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can't miss dinner reservation in kyoto


traveling to kyoto with some friends in march. any recommendations for a can't miss dinner in kyoto, preferably at a place where we can make a reservation? we will be staying in a ryokan for one night, and will have a kaiseki dinner - so anything else? can you make a reservation at yamashita? i think i read a post that you can - if so, does anyone have any advice how, just by asking your hotel concierge in advance? what do you think about tempura kondo? or okutan for yudofu?

thank you so much!!

Jan 26, 2015
elnora in Japan

Schaumburg restaurants

gaylord indian restaurant is awesome, very close to woodfield.

if you are willing to go to rolling meadows (maybe a 10 min drive?) - id check out chef ping. delicious chinese and korean-chinese.

yu's mandarin is also up golf road.

mitsuwa japanese market / food court is also very closeby, consider that - the best ramen in the chicago area can be found at santouka, in the food court, and you can pick up some japanese pastries to go (pastry hippo house).

Dec 30, 2014
elnora in Chicago Area

Who has the best birthday cakes in the city? I'm not looking for anything too fancy-I want frosting, not fondant.

i vote for bittersweet. they make the prettiest cakes and they have such delicious flavor combinations. they can do custom designs - in my friends' case, they were able to create two beautiful cakes designed to look like little authentic korean outfits (it was for a 1st year birthday party for korean twins). theyre located off belmont in lakeview.

second best, id say oak mill bakery. they have more traditional appearing cakes (with frosting!) and are used to creating cakes for children. they have multiple locations and their cakes are very good. i vouch for the strawberry cream one.

im sorry your son has food allergies - that really makes life difficult! im sure he will have a great time anyway. best wishes!

Dec 30, 2014
elnora in Chicago Area

Group dinner for 15

in the summer, i was in a similar predicament. my best friend was using the opentable website - search for "private parties" and itll list each restaurant, what spaces they have (ie "wine cave, seats 20, or 40 people standing") - and also has a direct link to contact the restaurant and list your particulars (how many, budget, etc). you can even break it down by neighborhood.

i would try that approach. we ended up going with DOC wine bar - and had a wonderful time. but, i had so many options on the table, i was able to pick and choose. with your budget, you should have absolutely no problem finding a great place.

Dec 30, 2014
elnora in Chicago Area

Lunch near Deerfield/Northbrook

i like bob chinn's crabhouse, in wheeling, on milwaukee. right next to northbrook. its an institution, featuring garlic butter rolls, awesome crab legs, crab claws, oysters rockefeller, shrimp all different ways - delicious.

also, if you want to go cheap but still chow-happy, check out superdawg, one of the undisputed champions of the chicago style hot dog. its a drive in, so you park and eat in your car.

i second walker brothers, but watch the timing - waits can get up to an hour plus on a saturday, even around lunchtime. their dutch garden is my favorite - an oven puffed pancake filled with vegetables and havarti cheese. to be fair, everything there is good.

if you are looking for authentic korean, in glenview (right next to northbrook) there is a very traditional korean tofu stew house, called sogongdong tofu house - its also off milwaukee, i believe, and they have very authentic tofu stews (you can determine level of spiciness) and also some korean bbq, banchans, etc. a couple stores down from them in the same strip mall area is a fantastic, unbelievably awesome korean pastry house/coffee shop called "tous les jours," where there are rows of beautiful croissants, french style pastries with an asian twist - you can browse for a long time, eat, take some to go in the car with some coffee - really delicious.

bob chinn's crab house: 93 South Milwaukee Avenue, Wheeling, IL
superdawg: 333 South Milwaukee Avenue, Wheeling, IL
tous les jours pastry house: 1685 Milwaukee Ave, Glenview, IL
sogongdong tofu house: 1615 Milwaukee Avenue, Glenview, IL

Dec 30, 2014
elnora in Chicago Area

Weekend in Chicago - Grace, Schwa etc.

an excellent option that is totally underrated is senza - having been to schwa, tru, spiaggia and next in the recent past, i think senza is by far the best meal ive had which fills that fancy food that is creative and pretty void - and at a much more reasonable price (135 for 8 course).

Aug 29, 2014
elnora in Chicago Area

Private Dining Space, 60 people - River North

a very helpful thing you can do is to look on opentable - they actually list restaurants with larger group spaces and how many people each space (ie specific rooms within the restaurant) can hold. and, you can search by neighborhood!

i used this to search for a location for a baby shower - super easy.

