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Sweet Willie

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  1. Sweet Willie

    Jagermeister – any fans?

    Over Labor day weekend we went through 3 bottles of Jagermeister w/some friends. One of the buddies had a shot that was 2/3 Red Bull and 1/3 Jager. I think he called it a Jager Bomb, no surprise I'm not sure of the name Jager or tequila sure has been the choice when shots of alcohol are involved. on a side note, we played the Jager Olympics. One event was to have a canoe w/an iced bottle of Jager in it anchored out in the lake. On a waverunner, one had to saddle alongside the canoe, pour a shot, come back to the pier, show others you had a full shot, do the shot, then do an antler dance on the waverunner. It was a timed event, quite fun. But after awhile woo boy! http://www.jager.com/ edited to add: lest anyone get the wrong idea, this is NOT my normal weekend! On second thought........
  2. Had read about Solly’s butter burgers and was up in Milwaukee yesterday. Took my nephew, a Marquette student, to Solly’s, he is pretty happy because anytime Uncle Bill comes in town, he is going to eat. The new Solly’s (the old one was moved a block or so due to a Medical complex going up) is located at 4629 N. Port Washington Road. As one walks inside you see two U shaped counters (the same ones as in the old Sollys?). We sat down and both ordered the regular butter burger, fries and a raspberry lemonade. Fries came a few minutes before the burgers which was fine w/us as we were starving. They were good crinkle cut fries. Now the burger comes, I had ordered mine w/sautéed onions. Before I state my opinion, I need to state that our house is a dairy free house, I will still bring in my cheese now and then but that is it, I do all the cooking and just have never used much dairy in my cooking so it was easy to give up. First, I can barely pick up the burger because of the soppy butter filled lower bun, immediately make mental note to order raw onions next time. I take a bite, my mouth is filled w/warm butter and beef taste, Almost a patty melt texture/taste. A good burger, unique. Next time I go back I will order the raw onions, there was no need for the sautéed onions (think MORE butter) IMO. Solly's Grille 4629 N. Port Washington Rd. Milwaukee 414-332-8808 http://www.foodspot.com/sollys/
  3. I had just arrived into Phoenix at 3:45pm on a Saturday, a buddy called my cell, stated he was leaving Phoenix later that evening and asked if I would like to dine on the best pizza he has ever had. I did question him, the “best” pizza, in Phoenix or ever? “Ever” was his immediate response. OK, I’ll bite (no pun intended). We show up just after 4:30, there is a security guard that asks us if we are here for Pizzaria Bianco as we enter the small parking lot adjacent to the Pizzaria. This place opens at 5 and yet there is a security guard for the parking lot, must be a popular place. As we approach the front of the restaurant, there are some chairs already filled with patrons for this 24 seat (approx guess) restaurant. We spy a menu posted on the door and proceed to walk up to the door to read it. At that point all the others who were sitting, now get up and que up behind us. Jesus, 20 minutes before it opens and we started the “not before me” reflex. Promptly at 5 the door is opened and the whole line that had formed is seated in less than 5 minutes. So at 5:10pm, place is packed and they are informing those oh so tardy people that there is an hour wait at this point. We take a seat at the bar and order a local brew they have on tap. They have a seemingly very small but good wine selection as the group of men that sat next to us could not stop discussing. Onto the pizza. I order the Sonny Boy and buddy orders the Wiseguy. Sonny Boy consists of Tomato Sauce, Fresh Mozzarella, Salami, Calamatta Olives. Wiseguy consists of Wood Roasted Onions, House Smoked Mozzarella, Fennel Sausage. I believe we are the first to order and our individual 12” pizzas took 20 minutes. Picture a very thin, crispy, approaching saltine cracker bottom just a slight chew above it, with some of the most premier pizza ingrediants you have ever dined on. The pizzas were both incredible, easy to see why my buddy claimed that this place was his best ever pizza. I’m not willing to go that far, but they were easily in my top three, easily………..ok maybe even in my top two. Service is professional and quick. Do Not Miss Pizzaria Bianco!!! Due to the volume of pizzas they do, Pizzaria Bianco does not allow take out orders on Saturdays, but do during the weekdays. However this is the type of pizza that does not travel well at all, the quality will suffer if you try to transport it. Pizzaria Bianco Historic Heritage Square 623 East Adams Street (enter off of 7th) Phoenix, AZ 602.258.8300 edited to add: Chef Chris Bianco won the 2003 Southwest James Beard award.
  4. Sweet Willie


