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Hub 51 2010-06-01

by foodbitch 8. June 2010 18:34

The dining experience at a place like Hub 51 would be perfectly acceptable if it were consistently better than average. It’s a bar. But they’ve been striving for 4-stars and serving up anywhere from 1 to 3. Today was 3.

Many patrons would agree that unless the price of dinner is about a Subway value meal, consistency is a greater prize than roller-coaster, no matter how high the lumber soars. And Hub 51 has been the ultimate in service bipolarity. One day you might get the best that a bar can offer and another you’ll have to stand up and pound your chest to get attention. One day you’ll get a delightful chicken breast thick and juicy and tomorrow something grade-C edible. I know that there are growing pains. Restaurants, like teenagers, go through a best-forgotten awkward phase where the limbs don’t seem to fit the torso, the voice cracks and the occasional facial blemish escapes the cover-up. This is true of all F&B, especially a space of Hub 51’s size. Only I would have expected the progeny of Melman’s clan to keep the awkward to a minimum. They didn’t. Did sonny shrug off his Dad’s immortal coil to prove he was his own man? If so, we have a classic exhibit in the triumph of pride over experience. One can only wonder how many times Daddy tried to say that service staff’s abilities are NOT inversely proportional to skirt-length.

But whatdoiknow. The place seems to be packed most evenings and even most afternoons at lunchtime. Its price-point is adequate for its location and its food is better (mostly) than Rockit, Howl or Rock Bottom. I only wish they’d have distilled 30 years of daddy’s know-how since they so clearly make mistakes that even Food Life has long ago corrected. If you’re going to be Einstein’s kid, either take advice or go do patent-clerking. You’ll never stand outside the shadow so you might as well be shrewd about it.

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Little Branch Cafe 2010-05-29

by foodbitch 29. May 2010 14:10

No human endeavor, except computer programming, requires absolute perfection so when it’s served up in an unassuming dining room credit must be given. This cute little spot served it up with force.

Most people wouldn’t notice the razor-thin cuts of meat positioned exactly the same way as though in a photo-op. Most people won’t pay attention to the potatoes all golden-side-up. Wouldn’t underline that the bloody mary is only $8 for a very generous 16 ounces. Or the ingredients of the breakfast burrito layered as though in a 7 layer dip. Perfectly. Indeed, the author almost counted himself amongst “most people” as he sat frustrated that the food took so long to be delivered. It was well worth it. Perfection takes time and does not scale with attendance.

Little Branch Café is an order and sit down type of place like Urth Café in LA. Except where the latter sucks grand old Chimpanzee privates, the former shines. In fairness to Urth, it isn’t as horrible as it is unpredictable. Today you might get stellar and tomorrow just OK and on the weekend (horrible)x10^65536. You’ll wait in a huge line before you’ll know which day you’re getting. But so far, from a personal sample of 2, and the several tales of trusted others, LBC is exactly consistent. Kinda creepy actually if you give it more than a moment’s thought. How is it possible to cook things the exact same way unless you’re an automaton or have had all creative powers removed like from a McDonald’s cheeseburger? This is the reason McD’s stuff tastes exactly the same every time and every place you eat it and most other restaurants have a tough time making the same thing the same way twice. I did notice a tiny nook of Little Branch that was hidden from the prying eyes of diners yet where some sort of cooking/prepping was occurring. What was there? Who was doing it? It looked too small for an assembly line unless it was all being done by a robot. Chilling.

The meal was done and shockingly cheap given the aforementioned. So painful was the urge to peer behind the shallow wall at the presumed source of program-like perfection but remembering well the lessons of the movies, and the horrors that lurk in tiny kitchens, this Dorothy and Toto were content to have a great meal and high-tail it outta there leaving the curtain undisturbed.

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Branch 27 2010-05-16

by foodbitch 16. May 2010 16:54

Although service can use improvement, Branch 27 has the best deal on Bloody Maries anywhere. And the best chicken-fried pork belly. At least out of my sample population of 1.

