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Cheap vegetarian eats in northern Chicago?

"I'm suspecting there's not much intersection between vegetarian, cheap, and unique to Chicago"

ah, the presumptuous snobby west coast. i'd almost forgotten you these past 9 months. since i returned from SF. good to see some things never change.

indeed we do have cheap, unique, vegetarian food in chicago. here are some fantastic places for your stay in fly-over country.

mana - small plate vegetarian spot. actually very SF, in my opinion. wine by the glass and veggie sliders. good stuff.

handlebar - technically a bike messenger bar. also happens to have amazing veggie food. (and some fish). and seriously, some of the best fries in the city.

earwax cafe - kind of an SF hipster vibe. not my favorite, but very popular here.

i'd also second the uru-swati suggestion. good cheap place. for slightly more i've always loved tiffin and hema's kitchen. particularly the malai kofta at tiffin.

there are a billion brunch places in town with interesting stuff. toast and bongo room are always popular for their stuffed french toast and whatnot. i also enjoy vella cafe quite a bit.

italian food out the yin yang. same for mexican. and while SF is full of mexican, it tends to be of the mission variety which is a tad different than what chicago (and LA) has. my favorite is arturo's on armitage and western for cheap eats, but there are plenty of others.

and if you decide to splurge, green zebra and charlie trotter's are two of the best restaurants for veggies you can find on the planet, imho.

Jul 06, 2009
bwan in Chicago Area

chilling/aerating question

hello all. i've got yet another question that is probably on the stupid side...but what can i say. you all have been very helpful in answering my bad questions thus far, so i thought i'd pose another.

so i'm mostly a pinot drinker when it comes to wine. and i like them to be served a touch below room temperature. the problem i have is that i also find most of them improve with a good amount of breathing time. so if i open the wine early and put it in a decanter, i don't really like to put it in the fridge for fear of it taking on some of the flavors floating around my old, decrepit fridge. so usually i end up chilling it for a bit, and then opening it. problem is by the time it's breathed enough the temperature has reverted back to room temp.

any suggestions? how do you get around this?

i'm sure the answer is breathtakingly obvious, but i'm stumped...

thx

Jun 23, 2008
bwan in Wine

Trader Joe's Fresh Pizza Dough

lena b. -
no answers on the bounce back, but one tip i read on another board was to use the "fresh" mozzarella that doesn't come in the liquid. it's basically just shrink wrapped, and actually still says "fresh" on the side. but since it's not stored in the liquid, it doesn't leave a puddle.

another unrelated tip i'd pass on is to use this stuff called parmalat strained tomatoes. it's this weird little box of tomato sauce you can get at safeway in the spaghetti sauce section. but it tastes exactly like pizza sauce. just salt it a touch, and it's perfect. waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay better than using marinara. and you can freeze the left overs.

believe i found both of those tips on the egullet boards....

Jun 20, 2008
bwan in Features

decant or ?

just bought one...because of a demo at Acacia.

they brought out a newly released pinot that wasn't on their tasting list and poured us a glass. then they excitedly brought out the vinturi and poured us another glass. night and day. the first un-vinturied glass was tasty, but very "green." the vinturied glass was smooth and open. as though it had been decanted for 45 minutes. fantastic.

but i'm cheap, so i bought mine on amazon for 30 bucks. can't say i've ever shaken a glass of wine, but i have done the hand on the bottle flip. that doesn't even come close to what this thing does.

opened a bottle of 05 chasseur last night. first glass poured immediately. good, but a little closed. poured another at the same time through the vinturi. much better. again, as though decanted for 45 minutes.

it's really just a cool little timesaver if you forget to open a bottle early or if you open something really young. for 30 bucks, i imagine it will pay for itself shortly. comes with a little stand that's kind of cool on the counter.

(as an aside, the people at acacia were delightful and i highly recommend a stop in there...showed up 5 minutes before they closed and they were super great to us.)

May 14, 2008
bwan in Wine

California wine? Down the drain

if by "promotion" you mean "convinced me never to buy her book" then i agree completely.

May 08, 2008
bwan in Wine

California wine? Down the drain

yup. i was just in napa this past weekend. other than rambauer, everyone kept talking about their "unoaked" chards. "buttery" is now a bad word at napa wineries...

May 07, 2008
bwan in Wine

California wine? Down the drain

zzzzzzzzzzz.

shorter feiring: i don't like your wine! and i have a book coming out that i'd like you to buy! only drink wine i like or you are a rube!

May 06, 2008
bwan in Wine

Best Champagne @ $50?

no worries.
i just got back from my local safeway, and for what it's worth they had bollinger at $46 and a couple of good french NV bruts for about $35 (perrier jouet and lauren-perrier).

