August 24, 2010
July 24, 2010
As our cocktails wet our whistles, so did the Tortone bread--made by their resident bread maker it consisted of mashed potatoes and garlic confit (yes, in the dough), served with sweet onion butter and herb oil. The soft, garlic filled center and the crusted to perfection exterior ensured that we finished the loaf. But not before we killed the sweet onion butter...
June 9, 2010
May 26, 2010
Before I had the marvelous opportunity to eat at the Drawing Room with my friend Jessica, I had solely visited to sip and savor their magnificent cocktails. It seems to be a widespread idea that the Drawing Room is the place for mainly drinks, however after my munch-tastic experience, I know better... The truth; unveiled. Myth; shattered. While their drinks do shine like stars in a fairytale sky, their food shines brighter (that is a fib because they are both really freakin' good but I just like the way that sounds). Unbeknownst to you, I am utilizing this blog as a vehicle to enlighten you by opening the magical door that keeps only two sacred things: rainbows, and Chef Nick Lacasse's sweetbreads. Although The Drawing Room does have delectable--and from a mixologist's standpoint maybe even perfect cocktails, the food also deserves more gold stars than six-year-old Einstein.
May 3, 2010
Throughout the course of our lives we experience many firsts—there’s the first crush, the first chase and tackle of the first crush to attain the first kiss, the first forbidden sip of your friend’s parents’ booze, the first night spooning the porcelain throne as a result of abusing your friend’s parents’ booze, etc. (You may or may not have just learned a lot about me…) Some of those firsts are obviously more exciting and welcome than others. As I walked to Sable Kitchen and Bar with my friends Ryan and Evan, I expressed the elevated level of excitement that comes hand in hand with a highly anticipated first visit to a new restaurant. Aside from experiencing new food in a unique setting, I always look forward to these experiences because they provide me with blog ammunition. Unfortunately for Sable Kitchen and Bar, my dining experience was beyond sub par while undoubtedly providing me with a wealth of blog ammunition. In terms of “firsts,” I’d say it was the equivalent of discovering my first gray hair, which I actually may have grown while waiting for the bill.
Okay, on to (bitching about) the food and drink… I ordered the bridal shower cocktail, consisting of vodka, campari, rhubarb syrup and soda water. Although we waited an unacceptable amount of time for our cocktails (and water), it was pretty good—tasty with a punch, as it better have! Next, I ordered the ahi tuna tartare tacos to start. They were not special; under seasoned and boring. Ryan had the five spice pork ribs, which I tasted. The hoisin-sesame glaze was delicious but it was evident that the ribs were not slow cooked. Rather than tender meat effortlessly falling off the bone, there was lots of gnawing going on. Evan had the soft pretzels, which again were boring. I don’t understand why pretzels are on any menu other than sports bars’ or ball parks’. Unless, of course, they are sprinkled with dust from unicorns’ horns, they are just pretzels—how good can they be? Next we ordered the bison short rib sliders, which were actually not completely disappointing. My first bite was delicious—the meat was juicy and the crispy fried onions added nice texture and flavor. If only every bite was that good... Some pieces of bison were dry, lacking glaze and ultimately moisture and flavor, while others were tasty. Each bite begged the question “is this bite going to make me happy or sad?” The answer was always a toss-up. The best item of the evening was the braised pork belly flatbread with apples, white cheddar and molasses barbeque sauce. I do actually recommend this. The pork combined with the sweet apple, the tang of the cheese, and subtle barbeque flavor melded well together. Needless to say, after the first few dishes, the three of us were fighting for the last piece of flatbread.
With regard to service, I felt bad for our server. She was clearly flustered and had too much on her plate. I know this because so did I… Our undersized plates had never been swapped out for new, clean ones. NEVER. If you saw the size of them you would understand. My desire to cut my food was not an option without any room on my tiny plate due to space being taken up by rib bones and pieces of inedible, dry short rib. Being the dainty little flower that I am, this was yet another letdown that amounted to a disappointing dining experience...
