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Vinny Barbaresco's Profile

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Chaume Premier Cru des Coteaux du Layon, anybody?

2003 was a very hot and dry year producing low acid wines with little or no botrytis in Coteaux du Layon.

The 2003 Soucherie is pleasant, but not age worthy or collectable. If purchasing something to cellar is your goal then stick to the 2005 vintage.

Aug 04, 2010
Vinny Barbaresco in Wine

What wine to serve w/smoked salmon pasta with cream sauce?

Alsace pinot is typcally very light bodied and rarely has sees new oak. Of course when one mentions red Burgundy you have to be more specific as each appellation and and producers within said appellations make wines in numerous weights and styles. Personally, I would not go with a red with this dish. I would prefer a young, fresh Italian white perhaps Gavi or Arneis especially since asparagus, dill and peas are served along withe the pasta.

Jul 15, 2010
Vinny Barbaresco in Wine

Alinea Waiting List...Chances of getting in? L2O Good back up plan?

I'm with uhockey on this one. Spiaggia is the most overpriced, over-hyped restaurant in the city. The decor and pretense are stuck in the 1980's (when the place opened). I would be hesitant to dine there even if someone else was paying as I wouldn't want to see a friend or colleague cheated. IMO the food at Cafe Spiaggia is no better than what one finds at the food court across the street at Water Tower Place. Stick with L2O.

Cafe Spiaggia
980 North Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL 60611

2300 Lincoln Park West, Chicago, IL 60614

980 North Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL 60611

Jul 15, 2010
Vinny Barbaresco in Chicago Area


I dine at Naha at least twice a month and have done so for many years. Needless to say it's one of my favorite spots in Chicago. However, I think dinner at Naha may be beyond the attention span of even the most well behaved children. That said, a super option for you and the kids might be lunch at Naha. The quality of food and service are equal at lunch and it's a great opportunity to introduce the little ones to fine dining in a less stressful situation for mom and dad.

500 North Clark St., Chicago, IL 60610

Jul 15, 2010
Vinny Barbaresco in Chicago Area

Chicago Michelin Star Restaurants Prediction

The Guide Michelin standards are far different than that of the average US restaurant reviewer. While food is paramount, many other things are taken into account. Comfort is and service are key factors. Small details include everything from the quality of the stemware, the volume and type of music all the way down to the soap and towels in the restroom. For these reasons alone a restaurant like Schwa (tumblers for wine and blasting death metal music) would not earn a single star and might not even be classified as recommended.

Alinea will probably earn 3 stars

Everest, Trotter's, Spiaggia and L20 - 2 stars

Tru, Naha, Carlos, Les Nomades, North Pond, Sixteen, Ria and Blackbird - 1 star

Possible 1 star - Topolabampo, Arun's and MK.

The remainder of your list may receive "recommended" or remain unrated.

We'll all know pretty soon....

Jul 14, 2010
Vinny Barbaresco in Chicago Area

Barcelona 8 days in October! Suggestions anyone

We like L'Academia for Catalan and Alkimia for Modern Catalan/Molecular.

You can't beat the Hotel MurMuri in L'Eixample for comfort and location, but it's a bit on the spendy side at 200-300 Euros per night (depending on the room)

Chicago Chinatown Recommendations?

Sorry, no dim sum at Moon Palace. I've yet to find a dim sum in Chicago that I think is very good. Been to Phoenix, Happy Chef and Furama and found them all to be dissapointing. Anybody have any suggestions?

Furama Restaurant
4936 N Broadway St, Chicago, IL 60640

Moon Palace Restaurant
216 W Cermak Rd, Chicago, IL 60616

Happy Chef
3900 W Touhy Ave, Lincolnwood, IL 60712

Jul 11, 2010
Vinny Barbaresco in Chicago Area

Chicago Chinatown Recommendations?

I've been going to Moon Palace for many years and really enjoy their Shanghai style dishes. Salt & Pepper Squid, Fish Fillet with peapod shoots, chive dumplings, xio long bao, steamed sole and many other dishes. Like many restaurants in Chinatown there are many Ameri-Chinese on the menu for the tourists.

Moon Palace Restaurant
216 W Cermak Rd, Chicago, IL 60616

Jul 11, 2010
Vinny Barbaresco in Chicago Area

Depot Diner or Glenn's Dinner, Smoque or Honk Tonk ? Is Paradice Pup worth the trip?

American Depot Diner - Big no! Indifferent service, very average food, miserable coffee and a filthy restroom.

Glenn's Dinner - Not worth a special trip. Decent enough food, but overpriced for what you get. No decor to speak of. Detached service. The only redeeming aspect is they serve Hoosier Mama pies, but with the tab for a single slice I'd rather go to Hoosier Mama and pick up a whole pie to go.