5 bucks for a bloody. That’s it. No gimmick. Although I did not look closely enough to see if this pricing was only valid Sunday Brunch. If that’s the regular price, there is little reason to go to Twisted Spoke unless of course you like blaring music and rude staff – while hung-over. Branch 27 also cares about their Veg-Heads in offering a vegetarian skewer with the Bloody. Spoke offers a big middle finger like it does to anyone who doesn’t like anything EXACTLY how they make something. Like say, with egg yolks in the pre-scrambled which always made me wonder: pre-scrambled how long ago?

And now the chicken-fried pork belly. Wow was it delicious. I ordered it because I thought it would give me something to bitch about but the moment I tasted it I knew we had a winner. I can’t wait to try whatever else they decide to chicken-fry. You’re supposed to be able to do anything. Let’s fry up some alcohol!

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Lux Bar 2010-05-15

by foodbitch 15. May 2010 13:33

I had to pinch myself with force to make sure I wasn’t still asleep and in a medium-threat nightmare. A few short steps from Elm Street, Lux Bar did today as though Freddy battled Jason in the kitchen and the staff attended to their wagers.

One of the greatest things about the Gibson’s management group is reliability. So thorough is their training that it is almost comical to watch as water, bread and appetizers arrive like clockwork in the same order and at the same intervals every time – give or take a few seconds. Items are placed before diners in the same direction: clockwise. Martini-glassed drinks are filled within a half-inch of top which is generous since most restaurateurs long ago discovered a whole inch reduces the drink volume by half. Such foolishness is near unheard-of which is why the sudden deviation from the script at Lux Bar left us scratching our heads – one hour after we were seated.

Luckily, the food was still Lux Bar: upper-middle-class bar food. The Lux Royale with truffle fries was delicious and so was the veggie omelet. But their extremely tardy arrival as well as their incompletion was just strange. Getting food took nearly half an hour and getting water refills took far longer than it did to drink said water. Atypical. The omelet placement was set up with butter and fruit preserves because it comes with toast. No toast ever came. No one found it odd that toast paraphernalia was there sans toast. The burger’s bun was soaked with grease which means that it was sitting on the counter for some time before delivery. Like 15 minutes. If I were less drunk I would have minded. And, of course, the waitress vanished shortly before our first bite only to reappear 10 minutes after our last. An experience that on-script would have taken 30 minutes took 2x. Such surprises are unwelcome given current parking rates.

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E. Leaven Food Company 2010-05-08

by foodbitch 8. May 2010 14:41

The golden rule could use a modern update: No one likes your kids or your pets so inflict either upon others at your peril. As we walked through the doors into the sounds of screaming offspring we knew this lunch wouldn’t be like the last.


We live in the city for a reason. Chicago expertly keeps out annoying young people and the even more annoying goofs who spawn them by providing the country’s fattest ghettos and leanest schooling. This combination usually keeps out all but the richest children and these too, since their parents are forever skiing in the Alps, rarely go out to restaurants with nanny. Thank whatever gods you believe in for today, E. Leaven was exhibit A in dining with young offspring. Woe be had.

WAAAAAAAAAAA! AUUUUUUUGH! EEEEEEEEEEE! SHAAAAAADUUUUUP! My god. Is there a critical mass for children in the room before the noise reaction becomes self-sustaining and uncontrollable? Why has there not been a study done on this? When we first arrived we were delighted because the restaurant seemed busy and we like when excellence is rewarded but as we surveyed the scene we realized that it only looked busy. The rest of vacant space was occupied by strollers. Singles. Doubles. Everywhere. Was there an ad on Craig’s List for free formula or did someone decide to stage a nurse-in? Nope. Turns out, the owner, or someone who freely passed between both sides of the counter without a uniform owned one of the noisy pests and evidently other breeders hear the sound of crying and feel welcome with their own demented brood.