    two ?'s. 1. Is cilantro native to a region of Mex cooking? 2. I remember reading somewhere that 25% of diners think cilantro tastes almost like soap. Do you love it or hate it? It is love for me.
  5. Not much in the way of Palm Springs and its surrounding area on eG so here goes. Here are places I've enjoyed: Well, we had two breakfasts in the Palm Springs area: One was at Don and Sweet Sue’s Café in Cathedral City. I had the chorizo, eggs and cheese burritos, while the wife had poached eggs over corned beef hash. First the positive, the staff is one of the most friendly I’ve seen and there were many regulars dining here when we went who the staff all knew on a first name basis. The bacon was cooked fresh, not the typical reheated kind at most breakfast joints. Now for the negative news, corned beef hash was from a can and therefore was the normal salty junk, the salsa served w/my burritos was Heinz brand and was served in the plastic individual serving container like the jellies are and finally, the guacamole was the guacamole from a tube (that weird green color and the strange flavor that tastes nothing like real guac). This certainly makes for an overall negative dining experience IMO. Don and Sweet Sue’s Café 68-955 Ramon Road Cathedral City, CA Phone: 760.770.2760 The second place we dined was at Elmer’s. Elmer’s is a chain that originated in OR if I’m not mistaken. Wife had an incredible breakfast of potato pancakes. These were not the latkes that your mother made! These were VERY light pancakes that contained potato and onion, quite a delight. Wife and I devoured them and almost ordered a second helping. I had the Prime time skillet. A breakfast skillet of prime rib, onions, potatoes, red pepper with cheddar scrambled eggs on top. A nice breakfast strictly because of the prime rib but I’ve had better skillets. Service was very attentive. There are multiple locations of Elmer’s in the Palm Spring / Palm Desert area. We dined at the 1030 E. Palm Canyon location. Phone 760.327.8419 For Lunch/Dinner: Had a great meal at El Mirasol, located 140 East Palm Canyon Drive (HWY 111) , Palm Springs, CA. Phone: 760.323.0721 Started out w/the Guacamole and Chile Relleno. Guacamole was velvety w/small chunks of avocado (EXCELLENT). The Chile Relleno had a very thin coating and peppers were great. Then had a dish I have never had before and I of course have forgotten the name. The dish was cubes of pork that have been fried so they are very crispy, the cubes are then served in a rich sauce of tomatoes, peppers and onions. Of course served w/the obligatory refried beans and rice. TREMENDOUS!!!!! I put this on warm flour tortillas that they make at the restaurant w/a little of the guacamole I had left over (heaven). Found a second location for El Mirasol Restaurant. El Mirasol, 149 E. Palm Canyon, Palm Springs, Ca. (760) 323-0721; El Mirasol, 73325 Highway III, Palm Desert, CA. (760) 836-9028. Both have been good. This time I had the carnitas and they were stellar. Wife had the carne asada which was just OK. I must admit that in Chicago which has the 3rd largest Hispanic population in the US, a good carne asada is easy to find, so El Mirasol had some tough competition. In Rancho Mirage we ate lunch at the Desert Deli, located 69930 Hwy 111. Desert Deli is a deli restaurant, not a deli where they are slicing your order in front of you, looks like a venue out of Vegas. I had a combination corned beef/pastrami sandwich, both meats were quite good. Wife had the egg salad / chicken liver served open faced. Egg salad so-so, chicken liver was very good. We split the latkes, wife really liked them, just so-so IMO. ... I've heard good things about St. James at the Vineyard & Riccio's on north palm canyon. Anyone been the above or have any other suggestions for Palm Springs, Indigo, Palm Desert, etc?
  6. Sweet Willie