Honky Tonk BBQ - The food is good enough, the place has a great vibe and is a terrific value - plus it's BYOB. Go on a Friday or Saturday and enjoy some live C&W music. Added bonus: Pilsen is a vibrant and colorful Chicago neighborhood with lots to see (and eat) from the great old facades along 18th St. to the Mexican Fine Arts Museum nearby.

Paradise Pup - Chicago style char-cheddar burgers are what it's all about, Drippy, greasy, slathered with Merkt's Cheddar and toppings galore.

Smoque - Haven't been yet, but my niece and brother swear by it.

Taste of Peru - Haven't been.

Honky Tonk BBQ
1213 W 18th St, Chicago, IL 60608

Paradise Pup
1724 S River Rd, Des Plaines, IL 60018

Jul 09, 2010
Vinny Barbaresco in Chicago Area

In need of wine pairing advice. What goes with Greek-style pork kebabs?

Roditis, Roditis and more Roditis. Opaa!

Jul 08, 2010
Vinny Barbaresco in Wine

Weekend brunch with infants in or near downtown

We are having brunch with out of town friends who will be bringing their infant twins along.

Not having kids myself and generally avoiding places you'd find them I am clueless.

So, we're looking for place where:

1) Is close to Randolph and Wells
2) Takes reservations
3) Great food - Organic, Local or Farm to Table places would be a bonus.
4) Serves liquor
5) Doesn't mind babies

Any help?


Jul 07, 2010
Vinny Barbaresco in Chicago Area

Rosés: looking for one that is darker, sultry, lush and fat?

Actually, the dollar is quite strong...Neal is getting greedy

Jun 09, 2010
Vinny Barbaresco in Wine

TN: 2007 Niepoort "Twisted" Tinto, Douro

Twisted is a fabulous value - We've already drunk close to a case of the 2007!

Mar 23, 2010
Vinny Barbaresco in Wine

Easter Brunch wine for a crowd

I tend to go with lower alcohol wines at brunch. A nice 2008 Portuguese Vinho Verde or 2007 German Riesling (Kabinett or Spatlese) should pair well with the dishes your serving. For dessert a lively Moscato d'Asti from the 2008 or 2009 vintage would be fun.

All are within your prcie range.

Mar 23, 2010
Vinny Barbaresco in Wine

Need Pinot Noir Pairing, STAT!

I don't think it neccessary to serve a protein for this course. A classic pairing is Croute-aux-Morilles (Morels on toast). I believe morels are just coming into season in your neck of the woods.

750 g of Morels (approximately 1 1/2 lbs)
2 shallots chopped
1 1/2 cups heavy Cream (more if needed)
salt and pepper to taste
Sliced white bread
Serves 6 as a small course

1. Cut the ends of the mushrooms. Do not cut too much. I also cut them in half to be able to clean them well. Morels tend to be sandy.

2. Melt the butter and wait until it is nice and hot. Add the mushrooms. Cook at medium hot. until the morels begin to brown.

3. Add the shallots and Salt and Pepper. Cook until the shallots begin to soften and add the cream.

4. Let it cook a low to medium heat until the cream has reduced. Keep stirring every so often.

5. When your sauce is a nice thick consistency serve over high quality white toasted bread. You can use a toaster, but the more traditional method is to saute the bread in butter until golden.

Mar 23, 2010
Vinny Barbaresco in Wine

A dry rosé to go with pasta carbonara

Bardolino Chiaretto!

Feb 26, 2010
Vinny Barbaresco in Wine

Pairing for Tuna Tartare?

Because of the soy element my first pick would be fino or manzanilla sherry.

Feb 26, 2010
Vinny Barbaresco in Wine


Cardoons are in season for a very short time (pretty the month of December) . If they are to be found in the Chicago area Caputo's would be the place. You can call and special order some around Christmastime.

They have several locations, but I prefer the original on Harlem Ave.

Feb 22, 2010
Vinny Barbaresco in Chicago Area

Any Decent Indian Food around Bridgeport?

The India Grill in the South Loop is far superior to both Chicago Curry House (very over priced) and Rajun Cajun (fast food joint). The focus is mostly on Northern Indian cuisine, but they also have many tasty options from the tandoor. I have heard pretty good things about Chutney Joe's, but haven't tried them as of yet.

India Grill
1112 S. Wabash Ave.
Chicago, IL 60605

Chutney Joe's
511 S. State St.
Chicago, IL 60616

Feb 22, 2010
Vinny Barbaresco in Chicago Area

Deperately seeking Kolaches in Chicago

Kolaches are definitely a Texas thing often sold in Vietnamese owned doughnut shops in and around Houston, though I have seen them on the road in between Houston and Austin. They are mostly savory items (sausage, bacon, cheese, jalapeno sausage) baked into a bread roll. Sadly, we have nothing like them in Chicago

In Chicago a Kolachky or Kolachke is a sweet pastry either with a short crust (Polish style) or sweet roll dough (Czech style) common fillings are sweet cheese, apricot, prune, poppyseed, plum and raspberry.