Waiting was a nightmare. The kids themselves weren’t as bad as the parents who feel that kid-management is a Hollywood production. With a big budget. Of noise. And dirt. And kiss-my-buttocks stares. I was ready for battle when the food came – and tranquility descended. E. Leaven is still excellent. The Matzo Ball Soup is the best I’ve ever had and today the turkey club was terrific too. I’ve had 3 sandwiches here and each was better than the last. But maybe I’m just remembering it that way. Clearly, a roast beef is far superior to a chicken club. Just sayin’. I only wish that those who choose to inflict a fresh mix of their retarded DNA upon the world would take their experiments elsewhere.


Pho Xe Lua 2010-04-04

by foodbitch 4. April 2010 18:52

Most pho on Argyle is created equal – within a standard-deviation. What happens post-creation is where things look up or down or just fall flat. Pho Xe Lua fell flatter than the “fashion” on your lady-feet.

It is always odd when waiters, no matter their place of origin, behave bizarrely. Even those who have never worked in the SERVICE industry must be familiar with the golden rule. Empathy is wired into the great apes with whom we diverged mega-millennia ago and I’m pretty sure the waiters all share my human lineage no matter what country they left behind. Sure, there are differences in service expectations between cultures but to believe that our waiter thought nothing wrong with our experience would be asking to believe that he has never ventured outside of his cloistered little world and – I don’t know – ordered a hotdog.  Is it really OK to leave people standing at the host stand in the midst of a relatively empty restaurant before attending to their seating? Is it OK to serve one diner’s meal 10 minutes (no joke) before serving the other? And this wasn’t even that bad. The table next to us had the last diner’s meal come out when the other four were already done. Is it OK to never appear with the bill? To be on “break” when the diner is standing at the register for another 5 minutes? To emerge with soaked hands? Thanks, I guess, for washing them after whatever you were doing.

No, this treatment should not occur anywhere ever. Your customer is not doing you a favor. Maybe this is why Tank has an eternal crowd. They are at least familiar with hospitality and do not make eating there a chore. An assembly-line perhaps but easy all the same.

As an additional note, the experience of those before me has been a good one. Perhaps theirs was a real waiter. Ours wasn't. There is no way anyone who's done this job ever before in life could have possibly performed so poorly. If someone called in sick, we're very sorry for the review. But English-speaking aside (we can always point) we felt like we were waited on by government bureaucrats instead of food-service employees. They were glad to be rid of us and we of them.

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Table 52 2010-03-22

by foodbitch 22. March 2010 13:44

Most computers of today can’t adjust to the environment. The simplest, like elevators are finite automatons. Receive input – execute. No stop/debug. This is why pressing all the floor buttons is so annoying. Last night, Table 52 was managed by elevators.

Dear Management: we threw you a wild curveball. The party grew from 3 to 4. You spent the evening trying to bunt. When we advise a restaurant of the party’s growth BEFORE walking through the door, the expectation is not merely to avoid sighs and eye-rolls at the host stand. The caliber of restaurant to which you aspire requires you to cope with such affronts pleasantly and expeditiously. To your credit, we were seated right away – at a table with 3 place settings. I sat at the empty setting in a thinly-veiled attempt to underline the need for another. It didn’t work. The setting was simply moved to my table coordinates. I told the host who seated, the waiters who greeted and the bus who moved the place setting that we were a party of 4. I did not do this to show an asymmetry of information. I was hoping to drive home the point that the PARTY_SIZE variable must be incremented (PARTY_SIZE++). But like a program without stop-debug, all my efforts were repulsed. Party member #4 arrived to an empty place setting and the whole evening, every single dish that sets PORTION_COUNT=PARTY_SIZE was sadly served for 3. SLOOOOOOOOOOOWLY. Like a ‘94 Pentium rendering a 3D image.

It must be mentioned that the food was still excellent. We came for Oprah’s favorite fried chicken and now see how Art Smith’s recipe can cause a major weight yo-yo. But even here, the program allowed for no modification. One member of our party requested all dark meat because a study some-where and when concluded its flavor superiority (read: fat content). I’m waiting for the study that concludes the best part of the fish to be its head for the same reason but something about eating eyeballs spooks humans more than seals. Regardless, ILLEGAL OPERATION came back the response to my friend’s request. The program was running and nothing in the universe was going to change it. We did not persist for fear of committing GENERAL ERROR and crashing the restaurant. We don’t know how to reboot a kitchen.

