Jump to content

ronnie_suburban

eGullet Society staff emeritus
  • Content Count

    5,978
  • Joined

  • Last visited

Everything posted by ronnie_suburban

  1. A friend who lives in New York and Alinea have birthdays one day apart and back at the beginning of May, he decided to come to town to celebrate both occasions. He invited me to join him and I happily obliged. It had been about 6 months since my previous visit, which was my longest interval ever and it was great to be back at "The Big A" (© yellow truffle), where we enjoyed several totally new dishes, a few old favorites, and refined versions of some dishes that we'd tasted in the past. Below is a mostly chronological pictorial recap of our meal, with some random comments and notes (please forgive any errors/omissions). Dish descriptions/ingredient listings are taken directly off the menu. We also enjoyed the 'upgraded' wine pairings, which I've listed in gray beneath the pictures of the dishes with which they were initially served. Keep in mind that some pairings are intended to match up with more than one course . . . Steelhead Roe | coconut, lime, vanilla fragrance Cocktail of Louis Roederer Brut with Roussanne, Spiced Mead and Curaçao The meal kicked off with a variety of bright intense flavors, all rolled into one bite that was fragranced by the vanilla bean 'serving piece.' Lemongrass | oyster, sesame, yuzu Here, the lemongrass is actually used as the serving vessel for the oyster and other elements. This was a clean, robust and aromatic bite. The block on which the dish is perched is actually part of a previous Alinea centerpiece, which incorporated honeycomb. Yuba | shrimp, miso, togarashi A reprise of a satisfying dish that I enojoyed at my previous Alinea meal. It's a super savory combination of flavors and textures, and the heat, provided by the togarashi, was just right. White Asparagus | licorice vinegar, honey, meyer lemon Alois Lageder Moscato Gallo "Vogelmaier" Alto Adige 2006 We were told that this white asparagus takes 2 years to grow. Partially visible under the white sauce are meyor lemon-flavored tapioca balls. The honey is in the form of a crisp, which lay atop the spears in Stonehenge form. Spring Garlic | parsley, lemon, chicken Parsely, lemon and chicken comprise the flavor-concentrated bite on the fork. Beneath them, spring garlic takes the form of an intensely aromatic soup, which is sipped directly from the cup after the bite is taken. Ice Fish | shellfish, horseradish, parsley Fonthill "Sea Air" Verdelho, McLaren Vale, S. Australia 2006 Again, great flavors here and an absolutely breaktakingly beautiful plate that called to mind a romantic glimpse of the bottom of the sea. You can almost imagine the components on the plate swaying gently back and forth. Bread Service (clockwise from top left: herb bread, oolong tea 'bagel,' olive, savory scone) These four breads (along with artisanal goat butter and cow butter, which is made in house) were served, in this order, at various points during the meal, beginning with the buttery herb bread. I'm sorry I can't remember more details because they were great. Breads are made in house and really enhance the dining experience. As the courses come, it's nice to have a sauce-sopping medium. Green Almond | sweet, hot, sour, salty A nice one-biter that, like so many Alinea creations, delivered its flavors and taste sensations in slowly unfolding phases. Short Rib | Guinness, peanut, fried broccoli Paolo Bea Montefalco Riserva "Pipparello," Umbria 2003 A hearty dish that showcased bitter and countered it with the fatty richness of short rib. The texture contrasts here, ranging from firmly crunchy to soft and gelatinous, were fantastic, too. Hot potato | cold potato, black truffle, butter This dish has been well-documented. Suffice it to say it's classic comfort food in typically novel Achatz form. Carrot | smoked paprika, orange Sweet, smokey and bright. Pork Belly | smoked paprika, polenta, pickled vegetables Oberhäuser Brücke Riesling Spätlese, Hermann Donnhoff, Nahe 2006 We ate these delectable one-biters of bbq so fast, we joked that the pedestals on which they were served were delivered to the table empty. Shortly thereafter, the crew delivered another round of them to the table, warning us that they'd be watching us closely this time. Chicken Skin | truffle, corn, thyme Alinea joins the very small group of restaurants I know that serve chicken skin as a dedicated dish and they do it masterfully. This was just sensational. Mango | soy, foie gras In this dish, the delicate, crispy tube is made from mango and the rich foie gras inside it is just perfect. The soy accent brings the main ingredients into tight focus. Rhubarb | ginger, basil Over my meals at Alinea I've had a few incarnations of this cocoa-butter ball shooter but I (and a few others at our table) thought this one could be the best of all. The ball breaks/melts in the mouth, delivering its intensely-flavored contents in an imaginative and effective way. Transparency | raspberry, rose petal, yogurt Another Alinea favorite brought back. As the progression heads back