durzia's Profile

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Mandatory tip at Alhambra Palace?

If you sit in the main dining room where the entertainment is going on, I know that they add that as a mandatory gratuity to any size table. I believe I saw it on their website somewhere, or maybe read it in Time Out magazine, however, they should definitely take the time to specify their policy when you call to make your reservation!

Oct 01, 2007
durzia in Chicago Area

Fried Oreos in Chitown

They always have them at the Wisconsin State Fair in West Allis, WI (just outside of Milwaukee), but that takes place in August. If you come across any fairs or carnivals, you just may hit the jackpot ;)

Oct 01, 2007
durzia in Chicago Area

Restaurant Supply Stores

Tuesday Morning is great too:

3141 N. Lincoln Ave.
Chicago, IL 60657
Open Mon-Sat 10am-7pm, Sun 12pm-6pm

May 09, 2007
durzia in Chicago Area

Chocolate Cake

I love Portillo's cake too. If you like that consistency and style, then Sweet Mandy B's is my second favorite for chocolate cake w/chocolate frosting ($15 for a small, which actually feeds a lot). It reminds me almost of a Hostess cupcake in flavor, but not texture. In my opinion, it's really, really good!

Sweet Mandy B's
1208 W. Webster Ave.
(773) 244-1174

Apr 30, 2007
durzia in Chicago Area

Dinner in the West Loop tonight - help

My husband and I like Vivo. The pasta dishes are really good and inexpensive and the atmosphere is really cool. It would be fun to eat at the bar too, lots of people do. Its a really cool space.


Apr 25, 2007
durzia in Chicago Area

best ice cream?

Caffe Gelato is very, VERY good:


2034 W Division St
(between Damen Ave & Hoyne Ave)
Chicago, IL 60622 (773) 227-7333

Apr 23, 2007
durzia in Chicago Area


Haven't been to the underground dinner, but my husband and I dined there this past Friday. It was wonderful! We went for the $20 pre-fixe that is served tues. - fri. nights and brought a bottle of wine along. If you look at their spring menu online, anything with an asterisk next to it is an additional $4, except for the lamb which is an additional $9. We got there around 7pm, had a reservation for 7:30, but just couldn't wait because we were starving. There were about three tables full of people when we got there and was almost full by the time we left. Also, there was plenty of street parking along Armitage.

For our appetizers, I chose the spicy red lentils on top of a corn cake, he chose the aspargus/mushroom salad. Both were excellent. The corn cake app. was rather small so I wasn't as willing to share more than a bite because I really, really enjoyed it. Lentils were barely spicy which was good because I can't handle spice, I got it mostly for the corn cake, it just sounded good. I helped myself to the generous portion of asparagus salad, the asapargus were HUGE and crispy and cut into nice bite-sized chunks. The mushrooms and dressing went perfectly with it.

For entrees, I ordered the Hawaiian moonfish (aka Opa), he ordered the rack of lamb. The moonfish was excellent and just what I was looking for. It has the consistency of tuna but its really moist and nice. The Ponzu sauce was so good that I soaked up every last drop of it. The mango salsa on top was the perfect accompaniment to the flavors. I shared my dish this time as there was a good portion, but can't say I shared too much of the sauce! The rack of lamb was also great. It came with a HUGE pile of fingerling potatoes which I couldn't keep my fork out of. The accompanying sauce was nice and thick and was perfect with both the potatoes and lamb (and I really don't like lamb at all, I'm *trying* to acquire a taste for it as my husband is from Lebanon and prefers it over beef and orders it almost anywhere its on a menu).

For desert, I chose the house banana bread pudding, or for an extra charge of $4 they had a few other deserts -- some pastries from Vanille (which personally I'd rather just go to Vanille for) or a house-made ice cream. Friday nights flavor was strawberry, kinda boring, but my husband loves strawberry ice cream so he ordered that. We were told they had a lavendar flavored one the night before, I would have liked that -- sounds more interesting at least. The bread pudding was amazing and had the perfect consistency with lots of moist banana. It came with a white chocolate creme anglaise on the side that I could have drank had they given me a larger portion. The ice cream was good, nothing special though, however my husband really enjoyed it, it came with a couple wafer-like house-made sugar cookies. We were told they recently bought the ice cream maker so they have been doing a lot of experimenting with it, so hopefully there will be some good flavors to come.

Overall, it was a great dining experience and we can't wait to go back - I'm glad we live so close! All the courses came out in a very timely manner, not too slow, but not too fast, which made it a really relaxing Friday night. We'll definitely be trying both lunch and bruch there soon. If I have one complaint, it's that we brought our own wine glasses (we're not snobs, but sometimes wine just tastes better out of your own glasses, especially since we bought a good bottle of wine), and the woman who was helping out in the dining room took our glasses, I assumed she was rinsing them for us or something, but never returned them. I only say that because they are visually nothing like the wine glasses they have there so I figured she would recognize that. I was getting nervous because they are pretty fragile, and a little pricey, and was afraid they would break. It took about ten or so minutes before we were able to flag our waiter down to tell him about the mix up, but luckily they were sitting right behind the counter in the bus pan.