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Ria 2010-03-20

by foodbitch 20. March 2010 20:53

The difference between the witchdoctor/rainmaker of eon past and the urban hipster of modern day is the former knew he was full of scat. How many otherwise intelligent people do you know that honestly believe they start trends and influence fashions? Although Ria never will, here’s to hoping that they do.

You’re common people. No one hides in bushes to document the minutia of your life. No one splashes it on the cover of supermarket tabloids. And no suburban housewife will ever ravage yours to fill the clichéd vacuum of hers. Except for a very few, no one really cares about what you say or do, or how you say or do it. Not even your 1000 Facebook friends. No matter the scope of your trendy genius, you simply lack a sufficient microphone to inflict any sort of influence upon the world. And not just you. Had Max Planck tossed aside a certain crazy manuscript, Einstein may have died a lowly patent clerk. Had a dead monk’s genetic studies remained lost, both Darwin’s and Mendel’s names would have likely been forgotten. It is not until someone influential takes up a cause, a thought or a style that the world gives a flying flock. Unfortunately, with the tiny numbers coming through Elysian’s doors, it is exceedingly likely that their skills will go unnoticed.

That’s a shame. Several things make Ria 4-star material. And several others ding it but these are hotel-related and not the restaurant’s fault. First, there is the service. “Excellent” does not do it justice. Ours this evening was above/beyond anything that we expected. Beyond anything this close to Rush Street. Attentive but not burdensome, conversational but not preachy, humorous but not clowning. Tru-caliber holding the theatrics. Why does so much 4-star dining think that waiters should project elitism? The diners of today want the mood of fun, not funeral.

The food. The consommé was one of the best soups I’ve ever had and for someone almost as passionate about the hot liquid course as the alcoholic one, this remark can carry weight. The special was the Guinea hen. Amazing that something can sound so tame yet unleash a torrent of delight that parallels your first illegal high. It was $40. For a bird. But I can’t describe how worth it. Worth its weight in Epoisses. Speaking of: due to drastic under-serving I stopped ordering cheese courses. I might start again. Comté was the cheese this evening and glorious was its portion. I’m not a fan of Comté but there was too much left over and that whole saying about pizza and sex applies. Besides, Brillat-Savarin said that a meal without cheese is like a beautiful woman with only one eye.

In closing, where on Rush Street can you still get a martini for $10? Where can you get a free round because there wasn’t enough for two glasses? Where is good wine not marked-up 5x? You’d never think it looking at the menu but Ria is affordable if you order well. Yeah, $38 for halibut and $15 for soup seems high but both would have been far more at Everest with far less fun. My great regret is that the restaurant was empty. On Saturday. Unlike genetics papers, menus don’t get prized post mortem. Instead of proper credit as the source of really good ideas, Ria may forever be the hipster who “started” skinny jeans. Or the Asian high-school kid who added to our lexicon. Or the butterfly that flapped its wings and caused the Bangladesh monsoon. Whatever, as long as it’s a monsoon of consommé.

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M Burger 2010-03-18

by foodbitch 18. March 2010 16:01

Into the breach of burger joints comes Tru with their take on gourmet ground beef patties. It was good cheap and fast. I’ll be back just so I don’t have to elbow through Portillo’s blue-collar cluster. At least if a doc or nurse starts crowding me, I’m pretty sure I can take them.

Carved into an iconic kitchen, M Burger serves a model of simplicity. 3 burger choices, single or double, a veggie and a chicken sandwich, fries shakes and fountain drinks. Inexpensive too. Amazingly, the eponymous M Burger (double) is only 4.49 – a 20 cent premium over the more pedestrian cheeseburger (sans secret sauce and bacon). Fries are 1.99 as is a fountain drink but shakes are a buck more. Not too bad considering Corner Bakery’s pricing for food that is barely edible.

