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ShortOrderHack's Profile

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Thai around Clark and Fullerton?

The OP clearly says 1-2 m radius from Clark and Fullerton. None of your suggestions are even close, except for TAC Quick.

Have you eaten at Sura, and if so, why not offer some constructive comparisons for specific dishes?

I based "authentic" on matching some of the best neighborhood Thai places I used to frequent in Seattle (e.g., Siam on Broadway). I can get many of the same traditional dishes at Sura that I could at those places, and they compare favorably. I haven't tried Sura's fusion dishes.

Jun 02, 2008
ShortOrderHack in Chicago Area

Thai around Clark and Fullerton?

Sura, on Broadway between Barry and Wellington, has the best and most authentic Thai food I've found since moving from Seattle (a Thai restaurant mecca, to mix metaphors) 4 years ago. It is not spiced for the average Midwest diet. The ingredients are fresh and high quality. The food and chef are great, but the concept is off the mark. The negative is that the decor is oddly postmodern/60s, and the place seems set up as a nightclub, not homey at all. That's why we take out.

Jun 01, 2008
ShortOrderHack in Chicago Area

BBQ on Public Transit

I've had an excellent pulled pork sandwich at Smoke Daddy, very tender, and their sauce is abundantly tangy. The blues was tangy, too, definitely a flavor enhancer :)

Amoncada, I'll go out on a limb and mention that, on a comparative BBQ take-out tour of north-of-gold-coast joints, Twin Anchors' ribs fared somewhat poorly. They seemed drier, and less tender, than a couple of other places we tried. I know it's an old-school fav, just reporting my experience.

May 01, 2008
ShortOrderHack in Chicago Area

Suggestions for Valentine's Day?

I'm not so sure about Fulton's for Valentine's. We just went there and had a fine dinner, but we were seated in a large room with no semi-private spaces, just many tables. It seemed more corporate than intimate. Maybe there are other parts of the restaurant???

Feb 07, 2008
ShortOrderHack in Chicago Area

Reubens - Sauerkraut or Coleslaw? [Split from Pacific Northwest board]

Surreptitiously have your girlfriend tested for alien DNA (maybe catch some drool from the rye). I never, ever, saw coleslaw on a Reuben in NYC. I suspect, on her planet, the 'slaw was substituting for dressing in absence of 'kraut and Russian dressing. Watch out...Invasion of the Body Snatchers!

Strangely...one of the best Reuben's I've had was in Ann Arbor, MI - Zingerman's.

Feb 06, 2008
ShortOrderHack in General Topics

Smoque BBQ - Report

SWS, I enjoyed your profile tirade.

Regarding BBQ: if it ain't got a smoke ring, fahggetaboutit. I am the worst stereotype of a NY Yankee (proudly), and never had real BBQ until I got educated. Then, 1991, I graduated with an advanced degree but afterward learned something real. My advisor had us ignorant folk over for a post-Pomp-and-Circumstance celebration. Her partner from Deep South had helped prepare the meal. (Not Texas, I think MS or AL)

We went out back. There was an old 40-barrel drum cut lengthwise in half. Pieces of tender meat pulled off the bone were in foil. Vats of mysterious sauce lay nearby. I ate. My eyes were opened.

Smoke ring says it all. I was never the same since.

Feb 06, 2008
ShortOrderHack in Chicago Area

Lunch at O'hare help.

I've not been to the Gold Coast Dogs in O'Hare, just the one in Midway. Of course, they serve decent Vienna Beef dogs, as do all GCD locations. But, oddly enough, it's my preferred airport breakfast. Passable bagels w/cream cheese and scrambled eggs. From my experience with their other locations, Gold Coast generally has a reasonable quality/value proposition. I know you're talking lunch, but for the future...

Feb 06, 2008
ShortOrderHack in Chicago Area

Passover in Chicago

Many synagogues have a Second Seder that is specifically geared toward children (and their families). I would suggest contacting some temples of your denomination.

Feb 04, 2008
ShortOrderHack in Chicago Area

Duke of Perth and vicinity

Duke has a loyal following but the wings and burgers I've tried have not kept me coming back (they were OK, but nothing special).

