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Sweet Willie

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  1. YES YES YES!!!!! John O'Groats 10516 Pico Blvd Open 7am 310.204.0692 Traveling to LA this weekend and this is a for sure stop as it has been in the past.
  2. fully agree as I will be traveling there next spring, THANK YOU!!
  3. Try these: http://forums.egullet.org/index.php?act=ST...ndpost&p=412776 http://forums.egullet.org/index.php?act=ST...ndpost&p=480629 On Kauai, also ate at No. 1 Chinese & BBQ Restaurant, 3160 Kuhio HWY in Lihue. Very good BBQ plate lunch and very good duck. Oh, also way cheap!
  4. I am heading to Shanghai in Feb 2005 and will have a full 48 hours in the city. I realize I should spend more time but the plans just worked out that way. If you have been to Shanghai I would really appreciate some feedback on the following: Top few things to experience/do while in Shanghai? Top few foods to try or maybe a restaurant recommendation or two. A travel resource (book, map, website) you found helpful for your trip. I also think I read that currently there are no eG'ers in Shanghai, is this still correct to anybody's knowledge? Thanks in advance for responses. Willie Some eG threads on Shanghai: What is Shanghai cuisine: http://forums.egullet.org/index.php?showtopic=42275 Some Shanghai observations: http://forums.egullet.org/index.php?showtopic=16283 Some Shanghai dining recs from the NYT.: http://forums.egullet.org/index.php?showtopic=13992
  5. UPDATED REVIEW FROM 8.6.04 While waiting for my wife, I was in conversation with the bartender about Mojitos and Caipirinhas as I sipped my mojito. He mentioned the Brazilian liquor used in a Caipirinha, cachaca. I expressed a wonder at what that would taste like. In an instant, I had a small portion of cachaca in front of me, he also poured a small tasting of Bacardi’s product (Carta Oro) that is similar, but much sweeter w/o the harshness of the cachaca. I really like service like that, he was knowledgeable and wanted me to become educated so he poured, great touch. By that time Judi had arrived, she liked the Bacardi and I liked the cachaca (so typical!). This time we went in summer and were seated in a small outdoor patio that has 5 tables. You face the fountains in the pond out back which is nice as it drowns out the traffic noise and sort of makes you forget the strip mall effect. Josh our waiter was very enthusiastic and explains almost every dish. Started out with the emapanadas again, still incredible. We split the Cabrales salad. a 1" wide wedge of Cabrales a blue cheese atop some greens and very thinly sliced onion, a balsamic based dressing. Excellent, but seeing as I love blue cheese, it would be pretty easy to please me. Before the main courses came out, we had finished our mojitos and Josh asked if we would like some wine with dinner, of course we answered. Judi was pretty sure what she wanted but I was not really swayed by the small wine list. I told Josh I had narrowed it down to two wines, at that point he disappeared and brought out two small samples of the wine I had narrowed it down to. Again, service like this is rare in my opinion. For the main course Judi had the ximxin (pronounced chimchin) which was a scoop of coconut curry rice surrounded by a stew of chicken and shrimp. Very good! I had the pork medallions which had a very garlicky pineapple salsa on them. The pork was of very high quality and had a lot of flavor. Pork was also cooked perfectly to my requested MR-M. Prices are about 4-7 for salads or appetizers, $9-16 for entrees. A real gem in Schaumburg. The only complaint I have is that the sage dinner roll did not have more of a crust on it!!
  6. Also Shawn McClain will be at Field's Culinary Studio in Chicago on Wed Oct 6th from 6-8pm putting on a demonstration. To quote from the Studio's mailer: Celebrate fall's delicious flavors and late harvest vegetables with a tasting of small bites inspired by the chef's menu at his newest restaurant, The Green Zebra. $65 call 800.265.2665 to reserve.
  7. Was on my way downtown to the MCA ( http://www.mcachicago.org/ )to see the Lee Bontecou exhibit which has been extended through May 31. IF YOU HAVE NOT SEEN HER WORK, GO!!!!!!!!!!!! I was flying along on my cycle when I realized I had passed up the cheaper spots on the outskirts and found myself in the expensive river north area. I then remembered hearing about a $10 angus burger at Naha. Showed up at 11:30am, DEAD! Absolutely DEAD, by the time I left slightly after 12, there were 6 people total, 4 tables taken, that is it. I’m guessing it had to be due to the Friday before a holiday weekend. Started with a potato, corn and saffron soup w/some sautéed leeks. Good soup but the potato flavor should have been more pronounced IMO. Then came the angus burger, slightly done past my requested medium rare. I chose the blue cheese as my cheese of choice. The bun is a good egg bun that has been grilled to get the flat sides crisp, not too dense. There is a “gourmet” salad mix and sliced plum tomatoes on as well. The burger has seasonings but they add not detract from the burger. Fries I thought were only ok at first, but the way I started to polish them off, they were much better than ok, not quite Belgium quality (maybe I'm missing my Frite sauce) Bottom line, the incredible quality blue cheese and the lovingly caramelized onions (think French onion tart caramelized) made the burger. If it were not for these two catalysts of flavor, the burger would have only been good. For $10 a damn good burger, I would have it again. http://www.naha-chicago.com/
