Saturday, August 16, 2014

Eataly Pizza

Since opening last December, I've visited Eataly several times for gelato, coffee, wine and cheese, and beer. Whenever I walked past the SE corner of the second floor where the pizzeria is located, I would drool as I'd pass by the diners enjoying their Neapolitan brick-oven pizza.  After watching a matinee at the AMC nearby (which was recently-renovated and now features very comfortable sofa reclining seats) my buddy Judie and I made a beeline for pizza at Eataly.  We waited in a short line at the check-in counter and were told it would be a 20-30 minute wait for a table for two.  I was pretty hungry and didn't want to roam around and be suckered in to buying anything else (such as a glass of wine) while I waited, so I asked if there was seating available at the bar.  The bar at the pasta station had two seats readily available for us and we were able to order our pizza!  It actually worked out better sitting at the bar, away from the gawking foot traffic of other Eataly patrons.  We shared a massese, which had mozzarella, tomato sauce, basil, spicy salami and evoo.  It came out very quickly, perhaps within five minutes of placing our order.  However, it wasn't as great as I had anticipated; I like the brick oven pizza at Spacca Napoli, Bar Toma, and even Crocodile better.
Afterwards we headed downstairs for some gelato.  It was a slow-moving line, but I finally got my hand wrapped around a coffee soft serve gelato cone.  Next time I think I will try the sweet milk soft serve.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

River North Sports Bar

Recently my friend and I dined at American Junkie, a spacious and modern sports bar located in River North.  The menu offerings and prices surprised me.  I ordered a Santa Fe Chicken Salad, which for $10, is exceptional for the area.  My friend Hannah ordered a bison burger, which is much leaner than beef.  Here's a neat and clean sports bar that offers options to the health-conscious and female clientele.
There are several, huge flat-screen TVs spanning the walls, which makes it a great place to watch a game in style.
 American Junkie on Urbanspoon

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Buffet Without Crowds

On the sixth floor at the 900 N. Michigan Shops (which houses Bloomingdale's) there is a pan-Asian restaurant called Baisi Thai.  The spacious restaurant is tucked away from the crowd-infested sidewalks of Michigan Avenue, has a great view of the lake, and has a menu full of options.  It is always quiet when I go there for the lunch buffet and there is never a line.  If you opt for the buffet (which includes dishes such as lo mein, fried rice, sauteed vegetables, crab rangoon, oyster beef, pork and bamboo shoots, simple sushi roll pieces, teriyaki chicken, vegetable tempura, shrimp tempura, kimchi, salads, and fruit) you have the option of starting off with miso, sweet & sour, or egg drop soup, and finishing off with vanilla or chocolate ice cream.  I took my mother there a couple times and she really likes that many of the dishes seem to have Korean influences.  If you need a fast, no-fuss, quiet and pleasant lunch, Baisi Thai is definitely an option.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Ruxbin Rocks

Recently, I revisited Ruxbin for a gastronomic respite.  Back in February I dined at Chef Edward Kim's first Chicago restaurant and fell in love with the food, decor, and ambience.  I was a teensy bit disappointed that Chef Ed wasn't there but at his other restaurant Mott Street.  This time, Chef Ed was at the kitchen helm, which made this meal even more fulfilling.
My buddy Hanna and I started off with the beets and labne, which were complemented by orange, pecans, and white anchovy.  Hanna ordered the copper river salmon with fried green tomato, lambs quarter pesto, walnut, red tropea onion, asparagus, black imperial rice, and creme fraiche.  The salmon was wild caught, and you could taste and see the difference: the color was a bright orange.  I ordered the farmers market raviolo, comprised of hand cut pasta, market vegetables, ricotta, and soft-fried egg.  It was the most beautiful dish I had ever seen and eaten.  I was going to town with all the food to the point that Hanna teased me, "Maybe you shouldn't come here on a date."  I wasn't eating the beautiful dish in the most beautiful manner.
We finished our wonderful meal with black forest cake, which was deconstructed chocolate semi-freddo, cake, marshmallow fluff, cherries, and hazelnuts.  Our time at Ruxbin was one of the top culinary experiences we have ever had in Chicago.