We came for an early dinner around 6 PM and were the first in line. Service was extremely quick and polite and seating intimate. Fat people will find their bodily navigation as comfortable as bulkhead seating on a Southwest flight. As we looked up halfway through the meal we saw a line stretching out the door. These people had a very different experience from ours but I’m sure the food was just as good.

M Burger fills a void in the busy avenues of Hospitalville previously crowded only by Corner Bakery’s ineptitude. Same with the void left by the kitchen table of Tru after people realized that eating in the kitchen of a restaurant was really pretty stupid. But how cool is it to be able to eat for under 10 bucks while peering through the looking-glass into a world of 4-star magic? I’m not sure how many more tasting menus Tru will sell from this other side of haute cuisine, but for many of us there is an intrinsic warmth in having the spotlight’s glow reflected off a star and onto us. No matter how little of it we ourselves deserve. This is why Hollywood is full of personal assistants and hair-stylists – anything to get close. But there is something quaint about having secret sauce drip over you as you watch black-suited waiters conferring with white-suited chefs in the flurry of activity that is four-star dining. We feel like we share the spotlight without paying its dues. Or picking up dry-cleaning.


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Outback Steakhouse 2010-03-15

by foodbitch 15. March 2010 17:06

Ignore the favorite snobby punch-line. Outback Steakhouse is without question the best $20 steak you’ll ever eat and the best overall value of any chain you’ll ever admit to frequenting.

In times since passed, during the author’s youth, nothing pleased him and workout buddy more than a suicidal lifting session followed by Outback’s caloric overdose. Regrettably, age has withered lifting prowess and the weekly trip became an annual. A higher frequency would morbidly enlarge everything except the muscles. Back then, Outback’s Victoria Filet was the best $14 steak you’d ever eat and even now, with inflation, it’s still the best for $20. The key is to go and eat that alone, without the blooming onions, without the cheddar cheese fries and without the dozen or so James Boag lagers. But that never happens. It’s like ordering a hot fudge sundae and holding the fudge. By the time you’re done with Outback dinner, you will have consumed several days’ and several people’s allowance of sodium, calories, fat and every other damn thing that the doctors tell you not to eat. You will have also paid for it and wondered how things could really be so cheap and why downtown is fleecing you. You’ll return with family but fear that telling others would earn you a spot along the punchline. Screw it. Proclaim with me loudly: I am an Outback fan and shall be ashamed no more!

This fine Monday evening, we made the drive to Skokie where the nearest Outback lies. It was better than ever. On the menu were a half-order of cheddar cheese fries, a French onion soup, a shrimp salad, a Victoria Filet, with blue-cheese crust of course, but luckily no bloomin’ onion. Free bread and salads, 3 drinks and a generous tip rang in at $80. Immobility followed. The steak was as good as anything at Gibson’s and they did not fear the color rare. It was big and red and soft enough to cut with the soup spoon. The quality of the meat has always been consistent but the size and temperature were not. Rare will sometimes get you medium and returning it might get you burnt.  By the time you get your meat the other party will be finished. But that’s a case for training. And the English language. This day, the lottery was won. Everything was perfect. See for yourself.

The pants fit a little tighter so a quick return may not be the best idea but man, there’s still that craving for the bloomin’ onion. Should have had that while we had the chance.

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Perennial 2010-03-06

by foodbitch 6. March 2010 22:08

Like its namesake in the plantae kingdom, Perennial has receded for the winter. Let’s hope for its rebirth. Lincoln Park sustains beyond its share of dining mediocrity. No more is needed.

Hotel restaurants exist in a market segment that affords them more than a natural state of business. Travelers will often choose a hotel bar for a quick meal without giving the choice any scrutiny. Even in a city like Chicago in a neighborhood like Lincoln Park, people choose to walk downstairs over walking several blocks regardless of the increased reward of the short trip. Inevitably, as most hotels are professionally managed while most restaurants are not, the professional mentality of turning $1.00 into $1.10 infects the restaurant and quality declines. Judging by earlier reviews, Perennial is an exhibit in the argument.

