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Report: 2008 Heartland Gathering in Chicago

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#121 Alex

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Posted 16 August 2008 - 04:23 PM

Here's one of the four different "cocktail stations" at The Violet Hour. The ones we sampled -- all gin-based -- were Juliet & Romeo, Aviation, Martinez (precursor of the Martini), and something I can't remember (help, please). The Juliet & Romeo was by far my favorite. It recently was named one of the 20 best cocktails in America by GQ (#3 on the slide show). Toby (Alchemist) posted the recipe here on LTH, although I believe he used Hendrick's gin at TVH instead of the Beefeater specified in the recipe.

Groups rotated through the stations, and Toby would stop by for an instructional session on how and why each cocktail was constructed. For example, if I remember correctly (someone correct me on this, if needed), when we sampled the J & R, we started with just the main liquids, then in succession added the mint leaf, bitters, and rose water.

Clockwise from the far left, there's tammylc (Tammy); two people I recognize but am absolutely blocking out their names (help, again, please); nyokie6 and spouse (Toby and Ron); HeatherM (Heather); someone I don't recognize; and jesteinf and spouse (Josh and Marisa). I'm pretty sure this was the Martinez station.

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And this is how things looked after sampling all four cocktails. That's Ronnie (ronnie_suburban) on the right.

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Edited by Alex, 17 August 2008 - 09:28 AM.

Gene Weingarten, writing in The Washington Post about online news stories and their readers' comments: "I basically like 'comments,' though they can seem a little jarring: spit-flecked rants that are appended to a product that at least tries for a measure of objectivity and dignity. It's as though when you order a sirloin steak, it comes with a side of maggots."

"A vasectomy might cost as much as a year’s worth of ice cream, but that doesn’t mean it’s equally enjoyable." -Ezra Dyer, NY Times

#122 LuckyGirl

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Posted 16 August 2008 - 04:48 PM

Great pictures, Nancy!

I agree re. Marmish's coleslaw. It rocked so much I asked her for the recipe and served it to 45 of my neighbors at dinner a couple nights ago.

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Tammy, if you or Marmish would post that recipe I would be much obliged. That for me, was the quintessential slaw, just how I like it.

TIA,

Diane

Nevermind... I didn't read far enough into the thread...

Edited by LuckyGirl, 16 August 2008 - 04:50 PM.


#123 santo_grace

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Posted 16 August 2008 - 07:31 PM

Here's one of the four different "cocktail stations" at The Violet Hour. The ones we sampled -- all gin-based -- were Juliet & Romeo, Aviation, Martinez (precursor of the Martini), and something I can't remember (help, please). The Juliet & Romeo was by far my favorite. It recently was named one of the 20 best cocktails in America by GQ (#3 on the slide show). Toby's posted the recipe here on LTH, although I believe he used Hendrick's at TVH instead of the Beefeater specified in the recipe.

Groups rotated through the stations, and Toby (Alchemist) would stop by for an instructional session on how and why each cocktail was constructed. For example, if I remember correctly (someone correct me on this, if needed), when we sampled the J & R, we started with just the main liquids, then in succession added the mint leaf, bitters, and rose water.

Clockwise from the far left, there's tammylc (Tammy); two people I recognize but am absolutely blocking out their names (help, again, please); nyokie6 and spouse (Toby and Ron); HeatherM (Heather); someone I don't recognize; and jesteinf and spouse (Josh and Marisa). I'm pretty sure this was the Martinez station.

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And this is how things looked after sampling all four cocktails. That's Ronnie (ronnie_suburban) on the right.

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The people you are missing are Neil (Amy Viny's husband), Amy Viny, and then me (Santo_Grace). The person next to jesteinf is my guest Steve. Also, judging from the serious look on Marisa's face, I know what she was talking so intently with Tammy about.
I like cows, too. I hold buns against them. -- Bucky Cat.

#124 Alex

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Posted 16 August 2008 - 07:48 PM


Clockwise from the far left, there's tammylc (Tammy); two people I recognize but am absolutely blocking out their names (help, again, please); nyokie6 and spouse (Toby and Ron); HeatherM (Heather); someone I don't recognize; and jesteinf and spouse (Josh and Marisa). I'm pretty sure this was the Martinez station.