to savory, this tart and sweet course refreshes wonderfully. It's so light and, dare I say it . . . waffer-thin. 8) Centerpiece | (temporary) At this point in the meal, these centerpieces were placed on the table. At first, they looked like the back end of an arrow that was made with radicchio. Later, we'd learn what they actually were. Fava Beans | lavender, banana, pecorino Eric Texler Condrieu "janrode," N. Rhône 2006 What can one say about pairing fava beans and banana? It doesn't sound like it would work at all, but it did more than work -- this combination was truly inspired. Honeydew | Benton's ham, pine, mastic Another great one-biter, which paired salty, smokey ham with sweet and aromatic honeydew. Lobster | peas, ramps, mint vapor This one may have been my favorite dish of the entire meal. The 'sauce' under which the lobster was served was so delicious, so buttery, that I almost could not contain myself. Lobster | peas, ramps, mint vapor Di Giovanna "Gerbino" Rosatto di Nerello Mascalese, Sicily 2006 This dish incorporated the same ingredients as the lobster dish served right before it but in completely different form. Delicious and very cool. Wagyu Beef | black truffle, potato, Blis Elixir Alain Burguet Gevrey-Chambertin "Mes Favorites" 2001 This dish started out with a cube of yukon gold potato wrapped in black truffle. From there, our centerpieces, which turned out to be ultra thin slices of Japanese Wagyu beef that had been frozen with liquid nitrogen, had thawed. They were then unfurled and placed atop the potato/truffle cubes. From there, the combination was drizzled with Blis Cherry Elixir and then, finally, topped with a fresh leaf of thyme. Wonderful in every way. Black Truffle | explosion, romaine, parmesan An old favorite, which dates back to chef Achatz's Trio days, makes an anniversary appearance and, for me, this one is great every time. Explosive black truffle magnficence! Lamb | mushroom, red wine, diverse embellishments Alban Vineyards "Alban Estate" Grenache, Edna Valley 2005 Here, tender lamb is accompanied by nearly uncountable 'diverse embellishments,' like enoki mushrooms, lentil salad and a pierogi made from beet. I think it would take a normal person a few days to assemble such a dish, if they could ever even conceive of it (doubtful). Squab | chocolate, blueberry, hazelnut Francis Darroze "Reserve Speciale" Bas Armagnac As we moved closer to our dessert courses, chef Achatz sent out a dish that really challenged my preconceived notions. Here squab breast was encased in an unsweet 'bar' of soft chocolate. Looking at it, it just didn't seem right but the flavors absolutely worked together, especially accented by tart blueberry in 2 forms. As someone at our table noted, this would have been an interesting one to have been blindfolded for. In any event, the dish was very successful in that it was delicious and thought-provoking. Bacon | butterscotch, apple, thyme Another Alinea favorite brought back for the anniversary meal. This is such a great combination of flavors, aromas and textures. Thank you sir, may I have another? Strawberry | violet, niçoise olive Fantastic combination of flavors, again, released in phases via varying temperatures. This was no bigger than the tip section of my pinky yet conveyed 3 distinct, intense flavors in succession, which was truly impressive. Persimmon | carrot, red curry, spice strip Hans Nittnaus Beerenausiese "Cuvée Premium," Neusiedlersee, Austria 2003 I loved this dish because I love fruit and pastry desserts and that's ultimately what this was a deconstructed version of. In the back, right corner, you can see a piece of film, which we were instructed to place in our mouths first. As it dissolved on the tongue, the sweet spices it conveyed were released and the walls began to breath (ok, just kidding about that second part). That burst of flavor carried through and 'condimented' the rest of the dish in a very balanced way. Dry Shot | pineapple, rum, cilantro Simple but novel and very tasty. We were instructed to tear off one end of the envelope and pour its contents directly into our mouths. It was like a thoughtful trail mix and since I'd finished off many a bag of chips in nearly the same manner, I really appreciated it. :lol: Chocolate | egg, pomelo, smoke Rare Wine Co/Vinhos Barbello "New York Malmsey" Special Reserve Madeira I'm sure that chef Achatz hates being compared to Willy Wonka but when you put out dessert plates like this, it's going to happen. There was so much going on here, it's hard to describe. A fantastic adventure in sweet, which delivered on so many levels. Sweet Potato | bourbon, tempura, cinnamon incense We finished off with one of my favorite Alinea bites. Tempura'd sweet potato and bourbon on a smoldering stick of cinnamon, which was delectable, as always. It's always great to go back to Alinea and see how things have progressed. On this night, there was a bow to the past, an intense focus on the present and an eye on the future. As usual, we were blown away by the experience because every aspect of it was conceived and accomplished at such a high level. But at its core, Alinea remains a fun, extraordinarily approachable and delicious experience. If you are interested in experiencing greatness and you haven't been to Alinea, you're depriving yourself. =R=