If you're looking for good pub food, I'd suggest either Dunlays on Clark (Clark and Wrightwood) or Uncommon Ground (3800 N. Clark, just north of Wrigley Field). Dunlay's has a killer 2-for-1 burger special on Wednesdays, but even without that, it's pretty decent (and slightly upscale) food and good burgers. Uncommon Ground also has good food, maybe even better than Dunlay's, plus easier parking. Parking near Dunlay's can be very difficult.

Hopefully my suggestions are close enough to count as "vicinity".

Feb 04, 2008
ShortOrderHack in Chicago Area

Meat and Fish

Gepperth's (Gordeaux's pick) is quite good. I go there when I want a particular excellent cut for a special event. For example, I got an amazing Prime rib roast from them for New Year's Eve. Their overall quality is very high.

Whole Paycheck, er, Foods, has pretty nice beef and seafood (I think they have a South Loop location, and also on Dearborn & Huron). In general, they are my preferred seafood store - I am rather demanding about my seafood, having lived in Seattle for a very long time. Although some people like Dirk's on Clybourne, I think Whole Foods' seafood is actually better priced (??!!) for a superior product, albeit less selection.

Green City Market (Lincoln Park, on Clark just north of La Salle) is a place you can get beef direct from the grower, although you'll have to wait until May for the market to start up again.

However, at Green City Market, I got some good beef from Heartland (organic), and just saw that Heartland's website lists some Chicago stores that carry their products. I know you said organic isn't necessary, it's just that what I had was good. At least one store is near the Loop:

Joseph Baumgartner Co.
935 W Randolph
(312) 829-7762

Don't know anything personally about the above place. Here is the link to sites that sell Heartland retail (a few other Chicago locations, too):

http://www.heartlandmeats.com/retail.htm

My own experience with Costco is that their products haven't come close to the above recommendations (except I like the Kirkland-branded Australian rib rack). I've only tried other cuts at Costco twice, and found them to be a bit tough and with nerves in the muscle fiber despite looking Ok, so I gave up.

Hope this helps...

Jan 09, 2008
ShortOrderHack in Chicago Area

Coal Fire Pizza

To differ - a good NY thin-crust pizza is not oily or tough on the bottom. It is well-toasted, dry on the bottom, and crinkles when you fold it with your fingertips (while cradling a slice in the palm of your hand, simultaneously pressing downward with the thumb in the center of the crust edge). Sigh.

Dec 07, 2007
ShortOrderHack in Chicago Area

Coal Fire Pizza

Have you tried La Madia, on Grand? Quite excellent as well, wood-fired oven, Neapolitan crust.

Dec 07, 2007
ShortOrderHack in Chicago Area

Any recent reports on Keefer's?

Last visit, end of April. High quality as always (3 meals, once per year). Excellent seafood and variety, better than any other steakhouse I've been to. Top pro service. Decor modern, not clubby. Every out-of-town guest, including steakhouse veterans and even those who don't like 'steakhouses', has been positive. Not my favorite traditional Chicago steakhouse - that would be Rosebud on Walton - but pretty great, especially if you want to accomodate seafood lovers.

Dec 03, 2007
ShortOrderHack in Chicago Area

Best Chicago-style bagels?

Well, all this talk led me to take Chowtot to Kaufman's today. They have pretty good bagels...possibly, indeed, the best I have had so far in Chicago. The only things impeding bagel nirvana, IMHO, were they were not quite dense enough and had too thin crust, which toasting improved.

Slightly off topic - Kaufman's is the first good Jewish deli I have been to in the Chicago area. (I'm a 3yr Lincoln Park/E. Lakeview resident, and don't get out of the city much) Pickles from the barrel, housemade pickled herring in cream sauce, great nova, pastrami, and brisket...I couldn't believe Chowtot ate all these things we brought home.

Aug 18, 2007
ShortOrderHack in Chicago Area

Breakfast/coffee spots near Westin

Point taken, scratch Milk and Honey.

The only problem you might have with Tempo is that to get a seat quickly, you've got to show up before about 8:30am on weekends. Once seated, they'll get food to you lickety split.

Aug 18, 2007
ShortOrderHack in Chicago Area

Best Chicago-style bagels?

