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Best fish tacos in Chicago area?

I second the recommendation of Big & Little's for fish tacos. They grill a large piece of mahi-mahii and then squirt some home-made spicy mayonnaise type sauce on it and serve it over shredded cabbage/greens. It's great. They also do fried fish tacos - specifically soft shell crab and catfish. Beware - cash only, limited seating and no air conditioning (not a problem now but last summer - Whew!)

Jan 11, 2011
zgwarnki in Chicago Area

Definitive beer store?

While primarily devoted to wine, both outlets of Lush (on Halsted and Roscoe) have very good beer selections and they'll even let you taste stuff. They have off-the-beaten-path microbrewery items, imports, you name it.

Mar 09, 2009
zgwarnki in Chicago Area

Groupon

It seems that no one on Chow has picked up on Groupon yet. Groupon is a web-based group coupon idea utilizing collective buying power that emails you daily opportunities to sign up for large discounts at restaurants, spas, dance lessons, even chiropractors (once.) But it seems to be mostly restaurants and there's a different offer every day that you can only sign up for that day. So far it's only in Chicago and you can check it out at www.groupon.thepoint.com. It's much better than restaurant.com in that the discounts are greater, the coupons are good for longer periods of time (usually 6 months) and they can be used for alcohol and for the full price of your meal.

Today, 3/6/09, they have Lalos on Clybourn which is pretty bad as Mexican restaurants go. However, in the recent past I have signed up for Groupons for Yats (which also has yet to be reviewed on this Board) Oceanique, Trattoria Roma on Wells and Smoque.

$20.00 for a $50.00 gift certificate at Oceanique that you can use on a Saturday for wine is a pretty good deal.

Check it out and let me know what you think.

P.S. I have nothing whatsoever to do with Groupon or the people who own/run it. I just think Chicago Hounds should know about and have the choice to take advantage of a truly unique opportunity to spend less money for more food at Chicago restaurants.

Mar 06, 2009
zgwarnki in Not About Food

Lunching in the Loop

There's a place on Randolph just east of Wacker called Sushi Sai that opened fairly recently. Had lunch there a couple of months ago and it's perfectly acceptable Loop sushi. Large selection of rolls, decent service, not overly expensive.

Mar 06, 2009
zgwarnki in Chicago Area

Lunching in the Loop

Let's do the time warp again. My lunch club buddies and I used to call The Courtway "the cheap place."

Mar 06, 2009
zgwarnki in Chicago Area

Lunching in the Loop

Wow Bao is perfectly acceptable Chinese dumplings for in the Loop. The State Lake outlet is on (enter at) the NW corner along State. The six pack deal is quite good. My vegetarian teenage daughter is a big fan of WB so I got her the custard one (the only desert dumpling they serve) since she has a sweet tooth but I haven't remembered to ask her what she thought of it.

Mar 06, 2009
zgwarnki in Chicago Area

Lunching in the Loop

Sorry, haven't been trolling the Boards much lately. At BB I've always just asked for the "special" or "home made" hot sauce. Same thing at Heaven on Seven on Wabash. They have a home made, tropical fruit based hot sauce that you have to know about to ask for - - it's not on the tables and has to be refrigerated.

Mar 06, 2009
zgwarnki in Chicago Area

What are the best AYCE in Chicago? Especially North suburbs?

Not the North suburbs but definitely in Chicago, I would recommend the newly opened Shinju sushi at 1375 E. 53rd Street (at Kenwood) in Hyde Park. They have all you can eat every day all day and it was under $20.00 a few month ago when they first opened. Service was cordial. Everything seemed fresh, the deal included desert and a very strange fruit drink, the name of which I cannot recall. It's a very small place and be prepared to sit on the floor at some tables.

Mar 06, 2009
zgwarnki in Chicago Area

Lunching in the Loop

At Burrito Buggy make sure to ask for their home-made hot sauce. It will blow your head off and they only give it to people who know to ask for it. Yummy!

Jul 17, 2008
zgwarnki in Chicago Area

Lunching in the Loop

Best thing about Sopraffina (at least the one on Dearborn btw Wash & Mad) is that from 3pm to closing (4pm) ALL pizzas are HALF PRICE. They will cut full pizzas in half which makes for easy carrying in their plastic handle bags. When I've had to work thru traditional lunch hour or wanted to pick up something to bring home or to Millenium Park this is just the ticket!

Jul 17, 2008
zgwarnki in Chicago Area

1st time visitor, review/ciriticize my plans

If you're going as far south on Orleans to get to Jackson, you might as well just go to either Mr. Beef (Orleans btw Superior and Erie) or Al's Beef on Wells and Ontario - - both much closer to the JH/near north area where you're staying than the SW corner of the Loop. Kitty Corner from Al's is the giant former Planet Hollywood-now-Gino's Pizza which is forgettable other than that it has an outpost of Mitchell's Candies (originally of far South Suburban Homewood) and some of the best premium ice cream available by the scoop or pint without going to Rainbow cone or some high falutin' gelato place. Just a few ideas to think about.

