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Everything posted by ronnie_suburban

  1. Thanks, Ron! ← George, I do not remember seeing a cannoli cake there, though I am not sure that I have seen one of those. Molto E ← Many have praised their cannoli, which are filled to order, so I thought it would at least be worth a shot. Another place that I was reminded of in this thread is Il Mulino in Highwood. They may be worth calling about this, as well. Il Mulino Bakery 530 Sheridan Rd Highwood, IL 60040 (847) 266-0811 =R=
  2. Not sure when you're visiting but Ambria, which is a fine recommendation on the high-end, is scheduled to close for reconcepting on June 30. It's not a long cab ride from Boka to Second City. I'd like to try it out because they recently hired a new chef, Giuseppe Tentori, who was previously the chef de cuisine at Charlie Trotter's for the last 9 years. Here's a blurb from the February 21 edition of Chicago Magazine's Dish: =R=
  3. G, You may want to give Pasticceria Natalina in Andersonville, a call. =R= Pasticceria Natalina 5406 N. Clark St Chicago, IL 773-989-0662
  4. One more shot from yesterday that I thought might be worth sharing . . . Sliced Brisket Sandwich at Smoque (proof that I was not low-carbing at Smoque ) =R=
  5. Molto e is right. The ribs yesterday (and at my last visit to Smoque) were fantastic. Last time, I went with the baby backs. Yesterday, I went with the St. Louis-style (spare ribs), which were out of this world . . . St. Louis-style ribs at Smoque A closer look at the St. Louis-style ribs at Smoque Interior view of the St. Louis-style ribs at Smoque These ribs were dead-solid perfect. They were piping hot and utterly delicious. The exterior had a great crust and the interior was juicy and smokey. They were tender but not soft, as the meat came away from the bone with a firm tug. It w
  6. Great shots, Eliot. FWIW, my recent brunch at Frontera was excellent and very distinctive. I had the Huevos Fronterizos and thought they were great. I too, wish it were a bit easier to get in there. But it's somewhat far from my house and the wait can sometimes be hard to deal with. Best restaurant in the US? I'm not sure but I'll leave that for others to decide. What's important is that the food at Frontera is carefully and thoughtfully prepared and remarkably consistent. My favorite meal there is lunch because it's usually a 'no-line' situation and I can sit back and enjoy myself, as t
  7. No answer you receive here will be as definitive as the one you could get by calling the restaurant directly. My guess is yes, but it's only a guess. =R=
  8. You should go back and read some of the 35+ pages of detailed accounts already posted on this thread. Those posts will answer your questions. =R=
  9. Our dinner reservations were at the fairly well-known Sea Saw in Scottsdale. Chef/proprietor Nobuo Fukada is something of a local legend (and is also the winner of the 2007 Best Chef-Southwest Beard Award) and as much as I'd heard and read about Sea Saw, looking back, I understand now that I didn't have a clear idea about what was in store for us. What I expected was a top-quality sushi/sashimi meal in a typical upper-tier, sushi restaurant. What I got instead was a glorious, hand-prepared Omakase, the likes of which I'd never seen before; a meal that was life-changing in many ways. After r
  10. It is a testament only to my years of intense training and previous "research" trips that I actually managed to wake up hungry on Day 8 of our food-filled vacation . . . but I did Not even the supposedly hard-core molto e could keep up with us. Rather than meet us to break the 'fast' he politely recused himself. But it was another one of his great tips which led us to some of the best fried chicken (and waffles) I have ever eaten. Lolo's Chicken and Waffles is a small beige building with a painted, red-shingle roof which is located on an otherwise residential block which stands in the shad
  11. The first time I ever heard of Pizzeria Bianco, it was March 2004. I was on an plane leaving Phoenix, reading Peter Reinhart's American Pie. As I read Reinhart's effusive praise for what he considers to be his favorite pizza, all I could think was 'turn this plane around, NOW!' I knew it would be a least another year before I'd get to try Bianco. If I'd only started reading that book at the beginning my vacation, I could have saved a year. When I returned to Phoenix the following spring, eating at Pizzeria Bianco was my top priority. In fact, I wanted to eat there so badly that I dragged
  12. We had a breakfast in Phoenix which pretty much trumped all the breakfasts on our entire trip. It was had, appropriately enough at Matt's Big Breakfast on 1st Street. Matt's is another small place with limited hours. It consists of 2 small rooms and a counter, with seating for about 25-30. The delicious food at Matt's is pretty straightforward, greasy spoon-style with some important distinctions, that have to do with where they source their ingredients. For example, all eggs served at Matt's are sourced through Chino Valley Ranchers, which provides only humanely-harvested, cage-free eggs.