Apr 04, 2008
bwan in Wine

Best Champagne @ $50?

this thread will probably be of interest to you...
http://www.chowhound.com/topics/499101

Apr 04, 2008
bwan in Wine

If you had $50 to spend on Champagne, what would you buy?

you're right, for the birthday the splurge is the way to go.

but no need to wait for an event that large for the ariston fils...i'm having one tonight to celebrate thursday!

that pascual toso is a nice little everyday deal....

Mar 27, 2008
bwan in Wine

If you had $50 to spend on Champagne, what would you buy?

or, for $50, you could buy two of these:

http://www.klwines.com/detail.asp?sku...
Ariston Carte Blanche Brut

pretty tasty, toasty stuff. easily the best value i've come across in my brief champagne tasting career...

Mar 27, 2008
bwan in Wine

Suggestions for someone who has never had wine before

lizzo -
i'll just tell you what worked for me, and you can decide if it sounds like it might work for you.

after years of having only terrible wine, i visited coppola's winery in napa. i had a great time, and started trying all of the different varieties sold by the winery both in grocery stores and on the website. it's an approach i recommend for two reasons. first, the wine is pretty easy to find. you can get it in most decent grocery stores. second, they make a ton of different varietals. and i found that tasting through these varietals taught me a lot about each of them.

now i'm not saying this is my favorite wine by any means, but i find them to be very approachable, food friendly, and don't require any special aging or anything. and truthfully, i don't really drink them very often anymore.

at the same time, as lame as this may sound, i bought 'wine for dummies.' just kind of skimmed it, but learned a ton in just a few hours.

hope this helps.

Mar 19, 2008
bwan in Wine

If you had $50 to spend on Champagne, what would you buy?

i just had a bottle of bollinger special cuvee and thought it was pretty fantastic. goes for about $45 out here.
i've got a gosset grande reserve stashed away for my next special night...that's $50 out here.
also been enjoying billecart salmon lately. goes for about $40.
all three are relatively easy to find, and imho, very tasty.

Mar 15, 2008
bwan in Wine

champagne tasting order

well, tasting/party. i expect a fair level of inebriation by the end.

but pacing yourself is always good advice.

just got back from the store, btw, and on their advice added a 99 castellanne brut millesime to the mix....

Feb 29, 2008
bwan in Wine

champagne tasting order

ha, fair enough! thanks for the advice. i will try to incorporate them into my strategy tonight. and yes, i take it too seriously.

Feb 29, 2008
bwan in Wine

champagne tasting order

hmmm. don't you then run the risk of having imbibed a tad too much by the time you get to your good bottles, and thus not appreciating them enough?

i guess the overall grain makes sense, just needs to be accompanied by moderation?

Feb 29, 2008
bwan in Wine

champagne tasting order

ok, a bit more info.

i think the cheapest thing tonight is a bottle of j laurens which i got for ten bucks. i think it's pretty tasty, but that's "cheap" for champagne in my book. my other cheap entry is a mumm napa "cuvee mumm" which i got for $14.

nothing super expensive going on tonight. the hostess has a couple bottles of etoile sitting around, so i imagine some of that will be served. i'm bringing a bottle of iron horse russian cuvee and still debating on whether or not to bring something actually, you know, from champagne. if i do, it will likely be in the $30 range, and i will try to find something a little more full bodied to contrast all of the california bubbles...

Feb 29, 2008
bwan in Wine

champagne tasting order

hello knowledgeable champagne internet people.
i've received great champagne advice from this board previously, and am back with another question.

we're having a "champagne night" tonight with some friends and i was wondering if there was any sort of order that would be better to taste them in. i know people usually say go light to dark for still wines, but does the same hold true for sparklers?

frankly, i tend to want to go expensive to cheap, just to make sure i'm getting everything out of the expensive ones. but i don't want to squash all of the blanc de blancs by starting with something really toasty.

any help, as always, is appreciated.

thx

Feb 29, 2008
bwan in Wine

What are you drinking right now?

2002 argyle willamette valley brut.
22 bucks at safeway.
probably the most interesting american sparkler i've had, in that it really doesn't seem to be attempting to be something it's not, i.e. champagne. it's got great bubbles, kind of green appley.

Feb 21, 2008
bwan in Wine

krug pairing for a vegetarian UPDATE

thanks for all of the suggestions again. i ended up making fettucini with a cream sauce and porcini mushrooms. pretty tasty, and was nice with the champagne. probably not salty enough, but good. but the champagne was really good with the chocolate truffles, so that was the most important thing.

but the best part of all? her gift to me - a bottle of krug. ha! so now, after all of that, i still have another bottle to enjoy....

thanks again for the help.

Feb 15, 2008
bwan in Wine

krug pairing for a vegetarian

all excellent comments. thanks so much for the suggestions.

and, erm...i'm actually the vegetarian, not her. and not that it makes her a vegetarian, i just don't really cook meat. i suppose i could, i just don't know much about it. last time i cooked meat, i served a whole youth group the pinkest chicken they'd ever seen...

