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Everything posted by jesteinf

  1. jesteinf

    Steven Shaw

    It's so cool to see so many familiar names come out of the woodwork to honor Steven. Of course, I wish the circumstances were different. Steven impacted and changed so many lives in so many ways. RIP and thank you.
  2. I've been to all three and I would recommend Avenues by a nose over TRU. I would put it half a step above TRU, which is much improved since Tramonto left. Ria was good, but not really exciting or interesting (as Avenues and TRU can be).
  3. Congrats Steven. I've lost about 30 pounds over the last 5 months, dropping from 237 to 206. I will say (even though my wife disagrees) at 237 I was fat, no other way to put it. BMI said I was obese (I'm 6 feet tall) and I was. I went for a physical at about 215 pounds and everything had improved for me pretty significantly. Blood pressure and cholesterol had dropped from borderline high to normal and my doctor couldn't have been happier. Back to BMI, it looks like 180-185 would put me at the high range of "normal rate". I think that's actually pretty accurate. Even at 206 I've got a bit of a belly and I'd still like to lose another 10 pounds or so (I'm down to buying size 34 jeans and 36 dress pants). I've stepped up my exercise so maybe that will get me the rest of the way there. And like you Steven, my motivation to keep the weight off is how much better I feel now. I didn't even realize how low my energy level was until I got rid of the burden of 30 extra calories on my back.
  4. The city of Chicago has only one school district. What this one principal is mandating did not come from CPS. This was a decision by one person at one school.
  5. Well, did you register on the website? Emails went out today to the first 1000 who signed up.
  6. Friday night we ate at Next and had a couple of drinks at Aviary as part of a friends and family night (I'm still stunned we were invited). The meal was comped and it was still just a dress rehearsal so I don't want to get into to much detail. I will say that these are both going to be very special places. The dinner at Next was definitely one of the best classic French meals I've ever had. The duck is sure to be a signature dish. Aviary is very interesting. I'm sure there will be cocktail snobs turned off by the setup, but I really enjoyed what we had (for one of my drinks I had the Old Fashioned where you had to break the ice to get to the drink. I want to keep the ice breaking method a surprise though, it's very clever and a lot of fun). It's probably best to think of Aviary as a restaurant that primarily "cooks" drinks. I really wouldn't consider it a true bar. There's also a nice selection of "bites" to go with the drinks. I'm very excited to see how both places continue to evolve.
  7. Even before the fire you could watch the kitchen cook from several seats at the bar. I guess it's even easier to see now. We've belabored this point enough.
  8. I just sat there the other night and watched everything either on the stove or going into the ovens...10 feet away from me. I've been there dozens of times, I've watched them cook on plenty of occasions.
  9. Avec has always had an open kitchen...it's right behind the bar.
  10. You know, one time I made a reservation at Charlie Trotter's for when my family is in town. The day of our reservation they cancelled on me (kitchen fire). A year later we made another reservation and everything was fine. But, my goodness, 50% of my reservations at Charlie Trotter's were cancelled. Now that's a significant chance of customer abuse!
  11. Could not agree with this more. Accusing him of "abuse" is completely uncalled for. He's only one of the nicest guys you will meet in the Chicago restaurant world.
  12. Who knows why Schwa closed. In any event it's still awesome and I would never steer someone away. I've never had that much trouble getting a table and I've never been cancelled on (I've eaten there probably five times or so). Anyway. I went to Maude's Liquor Bar tonight, which is a new place on Randolph. I enjoyed it quite a bit. Here's my write-up from LTHForum: Had a nice dinner at Maude's tonight pre-Bulls game with a friend. I started with an Old Fashioned which I really enjoyed (not that I really know anything about cocktails, but I thought it was a good, balanced drink...not to sweet). We only had a few dishes as we weren't looking for a big meal, and we enjoyed just about everything we had. We started with a half dozen Shibumi oysters. They were fresh tasting, had a good amount of liquor and were well shucked. Next we moved on to the steak tartare. The texture was perfect with the steak having been chopped into good sized (not too big, not too small) chunks. Two weird things about this dish though. First, the egg yolk served on top of the tartare was served somewhere between a solid and a liquid. I asked our server about it and he said that it had been cooked sous vide, with the apparent goal of getting it to that particular texture. I would say they should either ditch the egg or just go with a proper runny yolk. Second the tartare comes with a bottle of sriracha. I'm a fan of sriracha and I liked adding a little to my tartare, but I thought it was out of place given what I think Maude's is going for. For our next two dishes we did the cassoulet and the market fish (which tonight was a striped bass). The cassoulet was the real winner of the night. Tonight's version had pork belly, duck confit, and