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Next - El Bulli? You can keep it. For my money, EL Ideas was far better (and 1/3 the price.)

after dining at El Ideas and doing the El Bulli next menu, I can confirm 2 things;

1. el ideas is amazing.

2. el ideas is nothing like the el bulli menu and this review is the worst comparison you could make.

both were amazing.

go to el ideas if you can.

Schwa or El Ideas?

Last night I had dinner at El Ideas. I had heard enough great things to know that it would be worth trying. I was hesitant because on a previous trip to Chicago I had an awesome time dining at Schwa. I was not sure if I wanted to risk a sure thing for something that could potentially be very regrettable. I am truly grateful that Chef Foss took the time to respond to this post.

I might have missed out on an amazing experience otherwise.

el ideas was a blast. I can honestly say that.

the food was beautiful. more beautiful then schwa and equally delicious. the staff at el ideas love what they do. bill was really smooth and funny.

before I go off on how wonderful everything was in detail...
I don't mean for this to be a review of El Ideas. this is just me confirming that this place is worth your time. the great reviews do not exaggerate.

go to el ideas AND go to schwa. if you HAVE choose only one... flip a coin and feel lucky if you even get a reservation.

thank you again Chef, Bill, and the rest of your awesome staff.

Reservations for Schwa?

bring a small (unless your a baller) bottle of Jameson. that is their favorite. will you get "treats"? maybe... but your bottle will be appreciated and will be used within the hour by the kitchen, the other tables, and most likely... yourselves.

you are doing it right by having a back up that night. expect the worste. hope for the best. and enjoy what you get.

if all works out well... you will have a blast and hopefully get some extra courses (they are creative guys who seem to love being appreciated)

good luck!

Ticket to Next Restaurant

get on the Next FBook page ASAP. A lot of people posting that they want to sell or trade tickets for the next week or two because they bought them and can't attend. if you catch someone who is desperate… chuh ching!

they might do some same night tables as well that week. if so, you will have to stalk the Fbook page and email them daily till they "randomly" pick you.

the answer to this question changes a lot though. this is only the answer for how to get them for that week. they will be having at least 2 more on sales for the current Sicily menu…

Burnt ends etc.

i have been on a fruitless search for them myself… i tweeted Jonathan Gold about it the other day. asking where in LA or OC i can get them. he responded rather quickly:

"Big Mista. Up there with the best in KC!"

I'm going to make a trip there very soon.

Schwa or El Ideas?

the food at both spots looks great.

some of the El Ideas dishes i have seen in my opinion are cleaner and stronger as far as presentation and plating goes (have not tasted yet…but read plenty of fantastic reviews on flavor).

that why it is a tough choice…but i think in the end Schwa was a blast. no one describes El Ideas that way. i think thats why I'm gonna pick Schwa… gotta reserve soon.

Schwa or El Ideas?

seems like you had a similar experience to me at Schwa.

and it seems like El Ideas feels like i thought it would… it accomplishes its goal (being an awesome BYO with a very creative menu that changes often).

I think I might have to exhaust my welcome at Schwa before giving El Ideas a shot. Goosefoot is now in my thoughts for my next trip to Chicago. I am gonna have to start doing some research.

Schwa or El Ideas?

awesome reply. thanks. this is gonna be a rough call.

goosefoot was on my radar but not as much as you make it seem it should be. i am going to put that in the hat for the next go around.

Schwa or El Ideas?

Full Disclosure:

I travel once every few months to Chicago for vacation. I can only pick 1 restaurant per trip.

I have been to Schwa.
I have not been to El Ideas.

I had an AMAZING time at Schwa. I want to try El Ideas but its really hard to talk myself out of going back to Schwa again.

Schwa went above and beyond to satisfy us…both entertainment and cuisine (7 courses more then they said they would bring out).

Is El Ideas a "filling" and "satisfying" and "entertaining" experience?

For those of you who have been to both…

Which did you enjoy more? (and) Wouldn't you say they are fairly comparable?

Thanks. (and I love ideas for new places if there are any others in the same type of concept category)

California Foie Gras Ban

Animal has it several different ways. not the BEST but… im sure you will get your fill of Foie

Going to Animal

Im trying to figure out what are the MUST HAVE dishes tonight when i go.

What were your favorite dishes that you had there? Why?


Also, Im hearing Umamicatessin = lesser version of Animal. Agree? Disagree?

UMAMIcatessen - Thoughts?!

only hearing 2 things said about this place

1. their fois donuts are amazing (gone soon with ban…then what?)
2. i wish i went to animal

i wanna try it but… i dont wanna say #2 and be bummed after…scared!