Feb 12, 2008
bwan in Wine

krug pairing for a vegetarian

well, it's time for the valentine's day pairing advice threads to start.

for mine, i would like to humbly request help from the wise chowhounders about a valentine's day dinner with a bottle of krug grand cuvee.

i started my planning from the end of the meal with this: http://www.vosgeschocolate.com/produc...

really some of the best chocolate out there, and a girlfriend favorite. but now i need to figure out a simple menu (we're off to the symphony, so don't have a ton of time to cook) that will either go well with the champagne, or at the very least not get in the way of the champagne and truffles to come.

but the tricky part is i need a vegetarian menu. i've seen lots of good recommendations on the board for fish and whatnot with krug, but couldn't find any for a vegetarian menu. any thoughts?

thanks in advance for helping...

Feb 12, 2008
bwan in Wine

rules for buying cheap wine (under $10)

a couple of "guidlines" i use. not necessarily rules.

australian shiraz is usually a good bet for under $10 wines.

a really good bargain right now in my opinion are malbecs from argentina. lots of them out there for less than 10 bucks. still haven't had a bad one.

i also like to buy blends. so if i see something labeled "table wine" or "red blend" i usually go for it. in my experience, these tend to be nice, tasty little wines. not super complex, just good to open that night.

Feb 07, 2008
bwan in Wine

Novice

i'm a relatively recent wine convert myself, after a career of miller lites and fruity drinks.

for me personally, pinot noir is what finally helped me enjoy wine. since it's so popular now, there are tons of pretty good pinots readily available. they tend to taste like they have less alcohol, and can be very "light" and smooth for a red wine.

another little piece of advice is to look for coppola's wines. i know they're not terribly popular with wine "purists" but i've found them to be the most consistent and approachable for beginning wine drinkers. and they're relatively cheap.

Feb 05, 2008
bwan in Wine

Trader Joe's - what to choose?

the shiraz is far and away the best of the reds. the others are dangerous, and you'll regret them in the morning.
the chardonnay seemed fine to me...when it's cold, it tastes like a chard twice it's price!

i just noticed tonight that the trader joe's by me (sf) has trader joe's champagne now for only 4 bucks...could be fun for the party?

Feb 02, 2008
bwan in Wine

wine ethics question

thanks for the pep talks and reminding me to do what i knew was right...

so anyway, after work i stopped by...and the bottle was gone. did one of you run down there and scoop it up? just kidding.

anyway, turned out there was one in the fridge. so i asked the guy if the price was right, and he said yes.

so i said "but it's usually much more than this."

to which he replied "our prices very low!"

despite his pride in his boss's low prices, i said "yeah, but it's usually twice this much."

so he called his boss, who said to give it to me for that price.

so i got a nice bottle at about half off. i suspect it was a mistaken box that got added to their shipment, because they really didn't seem to know what it was.

but the $8 i spent on the 1/2 gallon of OJ probably balances it all out...

Jan 28, 2008
bwan in Wine

wine ethics question

so i've been getting some good advice in another thread on which champagnes to try. but in my shopping, i've come across an ethical dilemma.

my corner store sells a decent selection of champagne. just a little mom n pop place, but they have veuve and white star.

here's the dilemma: they have one bottle of veuve gold label reserve priced the same as the yellow label at $34.

so what's the ethical approach here?
1. buy it quick.
2. point it out to them, but don't buy it.
3. don't point it out, just walk slowly away.

i mean, i don't really want to take advantage of them. but neither do i really like getting involved in other people's business...for all i know this fell off the truck, or was sold to them mistakenly...

any thoughts?

Jan 28, 2008
bwan in Wine

solo champagne advice

i know, things could be a lot worse for a champagne newbie than living in san fran, right? heh.

i saw that kandl was pushing the bonville and the arnould, but wasn't sure if i could trust/would agree with their recommends. but now i'll have to look into both of them.

thanks again.

Jan 28, 2008
bwan in Wine

solo champagne advice

i guess it's not that i want to drink it without food...i just worry that i would not get a good sense of a champagne if the first time i had it i paired it poorly, you know? this is really just the economical side of me wanting to not splash for an expensive bottle and risk ruining it...even though the wine side of me knows that risk is part of what makes looking for new wines fun...

Jan 27, 2008
bwan in Wine

solo champagne advice

thanks for the replies everyone. to clarify just a bit, i guess i was reacting to some postings i've seen where people said they were a little disappointed with some of the pricier champagnes when drinking them without food. i didn't mean to imply that i was only looking for the super pricey champagnes, just that at that price i didn't want to spend a ton of money if something wasn't at it's best on it's own....

it's not that i'm pairing averse - i'm just really bad at it. so i tend to just have wine before or after a meal, but not really with it.

but the "richer champagne" sounds like a good place to start. i live in san fran, so there seems to be a fair amount of good stuff available...

thanks for all of the comments, again, and i'd love to hear more opinions...

Jan 27, 2008
bwan in Wine