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eGullet Society staff emeritus
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Everything posted by ronnie_suburban

  1. Actually Spoon is in Lincoln Square. Uptown is due east, at the lake. Budacki's would be considered to be in the Ravenswood neighborhood, although it is technically within the Lincoln Square Community Area. Pardon my pedantry ← LOL, it was me who very uncertainly mentioned that I thought it was Uptown. But, the city-dweller who was with us thought it was Uptown too. =R=
  2. I'm not a huge fan of Portillo's but they do serve a custom, proprietary dog that Vienna makes exclusively for them. I do love Wiener's Circle and Superdawg -- both great spots. If you're up in the northern burbs, I'd recommnend The Wiener and Still Champion on Dempster in Evanston, Poochie's on Dempster in Skokie or fRedhots and fries on Chestnut in Glenview. =R=
  3. TOC is reporting that Schwa has closed: So long, Schwa =R=
  4. I am here,,, Just looked at the drying box in the basement, and it is 64.4ºF, after a few months of close to 70...Time for the things I have been thinking of for the last few months...Onward!!!! Bud ← I'm here too and definitely chugging along. I made a pate about 3 weeks ago that turned out very well. I'm about to start my "sausage season" as conditions in my basement are just about perfect right now. =R=
  5. Whatever . . . when it comes down to opinions, there's no wrong or right. It's certainly reasonable to say that Blackbird is arguably the best restaurant in Chicago, especially at its price point. If someone else likes something else better, it doesn't make them right (or wrong), either. The "in my experience" part is implied. =R=
  6. Arun's also buzzed the other way when Phil Vettel downgraded them from 4 stars to 3 back in June of 2005. =R=
  7. LOL . . . ate there once or twice. But yeah, it seemed like they were getting mentions in Dish all the time. I know it well. Chef/owner Dan Bocik catered our friends' wedding (at the Old Town School of Folk Music) 12 years ago, right around when a tavola first opened. I was back there last summer for the first time in a while and really enjoyed it. FWIW, their gnocchi, with brown sage butter, are amazing. From my perspective, he seems to be talked about less these days than in the past, although he did just celebrate his 20th anniversary, which was covered widely. But CT is always going
  8. David, You are absolutely correct about Alinea and Schwa . . . their buzz endures. I think that with Alinea, it's for obvious reasons. It's a destination restaurant in the truest sense. The accolades continue to roll in and because of 'what it is,' the media coverage is continual. Now, sadly, chef Achatz is in the news because of his health. It seems like there's always something newsworthy going on at Alinea. Schwa's a tough table and perhaps that fuels its buzz. When folks finally eat there, they tend to report about their experiences. 26 seats does create something of a mystique and
  9. FWIW, I had a great meal at Green Zebra a few months back and posted about my experience here. While the novelty of the place seems to have faded, the quality certainly endures. The same could be said for North Pond. The fact that it doesn't get tons of ongoing media coverage has little to do with the reality of the restauant's situation. As for Butter, the original owner didn't have much experience and went into receivership. The next owner was averse to fine dining and subsequently lost his chef. Scylla has closed its doors -- experienced chef but a first-time owner. Lumping all these
  10. Some theorize that Arun has spread himself a bit thin but I cannot speak to that. My theory is that there is so much better Thai food available in Chicago -- and almost all of it is much cheaper than at Arun's -- that Arun's has dropped out of the spotlight. When you're in a city that offers arguably the best array of Thai food in the U.S., you've got to be great -- and consistently so -- to stay on top. =R=
  11. So glad you enjoyed it, Rona. And great shots, btw! I'm long overdue for a return to Smoque. =R=
  12. I'd guess pretty much any newsstand, although they may be flying off the shelves faster than usual. I've seen it in the magazine section at both B&N and Border's, too. =R=
  13. Hehe . . . I was thinking that no commercial entity with a successful recipe would actually share it. =R=
