Category Archives: Reviews

A Quick Bite Review: Pizzeria Bianco

For some reason I imagined Arizona as a scene out of a John Wayne movie, complete with cowboy hats, tumbleweeds and watering holes.  Isn’t Arizona considered a part of the Wild West?  Aren’t there deadly scorpions lingering in your shoes and gun slingers like Doc Holiday sitting at your neighborhood bar? Apparently, things have changed a little.  Today there are new modern concerns such as illegal immigration, and judging by the number of billboards… methamphetamine, oh and don’t forget, potentially poisoned drinking water.

Despite the new urban perils of the wild west, we enjoyed our trip to Arizona. The Grand Canyon, the drive down through Sedona, and all the amazing micro-brews kept us continually amazed. But, hey. Let’s get back to the important stuff.  One of the best wood-oven pizza places in America just happens to be in Phoenix.

Magherita Pizza

The Atmosphere:  

The restaurant is located right off 7th street in Heritage Square in Phoenix, Arizona. A parking lot flanks the rustic spot and a cat sauntered through the arid outdoor seating area on our way in.  The restaurant is small but inviting in an Italian-Cowboyesque kind of way.  The wood burning oven is located on the left and surrounded by a bar. It’s here I would imagine cowboys in their boots and spurs relaxing with a pizza after a hard day’s work… Wooden tables for parties of 4 or less are scattered neatly around the restaurants. They don’t deliver, there is no option for take out and they only take reservations for parties of 6-10.  On a busy day you may have to wait 3 hours, but, for your convenience, you can wait right next door at Bar Bianco.  Luckily there was no wait when we arrived for a post-flight lunch at 2pm.

Caprese Salad – Pizzeria Bianco

The Food:

This is a wood-oven pizza place, with the menu consisting of 2 small plates, 3 salad options, and 6 different pizzas.  This menu has the classic “tell” of a good restaurant it’s one page, no back.  We opted for the classic homemade Mozzarella Salad and Margherita Pizza with a homemade fennel sausage addition from Schreiner’s Fine Sausage.  The “Sonny Boy” also looked tasty, consisting of tomato sauce, fresh mozzarella, salami, and gaeta olives.  Honestly… everything on the menu looked good to us.  We paired our pizza with some local Arizona brews, our favorite being the Nimbus A-1 Pilsner.

Our Thoughts:

It was probably one of the best executed wood-oven pizza we have ever had.  The bottom was crispy all the way through and the dough was pretty fantastic.  We loved the fennel sausage addition to our Margherita and would definitely come back the next time we are in town…  Well as long as we don’t have to wait 3 hours that is…

Grand Canyon- Hopi Point

Pizzeria Bianco on Urbanspoon

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Nana Organic: A Mac & Cheese Obsession

I contend that Nana has the best Mac and Cheese in Chicago.  I think the term love or obsessed could also describe my feelings toward this truffled mac and cheese.  Well… at least for now.  I should remind you that I am quite fickle and therefore reserve the right to change my mind at any point opting out of any previously spoken words of love.  However, more than once I have woken up dreaming about Nana’s Mac & Cheese or for that matter, their sweet potato beignets or homemade chorizo…  And somehow it has become perfectly reasonable to order said mac n cheese at oh… say… 9:30 AM.  Despite the fact that I think the waiters have dubbed me as the weird girl that orders mac n cheese for breakfast, I will continue to do so until they say no, give me a stern look and send me on my way.  But regardless of whether you prefer mac and cheese for breakfast, lunch or dinner.  You can find many other dishes or drinks to satisfy your cravings at this inviting organic restaurant.

Tuffle Mac & Cheese

The Atmosphere:

Nana is a family run establishment located on the corner of Halsted and 33rd Street in the Bridgeport neighborhood with ample metered street parking and a bike valet the last Sunday of the month for those choosing a more eco-friendly ride to brunch. You can choose to sit outdoors under umbrellas admist an array of herbs being pruned for your meal or venture indoors to relax in the comfortable modern interior and admire the local artwork on the walls, while keeping an eye on the chef in the open kitchen.

