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Bix10's Profile

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Chicago Tasting Dinner for $100pp??

Just read that Boka will no longer have a tasting menu, but the new (a la carte) menu looks divine.

Feb 08, 2014
Bix10 in Chicago Area

Where can I find kouign-aman in Chicago or 'burbs?

Agreed.

Jan 30, 2014
Bix10 in Chicago Area

Hot table for a group of food loving ladies

+1 Siena

Jan 24, 2014
Bix10 in Chicago Area

Sunday breakfast before museum of science and industry

We've been to Salonica a few times- classic, homey Greek diner. The food is okay. Medici has very good baked goods for a light breakfast in the bakery area, and the restaurant itself also serves breakfast. The food is okay there as well. Z&H also has baked goods and coffee and is very good as well.

Also, people have really good things to say about Valois, but I can't speak to it.

Jan 20, 2014
Bix10 in Chicago Area

Best gnocchi in Chicago?

I absolutely melted over the gnocchi at Piccolo Sogno (Spinach and potato gnocchi, mushroom, oven dried tomatoes, toasted garlic and herbs). So light, fluffy, tender, just divine!

I thought the gnocchi at Cafe Spiaggia (wild boar ragu, Parmigiano Reggiano) was a bit dense and ever-so-slightly tougher. I have not had it at the restaurant (only the cafe) but I am told they share a kitchen.

Jun 29, 2013
Bix10 in Chicago Area

Fine dining with a 3-month old?

I want to thank everyone for their input! We ended up cancelling our Blackbird reservation per the advice here and went to Markethouse. I called ahead and requested a table in the back. I was so glad we did because we really used the extra space to wheel the little guy around when he became fussy. We had a much more casual meal than we would have at Blackbird, but I think the couple was more relaxed than they would have been at Blackbird (where they would have worried about sullying others' experiences).

We went out with another couple who have a nine-month-old for an early Monday dinner at Central Standard. We had the restaurant largely to ourselves and enjoyed a delicious meal, particularly the savories. I highly recommend the short ribs and the shrimp 'n' grits. Although the baby slept throughout dinner, she woke up for dessert and the staff could not have been more doting.

May 15, 2013
Bix10 in Chicago Area

Fine dining with a 3-month old?

I don't have children myself so I am not making judgements about their lack of interest in a babysitter. Thank you very much for the Blackbird recommendation. I have made a reservation. It's one of my favorite Chicago restaurants. I will call them ahead of time to ensure that the baby is welcome.

May 05, 2013
Bix10 in Chicago Area

Fine dining with a 3-month old?

Thanks foodieX2- he is the quietest little bundle too and so well-behaved. They are hard-pressed to relinquish him to a babysitter and I think the stress of leaving him for the first time would cancel out the enjoyment of going out. A wrap or bjorn is a great idea!

May 05, 2013
Bix10 in Chicago Area

Fine dining with a 3-month old?

Hello Chicago hounds!

I spend much of my days lurking in lieu of actively posting and I love reading about Chicago food. I have a question to which I cannot find an answer:
We have a birthday tradition with another couple wherein we take each other to a really special restaurant for dinner. We've done Takashi most recently. The other couple just had a baby and will need to bring the little pork chop along with us for their joint birthday dinner. We'd really like to knock their socks off with this dinner, as they are returning to Brazil to live next month. Where can we go with the pumpkin in tow? We are open to going early and on a weekday.

Here is where we've been to a lot recently and would prefer to avoid:
mk
Naha
Boka
GatG
Nightwood
Nana
The Publican
Purple Pig

Here are places we would love to take them but we're not sure if they'd be appropriate with a baby:
Tru
Schwa
El idees
Blackbird
Everest

Thank you for your help!

May 05, 2013
Bix10 in Chicago Area

Where is the best apple pie in Chicago?

I absolutely love the apple pie at Fox and Obel. Now, if you prefer a double crust then this is not your pie, as we're talking about a deep dish streusel situation that is a force with which to be reckoned. I think the pastry crust is richer than Hoosier, but potato tomato. Also, they make small and large versions (with the small serving 3 people and the large more like 9).

Jan 31, 2012
Bix10 in Chicago Area

Late Brunch on Sunday

Hi everyone, and an early happy Thanksgiving!

I am flying into O'Hare on Sunday at 2:30 PM from Europe and I am going to be ravenous. I live on Millennium Park and will be either taking a cab or the Blue Line to get home. I always crave a big breakfast (think pancakes, french toast, and waffles) after a long flight, but I am worried that most breakfast places will be closed by the time I get through customs. The only places I can think of that will still serve breakfast fare at that time are Eggsperience (I am not a fan of their sweet stuff) and Elly's (a bit far but a great last resort- I love that baked apple situation).

Can you recommend anywhere either in my area or on my way home (accessible via the blue line) for some delicious brunch food?

Thanks so much for your consideration!

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Eggsperience
35 W Ontario St, Chicago, IL 60654

Nov 23, 2011
Bix10 in Chicago Area

2012 Bib Gourmand Picks in Chicago

You answered my question. I did not know whether restaurants on this list could also be considered for a Michelin star.