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The people you are missing are Neil (Amy Viny's husband), Amy Viny, and then me (Santo_Grace). The person next to jesteinf is my guest Steve. Also, judging from the serious look on Marisa's face, I know what she was talking so intently with Tammy about.

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Me, too, but I'm not telling... :wink:
Gene Weingarten, writing in The Washington Post about online news stories and their readers' comments: "I basically like 'comments,' though they can seem a little jarring: spit-flecked rants that are appended to a product that at least tries for a measure of objectivity and dignity. It's as though when you order a sirloin steak, it comes with a side of maggots."

"A vasectomy might cost as much as a year’s worth of ice cream, but that doesn’t mean it’s equally enjoyable." -Ezra Dyer, NY Times

#125 nyokie6

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Posted 17 August 2008 - 08:56 AM

Ah,yes.

I agree, the Romeo and Juliet was my favorite also, and I enjoyed the info on garnishing(?).

#126 NancyH

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Posted 17 August 2008 - 09:20 AM

My apologies! I left out the sidedish that was served Sat. night with Ronnie's ribs and Marmish's slaw - potato! Please tell us who made these and the details - i remember yummy, but not much more.

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#127 ronnie_suburban

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Posted 17 August 2008 - 09:38 AM

My apologies!  I left out the sidedish that was served Sat. night with Ronnie's ribs and Marmish's slaw - potato!  Please tell us who made these and the details - i remember yummy, but not much more.

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These delectable potatoes were made by elfin.

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#128 jesteinf

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Posted 17 August 2008 - 09:42 AM


Clockwise from the far left, there's tammylc (Tammy); two people I recognize but am absolutely blocking out their names (help, again, please); nyokie6 and spouse (Toby and Ron); HeatherM (Heather); someone I don't recognize; and jesteinf and spouse (Josh and Marisa). I'm pretty sure this was the Martinez station.

Posted Image

View Post


The people you are missing are Neil (Amy Viny's husband), Amy Viny, and then me (Santo_Grace). The person next to jesteinf is my guest Steve. Also, judging from the serious look on Marisa's face, I know what she was talking so intently with Tammy about.

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Me, too, but I'm not telling... :wink:

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Hey, people on here are obsessed with food. My wife just happens to be obsessed with something else :wink:

-Josh

Now blogging at http://jesteinf.wordpress.com/


#129 Chris Amirault

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Posted 17 August 2008 - 10:39 AM

My apologies!  I left out the sidedish that was served Sat. night with Ronnie's ribs and Marmish's slaw - potato!  Please tell us who made these and the details - i remember yummy, but not much more.

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These delectable potatoes were made by elfin.

=R=

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How were they made?
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#130 NancyH

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Posted 17 August 2008 - 12:13 PM

Even with all of the time, effort and planning that Ronnie put into the weekend - he still had a few tricks up his sleeve! One of these was including Gary Wiviott of Chicago's lth forum [and his lovely wife ellen] in the festivities. Gary's website. Gary was a fun dining companion, and helped with the meal planning and menus.

And so it came to pass on Friday morning, a stretch Ford Excursion limo drove up to the doubletree hotel in skokie, just for us! A dozen of us would eventually travel together on a whirlwind food tour of Chicago!

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I had known this plot was hatching since October, when ronnie & julie had shown us the town, as depicted here: thread on oct trip. Still, i only knew a few details as friday unfolded - and i was delighted that Gary and our own Fatguy would be joining us.

The only "repeat" from October was the first stop: the original location of the now-franchised Al's Italian Beef.

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Beef & Sausage w/hot & mild peppers, wet

Bob and i wisely brought a sharp knife for this trip, which came in very handy for sharing!

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Since we did the purist experience last time [just beef], we decided to add the sausage this time - heaven on a bun!

our next stop was right across the street:

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Mario's Italian Frozen Lemonade

Again, Bob & I took the purist approach, even though the many flavors offered were tempting, and got our lemonade straight.

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Frozen Lemonade

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Next stop:

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1 of 2 banks of fry stations on either end of the kitchen

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Vienna beef hotdogs in the steamer

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our order - served in an incongruous paper bag

We were told that you never get the same bag twice!

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Hotdog with mustard and fries

Fries were awesome - hotdog ok.

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our order of break tamales

So named because they are small and may appear broken.

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housemade hot sauce

We weren't expecting much from the hot sauce, but we were pleasantly surprised.