The Food:

It’s local, sustainable organic American comfort food with a Latin flare that tastes good.  Real good.  Other than my favorite breakfast staple, the mac and cheese,  we’ve tried nearly every dish on the menu and have been completely content with our selections.  A few of our favorites are the perfectly fried chicken and waffles, the huevos rancheros with a fantastic poblano crema, or even the basic chicken sandwich.  We are especially fond of their housemade pork chorizo, which always seems so fresh, perfectly seasoned and just a little bit spicy.  The only disclaimer I will provide is that if you are interested in their biscuits and gravy, let me remind you that the gravy is made from duck fat. DUCK! If it is a traditional biscuits and SAUSAGE gravy taste you are looking for, you may find the flavors unexpected as my grandma, who accompanied us on our first trip to Nana, will tell you.  We’ve tried many specials and have always been pleasantly surprised, especially with their fantastic beignets.  We never pass on their beignets.

Nana Organic Fried Chicken Wings

Our Thoughts:

It’s my preferred brunch spot and the place I take all of our out of town guests. When my friend Leah visits Chicago, her one request is brunch at Nana.  I am a big fan of family run establishments that focus on quality organic ingredients that are affordable and accessible to the community in which they serve.   Nana continues to be one of my favorite spots to chillax over dinner, lunch or brunch with family and friends.

Nana on Urbanspoon

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Next Restaurant: A Tour of Thailand

Man… I have never had such a hard time giving someone my money. Let’s just say I was 1 of the 14,000 people who tried to buy 1 of the 2000 tables offered online for the July-September Tour of Thailand Dining Concept at Next. I fought off repeated log-offs, a slow server, and 30 minutes of page refreshing to finally obtain a late table for Kate’s birthday.

Ok… so let me tell you a little about how this works because if you’re like me, you may not have realized how truly time consuming it may be to obtain a table at Next.  Let’s see… Where to begin…

The Concept:

So what’s Next?  It’s a restaurant concept opened 4 months ago by Chef Grant Achatz of the Michelin 3 starrred restaurant Alinea.  Next creates a menu and atmosphere based on a type of cuisine and then changes it every three months. Their most recent menu: A Tour of Thailand could not have been more different than their last menu, Paris 1906.  Perhaps even more interesting than their revolving menus, or should I say frustrating, is their reservation system.  All reservations are made online through their website and are nonrefundable.  A  person can buy a 2, 4, or 6 person table with or without a wine pairings sold at a certain time slot.  It’s essentially the same idea as buying a concert ticket.  Your online purchase includes meal, drinks, tax and tip and at the end of the dinner you can leave with no expenses left to pay.  It’s quite a revolutionary concept for reservations and dining in general.

The Process:

Tickets for your evening meal are sold in advance for the three month dining concept and are released about a week before the new menu.  The tickets released are an estimate of how many tables they can serve for the next three months and most recently sold out within an hour of the release.  You have to have some patience as the online sale is a lot like ticketmaster and you can get logged off if you’re not quite quick enough.

We missed the initial sale for the first menu Paris, 1906 Escoffier at the Ritz, so I anxiously awaited a facebook status update for same day tables.  The same day tables are announced via facebook midday, when the restaurant believes they have enough ingredients and staff to handle a few more tables.  So how does one balance both Next facebook status updates and kidney function?  I signed up to receive facebook updates for Next via text message. However, each time the text arrived for the Paris concept, I was either in between something at work, in a location with no internet service, or driving.  A couple of times I may have franticly swerved my car to the side of the road to hastily send my prewritten email response in hopes we would be selected.  Unfortunately, someone always beat me to the table and we set our hopes on The Tour of Thailand concept.

