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Where I Ate in Chicago


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#31 Vital Information

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Posted 18 September 2005 - 01:38 PM

Also recently: Sultan's Market on North and Hoyne. This place is *it* in this area for falafel, shawarma, etc. Consistent, well-executed food. A huge crudite/olive bar and the biggest selection of sodas and juices I've seen in Bucktown rounds it all out. Plus, they have an autographed Beastie Boys set list hanging on the wall, and rumor has it they're opening a late-night spot on California and Milwaukee, right down the street from yours truly.

Birthday is coming up and I'm hoping the BF will take me somewhere where we don't order at a counter! I am sure you can't wait to read about that :o

I think much better than Sultan's Market, in this same area, is Babylon. Just go a few blocks north on Damen. Their falafel is fried to order, a much better alternative than Sultan's, and they have a full menu of shwarmas, kebabs, etc. They make an especially good hot sauce and also a green garlic sauce.

As for your birthday, think about this place, THE foodie destination right now in Chicago:

http://lthforum.com/...opic.php?t=4949
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#32 NeroW

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Posted 18 September 2005 - 06:58 PM

Also recently: Sultan's Market on North and Hoyne.  This place is *it* in this area for falafel, shawarma, etc.  Consistent, well-executed food.  A huge crudite/olive bar and the biggest selection of sodas and juices I've seen in Bucktown rounds it all out.  Plus, they have an autographed Beastie Boys set list hanging on the wall, and rumor has it they're opening a late-night spot on California and Milwaukee, right down the street from yours truly.

Birthday is coming up and I'm hoping the BF will take me somewhere where we don't order at a counter!  I am sure you can't wait to read about that :o

I think much better than Sultan's Market, in this same area, is Babylon. Just go a few blocks north on Damen. Their falafel is fried to order, a much better alternative than Sultan's, and they have a full menu of shwarmas, kebabs, etc. They make an especially good hot sauce and also a green garlic sauce.

As for your birthday, think about this place, THE foodie destination right now in Chicago:

http://lthforum.com/...opic.php?t=4949

Thanks for the recs. I've eyed Babylon many times. Hopefully this week, or sometime soon, I will be able to check it out and post about it. If they have a shisha pipe, I'm in. I like the sweet smell of those tobaccos.

Also, regarding Matsumoto--I've been drooling over the sashimi pic in that thread for a few weeks now :o Admittedly, I don't think I am equipped for a degustation menu at that level (either financially or psychologically). "Maybe next year," as my Mom always said.

I was thinking someplace more along the lines of Opera (he has never been), or Spring (neither of us has been). Awhile ago I would have chosen the Blue Water Grill but not now.
We eat so many shrimp, we got iodine poisonin

#33 Caseophile

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Posted 19 September 2005 - 03:43 AM

I was thinking someplace more along the lines of Opera (he has never been), or Spring (neither of us has been).

I went to Spring once, last November. It was very disappointing.

#34 NeroW

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Posted 19 September 2005 - 05:28 AM

I was thinking someplace more along the lines of Opera (he has never been), or Spring (neither of us has been).

I went to Spring once, last November. It was very disappointing.

It's not my first choice. The room is not as romantic as I would like :o
We eat so many shrimp, we got iodine poisonin

#35 guajolote

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Posted 19 September 2005 - 08:03 PM

Birthday is coming up and I'm hoping the BF will take me somewhere where we don't order at a counter! I am sure you can't wait to read about that :o

who knew that our birthdays were so close together :o?

a friend is having a birthday party for me later in october after her daughter's wedding? maybe i can snag you an invite. they're going to make me bistro food.

i had one great (3 years ago) and one good (1.5 years ago) meal at spring. it is very romantic though. i like green zebra better. i'm going to north pond for my birthday. and i get to meet mongo a couple of days later :o .

i went to pho heun (?) on saturday with my kids. tank noodle was packed :o. it was ok, the meat (tendon, flank, and sirloin) was good but the broth was weak. my version is much better. maybe that's why i never go out to eat. my kids liked it. good smoothies, especially the watermelon.

#36 MatthewB

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Posted 20 September 2005 - 12:32 AM

Birthday is coming up and I'm hoping the BF will take me somewhere where we don't order at a counter!

What about Spiaggia or Cafe Spiaggia?

We had dinner at the Cafe last week and we quite enjoyed it. Nice wine list by the glass, too.

#37 NeroW

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Posted 20 September 2005 - 04:43 AM

Birthday is coming up and I'm hoping the BF will take me somewhere where we don't order at a counter!  I am sure you can't wait to read about that :o

who knew that our birthdays were so close together :o?

a friend is having a birthday party for me later in october after her daughter's wedding? maybe i can snag you an invite. they're going to make me bistro food.

:o
We eat so many shrimp, we got iodine poisonin

#38 guajolote

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Posted 11 October 2005 - 09:18 PM

last couple weeks:

dave's italian kitchen in evanston. really good red sauce italian. this place hasn't changed in 10 years. great wine list w/ low markups.

wholly frijoles in lincolnwood. i've heard good things about his place but never went b/c of the stupid name. it's really good though, i'll definately be back. sopa tortilla was thickend w/ masa, i'm definately going to do this. great chiles rellenos. my friend had some braised lamb. they definatly have higher aspirations here than your normal taquieria. BYOB.

tank noodle for breakfast. good pho, but the place is disgusting. don't put a sign up that says 'bathroom floor is wet,' get the fucking urinal fixed. also clean the trays that the hoisin, sriracha, etc are in once in awhile. there's no excuse for this at 9:30 in the morning.