    Plastic Food in Japan

    I found most restaurants do not have English menus, but many have displays of the food they serve in the window. Just go into the restaurant, come back out w/your waiter and point to what you want. While helpful to us, I found all the displays kind of ironic when Japanese patrons would look at them and comment. To clarify, I as most people in the U.S., have a very good picture in my head of what a hamburger, roast chicken, spaghetti, or any other typical meal will look like. Yet the Japanese would point and comment on the dishes displayed, even though every display at every restaurant looks like the same person put it together. If you're Japanese do you really need to see what a soba noodle dish looks like?!?!?! I personally found it funny. An article in Saveur magazine (April/May 2003) answered my question as to why many Japanese restaurants have food model displays. quote: -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Replica food was cooked up at least 80 years ago by Japanese restaurants hoping to introduce locals to an influx of dishes, from places like China and the US, that arrived on their shores when Japan relaxed its isolationist stance. Today more than 80% or restaurants in Japan display faux food….” -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 80% seems slightly high to me, but it sure made ordering easy.
  7. Sweet Willie

    Chicago steakhouses

    Curious how it was cooked at Custom House, as most Chicago being wet aged lends itself well to over flame prep.
  8. Sweet Willie

    The Great Eateries of Novi, MI

    I just added a couple clients in/near Novi. Will have to try these. With the large Middle Eastern immigrant community I'm partial to that cuisine, in/near Novi is La Shish as well as Kabobgy which is in the huge gaudy restaurant that looks like Tony Soprano built it. --
  9. Sweet Willie

    Lunch in Chicago -- suggestions

    Went for lunch the other day. Associate and I split a couple dishes. Starter consisted of shrimp, squid, and octopus all sauteed with onions, garlic and spices. Quite good. The entree were chicken enchiladas with mole. The mole is very dark with a very heavy flavor, good but different than "lighter" moles I've had. I don't know enough about Mexican cuisine to know if the mole was representative of a Oaxacan mole. I'd like to go back and try some other dishes. --
  10. Sweet Willie

    Staying in Rosemont

    New Seoul went through a remodel recently, I have yet to stop in to see if they still use charcoal. THEY BETTER !!!!!
  11. Sweet Willie

    Magnum's Prime Steak House

    Went on a Thursday night to Magnum's Steakhouse, seeing as Magnum’s is in an office building that is far off of Algonquin Rd with not much signage visible, I didn’t expect it to be busy on a weekday night and sure enough it was almost empty. Out of the 17 people in this large restaurant 10 were at the bar. Place was so empty that the busboy seated us, I don't think they had a host(ess), at least they were not on when we showed up. Service was quite good however as it should be for a near empty place. Started out with a ½ dozen oysters and a shrimp cocktail. Oysters were fresh and very good. Shrimp were slightly overcooked but still had a lot of flavor. For entrees, we both chose meat entrees although as with most steakhouses, there are seafood entrees as well. We love leftover steak for sandwiches, so we ordered large. Mrs. Sweet Willie had the 24oz bone in ribeye and I had the smoked prime rib. All of Magnum’s steaks are wet aged and we were told USDA Prime, but it did not say USDA on the menu only descriptor used was Prime which is allowed even if the meat is not USDA prime. Ribeye was good and quite flavorful, not that tender which confirms my belief that the meat is not USDA Prime. I had the smoked prime rib, yes that is correct, Magnum’s smokes their prime rib, it is not a heavy smoke, it was one of the best pieces of prime rib I’ve had, quite delicious. The side of sautéed mushrooms we ordered was excellent, perhaps heavy on the black pepper but still excellent. Lots of well known wines, especially reds, Stag’s Leap, Freemark Abbey, Cakebread. I'm not a fan of steakhouses, but I would go back to Magnums for the smoked prime rib. To answer Ronnie's question: Magnum's Prime Steak House, Where in the Chicago steak hierarchy? I would have to say low on the hierarchy.
  12. Blackbird, the restaurant that throws too many items into the pot, complex does not always make better IMO and last night confirmed my personal belief that Blackbird is too complex for their own good. I had not been for quite a few years. Went last night with my parents as my Mom had wanted to go to Blackbird for awhile. Dined on the following. crispy confit of swan creek farm suckling pig with cavollo nero, shaved chiogga beets, horseradish and banylus vinegar, so good we ordered two, but could have done without the cavollo nero, it did not add but subracted. braised octopus with fresh hummus, charred ramps, sesame brittle and chickpeas, VERY tender and flavorful octopus but the rest, ehh. sauteed maryland soft shell crab with smoked onions, roasted beets, horseradish cream and juniper, parents both had this dish and did not share so I'm assuming good. sauteed wild king salmon with local asparagus, candied black olives, saffron caviar and califlower almond puree. overcooked salmon, seemed like something off of a steam table. roasted half grimaud farms muscovy duck breast and confit with fresh hearts of palm, mustard greens, pepperoncini and amaro. excellent slow roasted sunset farm baby lamb with fried moels, favas, herbed ricotta, spring radishes and wild flower honey. excellent but lamb was VERY rare when MR was requested. braised pork belly and knackwurst 'choucroute' with fingerlings, crunchy sauerkraut and celery root puree. Knackwurst seemed store bought, nothing special. Pork belly was delicious. buckwheat 'crepaze' with rhubarb consomme, candied celery and sicilian pistachio ice cream. Excellent crepaze with carmelized sugar coating the individual layers of the crepaze, skip the candied celery. meyer lemon mousse with white chocolate, anise and winter citrus - nothing special, very so-so. I had the cheese course, only standout on its own was the blue persille de malzieu, outstanding. capriole farms 'julianna' - goat's milk, greenville, indiana - with pickled grapes colorouge- cow's milk, fort collins, colorado- with plum mostarda big bang -raw cow's milk, westfield vermont - with candied kumquats hopeful tomme-raw cow's and goat's milk, thomasville, georgia -with smoked almonds persille de malzieu- sheep's milk, france- with caramelized onions Service was good until the dessert course, then forgotten coffee, forgotten liquors, etc etc. Very much solidified my not returning. --
  13. Sweet Willie

