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Can't miss near Madison, WI

Heritage Tavern. Really exceptional farm-to-table; the chef, Dan Fox, raises his own pigs (!). The deviled egg platter is jaw-droppingly good, as are the charcuterie and cheese platters. Tremendous service, too. You should go.

Mar 03, 2014
sundevilpeg in Great Lakes

Potato Gnocchi with Tomato-Porcini Sauce

Egg - or egg yolk - is used in literally EVERY potato gnocchi recipe I have ever seen, to hold the potato/flour mixture together. Has this recipe as written been tested? What holds them together while cooking? Thanks in advance.

Mar 07, 2012
sundevilpeg in Recipes

New PBS Series - Korean cuisne w/Jean Georges Vongerichten and his wife

Totally agree with your assessment. This is no more than a silly vanity project, underwritten by the Korean government as a pre-Olympic PR tool. Boring and dreadful, and a complete waste of Chef Vongerichten's time (and ours, as well).

Oct 18, 2011
sundevilpeg in Food Media & News

Eating in Noe Valley & the Castro

Quite true. Even the wine has pork in it. :-)

Tremendous restaurant, though. I was there last weekend, and it was far and away the best food AND the best service I experienced during my entire stay. BTW, Henry's Hunan (a last-minute sub for Mission Chinese, which was closed on Labor Day) was simply dreadful - oddly bland food, and the squid I had was something I would have thrown out at home. The service was comically bad, too. AVOID.


minced Serrano
a little minced green onion
coarse salt

THAT"S IT! No tomato, no garlic, no citrus, no herbage/spices, other than MAYBE a little minced cilantro. Save that stuff for your carnitas.

May 05, 2011
sundevilpeg in Recipes

Lithuanian goodies? Especially bacon buns??

New Lithuanian bacon bun source: the brunch at Dale Levitski's Sprout. Heavenly. An order is $7, and is comprised of three plump, savory buns, feather-light and full of flavor. This is perhaps the only place on the North Side that serves them, and they are worth every penny. Delicious. Go!

1417 W. Fullerton Ave.

Mar 27, 2011
sundevilpeg in Chicago Area

The Wisdom of Ina Garten

Well, here we are, two years down the road - and Ms. Garten has devolved into endless repetitions of the same recipes - the fruit crisps, the roast chickens, the roasted winter veg, a chicken coop's worth of meringues with berries, the endless parade of nearly identical gratins - all of which seem to be flavored with excessive amounts of lemon zest.

Ina's road at the Food Network has been long and pleasant, but I think she's near the end of it. Perhaps she should harken back to Julia Child once more, and go back to true basics - not just recycling old shows.

Mar 31, 2009
sundevilpeg in Features

What do you cook to impress a new love interest?

Soup. Th object of my affection is a soup guy, and every once in a while, apropos of nothing we're eating, he'll start dreamily musing about my white bean, Italian sausage, and kale soup, or my Swedish split pea soup, or some other soupy concoction. And now corn season is nearly upon us, so a nice corn and crab or shrimp chowdah would be a big hit, I'm sure.

It's funny how something as simple and homely as most soups tend to be can make a person feel loved and appreciated, which is certainly the case here. We don't live together, so I always send some home with him, too - and he'll call the next day and tell me he had some for dinner, and thank me all over again. It's nice. Very basic and honest, and that's what a good relationship - like a good soup - is all about, I guess.

Jun 30, 2007
sundevilpeg in Home Cooking

Lupita's in Evanston

They also serve the worst margaritas in North America. Just unspeakable.

How this place has managed to stay open for so long is a mystery to all.

Jun 11, 2007
sundevilpeg in Chicago Area

1st Time in Chicago Suggestions

Edwardo's is a chain, and not a particularly good one, at that. Try elsewhere; I am a fan of Pizano's (Madison & Wabash in the Loop).

May 26, 2007
sundevilpeg in Chicago Area

Lupita's Mexican in Evanston

Strongly disagree. The food at Lupita's is mediocre at best, and the margaritas are, if not the worst in Chicago, at least in the team picture. Far better Mexican fare can be had at numerous places on Clark St. in Rogers Park, a few short blocks away.

There are many fine restos in the Main St/Chicago Ave. area. Lupita's is not one of them.

May 20, 2007
sundevilpeg in Chicago Area

Martha's Frozen Dinners

Geez, Wolfgang Puck and Rick Bayless peddle frozen pizzas and such, for crying out loud, and Charlie Trotter sells a line of ready made sauces and marinades. Get off Martha's back.