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Parking lot mural

Our next destination took an Hispanic turn.

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Gary ordered a feast for us! i am doing this with over a week [and a dislocated shoulder] in the interim, so please speak up to better describe these goodies.

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Cheese chalupas

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Pastor burrito

porky goodness in a fresh tortilla, with 3 dipping sauces on the table for added zip.

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1 of 2 different tortas we sampled

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2d torta

i'm pretty sure one of them was milanesa; don't remember the name of the other. both had crispy pork chop - 1 added cheese, 1 added ham; i think the cheese one also had avocado.

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this one had ham

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Avocado.

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our beverage of choice [empty bottle]

you can see the squeeze bottle of green sauce behind it.

they had a great selection of Mexican sodas [real sugar and not hfcs] and we tasted a specialty beverage - morchata.

Our team of eaters was unable to clean the plates at Cemitas Puebla; how would we ever consume the wares at Honey One BBQ? We brought in a pinch hitter as Jesteinf joined us for this stop.

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ribs, served over fries and under bread, w/bbq sauce on the side

A little dry - but incredibly tasty.

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tips. uhmmmm .....

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Gary and Ronnie had other stops in mind for us - but after we declared 'uncle' after eating just a fraction of the food on table, our hosts resigned themselves to ending the tour. Maybe.

It was 12 year old Lucas who inspired the last stop - you are never too full for ice cream, are you?

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not only is all of the ice cream home-made, but the range of flavors was mind blowing - from jackfruit to birthday cake! hang the knife - we weren't splitting one here!

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bob's - mango

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mine - purple yam

The limo returned us to the hotel, and we had about three hours to digest before dinner. it was an amazing experience - showing up in some of those neighborhoods in that car was worth the trip all by itself! Thanks again to Ronnie & Julie - who's generosity made this day possible. This was a true "play with your food" experience, made all the better by amazing food and wonderful company!
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#131 tammylc

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Posted 17 August 2008 - 01:14 PM

Hey, people on here are obsessed with food.  My wife just happens to be obsessed with something else  :wink:

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And I appreciated her obsession. I'm just sad that we were both to busy recovering the next day to do anything about it!

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#132 karen m

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Posted 17 August 2008 - 03:05 PM

Karen M - can you talk about what the topping you drizzled on the confit byaldi was? I'm not seeing it in my version of the French Laundry cookbook - is that something you came up with on your own?

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Hi Tammy, Just to remind everyone about the movie.

http://www.nytimes.c...gewanted=1&_r=1

Then the recipe..

http://www.nytimes.c...ng/131rrex.html

The vinaigrette..........

FOR VINAIGRETTE

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oi

1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar

Assorted fresh herbs (thyme flowers, chervil, thyme)

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper.

The pictures all look great!!!!

I actually had thyme flowers from my yard.

#133 karen m

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Posted 17 August 2008 - 03:17 PM

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The wonderful collection of herbs brought by ?

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The herbs were grown and brought by the honorable elfin.

Great pics, Stacey! Thanks for posting them, Kerry.

=R=

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Hi - there where more of us who brought in fresh herbs. I placed them in the vases and glasses for all to use. Dill and tarragon from my mom's back yard.
Thai basil and oregano and thyme from mine.

#134 karen m

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Posted 17 August 2008 - 03:23 PM

So while I was doing a few things in the kitchen on Saturday I handed my camera to Stacy - a friend of santo grace - and asked her to take pictures while we prepped and cooked.  I finally had a chance to look through them tonight - and picked out a few to post.  She took some wonderful pictures. 


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Ratatouille.


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One of my pictures from the river architectural tour (thank you Rona for telling us about this).

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Stacey was very happy to take pictures.

I think the ratatouille picture is my favorite - probably because it was my favorite dish. Too good for words.

I'm so glad you all did the boat cruise. It is a great way to see Chicago and very relaxing to cruise the river.

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Thank -you Julie, that was very nice of you. How was your dishwasher arm the next day??

#135 Marmish

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Posted 17 August 2008 - 04:25 PM



And this is how things looked after sampling all four cocktails. That's Ronnie (ronnie_suburban) on the right.