Brunch was an exercise in average. Average size, taste and temperature was the way of things on Saturday afternoon with service competent but going-through-the-motions. The short rib hash was not at all what was expected. The size of a thick commemorative coin, the line between rib and hash was blurred, then obscured by egg. Sancho’s omelet with poblano peppers should have been spicier and had the peppers not been chemically castrated through excessive heat, it would have been. But there was a lot of sauce on the potatoes which is a common omission of omelet-side preparation. The grilled cheese and tomato soup was average too. How can that be? By serving the soup lukewarm and the “aged cheddar” mild instead of sharp. Bacon was thrown into the cheese for fun but as a porker purist, the company of cheese, tomatoes and Texas toast only takes away from the swine’s delightful flavor. When used on a burger, bacon serves the purpose of crispy salt. In a grilled cheese, the salty sweet-spot is well reached with bacon just a member of the star’s entourage. A waste of divine flavor. And a great shame.

Brunch does not always equate to dinner. Nor dinner to brunch. Publican’s dinner is horribly plain while its brunch is spectacular. But because of the former it took me over 2 years to do the latter at Publican. The inference of mediocrity can be a powerful detractor. Based on brunch, I would certainly not be the first “yay” vote for Perennial dinner.

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Table 52 2010-03-01

by foodbitch 1. March 2010 00:12

How many restaurants think absolutely nothing of making patrons wait well past time reserved without offering so much as a coat hanger for their comfort? Not Table 52. Tasty, cozy and relatively inexpensive is its summary with service worth 4 stars alone.

We arrived a little before dinner to take in the cozy little scene and have a drink or 10 before stretching our abdominals and doing 3 sets or maybe 3 courses or something like that. The hosts absolutely freaked. Evidently, people don’t come to Table 52 prior to time appointed and this deviation from the norm was unsettling. Immediately, we were ushered out of the narrow hallway and into the bar area 70 inches away. We barely had time to order when another host came to apologize for the delay. Delay? We were 10 minutes early. They have been crazed all day the exquisitely appointed gentleman explained and in recompense, he would offer us the champagne he cradled in his hand for props. Cool we thought. We know how much champagne flights can cost. Well worth whatever delay we had to chew before the food. We sat and enjoyed our wine. All 3 sips.

T-minus 2 minutes before reservation time, we were seated. And so began the most unapologetic fest of gluttony ever recorded on a weeknight……since February……26th. The soup was a mushroom broth with actual mushrooms plentiful throughout and several kinds – not just one. And not cream. That’s easy. Add enough cream to a stool sample and it’ll taste great. The crab cake was a little small for $16 but had virtually no filler. Maybe that’s why it’s so big at other places. Breading has some volume. The pork chop and salmon entrée were good but not spectacular. The pork was overcooked despite a request for medium-rare. Hey, they asked. There is no reason to overcook pork these days as all meat is irradiated. But in kitchens ‘round the world, there still live chefs afraid of seeing a little raw in cuts of swine. A shame. But unlike cow, the snorting ungulate is more forgiving of a little extra heat. The salmon, however, is only forgiving on its edges. Inside, it had better be moist. And it was. But cooked salmon must usually depend on its accompanying sauces and here the dish was plain. But no matter.

It has become common for a fancy kitchen to spin on trashy dishes like mac and cheese or meatloaf. They almost always are the best things on the menu because, let’s be honest: how much improvement do they need? But with their M/C, Table 52 really struck some oil and didn’t even kill the penguins. It wasn’t too greasy or too heavy or too light. You definitely know you’ve been chowing after half a plate of it but the truffle-flavored cheeses seep into your taste buds where they evaporate into your bloodstream and make you high. One type of cheese is caramelized on the outside of the dish a la French Onion Soup. It peels off in strips that dissolve on your tongue like a gooey sacrament. Hellz, if communion tasted this good, I would have converted to Islam or Jehovah’s Judges or whatever the  cannibalistic faith they wanted so long as I got to munch some Jesus every night.

