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cookingmatterschef's Profile

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Erbaluce or Taranta?

I know, very different, but we want to take in some sort of Italian one night on our trip mid-October. Both look interesting and consistently good views for Taranta but mixed reviews for Erbaluce - seems either you love it or hate it. We are foodies, adventurous, and also have reservations at Oleana and Deuxave, and we are staying at The Lenox.

I understand there's not much in Erbaluce's Bay Village neighborhood unlike Taranta in the North End to walk around after dinner - ?

Thoughts? TIA for your help.

Good St. Louis Restaurants Open Labor Day

Here's another second for Home Wine Kitchen. We were there this past Monday and no menu Monday is outstanding. Food is creative, using seasonal/local, and outstanding, service superb, wine list unique and very reasonable. HWK is our go-to place any night of the week.

The Libertine, open since May in Clayton, is also very good. Josh Galliano, from the award-winning but now shuttered Monarch, leads the kitchen. Modern, creative takes that reflect his Southern roots and fun cocktail menu.

Overwhelmed...need help!

Chiming in here to attest for YES, YES, YES, go to Al's Beef. The best. Not sure if anyone's mentioned it, but at least the one we've been to in the Loop (on Jackson between Wabash and State) is stand up. Get plenty of napkins, the fresh cut (albeit greasy) fries, and if you like spicy, hot peppers. Not healthy, but Americana/Midwestern at its finest.

Mar 05, 2013
cookingmatterschef in Manhattan

Decisions - Katz, Delicatessen, or 2nd Avenue Deli for lunch; Mas Farmhouse, Blue Hill, or Quality Meat


THANK YOU for the recommendations. As I said above, some of this was from the hotel's concierge.

I am now thinking something now quite so heavy for Saturday lunch instead of a meat-y deli. You reconfirmed what I'd read about 2nd Ave. deli - some things great, others not so (I doubt anyone would order matzoh ball soup). I was learning towards Katz any way because we want to walk around Soho Saturday afternoon. Any fun lunch recommendations to throw out - regardless of cuisine?

If I want to go farm-to-table, which do you prefer: ABC Kitchen, Blue Hill, or Mas Farmhouse?

I will also research the others you've provided and will likely be back with questions (we are going to Public on Sunday).

Mar 05, 2013
cookingmatterschef in Manhattan

Decisions - Katz, Delicatessen, or 2nd Avenue Deli for lunch; Mas Farmhouse, Blue Hill, or Quality Meat

RCC, ABC Kitchen had been on my list, but both recommendations (it being touristy and a strong endorsement for Quality Meats) were from the hotel's concierge. Thanks for the clarification.

Mar 05, 2013
cookingmatterschef in Manhattan

Decisions - Katz, Delicatessen, or 2nd Avenue Deli for lunch; Mas Farmhouse, Blue Hill, or Quality Meat

Meeting our son and his girlfriend, who are both students at the Culinary Institute of America, mid-April in Manhattan and need opinions on a few places. Staying at The Strand (west 37th between Fifth Avenue and the Avenue of the Americas).

For late deli lunch on Saturday (at the request of the mid-western hubby), which deli is best, Katz, Delicatessen, or 2nd Avenue Deli (other recommendations welcome)?

For a very nice Saturday night dinner, I think interested in a farm-to-table restaurant or someplace meat-y (son is hoping to extern at a farm-to-table place in Aspen and is interested in being a butcher). Research suggests F2Ts can be quite inconsistent, and I've ruled out ABC Kitchen because it looks more touristy than what I want. Even though Quality Meats is not farm-to-table, menu looks great for what it is and son would like it a lot.

On Sunday, we are having brunch before Once matinee at Jane (decent reviews and reservations accepted, our foremost criteria), but other ideas welcome.

Dinner reservations are for "Sunday supper" at Public (super excited about this).

Most important criteria is GREAT food, price isn't an issue, but NO stuffiness (no sport coats), which eliminates most of the Michelin places - correct??

Hubby and I having lunch Monday at Gramercy Tavern after the kids go back to Hyde Park.

Thanks in advance for any and all suggestions.

Mar 05, 2013
cookingmatterschef in Manhattan

Reviews for Trencherman, TRU, Sable, Al's #1 Beef, and Hash House a Go Go (long)

Many thanks for the suggestions Chowhounds provided for our recent few days in Chicago. As a token of appreciation, I wanted to report back our reviews of where we dined.