Next - El Bulli? You can keep it. For my money, EL Ideas was far better (and 1/3 the price.)

its just funny to me that instead of just saying EL Ideas = a top 5 meal of all time, you have to bring El Bulli into it. they have nothing to do with each other. they are not close enough in their goal and concept for them to be grouped. you can find similarities in anything.

you can have a great time at EL Ideas.

you can be upset that El Bulli wasnt what YOU expected. it was however exactly what they attempted to deliver. you say its not delicious. ferran adria says its not supposed to be. its also historical…its about you maybe saying "oh wow i have seen that technique used and now i know the first time it was utilized and where that chef got his inspiration"… its a greatest hits…(need to know more? read a book or watch a documentary about el bulli… if you went into it not knowing that… then you should have )

thats not what el ideas is doing. sorry.
they are making awesome food at an awesome concept and being creative…
as is schwa (god i love that place)

just dont let your angst for el bulli bleed into every review you do. HAHA. its gone soon anyway… and the next 2 menus are less expensive then EL Ideas.

anyway…next time i am in chicago i want to try el ideas. all of your blogs are amazing guys. makes me wish i lived in chitown!

Next - El Bulli? You can keep it. For my money, EL Ideas was far better (and 1/3 the price.)

Schwa was amazing. I need to get to El Ideas next time i am in town.

Next was on a different level… and about different things.

If you are looking for a Schwa experience… you are gonna be so bummed at Next… but there is no way in a million years that Schwa could do what Next does.

Apples and Oranges

and i LOVE apples and I LOVE oranges

I EVEN MIX em sometimes…

mmm i'm hungry

Ideas for a St. Germain / elderflower syrup?


with cucumbers.

1st time Chicago - Loop and Near North - foodie input requested

i was able to do both Portillos and Mr. Beef (just a personal preference because i heard it is mob ran) in the same morning…just dont eat the whole thing! split one wet and sweet beef sand and then just get a small pie and split that too. they are both big!

i was excited about Sable on my first trip to Chitown… i was also disappointed. its just not delicious food… some fun ideas though. i wish i did Avec instead.

your friday looks EPIC!

i hope you have fun!

Schwa phones disconnected?

awesome. thanks!

Schwa phones disconnected?

im trying to get a reservation for the place… not endorse them.

surely you can see that right? (and dont call me Shirley)

i dont even think they want to be endorsed. let alone by me…. a guy who just wants a reservation…

Schwa phones disconnected?

oh now maybe im glad i didnt ask. haha.

Schwa phones disconnected?

they have 26 seats. not tables. its very small.

please dont ever take one of those seats.

i promise you wont have fun. you wont like it. you wont get it.

go to alinea. alinea is amazing. and you know exactly what you are gonna get! (a sliding door that opens on your left… thrilling the 3rd time you see it...)

Schwa phones disconnected?

ya. im right there with ya. i dined at Schwa last week. after an amazing dinner and a smarter (more sober) next day conversation with my fiance, i realized that we should have just tried to book another table for July while there. d'oh!

its worth the trouble. and while there they said they are trying to cancel on people less… so thats nice.

Schwa phones disconnected?

i want to make a reservation for July and have been calling for the last 3 days. i get a message saying its disconnected each time. anyone else having the same issues or know a new number?

Red Medicine tasting menu

Does Red Medicine do a tasting menu? If so have you had it? When? How much? How was it? How many courses? Bev pairings?

Red Medicine/Sotto?

sotto is the more accessible of the 2 choices.
red medicine is one of my fav restaurants in the country and i have to agree with those who already stated, if you are not into the concept of modern dining, you will hate it.

probly already went…but for those with future similar choices i just want to give my 2 cents.

hope they had fun while in town.

Red Medicine. Wow.

just noticed ANOTHER new dessert (birch ice. almond praline. green almond. red currant. jasmine) listed on their dessert menu. i'm gonna try to go tonight.

thats 2 new dishes i can try! EXCITED!

How's My 5 Day Eating Agenda Looking? Help Make My Trip Awesome!

Schwa is a "back up" restaurant?

first time i've heard that.

can you get into schwa? been there already?

Red Medicine. Wow.

seems like it depends on the recipe. i think it does not traditionally call for either of those ingredients…but i saw a few recipes online with butter, so i would ask staff if its allergy related.

if it helps..

Red Medicine. Wow.

usually solo diners at the bar every time i go. they have appropriate tables to sit at as well. knowledgable bartenders. when you walk in just decide if you want to be there or your reserved table.

Red Medicine. Wow.

that is not too much food.

large bowl of porridge
side dish

Red Medicine. Wow.

been to red med 6 or 7 times… tab is tween 70 to 150 for 2. (drinking? higher priced items? 150ish)… (lots of smaller plates/bahnmi/dessert? 70ish)

both are great ways to dine there by the way.