  2. Ok, this is shaping up quite nicely . . . Updated lists . . . Thursday Dinner at Blackbird =R= +4 Alchemist newbie21 HeatherM Alex tammylc* + 1** jesteinf +1 edsel Lady T prasantrin* +1* Jean Blanchard +1 santo_grace +1 HOLLY_L NancyH +1 Nina C.* +3* nyokie6 +1 nsxtasy +1 yellow truffle +3 joiei* Sam Iam +1 LuckyGirl* +1* Elrushbo stuart_s daniellewiley +1 Amy Viny +1 white lotus +1 cat lancaster** ricain** + 1** -52- (38 definite, 10 probable, 4 waiting) Only 'wait list' spots remain for Thurday's dinner, although it's likely that some who have signed up will drop out, as we have 10 "probables". Thursday Drinks at The Violet Hour =R= +4 HeatherM Alex tammylc* +1* jesteinf +1 edsel tino27 +1 Lady T prasantrin* +1* Marmish* +1* newbie21 Nina C.* +3* Jean Blanchard +1 santo_grace +1 HOLLY_L NancyH +1 nyokie6 +1 nsxtasy +1 yellow truffle +3 joiei* moreace01 +1 Sam Iam +1 LuckyGirl +1 Darcie B kasw* +1* stuart_s* daniellewiley +1 Amy Viny +1 Aaron Deacon white lotus +1 cat lancaster ricain + 1 -59- (47 definite, 12 probable) Only 1 spot remains for Thursday's cocktail session Updated list for the Friday night dinner at Lao Sze Chuan: =R= +4 prasantrin +1 torakris tammylc +1* CaliPoutine Alex Sam Iam +3 Fresser NancyH +1 nsxtasy +1 jesteinf +1 kasw* +1* tino27 +1 HeatherM santo_grace +1 Kerry Beal edsel Cathy2 yellow truffle +1 nyokie6 +1 stuart_s HOLLY_L white lotus +1 LuckyGirl +1 -43- (40 definite, 3 probable) 37 spots remain for Friday night's dinner at Lao Sze Chuan Updated list for the Saturday dinner at Immanuel Lutheran Church: =R= +4 NancyH +1 torakris edsel LuckyGirl +3 Alchemist CaliPoutine Alex tammylc jesteinf +1 nsxtasy +1 Kerry Beal Marmish +1 moosnsqrl +1 Osnav +1 prasantrin* +1* tino27 +1 Sam Iam +3 nr706 +1 hsm +1* joiei Jean Blanchard +1 newbie21 hjshorter moreace01 +1 HOLLY_L santo_grace +1 daniellewiley +1 kasw +1 dls* nyokie6 +1 Nina C. +1 LAZ +1 maggiethecat +1 Elrushbo Darcie B white lotus +1 Fresser cat lancaster HeatherM Lady T yellow truffle +3 Amy Viny +1 Aaron Deacon sweintraub* +1* karen m +1 ricain + 1 elfin +1 -86- (80 definite, 6 probable) Only 4 spots remain for Saturday's group meal Again, please take a look at the above lists and let me know if I have failed to record your status accurately. Thanks! =R=
  3. Ok, here we go . . . Updating Thursday's stuff . . . Thursday Dinner at Blackbird =R= +4 Alchemist newbie21 HeatherM Alex tammylc* + 1** jesteinf +1 edsel Lady T prasantrin* +1* Jean Blanchard +1 santo_grace +1 HOLLY_L NancyH +1 Nina C.* +3* nyokie6 +1 nsxtasy +1 yellow truffle +3 joiei* Sam Iam +1 LuckyGirl* +1* Elrushbo stuart_s daniellewiley +1 Amy Viny +1 white lotus +1 cat lancaster** ricain** + 1** -52- (38 definite, 10 probable, 4 waiting) Only 'wait list' spots remain for Thurday's dinner, although it's likely that some who have signed up will drop out, as we have 10 "probables". Thursday Drinks at The Violet Hour =R= +4 HeatherM Alex tammylc* +1* jesteinf +1 edsel tino27 +1 Lady T prasantrin* +1* Marmish* +1* newbie21 Nina C.* +3* Jean Blanchard +1 santo_grace +1 HOLLY_L NancyH +1 nyokie6 +1 nsxtasy +1 yellow truffle +3 joiei* moreace01 +1 Sam Iam +1 LuckyGirl +1 Darcie B kasw* +1* stuart_s* daniellewiley +1 Amy Viny +1 Aaron Deacon white lotus +1 cat lancaster ricain + 1 -59- (47 definite, 12 probable) Only 1 spot remains for Thursday's cocktail session Updated list for the Friday night dinner at Lao Sze Chuan: =R= +4 prasantrin +1 torakris tammylc +1* CaliPoutine Alex Sam Iam +3 Fresser NancyH +1 nsxtasy +1 jesteinf +1 kasw* +1* tino27 +1 HeatherM santo_grace +1 Kerry Beal edsel Cathy2 yellow truffle +1 -35- (32 definite, 3 probable) 45 spots remain for Friday night's dinner at Lao Sze Chuan Updated list for the Saturday dinner at Immanuel Lutheran Church: =R= +4 NancyH +1 torakris edsel LuckyGirl +3 Alchemist CaliPoutine Alex tammylc jesteinf +1 nsxtasy +1 Kerry Beal Marmish +1 moosnsqrl +1 Osnav +1 prasantrin* +1* tino27 +1 Sam Iam +3 nr706 +1 hsm +1* joiei Jean Blanchard +1 newbie21 hjshorter moreace01 +1 HOLLY_L santo_grace +1 daniellewiley +1 kasw +1 dls* nyokie6 +1 Nina C. +1 LAZ +1 maggiethecat +1 Elrushbo Darcie B white lotus +1 Fresser cat lancaster HeatherM Lady T yellow truffle +3 Amy Viny +1 Aaron Deacon sweintraub* +1* karen m +1 ricain + 1 elfin +1 -86- (80 definite, 6 probable) Only 4 spots remain for Saturday's group meal Again, please take a look at the above lists and let me know if I have failed to record your status accurately. Thanks! =R=
  4. Lawrence is a great culinary street, not just for Korean but also for middle-eastern, Chinese, Cuban, Mexican, pizza, etc. I highly recommend it. =R=
  5. IMO, the 2 best Korean places in town are Hae Woon Dae and San Soo Gab San, both of which use live charcoal, not gas, for their tabletop bbq. Panchan, soups and non-bbq dishes are also outstanding at both places. FWIW, I believe the street you're thinking of is Lincoln Ave, which is home to many Korean joints. =R= Hai Woon Dae 6240 N California Ave Chicago, IL 60659 773 764-8018 San Soo Gab San 5247 N Western Ave Chicago, IL 60625 773 334-1589