Aug 29, 2014
elnora in Chicago Area

Seafood tower for a special occasion

i also freaking love bavette's seafood tower - though kinmont's is pretty stellar too.

Aug 29, 2014
elnora in Chicago Area

Where is the best Canolli in Chicago?

im eating a cannoli from original ferrara bakery right now. it is absolutely scrumptious!!!

May 14, 2014
elnora in Chicago Area

Anyone been to Kinmont?

i just ate there on monday night with 5 other food enthusiasts and we LOVED it.

we started with the seafood platter, it was fabulous, especially the cold mussels, the tartare, and the crab legs, which are conveniently sliced down lengthwise to alllow for easy, delicious access.

we tried the chowder which was perfectly rich, not too salty, not too thick or heavy - just a lovely chowder. the parker house rolls for 4 for $2 were a bargain and so, so, so soft and smushy and good.

we ordered the trout with olive oil, capers, simple but absolutely beautifully cooked, just to the point of done. it was great. we also had the halibut with ramps (awesome), the chicken fried quail (crunchy! delicious!), the squid ink pasta (other people liked it more than me, i thought it was pretty good but a little clumpy - strong flavor), and the steak (surprisingly fabulous. medium-rare and juicy, great beef flavor, no sauce or accoutrements needed). for sides we had the kale, which was good but not memorable, the mushrooms with some kind of whipped ricotta (fantastic), smoked carrots (a must) and the farro (simple, good with the proteins).

we had both desserts and enjoyed them so much we ordered another (the banana peanut butter cookie thing).

all in all, best dinner we've had since nico osteria last month, and equal to nico, along with our other recent outings: duseks, bavettes.

Apr 23, 2014
elnora in Chicago Area

Best most authentic Korean in NW suburbs?

the food court at assi (and at Hmart) has good chinese-korean food, like jjambong and jajangmyung.

word of caution - avoid the "hand-made" mandoo at assi though, inside the market... looks like it might be decent, but its awful.

cho sun ok in north center is probably the best korean bbq, which isnt too much of a drive from the suburbs, as is san soo gab san.

Mar 27, 2014
elnora in Chicago Area

BBQ but with good atmosphere?

frontier on milwaukee is doing some interesting meats and bbq - and the atmosphere is pretty nice! its a casual but cool restaurant. i like it. the meats good, too.
check it out!!

they have a great outdoor space. they also take reservations.

Sep 03, 2013
elnora in Chicago Area

going to be staying near hotel minneapolis for work

anyone have any recommended walkable lunch spots they can recommend off the government plaza station (blue line)?

Aug 20, 2013
elnora in Minneapolis-St. Paul

between chicago and stevensville, MI

looking for a great place to stop and have late breakfast or lunch on a sunday. i love seafood, but really any local specialties will be much appreciated! thanks -

Aug 12, 2013
elnora in Great Lakes

"Dirty" recipes that are crowd pleasers

similarly, whats also amazing is frozen meatballs from costco, and just a big jar of grape jelly and a big jar of brown mustard (or dijon - id maybe not do straight up yellow french's mustard) - 1:1 ratio. sometimes i throw in a bit of sour cream.

heat it all up in a big pot. delicious! itll have people asking, "what the heck is in this thing?" and it will just be our little secret (i dont tell them because inevitably theyre a little grossed out).

Aug 05, 2013
elnora in Home Cooking

Monday Lunch in Pilsen

el milagro tortilleria!!!!

i had their "pork with green sauce" and i inhaled the whole thing... soft, succulent pork, delicious sauce, and the most fragrant scrumptious tortillas you ever ate. all for <6$.

the rest of my friends had equally delicious things, and not only that, we left with a bag of tamales for later.

Aug 05, 2013
elnora in Chicago Area

URGENT! Late night chinese tonight

minghin is pretty good! and open late.

Aug 02, 2013
elnora in Chicago Area

Dinner - Wicker Park - Carriage House vs. Savoy

i love love love savoy. i think the food is great, the atmosphere is nice. the seafood is fresh and they have some interesting cocktails...

i havent had a bad meal there yet. recommended - the crab cake, sunray venus clams, coconut mussels, pork belly, oysters, autumn salad.

Nov 29, 2012
elnora in Chicago Area

plan check on sawtelle is now open!

