Friday, August 24, 2012

Ada Street

This is a win, less than a month after a meal and it's getting posted. I went to check out Ada street for multiple reasons: same team that created DMK Burger (one of my favorites in the city) and Fish Bar, funky warehouse location and a ping pong table with tournaments in the back. I really like the concept and design layout of Ada. It's in a complete unknown location with nothing else around and in an old building long and narrow. After you walk in you must wind your way through a small corridor (where they keep a very nice wine locker collection) and past the turn table (where they offer you the option of picking out some tunes) and end up in a small dining room with a large bar and an outdoor seating area separated by a glass garage door. It was a perfect summer night so eating outside on astro turn on folding tables with plastic picnic table cloth seemed appropriate. The outside is cool and was definitely a driveway back in time but it works with the open sky feel, string lights and cozy feel. Overall though the atmosphere and setting was the highlight; I thought the food was pretty average all around. I like the menu the a lot because it's small but has many options for everyone to enjoy, but I just wish it was tastier. We ate the following: fried green tomatoes, polenta fries, a fish dish (forget), corn chowder soup, beef tenderloin and the daily flat-bread was a vegetarian medley. Favorites were fried tomato and flat bread, soup wasn't bad and beef was ok. 

I think other reviews capture the essence pretty well. Ada is a cool hidden spot that is going to succeed more as a bar than a destination food experience. It's fun and unique, a little funky and interesting. I've heard the cocktails are great which might be a safer bet because our not very large meal with a drink came to ~ $90, which is a lot to ask for that experience. Check it out, it's different, drink heavy and eat light. 

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Hub 51 Brunch

We were in need of a good brunch spot Sunday during Lolla last weekend and Hub came to mind for it's good food and casual/fun atmosphere (and close to the festival). Most might not think of Hub as a brunch spot but there's a lot of great mexican influenced dishes, plenty of egg choices and a handful of 'starchy' choices. The three of us were feeling aggressive and wanted to try a few items so we picked four to all share. But we started the meal with a healthy pour or Bloody's and at $6 it's a great way to get your Sunday funday started. We went with the traditional pancakes, apple french toast, veg omelette with bagel and the egg tacos. Everything was good but the egg tacos were the best bar far and the pancakes were tasty if you wanted something simple and traditional. Since we were celebrating a birthday we finished the meal with a decadent chocolate brownie sundae. Ridiculous. All in all it's a good spot in river north to have a fun brunch with some energy and a crowd but still casual (and the pricing and drinks are very reasonable).

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Bavette's Bar & Boeuf - first look

Officially open for business but not officially promoting their opening (the soft open concept). I went last night and ate a lot, tried a lot of things and took a lot photos. No full review yet, it's soon soon after they are serving the public, but I'll post the pictures now. The decor, lighting and atmosphere alone will keep bavette's slammed, and then you get to enjoy the food and drink. Also, definitely check out the downstairs 'parlor'. I love the faux animals heads and the wood paneling combined with the original stone work. The music is a little more upbeat too which makes downstairs an awesome place to end the night, or any night. Here are the pictures:

Sunday, August 5, 2012


So. "I like to Eat" has been slightly neglected. And I don't know if it's going to get any better between now and November 6th - occupational hazard. I am certainly getting out less and less but I still have content I want to share. However, in an attempt to keep some thoughts flowing vs. no thoughts, the next 93 days might feature more of a food picture show with an overall feeling (and rating) and not a lot of in depth detail. Feel free to ask questions or more details if interested.

Blackbird. One of the most respected and well known restaurants in the city for the past 14 years. I had never been so it was an appropriate idea for my birthday dinner (that was two months ago!). Overall I liked our meal and thought the food was very good. The space is small and very minimalist and extremely close tables with no privacy. We had an early seating so it wasn't packed when we sat down but by the time we left it was wall to wall. The service is spot on and I like the menu as being very approachable and easy to understand. What I appreciate most about Blackbird is that they serve 'regular' food prepared with a fine dining touch and style. There are no gimmicks, no foam balls wrapped inside a magic cube of grass colored corn starch (I'm exaggerating a bit here). Everything is refined, clean and classy. I give it 3 of 4 stars because I wasn't blown away with anything and I think the menu is priced to perfection (i.e. on the expensive side). Blackbird does all the little things right and presents a sophisticated and elegant meal in a setting more relaxed than the menu would suggest.

A quick rundown of the meal: amuse bouche of salmon and grape, I had the salad of endives with crispy potatoes, basil, dijon, pancetta and poached egg to start and the prime striploin as the main dish. Everyone else ordered  a few soups, soft shelf crab, and a lot of fish for mains. We did the obligatory birthday dessert of rice bread pudding or something and chocolate for me madre. The desserts were very good and a nice way to end the meal.


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