Nov 09, 2011
Bix10 in Chicago Area

2012 Bib Gourmand Picks in Chicago

Are restaurants included on this list exempt from Michelin consideration?

Nov 09, 2011
Bix10 in Chicago Area

Dining ideas post-Turkey Day

I agree with the Perennial suggestion. I dined there last night and I was so pleased with how light the food was. A perfect balance after a heavy Thanksgiving dinner, to be sure.

Nov 09, 2011
Bix10 in Chicago Area

Report: Dinner at Pirennial Virant

I had a lovely dinner last night at Pirennial Virant and I wanted to share the experience with you all. I was the first to arrive in my party of 3 for our 6:30 reservation (they had a private party arriving around 9 so they asked that we make reservations at or before 6:30 so that we were not rushed). They sat me at a comfortable table in the back of the beautiful, bright-but-still-cozy dining area. Wall-to-wall windows permitted me a view of the rain soaking Lincoln Park across the street. I was struck by how kind and smiley everyone was, even though our third arrived almost 25 minutes late. Our server was consistent and amicable throughout our entire meal, offering suggestions when asked and ensuring that we were content at intervals throughout our meal. We were each brought a half-slice of a hearty wheat bread, which, though not warm, was fresh and tasty.

She explained that we could opt to treat the menu (organized into small, medium, and large plates) as three separate course choices, or we could order plates for the table. My dining companions were a bit intimidated by the menu descriptions, so they asked me to order (twist my arm). We started with the celery root pave, served with leeks and beautiful purple cauliflower, as well as the butternut squash tarte tatin, which was my favorite of the two. This gorgeous 5-inch tarte had a butter pastry crust and was cooked such that you could just manage to cut it with your fork. The pave had an unexpected, almost grainy mouth feel, and the smoothness of the marinated cauliflower and buttery leeks balanced it well.

Next, we had the roasted rainbow trout, the pork confit, and the hearty greens. The pork was oh-so-flavorful, complemented by wheat berries and grilled vegetables; this was the heartiest of the three dishes and definitely my favorite. The trout was light yet the accoutrements added some needed richness: hen-of-the-woods mushrooms paired with pecans and a bed of spaghetti squash. The lightest of the three dishes was the hearty greens, a delicious combination of house made giardiniera, kale, mustard greens, and chicories.

Throughout the meal, I sampled the slender pear cocktail and the gin and autumn tonic. I think they would have paired well with dessert, as both lacked a bite and were a bit sweet for my taste. Speaking of which, we tried the butterscotch cremeux as well as the chocolate custard pie, which were both misses. The cremeux was so viscous that you almost needed a fork, and the flavor was overly sweet. It was served with two small slices of flavorless quick bread (called apple bread) and a very nice apple cherry compote. The pie had a divine consistency, but was so bitter I could barely have two bites. I understand that the chef used bittersweet chocolate, but it lacked a balancing note. The squash tarte tatin, at the beginning of our meal, would have been the perfect dessert, actually.

I left feeling satisfied and light on my feet; at $60 per person including tax and tip, the cost was reasonable. I would definitely go back, and I am interested in trying Virant’s brunch one weekend.

Nov 09, 2011
Bix10 in Chicago Area

Report: MarketHouse and Girl and the Goat

Yes, based on other reviews and on the feedback on this thread, I gather our experience was quite uncommon. So much so that, after the pain of Saturday fades, I'd like to try back. I am glad to read that so many hounds had great meals there.

In terms of the timing, certain courses arrived with 2 dishes, and some arrived before we had finished (this was strange). For example, the pizza was served before we finished the salad, and the escargot ravioli and goat belly dishes were staggered similarly.

Nov 08, 2011
Bix10 in Chicago Area

Report: MarketHouse and Girl and the Goat

Yes, definitely give MarketHouse a shot and let me know what you think! I hope to go back and try some of their other offerings.

I usually don't care so much about service and ambiance. For a birthday dinner with someone who does, however, I definitely noticed all these imperfections.

Nov 08, 2011
Bix10 in Chicago Area

Report: MarketHouse and Girl and the Goat

That is very interesting BeanTownGolfer. There were little hints of ham but I think I was expecting to see ham in some form. My dining companion mentioned last night that I was harsh in my review of the ham frites. I have never seen fries this greasy and salty before and I was a bit disgusted by that.

Nov 08, 2011
Bix10 in Chicago Area

Report: MarketHouse and Girl and the Goat

I am excited to be posting for the first time! I have been a long-time reader, first in Boston and now here in Chicago. I have never felt compelled to post, but I had such an odd dining weekend that I have decided to take this opportunity to change my relationship with Chowhound.

In a nut shell: I had an awful experience at Girl and the Goat and some divine dining at MarketHouse. We'll start with the positive:
We had a restaurant.com gift certificate for MarketHouse, which my dining partner and I approached as a a break from cooking for the evening. Neither one of us had particularly high expectations, as there is very little here on the forum about MarketHouse. It was fairly empty as we entered through the DoubleTree Hotel, and we were seated in a quiet, comfortable, well-lit booth.

