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Senza is closing in mid-January

Thanks for the answer. Hopefully, other CHers in Chicago who have not been to Senza could chine in as well. Rather than second guess the reasons why they close, let the ones who have not gone tell us why instead.

Dec 18, 2014
sunbrace in Chicago Area

Senza is closing in mid-January

"Why do you think it closed? I've never been but the reviews all seemed positive."

To I Eat Chicago: I would be interested to know the reasons why you haven't been? Instead of us figuring out why, perhaps someone like you who have heard of it but never went could give us some clue?

Dec 15, 2014
sunbrace in Chicago Area

Chinese / Taiwanese Restaurants in Greater Chicago Area

I thought Mei Shung was so so, but that was 8 years ago. I haven't been back since. If you haven't noticed, Chicago isn't really known for Chinese or Asian food in general. I usually head further north to Toronto or to NYC in order to satiate my appetite.

For the suburbs, I've only tried a couple of places. China Chef in Morton Grove serves Filipino-Chinese foods. It's not quite Taiwanese but the Chinese who settled in the Philippines are mostly from Fu Jien so the style is somewhat the same. In Arlington Heights, I've tried Penang, which is Malaysian Chinese.

Dec 15, 2014
sunbrace in Chicago Area

Chinese / Taiwanese Restaurants in Greater Chicago Area

Hi Bearmi,

I totally forgot about this thread. I went to Vora with a friend in Feb of this year and to Cafe 527 this summer. Overall, Vora was hit or miss. We ordered several dimsum items on top of orange chicken. And yes, I do know the chicken isn't really Chinese but that's what DP wanted. They're gua bao/pork buns were respectable but I prefer mine in the more salty and sweet side. I loved their milk tea with tapioca. The chicken was actually good, 10 times better than Panda Express's and it wasn't too sweet. The rest were hazy but I did remember the chive dumpling being too garlicky for my taste. I would say that your friend's assessment was spot on. It's not bad but I wouldn't go out of my way for it.

As for Cafe 527, I ordered a tofu pudding and their beef noodle. I can't remember what DP ordered. I found the noodle to be bland and watery for my taste. If I were to recommend a Taiwanese restaurant, I would go to Vora instead. Please remember that this was earlier this year and from what I can see on their website, they have changed their menu significantly except for some of the dim sum selections. So any current feedback from you would certainly be appreciated. What Vora excels in is that it will satisfy any cravings you have for Taiwanese food, at least temporarily. And if I were back in the area, I would go back to Vora. I just saw that they have shaved ice there and would love to compare that with the ones I've had this year in my travels.

I used to love going to the International Mall in Westmont. They used to have a stall that serves this intensely flavorful beef noodle. My last trip there a couple of years ago was too disappointing though that I didn't return back. Also, the grocery beside the mall has a prepared foods section at the back. Most of the items are actually Taiwanese.

Dec 07, 2014
sunbrace in Chicago Area

[UPDATE]- Vote for Your Favorite Restaurants in Chicago for "Best of 2014"

1. Alinea
2. Schwa
3. Goosefoot

Dec 06, 2014
sunbrace in Chicago Area

Where to buy pig / cow blood and fat in Chicago area?

Hmart and the Filipino stores in Chicago should carry them too. I have seen them at Fresh Farms as well.

Nov 24, 2014
sunbrace in Chicago Area

Update on Chicago bakeries

Pilsen has an awesome bakery called Beurrage. Their croissants are amazingly good that you can see the layering of the dough. It's similar to the morning buns at Cellar Door Provisions in terms of style.

At Dinkel's, I usually go for their chocolate covered chocolate chip cookies. It's buttery, fatty and addicting.

Nico Osteria downtown also has some pastry selections for their morning menus. I have tried their kouign amann and thought it was perfectly caramelled on the outside and flaky on the inside. It's not as good as Bad Wolf's version but is pretty close.

Nov 20, 2014
sunbrace in Chicago Area

Steak in Chicago

How about Harry Caray's for Italian steaks or Flemings(for a chain)?

Nov 20, 2014
sunbrace in Chicago Area

Single dining Chicago

I know of a diner who ate at Alinea solo. However, you have to email them on the same day that you would like to eat there and there is no guarantee that you'll get a seat neither. My preference would be to eat elsewhere. But if you are dead set on eating there, the best days to probably get a table are during their slow days, or you can see if there are any other solo(or 3) diners who would like to share a table with you.

