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Help me with Bread baking

I suggest that Thomas Keller is not the place to start for a first-time bread baker. There are much simpler methods that will introduce you to the basic techniques and will produce a perfectly nice loaf of bread, even if it isn't in the league of French Laundry. Why not browse some other bread-baking books that look a bit more approachable?

Mar 12, 2015
solon in Home Cooking

Who has the best birthday cakes in the city? I'm not looking for anything too fancy-I want frosting, not fondant.

I've ordered very nice birthday cakes from Bittersweet on Belmont in Lakeview. Upscale but not outrageously expensive.

Dec 15, 2014
solon in Chicago Area

Loop advice

I second the suggestions already made, but if you don't want a big or elaborate breakfast (which you will get at Bongo Room or Meli), you are also near two Intelligentsia coffee bars, one on Randolph and one on Jackson, each a few blocks away in different directions. Toni's Patisserie on Washington St. is also an option for both breakfast and lunch. Pastoral on Lake St. has excellent sandwiches and other high-end deli stuff, and Ba Le at 166 W. Washington has good Vietnamese banh mi sandwiches.

Jan 27, 2014
solon in Chicago Area

Eating alone in Grant Park

You didn't say what you want to spend, but if you want something a little lower-key and less expensive, there is Ruby of Siam (Thai) at 170 W. Washington.

Dec 10, 2013
solon in Chicago Area

Soup (Loop / North Side)

The cafeteria in the basement of the Bank of America building in the block between Adams / Monroe / LaSalle / Clark has excellent, inexpensive soups that you can take out.

Dec 09, 2013
solon in Chicago Area

Pumpkin pie in advance: best advice?

Either advance option sounds dubious to me. Custards do not keep well. If you can't make it on site, I would recommend switching to an apple pie or similar instead.

Nov 22, 2013
solon in Home Cooking

Sherry vinegar -- can you help?

I'm sure I have seen it at Treasure Island.

Nov 19, 2013
solon in Chicago Area

Best Jewish Deli in Chicago?

Very sad, that was my go-to place for hand-sliced nova.

Jan 06, 2013
solon in Chicago Area

Still looking for the best Pumpkin Pie recipe

I have used the recipe in the Fannie Farmer Baking Book for years, to great compliments. It does tend to crack when cooling, especially where I stuck a knife in to test for doneness, but the light custard texture and taste are great.
P.S. I always need to cook it longer than the recipe says: 10-20 minutes

Nov 21, 2012
solon in Home Cooking

Today's Temptations Bread

I have bought varieties of TT bread occasionally and found it good, though not my ideal. However, I got a loaf of their California sourdough from Whole Foods last week, and found it extremely dry, with a rancid aftertaste. Not a good experience.

Apr 26, 2012
solon in Chicago Area

Breakstone's cottage cheese

I get it at Treasure Island. They have the little 4-packs, too.

Mar 15, 2012
solon in Chicago Area

recipe for shrimp dejong

I recall seeing a recipe for this in the Chicago Tribune several years ago; perhaps it can still be found on their web site.

Nov 19, 2011
solon in Chicago Area

What local products to bring back from Chicago?

I just had a belated thought on this topic: Milk & Honey granola, which originated at the Milk & Honey Cafe on Division, is sold in grocery stores here, and it is fabulous - I particularly love the original flavor. I don't know if it's sold in other cities as well by now.

Milk & Honey Cafe
1920 W Division St., Chicago, IL 60622

May 07, 2011
solon in Chicago Area

Places for a visitor to eat at the bar?

The bar in the Atwood Cafe in the Hotel Burnham at State and Washington in the Loop would be a terrific place to eat. It is more upscale than casual, but not intimidating; the food is regional American and quite good. But the atmosphere and the view are fantastic, and it is in a beautiful historic building, the Reliance Building, one of the early Chicago skyscrapers. It's about a half mile south of where you are staying; it's a pleasant walk, or you can easily take a cab, or a bus south on Michigan or State.

Apr 21, 2011
solon in Chicago Area

good restaurants nearish to Skokie?

Regardless of whether they got a Michelin star, Tub Tim Thai is very good.

Tub Tim Thai Restaurant
4927 Oakton St, Skokie, IL 60077

Mar 31, 2011
solon in Chicago Area

Old Orchard in Skokie

Also right in the mall is The Bagel restaurant, which is (obviously) Jewish deli food. A local restaurant, not a chain (they have another location in Chicago). Reliable basics: soups, sandwiches, comfort food.

Mar 22, 2011
solon in Chicago Area

Looking for Private Dining Room for 20 people in Chicago

I recently was part of a group lunch in a private room at Athena in Greektown (Halsted and Adams, about a mile west of the Loop). The room was very pleasant, and not as sterile as many such can be. The staff were very nice, and they served an excellent (Greek, of course) buffet. I didn't arrange it, but I imagine the price would be moderate.