  8. Come Back Inn on Lake Street in Melrose Park, Char broiled burgers IIRC.
  9. agreed, why? #1. It is no longer a "taste" the portions are large, defeating the purpose of tasting many different foods. #2. Places serve food at the taste that a diner can not get at their restaurant. Turkey Legs!!?? C'mon get real! #3. McDonald's was there a few (maybe more) years ago, no need to say anymore. There were some shining moments when the Taste first came around, my favorite hands down was the turtle soup that the now defunct Binyon's served. I will still go, to have a beer (or 10) and people watch, always a hoot, but no tasting.
  10. Certainly don't mean to turn this thread into a what area of the US has a better burger, but having had way too many In N' Out's at the urging of my west coast buddies and co-workers I can too easily say that there is nothing special about the burgers at In N' Out. A better burger than the average fast food outlet? yes for sure, but not much more than that. I'm going to have to think about a Chicago area burger as I just don't have them when I'm out anymore. Best burger I've had of late was last weekend, I stopped at the Nueske's factory outlet in Wittenberg, WI and they have choice ground beef with bits of their incredible smoked bacon in the beef. Charcoal grilled that up and by far the best burger I've had in years. http://www.nueskes.com/index.cfm edited to add: paging Holly Moore.....
  11. WHOA! Had two slices of sausage thin today at Marissa's. Not good, they were missing the thin crust that I enjoyed last time. Certainly an off day.
  12. great input, thanks again to eG, anybody have anything else to add about Victoria BC dining?
  13. Looks like I'm adding another out of the Heartland suggestion for pizza, but YOU keep bringing things up! Easily one of the best pizzas in my life was a Sicilian rectangular slice from L & B Spumoni Gardens in Brooklyn. A friend who grew up in Brooklyn took me here. Unbelievable how good the rectangles were. Had one, then two, then three. I only stopped at three because I did not want to make a pig out of myself. Pillowy light with a delicious light crisp crust, just the right amount of toppings. ohhh! L & B Spumoni Gardens 2725 86th St., Brooklyn, NY 11223 Restaurant - 718.449.6921 Pizzeria - 718.449.1230/718.372.8400 http://www.spumonigardens.com/
  14. Too busy, too hectic, too busy, too hectic, we’ve all been there but this has been the norm for the Sweet Willie household for too long. I wanted our 12th wedding anniversary celebration to be a relaxed, away from the cares of the day event, with the exception of a vacation one can’t be much more relaxed time than a 4.5 hour dinner. So bring on Trio’s Tour de Force Tasting Menu! A 16 course dining extravaganza w/wine pairings if one wishes and as I would certainly suggest as they were terrific choices by the wine staff. Again make it easy for me, this is “relaxedville dining event” night. A bit of info on the chef Grant Achatz from the Trio website http://www.trio-restaurant.com “Achatz’s roots are firmly set in food. His family owned several restaurants in Michigan and he decided early on to pursue a career in fine cuisine. After graduating from the Culinary Institute of America, he spent time at Charlie Trotter’s in Chicago and at Cygnus in the prestigious Amway Grand Plaza Hotel in Michigan before settling in with his mentor, Chef Thomas Keller, as Sous Chef at the French Laundry. Keller writes that "Grant’s food speaks with a global assertion and a visual elegance translated from his culinary experiences around the world." While in Napa, Achatz also spent a year as assistant winemaker at the La Jota Vineyards. His knowledge and experience in both fields make an exceptional marriage of food and wine.” It was a beautiful warm sunny day for mid April in Chicago. The restaurant is located in The Homestead, a small gracious hotel in Evanston, IL ( http://www.thehomestead.net ). Traffic was light and we arrived sharply at 5:30 for our seating. We were shown to a table in a smaller room adjacent to the main dining room. Seeing as there was a very loud group already seated in the main dining room we were glad to be in the more intimate section. Even though we have already informed the restaurant that we will be enjoying the Tour de Force, they show us the menu so that we can start to drool over the offerings. A Pommery “Brut Royal” champagne was served from Reims. Lovely. The wine pairing list is at the end of this write-up, as I can not remember exactly which wines were paired with what dishes, the list is in the order that was served. Some wines covered more than one course. With 16 courses we limited our consumption, but Trio will pour as many glasses as you want to go through. We did enjoy multiple glasses of the two sherries at the end of the meal as at that time we were not concerned