Friday, April 16, 2004

Roast Beef
Hot and Bloody, Cold and Bloody and Tough and Tough

We eat a lot of roast beef in the USA. I aint gonna do no research, but I would guess we Americans eat more roast beef than anywhere. In fact, absent all those Italian beefs, beef-on-wecks, cheesesteaks, french dips, Manhattans, etc., what does the rest of the world do with their hunks of beef. [ed. what about those fine joints served in the UK?] I've sampled three roast beefs this week.

Hot and Bloody - Manny's
I took the chowhounditas and Ms. VI to Manny's this week, for a lunch organized by the author of the well blogged and critical favorite play, The Mayor's Mouth, SethZ. I did not diddle-dawdle like others over the corned beef and pastrami. I held up the line as I waited for one of the Manny's hand sliced and expertly trimmed roast beef sandwiches. It is worth holding up everyone behind you. Give the slicer a dollar for his efforts.

(Go here for some Manny's pictures and videos.)

Cold and Bloody - Fox and Obel
Equally gorgeous is the house roasted beef at Fox and Obel. While your eyes might zero in on the broad swath of crimson centered within the meat, my favorite part is the salty crusty surface. Belying F&O's snazzy image, this roast beef costs no more than other grocery stores and is actually less than Whole Foods.

Tough and Really Tough - Berghoff
The other night we found ourselves near the loop at the magic moment, just 6 PM. For about 240 seconds, a bunch of parking spots exist in the loop. Snap one up and you can enjoy a pleasant dinner and one of my favorite places, the Berghoff. Just avoid the German pot roast. Did I say tough? Incredible, bathed in butter, mashed potatoes well made up for it, and a cameo visit by the Mayor of Berghoff, El Panzone, made for an even more fun night.

Catch the Mayor's Mouth Segment on The News Show @ the Neo Futurarium

This is your big chance to see Chicagoland’s fastest growing live theatrical cooking segment. On April 28th at 8:00 PM, one night only, the Neo-Futurists will be reprising their “The News Show: Chicago” featuring 7-9 minutes of the most riproaring hilarious politico-culinary beef stew prep you ever saw, embedded in the middle of 80 minutes of hilearnious news-style coverage of the ins and outs of our fair city.

It’ll be a lot of fun, and some lucky audience member will get to sample the Mayor’s favorite beef stew! It could be you!


Here are the details:

The News Show: Chicago
Wed April 28th at 8PM.
The Neo Futurarium
5153 N Ashland (@ Foster)
$8 Students/$12 Everybody Else

Paging Harry V - Poisonous Review Needed
Spizzico, Elmwood Park, IL

Back in the day, one "Harry V" could rip a restaurant with the best of 'em. Like an aspiring critic for the Village Voice, Harry knew that if there was something bad to be said, that could be said well, with style and panache, well go ahead and say it. Harry's vitriol got him the distinction of getting kicked off of Chowhound not just once but twice. His opinions, always, have been sadly missed (well by me at least). And God damn, I need Harry.

I need Harry to destroy Spizzico. Make you understand how truly bad this place has become, to prevent you from falling into the trap I fell into, "we have a coupon honey...." Spizzico might yet convince me that Chicago DOESN'T have good pizza. Because the pizza that showed up at our home the other night was so bad, so wretched, that I have become nearly delusional with fear that good pizza could even really exist (in Chicago). Please Harry, take me out of my misery. Order from Spizzico. Report back.

See if your pizza comes half-smooshed, like the delivery man got rear ended on his way to the bungalow. See if your crust is so light and grainy that it reminds your of a movie at the Museum of Science and Industry on paper making. See if your pepperoni resembles in taste, texture and odor, almost exactly, of what was in the special treat lunchables we purchased for the chowhounditas a few weeks ago (daughter to dad that evening, "I did not like the pepperoni in my lunchable, it tasted like sausage"). Please make literature of this swill.

Sadly, Spizzico did not always deliver such coupon inducing slop. They used to be exactly the kinda place you wanted nearby. Even though Spizzico is across the street from one of the premier Italian beef shops, and undisputed best smelling restaurant in Cook County, Johnnies, I had plenty of reason to eat at Spizzico. Really, not just tables, heat and a bathroom. I liked a lot of stuff at Spizzico. Breaded steak sammy's, fried shrimps, even cheese drenched parmesans tasted fine. Liked, however, is the operative word. I like nothing anymore at Spizzico, and I'd like only to be a better hatchet man.

Thursday, April 15, 2004

Everybody Watching
The 16th Annual Bailiwick Directors Festival: Adaptations and Translations

My friend Kirsten D'Aurelio is one of the featured actors in this play based on the high school drama career of James Dean.

From the short story "Everybody Watching and the Time Passing Like That" by Michael Martone. Directed and adapted by Doug Long.

Dates: May 3 & May 4 ONLY 8 PM - Bailiwick Repertory, 1229 W. Belmont, Chicago

Tickets: $10 To reserve tickets call Bailiwick at 773.883.1090

Monday, April 12, 2004

Executive Salad - Club Lago

Kudos to JeffB for alerting the world to the executive salad at Club Lago. Lunch there the other day with Jeff, Steve Z and the Condiment Queen has me convinced this is the coolest place in Chicago. One of these days I gotta try the yankee pot roast.

Club Lago
331 W. Superior St., Chicago
(312) 951-2849