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Chicago Dinner for June 9th week

I'm taking my wife to Chicago the week of June 9th, and want to expand our dining horizons from Frontera, Gibsons, Lawrys, Moto, and Harry C's. I'm good on the beef stands, burger stops, dog places- what I need is a higher end alternative.

We are looking online at MK, North Pond, Avec, Carnival and Cafe Spiaggia. Any recommendations for one over the others of these? Or other suggestions?

May 26, 2008
Pizzahound in Chicago Area

Food souvenirs from Beloit area?

Absolutely. One of the brothers who owned the business (I heard they recently sold to a couple of employees) used to live behind my grandparent's house on Peter Ave. He had two kids my age that I played with in the kindergarden 2nd grade age range. Back then people had weekly home deliveries of chips in plastic tubs. He would park his Mrs. Fishers delivery truck in front of his house. Unfortunately for him and his route customers, he didn't know that his boys had a key to the truck and would go in when he was distracted and pop open the tops of the chip tubs and munch away. I of course would have never done such a thing and just stood there watching them... not! They were great!

May 04, 2008
Pizzahound in General Midwest Archive

Rockford IL restaurant

I have to say, anyone mentioning Giordano's on this thread needs to re check the posting. Rockford pizza has nothing to do with deep dish or stuffed. Sam's does a pretty good Chicago style deep dish, but it is not their specialty, and Sam's in general is no longer my staple when I return to the area as it was growing up. Gerry's does a stuffed pizza, but not in the Chicago sense.

Francesco's does an excellent pizza, and depending on your taste does good italian dinners. I prefer it to Linos and Maria's. Many of these italian places in Rockford are now in the hands of second and third generation owners. Some are doing a good job upholding all the appropriate standards, some are not. Sam's, for example, has really gone down hill (and yes, I am specifically including the Riverside location in that statement). Gerry's has improved in my opinion, and Francesco's just outdoes them all. Capri I hear intends to improve their facilities. I can't speak for the pasta there, but my last pizza was up to par. Nunzio's has always been pretty solid for pizza, though not my favorite. Altamore's is great, but poorly located for me when I travel to town.

I will be in town this week for business and will have to try Luigi's. I was graduated from Rockford College in '89. Was it there then?

I have wanted to try the bistro places on East State near City Hall for a while. Which do you recommend?

Last thought. How does Papa Johns, Domino's, etc stay in business in a city like Rockford?

May 04, 2008
Pizzahound in General Midwest Archive

Rockford IL Recs

Stockholm in at Charles and 20th St. for Swedish pancakes. Francesco's for decent Italian and great pizza (at the Cherryvale Mall.) Lino's for another option and a different taste in pizza altogether. Josef's off of Perryville for upscale. E. State Street around city hall for a variety of Bistro type spots. Giovannis for not as fu fu upscale. Uncle Nicks for great Gyro's (after eating here no man- or woman- will go near her for the breath, but soooo good.) Beef a Roo for roast beef sandwiches. Der Rathskelter (sp?) for German food on Auburn Street east of Main. There was a really great Mexican place with awesome margarita's but is closed down. JMK Nippon for japanese, but their sushi is sub par in my opinion. Good luck.

May 04, 2008
Pizzahound in General Midwest Archive

Rockford, IL food?

Try Josef's. It is on the East side off of Perryville Rd, north of State.

May 04, 2008
Pizzahound in General Midwest Archive

Diva is Dead in Downtown Toledo

I cannot believe it! I was waiting for the semester to end so that my academic professor foodie wife and friends could head up to Toledo to try this place, which by most accounts was one of the best dining establishments in NW Ohio. I checked out Chowhound to get the name again and call to make reservations, and low and behold, they closed last month! Unbelievable. How sad.

Apr 29, 2008
Pizzahound in General Midwest Archive

south bend, indiana pizza?

Right. You have to be there and pick them up yourself.

Jan 01, 2008
Pizzahound in Great Lakes

Revolver Restaurant - Findlay, OH

I was in Findlay on Dec 1 for another lovely dinner at Revolver. Each time seems to be better than the last. I drove by the Gathering and am happy to report that it has reopened. They will serve my next meal in Findlay.

Dec 04, 2007
Pizzahound in Great Lakes

south bend, indiana pizza?

yes indeedy it is. I have come close to duplicating the crust, but just close. The cornmeal at Barnaby's seems to be just the adder on the oven rack to allow the air to get between the crust and the shelf.

I have had better luck fusing the taste and texture of Gino's and Lou Malnati's in a home cooked deep dish. I used the basic pizza dough recipe from the Joy of cooking, disolved the yeast in warm water before adding it to the flour, and used mostly warm beer (Miller High Life in this case) rather than the warm water called for in the book.