The Atmosphere: 

We arrived in the Meat Packing District, found a parking spot and meandered to the old Fulton Lounge site on the corner of Fulton and Sangamon.  We checked in and waited outside on the ample sidewalk to be beckoned in for our meal.  After about 15 minutes, we entered the intimate industrial appearing dining room.  It was bustling with a diverse group of guests, Chicagoans, those from out-of-state, or international travelers, many of which, like Kate, had their SLR in hand.  The large and speedy wait staff added to the high intensity atmosphere.

The Food:

Our first course was Thai street food.  A Thai newspaper was laid out across the table and our first course of drinks were served in plastic cups.  The course was composed of a sweet roasted banana, a prawn cake, sweet shrimp, fermented sausage, and a steamed bun with green curry. The roasted banana was delicious with pickled shallots and cilantro blossoms.  Our favorite item was the steamed bun with green curry.

Tom Yum Soup

Following our street food course, the newspaper table cloth was removed and a blue traditional table cloth was placed.  A white bowl of pork belly, tomato and ginger was placed in front of us followed by a server who poured hot and sour broth into the bowl.  The flavors of the soup were instantly familiar: Tom Yum Soup!  The broth was certainly sour and not overwhelming spicy until Kate bit into a red hot Thai Chili and took the next 15 minutes to recover.  With half of her lips tingling from the capsaicin she declared she would only be operating at 95% the rest of the meal. But given that the meal was nonrefundable… she had no choice but to continue on.

Caramel Catfish

The next two courses were served family style with three classic thai condiments and rice served in bamboo like basket.  First up,  was the catfish in caramel sauce with celery and coriander root served on a metallic dish shaped like a fish over a hot burning coal.  The sauce is essentially made by caramelizing sugar down into a thick sauce, a classic Thai and Vietnamese sauce.  While the sauce was good, it wasn’t as intense as the catfish dishes I’ve had on Argyle Street.  Following the fish, was beef cheek in a panang curry sauce.  It’s basically their take on beef panag, a Thai staple.  The curry was very fresh and the flavors were well developed but didn’t pack the burn your bowels type heat that I’m accostumed to in Thai curries.  The Thai curries I enjoy the most usually leave me sweating profusely as I try to towel off the sweat before anyone notices.

Following the savory courses, we received a juice of watermelon and lemongrass which was quite refreshing.  The dessert was two whole cracked coconuts served over a smoking coconut husk. The coconuts were split in half to reveal a dessert of coconut, corn, egg, and licorice.  The other half of the shell was used as a bowl to serve coconut sorbet.  This was Kate’s favorite dish of the night.  My guess is because it allowed her thai-chili induced injury from earlier in the evening to finally heal.

Dessert

Our Thoughts:

Obviously, this is not your typical Thai neighborhood joint.  But, with that being said the food here carried authentic Thai flavors with a certain elevation of ingredient and presentation.  The flavors were clean and refined, and the ingredients were of the best quality.  As for their service, all of their staff were quite knowledgeable and seemed to really enjoy explaining all aspects of the menu.  Someone even stopped by to ask our opinion of the heat level and actually offered to bring us out a spicy side to add to our table.  Our only suggestion for any of you still trying to snag a same day table is to definitely opt in for the non-alcoholic pairings which are an assortment perfectly mixed juices!

Next Restaurant  | 953 W Fulton Market | Chicago, IL 60608 |

Next on Urbanspoon

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A Last Minute Venture: Perennial Virant

Oh no. We made this reservation two months ago and passed up Bulls playoff tickets for our much awaited dinner at Schwa with our good friend who was in town for the weekend.  Four hours before our dinner time, our friend’s plane landed only to find out that the kitchen was out of order at Schwa and all reservations were canceled for the evening.  What to do?  Fortunately, Kate thought of Perennial and its exciting makeover involving the Michelin starred chef from Vie, Paul Virant, and quickly snagged a late reservation to save the night… well not totally… the Bulls still managed to get eliminated from the playoffs during our dinner.