Jun 18, 2008
zgwarnki in Chicago Area

Park 52?

I haven't eaten a full meal there yet. However, the crab cake one of the co-owners bought for me (full disclosure) last week was pretty good. And, yesterday, the stuffed trout appetizer I bought was excellent - it was rolled up like a make and stuffed with a potato/spinach/crab puree and had chive oil on one side of the plate and a roasted red pepper sauce on the other. I asked the chef(?) if the trout was from Rushing Waters Farms in Palmyra, WI (a place I've shopped and fished at several times) and he said he knows it and buys from there when he can. All this bodes well for when I break down and actually dine there.

Jun 18, 2008
zgwarnki in Chicago Area

Nastiness about La Petite Folie

Here's an excerpt from Andrew Ferguson's article in the Weekly Standard entitled "Mr. Obama's Neighborhood"

http://www.weeklystandard.com/Content...

which contains this nonsense about Hyde Park, in general and La Petite Folie, in particular:

"Only after a day or so do you notice what's not here. There are no movie theaters, for example, and not much commerce generally. There's nowhere to buy a pair of pants or shoes. There aren't many restaurants, and only a single overpriced restaurant catering to the culinary affectations of the yuppie trade--strange for a neighborhood with so many wealthy residents. Only in the last few months did the neighborhood get a reliable, clean, and well-stocked grocery store.

And both of these, the fancy restaurant and the new grocery store, are creatures of the university's paternalism. The university has long been aware that the neighborhood it created lacks the amenities that urban dwellers demand as compensation for the discomforts of city living. So when the neighborhood's only large grocery store failed recently--it was a customer-owned cooperative, whose empty shelves and accumulated gunk attested to its Soviet-like disdain for market forces--the university subsidized a new outlet from a "gourmet" grocery chain. Now everybody's happy. The fancy restaurant, too, was encouraged by the university as something its cultured faculty would like, and as a place where parents might take their student children on campus visits; the university keeps the restaurant owners afloat by providing business for their catering service."

A little below-the-belt, wouldn't you say?

Jun 18, 2008
zgwarnki in Food Media & News

Happy Hour?

That website is a load of hooey - it seems to think that life in Chicago stops south of Cermak Rd. I'd check out the RedEye for daily drink specials and then call first just to make sure.

May 02, 2008
zgwarnki in Chicago Area

Park 52?

I've scanned the menu from the first week as a pdf file and tried to attach it to this post to no avail. Oh well!

Apr 14, 2008
zgwarnki in Chicago Area

cheap eats near: AMC River East 322 E. Illinois

Too late now but next time try Lizzie McNeil's on the river. They have a very creditable Guinness Irish Stew and free popcorn - load up with a ziplock and sneak it in to your sneak preview!

Apr 11, 2008
zgwarnki in Chicago Area

Hot Doug's: 2008

My 15 year old son and I just ate at HD last Friday. I had bid on and won a raffle package at Costco (?!) that included five $5.00 gift certificates and a blue HD T-shirt. It was nothing short of orgasmic. My son is a huge carnivore and ordered the polish w/everything and the alligator sausage with cajun shrimp mayo and St. Pete's blue cheese. I got the Dick Ruthven special, after asking Doug to pick between it (spicy jerk pork) and a chicken sausage (if the choice is btw chicken and pork; always go with the pork, he said) and a buffalo sausage that was a daily special. He also joked that the gift certs "expire when he does so use them up quickly."

I cannot believe no one has mentioned the duck fat fries which are only available on Fridays and Saturdays. They are amazing. Even reheated that night in the toaster oven.

I just returned from 5 days in New Orleans and (I could create a whole board topic on this next statement but) Hot Doug's is to Chicago what Domelise's is to New Orleans. Unduplicated, distinctly of that city and not to be missed. P.S. the wait Friday 3/28 around noon was only about 15 minutes.

Apr 01, 2008
zgwarnki in Chicago Area

Park 52?

I thought I saw something in the RedEye that Park 52 is supposed to open next week so that would fit right with opentable taking reservations for 4/10 and beyond. The website http://www.park52chicago.com/ is still "under construction."
No menu posted yet anywhere that I can see.

Apr 01, 2008
zgwarnki in Chicago Area

Commander's Palace

I had a very nice dinner at Commander's last night. Dennis and the other wait staff were great and told me that just this past week were they back to full (ie. 200 people) staff since the storm. I had the 1-1-1 soup trio which is a great idea; the duck and wild mushroom gumbo was dark and earthy and the turtle soup as good as ever. The pecan crusted redfish with crab meat sauce was delicious. The Pontchatoula strawberry shortcake was worth the extra wait. While on the subject of Commanders, does anyone know the secret ingredient in the Adelaide Swizzle? Dennis brought out the book they have on making cocktails - which is very cool btw - and I guessed Orgeat syrup and was wrong.

Mar 17, 2008
zgwarnki in New Orleans

Cheap Eats Near Palmer House

So, maybe the brothers aren't talking? . . . then I'd be right! ;-)

Not to wish any troubles on one of the great pizza families of Chicago . . .

