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Everything posted by elfin

  1. On our travels we are amazed at chicken cooked on rotisseries. Whether it be in the mideast, latin america or europe, these chicken places produce evenly cooked and fantastic chicken. A google search for home ovens seems to focus on George Foreman or Ronco table top machines and bbq grills. Do these countertop machines really work? Is it better to do the roasting in the oven with the rotisserie attachment? (I remember my Mom doing this years ago and the grease splatter clean up and oven fires were horrendous). If I go the built in oven route, then do I go gas or electric? I saw in one kitchen design magazine a really cool built in rotisserie oven. It did not give a name. We would use the oven for meat roasting as well. Any input is appreciated.
  2. Last week I puchased a case of the most beautiful looking strawberries. They were the size of my four year old's hand! Perfect overall color and ripe. She typically can eat a half a pint in one sitting but after a few she did not want them. They were too "wet"(whatever that means). I tasted them and they did not have that strawberry flavor blast. So I took the remainder, cut them in half, threw in some sugar, bagged them and thre them in the freezer for summer daquiris. I live in the Chicago area and bought them at a reliable green grocer. I will have to wait for Michigan strawberry season!
  3. Plenty of Mexican mercados of varying size in the Chicago area. I have found the meat priced far lower with better quality than the chains. The butchers custom cut the meat. I typically buy the razor thin pork chops, pork tenderloins, chicken livers and skirt steak. My really bad high school and travellers spanish and plenty of hand gestures work well. The butchers are friendly and the patrons watch the transaction smiling. The produce is way cheaper and actually ripe. I buy lemons-(25 cents each) and limes (10 cents each), finger bananas and pinapples which are usually ready to eat. The tomatoes seem to be better too. However I find grocery items to be high priced. Plus, they do not stock skim milk.
  4. Chicago e-gullet family with two toddlers need a few recs for one dinner and early and late lunches. No car but we like mass transit/ T/ bus etc. Plan to go to Giacomo's for Italian and would like a Chinese rec-(seems Peach Farm, Taiwan Cafe and King Fung Garden are popular-which one(s) would you choose) and one more. Have scrolled down about ten pages and some nice things were said about Antico Forno (pizza)and Matt Murphy's (fish and chips). Would like to stay in the Giacomo price range if possible. Your opinions,comments and recs would be appreciated!
  5. Why do the crabs have to be precooked before they are frozen? Other fish that are flash frozen are not precooked. I have never gotten an answer to this inquiry. I have bought the frozen precooked legs and found them to be spongy and or soggy after cooking. In Petersburg, Alaska, had a live red crab (albeit from a tank full of crabs) dinner steamed. It was $ 46 with nothing else. It was delicious.
  6. The Azores (Portugese Islands in the Atlantic) produces its own gin (homemade and commercially) and brandy. Anyone had these before?
  7. elfin

    Azorean beer?

    The Azores, Portugese islands in the middle of the Atlantic, apparently brews its own beer-Especial. Anyone tried it?
  8. I try to watch the price posted on the register as the item is being scanned but the newer moniters/systems are frankly so confusing; they list the original price on one line and on the next line the discount (or in some places the discount is tabulated at the end)meanwhile while trying to read and calulate the multiple lines, Speedy Gonzales checker scans a zillion items while I am trying to verify the first item's price. PLUS, some stores do not even let the customer have eye access to the moniter. All you get is a receipt without a oral recitation of the total. Bad me, I rarely read the register receipt (unnecessarily the length of a roll of toliet paper)and am forced to hit the "YES" button on the credit card machine BEFORE the receipt is available.
  9. The Polish places on Milwaukee Ave in the city, South of Belmont, are closing and the area is becoming more Mexican. Busy Bee, Senkowski Home Bakery and Orbit just to name a few are long gone. But new Polish places are cropping up in Central Park/Belmont area as well as in Niles on Milwaukee Ave. Kuhn's is good-they really have a great selection of cheese and meats but the bottle beer can be stale. The selection of deli items and salads far exceeds Black Forest (more of a butcher), but the price point at Black Forest is cheaper. I order the Hungarian sausage (hot) at Black Fand it is at least 5 bucks a pound cheaper.
  10. Oops-one more thing. I concur that German food can be heavy and fat laden ( is this what you mean as 'political dietary awareness'?) but so is Polish and Mexican food and other cuisines that seem to thrive here. German dumplings, stews and schnitzels can't be any heavier than Polish perogis, Mexican pork guisado and American breaded beef steak sandwhiches.
  11. Also, the Black Forest German restaurant and butcher shop on Waukegan/Dempster in Morton Grove is at risk. The owner of the property has the land for sale to be developed into a strip mall. My husband and I have been talking about the decline of German food in the area for years. It seems that the folks that frequent these places are much older (ok blue hairs) and the german food tradition is not being passed down. We ate at Mirabel last year for a Saturday lunch and we were the youngest there. (We are very middle-age). It did not draw any of the young crowds shopping at the mega strip mall across the street. The same for Black Forest. Now, granted we do eat early because of the kids which is prime senior citizen time, but we have eaten there for Sunday Lunch and the diners are older. (I understand the adjacent bar with german beers on tap attracts a different crowd). Resi Bier Stuba on Irving Park had a younger crowd and was crowded on a Saturday night. It seemed to be more of a bar with tables than a restaurant. Of the three, Mirabel had the better food.
  12. My three year old calls hamburger "hang goober"
  13. In high school we frequented the local Dunkin Donuts to, ahem, sober up before going home. So we affectionatley referred to the place as Drunkin Dognuts.
  14. My friend calls Cream of Mushroom soup "Cream of Washroom" soup.
  15. Have no fear, I will return to AA and will follow your recs. Thank you all for your comments and opinions. AA is such a cool place.
  16. Skip Gandy Dancer. The venue is beautiful and that's about it. The bourbon drinks at the bar were shy pours. The place, at 7 on Monday night, was nearly empty. The server was friendly but he did not ask if we wanted wine with our meal. We ordered the calamari app that had a red /basil sauce. I did not expect the calamari to be breaded and deep fried and then coated with the sauce. The scallop appetizer had a creamy pepper sauce which was really tasty but totally masked the scallop. Two of us had grouper in a parmesan crust with lump crab and butter. The grouper, a huge piece, was tough and the coating more breadlike than cheese. The 3 spears of asparagus were cooked well. A shrimp pasta looked terrible. The shrimp appeared deep fried and sat atop a bowl of spaghetti drenched in red sauce. We skipped dessert. Except for the scallops (5) no one finished anything that was served. Drove by The Chop House and that was nearly empty too. (Monday was MLK Day) Zingerman's STILL eludes me.
  17. I did not select the Gandy Dancer-the client recommended it or The Chop House. I was not aware that Gandy Dancer was part of a chain conglomerate. The client said the fish was fresh as it is flown in daily. Hmmm what did Bourdain say about fish on Mondays (or Tuesdays). I will let all know the results (but accuracy may not be the best since it is a big drinking group). Re Zingerman's I have to see the place. I too have heard mixed opinions about the place but I hope to get some decent food for the road trip back. UlteriorEpicure-you were not harsh at all- I welcome all feedback, recs and otherwise.
  18. elfin