  14. Hey all, In case you were not aware, the October issue of Saveur Magazine is entirely focused on the foods of Chicago. Adorning the cover is a truly gastro-pornographic shot of a slice of pizza from Burt's Place in Morton Grove. Also covered in the issue are Chicago originals like Shrimp de Jonghe, the Jibarito, the Mother in Law and of course, Chicago-style hotdogs. Saveur's writers and editors teamed up with local food experts, scholars, writers and historians to deliver a refreshingly original and accurate take on Chicago's current food scene and one that, quite frankly, I wouldn't have e
  15. Thanks, Tim, for the info. The Fresh Foods market near me actually hasn't opened yet but it looks imminent. As an aside, I wish that were raised on beer and massaged daily . . . in Japan, or anywhere, for that matter. =R=
  16. More news today about Grant from food editor Janet Rausa Fuller at the Chicago Sun-Times: For Achatz, it's still 'business as usual' =R=
  17. I would describe my recent meal at Sepia as disappointing. We sampled a lot of food and with few exceptions most of it was either flawed or forgettable. I didn't think that prices were out of line but I never got a sense that I was eating premium ingredients, either. I'm sorry JDYMeat. Maybe the kitchen is just not handling the product you ship them very competently. The brazen upselling of the flatbreads and anally retentive ordering regimen turned me off immediately. The flatbreads, we were permitted -- and encouraged -- to order, the moment we sat down. But when we tried to bypass the fla
  18. Tim, How long do you age it? What's the loss factor? Does the meat pick up any refrigerator aromas. It sounds very cool. We've become pretty spoiled by Zier's prime, aged beef since we started shopping there. In fact, the other day we cooked some steaks that a friend gave us (from another source) and even my 10-year-old son commented on how devoid of flavor they were. =R=
  19. Since one just opened fairly near my house, I plan to try some out soon. Tim, how do you age at home . . . Alton Brown method? =R=
  20. There's a lot more to good, authentic Wagyu than marbling. Its taste and texture are remarkably superior to American Wagyu. It almost tastes like a completely different animal. If you can't get the real stuff (e.g. Japanese), prime, aged beef from Zier's is the absolute best money can buy. =R=
  21. Wow! Talk about the end of an era. Dean is the person who originally recruited me to become an eG staffer back in 2004. Not only were his expertise and guidance always useful to me during my time of service but the friendship we've built over the years transcends our involvement here. Of course, I'm truly grateful to the eGS because without it, our paths would likely have never crossed. In my mind, Mr. Varmint is responsible for 2 of the greatest culinary gatherings ever organized under this roof: Varmint's Pig Pickin', Would ya come? and Varmint's Pig Pickin', Version 2. The amount of w
  22. I hadn't been to Vie since late June and with produce season now at its peak, I made a point of getting there this weekend. As usual, the meal was fantastic and I was so happy to taste the season, via chef Virant's vision. Typical of Vie, in addition to the plethora of fresh, local ingredients, a handful of premium ingredients from less-local sources was carefully incorporated into the globally-influenced menu. And happily, as I've come to expect, several house-produced ingredients were showcased, as well. The meal started with a tasty and intense amuse of escabeche with grapes and arugula.
  23. With apologies to BryanZ . . . Our Schwa experience started with an unexpected phone call a couple hours before the reservation time. It was the ever-thorough Blake calling to warn us that the AC was not working at 100%. As such, we were encouraged to dress appropriately. Not only was I going to Schwa, I'd be able to wear shorts! A dream meal . . . When we arrived, the space was plenty cool and in an effort to keep it even cooler, the lights were turned down lower than usual (or at least seemed to be). That's why these images, taken without flash, are a bit noisy. Still, I think (and h
  24. Great news that he is dealing with the chemo so well. I am still very much hoping that even with the radiation that is coming that he will feel well enough to attend the Starchefs International Chefs Congress in NYC next month. He remains on the scheedule, but ultimately it will depend on how he is feeling. ← Doc, I'm sure you'll be pleased to read this additional update about chefg, which was posted by Michael Ruhlman at his web site: =R=
  25. That's too bad but not completely surprising. It's clear that Mr. Smith requires something higher in quality than "passable." Hell, don't we all? =R=
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