The Atmosphere:

Perennial Virant is located across from The Lincoln Park on Clark Street.   The dining room had a very comfortable and casual feel with two long communal wood tables surrounded by more intimate booths.  While we are not the biggest fans of communal dining, these tables were spaced out well enough to make our dining experience very comfortable.  The modern yet rustic look made us feel like we were in a nice spacious neighborhood lounge rather than a fine dining establishment.

The Food:

There are two basic options:  the 37 dollar 3 course price fixe with 2 options each course or the small plates option similar to the menu at the Girl and the Goat, another restaurant owned by the Boka Restaurant Group.  The small plates get progressively larger but never large enough to constitute an individual portion.  Since there were four of us, we chose a few small plates to share.  Our first plate was the Carnaroli Rice with local Brunkow Cheese Curds.  The dish looked beautiful and had a nice texture to it but could have used a little more salt or pepper for my taste.  This was followed by the Slagel Family Farm Pork Shoulder which was quite tasty but didn’t carry the falling off bone texture you typically expect with pork shoulder as it was compressed into a pork patty of sorts.  The Wisconsin Morrels in Milk Jam were the highlight of the meal.  They were extremely fresh and delicious!

Carnaroli Rice Cake

We also enjoyed the perfectly seared scallops and the flavorful Rabbit Ballotine, although Kate opted out on the bunny.  We tried the Chicken Fried Steak(beef provided by Wisconsin based Dietzler Farms), but we just couldn’t get into it like we had hoped as the crust wasn’t quite sufficient for the amount of meat it covered.

Sea Scallops

Our Thoughts:

Considering that this restaurant had only opened four days before our meal, the kitchen and service did an outstanding job!  The dishes were all very seasonal and composed of  fresh local items, many of which were supplied by the farmers that regularly attend the Green City Market across the street in the park. Paul Virant certainly lives up to his reputation of using fresh, local ingredients.  However, the portions of the shared plates were not much more that tapas size despite carrying a price tag of 8-27 dollars.  Overall, we enjoyed our time a Perennial Virant, but will most likely try the prix-fixe menu on our next visit.

Perennial Virant | 1800 N Lincoln Ave, Chicago IL 60614  | 312.981.7070

Perennial Virant on Urbanspoon

 

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A Quick Bite Review: Kaufman’s Bagel and Delicatessen

Sometimes you find places by chance.  And on a random trip to the veterinarian a few months back, while two lovebirds shrieked in my ears, I spotted a large sign on Dempster that directed my attention to a retro brick building with large glass windows and a tiny parking lot.  Now a tiny lot is one of the tell-tale signs of a great joint.  If a patron is willing to maneuver their shiny new Mercedes into a precarious position next to a beat up chevy and my aging Honda Civic with nothing more than inches to spare, you know the stuff here has got to be good.

Kaufman’s Jewish Deli

The Atmosphere:

It’s a local spot right off Dempster, if you miss the entrance, you’ll have to circle around and make another go at it.  Upon entering you are greeted with day old bake goods at ridiculously low prices.  As you near the register you can eye-up their bagel selection and then check out the bakery display cases, that are  filled with everything from ruggalach to coffee cake.  And as if that wasn’t enough, head left into the deli where you grab a number and peruse the specialty items while you wait to be called by the friendly staff.  Kaufman’s serves a diverse population, some patrons are from the community and have been going to Kaufman’s since they were children.  Others like me randomly stopped by and now find themselves returning from the city to satisfy their hunger.  If you’re lucky you can grab one of the four seats overlooking the parking lot.  If not, be prepared to take your food to go.

Kaufman's Bagel Selection

Bagels!

