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Everything posted by babern38

  1. Spoiler ahead regarding Morimoto/Cantu Iron Chef Battle I just watched the battle and found it to be one of the most exciting battles to date! Granted it helps that I recently dined at Moto and was able to experience many of the techniques they used during the battle, but it was so exciting to watch chef cantu's team in action. I just wanted to tell chef Cantu and his crew congratulations. I was concerned at first when many of the judges commented on the lack of beet(main ingredient) in the dishes (usually a death sentence in iron chef), but apparently the wonderful flavors and amazing creativity/innovation won them over. Congratulations again.
  2. I don't know how I did it, but completely forgot about Murray's. They have not gone downhill, but continue to serve very tasty, reasonably priced food, with same quality of service as always.
  3. Hamburgers: Booche's Thai: Bangkok Gardens Japanese: Sake Steak: CC's City Broiler Bar Food: Flatbranch Sandwiches: Village Wine and Cheese for lunch has some good options High-End Dining Misc: Cherry Street Wine Cellar Desserts: Village Wine and Cheese - don't change much but always good Pizza: Italian Village Mexican: Currently, La Tolteca - could change with Taqueria Mediterranean/Greek: International Cafe Chinese: House of Chow or Q's Italian: Pasta factory or Bambino's - neither are that great though, but the only local-owned italian I can think of French: Cherry Hill Brasserie - Frog Legs w. morels were great Cajun: none that aren;t chains Seafood:Chris McD's South American Misc: Gaucho Churasscaria - only been once and was just okay
  4. what exactly are the hallmarks of Jaliso cuisine? How does it differ from others?
  5. good call on Booche's, best burgers ever!! Have you ever been to Mugs up? They do great work there too. Its an old fashioned drive-in (like sonic) thats been in town for around 50 years. Its only open in the summer when its warmer for the servers to come out to your car. Their specials include the cheese zip which is their hamburger, where the meat is loosley packed and its like a nacho cheese on top. They also have chili buns, which is a hot dog bun with their homemade beanless chili (no hotdog). Homemade cherry cokes also a plus. They are located almost right behind the El Maguey on business loop. just turn into the parking lot with the white building next to El Maguey and drive behind it. I think they should re-open in may or so. I also am looking forward to El Rodeo. I know its been there for a while, but I've never heard anyone eating there and its always empty or closed when I drive by. Given its differences from other places i hope it does well, but its kind of a crappy location given its in the middle of three other places within .5miles.
  6. During a recent family trip to Chicago we dined at Spiaggia for the first time. I had read numerous wonderful reviews of Spiaggia, seeing its numerous awards and was excited to go. When reading reviews on Citysearch, etc. the only negative things I came across was usually regarding the small portions and the high price. I really believed such comments were coming from individuals who are not use to such fine dining and were expecting family style portions. I was wrong. First off, the room is lovely and we were given a great seat as requested by the windows to overlook the street. We were then given two menus and instructed that one contained the degustation menus, while the other was the ala carte. Having completed all 22 courses at Moto the previous night, we elected for the ala carte and complied with the advised need to order three courses to be full (not including desert) To make a long story short, the prices are extremely expensive. The four of us all ordered different items so I will spare details, but $17 for a single ravioli (1.5x larger than boyardee) stuffed with some prorcini in a basic cream sauce(reminded me of Ragu's alfredo, a little gritty) and a dash of truffle oil was not worth the price. It did taste good, but so does Olive Garden. $45+ for a 4oz. filet mignon on potatoes is absurd, especially since it was rare and not medium as my mother requested. Many of the dishes were mushy and frankly bland tasting. Two of the dishes I tried seemed heavily overseasoned with sea salt (even my wife's salad) I think I was the only one who lucked out with the entree as I ordered the veal chop which was a hearty portion and tasted wonderful as well. No complaints there. On a positive note, we did enjoy two nice bottles of wine, but come desert, we ordered nothing (saving $12 per person), took our mignardises and headed to Margie's Candies for some amazing sundaes ($15 for 3) Actually, before we decided against dessert at Spiaggia, I went to the bathroom to use my cell phone to call TRU to see if we could get in for a dessert tasting, but they couldn't seat us till 11PM which was 2 hours away. It worked out cause Margie's was great. Now I don't want to spark the old time debate about how much are you willing to pay for a good meal. I thought the food was generally decent and the setting was great for a fine italian meal, but defintely not worth the price or the praise of James Beard Award, etc.
