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Everything posted by REB

  1. Nancy, we have to leave early, so we'll miss Sunday brunch. Thanks.
  2. We are really looking forward to this weekend. It sounds like things are coming together nicely and if the produce in Cleveland looks anything like what we are enjoying this week in Pittsburgh, there will be a bounty at the farmers markets. I wanted to provide an update on our plans. We aren't going to join the Friday lunchtime activities. So, we are in for the Thursday crawl, Friday happy hour and dinner, and all Saturday activities. We will bring cash rather than pay on Eventbrite, if that's ok. Also, I'm likely to have an additional guest at the VTR happy hour. I'm assuming that it's a casual event and an extra guest is fine -- if you need to know, please let me know. Can't wait, Ronna
  3. We're in for Thursday evening through Saturday evening. We'll need to leave early on Sunday and won't be able to stay for lunch. Thanks, Ronna
  4. Hi, I'd RSVP'd back in January, but look to have been accidentally left off the current lists. Please include REB+1 for Thursday and Friday dinners. We're in for Saturday's main event, too, and likely most everything else. Thanks!
  5. Hi, It's been a few years since Rich and I participated in the Chicago Heartland weekend, and we're itching to join you in Cleveland. The two of us would like to participate in the Thursday, Friday, and Saturday events. That includes Friday dinner, too, please. Really looking forward to this! Thanks, Ronna
  6. Thanks so much for the great advice! We made a reservation at the Hotel Monterey Ginza. Given that we'll only be there for a few hours, it seems like it will suffice. It looks to be pretty centrally located, close enough to both the Tokyo Station and the Tsujiki market. I really like the idea of having sushi for breakfast at/near the Fish Market. If you (or anyone) can recommend a sushi place that's open at 6am and pretty quick, that'd be great. I figure we should leave the Fish Market between 7 and 7:30 to grab a taxi back to the Tokyo Station. We're going to try to leave our big luggage at Narita and travel very lightly into Tokyo, so we won't have to stop back at the hotel to get our bags.
  7. Hi! My frequent flyer miles have me stopping for one night in Tokyo on the way from Chicago to Indonesia. I would greatly appreciate the help of Tokyo experts to point me in the right direction as I've never been to Japan before and am really looking forward to some great Japanese food. We land at Narita at 3:30pm on a Monday in April and depart the following morning at 11am. If possible, my husband and I would like to drop our luggage off at the hotel and then: 1) Enjoy a light dinner of traditional sushi (where casual attire is acceptable), then 2) Visit an izakaya or two (we loved them during our Vancouver, BC trip), and finally 3) Stop by the Tsukiji Fish Market super early the next morning before taking the train back to the airport. Is this doable? (sleep isn't required as we'll have plenty of time for sleeping on two long flights) If this is doable, I would greatly appreciate tips. If these were your parameters, which neighborhood would you stay in and where would you eat? I don't mind short taxi/train rides, but would like to keep this simple because we won't have much time to get acclimated and may have some jet lag. In other words, I'd ideally like to stay in a neighborhood that is close to a train stop from Narita and that has a great sushi restaurant and a pretty good izakaya. If the Fish Market is nearby, all the better. Many thanks in advance!
  8. To answer chappie, I'd suggest a wonderful slaw, rather than a salad, so that it'll hold up better. To me, salads are best when fresh. For my slaw, I usually mix almost everything in advance, including the dressing. With my standard slaw, I only add the tomatoes and cilantro at the last minute. I do a colorful slaw, based on the ingredients I have handy. But it usually includes: thinly sliced red cabbage julienned carrots julienned red bell peppers halved, salted grape tomatoes scallions cilantro I've added haricots verts, bean sprouts, julienned cucumber, etc. For a dressing, I favor a tahini-lime dressing - - it's creamy without the dairy, so there's no problem about it going south in the heat. The dressing usually includes tahini, olive oil, lime juice, shallots or garlic minced, dijon mustard, salt and pepper. I never measure, so apologies for the lack of measurements. I'm unsure how you would make this particularly high-energy, I'm afraid. Maybe someone has ideas of good high-energy ingredients that could be added. To answer the original question, we make a lot of salads. My husband is really the cook in the family - - but salads are always mine to make. Our standard always includes: lettuce (romaine, green/red leaf, or mesclun), tomatoes, cucumbers, some kind of onion, and bell peppers (ideally not green). We're likely to also add carrots, radishes, and mushrooms. The dressing is almost always a balsamic mustard vinaigrette, usually using cheap Trader Joe's balsamic (the aged stuff is too sweet for me in this type of salad). Like another poster, we tend to use a lot more vinegar than the traditional vinaigrette, both for health reasons and because we like the taste. If the salad is our main course, we'll usually add croutons, freshly made with garlic and olive oil using old French bread. For protein, we'll sometimes do bacon, tuna, grilled chicken, or eggs. We frequently add blue cheese (roaring forties or point reyes, usually), and occasionally add feta or cheddar. When available, we love to add: sugar-snap peas, radish greens, fresh basil, avocados, and whatever else looks good. I really love a beautifully-composed salad. I just wish it didn't take me so long to chop everything!!