The Food:

You know, I don’t even know where to begin. They have a variety of breads, bagels, cakes, cookies, sweets and rolls. There is such a variety of goods from the bakery, I like to try something new each time. A few of my favorites are the: cinnamon twist… sweet and doughy,  the cream cheese danish… rich and so fresh, and the Irish Soda Bread… its seasonal, and quite possibly the best I have ever had.  If you want their amazing chive cream cheese with your bagel, you’ll have to head to the deli.  If you’re not into sweets or bread, the deli has pretty much anything else you might need.  I nearly died when I found out I could have all the fat trimmed off my corned beef.  They have 4 different cuts of corned beef and you can request it hot or cold!  They have a variety of specialty sandwiches to choose from, but my favorite is a take on the reuben, super-trim corned beef, swiss cheese and fresh cabbage slaw on rye.  If you’re concerned that your heaping sandwich won’t be enough to conquer your hunger… add a knish,  Matzah Ball Soup, or some potato pancakes.

Kaufman's Deli, Skokie

Meat!

Our Thoughts:

I may not be a New-Yorker, but I am a fan of this Chicago Jewish Deli and its incredible bakery.  It’s refreshing to see a responsible family run establishment from the 1950’s that still prides themselves on quality products and producing items in house.

Kaufman’s Bagel and Delicatessen | 4905 W Dempster | Skokie IL 60077 | 847.677.6190 |

Kaufman's Bagel & Delicatessen on Urbanspoon

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A Quick Bite Review: Fish Bar

There are few things I enjoy more than the thought of publicly humiliating myself as a wobbly stool slowly collapses beneath me.  That thought becomes even more enjoyable when I visualize myself slowly falling to the floor with a cod sandwich in my hand and a smile on my face.  My visualization almost became a reality at Fish Bar the newly opened sustainable, wild caught and responsibly farmed fish shack in the Lakeview neighborhood.

The Atmosphere

Fish Bar is a small teal-colored spot right next to DMK Burger, you know the grass fed beef place, in Lakeview.  Its super chill fish shack vibe is refreshing and reminiscent of some of the joints on the coast I’ve visited.  It’s bustling with people, loud and has limited space for parties of four.  We waited 5 minutes for a couple of stools to open up at the fish bar, but I have heard the wait can be much, much longer.

The Food

We stopped in for a snack and opted for an eclectic mix of items that we normally find appealing hoping that we would be amazed at the sustainable, wild caught and responsibly farmed seafood that would now grace our plate.  We started with the fish of the day pineapple ceviche(spanish mackerel), a gumbo for g, and the clam chowder for me.  The ceviche came to the table in a cute little mason glass and we grabbed some silverware and napkins from the counter in front of us.  It was just a little too sweet for my taste… which is rare.  The gumbo was fine, but we would have liked a few larger pieces of crab or andouille and the clam chowder could have been a little thicker with more flavor for the likes of me. We ordered the fried calamari, which was described to us as “a little different”, as it is served with spicy peppers and parmesan cheese.  I so very much wanted to enjoy this, but it was too limp and greasy.  The peppers were a good addition, though.  At this point our snacks didn’t seem to fulfill us so we selected… the cod sandwich, and oh man was that good!  No seriously, it was soo good, perfectly executed and so moist in the middle. Yum!

Clam Chowder

Our Thoughts

I really wanted to love this place and its sustainable options, but on this day we found that the awesome restaurant concept outweighed the execution of our meal.  But don’t get me wrong.  I will come back, maybe after they have had a chance to work out the quirks of a new restaurant and find that missing screw from my wobbly bar stool.   I’m hoping on my next visit the clam chowder will be heartier, the fried calmari will be super crispy, and the cod sandwich will be exactly the same!