I won't quibble with your opinion of Einstein's...they're just the best I can find within easy walking distance. I am mildly ashamed for eating a substandard bagel. But I've had far worse. So sue me ;-)

I admit I have no idea what "Chicago style" bagels are, and there seem to be conflicting ideas on this post. I share the same impression as foodette - Chicago bagels generally don't seem to be as dense and chewy as many NYC bagels.

Aug 18, 2007
ShortOrderHack in Chicago Area

Best Chicago-style bagels?

ABF, you claim to know the best bagels on the planet, but have you tried Bagel Oasis, a stop on the service road off the LIE in Littleneck/Douglaston. I urge anyone to make a special trip. My family has been going out of the way on Sunday mornings for the last 40 years. They FedEx for the truly desperate, which has been necessary in Seattle.

In Chicago, I get by on Einsteins, too sweet and fluffy but good enough to keep me from turning into a werewolf once a month. I might have to try Kaufman's, though, after reading this post.

Aug 17, 2007
ShortOrderHack in Chicago Area

Breakfast/coffee spots near Westin

Tempo! Barbara's got it right! Old school Greek diner, totally pro, good fresh fruit. Chestnut and State.

Milk and Honey, in Bucktown ( a short cab ride). Fresh, natural, New American, wonderful.

Aug 17, 2007
ShortOrderHack in Chicago Area

Ping Pong vs. Chen's on Clark: Chinese takeout shootout in Boystown

I'd like to report on a recent comparison between Ping Pong and Chen's, spurred by a couple of posts recommending Chen's that led us to try it. The basis for comparison: hot and sour soup, spring/egg rolls, sesame beef, chicken broccoli. I hope this helps somebody. If you don't want to read this, the last paragraph says it all.

We often take food out from Ping Pong, in nearby walking distance. It's not conducive for us to eat there, due to the extremely loud pounding club music and general volume level in a stark industrial/modern space. But we take out again and again because the food is high quality.

We went for delivery at Chen's, also nearby. The food arrived ahead of the estimated time and was quite hot, possibly the first stop of the driver's route.

Both restaurants used fresh ingredients.

Hot & Sour Soup - Ping Pongs has superior silky texture. Chen's is too thin. Ping Pong's is more spicy (3* average), but Chen's spice level was 1.5*. I like hot and often adjust hot pepper and rice vinegar anyway, so hot/sour is not a big deal to me. Ping Pong's tastes more complex full bodied (savory) and eggy, Chen's more like heavily doctored broth but with decent taste.

Spring/egg rolls - fried rolls with vegetable/shrimp filling. The fillings on both were fine. Chen's was too greasy for Chowspouse to eat (I agreed but was hungry enough to eat it). Ping Pong's have occasionally been greasy but are generally well-drained and almost never as greasy as the sample from Chen's.

Sesame beef - beef with crunchy rice noodles and a sweetish/sourish sauce with some spice. Chen's would have been good (decent crunchy fried sesame-coated exterior) except it was much too sweet and the meat was coated with a little too much batter. Ping Pong's is superior - not too sweet, and more sesame seeds, without extra fried coating, and the meat seemed a bit better quality.

Broccoli chicken - stir fried chicken w/a bland sauce. Chen's had too much corn starch, and the broccoli was completely overcooked. Ping Pong gets this dish right - a lighter hand on the corn starch, and the broccoli is always al dente. The quality of Ping Pong's chicken seemed higher to us, too, but there was nothing wrong with Cheng's chicken.

So, Chen's was a disappointment and we will not try it again. The food was decent quality, but for takeout, save your money. Ping Pong is not perfect, but it's one of the better places we've tried. Just remember, if you want to get a table, bring your earplugs.

Aug 17, 2007
ShortOrderHack in Chicago Area

What's the Best Frozen Pizza?

Trader Joe's Organic Three Cheese Pizza is, for our family, the only frozen pizza we have found that is worth getting, and it has become a freezer staple. It is plain thin crust, and actually better than most of the "thin crust" pizzas we have had at pizzerias around Chicago. Crispy, quick, and quality. Like the Jester's post above, a very short ingredient list. I didn't know it was the same company.