garlic pork sausage. I don't eat cassoulet much but I would go back to Maude's just for this dish. The meats all blended together perfectly and the white beans were the perfect texture. Everything was working in perfect harmony. My dining companion mentioned that it was the one thing we ate that really reminded him of his recent trip to Paris. The bass had a nice crispy skin but was somewhat undercooked in places (a little pink and mushy on the inside). Not egregious enough to send back, but it certainly didn't reach the same heights as the cassoulet. For two of us, the food above plus two cocktails and a glass of wine ran about $110 after tax but before tip which is certainly in line with other restaurants in the neighborhood. Service has friendly and informed (and pretty excited about the food). There was no mention of "dirty French BBQ", only talk of French comfort food which is really a much better description. I look forward to heading back and exploring more of the menu (especially the bone marrow). Maude's Liquor Bar 840 West Randolph Street Chicago, IL 60654 312-401-8315
  13. From what I've heard, if you are in line by closing time you're fine. They just send someone out that stops additional people from getting in line.
  14. I'd be more concerned about posting your child's picture on the internet than some extra attention from a waiter in a restaurant.
  15. Actually, The Publican and The Purple Pig are only superficially similar. The Publican does a really fantastic (and underrated) job with seafood, oysters in particular but also crudo. Purple Pig is more meat and cooked seafood focused. I think Purple Pig will be a good choice, as there will be plenty on the menu that doesn't involve pork/charcuterie.
  16. The Publican is pretty fantastic. It's one of my favorite restaurants at the moment. I've only been there for dinner though. Cibo Matto was very good, but they've changed chefs since I went and I'm not sure if things have changed. Sweets & Savories is, as always, a great choice.
  17. You're doing it wrong. You're supposed to bash a place that isn't open yet.
  18. Before Alinea opened there was a lot of experimentation with dishes, a lot of trial and error. These videos give some insight into a similar creative process, but to judge now before we know what the final product is doesn't make a whole lot of sense (especially with these guys).
  19. Mercat's got a pretty cool dining room, so that's a good suggestion. I'd also consider Province. Both the interior (and the food) and have interesting design elements, and is pretty reasonably priced given the quality of everything. Province 161 N. Jefferson St. Chicago, IL 60661 (312) 669-9900
  20. Multiple judges involved with the show have stated that if this were the case, they wouldn't participate. Producers manipulate through editing, not judging on Top Chef.
  21. Ok, maybe you could quote the passage in question. At first I was wondering if we'd read the same book; now I'm wondering if we live on the same planet. You've already quoted it: "I don't care what you do in your home, but the idea of a vegetarian traveler in comfortable shoes waving away hospitality—the distillation of a lifetime of training and experience—of, say, a Vietnamese pho vendor (or an Italian mother-in-law, for that matter) fills me with sputtering indignation." The term "in comfortable shoes" is slang for lesbian. http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=women%20in%20comfortable%20shoes Wow, I think you just won eGullet. That is some solid crazy right there.
  22. Avenues tends to fly a bit under the radar. I wouldn't read too much into a lack of Yelp reviews.
  23. Some thoughts... Avec at 9pm on a Thursday is a bit of a crap shoot. You might have a long wait or you might be able to sit at the bar (my recommendation) with relative ease. If it doesn't work out, Province is nearby and is very good. A trip to Lao Sze Chuan, though, is never a bad idea. Maybe if you line up at Hot Doug's before they open on Saturday, otherwise I wouldn't recommend it. FWIW, sometimes I'll go on Friday's at around 11am and it usually takes about 45 minutes to 1 hour to get through the line...so maybe that's an option. That wait is totally worth it, and I hate waiting in line for anything. L2O and Avenues is a real toss-up. I think both are great. If you're really into seafood then I would give the edge to L20, but I think Avenues provides the better overall experience. Also, the style of the food at Avenues is pretty similar to Alinea, so this may be a good "second choice" for you. I was just at The Publican last week and they are absolutely firing on all cylinders. Coming from NYC, I'm not sure you'll really want to go out of your way to eat pizza here. If you want to try deep dish, I'd probably recommend Lou Malnatti's (but everyone has their own personal favorite). For thin crust (sliced into little squares) my favorite is probably Vito & Nick's, which is down by Midway (not really do-able unless you wind up renting a car).
  24. I go to Bobtail sometimes because there's a location right by where I live. I went yesterday and got some peach ice cream (billed as a "seasonal" flavor) which was incredibly disappointing. Just tasted like plain vanilla with a few tasteless fruit chunks mixed in. I've had better luck when sticking with just the basic chocolate.
  25. They serve it at The Publican. As KD1191 mentioned, they call it the "After Pork" digestif.
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