  6. Details for Friday August 8 . . . I know that many of you have been waiting patiently for the final piece of the puzzle to fill in and I'm happy that I can finally post about it. As the 2008 Summer Olympics kick off in China, we'll be enjoying a feast at what is arguably Chicago's finest Chinese restaurant, Lao Sze Chuan. We'll have the large, private dining room on the 2nd floor of the restaurant all to ourselves. The menu will be pre-set. The meal, which will be served family-style, will include a variety of fantastic Szechuan and other regional Chinese dishes. The final price per person will range between $30-$40. This price includes beverages (soft drinks and beer), tax and tip. Hopefully, we'll be able to get a firm number in advance of the meal but there are no guarantees on that front. So please, plan for $40 per person and if it ends up being less expensive, consider it a bonus (and you will receive money back after the meal). Unfortunately, there is no dedicated thread here about Lao Sze Chuan. However, some descriptions, images and general praise/discussion can be found here and here. The food at LSC is absolutely delicious, the cost is quite reasonable, and unlike a few 'finer' dining spots we investigated, Lao Sze Chuan will easily be able to handle a group of our size without service issues or having to 'dumb down' their menu. For this event, we are limited to 80 attendees. Our start time will be determined shortly but will likely be around 7:30 pm CT. As with the other events, if you plan to attend, please post here and include the number of people in your party. I'll maintain an ongoing list in exactly the same manner as I've done with the previously-announced events. Very soon, we'll be migrating the preliminary attendance lists that appear here on the thread to a separate web site and allowing people to 'lock in' their spots by pre-paying for the events they plan to attend. Lao Sze Chuan Chinatown Square Mall 2172 S Archer Ave Chicago, IL 60616 312 326-5040 Thanks, =R= List of attendees for Friday night's dinner at Lao Sze Chuan: =R= +4 -4- (4 definite)
  7. I think so. They're still turning out delicious, meat-focused, Norteño-style food that I believe is the best of its genre in Chicago. =R=
  8. I ate there on Wednesday and was seriously impressed. I think this is quickly going to become one of Chicago's most important restaurants. I hope to make a longer report, along with some photos, shortly. =R=
  9. Not sure about the goat butter but the cow butter is made in-house at Alinea. =R=
  10. Updating Thursday's stuff . . . Thursday Dinner at Blackbird =R= +4 Alchemist newbie21 HeatherM Alex tammylc* + 1** jesteinf +1 edsel Lady T prasantrin* +1* Jean Blanchard +1 santo_grace +1 HOLLY_L NancyH +1 Nina C.* +3* nyokie6 +1 nsxtasy +1 yellow truffle +3 joiei* Sam Iam +1 LuckyGirl* +1* Elrushbo stuart_s daniellewiley +1 Amy Viny +1 white lotus +1 cat lancaster** ricain** + 1** -52- (38 definite, 10 probable, 4 waiting) Only 'wait list' spots remain for Thurday's dinner, although it's likely that some who have signed up will drop out, as we have 10 "probables". Thursday Drinks at The Violet Hour =R= +4 HeatherM Alex tammylc* +1* jesteinf +1 edsel tino27 +1 Lady T prasantrin* +1* Marmish* +1* newbie21 Nina C.* +3* Jean Blanchard +1 santo_grace +1 HOLLY_L NancyH +1 nyokie6 +1 nsxtasy +1 yellow truffle +3 joiei* moreace01 +1 Sam Iam +1 LuckyGirl +1 Darcie B kasw* +1* stuart_s* daniellewiley +1 Amy Viny +1 Aaron Deacon white lotus +1 cat lancaster ricain + 1 -59- (47 definite, 12 probable) Only 1 spot remains for Thursday's cocktail session Updated list for the Saturday dinner at Immanuel Lutheran Church: =R= +4 NancyH +1 torakris edsel LuckyGirl +3 Alchemist CaliPoutine Alex tammylc jesteinf +1 nsxtasy +1 Kerry Beal Marmish +1 moosnsqrl +1 Osnav +1 prasantrin* +1* tino27 +1 Sam Iam +3 nr706 +1 hsm +1* joiei Jean Blanchard +1 newbie21 hjshorter moreace01 +1 HOLLY_L santo_grace +1 daniellewiley +1 kasw +1 dls* nyokie6 +1 Nina C. +1 LAZ +1 maggiethecat +1 Elrushbo Darcie B white lotus +1 Fresser cat lancaster HeatherM Lady T yellow truffle +3 Amy Viny +1 Aaron Deacon sweintraub* +1* karen m +1 ricain + 1 elfin +1 -86- (80 definite, 6 probable) Only 4 spots remain for Saturday's group meal Again, please take a look at the above lists and let me know if I have failed to record your status accurately. Thanks! =R=