  9. Finally went to L20 last Saturday evening. I'm still digesting the experience (hopefully more figuratively than literally). While I thoroughly enjoyed the meal, not everything was great. I'm certainly glad I went, but am not sure that the expense can be justified. I don't know if this is a meal I'm going to be talking about a year from now. My husband and I went to celebrate his birthday. The menu had a generic "Happy Birthday" on it, which was nice - - but other than that, no acknowledgment of the celebration (we didn't really care, but thought others might want to know that they don't do anything with candles or comp a special dessert). We went with the 12 course meal. Hubby had the wine pairing; I just had two pours b/c I was driving. The meal took more than four hours. WINE - The wine was a highlight. Hubby was good enough to let me taste all of the wines. The sommelier, Chantal, was personable, knowledgeable, and had great timing. The wine was there in time to enjoy the food. Because the menu is largely seafood, the wine pairing focused on whites. The highlight was definitely a 10-year Riesling. I had never had one before, and don't often adore whites, so this was a real treat. The only strange thing is that our server was trying to get us NOT to order the wine pairing. She thought that we "might not like all the wines," and "might be happier with a few bottles." The only explanation we can come up with is that the pairing is $90 and she thought she might generate a larger time with a few bottles, which would almost certainly cost more than $90. The other thing to note is that the "glasses" are really pours. My pour of Riesling was probably about 3 ounces; the pour of pinot noir was probably around 4 ounces. I thought the pours were a bit light and together cost nearly $40. The 12 pours with the wine pairing at $90 are a far better "value." Had I known that the pours were so small, I would likely have ordered myself a half bottle. FOOD - We didn't take notes and the tasting menu has one-word labels, so I'll do my best to describe the highlights and lowlights. The summer menu had a lot of tomatoes and potatoes. The highlights were the lobster/morel dish, the halibut, and the jackfish. The lobster/morel dish was by far our favorite. There were two lobster quenelles (looking like egg yolks) in a lobster broth with 5-6 earthy delicious morels. Big yum. The halibut dish had far more going on. It wasn't quite as tasty as the lobster dish, but was quite interesting. There were tomato "tubes" around cherry tomatoes. Also seemingly pickled cucumber squares with yellow spinach (?) that looked like basil. Okay, so there was more going on with this dish. A lot more. But, memory isn't serving me and I don't want to describe anything incorrectly. The dish was served with a separate bowl of light buttery mashed potatoes. They were really unnecessary. The last dish, the jackfish, was splendid. It was described as mackerel, so I was concerned about fishiness, but it wasn't at all fishy. Two of the desserts were good - - the cannale and the prailine souffle. I think the bread deserves it's own paragraph. It was wonderful, but really didn't go with many of the courses. In my opinion, the best breads were the demi-baguette, the anchovy, and the bacon epi. I mean, bacon bread with grainy mustard?!! Excuse me?!! This bacon bread is a meal in and of itself. I asked our server what they do with the bread at the end of the night. The server said that they throw it away. They have not been able to donate it and won't let the staff have any of it to take home. I thought this was strange and too bad. As we were there past 11pm, I was tempted to request a take out bag of bacon bread. I resisted. There were a few dishes that weren't winners. I really didn't care for the king salmon, mainly because the salmon was cooked medium well. I almost said something, but decided not to. I was surprised that it was cooked so thoroughly. The grouper, too, was cooked far to much for my tastes, but not as much as the salmon. A strange touch, the grouper had bee pollen on it. One of the desserts included a very sour carrot pop rocks-like liquid. My husband really disliked it. I thought it was palatable, but probably only because I'm one of those people who likes sweet tarts and sour patch kids. He also disliked the mango dessert, whereas I enjoyed this one. One dish that disappointed me, but that I didn't actually dislike, was the shabu shabu. The butterfish in the dish was delicious, but I felt that dipping it in the kombu broth didn't add anything. I was happier just dipping the raw fish in the ponzu (which I did with the last slice). All in all, I enjoyed the meal, but don't think I'll be running back given the expense.
  10. Hi, Kristin. I work not too far from Union Station and am trying to think of what you could do on Friday morning. If you could let us know approx where the class is, that would be helpful so that we'll know how much time you'll need to allocate to make it there on time. My first reaction, if you haven't been to Chicago before, was to visit the Art Institute, which isn't a terribly long walk from Union Station. However, they don't open until 10:30 a.m. Fridays. Another idea is to take one of the wonderful architecture river tours, which CAF has starting at 10am: http://www.architecture.org/tour_view.aspx?TourID=8 In any event, I'd suggest a great breakfast. There are options in the South Loop, which isn't too far away from Union Station. The Bongo Room, one of my favorite breakfast spots, has a second newer restaurant in the South Loop. They open at 8am. Many folks also like Orange and Yolk. I've been to the former, but didn't enjoy it as much as the Bongo Room. Something else that might be fun would be to go try Marcus Samuelsson's new restaurant, C-House, for breakfast. I haven't been. They open at 6am. http://www.affinia.com/Chicago-Hotel.aspx?...ouse-Restaurant Closer to Union Station and recently featured on Top Chef Chicago, is Lou Mitchell's on Jackson, which has standard breakfast fare. Big omelet's and the like. Please let us know how much time you expect to have, and ideally where you'll need to be at noon, and I'll see if I have any other suggestions. All the best, Ronna
  11. Hi! My husband and I have newly returned to the Chicago area from the east coast and would very much like to join in the festivities next month. If spots aren't available for any of the events below, please add us to the wait lists. This sounds like it's going to be an amazing weekend. Thursday - 2 for Blackbird Friday - 2 for Chinatown dinner Saturday - 2 for the big meal As far as Saturday goes, we're local and are happy to help with any prep/cooking. Thanks so much to everyone for their efforts. We can't wait to meet the Chicago/midwest eGullet folks.
  12. This Saturday, we'll be driving with the puppy from Chicago to Hayward, Wisconsin. We're planning to stop in Madison at the Saturday farmer's market to buy wonderful edibles for our week up north. We'd like to grab brunch outside with the dog on Saturday morning while in Madison. If anyone can recommend a dog-friendly breakfast/brunch spot within a short drive of the Capitol, I'd really appreciate it. And, if anyone has tips for other stops between Chicago and Hayward, I'd be grateful. Many thanks in advance, REB
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