  7. I just wanted to thank Chef Cantu and his team for a wonderful dining experience last Thursday. My family flew to Chicago, primarily to eat at Moto. I was afraid my wife and mother were going to want to do the 10 course, but they changed their minds when they saw the grand menu. I will give a more detailed play-by-play when I get a copy of the menu back from my mom. Here are a few brief remarks: - My mom had the non-alcoholic drink pairing of which I had to try each one. I thought they were very creative, paired well with the dishes, and tasted good as well. One drink had this amazing pretzel foam on top. I want a jar of that foam. Another drink tasted very strongly of bacon to go with a BBQ dish. My mom really disliked drinking her bacon, but I thought it went well with the course, but could hear my arteries clogging. I can only imagine them frying bacon on a george forman in back and mixing the grease-catcher with other liquids. - we got to tour the kitchen, after being given safety goggles and witnessed the vaporization of a powder made from oranges by the class IV laser. The smoke was captured in our wine glasses and was used to alter the flavor of our next wine pairing. Curious to see exactly how much of a difference this technique made to the wine, I asked for a side-by-side comparison. This request was gratiously met. I was very surprised at the difference. I could really tell how the wine felt richer on the tongue. The smoke made it smoother, with less tanin and brought out the other citrus flavors of the wine. - my wife is a vegetarian and I thought they did an amzaing job altering the dished to her needs, while still maintaining the look and tastes of our plates. Like I said, more to come, but just wanted to go ahead and give my praise for Moto. I definitely look forward to returning to experience Chef Cantu's new concotions and inventions.
  8. First, I wasn't aware of the new mexican restaurant opening, but those differences you mentioned definitely warrant a visit in the near future. I'm always looking for a better mexican spot in town. Second, I've never been to Classy's as when I had glanced at there menu in passing I didn't think it seemed anything special. Is it worth a try? Third, I went to Felix's when it first open and was called Felini's. I remember the scary gypsy woman preparing the food. It reminded me of the scene in National Lampoon's Vacation where the Griswald's are in paris and eat at the tourist restaurant and they are opening T.V. Dinners in back and putting them on a plate with a little french flag for decoration. The only thing worth returning for was the butterless cake that was both the size and density of a real brick, but tasted amazing. fourth, personally I think International Cafe has the best Greek Food in town. Their lamb dinner is wonderful and I think they have the best tzanziki I've had anywhere.
  9. 1.Cherry Street Wine Cellar: http://www.winecellarbistro.com/ - my last meal here was by far some of the best tasting and original food I've ever had in Columbia. 2. Trattoria Strada Nova: http://www.trattoriastradanova.com/ - Its been awhile since I've been here, but they always have good tasting food that is far from the norm seen in Columbia. Great wine list as well. 3. Sycamore: http://www.sycamorerestaurant.com/ - one of my favorites. best short ribs in town. 4. Les Bourgeois: http://www.missouriwine.com/BlufftopBistro.asp - the setting is beautiful, food is usually good but aims to be haute cuisine and comes up a little short. I think they try too hard. 5. Chris McD's: (website is down) http://www.chrismcds.com/index.asp - steaks and seafood usually done pretty well. bayou shrimp are the BEST!! 6. Churchill's Gourmet: http://www.restaurant.com/microsite.asp?rid=3157267. - I haven't eaten here since Valentine's day 3 years ago, but really enjoyed the meal and thought the service was great. All ladies received a rose upon leaving. I've been meaning to go here again on a normal night to check out the menu. 7. Jack's Gourmet: http://www.jacksgourmetrestaurant.com/ - great room and steaks. 8. Village Wine and Cheese: http://www.villagewineandcheese.com/ - I probably should have ranked this higher, because everything has always been good here. I live the creamy feta dressing and its nice they frequently change their entrees. Great desserts. 9. CC's City Broiler: http://www.ccscitybroiler.com/ - pretty good steaks, but overpriced. Also the inside dining room is way too cramped and the service has often been subpar. 10. Grand Cru: http://www.grand-cru.biz/ - pretty crappy in my opinion. service is usually down, food usually cold and too expensive for the quality. I can't believe this place stayed open this long.
  10. thanks for the report. you've done the impossible and upped the excitement even more!!! Also, thanks for those first two pictures of dishes I had not seen or heard of before. I can't wait to see what other surprises are in store for us. I just hope that you can convince your whole family to have the GTM. It takes time (4 hours) but it is worth it. I just came back from another memorable meal at Chef Cantu's Moto. The GTM included old favorites (Italian food, Nitro Sushi Roll, Acorn with Bacon, among many others) and a couple of new dishes for me: The Gooseberry and mint (not sure what it was, but it was great) And the "Beef mac &Cheese" THe "mac" was dehydrated elbow pasta and you mixed in the "cheddar." Delicious and playful to the max. Among the many desserts (Banana Split, Flapjacks, 3 cotton Candy Stages) the perennial "Nachos" MOTO is fast becoming one of my favorite restaurants. I am surprised that some posters criticized the service because, in my experience, it has always been flawless. Amy, Matthew, the two Mikes and Trevor, among the wait staff, are topnotch professionals. I cannot wait to go there soon, very soon. Enjoy, Lenski. ←
  11. Flying to Chicago tomorrow with the family to finally get to experience Moto for the first time on Thursday at 6:45. I've been looking forward to seeing all of chef Cantu's creations with my own eyes and no longer having to live vicariously through others. I just hope I can convince the family to go for the GTM and not the 10 course. Either way, I can't wait!! I'll be sure to deliver the full report when we return. hope everyone is having a wonderful holiday
  12. U.E. I noticed on your flickr account that you wound up going to Sycamore. Unfortunately you didn't have many comments on the pictures so I was interested to hear what you thought. I've never been there when they offered sweetbreads before, but those looked great!! Wow. I'll offer it as a suggestion. But, I think she's decided on Les Bourgeois. Everyone says the ambience is too good to pass up. I would rather have sweetbreads and crab... u.e. ←
  13. have you thought of cherry street wine cellar? I just had a wonderful dinner there the other night and reservations would still be a possibility probably. For an appetizer I had a wonderful Pan seared coriander and peppercorn encrusted kangaroo served with spiced black beans, grilled bok choy and smoked Missouri apple compote and sweet potato gaufrettes. My entree was Sautéed sweetbreads and poached king crab legs with a caramelized onion veal glaze over Persian butter beans and lemon garlic sautéed swiss chard also very tasty. I do enjoy sycamore, but I think the offerings at cherry street are some of the best and most original in town. 573.442.7281 http://www.winecellarbistro.com/
  14. thought I would revive this thread and see if there is any recent news about this Restaurant. Also, I'm wondering if anyone has tips to help secure or increase the chances of getting a table by the windows.
