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Sweet Willie

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Everything posted by Sweet Willie

  1. Curious how it was cooked at Custom House, as most Chicago being wet aged lends itself well to over flame prep.
  2. 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. --
  3. 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. --
  4. New Seoul went through a remodel recently, I have yet to stop in to see if they still use charcoal. THEY BETTER !!!!!
  5. 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.
  6. 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. --
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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. --
  10. Can one find Ted's on other islands besides Oahu? like Big Island, Maui or Kauai?
  11. thanks for posting pics CaliPoutine, that meat looks amazing. thanks to all who posted pics.
  12. 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.
  13. 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!! --
  14. 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?!!?? --
  15. to clarify, was it a charcoal grill? (as I've been to electric or gas/propane establishments as well)
  16. Where can one get a good fried brain sandwich? (supposedly a STL favorite)
  17. Bakery Crescent – Japanese Bakery – Arlington Heights, IL I had just finished shopping at Mitsuwa (http://www.mitsuwa.com ) with a friend when it occurred to me to try to find the bakery that a friend had mentioned. It was pretty easy to find, just east ¼ mile from Mitsuwa on Algonquin, in the small strip mall that houses Nikko Sushi and a Korean supermarket (I was intrigued to go in, but did not have the time). It is a very small bakery with 20 or so options, the options we chose were quite good to delicious. Only one disappointment. We each split one of each of the following. Cheesy Petit Pan – Outside was not as crusty as I would like but that seems to be a common issue with bread items I’ve had from Japanese bakeries. But inside were ¼” chunks of a gruyere like cheese, very good roll. Sausage in a long donut. Sausage turned out to a hot dog and the donut dough was nothing special. This was the lone disappointing item. Raisin Roll – Chocked full of plump raisins, slight cinnamon taste. A slight sprinkle of large granular sugar on top. I’ll have to go back and get more for breakfast. Blueberry/cream cheese pastry – good buttery pastry with lots of light layers, crisp exterior that had a browned eggwash to it. Excellent. Durian cream filled “minicake” – I’m calling it a “minicake” as I don’t know the correct term for it. It was the size of a large cupcake with a large deposit of fluffy durian (stinky fruit) cream. Unfortunately (or fortunate if you don’t like durian) there was no discernable taste of durian in the cream. But still a delicious item. Curried bread (pan) – a 5” flat foot ball silhouette shaped item, again the crust could have been more crusty, but the curried filling was terrific and abundant. I can easily see getting a couple of these for lunch sometime. Also they have Curried Egg bread which has hard boiled egg inside along with the curry filling. For $1.50, I grab one of these and a green tea for lunch, cheap, delicious and filling. Takoyaki - a flat roll with Octopus, Japanese mayo, bonito flakes, pickled ginger all baked. Good item. As we were checking out, there was a heated display of fried items, all with the Japanese panchanko breading crust. There were 6 different items. We chose a crab “cake” and a sardine. The crab item was not a cake as a cheesy gooey mess inside a surprisingly light crust of breading. A highlight no doubt was the sardine, a flayed 4” long sardine with tail still on (picture a triangle shape w/tail on top). The sardine had this wonderful strong flavor (not fishy) and the breading was again, light IMO. Bakery Crescent 270 E. Algonquin Road Arlington Heights, IL 60005 847.956.6470 Closed Mon & Thurs Open 10am – 6pm other days
  18. I ate at Il Ritrovo in Sheboygan this evening. Was fortunate enough to be sitting at the bar and have a conversation with the owner Stefano who is from the area and did a stint (non-cooking) in Chicago for awhile. He is looking to open a restaurant near Il Ritrovo that will feature all local/near local Wisconsin food. In speaking with him it was obvious that he had a real passion for the craft he was producing, it was very refreshing. We talked about all the choices of cuisine that Chicagoans are so fortunate to have. He also had heard about Pizzeria Bianco and wanted to get out to Phoenix at some point to try. He is also assisting in opening a Neapolitan pizza shop in Chicago. For a starter I had the bruschetta. The tomato used was wonderfully flavored however; picture a nice slice of white crusty Italian bread with a lone 1/3 of a tomato in the center and some Italian parsley, garlic and olive oil over the rest of the bread. More tomatoes are needed, plain and simple. I felt quite cheated by this starter. The Magherita pizza is what I normally would have chose but the special pizza of the day, a sauce less Neapolitan pizza with some smoked mozzarella, pancetta, porcini and chanterelle mushrooms (which were in season) called out to me. GREAT CHOICE!! The mushrooms being in season were outstanding along with the slightly smoked cheese. I was not that thrilled with the dough, I wanted more crustiness. Stefano said any diner can simply request that their pizza get crusty a bit and the chef will hold the pizza up closer to the wood fire to get it crispier. I will certainly do that next time. I was too full to try anything else but am thinking of stopping by on my way home tomorrow evening even though it is an hour out of my way.
