Sunday, December 19, 2010

Happy Holidays

I Like to Eat will be off traveling in Morocco for the rest of the year. Everyone eat well and enjoy the holidays - let's hope 2011 will bring us as many great meals as 2010. Cheers,

Jeff

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Flying Saucer - Little Rock, AR

The Flying Saucer is a classic bar/gastropub institution on the main river-walk in Little Rock, Arkansas. As soon as you enter you notice the leather chairs and couches, the old world plates on the ceiling, and plenty of beer on the tables in front of comfortable drinkers. It was the perfect place to grab a quick drink and snack after a long day of driving (from Chicago) while we waited for my sister to arrive at the airport. Little did we know that we would make a repeat appearance the next day - partially by chance, partially because we were happy to go back. 

The beer list is very impressive, with multiple pages of options in addition to numerous beers on tap. The food menu is as expected from a bar, with a distinct, home made german influence. Friday night we only had time for a round and two soft pretzels. If you're thinking ball-park pretzel, you're wrong. These are large, deliciously soft, fresh out of the oven pretzels served with a choice of sauces. We went with my favorite - melted cheese.



Thursday, December 16, 2010

Maude's Liquor Bar - Food Pictures

I had the privilege of getting an early look at the food of the yet to be open Maude's. Since they are still working out the final details before opening in January, it would be premature to give a full rundown of tastes and flavors. Some items might not even make it to the final product.

Country Terrine

Cheese of the day with apple relish/jam

Longman & Eagle grabs another award

Fresh off receiving a star from the Michelin Guide, GQ named L&E to their list of Best New Restaurants in the country. Chicago has represented well on this list, with The Bristol getting the nod last year.

The full list is:
  1. Lincoln – New York, NY
  2. Flour + Water – San Francisco, CA
  3. The Kitchen at Brooklyn Fare – Brooklyn, NY
  4. The Tasting Kitchen – Venice, CA
  5. GrĂ¼ner– Portland, OR
  6. The Walrus and the Carpenter – Seattle, WA
  7. Uchiko – Austin, TX
  8. Menton – Boston, MA
  9. Commis – Oakland, CA
  10. Longman & Eagle – Chicago, IL

Congrats again to our Chicago representative: Longman & Eagle

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Mia Francesca

It's hard to argue against the original Scott Harris invention that spawned the Francesca empire. The food is dependably great, the atmosphere lively and the prices right. I probably only make it to Mia once a year, but that's only because I'm a little different and need to try new places. More normal people that live so close to a culinary staple that is Mia Francesca likely go here once a month, and I envy them (especially in summer).

This visit occurred over Thanksgiving weekend after going to the movies down the street. We had a lateish reservation but the place was still packed (and quite loud with the soundtrack). Our starter was a delicious pizza special. My memory and picture suggest it had garlic, arugula, garlic, shaved Parmesan, olive oil, truffle oil and other cheeses. It was the perfect way to start an Italian dinner and the perfect size to avoid ruining our appetite. The ingredients were fresh and it arrived quickly.   



Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Nothing screams winter like a warm fondue dinner

Nothing beats the blistering cold weather like a Sunday night fondue dinner with friends. This past weekend our friend Claire invited Jeff and I over for a festive fondue dinner. Since our last fondue dinner at Gejas about a month ago, I have been dreaming about the next time we would be melting cheese, dipping steak & chicken into boiling oil and drinking great wine. Well friends, tonight was the night.

Claire had a great cheese recipe made with two types of cheese, dry white wine, garlic and nutmeg. We cut up some french bread and apples to dip. I probably could have stopped with the cheese course, but we also cut up chicken and steak for the main course, which we all enjoyed. I had no idea how easy it was to make fondue, the biggest challenge is to have the fondue pots and burners. All in all it was a very successful night with a lot of laughs.

The next time you want to throw a festive dinner party or just have a small group of friends over, why not try fondue? I know I will!