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That's me on the left, and my friend Rachael. She wasn't able to attend any of the other events, but I think she has since signed up on eG.

eta: Luckgirl, thanks for the compliment on the slaw. I loved your beets, too. I am supposed to eat lots of them, so it was nice to have another way to prepare them. Hopefully, we can look you up when we come to Cleveland again. I enjoyed talking with you and your hubby at TVH.

Edited by Marmish, 17 August 2008 - 04:27 PM.


#136 nsxtasy

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Posted 17 August 2008 - 04:51 PM

they had a great selection of Mexican sodas [real sugar and not hfcs] and we tasted a specialty beverage - morchata.

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Yum! Horchata, a beverage made from rice, is pretty common in authentic Mexican restaurants around here. I like it a lot; it's like drinking rice pudding, only thinner (obviously) and not quite as sweet or strong in flavor.

Edited by nsxtasy, 17 August 2008 - 04:52 PM.


#137 ronnie_suburban

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Posted 17 August 2008 - 05:57 PM

Hi - there where more of us who brought in fresh herbs.  I placed them in the vases and glasses for all to use.  Dill and tarragon from my mom's back yard.
Thai basil and oregano and thyme from mine.

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Thanks, for the correction, Karen. I should have assumed that more than one person was responsible for providing all those wonderful, fresh herbs. :smile:

=R=
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#138 NancyH

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Posted 20 August 2008 - 12:49 PM

Nice to have two hands to type with again. For now.

MRI revealed a big labrum tear. :sad: Which will probably mean arthroscopic surgery. Bummer. But I had a great time at the Gathering, and fully plan to be there next year!

More photos to come, shortly.
"Life is Too Short to Not Play With Your Food" (coined while playing with my food at Lolita).

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#139 nsxtasy

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Posted 20 August 2008 - 01:09 PM

More photos to come, shortly.

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MRI photos? :shock:

Just kidding. Sorry to hear about it. Of course you have our best wishes for a speedy recovery!

#140 NancyH

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Posted 20 August 2008 - 02:42 PM

Ok - someone had to do it!

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Three food geeks (four, if you include me!) taking pictures at the same time! The disembodied hands belong to G Wiv and Edsel; the whole photographer is Ronnie, and his son Lucas and wife Julie are next to him, looking completely bored by all of the photography going on around them. This was the beginning of our Friday dinner at Lao Sze Chuan.

Edited by NancyH, 20 August 2008 - 06:05 PM.

"Life is Too Short to Not Play With Your Food" (coined while playing with my food at Lolita).

My blog: Fun Playing With Food

#141 Alex

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Posted 20 August 2008 - 02:53 PM

Ok - someone had to do it!

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Three food geeks taking pictures at the same time!  The disembodied hands belong to G Wiv and Edsel; the whole photographer is Ronnie, and his son Lucas and wife Julie are next to him, looking completely bored by all of the photography going on around them.  This was the beginning of our Friday dinner at Lao Sze Chuan.

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And that certainly got one's taste buds standing at attention. No messing around at this place! IIRC, on the table was Spicy Szechuan Cabbage; Sliced Beef and Maw, Szechuan Style; and something with Pig's Ear.
Gene Weingarten, writing in The Washington Post about online news stories and their readers' comments: "I basically like 'comments,' though they can seem a little jarring: spit-flecked rants that are appended to a product that at least tries for a measure of objectivity and dignity. It's as though when you order a sirloin steak, it comes with a side of maggots."

"A vasectomy might cost as much as a year’s worth of ice cream, but that doesn’t mean it’s equally enjoyable." -Ezra Dyer, NY Times

#142 NancyH

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Posted 20 August 2008 - 03:42 PM

Friday evening, our tastebuds were dazzled by the fiery flavors of Szechuan cuisine at Lao Sze Chuan. Bob and I chose our table wisely - since the table next to us had only 4 people, they had a different dinner - and we passed dishes back and forth and got to try a couple of extra things! G Wiv did a marvelous job selecting a broad range of items for us to taste.

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The table next to us

Every table was set with three cold dishes, two of which were from the "very Chinese" portion of the menu:

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Sliced Beef and Maw Szechuan Style

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Pig Ear Szechuan Style

The third item is always presented as a complimentary starter at Lao Sze Chuan - Szechuan pickled cabbage.

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The hot dishes began to flow from the kitchen - and they were hot!

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Szechuan Wonton

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Tony's Chicken with three Chili a/k/a "Chicken Crack"

This is truly irresistible!

