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MikeLM's Profile

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Sour/Tart Cherries

No helpfor fresh, but Costco has wonderful dried Montmorencies at about $7 for 20 ounces- which is a lot of dried cherries.

Jul 14, 2008
MikeLM in Chicago Area

Westbrook Corporate Center


You will find Pappadoux, a Cajun-themed restaurant in Westmont on Route 83 just five or six minutes west of Westchester, a very satisfactory place for lunch with bigwigs. All their seafood is excellent, especially the fried calamari. They make the best onion rings in the known universe. (Onion rings may not be shown on the menu, but just ask for them.)

Go west on 31st Street, south on Route 83, and then take the first right; you will see their sign as you approach.

Jul 04, 2008
MikeLM in Chicago Area

Best Subs

"...orginal Fontano's off of Taylor is pretty good. I believe they still own and operate one in downtown Hinsdale."

That's interesting- I never been to Fontano's downtown, and I have never noticed the ownership of the Hinsdale shop, but they make a really outstanding sub.. They're on Washington Street, just north of the Burlington tracks, across from the Fuller's carwash.

To take this discussion in the opposite direction,so to speak, Rubino's Italian Market and (huge) Deli makes a sub that takes at least two people to lift. It is on Harlem avenue, a little north of downtown Tinley Park. They have MANY other really nice sandwiches, and everything Italian you might think of. It's better to go in well before or after lunchtime, because they're packed to the roof around noon.

Apr 16, 2008
MikeLM in Chicago Area

Best Restaurants in Oak Park?

A little way west on Roosevelt Road in Emelio's Tapas Bar, a couple miles west of Hines VA hospital. I believe it was his first place after leaving the Lettuce venue. Still very good.

Apr 07, 2008
MikeLM in Chicago Area

liquor store near hyatt regency

Have to admit I've told this before-
My son's fraternity at U of Iowa had a wild weekend in Chicago at the hotel on Michigan just north of the Chicago river. When they regained consciousness on Sunday, they realized the convenience bar in the room was completely empty, and they owed the hotel about $350.
My son took the bar list up the street to a Walgreen's and almost completely restocked the bar for about $50 in miniatures. He was a successful Social Chairman of the fraternity for two or three years.

Apr 07, 2008
MikeLM in Chicago Area

Anyone knows any grass-fed burgers? (moved from Home Cooking)

Here's one you can try...

If you don't mind paying $10 per pound.

Apr 02, 2008
MikeLM in General Topics

Best small restaurant with mind-blowing food

"Sapracino Ristorante" is exactly what you're looking for. Mark Sparacino does contemporary Italinn-themed, highly innovative cooking. Not a red sauce in the place. Great reviews from all the papers.

Ten or so tables in fromt of a massive fireplace, and a complete bar off to the side. Mark is the worl'd biggest extrovert in the world and loves to bring out the dishes and schmooze with the diners.

It's on the north side of North Avenue,just one block east of Harlem.

Mar 30, 2008
MikeLM in Chicago Area

Mexican in the Western Suburbs

Had a very nice lunch at Ayala's yesterday. We arrived at 12:30 on Saturday and there was no one else in the place!. About four couples showed up while we were there, so it seems like that's a good time to go. Had pork with salsa verds and Potatoes with beef in oregano sauce. Both very good, and enough to take home for supper tonight.

Mar 02, 2008
MikeLM in Chicago Area

Easter brunch in western suburbs

We enjoy the Sunday brunch at the Holiday Inn in Willowbrook. It's on Route 83 just north of I-55. They have an excellent selection, good food, and after noon they are fairly generous with the champagne. It ain't Pol Roger, but we manage to choke it down.

Mar 02, 2008
MikeLM in Chicago Area

Amateur Night (long)

To expand on the NYD/VD suggestions above, it's not a good idea to go to an Irish Pub on St. Pat's day, either.