Just for perspective, I am not an organic food evangelist...in different stages of life, I've eaten every kind of nasty chemical-infused frozen pizza out there. I am, however, a thin crust devotee of New York origin, and the Chowspouse - although raised a Chicagoan - has been heard to admit converting to the thin-crust camp following a long-ago stint in NYC. The three of us, including Chowtot, heartily endorse TJs organic 3 cheese pizza.

Dec 16, 2006
ShortOrderHack in General Topics

Hamburgers vs Pub Burgers

I agree with the requirements set forth by TonyO, but I'm surprised nobody mentioned the beef should be ground in-house (a stricter version of TonyO's rule #1), which I think usually starts to separate the serious burger places from the rest.

Nov 14, 2006
ShortOrderHack in Chicago Area

Hamburgers vs Pub Burgers

Boston Blackies is the pub burger you're looking for downtown.

Rosebud on Walton really is awesome, though. You can call it a snob-burger or whatever, but the fact is, it's in an entirely different class than BB's. Plus, one of them fed both me and Chowspouse for a quick takeout the other night.

Nov 01, 2006
ShortOrderHack in Chicago Area

Toddler Friendly Dining Near Michigan Ave?

When our 1yo insisted on getting up early, we would go downtown to Tempo (on Chestnut and State, about 3 blocks off Michigan Ave) for breakfast...a Greek diner with all-American food. BUT...for weekend breakfast you must get there before 8-8:15am to avoid a wait!

Oct 18, 2006
ShortOrderHack in Chicago Area

Throwdown with Bobby Flay

I just saw the jambalaya episode...it wins my vote for the most fair that I've seen (chowder, cake, jambalaya). I think it was the clearest demonstration so far that superior ingredients cannot overcome inferior technique (and that sometimes there's no substitute for a heavy cast iron pot). Flay proved to be a good sport, though.

Someone's gonna have to teach Bobby how to cook rice!

Sep 19, 2006
ShortOrderHack in Food Media & News

Breakfast out, rants and raves

Update on Selmarie - we tried it recently for breakfast and it was quite good. The corned beef hash was homemade, my 2-yr-old loved her whole wheat mouse-shaped pancake and fresh fruit bowl, and the ChowSpouse enjoyed the French Toast. Highly recommended for breakfast.

Sep 16, 2006
ShortOrderHack in Chicago Area

I Want REAL DATES!!!

I agree with your date-oriented sentiments, but I'd like to point out that design and engineering are not mutually exclusive! Quite the opposite, they must work hand-in-hand to produce a superior product, although practically speaking poor management often precludes this.

Aug 31, 2006
ShortOrderHack in Site Talk

I Want REAL DATES!!!

Another interesting metric to look at is the average number of posters on a Site Talk thread, and whether 28 is significantly more or less than that. That might indicate the level of interest compared to other topics. (normalized for time that the thread is up, if necessary)

There are many more indicative ways of evaluating the validity of '28', but referring to 28 posters vs. 19,000 registered users is not one of them.

Aug 28, 2006
ShortOrderHack in Site Talk

I Want REAL DATES!!!

If you are going to look at only this board, I think the appropriate metric to use is % pro/con, not total number of replies.

Aug 28, 2006
ShortOrderHack in Site Talk

I Want REAL DATES!!!

Sorry for replying to you Chow Engineers yet again in the same thread, but I figure my best chance of you listening to us on this post is to reply to you specifically. (Re: my comment "10 days ago" advocating both real and relative dates)

Of course, tomorrow "10 days ago" will not be the same thing as it is now, so a major failure of relative dates is the inability to reference a specific post. On the other hand, in defense of relative dating, recent posts on a hot topic, i.e. "2 minutes ago", "5 minutes", "1 hour", etc. make it easy to track very recent activity.

So, why don't you admit that 1) many people really do want real dates, and 2) there are real advantages to real dates plus real advantages to relative dates ?? Thus, the logical thing to do is provide the ability to do both??

I would also like to acknowledge your generally fine website so as not to appear as a completely unappreciative boob. Thanks for the overall great job.

Aug 27, 2006
ShortOrderHack in Site Talk

I can't cook!

I like your attitude. One of the keys to continual improvement is to learn why I screwed up, and then how to do it correctly. People who cannot do this will never cook well.

Aug 19, 2006
ShortOrderHack in General Topics