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Posts posted by jesteinf

  1. It's been hot and stormy here the past week, but that's unusual for June. Next week is supposed to be in the low-mid 70's, so there might still be some time before the heat and humidity set in for the next few months.


    Chicago is great, and it's even better during the summer.

  2. According to Tom's blog, the scallops were provided by Allen Brothers:


    Rick Tramonto took Spike to task over this, which brought on Spike’s feisty reply, “With all due respect, the scallops were in your walk-in.” My heart sunk when I heard this because I’ve known Rick for years and can say with certainty he doesn’t use frozen seafood in his restaurant. Along with the high-end steaks they had provided for the show, Allen Bros. had included a variety of other products to round out the restaurant’s existing stock, including frozen scallops, which is how they came to be in Tramonto’s walk-in. I learned later that Rick knew this when we taped the show, but chose not to make a federal case out of it. But as a colleague and fan of Rick’s, I feel it’s important to set the record straight.
  3. I really, really disliked this movie. I blame George Lucas and his piece of crap story and all of the other nonsense he was probably responsible for.


    CGI monkeys? Really?



  4. Your post also explains why eating at places like Alinea feels like being in a chemistry lab. Instruments, directions, procedures, needles, (breaks only with permission), maze-like entrance, and no fucking humour.


    I think that's a bit harsh. The entrance is hardly maze-like. I've never asked for permission to take a break, and the staff is definitely not humorless (many of them are very engaging and I've had a lot of laughs with them).


    I'm wondering if some of the harsh assessments of Alinea here are based on visits soon after the restaurant opened. I've been fortunate to have eaten there 4 or 5 times since they opened, and the restaurant has definitely improved with age. In fact, as far as the food being too "molecular" or "chemistry-lab like", I would say things are actually toned down at Alinea versus some of the stuff that went on at Trio.

  5. If it tastes good (and when it's done well, MG cooking does actually taste good), who cares what it's called. One person's fad is another person's evolution.


    Lots of things taste good. Donuts taste good, but they're not exalted as the vanguard of gastronomy.


    There's a place for everything, but if there has to be a hierarchy in cooking, I don't agree that MG should be at the top. If one treats food as high fashion one is effectively saying that a few years down the line that food is going to be outmoded. Good food has universal qualities, and just being the latest thing is clearly not a universal quality. Rather, being the latest thing is about selling magazines and books, and getting traffic to your blog. MG is an expression of food as a publicity instrument.


    Also, anecdotally, I have noticed that kind of people who rate MG are generally humorless, tend to take themselves terribly seriously, and do not have the confidence to like anything that hasn't previously been featured in a slew of magazine articles all regurgitating the same press-pack. In other words, twats.


    I wouldn't argue that it should be at the top of any sort of hierarchy, just that it does have a place in how we eat. Maybe I'm biased because we have a lot of good use of MG techniques here in Chicago (Alinea, Moto, Schwa, Graham Elliot once it's open (chef was at Avenues at the Peninsula)), but when taste is put before science the results are pretty nice.


    By the way, I'm not sure I would consider myself humorless or that I take myself too seriously. I don't read many magazines, and you'll probably only find a handful of people that would call me a twat.

  6. The problem is that when the chef is second rate (Sam Mason) or too up himself (Achatz) the results are all too often disgusting. But they get away with it because there will always be some thrill seeker with a dead palate who will praise it.


    Have you eaten at Alinea recently?


  7. Ha! You want potholes? Take a ride down Lake Shore Drive. I think some may be better described as sinkholes, or maybe trenches.


    I grew up in northeastern NJ and then went to college in St. Louis (which, IMO, is as much a southern city as it is a midwestern one). The biggest adjustment for me was the speed at which everything and everybody moved. I just couldn't believe how slow everything was. After college I moved up to Chicago where I've lived ever since.


    Now when I go back to NJ, I feel like they're the weird ones.