Mar 07, 2008
zgwarnki in Chicago Area

Sunshine Cafe-is it open?

If this place in Andersonville is where you're talking about

http://chicago.metromix.com/restauran...

then it appears that, yes, it is open.

It's a 20-30 minute L train ride up north from downtown to get there.

Mar 06, 2008
zgwarnki in Chicago Area

Cheap Eats Near Palmer House

I second the choice of Miller's Pub. Really will give you a good feel for the City. Pretty decent ribs, too. The pix of all the sports figures, faded starlets and B-movie actors from 40-50 years ago are a hoot. For deep-dish Chicago pizza w/in walking distance, I would definitely try Pizanno's, just around the corner. Owner split off from founder of Lou Malnati's pizza and their effort is top notch.Cool comic book/action figure store for your son right down Madison from there towards Michigan Avenue. Finally, you should also try Heaven on Seven for downtown's best New Orleans food. Jimmy and George Bannos converted their Greek coffee shop into a shrine to the crescent city ages ago, trained under Paul Prudhomme and hosted a lunch decades ago for a little known NO chef named Emeril Lagasse. Nuff said. It's cash only and get there early for the daily specials to and beat the lines. Ask for Ground Zero or The Bomb from behind the counter if you want to blow your head off with insane hot sauce. And if you have room (which you won't) the chocolate bourbon pecan pie is outstanding.

Mar 06, 2008
zgwarnki in Chicago Area

Wednesday night dinner specials

Be careful with Metromix or, especially, RedEye daily specials. I always bring a copy of the RedEye with me whenever I go to a place based on supposed daily specials. The good ones (Beviamo on Taylor - $5 glasses of wine or Lizzie McNeils on St.Clair - $6 Guiness Irish Stew - - which was quite good, BTW) will make good on the "deal" when you show it in writing to them. The bad ones - - and I'm calling you out, Poag Mahones (for its alleged $3 nacho plate) - - will not. Not sure who to blame for this but I'll hang most of it on the RedEye. In all fairness, I like the Poag for its ahead of the curve smoke-free policy, a good blackened catfish sandwich and veggie vs. beef chili options. But the server and mgr who refused to make good on a RedEye special were not to be commended.

Mar 06, 2008
zgwarnki in Chicago Area

Dinner by the Art Institute tonight!

Puck's in the MCA itself is an easy but fairly pedestrian choice. NoMi at the intersection of Chicago and Michigan Avenues is a good choice with a dramatic view of the Mag Mile. Good luck getting a reserv, though. $$$$. Mity Nice Grill and Food Life in Water Tower place are a lot lower end with lots of vege options. No view, however. To say that FL is a glorified food court does not do it justice. Plus there's the great shopping in Water Tower place after you eat (if anything's still open by then.) MN Grill is a sit-down place that's a little more upscale. Signature Room at the top of the Hancock is strictly for tourists and the view. Rl or Tru are in the vicinity but back up in the $$$ and $$$$ categories.

Mar 06, 2008
zgwarnki in Chicago Area

Bagged Lunches for volunteer days?

Tex, I just sent in a volunteer request form to On Site Relief for a day I'll be in NO in March. Have you done your volunteer stint yet? Since you said you wouldn't have a car did (will) you cab it or take a bus out to their HQ at 3819 Royal Street? How did the muff work out?

Mar 06, 2008
zgwarnki in New Orleans

Holiday Beer Cheer 2007

Tried a humongous amount of this stuff at the Winter beer tasting at Delilah's last year. My favorite then was a Belgian beer in a little "ripply" shaped bottle that I can't remember the name of (must have been at the end of the tasting LOL.) Since then, I've tried and loved the HeBrew folks' "Jewlebration" and it was intense. Not for no reason do they put "turn it up to 11" on the label! Kind of ironic that would be my favorite Christmas beer.

Mar 06, 2008
zgwarnki in Features

...fishbowl type drinks in the City

You can get oversized Margaritas at Barro (formerly Salvadors) on Lake Street btw Wabash and Michigan downtown. Beware, they make you don a sombrero when you drink one. The food is strictly mediocre so if you're stuck downtown and just gotta have a fishbowl type Mexican drink . . .

Mar 04, 2008
zgwarnki in Chicago Area

Drury's Hotel on Poydras - Rating and Environs

Thanks for the tips, mrsfury & Bill Hunt. I've heard a lot about Cochon (see other thread on NYT naming it one of USA's 10 best restaurants.) Will that make it impossible to get into? Do they take reservs? Guess I could check website. How many of the places you recommend are open for lunch?

Mar 04, 2008
zgwarnki in New Orleans

Drury's Hotel on Poydras - Rating and Environs

Bummer. I hope they've "cleaned up their act" before I get there (nyuk, nyuk.)

Mar 04, 2008
zgwarnki in New Orleans

Park 52?

Anyone have news on the grand opening of Kleiner's long-awaited HP foray?

Feb 28, 2008
zgwarnki in Chicago Area