Category Archives: Lists

Odds and Ends – July 14, 2013

Some brief thoughts on stuff I’ve eaten lately…

Taggarts – An old timey ice cream parlor in North Canton, Ohio. My client in the area strongly recommended this place and I would agree it’s worth checking out if you’re in the area. My burger was cooked perfectly but wasn’t really anything special beyond that. The real attraction here is the ice cream. All of the ice cream, sauces, etc are all made in house. My banana ice cream with hot fudge was pretty fantastic. Here is my “small” dish

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Tatami – This is a little sushi place tucked into the side of a strip mall in Glenview that I first heard about via Sky Full of Bacon. It’s a pretty basic neighborhood sushi place with somewhat upscale decor. They have a lot of the typical mayo-laden fashion rolls on their menu, but their sashimi and nigiri are actually pretty good and certainly in the upper tier of what you’ll find in Chicagoland. You’re probably best off sticking to the raw fish as well as any of the other more traditional Japanese items on the menu. I tried their agedashi tofu on my last trip in and it was really quite good.

TK’s Smoke Pit – Another Glenview spot (my wife recently finished up the run of a show there, thus the increase in suburban dining), this one serving BBQ. I generally find online BBQ discussion annoying so I’m not going to get into the nuances of the equipment they’re using, what kind of wood chips they use, the presence of a smoke ring, or what zip code the BBQ is authentic to…but I will say this: I thought their brisket was pretty good. I don’t recommend hopping in the car and schlepping to Glenview to eat it, but it’s a good option if you want to avoid The Truman Show, aka The Glen. Anyway, here’s the brisket

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Table, Donkey, and Stick – This was a somewhat heavy travel week so I was especially grateful to have this dinner to look forward to at the end of my week. This is the newer restaurant in the old Bonsoiree space in Logan Square which claims to honor “the eating and drinking traditions of the Alps”. We tried a bunch of dishes from the menu among four of us and I would say the standouts were a fried chicken liver appetizer and a trout main course. I think I liked the charcuterie (“wanderteller” since we are in the Alps) more than others at the table, the duck liver in particular. Dessert was a mixed bag between a very good chicharron/cherry chocolate ice cream dish and a not so great dish involving sweet peas and chocolate. Good service, nice patio…a nice place for a relatively straightforward, low-key night out.

Eleven City Diner (Lincoln Park) – I hate The Bagel. I think they prey on people looking for the nostalgia of Jewish deli/diner food by serving a seriously substandard product. I mean, their bagels seriously suck and this is in a town full of sucky bagels. Given this situatio we were thrilled when the Belden Deli opened at Clark & Belden. We immediately became regulars, and then all of a sudden the Belden Deli closed. Now, Belden Deli wasn’t perfect but it was still better than The Bagel. In the same space, we now have a new location of Eleven City Diner. I’m happy to report that Eleven City Diner is even better than Belden Deli (so, really at this point, The Bagel can just go and pound sand). The corned beef, pastrami, and nova lox are all exactly as they should be. They make their own root beer, which is expensive ($5 for a bottomless mug) but also pretty darn good. The only thing I haven’t liked is the matzoh brie which I think is more of a stylistic issue than anything else.

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Where I’m Eating

So, here’s a list of places that I currently like to eat. When people ask for restaurant recommendations, these are the places I give them:

Fine dining – Alinea, TRU, Grace

Sushi – Arami

Randolph Street area – Vera, Avec, La Sirena Clandestina, Province (a place that I think has always been underrated), Publican

My neighborhood places – Crisp, Pastoral/Bar Pastoral, Del Seoul, Fish Bar

Pizza – Pequod’s for deep dish, Cafe Luigi or Armitage Pizzeria for NY style, Pizzeria da Nella for Neapolitan. My favorite overall though is Coalfire (specifically their mortadella pizza)

Chinatown – Lao Hunan, Lao Sze Chuan, “Little” Three Happiness (though this is mainly to indulge my wife’s love of their rice noodles with beef & broccoli)

Tacos – La Lagartija

Loop lunch – Hannah’s Bretzel, Cafecito, Ba Le, Benjyehuda, Taza, Pollito’s

All the rest – Anteprima, The Florentine, Sable, Senza, Maude’s Liquor Bar, The Bristol, Taxim