Good but not great, personally don't see what all the hype is for at it. We liked the atmosphere, but be forewarned: it is LOUD (which didn't bother us, but don't go for a quiet, romantic evening). Drinks were creative, fresh (husband had a celery gin & tonic and I had the Pioneer - Pine Needle whiskey, campari, citrus). Pickle tots, a cross between fried pickles and tater tots that have been raved about everywhere, were one of the highlights of our meal. Get them. The Japanese sweet potatoes were nothing more than sweet potato fries with miso cream. The hake in a piquant piquillo pepper broth was the better of our entrees and good. Unfortunately we thought the milk braised pork shoulder was basically ham chunks. Tasty but nothing to die for. The short ribs were likely a better choice. We would not go back to Trencherman considering all the other choices in Chi town.

A once in a lifetime meal. It lived up to our expectations - and more. We were blown away, as you'd expect from TRU's legacy (and price point). We opted for the Chef's Collection nine course tasting menu, which ended up being more like 14 courses with the amuse, "linens," and mignardises. Food was creative, delicious doesn't do it justice, stunning presentations, and service matched the food - impeccable. Hubby noticed the "synchronized" serving before I did (where the servers surround your table and present the dishes at the EXACT same time). Favorites were the ancho cured duck breast, seared foie, and prime ribeye. I am not a dessert person but I particularly enjoyed the deconstructed campfire s'more.

LOVED LOVED it. The concept of small plates/half orders for sharing is how we really enjoy eating. Went for a late lunch and server was most helpful in telling what to order - and what not. You gotta appreciate that honesty. We had the half orders of everything, which was the right amount. Bacon jam was a bit unusual to what we've had before (loved the hint of coffee), topped with creamy brie and served with toasted baguette slices (we were fighting who was going to lick up the last smear of it from the mini cast iron skillet). We also had the tuna tartar tostadas, sweet corn creme brulee (lovely salty-sweet combo, dessert wanting to pass itself off as a veg dish, but that was okey dokey!), duck-juniper & pistachio sausage, veal meatballs, and finished with the crispy red lentil cake, which was my fave of what we ate. Highly recommend Sable.

Al's #1 Beef
I just had to throw this in. Classic Chicago street food, stand-up eating, messy (no less than eight napkins), and we understand why it's consistently ranked #1 beef in Chicago. We ate at the Al's in the Loop and ordered our beef with spicy peppers and dipped. Incredibly tender and the fries were terrific. I appreciated the smaller sandwich, too, which was still quite substantial. A carnivore's delight.

Hash House a Go Go
We ended our dining whirlwind in the windy city with brunch here. Fun atmosphere, family friendly, excellent service. Crazy huge portions. Hubby got the signature sage-fried chicken with bacon-stuffed waffles smothered with a maple syrup reduction and crispy leeks. Catchy presentation as it comes with a large knife stuck in the chicken and a big sprig of fresh rosemary. He loved it. Chicken was extremely moist, light crispy coating, melt in your mouth. I had the veggie house hash, ordered with poached eggs that turned out to be wayyyy over-cooked (yolks were thoroughly cooked with no "runny". I should have sent the back), but the buttermilk biscuit that I only managed to eat the top of was excellent. Overall, we enjoyed it.

Husband just surprised me with Streisand tkts, where can I get reservations for foodies at this late date?


I'm thinking of a late lunch at Purple Pig on Friday, say 2:30 - 3PM with the hopes of a "lesser" wait (and we should have plenty of time to get to United Center for the show). Any feel for that?

Husband just surprised me with Streisand tkts, where can I get reservations for foodies at this late date?


Thank you for the quick reply. For the Friday blow out dinner, I have reservations now for both L2O and TRU, but I think I will cancel L2O b/c TRU has always been on my culinary bucket list. Appreciate your input in making that decision. ;-)

For arrival evening, I have a reservation for Sable. Which do you prefer - Sable or North Pond?

For our late lunch/early dinner on Friday, you got me thinking either Piccolo Sogno Due or Mercat....

Husband just surprised me with Streisand tkts, where can I get reservations for foodies at this late date?

Oops, that is The Publican, not Pelican.

Husband just surprised me with Streisand tkts, where can I get reservations for foodies at this late date?

We will be arriving in time for a late dinner on Wednesday, 10/24, staying at the Raffaello and would like someplace more casual that night. Thursday will be our "blow out" dinner, price or cuisine doesn't really matter. For Friday, we'd like either a late lunch or early dinner before heading to United Center for the concert.

We don't want huge portions, but husband is not too keen on spoon-size portions either where you walk away from a $300 hungry. We are very food adventurous and an interesting menu is a must. We'd be okay with a true and tried Chicago established restaurant - or - someplace new and hip. I've ruled out Everest (I was there prior to my husband).

I've checked OpenTable and struck out so far with Girl & The Goat and The Pelican. I will call the concierge to see what help I can get there, but not hopeful for these two place.

HELP! Suggestions? And TIA for any and all suggestions!