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eGullet Society staff emeritus
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    Chicago, IL USA

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  1. Steven was one of the brightest, most analytically-minded people I ever met. He was also kind, funny and passionate. I considered him a true friend, an inspirational leader and a valuable mentor. Rarely a day goes by when I don't think of him. I miss him tremendously. =R=
  2. This is such tragic and shocking news. My heart goes out to PJ, Ellen and his entire family. I cannot even begin to imagine what they're going through right now. Steven was an exceptionally generous and talented person. He had a profound and lasting influence on my life. He taught me, he mentored me and he was always kind to me, even when it would have been completely reasonable for him not to have been. To say he will be missed is a huge understatement but I'm really at a loss for words. Rest in peace, my friend. =R=
  3. Nhu Lan Bakery pretty much supplies everyone in town. Last I remember, the banh mi loaves were 3/$1.00. It might be worth a call to see if they'll ship. 2612 W Lawrence Ave, Chicago, IL 60625 (773) 878-9898 =R=
  4. I'd suggest Gene & Jude's in River Grove or Redhot Ranch for the epitomatic Chicago dog experience. Hot Doug's and Franks N Dawgs are both worthy destinations but they're more variations than typical examples. Also, on the chef-driven side, I highly recommend Nightwood. It's a great spot -- run by chef Jason Vincent -- that just doesn't get its proper due. Not to take anything away from the discussion and great information on this thread, but for a dense concentration of current information on the Chicago-area food, beverage and dining scene, check out LTHForum.com (full disclosure: I'm one of the site's owners). Since the site is about nothing but Chicago food, it's an extremely rich source of information. =R= Gene & Jude's 2720 River Rd River Grove, IL 60171 (708) 452-7634 Redhot Ranch 2072 N Western Ave Chicago, IL 60647 (773) 772-6020 Hot Doug's 3324 N California Ave Chicago, IL 60618 (773) 279-9550 Franks N Dawgs 1863 N Clybourn Ave Chicago, IL 60614 (312) 281-5187 Nightwood 2119 South Halsted St Chicago, IL 60608 (312) 526-3385
  5. I asked this same question last year, though I really, *really* appreciate your attitude. Myself? I'm unapologetically anti-kid. Don't want 'em, don't need 'em, *certainly* don't want to hear them or be around them when they're bored/tired/misbehaving/squealing/yelling/crying/existing. That being said, my impression of The Gathering was that it's an Adults Only thing, but I was told that my impression was incorrect, that kids were welcome. This caused me to withdraw from The Gathering, as the risk is just not worth it to me...I'm there, I've booked the hotel, I've paid for the events scheduled, and someone brings along their kids, who inevitably get bored (justifiably!) or misbehave in some way, making life generally lousy for everyone, and migrane-inducing for people like me. I greatly appreciate your willingness to (GASP! Such a novel idea!) get a babysitter. It's practically unheard of in this area, apparently. So do as you like. It's nice to see, even just the idea of it, the idea that kids are not, and should not, be included in everything. Well, here we go again. Your anti-kid bias is well known. However, the larger issue, as I see it, is that you don't trust the kind of people who *might* bring a child to such an event (the Saturday meal) to: 1) have sufficient judgment to bring their child only if the child's temperament, etc., suits the venue, and 2) have a management plan in place in case of potentially disruptive behavior. Anti-kid, well, I can accept, and I certainly know that rude parental behavior does occur in restaurants, but in this case I believe your attitude is ultimately anti-eGullet parent. Frankly, I would much rather you not attend the Saturday meal than have a parent not attend because they need (or want (gasp!)) to bring their child. FWIW, I've been at every Gathering except KC and Cleveland--including the first one in GR, where we had a three-year-old-ish child in attendance. To the best of my recollection, not once was there any child-related disruption, even a minor one. Alex, You touch on what I believe is the key here: history. I've been to most of these gatherings and cannot recall a single child-related problem at any of them (though, I do recall a few grown-up ones ). In fact, I think there would be uniform agreement among the attendees of the previous gatherings about this, but perhaps I'm forgetting something. And even if I am, it's fairly clear that such instances are not deal-breakers for most folks. However, I agree that in this case, the concern over children isn't a genuine concern about children at all. It's actually the concern of one person about the parents who might attend this event -- and it's a concern which completely ignores the well-known