I went with a friend to the opening night of plan check yesterday, on sawtelle.

when you first get there, they pull out a big stamp and stamp your menu with their cocktail list... but then as my friend and i noticed, the same cocktails were listed on their actual menu, so im not sure why they need to re-stamp it (there were no differences). it was cute, i guess.

i was excited to see that they had hitachino belgian white ale on draft, but unfortunately the tap wasn't working on that one - but they let me try the firestone double barrel ale, which i liked, so i got. my friend got the golden road hefeweizen which was great. after my double barrel ale, i talked to them a little bit about their whiskeys, and the manager was nice enough to come out and talk to me about the different japanese whiskeys they have. right now, they have two 12 years and one 18 years, and the one he recommended to me was the hakushu 12 year and it was really delicious and smooth.

for food, we started out with some small snacks -

1. mixed pickles - delicious! vinegary and tart, with good texture. there was an assortment of veggies - turnips, tomatoes, shiitake mushrooms, okra, cucumbers, and cauliflower. definitely yummy.

2. beer nuts - these were a little disappointing, they were covered in a sweet-salty glaze which would have been good if they hadn't made the nuts so chewy and not crunchy or crispy. there was more dried seaweed than wasabi flavor. they also would have been better if warm or something. they were served in a tiny cast-iron cup that made us think they would be warm (but they were not).

3. french fries - these were appropriately crispy though a smaller portion for $5 - they make their own ketchup, which tastes sweeter and less tangy than normal ketchup, but still good. they also gave us some house-made mayo which they served with a little cup of mixed salt and pepper. having that salt and pepper was pretty fun.

4. blueprint burger - this burger has smoked blue cheese, "pig candy," and homemade steak sauce, along with fried onions. the pig candy was absolutely delicious, it was a glazed sweet bacon that was chewy and yummy - and the steal sauce was good. the blue cheese was also delicious. my two gripes were this strange bun, which looked like it had panko crumbs coated on the outside of it - and also that i asked for the burger medium rare, but it was medium well. it was still really good.

5. chefs favorite burger - this burger has bacon two ways, cheese two ways (one of which looks like a parmesan fritto), fried egg, hot sauce. my friend had this one, and though she had wanted it medium well, hers was the one that came out medium rare, but she still loved it. i had a bite and thought it tasted great.

we ended up getting yogurtland down the street for dessert, so i cant comment on any of those. the place looked like it was plenty busy, but the servers were nice and when i asked questions (ie about the beers and the whiskey) they were awesome about getting answers. im really psyched that another bar has opened up in the area and the food is actually pretty decent. the outdoor seating area was cute and had plenty of heat lamps for california nights. im looking forward to trying some of the other things on their menu - a fried chicken sandwich with pimento cheese, and the short rib pot roast with bone marrow turnover, among others!

Feb 23, 2012
elnora in Los Angeles Area

churchill - recs?

to go to churchill in mid-city west tomorrow night per my friend's request - none of us have been there before. any suggestions or recs not to miss?


Dec 09, 2011
elnora in Los Angeles Area

excited to make some jams!! suggestions??


so after finally deciding to take a canning class and learning some of the basics of preserving safety (I was always too scared of botulism to try it without a class first!!) - i now am the proud owner of a home canning kit and lots and lots of jars.

any suggestions for what i should make first? i live in california so i was thinking about marmalade, there is so much citrus around that looks good... but i really love fig jam. though i dont think they are in season.

im looking for easy recipes, preferably ones that i can't screw up by accident!!

thanks for your suggestions in advance!

Nov 30, 2011
elnora in Home Cooking

Weekend Indian lunch buffet in LA that doesn't suck. Does it exist?

i love jaipur.

good food and definitely good buffet, esp on the westside.

Nov 21, 2011
elnora in Los Angeles Area

baby/toddler friendly restaurants mostly on the west side?

thanks for the suggestions, people! that rooftop food court is pretty beautiful and totally kid-friendly. and three-square is great. persian food - shamshiri grill - good call.

Westwood, Irvine, CA 92620

Oct 11, 2011
elnora in Los Angeles Area

lunch meetings in koreatown

thanks for the suggestions, guys!