    Staying in Rosemont

    Had some good noodle dishes here. The adobo was ok. One of my favorite places in Rosemont area where I just had a group of friends to is Maria's Mexican on Foster a block west of River Road. Foster is about 1/2 mile south of the Rosemont Convention Cetner. I really like the mole here and chilies rellenos with the nod going to the beef stuffing.
  14. Sweet Willie

    Lincoln Cafe - Mount Vernon, Iowa

    I went to school in Mount Vernon, I hope to take a college bud and his wife to dinner in the coming months to Lincoln Cafe, I'll certainly report back.
  15. Sweet Willie

    Chicago Pizza

    Went to Candlelite as it came highly recommended. It was ok and better than most thin crusts in Chicago, so I guess it would have to rank pretty high then. Have also been to Vito & Nick's, again better thin crust than what is around but not outstanding. Pizza DOC always undercooks the center of my pizzas so I've never really been a fan. It has been some years and I'm usually one to give a place another try so I'll have to go. I'm looking forward to trying Spacca Napoli. I'm quite tired of the thin v thick which is better discussion, they both are very different animals. For thick I do not like the stuffed places like Giordano's or Edwardo's, As stated above the original Due's, Uno's are turning out great deep dish. My favorite thin crust still is Zaffiro's in Milwaukee. Well worth the drive. --
  16. Sweet Willie

    Mac nut cream pies?