I do have one positive thing to say about Sable—the décor, specifically in the bar area, is very chic. Aside from the faux fireplace that belongs in a Viagra Triangle frequenter’s bachelor pad, I really like the black high-top tables, marble bar, and bar wall lined with a harmonious array of bottles.
Sadly, my trip to Sable was a disappointment. Although it pains me to be so harsh, I needed to write my first negative restaurant review some time…
Moral of the Story? My experience at Sable is another example of a not so welcome nor exciting “first.” I'm sure you have a few up your sleeve...
*Photos: The braised pork belly flatbread and the bison short rib sliders
April 14, 2010
April 7, 2010
The evening I spent at Blue 13 was a yummy evening indeed. I started off with the Truffled Mac n Cheese. Can you say "lather me up and bathe me in cheese sauce?" because that's what I did. I mean, it's pasta slathered in cream, cheese and truffle butter... That's a combination you can always bet I'll want to bathe in, but it was damn good. I like that they use orecchiette pasta (meaning little ears in Italian) and broccoli in it. If my parents fed me broccoli draped in that cheese sauce when I was a kid I wouldn't have been such a fussy pain in the ass when it came to eating vegetables. Next, I got the Mixed Green Salad. Compared to everything else, a bunch of leaves on a plate is not memorable. Skip. On to the Pan Seared Lake Whitefish served with "potato risotto." I loved this dish. The white fish was perfectly crispy on the outside and the flesh was just right. I also loved the taste, texture and creativity of the potato risotto, which was pretty much diced potato cooked in risotto fashion--the end result being tender potatoes in a creamy, starchy sauce. This plate was delicious. For dessert I had the Carrot Cake. It was not the best carrot cake I've ever had, but the frosting was good. One spoonful was all I needed after this feast. Next time I go, I am getting the Lobster Pizza, the Braised Rabbit Leg or Steak on Acid, and the Coffee and Doughnuts. AND I am going to be sure to go on a Tuesday for 1/2 off wine night. Before I wrap Blue 13 up, I cannot forget to mention how lovely and hospitable Dan, one of the owners was. Overall a fabulous dining experience and a highly enjoyable evening.
First and foremost, what a beautiful restaurant. I loved the decor and the quaint bar--very lovely atmosphere. Now let's talk food. I dined here during Chicago Chef Week, so it was a no-brainer to order off the prix fix menu. For each course on the prix fix menu, there were two options. Luckily for me and my lovely date Shannon, there were two of us. WHAT a coinkidink! We told our server we wanted one of everything to share, and it was a marvelous choice. I'll keep each dish's evaluation to a minimum... This ain't a novel. 1) Ravioli Piccolo Sogno (four-cheese ravioli, pine nuts, marsala glaze, parmesan)--SO good. I cleaned the plate by dipping bread in the extra sauce. 2) Insalata di Pere (arugula, goat cheese, pear)--a good/fine, simple salad. 3) Porchetta Alla Romana (roman style roasted pork)--succulent pork, LARGE portion, quite delicious. 4) Polletto Alla Griglia (wood-grilled chicken)--pretty good but the skin had a too much of a char flavor. 5) Tortino di Gianduia (chocolate hazelnut lava cake with hazelnut gelato)--out of this world. An absolutely amazing dessert. 6) Panna Cotta Allo Zafferon (saffron panna cotta, caramel & berries)--very good as well, but the chocolate cake stole my heart. The must-tries are the ravioli, pork, and chocolate cake. I definitely plan on coming back for more. Especially the chocolate cake... Screw Blue 13's Truffled Mac n Cheese, lather me up in this!
