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  1. A friend from culinary school is visiting this week from Vegas. During the days, he's meeting with people about coming to work here, but at night, I plan on showing him some newer Chicago places to help convince him that this the right city for him. He's led Michelin 1 and 2 star kitchens in Vegas and before that worked at a Mobil 5 star restaurant in Chicago (to keep some of his anonymity, I won't name names), but I don't think fancy dinners will do the trick. I'm thinking more about places like the Violet Hour, Depot American Diner, TAC Quick, and Kuma's Corner- places where cooks would (or should) be eating and drinking. I don't really have any time to think on this one- his flight get's in Tuesday afternoon and he's only here for 2-3 nights. If you were thinking about moving here to cook, what places for dinner or drinks that have just come up in the past five (or so) years would convince you to stay? Right now my list of definites: Violet Hour Kuma's Maybes: Depot The Gage Smoque That's-A-Burger Edna's Restaurant Pastoral Graham Elliot Lao Sze Chuan urbanbelly Even though we have some truly great Thai food here, he's got the exalted Lotus of Siam in Vegas, so everything would pale in comparison. Let me know what y'all think. What am I missing? What else should be in the "definite" column? I need help, and quick!
  2. I recently had a meal at North Pond on a Wednesday that left the whole table unsatisfied. First, we had a drink at the bar while waiting for the rest of the party (a six top). The bartender was nice and helpful and the selection of liquors was great. I had a hot tea instead of a cocktail and was surprised by a tea bag. The tea turned out to be good, but I do kind of expect loose-leaf tea at a place as beautiful as North Pond- maybe that's my mistake. No big deal, though. Once everyone showed up we were seated in the back room where only two other tables had been seated. As we looked over the menus the small room filled up. And very quickly the service went from attentive to non-existent. I ordered wine from a menu that I found really limiting and not exciting. We were ready to order the food at that time, but were told that the server would be right back to take the order. It took over an hour to order our meals. By that time, we had finished the first bottle of wine (which nobody at the table liked, but I blame myself for that). After a long wait after ordering, the appetizers came out. My sweetbreads were really nicely cooked and seasoned. All of the dishes were all beautiful. Sadly, I can't remember what anyone else got (everything was gobbled up quickly as our appetites had grown during the long waits), but everyone was happy enough with their appetizers. Then the wait... ...and more waiting.... ...this was a wednesday and I think only about eight tables were seated the whole night (all in one smaller room, though)... ...we tried to get the server's attention to ask what was going on... ...a busboy told us that the food was on its way... ...finally our server told us that the food was on its way... And finally entrees were served- except for one guest's because the wrong plate was brought to her. The server took the plate away and tells her that her dish will take a little while. The kitchen sent out a small app to give her something while the rest of us ate (I know, no manners, raised by wolves- we were just so hungry. She insisted). The entrees looked great. Three of the others with entrees said that their food was "fine." Two of us ordered a plate of chicken (cooked sous vide, I think) with lobster. For some reason, however this entree was about half the size of everyone else's entree. I understand that lobster is expensive and the balance of the dish might be disrupted by adding more chicken, but that portion was just way too small. I have no problem with small plates of food as long as there is some level of uniformity to the portion size. But this was the only dish on the table that had such a tiny portion. And ordering a second entree after such a long wait would have been silly. I can't remember the last time I tried to make myself full on bread and butter. It was embarrassing. I don't want to complain too much about this meal, but I was expecting much, much more than what I got. The server was completely over-extended, the busboys couldn't make up for the server's mistakes because they couldn't communicate with us (I have no problem with non-english speakers, but the server's absence needed to be ameliorated by someone who could communicate with us). Everything took way too long and the food did not make up for the mistakes of the front of the house. Pretty disappointing.
  3. Ok, Last week I had to pull a donation from a charity auction for my law school (the money goes to students who choose to go into public interest law rather than make lots of money). The reason was that two students were offended that the donated item was a dinner that included foie gras. I'm not going to go into the details, but it was expected to bring about $2500 for the public interest fund. I tried to be the better person and turn the other cheek to the self-righteousness of the protesters. I didn't cause a big fuss, I didn't try to make them look stupid for their self-defeating, poorly-aimed, convenient self-righteousness. Now, to add insult to injury, one of the students has invited Alderman Moore to speak to the school next Wednesday. I don't want this to be a one sided venture- after all these are still malleable future lawyers that will have the power to bring this stupid law to other parts of the country and will be involved in its enforcement here in Chicago. Is there an intelligent, logical, and vocal member of the community that can come in to shine light on the absurdity of the law? Is there someone who can successfully champion the right to sell foie in restaurants? I hope we can find someone to help. Thanks, OL
  4. Hello All, I was wondering if anyone knew how to source butter made with raw milk in Chicago. I'm willing to travel a bit, but not more than a couple hours. Thanks in advance, OL
  5. I'm in. For the tour or just an SN visit.
  6. All, I just ate the last of my Mariani Orchards Bing Cherries from F-M 1410 and I realized that I haven't seen any mention of the store on eGullet. F-M stands for Farm to Market, and 1410 refers to the address- 1410 N. Fitzhugh. The hours can be a bit squirelly, but as long as you get there sometime from 10-4 on the weekdays, you'll find the best source of amazing mushrooms, specialty greens and veggies, fruits... that I've found in Texas. Not a huge selection, but each thing will be a "best in class" pick. This is the same produce that all the top restaurants are using. Much of it is locally grown with direction from Tom Spicer, local purveyor of fine produce. If you get to the store (two doors over from Jimmy's) while Tom is there, you might just get a lesson in "the New Farmer's Market Paradigm." There is stuff that isn't local too, like the Mariani Orchards stone fruits that will change your life. Next time you stop by Jimmy's (or anytime) poke your head into F-M 1410, gaze at the mushroom "bar" (a deli counter filled with lobster mushrooms, pioppinis, chantrelles, morels, porcini...), talk to Tom, buy some greens. You will not be disappointed. For the record, I do not, and have never worked for Tom Spicer or F-M 1410. I'm just really excited about Dallas foodies getting a chance to (somewhat) conveniently buy real produce. The kind of stuff that the Dallas Farmers Market, Central Market, and Whole Foods promised, but rarely deliver. Enjoy, Oren
  7. vykim, you are right to assume I'll be a law student. This is after a career in kitchens, though, so my culinary preferences/tolerances will probably be a bit different than my classmates. I'm guessing I'll be spending a lot of time in Hyde Park for the first year. So the neighborhood suggestions are wonderful. Thank you! After that first year, I expect I'll be able to explore the rest of the city's food offerings a little more. Thank you everyone for the help.
  8. WOW!!! Perfect suggestions. I can't wait to get familiar with the new neighborhood. Thanks, Oren
  9. Hello All, Everyone was so helpful about my last question that I've got another one for y'all. I will be moving to Hyde Park, Chicago in June. I won't have a car and I won't have any money. Where am I going to eat? Thank you in advance, Oren
  10. Wow! This is all really helpful. I will be visiting in March so I'll try to take a look at all the suggestions. I'm not as sure about going to school in Chicago as before, but I'm still going to love visiting. Thanks again for all the help!
  11. eGullet Chicago, I will probably be moving to Chicago this summer and wanted to know more about the food scenes of the different neighborhoods. I am more interested in neighborhood places, ethnic restaurants, and dives than the destination restaurants like Alinea and Butter (I am more than happy to travel a distance the few times a year that I am able to justify visiting these places). Please, let me know where the sandwich places are, or where I would be able to wake up and walk to a great noodle or falafel shop... I would prefer to stay near-ish to the gold coast, as that is where I'll be going to school, but don't hold back on the neighborhoods further away if you feel those neighborhoods should be recognized. Of course, links to past discussions are welcome as well. Thank you, Oren
  12. Thank you dinwiddie. Luckily, rent is paid for by my school. I won't get paid for work, though so it's still true that I won't have much money left over for eating. Those places sound perfect and they look very close to work and home. If anyone can think of anything else in the next few weeks, I appreciate all the help I can get! Thanks again!
  13. Hi all. I will be moving to DC in September for four months. I'll be working at the Supreme Court and living near there and I'm going to need places to go to eat (cheap) and to shop. Cheap eats to me means anything that I can get for 10-15 dollars or less. I love most ethnic foods that I've had. I love a good sandwich. I worked in the industry (fine dining) before going back to school, so I'm not completely clueless or timid. I would love to find someplace to go after work that wouldn't take too much traveling. For shopping, I need a place to get consistent produce at below-Whole-Foods-prices. A butcher and a great deli would be wonderful as well. I've looked at the links to grocery stores, but have no idea what is close and how much traveling each of the suggestions would take. I apologize for not knowing where anything is and how to get anywhere. I'll learn as soon as I can. Thanks for the help! Oren
  14. orenlund