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Crispy Shrimp in Mayonnaise Sauce

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Ma Po Tofu

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Prawns with Chili

I'm not sure which menu item this was - but it was delightful. Both shrimp dishes passed my inspection - and had no off smells, tastes or textures (which frozen shrimp often has).

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I am guessing that this lamb dish was "Lamb with Pure Cumin Powder Xin Jang Style"

It was very spicy and had a slight touch of curry flavor.

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Stir-Fried Sliced Potato with Fresh Chilli

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My guess is that this dish was "Sauteed baby Bai Cai"

A welcome compliment to the spicy dishes that preceded it.

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It was about this time in the meal that our "neighbors" began to pass us some of their things - including this bun:

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Steamed Dumpling with Pork

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Don't know which fish dish this was - but it was delicious!

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At this point in the dinner, we were supposed to have "Famous Dong-Po Steamed Pork Elbow" - but the restaurant did not have enough of them. Since a few people were clamoring for relief from the heat - this dish was ordered in its place:

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Noodle Pancake with Beef

This was the only dish I didn't care for - it had a tinny taste that I just couldn't get past. Oh well.

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I am hoping someone can identify these vegetables - which were a nice change of pace from the heavier dishes that preceded them.

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Another donation from the next table:

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This was one of the best things I tasted all night! Gary said it was Eggplant with Garlic Sauce, but it tasted like Chilli Egg-Plant to me. Two bites and I was done. Wo bao le (I am full).

It was fun watching other tables nearby. The couple here is enjoying hua goa or Hotpot.

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Raw goodies are served, and a pot of boiling stock (Lovers Chafing Base, Consome Chafing Base or Hot Spicy Base) and dipping sauce are also brought to the table.

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The goodie plate here includes softened bean curd stick, tofu cubes, prawns, noodles and carrots. A small wire basket is used to lower the chosen morsels into the stock to cook - it's Chinese fondue (eat your heart out, Melting Pot!). Once all of the goodies are cooked and eaten, you add the noodles to cook, and then finish the contents of the hotpot as a bowl of noodle soup, which contains all of the wonderful flavors from everything that was just cooked in the stock.

Since we have no Szechuan restaurant in Cleveland, this was an especially enjoyable dinner for us - the flavors were bold and the quality top notch! Thanks to Ronnie, and especially to Gary, for putting this together for us!
"Life is Too Short to Not Play With Your Food" (coined while playing with my food at Lolita).

My blog: Fun Playing With Food

#143 hsm

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Posted 20 August 2008 - 05:33 PM

Nancy, thank you for posting that great report! And I'll add my wishes for a speedy, as painless as possible recovery.

#144 nyokie6

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Posted 20 August 2008 - 06:15 PM

thanks for the lovely pictures Nancy.
Tony's chicken and Ma Po Tofu with 2$ pork were my two favorites.
Do you think they would deliver to Okla? :raz:
We asked about the greens and our waiter told us Chinese Broccoli-we discussed that it was different tasting from what we were all used to with Dim Sum, perhaps Gary can confirm or correct this.
So sorry to hear about your shoulder.

#145 Alex

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Posted 20 August 2008 - 06:32 PM

thanks for the lovely pictures Nancy.
Tony's chicken and Ma Po Tofu with 2$ pork were my two favorites.

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Mine, too, by far. Unfortunately, I was disappointed by a surprising number of dishes.
Gene Weingarten, writing in The Washington Post about online news stories and their readers' comments: "I basically like 'comments,' though they can seem a little jarring: spit-flecked rants that are appended to a product that at least tries for a measure of objectivity and dignity. It's as though when you order a sirloin steak, it comes with a side of maggots."

"A vasectomy might cost as much as a year’s worth of ice cream, but that doesn’t mean it’s equally enjoyable." -Ezra Dyer, NY Times

#146 jesteinf

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Posted 20 August 2008 - 06:45 PM

The greens pictured are called potherb. I was actually back at LSC last Friday and tried to order this dish. Our waitress reluctantly allowed me to do so. I'm not sure why she was so taken aback by my order, there are far stranger things on the menu there.

Also, the $2 pork is key to the Ma Po Tofu. We had it without pork on Friday night and it just wasn't the same dish.