  13. I had sizable expectations for our dinner at Binkley's Restaurant because I'd heard and read a lot about it and pictures I'd seen of their food -- many of them posted on this thread -- looked absolutely amazing. Binkley's is a cozy, fine-dining enclave located in the seemingly remote town of Cave Creek, which is about an hour's drive from Phoenix. Its chef and proprietor, Kevin Binkley, aside from being an affable and friendly guy is a seasoned veteran who's spent some serious time in kitchens at the French Laundry and the Inn at Little Washington. I'm told that his small, romantic restaura
  14. You can also find both of those items (and more - smoked meats, etc) at Zier's, in Wilmette. Great, great butcher (as are F&O and Gepperth's). They sell Tallgrass Beef at the various locations of Foodstuffs. ← Yeah, I linked directly to their "where can I get it?" page. I should have specified that. =R=
  15. Since the last time we were in Phoenix, the empire of Chris Bianco had expanded with the addition of Pane Bianco, a rustic, bare bones, carry-out only sandwich shop near downtown. As alluded to above, Chris Bianco is the force behind Pizzeria Bianco, which many consider to produce the finest pizza of its type in the US. We knew we had to try Pane Bianco. The interior of the narrow but deep space is no more finished than a typical warehouse. Even the magnificent oven, which is the heart and soul of Pane Bianco, is vented through the industrial ceiling with a single length of unfinished pipe, w
  16. Well, thanks again for the tip. This entire mall is great, food-wise. The sandwiches at Postino -- and the bread on which they were served -- were both incredible. And Arlecchino . . . well, what can I say? There's a lot of good stuff going on at this corner. =R=
  17. For a brief moment I thought that I might actually get that chance to cook a Phoenix meal at my friend's house but due to various cirucmstances, the window closed as quickly as it opened on that opportunity. No worries. We'd hedged by holding onto our reservation at Zinc Bistro in Scottsdale and its time had come. After a short drive and a few 'lost in the gigantic stripmall' moments, we stumbled into Zinc just before the appointed time. It was 8 pm on a Monday evening, so the crowd in the attractive and dimly-lighted space was sparse. We sat at a table in an outdoor area that was essentially
  18. Our friend in Phoenix told us that we could get a great, unique meal at the Welcome Diner on Roosevelt Street and he was, again, 100% correct. The tiny place, which is located in a somewhat transitional residential neighborhood, looks a bit out of place, as there aren't really any other businesses in the vicinity. It has about 8 counter seats and some additional outdoor seating. Welcome Diner - 924 E Roosevelt St, Phoenix Inside the cozy Welcome Diner Welcome's hook is that they have an extremely local focus that extends from their ingredients to their packaging. Not everything is locally-s
  19. In 2004, while on our first family spring break in Phoenix, we were filling up the car when I looked up and -- across the street -- saw a sign outside a restaurant, touting their smoked prime rib. In every other way, the place looked dismissable but being something of a smoker nut, I was intrigued by the possibility that this divey-looking joint could offer such an item. 3 million people in Chicago, thousands of restaurants and I couldn't remember ever having encountered smoked prime rib anywhere other than my own backyard. Each day, on the way to the ballpark, we'd pass this place and I'd see
  20. Sunday morning in Phoenix and it's not that we can't bear the idea of eating brunch at our hotel -- the food there is certainly passable. But we'd like to bite off something a bit more meaningful before we head to our first Cubs game of the pre-season. Experience tells me that the food at Hohokam Park is not worth skipping a meal for. Based on a friend's reminder, we decide to hit Richardson's New Mexican Restaurant, where we'd enjoyed a lunch the last time we were in Phoenix. It's near our hotel, on the way to the ballpark and from what we remember, their food is distinctive and quite tasty.
  21. Here's a bit more detailed take on my first trip to Arlecchino, which I alluded to above . . . With the possible exception of some great gelato I once enjoyed outside the Duomo in Florence, the Arlecchino Gelateria in Phoenix serves the best gelato I've ever eaten. Period. It is rich and dense and the flavors are simply unparalleled. Not only did I cap off my panini with a 2-scoop portion of delectable, creamy gelato but I also returned to Arlecchino 3 more times during my stay in Phoenix. I normally don't even like sweets, yet I found myself thinking about Arlecchino at all hours. I'd wake u
  22. I bypass the BK kiosk at the Las Vegas airport, even though it's the only food available. It's 8:30 am and I'm not quite ready for a burger -- especially a BK burger. And for whatever reason, breakfast, to which I would have succomb, is not being offered here. The flight offers way too much drama and most of it occurs before we even take off. First, everyone in the cabin is suddenly thrown forward when the pilot brakes hard in order to avoid another aircraft, no more than 20 yards from us on the tarmac. Once in-line for take-off, we're delayed again due to a light aircraft, on a photo shoot, m
  23. We all have our own personal outcome/expectations formulas which, for better or for worse, affect the way we ultimately feel about the places at which we've eaten. Because my expectations for Joel Robuchon's L'Atelier were so high, I was nervous that I'd be disappointed by it. So far, our 3 earlier dining experiences in Vegas had been a mixed bag and while we'd enjoyed everything we'd eaten, with the exception of Lotus of Siam, none of it really exceeded our expectations. We'd saved L'Atelier for last and the moment had finally arrived. After a short walk through the MGM, we found ourselves i
  24. I think it was the Kids in the Hall who once referred to Las Vegas as 'a small dog, barking in the desert.' As I walked into the Venetian Hotel, I couldn't get that term out of my mind. Here was this empirically lovely hotel, which -- had I been deposited therein, unaware of my actual location -- would have probably impressed me, no end. Yet, the knowledge that I was in Las Vegas, so tainted my perception of the joint, that the more of it I saw -- the painted ceilings, the golden statues, the intricately-patterned carpets -- the more ridiculous it all seemed. Its opulence was so faux, so gaudy
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