Fish Bar | 2956 N Sheffield Ave | Chicago, IL 60657 | (773) 687-8177

Fish Bar on Urbanspoon

 

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An Interesting Evening @ Schwa

Oh no.  Oh no no no!  They hung up… Ah man… Hello? I was just about to give them my name… when suddenly…  silence!  Now, I wouldn’t have been so concerned about this, but I had been calling randomly for a reservation for oh say… the past six months.  Yes,  I had been calling since November and had not been able to get a hold of anyone, until today.  So for the next 20 minutes straight, I called Schwa until someone picked up, again.  I frantically started to explain my situation when the man on the other end said, “Sorry dude, somebody kicked out the phone jack”  He took my name, and with that, my reservation was complete.  Three weeks later we made our way to Schwa, for a 9 course tasting menu.

schwa

The Atmosphere:

From the outside its difficult to imagine a restaurant exists behind the dark facade and grafitied black door.  Any passerby may think it’s just another restaurant that didn’t make it, until you pull open the door and walk inside.  The small space is dimly lit which paired well with the blaring rap music that played throughout the night.  The place and the people are chill, so wear what you want, bring your own booze and chat it up with your server, who just so happens to be a Michelin starred chef.

The Food:

The food is a reflection of the atmosphere: intriguing and unpretentious but presented in a sophisticated and upscale manner.  Chef Michael Carlson’s diverse culinary influences are on display on the menu with elements of Italian and modern molecular techniques scattered throughout.  A few of our favorites included a baked potato soup, which was a great deconstruction on the classic with all the toppings, a sweet passionfruit gelee with salty steelhead fish roe, and his amazing, signature quail egg raviolo in truffle butter.  The most surprising dish of the evening was a dish called smores, which instead of marshmallows and chocolate happened to be a beef mole served with a side of campfire smoke.

Our Thoughts:

We were in a serious funk when we walked into Schwa… but at some point during the night we went from crabby to carefree.  The relaxed lounge like atmosphere put us at ease while the chefs served the food and found the time to tell us about their creations.  It was a true interactive experience, but not for those looking for a subdued environment. We’d go back in a second… if only they’d pick up the phone!

Schwa | 1466 North Ashland Avenue | Chicago, IL 60622 | (773) 252-1466

Schwa on Urbanspoon

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A Quick Bite Review: Nhu Lan

It was 2:00 pm and we were starving after an hour visit at the Chicago Botanical Gardens.  After all, we had only had salad for breakfast… yes, salad.  It was the only thing in the house!  So we did a quick search of the best sandwich shop on our ride back to the city.  Our Results:  Nhu Lan Bakery, an excellent spot to grab the French/Vietnamese-hybrid sandwich, the bánh mì.

The Atmosphere:

Nhu Lan Bakery is located in Lincoln Square, right on Lawrence, between Rockwell and Talman.  The building is unassuming and could easily be overlooked, if you couldn’t smell the fresh bread and other goodies from your parking spot on the street.  We knew we had made a good decision when we walked in to see just a basic store front, a good selection of vietnamese pastries, two tables, and a crowd of people waiting.  Most people were taking their meals to go, so we had a chance to grab a spot at one of the tables.

The Menu:

They offer 12 different type of sandwiches with a few vegetarian options and fruit smoothies with tapioca, if you so desire.  Since they are a bakery, they also have baguettes available and a variety of vietnamese pastries and steamed buns.  I opted for the lemongrass chicken($3.50), G ordered the Nhu Lan Special, ham, headcheese, pâté, and pork rolls($3.25) and we grabbed a 2 Coconut Cassava sticky buns for dessert($1.95).  The sandwiches come with the usual trimmings of pickled daikon and carrots, cilantro, hot peppers, and cucumber.  The lemongrass chicken was my favorite of the two, but I’m not a big fan of a bunch of cold cuts on my sandwiches.  However, my husband loved his meaty “special”, which is more like the classic bánh mì.  The coconut cassava dessert was freshly made and still warm.  I was going to save it for later, but it smelled so good we ended up eating it on the drive home.

Yum… Coconut Cassave Pastry

Our Thoughts:

Our sandwiches were fresh, inexpensive and quite tasty.  They also have a special, buy 4 sandwiches and get the 5th for free!  If we’re in the neighborhood I’d go back for the lemongrass chicken, and maybe to try their veggie options or grilled pork.