about having an intoxicated pallet. Caramelized Sri Lankan Eggplant – encased in a thin, clear sugar casing, resting on a spoon. Crunch sweet sugar, rich caramelized earth eggplant, cilantro, pepper, mustard seeds. Amazing tastes from one bite of food. If one remembers Roald Dahl’s “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory”, one of the brats Violet Beauregarde bites into a piece of candy that incorporates the flavors of a 7-course meal. This is what one can expect with most courses at Trio, a journey of flavors, one right after the other. Wild Steelhead Roe – sake, tosaka seaweed, cucumber. The sake is actually mixed with some pectin to form a clear pouch that the roe and cucumber (cut to the same size of the roe) are put in. The briny flavor of the roe/seaweed and fresh cucumber bites. We enjoyed this but the sake piece of this Achatz food puzzle was not present. Chilled English Peas – ramps, eucalyptus, ham. My wife and I are both carnivores, we really like meat! So I usually slump when I read about a course that contains mostly vegetables. I did slump here, but when the intense fresh flavor of the chilled pea soup, mixed with the salty dry ham, ramps (kindof like green onions), and the small eucalyptus balls, my tastebuds danced. Tempura of Maine Shrimp – vanilla, cranberry, Meyer lemon. Picture a solid cylinder of stainless steel (about ½ the size of a roll of quarters) with six 6” thin pieces of wire protruding from one end. These six pieces of wire hold the piece of tempura that was molded around a long thin vanilla bean. One is instructed to grasp the bean, bend one’s head back and use one’s mouth to pull the piece of tempura off of the vanilla bean. Warm crunchy rich shrimp tempura flavor, now molten cranberry with finished zest of Meyer lemon. Black Truffle Explosion – a ravioli filled with black truffle consume and some black truffle shavings on top. Unlike a soup dumpling from Chinatown, one is to put the whole ravioli in the mouth so there is an “explosion” when bitten into. Explode it did with luxurious truffle flavor. I was surprised at my positive reaction to this course as after a horrible New Year’s Eve meal at Trotter’s where every dish had some sort of truffle (usually too much) I had pretty much been turned off by truffles. Maine Lobster – flavors of Thai ice tea, aromatic bread. Full chunks of lobster set atop a piece of aromatic bread in a bowl. Warm Thai tea is poured over the lobster, the bread soaking up the wonderful brew. Missing course – can’t remember what it was!!!! So obviously just ok. Hot Fava Bean and Cold Black Truffle Purees – olive oil, lavender. Again a course with truffles & vegetables and again a tremendous course. Chicharrones con Salsa. Mexican!!?? Yep. A curly chicharron with a full flavored salsa. Flavors we love and found amusing in the setting we were in. Tenderloin of Venison – banana, celeriac, malted barley. The combination of the venison and celeriac was wonderful, surprisingly the banana added immensely to the dish. The malted barley added body to the bites but was not a flavor player. Cheese ‘n Cracker Tomato soup ‘n Cracker. Wife is a no dairy person so she had the Tomato Soup ‘n Cracker, I the Cheese ‘n Cracker. Both “exploded” in the mouth when bit into. The cracker being a crisp container (think the way ravioli encompasses the ingredient) containing the sharp cheddar cheese or soup. It was wonderful how crisp the cracker remained from the kitchen to our palettes. Moulard Duck Foie Gras w/blueberries, cinnamon tapioca, sorrel. The presentation was served in a clear glass tube. The mousse of foie gras “plugged” one end, the cinnamon tapioca the other. We lifted/tilted the tube, put one end to our mouth and then sucked the whole tube’s worth into our mouth. Silky, luxurious foie gras mousse w/the other components. Raisin Soda. We liked raisins, so we like this one but not really special. Kiwi Seeds – Young Coconut – Lime. The seed packets of the kiwi, with strips of young coconut, lime and some passion fruit seedpods made for a tart crunchy course. Very enjoyable. Charred Pineapple – smoked salmon, shichimi togarashi, soy foam. A highlight, the char pineapple and smoked salmon work wonders with the sweet salty soy foam providing a finishing touch. Confit of Melysol Melon – proscuitto, catmint, sherry vinegar. Not a memorable dish Virtual Shrimp Cocktail. Think shrimp cocktail essence in a small, iced spray bottle. One sprays the essence into the mouth. We thought it was quite amusing. Green and White Asparagus – shellfish, apricot, pickled asparagus, parmesan crispies. Warm clarified butter is ladled over the dish at the table just before one eats. The shellfish was a sashimi of gooey duck clam. Wonderful dish. Elysian Fields Farm Lamb – sunflower plant, bag of crispy texture. The bag contains crisped garlic, onion, sunflower seeds