  11. With pleasure Updating Thursday's stuff . . . Dinner =R= +4 Alchemist newbie21 HeatherM Alex tammylc* + 1** jesteinf +1 edsel Lady T prasantrin* +1* Jean Blanchard +1 santo_grace +1 HOLLY_L NancyH +1 Nina C.* +3* nyokie6 +1 nsxtasy +1 yellow truffle +3 joiei* Sam Iam +1 LuckyGirl* +1* Elrushbo stuart_s daniellewiley +1 Amy Viny +1 white lotus +1 cat lancaster** ricain** + 1** -52- (38 definite, 10 probable, 4 waiting) Only 'wait list' spots remain for Thurday's dinner, although it's likely that some who have signed up will drop out, as we have 10 "probables". Drinks =R= +4 HeatherM Alex tammylc* +1* jesteinf +1 edsel tino27 +1 Lady T prasantrin* +1* Marmish* +1* newbie21 Nina C.* +3* Jean Blanchard +1 santo_grace +1 HOLLY_L NancyH +1 nyokie6 +1 nsxtasy +1 yellow truffle +3 joiei* moreace01 +1 Sam Iam +1 LuckyGirl +1 Darcie B kasw* +1* stuart_s* daniellewiley +1 Amy Viny +1 Aaron Deacon white lotus +1 cat lancaster ricain + 1 -59- (47 definite, 12 probable) Only 1 spot remains for Thursday's cocktail session Updated list for the Saturday event: =R= +4 NancyH +1 torakris edsel LuckyGirl +3 Alchemist CaliPoutine Alex tammylc jesteinf +1 nsxtasy +1 Kerry Beal Marmish +1 moosnsqrl +1 Osnav +1 prasantrin* +1* tino27 +1 Sam Iam +1 nr706 +1 hsm +1* rockandroller +1 joiei Jean Blanchard +1 newbie21 hjshorter moreace01 +1 HOLLY_L santo_grace +1 daniellewiley +1 kasw +1 dls* nyokie6 +1 Nina C. +1 LAZ +1 maggiethecat +1 Elrushbo Darcie B white lotus +1 Fresser cat lancaster HeatherM Lady T yellow truffle +3 Amy Viny +1 Aaron Deacon sweintraub* +1* karen m +1 ricain + 1 elfin +1 -86- (80 definite, 6 probable) Only 4 spots remain for Saturday's group meal Again, please take a look at the above lists and let me know if I have failed to record your status accurately. Thanks! =R=
  12. Activities for Sunday August 10 . . . Several people have asked about Sunday's activities and we have a plan so exciting that I'm not sure I'll be able to wait for it. We will visit the Maxwell Street Market, one of Chicago's truly distinctive culinary and cultural treasures. Even better, we'll have none other than David Hammond to lead us. Mr. Hammond is an expert not only about the Maxwell Street market and its history but also about Mexican regional cuisine. His 6-part "Beyond the Burrito" series, which appeared in The Reader, Chicago's alternative newspaper, is a fantastic resource on the regional cuisines of Mexico -- and where prime examples of these cuisines can be found throughout Chicagoland. Having Mr. Hammond at the helm should make the experience particularly enjoyable and informative, as he will provide context for much of what we'll see and taste on our tour. We will begin at about 10 am by meeting at predetermined spot near the market. These details have not yet been finalized. The tour should take about 3 hours and will consist of plenty of walking. It's a rain or shine event and admission is free. As such, there's no need to sign up and payment is not required. You'll have all sorts of opportunities to buy food and beverages (and tube socks) from the local vendors during the tour. No set meal will be provided but the eating opportunities will be vast, excellent and varied. While it is a few of years old, Hammond and some friends assembled a video record of the Maxwell Street Market, which can be viewed by clicking here: Gorilla Gourmet: Maxwell Street Mexican. Additionally, the aforementioned pieces (and more), penned by Mr. Hammond, on Mexico's regional cuisine can be found be following these links: Mexican Regional Cuisine Index: http://dchammond.com/index.php?id=6 Two Takes on Yucatecan Cuisine = http://www.chicagoreader.com/features/stor...aurants/070316/ This should be a great, inexpensive way to wrap up our diverse weekend of eating and cooking. =R=
  13. LOL! Well, volunteers are certainly welcome. If folks (especially those in the Chicago area) are interested in helping out with some of the 'taskery,' please just shoot me a pm. I promise to revert asap with details about Friday and Sunday. My apologies for the delay. It's been a seriously busy period at work over the past couple weeks and I wasn't really expecting it. =R=
  14. Absolutely . . . Updating Thursday's stuff . . . Dinner =R= +4 Alchemist newbie21 HeatherM Alex tammylc* + 1** jesteinf +1 edsel Lady T prasantrin* +1* Jean Blanchard +1 santo_grace +1 HOLLY_L NancyH +1 Nina C.* +3* nyokie6 +1 nsxtasy +1 yellow truffle +3 joiei* Sam Iam +1 LuckyGirl* +1* Elrushbo stuart_s daniellewiley +1 Amy Viny +1 white lotus +1 cat lancaster** ricain** + 1** -52- (38 definite, 10 probable, 4 waiting) Only 'wait list' spots remain for Thurday's dinner, although it's likely that some who have signed up will drop out, as we have 10 "probables". Drinks =R= +4 HeatherM Alex tammylc* +1* jesteinf +1 edsel tino27 +1 Lady T prasantrin* +1* Marmish* +1* newbie21 Nina C.* +3* Jean Blanchard +1 santo_grace +1 HOLLY_L NancyH +1 nyokie6 +1 nsxtasy +1 yellow truffle +3 joiei* moreace01 +1 Sam Iam +1 LuckyGirl +1 Darcie B kasw* +1* stuart_s* daniellewiley +1 Amy Viny +1 Aaron Deacon white lotus +1 cat lancaster ricain + 1 -59- (47 definite, 12 probable) Only 1 spot remains for Thursday's cocktail session Updated list for the Saturday event: =R= +4 NancyH +1 torakris edsel LuckyGirl +3 Alchemist CaliPoutine Alex tammylc jesteinf +1 nsxtasy +1 Kerry Beal Marmish +1 moosnsqrl +1 Osnav +1 prasantrin* +1* tino27 +1 Sam Iam +1 nr706 +1 hsm +1* rockandroller +1 joiei Jean Blanchard +1 newbie21 hjshorter moreace01 +1 HOLLY_L santo_grace +1 daniellewiley +1 kasw +1 dls* nyokie6 +1 Nina C. +1 LAZ +1 maggiethecat +1 Elrushbo Darcie B white lotus +1 Fresser cat lancaster HeatherM Lady T yellow truffle +3 Amy Viny +1 Aaron Deacon sweintraub* +1* karen m +1 ricain + 1 -84- (78 definite, 6 probable) Only 6 spots remain for Saturday's group meal Again, please take a look at the above lists and let me know if I have failed to record your status accurately. Thanks! =R=
