Thursday, April 14, 2005

Bourdain and Bulli

Apparantly Tony Bourdain did a one hour program on Ferran Adria, but it's been embargoed from US consumption.A Chicago foodie got his hands on the tape though. He gives a re-cap here.

A link for people with BitTorren familiarty is provided at the end of the post.
What's Interesting This Week at Caputo's

Onion sets. Very, very tiny baby onions, white.

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

James Beard Food Journalism Awards

The nominees are out (via SauteWednesday). Sad to see my favorite food piece missed the cut. Anything else left out?
Do We Have a Winner in the (CTrib) Cheap Eats Game?

Every Wednesday right before I unwrap our Chicago Tribune, I regale (or torment depending on your mood) the family with the Cheap Eats game. Each week, the Tribune's food section publishes a "Cheap Eats" review, or shall I call it a "review". I'll leave for another rant, the heading dominated format that leaves little room for actual remarks on the restaurant, and talk today on the basis of the Cheap Eats Game. Is it a restuarant worth reporting.

Because there is one Cheap Eats review each week. And there are a lot of cheap eats in Chicago (or as noted on LTHForum, in the furthest suburbs as well.) So, each week, I wonder, could it be a undiscovered but interesting taqueria, a well regaded Persian place run by an Assyrian family from Iraq, or god dang it, That-a-Burger. What comes each week? Endless faux Irish pubs (who knew Buffalo chicken wings were so popular in Eire), corporate outposts, and best of all, corporate outposts of Irish pubs (or is that Irish pub corporate outposts?). Play along.

I cannot figger out if we have a winner this week with Let's Go Bistro in Downer's Grove. It's not faux Irish and it's not a chain (I do not think), but it is also faux French (it aint a bistro). Actually, my first thought when I saw the restaurant name was, bistros should be the domain of the main Trib reviewer, Phil Vettel. Since this is really a cafe, really a diner (so it seems), I can see it outside *his* domain. Anyway, in the bungalow this morning we split on whether this was a winner. Care to cast a vote?

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Proud Papa

It was one of those rarest of days. A special day. Daddy-daughter. Solo. Actually, even rarer, it was Daddy and older daughter. We made great use of our day together. A day of great chow. A day to make Pop proud.
After dropping off Mommy and other daughter for their camping trip, we faced the first hurdle of the day, breakfast. Chinese she said, and Dad pointed the car in that direction. An unusual Saturday morning traffic jam forced us off the highway at Independence Boulevard, but it gave Dad a chance to point out all the ex-synagougues. I had been happy before with Seven Wives before, for something breakfasty, but different. It was a little hard at Seven Wives because early in the day the seem to have a limited selection.

Limited. Did I mean different, odd? The standard breakfast is pick one from A one from B. A is mostly "regular" breakfasts like waffles and eggs and B is various kinds of noodles. Nothing there sounded appealing. We decided instead for the congee combo. It is firstly a bowl of congee; secondly some soft rolled rice noodles. And did I say I was proud, the chowhoundita had two bowls of preserved egg/fish congee, although she later confessed, she did not want to know what the fish was until after she finished. While it is unglamorously served in a small styrofoam cup, the coffee that is included with the congee deal is very good. Also, the heavy lacquer furniture and artsy-fartsy wall decorations belie the low prices here.

From there we meandered up Michigan Avenue and Clark Street, talking about architecture and stuff, ending at Tower Records. (You know things have changed so much in this hood by how easy parking is.) She made me proud by seeking out (and requesting for gift) Green Day's American Idiot. What's more, the title song, especially, makes me proud that there is something around still called rock n' roll.

Not quite hungry but there, we took our first dip into the waters of Hawaiian cooking, Chicago style, Aloha Grill. We got a big old plate of fried chicken breast, very, very crisp; two sauces, the curry and the sweet katsu sauce; and a lot of rice. Our plate did not include the mac salad, which I think is a good thing. From there, we checked out the Austrian Bakery on Clark. I know it's gotten pretty good reports, and the Brilliant one raves about it, but nothing looked too good. Instead, we had a crepe and mint tea (well mint tea for Dad, crepe for daughter) at Crepes and Coffee. It is an interesting place, apparently run by some Algerians, which of course means you can get merguez in your crepe. But there are a lot of choices that especially appealed to me, with cajeta and dulce de leche and nutella and Belgium chocolate sauce (an international array of goo).

We spent a fair amount of time playing with cats at P.A.W.S, then hooked up with my parents. For more looking at orphaned animals--this time Anti-Cruelty and an early dinner at Marcello's Father and Son. Dad always likes their broasted chicken and especially their cole slaw with a strong suggestion of horseradish (cole slaw tasting anyone?) Of course, she made me proud by scarfing down a big ol' steak sammy.

All during the planning of our special day, we talked about what would be our crowning touch, dessert. And to make me quite proud, she passed, saying she had enough for the day.

Seven Wives
2230 S. Wentworth
Chicago, IL

Aloha Grill Hawaiian BBQ
2534 N. Clark St.
Chicago IL 60614

Austrian Bakery and Deli
2523 N Clark St
Chicago, IL
(773) 244-9922

Crepe and Coffee Palace
2433 N. Clark
Chicago, IL
(773) 404-1300

Marcello's (A Father & Son Enterprise)
645 West North Avenue
Chicago, IL 60610

Monday, April 11, 2005

'Nother Blog

I've had food blogs on the brain of late. I do not know Tana Butler, but I always loved her avatars on Mouthfuls. Turns out her blog on farms is pretty great too.
No Value Blog

I came across this blog, Anchored Nomad, via a comment on EatChicago. I'm not sure if there's any redeeming value, but it sure is a fun read.

Sunday, April 10, 2005


It has been about a year since I and most of the other people who posted regularly on Chowhound's Chicago Board departed to Us foodies now have various opinions of our old hang-out. A lot of people could care less about what happens there. To a large part, I agree with that sentiment. It was clear to me and a lot of other posters on Chowhound, that the 1,000's of posts we made that added value to the enterprise were hardly appreciated. The view essentially was, someone else will just take your place. Have they?

My bone is with Chowhound. What bugs me is, there are people out there like me that want to grow as foodies, want to be with people who pang as they pang. The want to be with their tribe. Chowhound just does not serve them well. One of the biggest liabilities of Chowhound is that there is no way to create identity. People can be who ever they want, even from day to day. The only defense a system like Chowhound has, is to have long time posters who are willing to be accountable, be who they are.

Honestly, it was this post on Chowhound that drove me to blog on Chowhound (and it is a post already moot). Someone trying to give a tip on Chinese food suggested a long dead restaurant. I read the post and I did not know if the post was serious or a troll. And it just summed up, to me, so many of the issues with Chowhound. Wonder about the motive of the poster, and Chowhound would step in, correct the poster, and you get attacked for not allowing alternative viewpoints. The whole Chowhound system fails to do what it claims to do, be a resource for people who live to eat.

I am glad I know about other sources. I just want others to be as lucky.