful and slightly less pricey ways. I actually like Ixtapuzalco better than Chilpancingo. The prices are better, too, but that is only because Bahena still can't get away with sky-high prices in Logan Square at the moment.

Like you, I have not been to Trio in a Blue Moon. At the time, Gale Gand was still there. If you will recall, we were trying to coax Awbrig into telling us a little bit more about his experience there. He felt it was a bit of a shake-down, but I don't know if that was pre-Atchaz or not.

I agree with you on just about everything with one exception: mk is just not very good. I so wanted it to be good, but it is so not good. The meal that I had there was horrible. The food was minimalist and dull, and the size of the portions is what I would expect to find with a multi-cours degustation menu. The only problem is that mk's menu is a la carte. Their sommelier recently left taking all of his wine notes, knowledge, and information about their cellars with him. The wine program is currently not in the best of shape, and people with little or no expertise in wine are taking up the slack. Plotnicki, DON'T GO THERE. Ask Simon Majumdar what he thought.

Definately go to Aubriot. It's wonderful food.

Trotter has been spotted at Aubriot, Arun's and Naha. He has recommended all of them highly in various books and interviews.

Up for any cheap eats? Ribs? Soul Food? Polish?

#26 awbrig

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Posted 15 September 2002 - 06:30 PM

anyone going to CT's tribute dinner on the 23rd..

#27 Lady T

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Posted 17 September 2002 - 01:47 PM

No can do, Awbrig, got a rehearsal that night. Sorry...

On the same topic differently: did you see the tiny TIME Magazine blurb that says Trotter's at The Hospital will be opening in March of next year instead of November of this year? Not unexpected at all, the way contractors in general work and the way they probably work in Britain in particular -- but I'd love to pin down (a) the date and (b) the reason. Have you heard any buzz?
Me, I vote for the joyride every time.
-- 2/19/2004

#28 awbrig

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Posted 17 September 2002 - 06:36 PM

Havent heard anything but will ask Charlie when I see him on the 23rd...

Cooked from CTs Cooks at home tonight: Ponzu-Marinated Scallops with Daikon & Bok Choy - very very good... :smile:

#29 cabrales

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Posted 18 September 2002 - 07:02 AM

awbrig and others -- I'd appreciate comments on CT's wine list, for, say, a group of six people at the kitchen table. Bottles with a relatively low percentage mark-up would be particular interest.

http://www.charlietr...st.asp?typeID=1
(wine list)

The following is a possible set of choices, with alternatives listed in declining order of preference. If the choices placed between asterisks were adopted, the wine cost would be a very reasonable $150 per person. Members' comments would be appreciated.

--Champagne: **Mumm de Cramant Brut NV $75** or Henriot "Blanc de Blancs" Brut NV $74

--White #1: Chassagne-Montrachet Domaine Ramonet 1981 $300 or Meursault-Charmes Domaine des Comtes Lafon 1998 $215 or **Chassagne-Montrachet "Les Vergers" Fontaine-Gagnard 1997 $117** or Pouilly-Fume "Pur Sang" Dagueneau 1999 $88

-- White #2: **Pessac-Leognan Chateau Haut Brion 1992 $300** or Pessac-Leognan Chateau Carbonnieux 1999 $75

-- **Gevrey-Chambertin "Lavaux St. Jacques" Mortet 1997 (Magnum) $270 **

-- Dessert Wine: Chateau d'Yquem Premier Grand Cru 1988 (Half Bottle) $365 or ** Veuve Clicquot "Vintage Reserve" Brut Champagne 1995 $115**

#30 Lady T

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Posted 18 September 2002 - 09:26 AM

Cabrales...Based on the Kitchen Table menu available at the Trotter's website, and on a fast review of their wine list, my thoughts are these at the moment:

Champagne: Call me a crank, but I'd take that lovely '95 Veuve Clicquot Brut out of the dessert category (where admittedly it'd do lovely service) and drink it here, up front. Nothing against the Mumm and Henriot selections at all, but I believe the Veuve would work better for the purpose.

White No. 1: Again, based on the early course selections I saw on the Kitchen Table menu, I like the way the 1997 Chassagne-Montrachet "Les Vergers" would work. My impression of the 1999 Pouilly-Fume is that it might be a tad bit young for the food, but then I could be severely wrong about that by the time your party sits down, depending upon how CT tweaks the menu.

White No. 2: That '92 Chateau Haut Brion looks awfully good!

Dessert: Chateau d'Yquem Premier Grand Cru 1988? Lordy, I think I'd drink a little glass of this FOR dessert and let everybody else eat the sweets...

If you permit, for exploration's sake, I might dare to mention that Trotter's has some real intriguing stuff among its foreign reds that won't break the bank. I had a big Spanish red when I was there last (on their list as Rioja "Aurus" Finca Allende 1996, at $175) that went wonderfully with the venison-over-grits it partnered (that might sound spooky, but BOY did it work!). Your call, of course.

You will of course (please? please?) post a course-by-course, wine-by-wine review for us after the occasion?
Me, I vote for the joyride every time.
-- 2/19/2004