Dec 04, 2007
Pizzahound in Great Lakes

Dinner in Sarasota?

I was just about to make the same post. My wife and I will be there this Thursday through Friday the 23rd, and hope to eat out often as my mother's cooking has deteriorated. However, if we have to eat at Barnicle Bills or the Lazy Lobster again I think my wife will divorce me. (I personally like the Lazy Lobster, but my wife had a bad experience there- not food or service related.)

I can make some recommendations, however. While a chain, Bonefish Grill on University and 75 is very good, but if you have one in your area I would say try something that you can't get at home.

There are two stops that we make with each visit, though not high end at all. First, the moment I feel tension between my wife and her mother in law, we declare we are making a grocery/liquor run and then head over to Salina's for a slice of Pizza and beer. They are inconsistent, however. The quatity depends upon if the owner is there making the pizza. We also make sure to stop at the Tommy Bahama cantina on St. Armands for coconut shrimp and crab bisque. I know it is touristy, but we love it.

We had a nice meal at the Charthouse on Longboat Key a few years ago. Good single malt scotch selection at the lounge bar, but pricy food for what you get. Flemings Steakhouse was good, but is again a chain though high end. I heard there is now a resturant that is next door in the same building as Flemings. It is called Roy's- it is hawian fusion with japanese and sushi. My mother hated it, so it must be great. Each of the other good places we have been to seem to be closed the next time we try to go. One was an institution on Siesta Key, though I can't remember the name.

I would love to find a "Lola's" from Cleveland, "Moto", or even "Lawrys" from Chicago in Saratota. Any good chef's tables in the area?

Nov 11, 2007
Pizzahound in Florida

Any real Chicago Style Pizza in South Bend IN?

I just tried Rocco's, as was recommended elsewhere on the board and by people I met here in South Bend today. I ordered the thick crust, and while ok, it had nothing on Chicago pizza, let alone Barnabys. I will try it again on my next trip, but with the regular crust, which should help.

Nov 07, 2007
Pizzahound in Great Lakes

Anything worthy in South Bend, IN?

Just returned to my hotel from LaSalle Grill. Had my meal at the bar, and I must say that a big attraction there is Wally, the bartender. The appetizer was less than stellar, the house dressing on the salad (mustard and ginger) left me longing for the missing soy, but the butternut squash soup was the best I have had. My entre was the gorgonzola filet medalions, and it was good but not exceptional. I will return because I can't see that there is a better offering in South Bend, and Wally is a fellow Scotch fan.

Nov 07, 2007
Pizzahound in Great Lakes

Death of American Brasserie- St. Louis MO

Thanks. I had heard rumors about the place in Clayton while we still lived there, but never took the time (and didn't have the money then) to check it out.

Nov 07, 2007
Pizzahound in General Midwest Archive

Rate these Santa Fe spots, please

I lived in NM back in '94-96. Our first Santa Fe dinner was at Geronimo, and the bad attitude was there even then. We had much better luck at the less pretensious Celebrations, just down the street from Geronimo. It became one of our favorite places. But then, indifference can be catching. A few years ago my wife and I returned to Santa Fe to celebrate our anniversary, and I made a reservation at Celebrations. My special request was for a certain table on the patio next to the Kiva, as this was where we always sat. I was looking forward to this, and was extremely dissapointed to find people sitting at the table upon our arrival and the hostess having NO CLUE that I had specifically reserved it. We decided to sit in another area of the patio and wait for them to leave at the suggestion of the Hostess, only to find out that the people sitting there were waiting for one of the servers to get off at the end of the night and had no intention of leaving until close. I know this was a minor thing, but it really bugged me and spoiled the evening for us.

Nov 05, 2007
Pizzahound in Southwest

bloomingdale area

Amalfi has the best Veal Saltimbocca I have ever had. Wayne is there to greet you on Tuesday nights, and seats you at his wife's station if he thinks you will tip big.

Nov 05, 2007
Pizzahound in Chicago Area

Ohio: Great cheap breakfast in Bowling Green...Terrible expensive dinner in Perrysburg

I agree with your assessment of the Corner Grill in Bowling Green. Toledo does lack for the high end dinner. Mancy's would have been a better choice- either the steak house or the Italian place on Monroe. Last time there I had a great veal chop.

Your boyfriend would have done better to bring you south to Findlay to either Japan West on S. Main or Revolver on E. Sandusky one block east of S. Main.

Nov 05, 2007
Pizzahound in General Midwest Archive

Good Eats in Cleveland

I agree with all above from gounrmanda, including Gourmanda's comments, but can't vouch for Breadsmith or Three Birds yet.