  19. SW, We've been to Beinlich's together so I'll be very curious to hear your impressions of Mazos. As I posted upthread, their burgers are similar in style to Beinlich's but they actually have a lot of flavor. Sadly, I don't think either of us would say the same about Beinlich's. =R= ← Yes, the burgers are grilled on a flat top grill similar to Beinlich's and they do have more flavor. Mazo’s has been around since the 30’s. I knew I was in for a good burger when the waitress asked how I wanted it done. Medium Rare of course, I'm so happy not to get the gray hockey puck burger!! Got my burger on a sesame seeded kaiser which had been laid on the hot grill to crisp/toast the middle. Burger was done to a medium rare, nice!!! Fries were so-so, I liked the coleslaw quite a bit. Chocolate Malt was quite good and thick (but not much malt flavor) All the above positive press does not sway me from my belief that a flat top grilled burger like Mazo's, Hackney's, Beinlich's, WILL NEVER taste better to me that one that is grilled over coals like the burger at Paradise Pup in Des Plaines. Mazo's is closed on Sundays as Yellow Truffle found out and also Mazo's is only open until 4pm (monday through friday) Mazo's opens at 8am. I got lucky and just skirted in at 3:45pm.
  20. Buddy of mine and I met last night at the American Serb Hall fish fry, a legend of a fish fry place in Milwaukee or so I’ve been told by some clients of mine. I had wanted to try the cod but my buddy’s all you can eat mentality screwed up my judgment and I too went along with his choice of the all you can eat Alaskan Pollack. Bad choice, just a so-so fish fry. I don’t know what I was thinking as I don’t enjoy all you can eat anyways. I will give the fish fry at American Serb Hall another try but steer clear of the all you can eat, go for the quality. Everyone knows the best fish fry is cooking up fish that you have just caught. http://www.serbhall.com/fishfry.asp
  21. FINALLY went to Tori Shin. Living in Des Plaines, I commute past this restaurant each day and have always said we need to get in there. Loved it, felt like we were back in Japan. No English posted, we were recognized as not being Japanese and provided an English menu. I had read of Tori Shin being described as Japanese Tapas, not a bad analogy IMO. Broiled Squid with ginger sauce was so-so. I do far better grilled squid at home. This was the only ho-hum dish, the others sang. Tofu and Oyster in broth, w/some sliced scallions was wonderful. Kaki Oyster - Japanese breaded oysters, fresh and juicy w/crisp breading. Saw the horse mackerel, will get that next time for a change of pace. Chicken bowl - good but Bowl House does a better bowl Spicy Tuna Roll - Maguro was VERY fresh. Sapporo beer on tap and served each time in a new frosty mug. YUM!!!
  22. Update on the Mitsuwa food court. They now really have their act together and have stepped up the quality of their offerings. Enough customers must have complained about the so-so operations. I've recently been going frequently for lunch and some dinners and the food court is humming. Jockey Restaurant (listed in this thread) now is in the food court and serves some of their dim sum items.
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