    Jade Cooktop

    Really neat! What kind of counters do you have? It looks like a stainless but hard to tell. Also, when one burner is on at a high level, does the heat conduct to the ajoining grate?
  19. Dining at Gandy Dancer next week on business so budget not an issue. Read reviews-most seem positive. So wondered what is the go-to dish? What is not to be missed? The desserts seem to be special too. Any recommends? Thanks
  20. Sun Wah is good but the folks are not friendly. We like to go to the BBQ place east of there just beyond the red line tracks. (I'll get the name later). Very friendly. Plenty of folks who own asian stores in the burbs line up to buy mass quantities of the roasted chickens and ducks for sale at their shops. You can eat there (no ambiance) and the portions are super big and not pricey. I like the beef with chinese broccoli on chow mein noodles.
  21. 1. Rice Krispies Treats ( original recipie but use generic cereal) 2. Green bean casserole (Campbell's Cream of Washroom can) 3. Hershey's chocolate cake and coco 4. Cranberries (half the sugar and cooking time) 5. Toll House cookies
  22. Soy sauce packets. I have an industrial sized Kikoman's SS I bought at Sam's. It is way too big to use and am afraid to open it as it is likely to go bad (if it has not already-5 plus years and counting-and does SS go bad?). The packets are perfect for home use for take outs but are a bitch when stir frying a meal ( a mound of empty plastic packets are next to the stove). Dijon mustard packets are great for picnics for pates etc. I have a few sugar substitute packets for guest coffee/tea. But when I am in cleaning mode the pilfered packets are the first to go.
  23. I really can't gripe (too much) about Chicago eats. But I can wish for the same in the suburbs: 1. For downtown lunches, a soba/ramen stall just like in Tokyo. Mostly stand up with coin operated ticket machines. Tempora soba/ miso raman made as you order. Quick and yummy. 2. El Nuevo Leon in the North Shore and/ or good 24 hour taco/enchilada joint. 3. A cheap Thai/vietnamese byob cafe in downtown Winnetka. 4. Good BBQ-(disappointed with Hecky's and Little Ricky's). 5. A french bistro ( way,way lower scale than Miramar)-a true neighborhood hang out with limited menu. Early morning cafe and croissants, country pates and terrines and onion soup for lunch and steak frites, country stews or mussels for dinner with plenty of house vin rouge served in carafes and crusty french bread (with french butter). 6. Rosati's carry out pizza within 6 miles. 7. Decent Chinese carry out with terrific egg rolls. 8. Artemis (Mt. Prospect) greek diner in Northen suburbs.
  24. We drink Brandy Alexanders-made with dark chocolate ice cream, brandy, creme de cacao and chocolate syrup blended and topped with fresh grated nutmeg. It is the nutmeg that makes it holiday-ish.
  25. -any place without my kids- Seriously: Alinea Carlos Paprikash Prairie Grass Quartino Les Nomades Ron and Julie's
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