Also, the prawns with chili are on the menu as "Dry Chili Prawns". That's one of my favorites at LSC. They're everything that salt and pepper prawns wish they could be. The fish dish is called something along the lines of "spicy fish". I can't remember the full name.

-Josh

Now blogging at http://jesteinf.wordpress.com/


#147 NancyH

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Posted 20 August 2008 - 06:47 PM

Fresser has started a new thread here showing images from the Ethnic Food Tour. But I'm going to put my Saturday lunch pictures in this thread.

We weren't even that hungry when we made our last stop at Himalayan Restaurant, because we'd been noshing all day! The facade promised Indian and Nepali food. LAZ and her husband chose well!

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Our group of about 15 people descended on the buffet! Normally, I'm not a big fan of buffets - but Indian food seems to lend itself to continued stewing, so it works. The food was actually very good.

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The buffet begins with a salad and sauces.

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Chickpea Fritters

These were intended to accompany the soup; they were light and crunchy.

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Fried Potato Slices (Pakora)

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Lentil Soup

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Basmati Rice

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Sweet Spiced Rice

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Chana Masala (Chickpeas w/North Indian Spices)

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Aloo Mutter (Peas and Potatoes in Gravy)

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Paneer Masala (Indian Cheese in Gravy)

Sorry for the blur - I ran out of battery juice while trying to photograph this, and by the time I changed them and returned - the buffet line was a lot more crowded! Like Fresser, I rate this as one of my favorite dishes on the buffet.

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Cabbage Masala

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Tandoori Chicken

The only dish I tasted that wasn't very good.

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Chicken Makhani

On the other hand, this dish of chicken pieces in spicy sauce was lipsmackingly good!

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Khasi Ko Masi (Goat Meat in Typical Nepali Village Style, with Local Herbs and Spices)

This was my second favorite, after the Paneer.

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My cup of soup

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Bread Service

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My plate

I was too stuffed to try the desserts, though they did look good:

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Gulab Jamun

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Fruit Custard

We headed back to Evanston with full stomachs, ready to start cooking! Thank you to Mr. and Mrs. LAZ for organizing this fun and productive tour, and especially this tasty lunch!
"Life is Too Short to Not Play With Your Food" (coined while playing with my food at Lolita).

My blog: Fun Playing With Food

#148 Alchemist

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Posted 22 August 2008 - 07:36 AM

Here's one of the four different "cocktail stations" at The Violet Hour. The ones we sampled -- all gin-based -- were Juliet & Romeo, Aviation, Martinez (precursor of the Martini), and something I can't remember (help, please). The Juliet & Romeo was by far my favorite. It recently was named one of the 20 best cocktails in America by GQ (#3 on the slide show). Toby (Alchemist) posted the recipe here on LTH, although I believe he used Hendrick's gin at TVH instead of the Beefeater specified in the recipe.

Groups rotated through the stations, and Toby would stop by for an instructional session on how and why each cocktail was constructed. For example, if I remember correctly (someone correct me on this, if needed), when we sampled the J & R, we started with just the main liquids, then in succession added the mint leaf, bitters, and rose water.

Clockwise from the far left, there's tammylc (Tammy); two people I recognize but am absolutely blocking out their names (help, again, please); nyokie6 and spouse (Toby and Ron); HeatherM (Heather); someone I don't recognize; and jesteinf and spouse (Josh and Marisa). I'm pretty sure this was the Martinez station.

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And this is how things looked after sampling all four cocktails. That's Ronnie (ronnie_suburban) on the right.

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I just back from a couple weeks in Nashville and Budapest and am trying to remember further back from those memories, so I may be incorrect, but I belive that the fourth cocktail was the Rivera (pineapple infused Campari, gin and Maraschino).

Toby



A DUSTY SHAKER LEADS TO A THIRSTY LIFE

#149 Marmish

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Posted 22 August 2008 - 05:37 PM

I just back from a couple weeks in Nashville and Budapest and am trying to remember further back from those memories, so I may be incorrect, but I belive that the fourth cocktail was the Rivera (pineapple infused Campari, gin and Maraschino).

Toby

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Yes, that's it. It was the only one I didn't try. Darn, I have to go back to The Violet Hour. :raz: Oh well, it's a rough life, but someone's gotta drink it.

#150 bolognium

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Posted 23 August 2008 - 03:46 AM

Als Italian Beef. A little bit of heaven...
Sure do wish I was there!





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