  8. So where in Scottsdale is the chef?


    The Scottsdale thing fell through. Poli is coming back to Chicago and will be the Chef at Perennial. From Chicago Magazine's Dish newsletter:



    Chef Ryan Poli, who had a huge following at Butter, has returned to Chicago to become the chef de cuisine at Perennial (1800 N. Lincoln Ave.), the upcoming spot from Rob Katz and Kevin Boehm (Boka, Landmark). “Things just sometimes don’t work out the way you want them to,” Poli says of his recent jaunt to Phoenix, Arizona. “So I decided to come back to Chicago. It’s where my passion is.” Poli also spent about a year interning in various standouts in Spain, including El Celler de Can Roca with Joan and Jordi Roca in Girona. “In Europe, you just show up and say, ‘I’m here to do a stage. Do you have room for me?’” Poli says. . . . Anyway, Perennial: Turns out Boehm and Poli have the same hairstylist, who persuaded the two to connect. Next thing you know, Poli is in Perennial’s kitchen, joining the executive chef, Giuseppe Tentori, in tinkering over playful inventions such as a surf-and-turf appetizer of ahi tuna and a New York strip carpaccio—and introducing a dish he learned in Spain: “inside-out flan,” a purée of white chocolate flan with ginger ice cream, warm passion fruit jelly, and caramelized pumpkinseeds. Keep an eye on this one.


    Good Thinking

  9. Richard is Richard Blais, formerly the chef at One Midtown Kitchen and Blais in Atlanta (which closed). IIRC, Blais was a very well regarded restaurant while it was open (about 6 months). I suspect "molecular gastronomy" is something that just wouldn't fly in Atlanta.

  10. I thought that Eight Days a Week was very silly. It kind of reminded me of one of those shows you would see at Six Flags.


    My prediction...


    Bottom 3:


    David Hernandez

    Kristi Lee Cook


    Eliminated - Kristi Lee Cook

  11. Need options for the top sushi in Las Vegas. Okada at the Wynn?


    Will be on the strip without wheels (Venetian). Prefer to walk (i.e. stay on the strip).


    I had one really great sushi experience at Okada (about a year ago) and one that was just ok (about 4 months ago). Haven't had sushi anywhere else on the strip though.

    What was "okay" about the second time?


    I hear Nobu's in town as well.


    Sushi Roku, anyone?


    When I have really good sushi (like Yasuda-level) I feel like the fish "pops". Hard to explain, but it just has a special taste/texture where you know it's great stuff. I got that the first time at Okada, but not the second. On the second trip the sushi was still better than most places here in Chicago, but that's not really saying much.

  12. Need options for the top sushi in Las Vegas. Okada at the Wynn?


    Will be on the strip without wheels (Venetian). Prefer to walk (i.e. stay on the strip).


    I had one really great sushi experience at Okada (about a year ago) and one that was just ok (about 4 months ago). Haven't had sushi anywhere else on the strip though.

  13. Didn't I read somewhere that he's actually married still?

    Heather was so scary to me. I liked Jes but feel sorry for her for having to kiss him.

    This show seemed to be on all the time when channel surfing. Was it on forever? I thought Flav'r of Love Charm School was far too short.


    The wife did some heavy Googling following the finale and from the looks of things, Bret is back with the mother of his kids and Jess seems to be in a relationship with some other guy.

  14. Pane Caldo is one of those places that is recommended only so often, but when it is, it always seems to be recommended with a good amount of enthusiasm. That being said, I can't seem to find any accounts of an actual meal eaten there. Well, time to fix that.


    Dinner at Pane Caldo with the in-laws last night was a real treat. The room was full, but for whatever reason this place has flown mostly below the radar of the online food world.


    I started with the roasted scallops, served in the shell with a really delicious provencale sauce. The scallops were cooked perfectly, and the sauce had a richness to it that made you want to sop it all up with a piece of bread. The wife had a ceviche of fresh abalone and shrimp that also included some smoked sable and mullet. This was also delicious.


    For my main course I had John Dory served with razor clams in a creamy summer truffle sauce. Again, perfectly cooked fish (exterior slightly browned, interior moist and flaky) complemented by a delightful sauce. Served with some simply cooked vegetables, this was a great main course if not the most creative. Also, the texture of the razor clams provided a nice counterpoint to the John Dory. The wife had cappellini with shaved black truffles, served with olive oil and herbs. Simple and delicious, she just about finished the whole bowl (and she rarely finishes main courses at restaurants).