Nhu Lan’s Bakery | 2612 W Lawrence Avenue | Chicago, IL 60625 | (773) 878-9988

Nhu Lan on Urbanspoon

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A Taste of Korea

Japchae- Sweet Potato Noodle

At 5:40pm, stuck in bumper to bumper traffic, I couldn’t help but ask myself why anyone in their right mind would leave the city for dinner?  As I shook my fist at the cars on the road ahead of me, G finally managed to get onto the free way and off we went to Woo Lae Oak restaurant in Rolling Meadows to learn more about the Korean Cuisine Globalization Project, a tasting event hosted by the Consulate General of South Korea in Chicago.  Apparently, some 0f the premier Korean restaurants in the area reside in the suburbs to serve the large Korean population that lives outside the city.  It’s here that we had a chance to taste the beautiful plates presented to us by their new chef, Tae Jin Park, and learn about the many health benefits provided by Korean cuisine.

Our tasting started with a sweet pumpkin porridge, and progressed into marinated beef short rib wrapped in daikon, a stir fried noodle dish called Japchae, and Gujeolpan, a dish that originated  in the 14th century consisting of a thin wheat cakes that you fill with thinly sliced vegetables, beef and abalone and dip in a spicy sauce.  As we were beginning to fill up, plates of Dukbokki, Bulgogi and an amazing spicy mushroom soup, that was indeed quite spicy, arrived at our table. My husband attempted to fight off the spice but I could already see beads of sweat forming above his brow as he sipped more and more of the flavorful broth.   We completed our meal with a dessert, a thick, sweet, cinnamon tea that is considered to aid in digestion.

Gujeolpan

This was quite possibly the most elegant Korean dining experience we have had in Chicago and it exposed a more sophisticated way of presenting dishes than we are accustomed to in our usual Korean spots. I’m excited to see what the new chef will bring to Woo Lae Oak’s menu and maybe, just maybe… I’ll be making a trip out to the suburbs more often. The Korean Cuisine Globalization Project is a brilliant idea to bring people together and educate them about a cuisine and culture that deserves more recognition.

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2011 Michelin Guide Chicago

Michelin Guide Chicago, Grant Achatz

Mayor Daley and Jean-Luc-Naret congratulate Three Star Chefs Grant Achatz and Laurent Gras

The 2011 Michelin Guide Chicago was released Tuesday November 16th, one day early due to an overzealous foodie who leaked the results on Yelp for the world to see.  And although its release didn’t go exactly as planned, the chefs still received a personal call from Jean-Luc Naret, the charming French director of the guide, to confirm their stars. However, I can’t help but think that just like the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, everything is a little more exciting with a little bit of scandal.

On Wednesday November 17th, on what had been the expected release of the guide, we found ourselves anxiously awaiting our cab to the Chicago Cultural Center to celebrate the first edition of the Michelin Guide Chicago and the recently starred chefs.   As time ticked on, and still no cab… we quickly hopped in my car and sped off arriving just before the mayor.  As he spoke with the higher ups of Michelin, we casually made our way around the dimly lit hall with beautiful Tiffany’s stained glass domed ceilings stopping to congratulate Shin Thompson of Bonsoirée, Michael Carlson of Schwa, and Grant Achatz of Alinea.

Bibendum

The Michelin Man Dessert. Yum!

During one of the several speeches that evening, Mayor Daley made a point of thanking Michelin for their commitment to Chicago and truly recognizing it as global city.  Despite the critics upset about who they think should have gotten a star or which chef shouldn’t be compared to another, it is important to recognize the diversity of Chicago’s culinary options and the significance, as a city, of being recognized by the Michelin Guide.

Expect more to follow including our interview with the head of The Michelin Guide, Jean-Luc Naret.  You will find the list of restaurants with stars below.  We’ve been to about half of the Michelin Star restaurants thus far, and are looking forward to exploring the others!

Three Stars

Two Stars

One Star

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