Oct 10, 2011
elnora in Los Angeles Area

baby/toddler friendly restaurants mostly on the west side?

there have been a couple posts about this when i did a quick search but was hoping to get some new recs. my sister, her husband, and their two girls (6 months, 2 year old) will be visiting me in 2 weeks and are eager to try restaurants that will offer something different from their usual chicago suburban haunts!

here are the places i was thinking would be good for them -
pacos tacos for fresh tortillas, decent mexican
santa monica seafood company - they went here before and liked it, anything else like this that might be good? the lobster is meh but it might be fun to go more shack-y. maybe malibu seafood?
huckleberry for brunch
dim sum - we'll probably just go to NBC for the carts (might be fun for my older niece to see them, though i agree elite is better) - yes, we can head out for good chinese!
yuchon for kimchi mandoo and naeng myun - will venture to ktown at least twice, probably - where else, parks, chosun?
musha for izakaya (though we will probably have to go to the SM one and the torrance one is preferred) - i live around the block from furaibo but much prefer musha
zankou chicken and tacos por favor for takeout,

and then i might babysit and let my sister and her husband go out a couple times by themselves - was thinking fathers office, rustic canyon, maybe son of a gun if they want to drive a bit more?

can anyone help me come up with some more fun places for us to take the babies?

Oct 10, 2011
elnora in Los Angeles Area

lunch meetings in koreatown

hi -

was hoping to get some suggestions for nice-ish restaurants to have lunch business meetings in koreatown.

it's going to be anywhere from 6-8 people, and we have to be able to talk. nice atmosphere is a plus since i'm paying and i want it to feel like a treat, but the food should be good too. korean or korean-chinese is preferred.

i was thinking along the lines of the dragon, which is pretty good for this type of thing, i think. any other suggestions?

Oct 07, 2011
elnora in Los Angeles Area


i love this chocolate chip cookie recipe from smitten kitchen's great blog

but - the thing i do is i refrigerate the dough for at least a day, up to 3-4 days even - and just make a couple at a time. its amazing. refrigerating dough gives the cookies a depth and complexity of flavor - the actual cookie part minus chocolate is so delicious. one friend asked me, is there caramel in this??

plus, the benefit of refrigerating dough is you get to eat cookies straight out of the oven whenever you want... for days!!

Oct 01, 2011
elnora in Home Cooking

Best Korean Restarant

so, im from chicago and i eat tons of korean food - whenever im home (in chicago) i eat at sansoogapsan and chosunoak, and i even head to the hourglass which is kind of fun, for the fried chicken and the dukbokki

that said, chicago korean bbq is not as good as LA korean bbq. i feel almost disloyal saying that but its true.

first of all, LA korean bbq, a lot of these places mentioned - like parks - are focused more on the quality of the beef and the complex flavorings. this is a little different from sansoogapsan which is all about quantity for price (still pretty good, but mostly its about the bargain - so much food!).

also, LA korean bbq has something which chicago doesnt have - the only other place ive had it was in nyc - the dduk bossam. those are the thin rice papers which you wrap your meat in after is been cooked. its really delicious and i recommend it highly.

thirdly, LA has so much variety in terms of korean food its just ridiculous. want a place that specializes in pork neck bone soup? ham ji park. galbijim? seungbokdong. kimchi dumplings with standout naengmyun? yu chun. even the food courts in the malls here are amazing - check out city center on 6th - after eating in the food court, you can head down to the grocery store on the first floor and have some of the best kimbap ever, along with some of the best jinbang mandoo.

chicago does have amazing food. but in terms of korean food youre limited - for chinese korean its basically great seas or chef ping. you know what i mean.

i hope you enjoy your visit out here!! youve picked some other great choices and it sounds like your weekends going to be filled with delicious food. (fathers office has the greatest burger, in my opinion.) i hope youll try the korean food here though - i dont think youll be disappointed, and glad you did! im moving back to chicago in july... i plan to eat as much korean food as possible between now and then. and then its back to sansoogapsan, great seas, chosunoak, etc etc :)

btw, i really disliked the video - i hope it doesnt turn people off from sansoogapsan.

Sep 29, 2011
elnora in Los Angeles Area

Lasagna at Bay Cities in Santa Monica

their lasagna is awesome. lots of toasty cheese, good tangy sauce, noodles arent too mushy - i got a corner piece the last time and was in heaven.

their eggplant parm is also excellent, as is their special mac and cheese that they have sometimes (with the breadcrumbs on top)... their regular mac and cheese is just so-so.

Sep 26, 2011
elnora in Los Angeles Area

breakfast between logan airport and waltham?

flying into logan airport on the red-eye from los angeles, landing at 8 am and driving to waltham by 10:30 - have a couple hours to kill, and was hoping to get a good breakfast.

any suggestions? im more of an eggs and savory breakfast person as opposed to pancakes and french toast. id love to go somewhere with some new england flair. seafood in the morning - is that even possible? - would be awesome, too. im mobile (have a car rental).


Aug 11, 2011
elnora in Greater Boston Area