    Dallas Delis

    I hadn't eaten at a deli news since I was in elementary school. I tried the one on preston and campbell and had the best reuben I've had in Dallas. Very exciting that there is a place (albeit a 30 min drive) to get a good reuben here. thanks for the suggestion. As far as deli's... considering the huge jewish population in Dallas I am always surprised by the lack of good deli that can stay in business (without changing owners) for more than a few years. -oren
  15. orenlund


    I had a meal there that was terrible. It was five hundred + dollars for three of us to eat mediocre food from an unimaginative menu. I went more than a year ago and haven't been back since. It is possible that things have turned around since then, but judging from your post, I don't think it has. For a place to be charging those prices I expect three things: 1. Good product- no flash frozen fish and meat, seasonal quality produce 2. Well written menu- flavor combinations are right on, not too many lazy repetitions 3. Well cooked and seasoned- self explanatory What I got at aurora was: little flash frozen lamb chops, grocery store quality fish, and airline/hotel vegetables (carrots, zucchini, pearl onions) Flavor combinations were fine because it was classic hotel food-everything straight out of le guide culinaire (this would be fine if it wasn't a place that had touted itself as "cutting edge") The menu was the most amatuerish overindulgent thing I've seen in a long time. Only two entrees didn't have truffles or truffle oil (not including the truffle tasting menu and the truffled custard amuse that everyone got). If you want to be indulgent go ahead, but don't use it as an excuse to be lazy. I can't remember anything that was seasoned properly (it's possible i've forgotten) Oh, the lobster was fine (as I'm sure it was in 1994 at the french laundry- "cutting edge") I hope they turned around and started cooking good food. I'm glad you had a good meal. I am just a little cranky- I didn't really get any sleep. that's plenty of venting for tonight. I apologize if I hurt anyones feelings- you should see me when I'm tired AND hungry! -oren
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