Feb 24, 2008
MikeLM in Chicago Area

Wrigley Rookie

No help here, but a funny memory- about 18-20 years ago my son and I would drive in to Wrigley fron the west suburbs. After trying to find something to eat at the Field, we discovered a Polish Restaurant and Deli on Fullerton at Mozart. They made a HUGE sandwich - cold cuts, cheese, pickles, trimmngs - you could hardly lift it. We would stop and each get one and smuggle them into the ballpark.

Around the fourth inning, we would order a beer and a soda, and unwrap our sandwiches.

As soon as we lifted them to our mouths, people from fifty feet in every direction would start hollering "Whereja GET those? Where's the stand?"

We had to tell them the stand was about five miles west...

Feb 19, 2008
MikeLM in Chicago Area

4th of July fireworks dinner for 20-30 people

This may be a little off-the-wall, but the Kane County Cougars baseball stadium in Geneva has the best 4th-of-July fireworks display I've seen in the whole area. We go every year with my cousin and wis wife, their daughter and SIL, and my son and his family. It's become a family tradition since my cousin moved back from the East Coas seven or eight years ago.

It isn't the Bigs, but the baseball is pretty good and the entertainment is great. The food, much of it prepared (almost) to order, is quite good and reasonably priced. If you have kids in your party, they will be well entertained.

They can accomodate parties in special pavillions, though I'm not sure they can set apart a group of 20-30, which would simplify you picking up the tab as host. You would have to ask them about that; I wouldn't be surprised if they haven't figured that out. It is an extremely well-managed venue.

Take me out to the ballgame!

Feb 19, 2008
MikeLM in Chicago Area

What to drink while I'm in detox??

A fairly decent wagon-style drink is tonic water with lemon or lime and a couple squirts of bitters. I know, bitters is herb-infused brandy, but there's not enough alcohol in a couple dashes to risk an onset of the DT's (if that's your problem.) ;-)

Feb 15, 2008
MikeLM in General Topics

ramen soup ideas?

Addendum- I like to turn it into a hot and sour soup, adding a good slug of vinegar, hot chile sesame oil to taste, and some cornstarch. I always stir a raw egg in at the end, whichever way I'm going.

Feb 15, 2008
MikeLM in Home Cooking

Best Friday Night Fish Fry?

The Irish Times restaurant in Brookfield has really excellent fish (cod) and chips; They do an all-you-can-eat on Friday for $11. Yoou would probably be well advised to get there a little early.

Whatever you do, do NOT plan on a St. Patrkcik's Day dinner there- it's a cross between a riot and a mosh pit.

Feb 15, 2008
MikeLM in Chicago Area

Second Careers in Food ... that Failed

In 1963 or '64, The Harvard economist John Kenneth Galbraith, who had bought a vacation home in New Hampshire, wrote a funny article in the "Reporter" magazine about the couples who escaped the rat race in New Youk and brought their life savings to open a quaint little restaurant in the vacation country in NH.

The vacationers and the locals loved and appreciated these little restaurants and patronized them faithfully until the owners' savings ran out, the couple closed up the quaint little restaurant and headed back to the Big Apple.

Feb 12, 2008
MikeLM in Features

Good food in Lombard area

A hearty second for Greek Islands in Lombard: full service with extensive menu.
A nice gyros joint is Gyros King in Downers Grove at the SE corner of Ogden Ave. and Main Street.
A really good BBQ place is Uncle Bub's in Westmont, on Cass Avenue two blocks south of the Burlington RR tracks.

Feb 09, 2008
MikeLM in Chicago Area

Good Butcher in Chicago?

7649 N. Milwaukee

Ummm... didn't they used to make submachine guns?

Feb 03, 2008
MikeLM in Chicago Area

Cafe Borgia

Y'know... I'm not sure I would be comfortable eating anything in a place with that name.

How are you feeling?

Jan 29, 2008
MikeLM in Chicago Area

ISO Recipe for Real Italian Beef sandwich and the dippin gravy

The current (Feb/Mar'08) issue of Cook's Country has a detailed recipe for "Chicago-Style Spicy Roast Beef" which reads very well. It includes 5-1.2 cups liquids, so you should have adequate jus.

It's accompanied by an equally-detailed recipe for "Chicago-Style Italian Beef Sandwiches," so you should invest in a copy of the mag.