Feb 25, 2011
solon in Chicago Area

Place for small group lunch in Norridge area

Thanks for the suggestions. I will check them out -- after my car is liberated from the alley. I have plenty of time before the event, so may not have feedback for a while.

Feb 06, 2011
solon in Chicago Area

Place for small group lunch in Norridge area

I need to find a restaurant suitable to host a group of about 10 people, some elderly, for a weekday lunch in the Norridge area. We'd like to have a private room. I'm open to various cuisines, but nothing too exotic for this group - and we'd like it to serve alcohol. Any suggestions would be appreciated!

Jan 29, 2011
solon in Chicago Area

Real Omelets

I watched a rerun of a TV episode of Julia and Jacques: Cooking at Home, where Jacques Pepin demonstrated the preparation of a proper French omelet. You might be able to find it on YouTube?

Jan 12, 2011
solon in Chicago Area

Quiet, inexpensive working lunch in Loop - near State & Monroe

Well, the inexpensive places are not likely to be quiet, so there isn't a huge selection. But you could try Berghoff's downstairs cafe on Adams, which is cafeteria-style. The dining area is relatively calm and you can probably sit as long as you like.

Jan 12, 2011
solon in Chicago Area

Am I a Better Hostess If I Don't Serve Dessert?

There is a lot of room in between rich baked goods and something as simple as a pear (even a good one)- it doesn't have to be just one or the other. There are lots of cooked fruit-based desserts that are sweet and show some effort on the host's part, but are not overwhelmingly rich: compote, poached pears, etc. All can be accompanied by cookies and other optional supplements for those who do want to indulge.

Dec 31, 2010
solon in Features

need some weekend lunch spot ideas near Auditorium theater

If you don't mind walking the 4 short blocks north to Adams, I think that Russian Tea Time would be really nice for a special outing. They have an extensive menu (Russian, natch), but I'm sure you can just order soup or something light. However, you do need a reservation. They are likely to be crowded on a Saturday, especially around the holidays.

Russian Tea Time Restaurant
77 E Adams St, Chicago, IL 60603

Dec 18, 2010
solon in Chicago Area

Surviving the loop without a car

I like New York Bagel & Bialy for bagels. Thought they are in the suburbs (Lincolnwood, Skokie), I am pretty sure that they supply other places more convenient to you like Ashkenaz deli on Cedar and possibly even Treasure Island (the one up around Erie and Lake Shore Dr is probably the closest one to you.).

Doughnuts: try Dinkels on Lincoln Ave in Lakeview. Half a block south of the Paulina Brown line station.

Oct 30, 2010
solon in Chicago Area

Early solo dinner in the Loop?

I have a small window of time this afternoon to grab something to eat before a 6:00 p.m event. I want to stop somewhere between Jackson and East Wacker, i.e. in the "true" Loop. Many of the lunch places are closed by then, and it's too early and I don't have time for fine dining. Any suggestions for a decent, quick bite at that time of day? Many thanks.

Oct 26, 2010
solon in Chicago Area

What's good nearby Standard Club hotel?

Cafecito at Wabash and Congress is also open for breakfast, and is only a couple blocks from the Standard Club.
Cavanaugh's, which is right across the street in the Monadnock Building, is fine for lunch.

26 E Congress Pkwy Ste 1, Chicago, IL 60605

May 24, 2010
solon in Chicago Area

The 59 Best Breakfast Places In US..........

Lou Mitchell's should have been obvious....AND it's on the National Register of Historic Places (related to Route 66).

Lou Mitchell's Restaurant
565 W Jackson Blvd, Chicago, IL 60661

May 04, 2010
solon in Chicago Area

Lunch near Allegro Hotel

I like Ruby of Siam, which is right across Washington Street from the hotel ( you would probably find it on your own anyway, and so will your follow conferencers.)
In addition to the Marketplace in the basement of Macy's, there is a more upscale food court on the 7th floor of Macy's (there is an express elevator if you can find it) that includes a Rick Bayless Mexican outlet. The other choices are good there, too, and there are windows, which is a plus, and you can find a quieter spot along the edges and get a bit of a view.

Ruby of Siam
170 W Washington St Fl 1, Chicago, IL 60602

Mar 18, 2010
solon in Chicago Area

Crepes in Chicago?

There is another crepe restaurant downtown, whose name I cannot recall, but it is on Clark south of Van Buren, across the street from the federal prison. The location is obviously not fancy, and neither is the restaurant, but it's certainly a lunch option if you're in the area.

Mar 17, 2010
solon in Chicago Area

Looking for an Interesting Sandwich or Notable Meal along 294...

How about the Pita Inn on Dempster in Skokie, just east (I think) of Skokie Blvd? Great Middle Eastern, informal (counter service), and the added bonus of their grocery store next door. And Tub Tim Thai in downtown Skokie ,4927 Oakton, is great. It's sit-down, but small and quick. I'd be perfectly comfortable having a solo meal there.

Feb 21, 2010
solon in Chicago Area