  15. Elie, I received that unit as a gift a few months ago and it's been a real pleasure to use. It's fast and easy to clean. It also stores relatively compactly, too, which is nice. The only thing I can't yet assess is the durability (because I haven't owned it long enough) but the warranty seems pretty good. =R=
  16. Hopefully by later this week. No problem! Updating Thursday's stuff . . . Dinner =R= +4 Alchemist newbie21 HeatherM Alex tammylc* jesteinf +1 edsel Lady T prasantrin* +1* Jean Blanchard +1 santo_grace +1 HOLLY_L NancyH +1 Nina C.* +3* nyokie6 +1 nsxtasy +1 yellow truffle +3 joiei* Sam Iam +1 LuckyGirl* +1* Elrushbo stuart_s daniellewiley +1 Amy Viny +1 white lotus +1 cat lancaster** -49- (38 definite, 10 probable, 1 waiting) Only 'wait list' spots remain for Thurday's dinner, although it's likely that some who have signed up will drop out, as we have 10 "probables". Drinks =R= +4 HeatherM Alex tammylc* +1* jesteinf +1 edsel tino27 +1 Lady T prasantrin* +1* Marmish* +1* newbie21 Nina C.* +3* Jean Blanchard +1 santo_grace +1 HOLLY_L NancyH +1 nyokie6 +1 nsxtasy +1 yellow truffle +3 joiei* moreace01 +1 Sam Iam +1 LuckyGirl +1 Darcie B kasw* +1* stuart_s* daniellewiley +1 Amy Viny +1 Aaron Deacon white lotus +1 cat lancaster -57- (45 definite, 12 probable) Only 3 spots remain for Thursday's cocktail session Updated list for the Saturday event: =R= +4 NancyH +1 torakris edsel LuckyGirl +3 Alchemist CaliPoutine Alex tammylc jesteinf +1 nsxtasy +1 Kerry Beal Marmish +1 moosnsqrl +1 Osnav +1 prasantrin* +1* tino27 +1 Sam Iam +1 nr706 +1 hsm +1* rockandroller +1 joiei Jean Blanchard +1 newbie21 hjshorter moreace01 +1 HOLLY_L santo_grace +1 daniellewiley +1 kasw +1 dls* nyokie6 +1 Nina C. +1 LAZ +1 maggiethecat +1 Elrushbo Darcie B white lotus +1 Fresser cat lancaster HeatherM Lady T yellow truffle +3 Amy Viny +1 Aaron Deacon sweintraub* +1* karen m +1 -82- (76 definite, 6 probable) Only 8 spots remain for Saturday's group meal Again, please take a look at the above lists and let me know if I have failed to record your status accurately. Thanks! =R=
  17. Daniel, I too, love Khan BBQ and was there with a group on Tuesday night. Is that when you were there? If so, I'm sorry we didn't get a chance to say hi. You are correct that the chicken pictured in your post above is the Boti, arguably the best item on the Khan menu, but there are so many that are fantastic. Tonight, we were lucky enough to score a few orders of the goat chanp, which seems to be available rarely, at best. I'd also recommend the broast chicken which is, for lack of a better term, like Pakastani version of Popeye's. =R=
  18. Definitely agree with you on Siam's House, which is a great spot. For those of us who reside in the northern suburbs, it'll be an especially wonderful spot over the next several months, while the Edens Expressway is under construction. =R=
  19. The irony is that it may actually be better for people who are not big bread eaters than simply rolling it into the general price structure of the restaurant. Because it would be an increase that is not disguised it would be more noticeable and so more potentially problematic to the restaurant's pr. ← Agreed. In fact, as others here have indicated, often 'free' bread is served to diners who don't even want it to begin with. Eliminating that waste would be a great way to offset rising costs. I generally only eat bread at restaurants when the bread is truly noteworthy or when the bread helps me to enjoy the food that's being served. If a great sauce is served as part of a dish, I'll definitely want some bread to mop it up. But if I'm having a sandwich for lunch, I really don't need or want the perfunctory bread basket in advance of it. =R=
  20. A well-managed restaurant will find a way to work increasing costs into its overall pricing scheme without rolling out changes that are such a fundamental departure from the way things are typically done. Businesses face rising prices all the time; it's ongoing. Either way, the customer is going to absorb them. But how such costs are passed on is completely a matter of skill and style. Charging for bread may be perfectly logical and even justifiable. But a restaurateur who takes on the roll of the victim and makes too big a deal out of rising bread costs seems far more likely to alienate customers than one who finds a more subtle way to integrate such costs. Charging for bread seems like an effective way to win the battle and lose the war. =R=