Hugo's Frog Bar:
I go to Hugo's for one reason and one reason only... Alaskan King Crab Legs. They are like heaven on my tongue--my buds' personal culinary sanctuary, if you will. I treat myself to them just once every few months. Any more than that and it's not a treat anymore--I don't want to spoil myself. I love how dear they are to me when they hit my tongue for the first time in too long. It's like a buttery, delicious kiss from Leonardo DiCaprio that you've longed for since the first time you dreamt it when you were 14. Okay, maybe that's just me... Anyway, in my eyes, king crab legs are the ultimate treat. Prior to this gift from God, however, I ordered the Tuna Tartare. My server was adamant that I get the Coriander Seared Tuna instead, which I reluctantly agreed to. I really wanted the tartare. Low and behold, the seared tuna was very good. Once completed, the server said "would you like to try a taste of the tartare to compare?" "Why the hell not?" I replied, possibly leaving out the "hell." More food is always a plus in my book. The next thing I know he brought over an entire order of the tartare, comped. Obviously, it was incredibly generous of him and I must agree, the seared tuna was better. That little "battle of the tuna" was a fun surprise and made the experience even more enjoyable. For dessert, I had the Key Lime Pie, which was pretty much taller than the 5" heels I was wearing. Once I spooned through the mountain of meringue, the filling was perfectly tart and sweet. The best part was definitely the graham cracker crust--so crunchy and there was so much of it! Not surprisingly though because all of their desserts are on steroids. Overall, I left absolutely stuffed and satisfied. I ate not only my culinary sanctuary, king crab, but I had the pleasure of trying both tuna dishes and key lime pie as well.
Moral of the Story? If you lather me up in truffled mac n cheese, then give me a sponge bath in chocolate lava cake, all while feeding me king crab legs, I'll be yours for life.
March 27, 2010
Pretty soon, English Bar is going to have to change their slogan from Eat Well, Drink Better to... Eat Equally As Well As You Drink! Doesn't have quite the same ring to it, but I speak the truth! New to the English family is chef Radhika Desai--who I myself know from watching on Top Chef Season 5. All of Chicago has been talking about how Radhika will soon take over as Executive Chef at English, and thankfully the time has come. The menu is now updated with some of Radhika's special additions, which include duck confit dumplings, lobster and white truffle mac n cheese, and curry mussels while still serving up their classic dishes like the Fish and Chips, Bangers N' Mash, and my favorite: the English Crisps. My buds have been so lucky to try some of the new tasty dishes... I'll begin with the Roasted Vegetable Sandwich. Now a veggie sandwich would honestly NEVER catch my eye... And I mean never. I like meat, plain and simple. And I DO discriminate against lone veggies. This sandwich, however, is freaking delicious! There is a wide variety of different veggies, which bumps up the flavor tenfold. But I must give credit where credit is due... The herbed goat cheese. It makes this 'wich the T-rex of veggie 'wiches. I didn't miss the meat one bit. I also had the deep fried deviled egg. Well, actually I had two. In one sitting. A starter to my starter, if you will... Anyway, they are damn good. Even if you're in there just to grab a beer, try one of these bad boys. You'll be ordering a second in no time.
March 22, 2010
Last week I did quite a lot of damage... I dined at Publican, Xoco, Sunda, Gilt Bar, Ai Sushi, and Steve's Deli. That spells T-R-O-U-B-L-E in just three letters: LBs. I don't fret however, I'll be good this week... Oh God it's only Monday! But seriously, Imma do it! Rather, I NEED to do it--my bank account is in dire need of a break, not just my scale (poor thing)! If I may, I'm going to tell you all about my week of dining glory.
December 20, 2009
December 11, 2009
October 21, 2009
September 30, 2009
September 9, 2009
September 1, 2009
August 22, 2009
July 16, 2009
I was hungry... so I made something to eat! SHOCKING, right? Well it turns out that a lot of awesome thoughts struck my brain during the ellipsis, providing me with the perfect formula for a sweet blog entry. Excitement and happiness are still lingering on my buds because of how successful this dish was. Needless to say, the girl with the buds is pret-ty thrilled right now. Here's what happened...