Archive for April, 2010

Wilde (upscale Irish pub)

Like Gage, this upscale Irish pub delivers on vibe but not on food. The dishes are flavorful but much too high in salt and fat for my liking.

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Cafe Ba-Ba-Reeba (!Spanish Tapas!)

Festive and vibrant, Ba-Ba-Reeba serves some tasty tapas and sangria. I ordered the Rioja short rib, Maine scallops with couscous and pine nuts, and Roasted spinach and mushrooms. The short rib was extremely tender and had a delicious au jus with a splash of rioja flavor. Three scallops was a generous portion size but the quality and flavor were a little lacking. Finally, and unfortunately at the bottom, the spinach had a nice texture but was way over salted which left it almost inedible.

The cava sangria and peach sorbet were a great addition to this meal. I would go back if I were in that neighborhood.

Edzo’s Burger Shop (all-American classic)

As charming and clean as a burger shop gets. I rarely eat ground beef due to its ambiguous quality and high fat content, but Edzo’s grounds their own beef and you can taste the difference. It is super kid friendly and allows for picky eaters to build their own burger.

I chose a 4oz griddle burger(single) with blue cheese and a tomato slice. The bun fully supported the burger (no tearing, etc) and the tomato and blue cheese were tasty compliments. Their fries selection is impressive, including fries with truffle salt. AND, they have yummy-sounding milkshakes such as nutella and peanut butter which I’ll have to try one of these days.

Nightwood (Food gone wrong)

Note: I ate here in September 2009 and the food may have improved since then.

Nightwood is forgettable. Its prices are way too high for the amount of taste they serve. The watermelon salad appetizer was a familiar, trendy dish in restaurant world. It had corn, bacon and onion alongside of huge, one-inch watermelon chunks. The lack of balance with proportions made the salad into a mixture instead of a homogeneous blend.

I had a pork chop for dinner which was slightly over cooked and chewy. Its sauce and accompanying salad left much to be desired.

When I find a place who is overcharging for the quality of food they serve, I take off major points.

Piece (brew and pizza)

This place is more than pizza, it’s a bustling scene; cool, down-to-earth, quality. When you strip away the scene, tasty pizza and unique microbrews remain.

Only warning, beware of long waits on the weekends and close dining quarters.

(Disclaimer: I have a conflict of interest as the CEO of my company is part owner in Piece)

Favorite new kitchen item: Butter dish!!

I can spread soft butter on my toast whenever I want! In a covered dish, butter can last around a week at room temperature.

Chicago farmers’ markets start in early May!!

Miso Soup is easy and delicious!

Inspired by a 15 min Alton Brown demo, I decided to venture into a Japanese classic, miso soup. This was a safe introduction to ingredients that I’ve never cooked with or food packages I could not decipher. Enjoy!

Dashi stock for miso soup:
-Kombu sea vegetable, cut two 4″ pieces (I had to use wakame instead because Kombu was not stocked)
-Bonito flakes, handful (dried and aged mackerel slices)

Add Kombu to 2.5 quarts hot (not boiling) water and cook for 30 minutes. Remove kombu from broth and throw it out. Add handful of bonito flakes (1/2 C) and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove bonito flakes and the remaining broth is now dashi!

Alton’s simple recipe can be found at the link below. I added shitake mushroom and somen noodles which turned out to be yummy!

http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/alton-brown/miso-soup-recipe/index.html

New season of Top Chef Masters on tonight at 10pm CST!!

Miller’s Pub (Chicago tradition)

I may be committing blasphemy as a Chicagoan to give Miller’s Pub one star, but I’ll accept my sin because I’m all about good food.

If you want to experience an old school Chicago pub just for the ambiance, go to Miller’s. If you want to be inspired by your meal, do not go here. I’ve heard their prime rib is the best item on their menu. I ordered a salad with grilled fish and found both components sub par; fish was overcooked and salad was depressed.

Not for me.

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