Nov 20, 2014
sunbrace in Chicago Area

An Already Researched Solicitation for Comments

If you found Grace to be sterile, maybe try Schwa? I can't think of any other place that's a polar opposite of Grace than Schwa right now. And yes, the food is good too visavis the price you pay. I'm not sure if they accomodate vegetarians though.

In terms of bakeries, DoRite Donuts did open a branch close to where you are staying, at 233 E Eerie. And since you are considering lunch on Saturday at Nico, you may be able to catch their brunch specials at that time. They offer pastries for breakfast as well everyday. Their kouign amman is the 2nd best in the city that I've had so far.

Oct 18, 2014
sunbrace in Chicago Area

Eva Airlines - has anyone had their food?

I was hoping the Hello Kitty class seats would be draped in Hello Kitty pink!

Tasting Menus- Chicago

I would vote for Schwa, but have a plan B just in case. Otherwise, try Goosefoot. It's well within your budget range. Both are BYOB as well.

Oct 15, 2014
sunbrace in Chicago Area

Best Cajun/ New Orleans food in Chicago area?

I thought Dixie Kitchen was so so as well.

Oct 15, 2014
sunbrace in Chicago Area

Best Japanese Groceries in Chicago Proper?

Any Chinese or Korean grocery store in Chicago/Chinatown should have miso and lotus root(fresh and frozen). I have not seen the other produce but I don't frequent the Japanese groceries in the area. You can also try Jong Boo on Belmont and Kimball. It's a Korean grocery store so they should have several Japanese brands in stock as well(kikkoman, ajinomoto, japanese curry, yuzu tea, etc). The closest Japanese store that I know of is Akai Hana, but that's in Wilmette. I know of students who take public transit from Loyola Academy to downtown Chicago so there has to be a way to get to Akai Hana. It's a small grocery store that I usually visit if I need to get things most other Asian stores do not carry. Akai Hana is about 2 blocks or so from the school on the other side of the Edens Highway. While you're there, you can also visit Sea Ranch in the same strip mall for fresh sushi and seafood.

Oct 15, 2014
sunbrace in Chicago Area

Trip Report: 4 days in October with kids

Thanks for the report. Love Banh Mi Boys although I'm not a big fan of their kimchi fries. Interesting texture though. Also, if you head out to the Brown line stop on Western again in the future, do try Baker Miller. It's an awesome pastry shop that serves lunch as well!

Oct 14, 2014
sunbrace in Chicago Area

Adventurous food family heading to Chicago

I went to Quartinos last summer. I would say that their food there is good. I really liked their gnocchi with pesto and their breads. Very addicting. I haven't tried their pizzas yet as you need to sit in a different area for it.

Sep 29, 2014
sunbrace in Chicago Area

Delicious Chinese near Mag Mile/River North?

Chicago's not known for Chinese food in general. Beyond the ones in Chinatown, you can probably try Vora in the Gold Coast. They're known for their Taiwanese food but also serve dishes from other regions as well. It's on 1028 N Clark St.

Sep 29, 2014
sunbrace in Chicago Area

Last Visit Coming up to Chicago

Garrett's is much much better than Kernels. I've brought some to Toronto and to Asian, it's still good a couple of days later. It's usually gone by the 2nd day so I don't know how long the popcorn would last. FYI, the more humid the area you live in, the faster it will lose it's crunch.

Sep 24, 2014
sunbrace in Chicago Area

Almond Croissant and Donuts near WrigleyField

La Boulangerie on Belmont and Clark has a good rendition of an almond croissant. Osmium Cafe on Belmont and Racine sells 4 types of donuts fromn Do Rite, which is one of my fave donuts in the city. Lastly, Heritage Bicycles, on Lincoln and Southport, will be selling donuts from the Doughnut Vault in the next three weeks. Their donuts are known to be addicting:). I highly suggest the last option if you're really into donuts.

Sep 17, 2014
sunbrace in Chicago Area

Grace - Fauna and Flora Menus

Perhaps I'm more of the exception than the rule, but when we dined there early June/July, I asked if I could substitute a couple of items from the Flora menu but was politely declined. I'm not sure why this happened to us since the consensus here has been that Grace was accommodating of diner's requests. We both ended up choosing the Fauna menu and the server sold us their main dish from the Flora menu for an additional 75 dollars.