I hope you all try this restaurant out. At the $20 pre-fixe its WELL worth its price!

Apr 23, 2007
durzia in Chicago Area

Hottest Trendy Restaurant in Chicago?! Need Recommendations

I second Aigre Doux! Just dined there tonight and it is HEAVENLY!!!! Probably the best dining experience I've had in a couple of years! My husband and I talked about it the whole way home. The food is perfection and the atmosphere is great. I already can't wait to go back and I know I'll be craving their food. I lived in LA for many years and I definitely see the chef/owners LA influences in this restaurant. Its unlike anyplace else in Chicago. I'll be posting about our experience more in-depth very soon!

Apr 14, 2007
durzia in Chicago Area

Best Steak at a Non-Steak House

THE BEST!!!! ----

encrusted with a mélange of spices, grilled medium rare & topped with gorgonzola cream sauce, served with garlic mashed potatoes & grilled asparagus

5402 N. Clark, Chicago, 60640
ph: (773) 907-0636

Apr 09, 2007
durzia in Chicago Area

croque monsieur - where?

Bistro Capagne in Lincoln Square!
This place is the best!!!

Marche had a c.madame, i've never had it, but i'm sure its good :

Apr 04, 2007
durzia in Chicago Area

mk or Aigre Doux for bday dinner?

Excellent. Thank you! My mind is made up already where to take him. It definitely was your review that I read and was drooling over! I've already got my reservation set - love that opentable.com ;)

Mar 29, 2007
durzia in Chicago Area

mk or Aigre Doux for bday dinner?

Looking for a new restaurant to go to for my husband's 31st bday in mid-April. We've never been to mk and have been wanting to try it for forever, but all these reviews I've been reading about Aigre Doux make it sound amazing. Can anyone help sway me towards one or the other? We're looking for a fun/trendy atmosphere. On a side note, how is May St. Market? Haven't heard/read too much about it lately. Thanks!

Mar 29, 2007
durzia in Chicago Area

Dinner in Waukegan

Louie's Restaurant
(847) 244-0101
1009 North Ave
Waukegan, IL 60085

I grew up in Waukegan and worked at this Italian restaurant as a teen. Its always been a favorite of mine, but I haven't been back for years. After living in LA and now in Chicago, I'm waiting for the day I have time to drive out to Waukegan to go here! (its about a five minute drive to the Genesee straight down Sheridan Rd.)

Mar 28, 2007
durzia in Chicago Area

Italian Sausage Source Needed

Tenuta's in Kenosha, WI is my favorite:
For some reason, the food in Wisconsin just tastes better (I guess cuz they don't skimp!). We drive all the way from Chicago to go there.

Feb 26, 2007
durzia in Chicago Area


Have been wondering about those too. There are a few old school Italian delis around Belmont/Harlem, maybe they will have them?
Saw this on Food Network (Giada) not too long ago, you could always make your own!

Feb 09, 2007
durzia in Chicago Area

Mandina's Opens Today

That is great news! Their turtle soup is my favotie. My husband and I last ate there the June before Katrina and we always talk about how we sat and ate dinner and watched (who we assumed were) a few of the male family members re-finishing the wood on the bar in the front room. They were so excited and were sanding away! It was almost eerie thinking about that night after we had seen photos of the building underwater, knowing all that hard work was ruined. We were just out in N.O. for vacation in December and now we have to come back soon for some Mandina's!

Feb 09, 2007
durzia in New Orleans

The very BEST King Cake?

Janet, I would go with the traditional, you can't go wrong. I've never tried the filled ones though, only because they sound way too rich and I already know the traditional is great so I didnt want to make a mistake by ordering something else. Also if its being shipped, I would have to think the traditional will hold up better. If you order from Haydel's today you'll have it on Friday! Another cool thing Haydel's does is send a miniature porcelain king cake doll, nice little touch. Their 2007 edition of the dolls is 'Mardi Gras in the Wake of Katrina.' Enjoy!

Feb 07, 2007
durzia in New Orleans

The very BEST King Cake?

My vote is for Haydel's. UPS delivered my traditional King Cake yesterday and my husband and I can't stop eating it! Its very moist and the frosting on top is perfect - not too thick, but not too thin either. Luckily its cold here in Chicage because my husband set the box on its side after he took it from our delivery man, but it was perfect after I opened it (the cold did some good for us for once)!

I've ordered from Randazzo's before, and while their King Cake is good, its a little more sloppy and not as moist and tasty as Haydel's.

Haydel's Bakery
4037 Jefferson Highway
New Orleans, LA 70121
(I tried ordering online but it didn't work so I had to call directly)

Feb 07, 2007
durzia in New Orleans

Anything remotely "chowish" in Disney World? At all?