May 13, 2007
sundevilpeg in Features

SF Hound visiting - please critique my list

One small correction - Brasserie Jo isn't open for lunch. Hasn't been for ages, I believe.

Morton, for God's sake, don't go to Heartland. It's just awful, and the service is atrocious. Parking is impossible, and the Red Line of the El is just a mess at the moment - it takes forever and a day to get anywhere, and for a thoroughly mediocre meal, it's not worth it. Now Lula, on the other hand, you'll like, I bet. It's always struck me as a place that would fit in well in Berkeley. The chef/owners are pretty cool kids. Give it a shot - the food is a LOT better than the menu makes it sound. Also, you have to go to Hot Doug's. Doug is The Man. Just beware of the somewhat limited hours - Doug closes up shop on Sunday, and is only open til 4. Go! Twice!! :o)

Apr 27, 2007
sundevilpeg in Chicago Area

SF Hound with One Dinner in Chicago

There's a Le Colonial in San Francisco; the menu is identical to the one here. I like Le Colonial, but there's not much point in visiting the one here.

To the OP: with respect to the Italian choices mentioned, none listed are as good as, say, Incanto, IMO. Again, what's the point? And steakhouses - you've got Harris'. Go for something different that you just can't get in The City, and that's Haute Mexican, so go to Topolobampo. I've been to SFO a million times over the past 30+ years, and I've always thought it funny that the one thing that's impossible to find is good - I mean really good! - Mexican food. Weird. Anything else - no problem.

Apr 24, 2007
sundevilpeg in Chicago Area

Eight Hours at Northwestern U.

Buffalo Joe's has taken a HUGE nosedive in quality and consistency in the past three years or so - and they charge extra for everything that customarily comes with Buffalo wings, like, the dressing, the celery sticks....

Also steer well clear of Merle's. AWFUL bbq. The pulled pork is a disgrace. Lulu's is mediocre at best. Forget Le Peep and Clarke's for breakfast - get on the El, and go to Main Street, where you will find Lucky Platter, a half-block east of the station. Good eats morning, noon, and night. You really can't go wrong in that neighborhood, BTW - the best pizza to be had on the North Shore can be found just west of the station at Trattoria DOC, good Greek food and excellent burgers at Cross-Rhodes just east and slightly north on Chicago Ave., excellent high-end French seafood at Oceanique...lots of options within mere feet of one another. Great transportation to NU by both Metra commuter trains and the CTA is a huge plus.

Apr 19, 2007
sundevilpeg in Chicago Area

Deep Dish Pizza Place with Fun Atmosphere?

Go to Pizano's, at Madison & Wabash. Fun place, not too touristy, really good pizza, bar atmosphere. Have fun!

Apr 11, 2007
sundevilpeg in Chicago Area

Best Brunch Bets: Meritage Cafe, Sweets and Savories, or Erwin?

Just that - odd. Having to beg for flatware to eat with, service occasionally bordering on snarly, stuff like that - stuff which NEVER occurs at dinner service. Some - not all -of the staff that works brunch just really doesn't seem to want to be there, to sum it up. Odd!

Erwin, on the other hand, is about as dependably good as one could ask for. Not trendy anymore, it's settled into what you could maybe call its dotage, but the food and service are consistently good. No begging for a spoon is ever necessary!

Apr 11, 2007
sundevilpeg in Chicago Area

Best Brunch Bets: Meritage Cafe, Sweets and Savories, or Erwin?

Keep in mind that the service at S&S for brunch can be a little....odd, shall we say? And though I love Chef Dave, stay away from the scones - they are too sweet by half, and more like a a cookie than a scone, and not really in a good way.

Personally, for brunch, I'd choose Erwin, but that's just me.

Apr 11, 2007
sundevilpeg in Chicago Area

Chicago Barbecue

Do yourself a favor and stay the heck away from Carson's. The only one downtown is a dreadful tourist trap. (FYI, the Blackie's outposts are to-go only, with an extremely limited menu. Very odd set-up indeed.) No brisket or pulled pork, just some sliced meat on a samdwich, doused in BBQ sauce. Beware of BBQ restaurants that serve Shrimp DeJonghe and Portabella Wraps. :oP

Apr 01, 2007
sundevilpeg in Chicago Area

First time in Chicago

Jen, here's a great place for frozen custard in Wrigleyville. I highly recommend it. It's relatively easy to get to by El train, though the Brown Line is pretty much FUBAR at the moment. Look upon it as an urban adventure. Local color, maybe? :o)

Mar 31, 2007
sundevilpeg in Chicago Area

Orchestra Hall - casual

I agree completely. I've been there three times, and there was nothing memorable about any of the visits, other than 1), my annoyance at the squandered opportunity to do something really special here, and 2), how overpriced everything was, even though I wasn't picking up the tab. In fact, I begged off another trip (I work at the Prudential Building, ergo the repeated trips), even though it was on the Firm tab. That's pretty damning, I think.