Jan 04, 2008
MikeLM in Home Cooking

ISO Recipe for Real Italian Beef sandwich and the dippin gravy

Sorry to be so obtuse, but what is "Gardiner?"
Google was no help, though I never realized there are so many towns named Gardiner.

Jan 04, 2008
MikeLM in Home Cooking

Garlic - featured restaurant?

Wineo... sorry, Wineaux-
Do you actually have an appliance for roasting garlic? Like a pannini-cooker or a toaster oven?

Where can I get one?

How much space does it take up on the counter?

Dec 16, 2007
MikeLM in Chicago Area

Country Ham

The country ham should be hung for at least a year. You then wire-brush off the mold and soak in several changes of water, and boil until it's cooked. You will have to look up timings. It keeps, frozen, for a VERY long time. I still have a few slices from the 2006 ham. My father's ancestral farm near Cape Girardeau, MO slaughtered and hung their own hogs for many years. He bought a hobby-farm near Frederick, MD and bought the raw hams and cured them for many years. There's no better food.

Smithfield hams are from hogs that have been turned into the peanut fields of Virginia after the harvest, where they root out every last un-harvested peanut and are then converted into Virginia hams. They are very good. The Carolinas, Kentuckey, Missouri, and Maryland make some great country hams, too. All are smoked usually with hickory, salted, and hung to dry for various lengths of time, They're sort of semi-proscuitto type hams.

I've read that, in Vermont, they smoke their hams over corn cobs. This may reflect Yankee frugality, but I have no interest in trying this.

Dec 15, 2007
MikeLM in Chicago Area

Need recs for a special place in the south burbs

How about Bogart's in Tinley Park? They're a nice aged-beef steak house, and if you go, be sure to get the French Onion soup.

Dec 14, 2007
MikeLM in Chicago Area

Country Ham

Not greasy if you know how to do it. Deglazing the frying pan of fairly thick slices of country ham - and you can trim off as much fat edge as you like - with a little strong coffee. If you object to salty, you should not ne eating country ham.

Try the gravy with grits or biscuits. If you can't handle that, stick to fried bologna.

Dec 09, 2007
MikeLM in Chicago Area

I think I just ruined my allclad saucier pot, help!

Not for this problem, but for badly-burned-on food (which can result from a similar situation) the manufacturer of Magnalite Professional Stainless (similar to AllClad and now discontinued) recommended the following:

Put a tablespoon of dishwasher detergent in a quarter-inch of water in the pan (or deep as needed) and bring to a simmer for twenty or so minutes. PUT YOUR VENT FAN ON MAXIMUM SPEED as the fumes are really nasty. We've reclaimesd several expensive pans this way, and it works every time. May need longer time if it's really scorched.

Nov 25, 2007
MikeLM in Cookware

Are Brazilian style Restaurants any good?

We've been to Sal y Carvao in Downers Grove (or maybe Wheaton, anyway it's at Roosevelt Road and Finley Road) and liked it very much, although we tried to eat more than our money's worth and suffered a severe protein hangover. Be sure to try the parmesan-crusted pork loin. Sausages were great, too. Their salads and sides are excellent, but of course you want to concentrate on the meat! Your advice above is sagacious.

Nov 17, 2007
MikeLM in Chicago Area


OK- got your caterer.

I've known Mark Sparacino for years. We had our 50th wedding anniversary there, That's a time to choose carefully!

Nov 17, 2007
MikeLM in Chicago Area

Knife Sharpening in West Suburbs?

You might call Bull Sharpening in Oak Park; they do aall kinds of tools and probably do knives, too

Nov 12, 2007
MikeLM in Chicago Area

ramen soup ideas?

All good ideas, above. I like to also add a couple tablespoons of miso. Dip out a little hot water with a measuring cup and dissolve the miso in it before returning to pot. Using some chicken broth instead of all water is nice, too. I also add a clump of bean threads, softened in warm water, at the end to up the noodle quotient.

With me, too it winds up a hearty meal.

Oct 18, 2007
MikeLM in Home Cooking