I second Jiko and Blue Zoo. Coming from Chicago I'm pretty picky about good food since there is so much here. Both restaruants are excellent! I also recommend Kona Grill at the Polynesian for lunch. They have a more fancy version of the Hawaiin plate lunch and their teriyaki sauce is to-die-for! The Cobb Salad at the Brown Derby inside MGM is great for lunch too.

Jan 25, 2007
durzia in Florida

Pei Wei anyone?

I agree! Pei Wei is excellent -- used to live in Phoenix and I miss PW. We NEED Pei Wei in Chicago!

Jan 17, 2007
durzia in Chicago Area

Thanksgiving Pie....any suggestions?

I'm a fan of Sweet Mandy B's pies. My dad's a big pie guy and he loves 'em too:
1208 W. Webster Ave. (cross street: Racine)
Tel: (773) 244-1174


Nov 19, 2006
durzia in Chicago Area

Couple looking for fun/food/plentiful drinks in the French Quarter

I second Lafitte's Blacksmith Shop, its really pretty at night in the candlelight, always our first stop when we get into town. I highly, HIGHLY recommend Molly's at the Market on Decatur: http://www.mollysatthemarket.net/
Try their frozen irish coffee, you'll keep going back for more and more and more, like my husband and I do. The bartenders are the greatest, lots of fun to talk to. Then you can hop next door to Coop's for the best gumbo in New Orleans.

Nov 19, 2006
durzia in New Orleans

Reveillon Dinners

Hello, I've been trying to do some research before my husband and I head to New Orleans for a few days on Dec. 5th. I've been reading a lot about the Reveillon dinners and think it sounds fun, however, are these restricted only to the holiday week or do they go on throughout the whole month of December? If so, who serves the best Reveillon dinner (holiday atmosphere, good food...)? Thank you!

Nov 15, 2006
durzia in New Orleans

The Plateau, Old Mont. - trendy, fun, casual restaurants?

I should have added a price range --- looking for around $30CAN and under (i.e. looking at the Globes prices, they seem a little high), and we aren't picky, we'll eat anything, but preferably no Chinese.

Sep 24, 2006
durzia in Quebec (inc. Montreal)

The Plateau, Old Mont. - trendy, fun, casual restaurants?

Hello! My husband and I are heading from Chicago to Montreal on October27th for three days. We'll be visiting my sister-in-law who is in college, so we will be staying over around the Crescent St. area where we always stay, but have never been impressed with any of the food.

We've been to Montreal twice before, but never had a good chance to enjoy the restaurants because we've always been with family, and no one ever wanted to venture out of the neighborhood to eat, so we were stuck out of obligation! We've been forced to eat some awful food at an Irish pub on Crescent, been to Queue de Cheval for dinner on both visits (liked it the 1st time, hated it the 2nd time), then just snacked our way through some unimpressive cafes. The only place we were able to pick on our own, and look so forward going back to, is St. Viateur Bagels, thats the only good impression of food in Montreal we have because we were never able to make it out anywhere else!

I've been doing some searching on the boards and am at quite a loss for some places to eat! We noticed a few trendy, modern looking places walking around the Plateau/Mont Royal/St. Denis area, but its been a year since our last visit so I can't remember any of the names, but those are the kind of places we are looking for for dinner one night. We don't want anything romantic, but just some good food in a fun atmosphere to go to with my brother and sister-in-law (who are 27 and 21, we are 30). We love kitschy and cozy cafes, good places that locals go to -- nothing expensive, stuffy, or dressy, just some moderately priced hidden gems. We'll have a car, so distance from where we are staying won't be a problem, but would like to stay within the city.

Also looking for a good rec for a place for either dinner or lunch in Old Montreal. I just think its so beautiful and have been wanting to go and sit and have a good meal at a cute place there.

Thank you!

Sep 24, 2006
durzia in Quebec (inc. Montreal)

Fish Tacos

Baja Fresh is EXCELLENT. I used to live in Los Angeles, so having one here has been a god-send. Now only if Rubio's would open up out here....... Rubio's is THE BEST!

Aug 13, 2006
durzia in Chicago Area

Seeking Solace in the form of Milkshake

If she's willing to go a little bit farther, go to Oberweiss on Milwaukee at Ashalnd (they even have a larege parking lot in the back they share with Jewel and other businesses): 293 N. Milwaukee Ave., (773) 276-9006. Oberweis is a local dairy, at their stores they sell glass bottled milk, lemonade (the best), ice cream, and other goodies to take home as well as having a great fountain menu. I love my chocolate shakes and they by far have the best (their mint chip shakes are great too)! http://www.oberweisdairy.com/web/defa...

She can also try Scooter's Frozen Custard on Belmont and Paulina in Lakeview (1658 W. Belmont Ave). They are also very, very good and different than your average ice cream shop.

Aug 13, 2006
durzia in Chicago Area

Brother Jimmy's

Smokin Woody's on Lincoln or Smoke Daddy on Division.

Jul 18, 2006
durzia in Chicago Area