  21. Scott, I've added you guys as 'probable' for Saturday's meal. I've also updated the lists to reflect all received replies, both posted and received via pm. As you will note, we now have a wait list for Thursday's dinner, so if you are signed up for that event and your plans change, please let us know right away. I hope to post details about activities for Friday and Sunday sometime this week. Updating Thursday's stuff . . . Dinner =R= +4 Alchemist newbie21 HeatherM Alex tammylc* jesteinf +1 edsel Lady T prasantrin* +1* Jean Blanchard +1 santo_grace +1 HOLLY_L NancyH +1 Nina C.* +3* nyokie6 +1 nsxtasy +1 yellow truffle +3 joiei* Sam Iam +1 LuckyGirl* +1* Elrushbo stuart_s daniellewiley +1 Amy Viny +1 white lotus +1 cat lancaster** -49- (38 definite, 10 probable, 1 waiting) Only 'wait list' spots remain for Thurday's dinner, although it's likely that some who have signed up will drop out, as we have 10 "probables". Drinks =R= +4 HeatherM Alex tammylc* +1* jesteinf +1 edsel tino27 +1 Lady T prasantrin* +1* Marmish* +1* newbie21 Nina C.* +3* Jean Blanchard +1 santo_grace +1 HOLLY_L NancyH +1 nyokie6 +1 nsxtasy +1 yellow truffle +3 joiei* moreace01 +1 Sam Iam +1 LuckyGirl +1 Darcie B kasw* +1* stuart_s* daniellewiley +1 Amy Viny +1 Aaron Deacon white lotus +1 cat lancaster -57- (45 definite, 12 probable) Only 3 spots remain for Thursday's cocktail session Updated list for the Saturday event: =R= +4 NancyH +1 torakris edsel LuckyGirl +3 Alchemist CaliPoutine Alex tammylc jesteinf +1 nsxtasy +1 Kerry Beal Marmish +1 moosnsqrl +1 Osnav +1 prasantrin* +1* tino27 +1 Sam Iam +1 nr706 +1 hsm +1* rockandroller +1 joiei Jean Blanchard +1 newbie21 hjshorter moreace01 +1 HOLLY_L santo_grace +1 daniellewiley +1 kasw +1 dls* nyokie6 +1 Nina C. +1 LAZ +1 maggiethecat +1 Elrushbo Darcie B white lotus +1 Fresser cat lancaster HeatherM Lady T yellow truffle +3 Amy Viny +1 Aaron Deacon sweintraub +1 -80- (74 definite, 6 probable) Only 10 spots remain for Saturday's group meal Again, please take a look at the above lists and let me know if I have failed to record your status accurately. Thanks! =R=
  22. With pleasure. You are now +1 for Saturday's event Updating Thursday's stuff . . . Dinner =R= +4 Alchemist newbie21 HeatherM Alex tammylc* jesteinf +1 edsel Lady T prasantrin* +1* Jean Blanchard +1 santo_grace +1 HOLLY_L NancyH +1 Nina C.* +3* nyokie6 +1 nsxtasy +1 yellow truffle +3 joiei* Sam Iam +1 LuckyGirl* +1* Elrushbo stuart_s daniellewiley +1 Amy Viny +1 white lotus +1 -48- (38 definite, 10 probable) Only 'wait list' spots remain for Thurday's dinner, although it's likely that some who have signed up will drop out, as we have 10 "probables". Drinks =R= +4 HeatherM Alex tammylc* +1* jesteinf +1 edsel tino27 +1 Lady T prasantrin* +1* Marmish* +1* newbie21 Nina C.* +3* Jean Blanchard +1 santo_grace +1 HOLLY_L NancyH +1 nyokie6 +1 nsxtasy +1 yellow truffle +3 joiei* moreace01 +1 Sam Iam +1 LuckyGirl +1 Darcie B kasw* +1* stuart_s* daniellewiley +1 Amy Viny +1 Aaron Deacon white lotus +1 -56- (44 definite, 12 probable) Only 4 spots remain for Thursday's cocktail session Updated list for the Saturday event: =R= +4 NancyH +1 torakris edsel LuckyGirl +3 Alchemist CaliPoutine Alex tammylc jesteinf +1 nsxtasy +1 Kerry Beal Marmish +1 moosnsqrl +1 Osnav +1 prasantrin* +1* tino27 +1 Sam Iam +1 nr706 +1 hsm +1* rockandroller +1 joiei Jean Blanchard +1 newbie21 hjshorter moreace01 +1 HOLLY_L santo_grace +1 daniellewiley +1 kasw +1 dls* nyokie6 +1 Nina C. +1 LAZ +1 maggiethecat +1 Elrushbo Darcie B white lotus +1 Fresser cat lancaster +1 HeatherM Lady T yellow truffle +3 Amy Viny +1 Aaron Deacon -79- (75 definite, 4 probable) Only 11 spots remain for Saturday's group meal Again, please take a look at the above lists and let me know if I have failed to record your status accurately. Thanks! =R=
  23. I'm scratching my head today thinking about the distinctively unpleasant experience I had at Old Town Brasserie last night. In fact, I cannot recall any single dining experience at which I've encountered such complete indifference and inconsideration as I did last night. And given how much I was looking forward to it, the experience was especially disappointing. In 1996 I had one of the most memorable and enjoyable meals of my life at Le Francais, with chef Liccioni at the helm. As a relative neophyte to fine dining at the time, I was concerned going in, that it would be stuffy, stodgy and overly formal. Happily, the exact opposite was true. We were treated warmly by a well-trained staff who had good senses of humor. We were immediately disarmed, made to feel welcome and treated kindly. The food was glorious and stunning, and in many ways, that meal changed my life. Now that chef Liccioni has moved into a supposedly more informal brasserie venue, the last thing I expected was pretense and snobbery coming from the FOH, but that's exactly what we encountered last night, and we received it in droves. From the moment we entered the restaurant, we were treated like our presence was a burden. Considering I'd made the reservation a month in advance, I was confused as to why. It's not like we'd shown up naively without a reservation and begged to be seated. We asked for no favors other than a venue in which to spend our money on a (hopefully) fine meal. But even taking us to our table was done with a sigh, although I have no idea what that sigh meant. I have always defended chef Roland -- even going so far as to question publicly why he was left off a list of Chicago's 50 Top Chefs a few years