Service was friendly, unpretentious, and attentive. My water glass was never empty, and all of our needs were met throughout the meal. The courses were timed perfectly.

We were served house-made bread-and-butter pickles with sweet potato pecan bread to start our meal. The pickles were delicious and a nice change in pace. We split a very fresh but otherwise unremarkable chop salad to start, which was a necessary health-conscious beginning considering our entree choices: we ordered the pork shank, pot pie, brussel sprouts, and lobster special to share between the two of us. The pork shank was incredibly tender with a subtle smokiness. The buttery pastry on the pot pie enclosed a homey truffle cream sauce and a nice variety of vegetables. Most importantly, the lobster special knocked our socks off. We were having trouble keeping a lid on our moans, I am embarrassed to say! We were served lobster on top of corn, lobster mushrooms, truffles, and a truffle sauce, and we were fighting over the last bites! What an earthy, unexpected combination!

Finally, on the recommendation of our server, we ordered the lemon beignets and the bread pudding to end our meal. I could have forgone the beignets. They were more like dense little donut holes, and served with minced pears (I think) and some unremarkable sauce. But the bread pudding. My word. Please do not take this particular aspect of my review lightly. I am a bread pudding enthusiast. I enjoy desserts as thought it were my job (and I am hoping one day it will be), with bread pudding being my preferred method of contracting Type II diabetes. This bread pudding was right up there with the Basque cake at the Bristol. These are the only two desserts I've eaten in this town that made me question my decision to order real food first. Served with house-made pecan praline ice cream in a cast-iron ramekin, the bread pudding had the perfect amount of integrity and custard.

I contrast this review with our Saturday night experience at Girl and the Goat. I had been eagerly anticipating this 10:15 reservation for 3 months, and we were celebrating my dining companion's birthday. I had read rave reviews here and I could not wait to get my chompers on some creative, well-prepared dishes! My dining companion and I do prefer a quieter atmosphere, but I think almost anyone would have been uncomfortable with our seating arrangement. After a 25-minute wait beyond our reservation time, we were seated at a two-top near the bar. We had people hanging over our table, commenting on our food the entire evening. I let the guest of honor order his brains out, and he chose 6 items. Our very strange, affected server did a lot of standing around, a lot of peering at our table, and a lot of going over to the kitchen and coming back to look at us, but he did very little in the way of serving us food. We probably waited 30 minutes between every single course. Finally, I mentioned this fact to him. He said, and I quote, "yes, I noticed that! Listen, I have no idea what Chef is up to. It's like he's going crazy! Listen, dessert is on me. Let me check on your food." Well, fifteen minutes later, nothing had changed. The manager finally came over and explained to us that, "every once in a while, a table slips through the cracks. We always do a great job but sometimes we just fall short. Let us buy two of your plates for you." Free dessert and buying two of our plates? That is very generous, and we started to feel a bit better as two more dishes arrived at our table. When the bill finally came, they chose to only comp two plates, not dessert, which is fine but inconsistent, I think. I didn't say anything about this, but I was surprised because of the aforementioned promise and the birthday we were celebrating.

I would not have said a word about service, and I probably would not have even posted today if it not for the food. We kept on saying to each other as we were waiting, "it's going to be worth it because the food will be so very good!" It wasn't. Well, it was fine. But, given the reviews, I was expecting something exemplary. We ordered "squish squash" bread with apple puree and cashew butter. The bread was warm but unremarkable, the apple puree was very bright and well-done, and the cashew butter was basically salty butter mixed with cashew pieces. I was expecting pureed cashews and was unpleasantly surprised. We got an unremarkable salad with tarragon buttermilk dressing after (my standard for salad is the Bristol's green salad, which is simple and perfect and you can't believe you're eating a salad so good) followed by a very good goat chorizo pizza with shaved apples and ricotta. This was one of the only things that we wolfed down. Thirty minutes later, our order of ham frites arrived. These were the greasiest, saltiest, most confusing ham frites ever. I think ours came with no ham. They were served with a tomato aioli and a cheddar beer sauce, which were fine. Thirty minutes after that, we were finally served the goat belly and the escargot ravioli. The ravioli was boring and a bit mushy, cooked perhaps just beyond al dente, but the goat belly had us oohing and ahhing and fighting over each morsel. About 30 minutes later, we were served the cauliflower with mint, pine nuts, and Parmesan, which was very good but absolutely swimming in butter. Anyone can make cauliflower taste good when you add that much butter!

To end our meal, we ordered pork-fat donuts and the chocolate bouchon. The bouchon (with foie fluff which was foie in name only) was, dare I say, waxy? What a strange, unpleasant consistency! The donuts were served with greek yogurt and figs, which is a great preparation after such a rich meal, but they were tough (maybe the dough was over-handled).

I have to say, I felt uncomfortable and unhappy throughout most of the meal. With all the positive reviews I've read, I posit that perhaps they were having an off-night or maybe things just aligned unpleasantly for us.

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Girl and the Goat
809 W Randolph St, Chicago, IL 60661

Nov 07, 2011
Bix10 in Chicago Area