and other crispies. The bag is also labeled “Trio bag of crispy texture”. Sprinkle on the dish and enjoy. Lamb was cooked sous vide and was full of flavor. Frozen WillaKenzie Verjus – Thyme. A small frozen disk of WillaKenzie juice with a small leaf of Thyme. Sweet/tart juice then Thyme. Quite refreshing. Ribeye of Prime Beef – spring lettuces, morel mushrooms, smoked tongue. Plate is served with a glass full of smoke inverted over the smoked tongue with a sliced morel mixture on top. Glass is then lifted and left at the table to provide smoke flavor seeing as smell is a large part of tasting. “Salad” – red wine vinaigrette. The mixed greens and vinaigrette are frozen to form a granita medley. Wonderful, fun and refreshing. Carrot-Mandarin-Smoked Paprika Leather – fruit roll up. Nice combination, but nothing special. Australian Finger Limes – Sugar. A lollipop comprised of a clear crystal sugar pop containing the red and white juice packets of the Australian finger lime. Fun. Red Wine Braised Rhubarb – strawberries, violets, sheeps milk ice cream. A highlight, a bowl is served with a tube containing the items. In the bottom of the tube is the warm braised rhubarb, next layer is cool strawberry froth with strawberry bits. Into the strawberry froth is placed the cold sheep’s milk ice cream. The tube is then picked up by the waitstaff and all the items mix into the bowl. Warm Ocumare Chocolate, yeast, pistachio, flax seed. We were divided on this dish. I really liked the toasted flax seed “cookie” that the warmed chocolate sat on. The flax seed disk was on a jelled disk of Sierra Nevada beer. Wife thought the flaxseed was overpowering. Tripod Hibiscus. A frozen ball of hibiscus tea propped up by three wire legs. The wire legs come together after you pick it up to form a lollipop. Bubble of Serveral Unusual Gums. A balloon filled with the gums. A pin is provided for one to pop the balloon to get at the gums. Wine pairings: There was only one that we did not appreciate at all, that was the Pasqualino di Prisco Fiano di Avellino, Campania, Italy 2002 Cusumano “Angimbe” Insolia/Chardonnay, Sicily 2002 Birgit Eichinger “Strasser Gainsberg” Gruner Veltliner, Kamptal, Austria 2001 Europvin Falset “Laurona”, Montsant, Spain 2000 Ochs Blaufrankisch Eiswein, Neusiedlersee, Austria 2001 Luis Pato Maria Gomes, Beiras, Portugal 2002 Argiolas “Argiolas” Vermintino, Isola dei Nuraghi, Sardinia 2002 Honig Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley 2000 Chateau la Rouviere, Bandol 2000 Oloroso “Pata de Gallina”, Juan Garcia, Jarana, Jerez, Spain Forteto della Luja Brachetto “Pain dei Sogni”, Piedmont 1998 Vinhos Barbeito “Special Reserve” Malmsey, Madeira Ok, the reality of dropping a mortgage payment sinks in when the bill arrives as the Tour de Force is $175 with the $95 wine pairings (per person). Also offered are pre fixe 4 course for $85 and a chef’s tasting menu at $120. Both of these have wine pairings as well. Just before our meal ended, a younger ;) couple sat down next to us. We all got to talking and they found out we were celebrating our 12th wedding anniversary. The woman stated they had been married for three and while not wanting to jinx us, what was our secret. No secret really. My wife and I just really enjoy each other’s company., we frequently make the comment to each other, “well, at least we think we’re funny!”. I could not have dreamed of a better evening. Mortgage payment be damned!
  15. Had a couple of slices for lunch on Sunday. nice crisp thin crust, good tart sauce, cheese looked heavy but was not. Only downside is the sausage did not have much flavor at all. For sure a VERY good thin crust! I think it would be better with extra sauce. I did my best not to compare it to Bianco in Phoenix
  16. you mean the TRIPLE post! Any other suggestions for mail order Carlolina pulled/chopped pork?
  17. I also forget to add that to my report, I brought a jar of the burgoo home. It was a hit. THANK YOU for mentioning it.
  18. I’ve read about fried brain sandwiches in St. Louis. The opening paragraph to Lycos.com Travel on St. Louis is the following: When they're not boasting about their city and chiding tourists who call it "St. Louie," locals at the pubs along Route 66 merrily toast the Cardinals over tasty fried-brain sandwiches. It's a St. Louis thing. See: http://forums.egullet.org/index.php?showto...=0entry438210
  19. seeing as it is YOU that is recommending it, I guess I'll have to try it, unlike a certain someone in the SW US. edited to add: When in Milwaukee a must eat, ultra thin/crispy crust pizza is Zaffiro’s Pizza 1724 N Farwell Ave.
  20. just ordered from Black's, needed a fix as I'm not traveling to TX anytime soon. Also ordered BBQ slaw from RO's BBQ http://www.rosbbq.com
  21. any different or recent Belfast experiences?
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