  15. what is the dress code? Didn't see it mentioned in a quick scroll thorugh previous posts. Thanks.
  16. I don't know if anyone else has come across this yet, but here is the link that sheds light on all of the Tramonto/Gand plans. http://www.cenitare.com/
  17. I called Avenues today to enquire about their current prices in preparation for a family trip in decmber. I was told that the chef's palate was $145 which I had expected to be in that ballpark. I proceeded to enquire about the wine pairings and was told that the chef's palate with pairings was $290. I was a bit thrown off in that I have found many restaurants such as Alinea, Moto, and TRU use the 1/2-2/3 of the menu philosophy for price of wine pairings. Am I wrong in being surprised that the cost of pairings should equal the cost of the menu? Perhaps this is just not something I have come across in my relatively young gastronomic career, but who knows?
  18. I am curious to know what the cost breakdown was on that $598 price tag. Does that include tip? What is the current cost of the menus? How about wine pairings? I appreciate the reply.
  19. wow! what an inspiring post. I didn't think I could be even more excited for my december trip to chicago and Moto, but I am. I can't wait to hear details.
  20. I would also like to send my congratulations. Alinea definitely deserves such recognition. I really look forward to returning someday. Its been more than 6 months now since my experience and I still find myself thinking about that meal. I just subscribed to gourmet last week and am not sure I will receive the october issue as my first issue. Does anyone have a link to the list of the other restaurants as well? Thanks.
  21. I hope you haven't forgotten about us Judith Gebhart as we are still eagerly awaiting photos.
  22. My family and I have been planning a trip to Chicago right after Christmas for some fine dining, of which, Moto will be one of the restaurants we visit. Just to get everything planned I tried to reserve a table on Opentable.com yesterday. When I entered that we were a party of 4 for December 27 at around 7:15PM I was surprised to find that only a 5:30 and 8:30 spot was available. I was surprised that the restaurant would be so booked 3 months out. Anyway, I called and the pleasant receptionist mentioned that they currently had plenty of spots as I had suspected and commented that opentable can act funny sometimes. Has anyone else ever encountered such an issue? Anyway, I am very excited to finally get to visit Moto for the first time and looking forward to experiencing as many of the technological/tastylogical creations that Chef Cantu and his team can conjure.
  23. I don't remember exactly what type of caviars we had on our staircase when we did the chef's choice menu, but I thought it was black osetra plus others. There must have been at least 1/2 ounce totalI think its interesting that they are charging 1/3 the price of the 9+ course menu just for this staircase. I think I would rather save up and get tons of courses and all the service as opposed to just one course/snack for those prices. Granted, caviar isn't cheap, but i'm talking comparatively. Also, I think it would be tedious to make a reservation and dress up to go just for 1-2 small bites. Am I off base here? Perhaps they are hoping more people will see it as the best wine bar in the city?
  24. my mom sent me this in an e-mail and thought I'd share. August 9, 2006 Dish News, Tips, and Inside Information from the Dining Editors of Chicago magazine By Penny Pollack & Jeff Ruby Foie-less Execution: Last call for foie gras. Any takers? If you can’t get yourself to your favorite enlarged-goose-liver-purveyor before the ban goes into effect, don’t fret: after August 22nd, the new caviar bar at Tru (676 N. St. Clair St.; 312-202-0001) will offer something called “faux Gras.” Turns out Rich Melman, a confirmed foie diehard, charged superstar chef Laurent Gras with filling the hole that this ban has created. “I told him he had to make a substitute that tastes as good as foie gras for Tru,” Melman said. “We’ll be the first to have faux Gras.” OK, so . . . what is it? Melman wasn’t sure. “It might be chicken liver, I don’t know,” he says. “It had that wonderful creamy consistency and it was quite good.” (Note: Tru’s faux Gras won’t be available till August 22nd, but Melman’s office confirmed that the stuff was, in fact, made of chicken liver.)
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