#39 NeroW

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Posted 11 October 2005 - 10:39 PM

I have heard that about Tank Noodle. Maybe I heard it from you. :wub:
We eat so many shrimp, we got iodine poisonin

#40 guajolote

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Posted 11 October 2005 - 11:12 PM

I have heard that about Tank Noodle. Maybe I heard it from you. :lol:

yes :wub:

#41 NeroW

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Posted 17 October 2005 - 09:17 PM

Recently:

Thyme Cafe (N. Milwaukee) again. Giving it the ol' second try before forming the final opinion. Bad, bad, bad. Will not go back. A pretty empty room for a Thursday night, except for us (a 2-top), one 4-top that looked to be mainly drinkers, and one 12-top. That should have been a warning, but we were hungry, and we ignored it. One server on, no bartender, one busperson. The server was training someone and so had a trail. Needless to say they were completely occupied with the 12-top. That table looked like a nightmare on all fronts--a birthday, 6 very high-maintenance women, and their dates. I felt really, really bad for the server.

I ordered the frites, like I said I would, and they were shite. Bad fries in the first place will never make good, especially not when they are covered :lol: in ambiguous vinegar-ey mustard-ey something-from-the-squeeze-bottle. And please: don't put them in a little cardboard container in a futile gesture at bistromathics. They still suck. My companion had salmon ravioli bathed in a fatigue-colored sauce. I can't remember the sauce--that's how remarkable it was. Four tiny ravioli. Both starters were room temperature . . . and that's being generous. The plates were completely cold.

Main for me was lamb stew, lentils, etc. I am not kidding you when I say that I think this was Dinty Moore, or something along those lines. Believe me, I can recognize it :lol: . Dinty Moore would actually have been better--at least it would have been salted. Four or five pre-masticated bits of lamb, a 2 oz. portion of slippery lentils in the middle of the serving bowl, lentils that had never known love, and machine-cut celery and carrots completed the dish. I can recognize machine-cut too :D These vegetables were an affront to me, and I don't offend easily. These vegetables had never been fresh. From the freezer to my plate. That's Thyme Cafe. I picked them out of the brown broth they were in and arranged them, in a ring, along the sides of the dish.

My companion had a pork dish along the same lines as last time--but they changed the pork. Now we have one of those shrink-wrapped, factory-grill-marked pork "chops," which I have made a hundred million of for employee meal. WTF? How can they get away with this? For dessert I had creme brulee and I tried not to cry into it. Don't go. Cross the street when you see this place. :D Bad food, bad service (great server from last time nowhere in sight), bad in general.

EDIT: I have had some good meals lately, most notably two at Opera on S. Wabash, and I will post those soon--not right now, as the person I am sitting next to at school is listening to very loud music and wearing stink-ass cologne :wub:
We eat so many shrimp, we got iodine poisonin

#42 awbrig

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Posted 17 October 2005 - 10:35 PM

Have you been to Bistro Campagne? I saw it featured on Check Please over the weekend and it looks so good! The gardern area looks incredible!
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#43 Caseophile

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Posted 18 October 2005 - 03:14 AM

I had brunch at Salpicón this weekend. My first visit to the Old Town neighborhood, and I loved it. The restaurant offers a wonderfully pleasant environment, casual, bright, clean, and airy. Vivid colors abound, on the tables and walls, and in the food:

Posted Image

When you see "spicy" on the menu at Salpicón, take it seriously. The jalapeños rellenos that I ordered (foreground) were too spicy for me to eat. Scraping out the seeds rendered them edible, but required dissasembly of the dish to the point of diminishing returns. The crabcake (back) was good, with tasty crabmeat that was very nicely cooked, and in a good sauce, but the meat was oversalted for my taste. The huevos rancheros were quite good. "Chilaquiles rojos" was a very simple dish, probably more simple than I should have ordered, but I thought the tomatillo-serrano sauce showed real class.

It's hard to judge Salpicón based on a brunch, but I have a hunch that I might do considerably better there, on average, than at Chilpancingo or Topolobampo, other usual suspects in the Chicago Mexican lineup that I've tried. This isn't to knock Chilpancingo, which did me right on my last visit. Topolobampo, which I enjoyed once before, was quite disappointing when I last visited. Particularly in light of the rather moblike scene there, I won't be back.

Incidentally, Salpicón offers a large variety of tequilas, and a wine list that would be phenomena, even at an upscale French restaurant. Lots of rare California Pinots... plenty of German Rieslings, and an entire page of Austrian whites... Eight different La-La's... Every vintage of Penfolds Grange since 1976... I was stunned to read all this, and I found myself wondering if a menu full of tastebud-numbing chilis is really the best match for what must be one of the finest wine lists in town. It's worth testing. I hope to go back for the tasting menu with wine pairings at some point.

#44 Caseophile

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Posted 18 October 2005 - 03:17 AM

Birthday is coming up and I'm hoping the BF will take me somewhere where we don't order at a counter!

What about Spiaggia or Cafe Spiaggia?

We had dinner at the Cafe last week and we quite enjoyed it. Nice wine list by the glass, too.

I'm sure others have far more extensive experience, but... I had dinner at Spiaggia last year. Lovely, upscale space. Perfect for a business dinner, which was the occasion on which I found myself there. Plenty of space between tables. I'm not sure I'd call it romantic, though.

The food wasn't very good.

#45 NeroW

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Posted 18 October 2005 - 03:17 AM

Very nice plating on those rellenos.

And thanks for the wine list tip. An entire page of Austrian whites and plenty of Rieslings? I'm there. Maybe for BF's BD . . . we were thinking of taking him to Topolobampo.

EDIT: I see the tasting menu with wine pairing = $95. :wub: Not so bad.
We eat so many shrimp, we got iodine poisonin