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weinoo

Midwest Trip Chicago, Madison and Milwaukee

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Our swing through the midwest not only brought us to Chicago, but to both Madison and Milwaukee, for a night or two each.

 

I think there's a certain mentality in those latter two cities, similar to what I remember from dining in Florida, during those many years my parents lived there; and that is, the more stuff you can put on a plate, the better. Except, in the midwest, if it's a vegetable.

 

That said,  Rick Bayless's Leña Brava in Chicago was very good.  We also ate at what I think is a well-known spot in Chicago, mostly due to the circumstances of our arrival, our location, and the fact that they were lighting the lights and trees along Michigan Avenue, so it was a madhouse around our hotel. That would be The Purple Pig, and sitting at the bar and spotting a full complement of Pappy (at reasonable prices!), how bad could it be?  The smoked tongue, house-made mortadella, and other assorted goodies we had were just fine, and it served us well.

 

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But is it Chicago without making a stop at one of these places?

 

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Duks Red Hots serves up a Vienna beef hot dog, fully loaded, with oh-so-many fries, for like $3.65.  The hot dog was good, the less said about the fries the better.

 

In Madison, at Eno Vino, I had what may have been the best roasted tomato soup with a grilled cheese sandwich I could ever remember eating.  I mean, everything else was OK, but this? This, had I ever been served it as a child, would've brought me right back to those days. And maybe I was?

 

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The pine nuts added a nice crunch, but in my opinion were superfluous.

 

Milwaukee's food, at least that which we consumed, was OK. Actually, Sanford was very nice. There's also a fine reboot of their whole public market area, including a newer indoor market that reminded me a bit of our new Essex Market, with tables and chairs upstairs, surrounding and overlooking the whole shebang.  Back to Chicago for our final night, we very much enjoyed The Publican.  The half platter of charcuterie might've made a whole meal, and they have a great beer list too.

 

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There's head cheese, pork pie, salami, sausage, paté, and a bunch pickled goodies on that half platter. Great bread went along. Recommended.

 

We stayed in a lovely property our last night in Chicago - The Robey in Wicker Park, and it was good to get away from the madness of S. Michigan Avenue.  It also provided a nice, classic view...

 

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of both the El and the bottle of Jeppson's Malort (much better now, I was assured, since it's being made right in town) I had purchased down the block.


Edited by weinoo (log)
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Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"

mweinstein@eGstaff.org

Tasty Travails - My Blog

My eGullet FoodBog - A Tale of Two Boroughs

Was it you baby...or just a Brilliant Disguise?

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I find that Pappy gets cheaper the farther you are from NYC. In Vancouver a year or two ago it was priced like Booker's

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I have no idea if it's still there or not, but 20-plus years ago, on my first trip to Chicago, and one of my first experiences in a higher-end restaurant than the local diner or burger joint, we went to Bistro 110 across from the old waterworks on Michigan. It remains one of the relevatory experiences in gastronomy that I can remember. 

 

I had some kind of a steak, which I little remember, except it was good. Likely a filet, but I don't recall. The port wine-foie gras reduction served with it was the most delicious thing I'd ever tasted in my life -- until they brought dessert. I ordered creme brulee, because everyone else at the table did. I had no idea what creme brulee was. It came in a wide, flat ramekin, perfectly caramelized crust, a handful of fresh berries scattered across the top. I swear, my eyes rolled back in my head. I wanted to lick the ramekin (but refrained).

 

I've had some wonderful meals in Chicago since then, including one at the Berghof that I credit with reawakening my dormant interest in German food; steaks at Lawry's and Hugo's; pho at Le Coloniale; seafood at Shaw's Crab House (really? In the middle of the country? Very close to the best I ever had). But I shall never forget that meal at Bistro 110. We ate there many more times on subsequent trips, and I was never disappointed.

 

Chicago remains one of my very favorite cities in the world.

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Don't ask. Eat it.

www.kayatthekeyboard.wordpress.com

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13 minutes ago, kayb said:

Chicago remains one of my very favorite cities in the world.

 

Yep - it's a nice, little town.

 

Kidding; it's a nice city, with a quite good food scene.

 

We also did a self-guided (i.e. stolen from the 'net) tour around Oak Park, to see the houses designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, including his. And Milwaukee actually has a very interesting street; Burnham Street. It consists of affordable FLW designed homes; designed to compete with Sears Catalog Homes, for those less well-off perhaps than the people in Oak Park.  They were called American System-Built Homes. Did not catch on.

 

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Oh, and a Calatrava designed Milwaukee Art Museum!

 

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Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"

mweinstein@eGstaff.org

Tasty Travails - My Blog

My eGullet FoodBog - A Tale of Two Boroughs

Was it you baby...or just a Brilliant Disguise?

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On 12/9/2019 at 5:01 PM, kayb said:

I have no idea if it's still there or not, but 20-plus years ago, on my first trip to Chicago, and one of my first experiences in a higher-end restaurant than the local diner or burger joint, we went to Bistro 110 across from the old waterworks on Michigan. It remains one of the relevatory experiences in gastronomy that I can remember.

 

Bistro 110 closed in 2011.  However, while there are fewer French restaurants around now than 20+ years ago, nationwide as well as in Chicago, there are still some great ones here in Chicago.  Without a doubt, the best (and most expensive) is still Everest, now in its 34th year and still under the helm of Alsatian opening chef-owner Jean Joho.  And there are numerous moderately-priced French bistros in the city and suburbs; if you're staying anywhere near downtown, you can't go wrong with La Sardine in the West Loop.


Edited by nsxtasy (log)
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That saddens me, but thanks for letting me know. I trust Shaw's Crab House and the Berghof are still there?

 


Don't ask. Eat it.

www.kayatthekeyboard.wordpress.com

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Yes.  Shaw's Crab House is still around and every bit as good as it's always been.  (I love their weekend AYCE buffet brunch!)  The Berghoff closed briefly in 2006, then reopened the following year, as part of a transition from the third generation of family ownership to the fourth.


Edited by nsxtasy (log)
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