Better that the OP and company go to Pizano's, on Madison and Wabash, and have a good pizza.

Mar 31, 2007
sundevilpeg in Chicago Area

An Espresso to Grind

I'm curious. Are you baristas who are making minimum wage disclosing your tips on your taxes? Does Starbucks (or other large chains) that have tip jars keep track of the pooled tips, and provide a total on your year-end W-2?

I sincerely hope they do and you are, as the IRS takes a very, very dim view of unreported income if they nail you.

Mar 31, 2007
sundevilpeg in Features

Best and Worst Recipes You Made From a Cooking Show

The chocolate chip meringues from EF are delicious and very impressive, and so easy that a child could make 'em. I subbed toasted coconut and chocolate extract in the last batch I made, and...*Homer Simpson drooly noises* Use bittersweet mini-chips for the tastiest and cutest results. ;o)

The link is WAY too long to post here, so just go to and do a search for "chocolate chip meringues" - you want the May/June 2003 Everyday Food recipe.

Mar 22, 2007
sundevilpeg in Home Cooking

"Rare" ethnic restaurants?

"I'm pretty sure you can get Laotian food on Argyle St in Chicago."

Nope. The closest Laotian resto to Chicago is all the way up in Madison, WI. Trust me, I've searched!

Mar 21, 2007
sundevilpeg in Manhattan

tips for to go order?

Good gravy, yes. Speaking from personal experience, the person who takes your order generally has to assemble and pack the accompanying items after the food has been cooked, and quite frequently has to do some prep and packing, as well - side salads, desserts, etc. Keep in mind that this takes away from the time on the floor serving other customers, too, depending on the set-up of the resto. So tip, just as you would for a delivery order.

Mar 21, 2007
sundevilpeg in Not About Food

Good Pizza near Fairmont Hotel

Pizano's on Madison at Wabash is a reasonable stroll from the Fairmont, especially if you cut through the Aon Center to the Prudential building (I work there - you can get to the Fairmont from Pru without going outside, see - there's a pedway down there). Really good pizza, and very cozy, as well. Good service and pasta specials, too.

Feb 22, 2007
sundevilpeg in Chicago Area

Foodie's First New York Trip

We just got back from our gala trip to the Big Apple, and the folks here were mighty helpful, so listen to 'em! :o) We loved Lupa - unbelievably good service in addition to the excellent food, and the price is right. Keen's was good, too, though we had a very cranky waiter; I'd advise going for the pub menu, and getting the mutton chop. Just delicious, and something you're not going to find everyday, for sure. We went to the John's Pizza on Bleeker St., and it was everything we could have wanted - great pizza, cold Sierra Nevada, and a bird's eye view of the coal-burning oven (and the pizziaolos). Also, I'll throw in a curve ball - we really liked our post-theatre desserts at Gordon Ramsay's London Bar, which they serve til 11-ish. The rice pudding is just perfection, and it's served with a small scoop of mascarpone/pecan ice cream, just to add insult to injury - and it was only eight bucks. My Customary Dining Companion, who throws compliments around like manhole covers, said it was the best restaurant dessert he'd ever had, period. Good people-watching, too, and comfortable, in an other-worldly way. Also, Ess-a-Bagel will start your day off right - get a toasted sasame with the blueberry cream cheese. Mmmmm-mmmm!

Have fun!

Feb 11, 2007
sundevilpeg in Manhattan

Public market/farmer's market

The closest year-round public market is in Milwaukee - and it's really nice, too. Why we don't have a proper one here is anyone's guess.

Feb 08, 2007
sundevilpeg in Chicago Area

suggestions for wknd visit, one of us is a vegetarian

"Our current plan or alinea for saturday dinner"

I hope I am correct in assuming you have reservations at one or both restos? Alinea in particular is customarily booked way in advance, particularly on Friday or Satuday nights. Dinners can last for several hours there, and at Moto as well, so it's not like you can sort of wing it and just show up. Call. Now!!!!!!!!!!! :o) (And good luck.)

Feb 08, 2007
sundevilpeg in Chicago Area

Who's Been Eating My Porridge?

This column is so out of place here (not to mention that this advice is simply ridiculous). It belongs in an etiquette forum or on a whiny-college-student-woes board, not on Chowhound.

This place has gone to hell in a handbasket, I tell you. Handbasket!

Feb 08, 2007
sundevilpeg in Features