history of these gatherings. So, here we are talking about a theoretical problem that has never once surfaced at a Heartland Gathering...again. I learned long ago that when you jump into an ongoing thing -- any ongoing thing -- it's best to assess it and decide whether you are a good fit for it. You do not impose your will upon it, especially if you have never participated in it before. That seems so simple to me, so fundamental, that I'm shocked when I encounter people who do not share that perspective. In fact, it definitely bothers me far more than naughty children or neglectful parents do. I don't know for sure yet if we'll be attending this year but if we do, it'll definitely be me, my wife and my 15-year-old son, who's been attending these events since 2007. If that's enough to scare anyone off, I can live with it, especially since my boy is a seasoned, Heartland Gathering veteran who knows full-well how to comport himself . . . in spite of the shoddy parenting he's received. =R=
  6. Glad you enjoyed it, Chris. The burger was so good, it almost surpassed the company. I've taken to ordering "rare" at O&E just to avoid the occasional possibility of having my burger cooked beyond my preference. Still, it's such a fatty unctuous portion of ground-on-site beef, that it doesn't suffer at medium. Here are a couple of pics of the burger I had at our lunch yesterday . . . Meyer Ranch Beef Burger Meyer Ranch Beef Burger This remains my favorite burger in Chicago. As for Kuma's, I'm not really a fan. The novelty of their distinctively over-the-top topping cominbations wore thin for me a while back and I don't think their beef comes close in quality to O&E, or other places around town. =R=
  7. One of these is right down the street. They were on the short list, but they close at 4pm on xmas eve. I'm a bit worried about trying to hold a pizza that long. What's their pizza like? In a word, it sucks (yes, I realize that's actually 2 words ). Crust is too thick and doughy. Ingredients are of high quality but they're bland and seem almost entirely out of place on a pizza, where each square inch of real estate should mean something. This a place where suburban moms buy ready-to-bake pies for their kids. I cannot imagine anyone who's serious about pizza regarding this place very highly at all. Interesting business model, to be sure, though. =R=
  8. ^ What he said ^ ...especially if you don't want to venture too far from the city. If distance is no object, contact Dave Zier @ Zier's Prime Meats in Wilmette. It's about 15 miles north of Lincoln Park but well worth the trip. You might also want to check with Joseph's Finest Meats, where I'd suggest calling in advance. Zier's Prime Meats 813 Ridge Rd Wilmette, IL 60091 847 251-4000 Joseph's Finest Meats 7101 West Addison Street Chicago, IL 60634-3623 773 736-3766 =R=
  9. It's interesting that the service at Phoenix has been mentioned in a positive light, because it's the primary reason I no longer go there. I found it to be often indifferent and even horrible at times. It's been a couple of years, though, so maybe it's improved. =R=
  10. It definitely cannot hurt to call. I think they used to ask for 24 hours lead time but their volume on this item has grown to the point where that's no longer necessary. Still, better safe than sorry. =R=
  11. IMO, there is only one place doing it that's worth a visit... Sun Wah BBQ 5041 N Broadway St Chicago, IL 60640 (773) 769-1254 Here are some links to relevant discussions about it at LTHForum.com Sun Wah Beijing Duck for Chinese New Year at Sun Wah =R= Hosts, feel free to remove these links if it's not cool to link to LTH.
  12. IMO, Phillies game = terribly bad fit Wait, did I just say that out loud? In all seriousness, as much as I love seeing MLB ballparks, I'd almost certainly do my own thing if a Phillies game were on the agenda. That just seems like a big chunk of time to throw away when I could otherwise be eating and drinking local fare. =R=
  13. I completely trust the locals to set us up properly and I look forward to it. Reading this thread, there are ton of great options -- far more than we could hit in a weekend, even an extended one. I've never been to Philadelphia or had an authentic Philly cheesesteak sandwich, so for me that's going to be a priority. Being a sandwich lover, I don't want to come back from Philadelphia not having checked that iconic sandwich off my list. If it seems like old hat to the locals -- which I can completely understand -- I'll take some time on my own to get it done. As for the rest, I don't have enough knowledge of the area to comment on the specific restaurants. Again, I'm sure the locals (and those who are familiar with the area) will make it wonderful. That said, we've got plenty of dairy farms and artisanal cheesemakers here in the Midwest (a few of which I've visited), so I'd prefer to allocate our limited time to something more definitively local. Thanks! =R=
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