Nov 05, 2007
Pizzahound in General Midwest Archive

Good Eats in Cleveland

I took my wife to Lola's for her brithday on Nov 2nd and we did the chef's table sampling. It was fantastic, though I discovered that I am not a Sweet Bread man! Excellent wine paring and excellent flavor paring. I have been here on my own and had the flank steak entre at the bar... Go Go Go. High end big city food for relatively low costs. I only saw one entre over $30 on the menu, with most entres in the $17-28 range, and Michael Symon might be the next Iron Chef!

If you have never had Hungarian food, you MUST try Balatan's at Shaker Square (here also is located Fire, as mentioned in other posting replys), and Cafe Budapest in the North Olmstead area. Both are great ethnic food. Try the sampler platter... you will get hooked! (Balatan's is open for Lunch and Dinner, Closed on Mondays).

For Steak, go to the Hyde Park Grill. There are at least 3 Cleveland locations, one off 271, one downtown, and one in Westlake. (Another location is at Medina road in Akron).

Nov 05, 2007
Pizzahound in General Midwest Archive

Good Eats in Cleveland

I would have recommended Hyde Park Grill across from Morton's. As good or better entre's at better prices.

Nov 05, 2007
Pizzahound in General Midwest Archive

Death of American Brasserie- St. Louis MO

In 1990 there was a resturant in the Central West end of St. Louis on Union Blvd in the Westmoreland on the Park apartment building called American Brasserie. Chef Bernard was the owner/chef, and had great everything, including a "bottomless" chocolate mousse desert that had so much Grand Marnier in it that my wife and I could get buzzed just from eating it. It sadly closed.

Is Bernard still in the St. Louis area? Is he currently running a different restraunt? I will be in St. Louis on Sunday night, and while I do have some options from the old days, I would like to make note of him for my next trip.

Nov 05, 2007
Pizzahound in General Midwest Archive

Any real Chicago Style Pizza in South Bend IN?

I travel to SB for work every quarter or so, and aside from Barnaby's I have not found any Chicago pizza... and Barnaby's isn't what I am looking for (besides, the Barnaby's in SB and Mishawaka normally make their thin crust pizza too thick. the owners need to visit and sample the remaining Barnaby's in the Chicago area to realize how far they have strayed from the mother church.)

I am looking for Chicago Deep Dish or Stuffed, such as found at Nancy's, Giordano's, Lou Malnati's, Burt's, or Gino's East. (FYI, a Nancy's franchise is open in Fisher's IN just north of Indianapolis for those of you who were unaware.) Can anyone help out a Pizzahound? I'm going to be there on Nov. 7th. I'll try Polito's (sp) for NY style if there is no decent deep dish around.

Nov 05, 2007
Pizzahound in Great Lakes

south bend, indiana pizza?

If you ever fly to OHare in Chicago, call the DesPlaines Barnabys on Touhy. They frequently fill requests for their 10" pizzas in quantity, par bake them, freeze them and pack them for transport. I have done this many times, ordering 10-20 pizzas for my freezer in Ohio. I was told by one of the owners that they have a frequent flyer who is a Chicago transplant to Atlanta. He picks up at least 20 frozen pizzas every month. He made the mistake of sharing Barnaby's with his southern neighbors, and now they place orders with him for themselves. You have to experiment a bit with the baking to get it close to done right. We partially defrost the pizza (30 min out of the freezer) then cook it on a baking stone at 350 until it looks right.

Nov 05, 2007
Pizzahound in Great Lakes

Anything worthy in South Bend, IN?

I agree to a point, but I may not have had the excellent entrees described above.

Nov 05, 2007
Pizzahound in Great Lakes

Revolver Restaurant - Findlay, OH

Japan West is a staple for my family, and very kid friendly... at least for my 4 year old who charms the manager and sushi chef every time we go (we sit in the sushi room becasue she is afraid of the fire.) Revolver is great. I have been there 3 times, though the first was a little dissapointing. We ordered a smoked potato side, and the smoke on the dish overpowered everything else we at during and after that course. We have stayed away from that dish since, and have enjoyed everything else.

Oct 28, 2007
Pizzahound in Great Lakes

Revolver Restaurant - Findlay, OH

Revolver had some water but was up and running quickly after the flood water receeded. Japan West had only a foot of water (horizontally) come past their outer doors. No water entered the establishment, so they were only closed for the time that people could not get to them. The Gathering on E. Main Cross is still closed the last I drove by. I have heard conflicting reports on whether they will ever open again... and yes, HQ got nailed.

Oct 28, 2007
Pizzahound in Great Lakes