back, when he was back at Le Francais for his second stint. But at Old Town Brasserie, he's got a cast around him that aren't doing him any favors. It's ironic to me that in the less formal Brasserie setting, the air of pretense among the FOH'ers was so palpable -- especially when it didn't exist at all at Le Francais (or at Les Nomades, during Roland's run there). Perhaps part of the problem with OTB is simply one of design. Clearly, there are too many tables in this restaurant and they are obviously way too close together. Does this reflect naked greed on the part of management or simply obliviousness? I'm not sure but no one in the joint seemed to be comfortable. Looking around the room during our meal, seating one party nearly always seemed to involve moving a table, or one patron fighting to squeeze past another patron who was already seated. Our party of 4 ended up in the very back corner of the restaurant at a table that was so crammed into its space, it could barely be serviced by the staff. And I'm not exaggerating. We had to hand some of our used plates to the busboys because they could not otherwise reach them. One of my companions was served a soup terrine minus its lid because there was just no way for any staffer to reach the terrine and remove the lid once it was placed on the table. Facing the wall as I was, I had the 'pleasure' of the busboy's genitals being mashed into the back of my right shoulder repeatedly over the course of the evening. I joked that I didn't know figs were on the menu. And speaking of menus, the one I was originally given had both food and wine stains on it. Damn! It bemused me to receive such a shoddy experience from a staff who acted as if they were bothered by our very presence. Oh the irony! Maybe this led to the FOH's generally lousy attitude. Perhaps they'd also had enough of forcing diners into spaces too small and trying to do their jobs in a restaurant that was clearly too small for the number of diners it housed. Maybe we'd done nothing more than stroll unwittingly into ongoing battle, the proportions of which we may never truly know. But I'm speculating. Still, regardless of the reason behind it, service was uniformly uneven, if such a setting even exists. Twice, we had to ask for more butter. Water was not refilled without our asking. On more than one occasion during the meal, food and wine arrived at the exact same moment, which was really annoying -- especially since we'd asked at the outset for the meal to be 'conversationally paced.' Entrees were placed in front of the wrong diners. Dessert souffles, which had to be ordered well in advance of dessert time, arrived at the table before the individuals in our party who didn't order souffles even had a chance to order their desserts. And one person at our table never even got to order dessert because our server simply forgot to ask him and then walked away too fast for him to do so. At one point, another table's dessert showed up at our table. I'm not sure we would have known had it not been for the 'happy birthday' inscription on the rim of the plate. Foodwise, things were better but still up and down. Appetizers were excellent, with pates and terrines all being masterfully-created and delicious. Duck consomme, which I loved 12 years ago at LF, was too salty. But the Salad Lyonnaise was very tasty and contained rendered bacon fat in the dressing. The special truffle salad was also quite tasty. Main courses were mixed: Ribeye was cooked perfectly but pretty bland. My veal strip loin was cooked to the right doneness but it was hard and dry, although the calf's liver which accompanied it was great. But both fish/seafood entrees were well-liked by everyone at the table. Souffles were tasty but the passionfruit creme brulee was truly awful -- with its way-too-soft texture and oily finish -- but they took it off the bill, at our request. Unfortunately, pretense, snobbery and maybe even a bit of fattism are what I will remember most about my first (and possibly only) experience at OTB (which is ominously just one letter away from OCB, which stands for Old Country Buffet). There are so many other great places in town where the cost for a similar but better meal is no higher, or even lower. When I think about some recent meals I've had at Vie for example, this experience at OTB verged on laughable. For me, the 2 best moments of the evening were arriving at the restaurant (before I knew how lousy our experience would be) and leaving it, after which our mood collectively lifted. After spending a few hours at a Weegee's, a very nice lounge, we made a late-night stop at Jimmy's for a few hotdogs. Four of us ate there like Kings for $18.90. But more importantly, we were treated with a sincerity at Jimmy's that was completely absent at OTB. Perhaps the FOH staff at OTB should make a little field trip to the corner of Grand and Pulaski to see how it's done. =R= Weegee's Lounge 3659 W. Armitage Chicago, IL 60647 773 384-0707 Jimmy's Red Hots 4000 W Grand Ave Chicago, IL 60651 773 384-9513
  24. Scylla's former location is where Takashi now sits. =R=
×
×
  • Create New...