Cheese, bread, apples, steak, chicken & wine oh my!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Szechwan North

[Read my update and most recent visit: Szechwan North]

Chinese food during Thanksgiving weekend is a family tradition. Our favorite neighborhood spot is Szechwan North, a suburban institution consistently serving delicious food. We arrived hungry, having come directly from the movies (another great way to spend time with the family). My standard appetizer is steamed pot stickers (non-pork), and these are one of my favorites. We ate them so fast I did not get a chance to take a photo. Spring rolls, egg rolls, and soup are usually on the table. Alyssa wanted to try the scallion pancakes, something new and different. (Not my favorite, mostly just fried dough).

In a rare show of discipline, we only ordered one non-vegetable main course dish - sesame chicken.

 


Thursday, December 9, 2010

Roy's Restaurant

A few weeks ago I joined the Baker family to celebrate Jordan's birthday at Roy's. I had heard many great things about Roy's but never had the pleasure of dining there. Our recent trip to Hawaii only added curiosity to one of the few Hawaiian themed restaurants in the city.

The best part of the meal occurred before we even tasted anything.  We were aware of their 3-course prix fixe selections for $36 but on Monday's in November, you could create your own 3-course with practically anything on the menu. This was an unexpected bonus and we took advantage to the tune of four different starters, four different entrees and three desserts. I felt confident that I tasted most of what Roy's had to offer and I'm glad that I did.

We all contributed to the selection of starters to make sure we had variety. The four choices were crispy lobster pot stickers, short ribs, poke stack and fried calamari. Everything was delicious, though we all agreed the pot stickers were the weak link. The poke was melt-in-your-mouth and fresh from the sea with a light sauce. The short ribs seemed to never end but had a nice balance of tangy sauce and fall off the bone tenderness. Finally, the calamari did not strike me as memorable, but was well executed and accompanied by the best sauce of the meal.






Monday, December 6, 2010

100 Best Restaurant and Dining Blogs

Apparently someone like my blog enough to include it on a list of 100 other dining blogs throughout the country. Thanks to GuidetoCulinarySchools.com for the recognition.

Check out the entire list at: http://www.guidetoculinaryschools.com/tips-and-tools/restaurant-dining-blogs

Thursday, December 2, 2010

One. Six One

What a meal - one that none of the seven us will soon forget. Unfortunately it will be remembered as one of our worst dining experienced. The best part of our evening was that the manager listened to our concerns and did not charge us of any of our entrees. He does get my respect and I appreciate his effort to make the best of a very bad situation.

What happened? Our service was terrible, but I think our server was not a regular (I certainly hope not). We didn't have enough menus and not all of our water glasses were filled. It took forever just to order our first bottle of sparkling wine, which did not arrive for 20 minutes or so. Our second bottle was red wine, and we had to stop him from pouring the red wine into our champagne glasses (without of course letting us check the label or sample the bottle). The food service was also unbelievably slow, but I don't blame our server for that. To add perspective, we were seven of eleven total diners that evening, so it wasn't as if there was a lot of distractions.

In addition to the service we had some major food issues. On the positive side, our starters weren't that bad. We all enjoyed our chicken satay (a nice and spicy peanut sauce, and the mushroom pizette was decent though cold. Their version of a caprese salad was ok but weird. There was plenty of mixed green lettuce (strange for caprese), only two slices of tomato and little mozzarella balls. Pesto was also added for creativity. Not a disaster, just strange.





Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Morton's - the Steakhouse

What could be better than Sunday night dinner at the original Morton's Steakhouse? That's how I started my Thanksgiving week - an over sized bone-in fillet. It's a long story why we were all there for dinner but we had a great time. I don't know if Morton's would qualify as my favorite steakhouse in Chicago, I don't eat at steakhouses frequently so it's not an issue anyone. Dan has a great story about Morton's, specifically Arnie Morton, so we always enjoy sharing a meal there.

We were a table of six and started with the hot platter sampler, featuring grilled shrimp, oysters Rockefeller, crab cakes and bacon wrapped scallops. Everything was tasty, especially the shrimp and scallops. We also had an order of tuna tartare, delicious, which was half gone by the time I could take a photo and eat a piece. The sauce on the plate was a bit salty, but applied in moderation was fine. This was all in addition to the amazing onion bread that's been there since day one.




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