Jan 30, 2010
Vinny Barbaresco in Chicago Area

What to pair with for a ragu bolognese?

A typical local pairing would be dry Lambrusco or Sangiovese di Romagna, but any simple, medium-bodied Italian red would do nicely.

Oct 19, 2009
Vinny Barbaresco in Wine

wine importers

Her palate is spot on and I can say without hesitation that her choices are textbook examples of any given appellation she works with. Needless to say I'm a big fan of her wines, especially when it comes to Burgundy and the Rhone Valley.

Oct 19, 2009
Vinny Barbaresco in Wine

Best Chinese Restaurants

Right now I think that Sun Wah BBQ House on Arglye is serving some of the best Chinese food in Chicago; most noteably, their Beijing duck, Shanghai pig, seafood and noodle dishes. I have always had a fondness for Moon Palace and their quite tasty xiao long bao, fish with peapod tops and Shanghai rice cake with pork and mustard greens. Lastly, I very much enjoy Triple Crown Seafood especially after 10 PM for the small plate menu. Some faves are the clams in black bean sauce, deep fried quail, lotus root w/ pork belly and black pepper short ribs.

I cannot for the life of me understand why so many people get excited with Lao Sze Chuan. I have tried the place a handful of times and found the food to be one note at best with and inedible at worst. Nearly everything I've tried was bathed in a thick red chili "grease" and coated in sugar. The service is nothing special and often can be quite brusque . The last time is was there was for a birthday banquet upstairs and carpeting was covered with fortune cookie wrappers, errant bits of rice and much other food related detritus -- the place is dirty!

Jul 10, 2009
Vinny Barbaresco in Chicago Area

Road Trip Suggestions - Saint Louis MO to Chicago IL

For an artery clogging piece of old Route 66 (now I-55) history I'd suggest a stop at Cozy Dog where the corn dog was not invented, but was perfected.

Another stop your cardiologist would frown upon is Jungle Jim's Cafe for biscuits and gravy or Springfield’s famed “Horseshoe Sandwich”—toast on a warm platter, meat over the toast smothered with cheese sauce and French fries.

Cozy Dog Drive In
2935 So. Sixth Street
Springfield, IL 62703

Jungle Jim’s Cafe
1923 Peoria Road, Springfield ILllinois
phone: 217-789-6173
Hours: Open daily 6 am - 2 pm.

Jul 08, 2009
Vinny Barbaresco in Great Lakes

One Sunday in Chicago (Help a Canadian boy out?)

My bad - Though FWIW I still think Lou's makes a better pie.

Jun 22, 2009
Vinny Barbaresco in Chicago Area

One Sunday in Chicago (Help a Canadian boy out?)

Pizano's is closed on Sundays....

Jun 21, 2009
Vinny Barbaresco in Chicago Area

One Sunday in Chicago (Help a Canadian boy out?)

The Gage (a gastro pub) is virtually accross the street from the Art Institue is quite good for lunch or dinner.

Also, I've been hearing very good things about the restaurant (Terzo Piano) in the new modern wing of the Art Institute, but haven't been there myself yet.

Lou Malnati's is not far away for D-D pizza.

Lou Malnati's - South Loop Location
805 S. State Street
Chicago, IL 60605
Phone: 312-786-1000

Jun 20, 2009
Vinny Barbaresco in Chicago Area

Wine pairing for dolci or dolce?

I like both Maraschino and Anisette with cannoli, though given my druthers I prefer Anisette with biscotti/cantucci and Maraschino with a mixed fruit salad. This evening we had dinner at our neighborhood Italian restaurant tonight and had Nardini Acqua di Cedro a sweet grappa-based liqueur made from Cedro lemons (the large bumpy lemons) with cannoli. It has a very pure citrus flavor and is crystal clear (quite a departure from Limoncello which usually tastes artificial to me). If worked quite nicely with the candied citron in the cannoli filling. If the OP must have wine Moscato d'Asti would work well enough (though coffee and digestivo would be my first choice).

Jun 19, 2009
Vinny Barbaresco in Wine

Northbrook Sunday Night

Prairie Grass Cafe is probably you best option.

601 Skokie Boulevard, Northbrook Illinois, 60062 | 847.205.4433

Jun 04, 2009
Vinny Barbaresco in Chicago Area

What cheese with Cabernet?

Most dry, off dry and sweet white wines will work with Brie (Champagne is also a good choice).

Cabernet works best with firm, salty cheeses; Vella Jack, Grana Padano, Pecorino Pepato, Parmigiano Reggiano, Mimolette, Grafton Village Cheddar and Manchego all will pair up nicely.

May 27, 2009
Vinny Barbaresco in Wine