Sep 15, 2014
sunbrace in Chicago Area

China town recommendations

I've never been impressed with any of the Lao's. I've been to three of them including the mothership, Lao Sze Chuan, and was never impressed with the food nor the taste. For a solo diner who wants to avoid the dimsum craze on Sundays, Sweet Station might be a better alternative. Also, there's a hand pulled noodle place across from Lao Sze Chuan. I haven't been but heard good things about it.

And yes, Joy Yee for their delicious tapioca concoctions is a plus! Don't go in for their food though, there are better choices in the area.

Lastly, if you are fond of preserved fruits and candies, try visiting Aji Ichiban. They sell a variety of dried plums, mangoes, and other Asian sweets and fish as well. You can have a sample of the goods before you purchase them as well to see if they are to your liking. I've always loved their dried mangoes and roasted cuttlefish.

Sep 10, 2014
sunbrace in Chicago Area

Weekend in Chicago - Grace, Schwa etc.

Congrats on getting in at Schwa. I really enjoyed my meal there and thought that it was the best value of all the fine dining establishments here in Chicago. Hope you enjoy yours as well.

Sep 09, 2014
sunbrace in Chicago Area

China town recommendations

Are you looking for dimsum which is the most popular option on a Sunday? If so, you can try Cai on the 2nd floor of the plaza, Three Happiness or Ming Hin. If it's just lunch you're after, Sweet Station or Ken Kee in the plaza will do. Most serve Cantonese fare with dishes from other regions mixed in as well.

Sep 08, 2014
sunbrace in Chicago Area

OK, Ready for Feedback: My Heavily Researched Chicago Itinerary

I wasn't impressed with Nico as well. I thought the food was heavily salted. If you do intend to go, I suggest their ordering from their crudo selection or making it your brunch destination instead. I did like their version of a kouign amann. It's only available for breakfast if I'm not mistaken.

It's been a while since I've been to Frontera Grill. I wasn't impressed the first time I was there. Xoco, which is just beside Frontera Grill, on the other hand, was excellent.

Sep 07, 2014
sunbrace in Chicago Area

mooncakes 2014

Thanks for the tips. I'll be meeting him in Cali when I'm starving so I might as well eat them before we get to our hotel. lol

Sep 07, 2014
sunbrace in Los Angeles Area

mooncakes 2014

klyeoh: How long do these mooncakes last? My brother who lives in Sg just bought me some but I won't be meeting him until next week. I wish Chicago has a better variety of mooncakes:(

Sep 06, 2014
sunbrace in Los Angeles Area

Michelin Chicago 2015

If Frontera gets a star, does Topo remain at the same level or should it move up as well?

FYI, I agree with a poster from the NY board, Chipotle deserves 3 stars! After all, the ability to customize your burrito in a gazillion ways should be worthy of a trip!

Aug 29, 2014
sunbrace in Chicago Area

Adventurous food family heading to Chicago

Two other spots that are not as expensive in the downtown area are Heaven on 7 and Eataly. If ever you do venture into Eataly, I suggest you do it during lunch where the wait is shorter compared to dinner time.

Aug 28, 2014
sunbrace in Chicago Area

HK Recs and Fine Dining Walk ins

Thanks Uncle Yabai, PhilD and kyleoh. Looks like I'll either have to book one in advance or change my plan. Tosca and Amber seem to be more enticing to me at the moment. I'll try emailing them to see which ones can accomodate one of my DP's dietary restrictions.

HK Recs and Fine Dining Walk ins

Hi fellow chowhounders,

I was wondering if you can give me some direction as to where to eat in HK. I'm coming from Chicago and the rest of my travelling companions are coming from either Toronto or Singapore. We'll be staying there for 4 nights. So far, I've booked Lung King Heen for my birthday celebration. I would like to go to another fine dining establishment where we can celebrate our mini reunion with the rest of the family on our first day there. Is it possible to walk in and get a table for 4 at say, Amber or L'Atelier? I'm planning to do this for lunch on a Thursday. I didn't want to make any more reservations since I don't know how many of us will arrive on time. The rest of the trip will be spent visiting family and sight seeing.

Also, is Tim Ho Wan worth the wait? And is there a difference between Din Tai Fung in HK vs Shanghai or Beijing? We tried the ones in Singapore and loved them. I'm also hoping to get into The Chairman since it is close to our hotel. Any congee or noodle places besides Mak's that I should try?