    The dessert menu was one of the largest I've seen at a restaurant at this level. Divided into sections for chocolate, ice cream, fruit, and cheese there were probably 4-5 choices in each category. I went with the chocolate pane caldo, which was kind of a cold chocolate/banana bread pudding. Served with passion fruit mousse and housemade vanilla ice cream this was a relatively light and refreshing way to end the meal.


    This place is a slam dunk 3-stars and should be considered a great option for a nice night out without going to a top tier place (Alinea, Avenues, Tru, etc.). I'm already looking forward to my next trip back (whenever that may be).


    Pane Caldo

    72 E. Walton




  15. I had a really enjoyable meal at Bonsoiree (a new restaurant in the old Savoy Truffle space) on Friday night. Although the menu only gives the options of 3 or 7 courses, our waiter let me and my dining companion know that there was also a 5 course menu available for $50. Although we would both have to choose the same items for our tasting menu, we decided to just go with it.


    We started with 2 appetizers, the gnocchi with rabbit and sage and the kampachi tartare. Like I said, the gnocchi was ridiculous. The past was perfectly light and airy, the rabbit tender and flavorful and a gorgeous sauce that just pulled the whole dish together. I could have easily eaten a giant bowl of this for a main course. The kampachi was also quite good. The fish was pristine fresh, and there weren't too many flavors on the place competing with it. Served with a little cracker and some wasabi tobiko, this was another really nice starter.


    For our main courses, our first was the lamb served with a tortilla with manchego cheese. The lamb was sliced and served a perfect medium rare. The lamb actually tasted lamb-y, so that was really nice to see. The tortilla was actually the surprise of the plate. While I was expecting a little mini-quesadilla (I'm not really sure why), it was actually more like a gratin, layers of tortilla and manchego. Just different and delicious.


    For our other main we had the sliced flank steak. This dish was the closest thing to a miss we had all night. Although our server told us the steak had been marinated, I could really pick anything up, so it was a bit bland and a bit tough (but nicely cooked). The meat was definitely improved by an onion sauce and some heirloom tomato salsa that were also on the plate. The starch with this one need some help. The menu advertised "wasabi mashed potatoes". First I had to groan because I mean come on, wasabi mashed potatoes. Really? But putting that aside, they were really just mashed potatoes with a whole bunch of horseradish in them. They were tasty, but a bit one-dimensional, and not nearly as interesting as just about everything else we ate.


    Dessert was bread pudding which was delicious and just the right amount.


    Service was friendly and efficient, and the restaurant just has an overall nice feel to it. If I lived closer, I would be at this restaurant all of the time.




    2728 W. Armitage Ave.

    (773) 486-7511

  16. fight_blog.jpg

    Employees of the Wynn Casino attempt to stop Britney Spears’ bodyguard, Julio “JC” Camera, from punching a photographer in Las Vegas, July 26, 2007.


    A bunch of friends and I were in Las Vegas for my bachelor party this weekend staying at the Wynn. This scene happened literally right in front of two of the guys that were there with us. Fantastic stuff.

  17. not that this should be a surprise but it seems two of the girls have done some porn





    I am shocked. SHOCKED!


    One of my favorite parts about this show is how everything, everything makes Brett horny. I mean, I was watching the whole motocross thing last night and when that one girl went flying off the bike I half expected him to say, "She took a pretty bad fall and we all thought that she might have been dead, but I gotta admit, it made me pretty hot". There has to be a drinking game in there somewhere.

  18. In one scene Baio has an actual flash of reason (he is hitting on a group of women who are 20 years younger than him “I have jeans that are older than her!”), and decides to call it a night. The sheer panic of one of his buddies is palpable -- he knows that without Scott, he ain't gettin' any booty. Sure enough, after Scott turns in, the girls exit.


    Honestly, that was pretty riveting to watch. Watching Johnny V's panic as he raced to get Scott back downstairs, followed by him reassuring the women that Scott was coming back, followed by the women (wisely) racing out of the house, with Johnny V chasing behind was both fascinating and a little hard to watch.


    This show is actually really good. Provides a nice balance with Rock of Love.

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