    Can one find Ted's on other islands besides Oahu? like Big Island, Maui or Kauai?
  17. thanks for posting pics CaliPoutine, that meat looks amazing. thanks to all who posted pics.
  18. Had dinner at the Pointe Restaurant in the Wickaninnish Inn, a Relaix and Chateaux property. The Inn is located near the town of Tofino on the western side of Vancouver Island. We were actually staying in Ucluelet which is a 25 minute drive from the Inn. If you click on the link below and then click on the photo of the resort, you can see the restaurant in the lower right hand corner of the photo. Our waiter said that during the storm season, waves will crash onto the rocks and windows of the restaurant. http://www.relaischateaux.com/site/us/Fich...de=wickaninnish The Wickinnanish Inn's website is http://www.wickinn.com/ Chef Jim Garraway's Signature Menu on the night we dined there (and our ratings) was: Smoked Salmon and Caper Wonton Pouch w/Apricot and Chervil Salsa "outstanding" Warmed Octopus Antipasto Potato Cannelloni w/Balsamic Syrup, Extra Virgin Olive Oil "outstanding" Sole and Tiger Prawn Mousse Roulade w/Organic Pea Shoots, Citrus Puree, Sevruga Caviar "would have been great w/just the Sevruga Caviar served. A so-so dish" Seared Fois Gras w/Apple Fondant, Housemade Duck Prosciutto and Fresh Herbs "outstanding" (but then we have rarely been disappointed by any seared fois gras.) Saskatoon Berry Ice "WOW" Had never had Saskatoon Berry anything, we loved the flavor Veal Rack Confit w/Savory Tuile Box, Celery Root Mash, Black Plum Jus "just incredible" The only confit we had ever had was duck. The Veal w/the celery root mash was divine. Gianduja Mousse w/White Chocolate Espresso Sauce "good" Jack Daniel's Chocolate Pyramid in a frozen cherry shooter "very good" The Pointe IMO is a must dine when in the Tofino/Ucluelet area of Vancouver Island. $90 Canadian, $140 Can w/wine pairings (a glass for each course picked by the chef)
  19. Willie, could you elaborate on this? Behemoth posted more eloquently than I could have. I would also state that the pork comment above I believe to be very true. Most US pork is also pumped to keep up the moisture content as it has become so lean. I’ve found chicken, pork and lamb all taste much different in Europe.
  20. Was fortunate to go with a group of 14 last month, we had plans for another night in late Feb so I tried to make reservations. I was told that ALL reservations have been taken from now until closing. There are certainly some better dishes than others at The Berghoff, but if you are not having a good time while there you must be dead, what a blast!! --
  21. While accounting for ambiance while there, after my travels to Germany, I've always said that if German food was prepared in the US in the same loving way as it is in Germany, there would be a lot more people dining at German restaurants. I remember thinking in almost every German restaurant we went to. WHY CAN’T US RESTAURANTS COOK LIKE THIS?!!?? --
  22. Free $25 gift certificate for Marché, Red Light, Gioco or Opera just for filling out application. http://www.marche-chicago.com/frequentdiners.html
  23. Sweet Willie

    Korean BBQ in Chicago

    to clarify, was it a charcoal grill? (as I've been to electric or gas/propane establishments as well)
  24. Have been meaning to go to Sabor for awhile now, finally went for lunch today. Sabor is located in the Schaumburg Town Square, near the Schaumburg Library and a Dominicks. (SW corner of Roselle and Schaumburg Road). Décor is funky purple high couch seating along one wall and windows on the other side. Some small outdoor seating existed. The chef/owner graduated locally from Schaumburg’s James Conant High School and Kendall College in Evanston. I started out with the Empanadas – picadillo of ground beef, tomatoes, raisins, and capers in a puff pastry shell with a roasted red pepper coulis & sour cream. WOW! Terrific. The puff pastry in place of the normal dough used with empanada made it very light, also the addition of the coulis/sour cream was stellar. 4 are served, makes a great appetizer for 2 or more. I had a favorite when trying Cuban, Ropa Vieja or “traditional Cuban beef stew made w/shredded beef in a red wine tomato sauce, carrots and peas on a bed of white rice served w/maduros (sautéed sweet slices of plantains)” This was very good, ok great. although I don’t know how traditional the carrots or peas are as I’ve never had it that way any other place. I also picked up two sandwiches for co-workers who could not get out to lunch. For payment of my delivery services, all I asked for was a small section of each sandwich so I could try it, seeing as they normally eat Subway crap, they readily agreed. One sandwich was a Cuban or Cubano – roasted pork, ham, Swiss cheese, mustard, pickles on Cuban bread that has been toasted flat. Great sandwich, one of the best Cuban sandwiches in Chicago for sure. Bread still lacks something IMO, but I don’t know what. Other sandwich was a Vaca Frita – garlic marinated shredded steak with carmelized onions on an onion roll with mayo. The shredded steak was a little dry, perhaps should not have been sautéed as long, if it was not for that a very good sandwich. A flyer with the bill mentioned that on Thursday nights Sabor offers a Tapas menu. Sabor Restaurant 160-E South Roselle Rd. Schaumburg, IL 60193 847.301.1470 all major cc accepted