And on this note our evening ended. Never mind that we had 12 layer cake. Never mind that we never got the round of champers we were promised. Nothing could take the taste of mac and cheese communion from our palates.

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Purple Pig 2010-02-21

by foodbitch 21. February 2010 15:43

Hidden behind office space
In a building so remote
Lies a temple to pigs’ grace
Le couture this is le haute.

A Pig’s tail for 9 dollars
A bread ball for but five
‘Twas good enough to hollars
Or squeal it in pig’s jive.

A pork shoulder was eaten.
Prosciutto bead ball too.
No entrée exceeded
Ten single buckaroo.

But bester than the pricing,
Almost than the food
Was the Bloody Mary spicing
Heaven/Seven lewd.

The Purple Pig had served us
The way that no bar could
An orgy of ungulate
And more liquor than was good.

Go eat now at Purple Pig
Go before the line.
The taste harks back to stockyard days
Chicago knows its swine.

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El Paseo 2010-02-14

by foodbitch 14. February 2010 14:51

A new floor has been reached even as measured by the shockingly low standards of airport dining. A floor you should experience for yourself at El Paseo Café in terminal 1 of LAX.

Clearly, Valentine’s Day 2010 was a travel day so romantic dinner was at the SouthWest Terminal of LAX. Few cuisines make for better airport dining than Mexican. The same people who domesticated corn and beans and llamas perfected the art of throwing things into an edible wrap at lightning speed as required by antsy travelers. Speed is why one never finds Indian tandoori at the airport but can’t roll a suitcase without plowing into a burrito remnant. Indeed a burrito is perhaps the last thing one would expect to have the capacity for turning out poorly. Like pizza and sex, even when a burrito is bad, it’s still pretty good. But the burrito at El Paseo puts so much distance between itself and good that it’s comical. As a human with what I believe to be a normally evolved sense of disgust, my ability to express its depth was limited by the fear of causing an airport disturbance and getting tossed in with the underwear bombers. But after half of this burrito, my underwear wouldn’t need explosives.

If El Paseo served pizza, it would be a Domino’s and K-mart hybrid. Left to the elements. For a month. And if it served sex, it would be the hooker left uncoupled. At Santa Monica and Wilcox. On Saturday. I can’t explain beyond the above what this monstrosity was like. I simply haven’t the vocabulary.

So please see photographic evidence.

Don’t look too closely for fear of vomit on the keyboard but what the devil is THAT? What passed for guacamole was some sort of avocado paste with tomato roe sprinkled in for wetness. The beans were more drainage from a can than fried or refried anything and the tortilla was less edible than Viva paper towels but much much stronger. And hotter. The entire mess was heated to the temperature of nuclear fusion perhaps out of compassion since burnt tongues taste less. I only wish I burned mine more.

Happy Valentine’s Day dinner sweetheart.


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BLD 2010-02-14

by foodbitch 14. February 2010 10:49

BLD is not cheap. Nor does it blow a menu-sized hole through your taste buds. But it is so consistently good in a land of late-rising mediocrity that it deserves the highest marks by LA measures.

In a city that loves its sleep, finding a breakfast spot that opens before 9 ain’t so easy. But with BLD, (breakfast, lunch, dinner) you get as early a breakfast as you’re willing short of IHOP and hotel cafeterias. Considering that you’re blood-alcohol is probably still illegal, you shouldn’t make it too early.

One of the menu items I can’t seem to do without is the Cuban sandwich. They pile on the pulled pork onto a roll of bread that can more than stand up to all of it. Their fries are thin and crispy but will occasionally throw in a wet and soggy one that we all say we don’t like but secretly love to be surprised with. The sweet pickle I can do without. I prefer salty. But that’s me. I want to try other things but each time I have, I regret not going Cuban. There’s something in that sandwich that rings addictive. I hope it isn’t MSG.

The Huevos Rancheros are amazing. Even in a city where most people working kitchen are from Mexico, BLD excels with its take beyond the scope of others. They are also unafraid to charge for the privilege a cool $13. At that price one may balk but shouldn’t. Nor should one pass by the Cuban’s $18, the most expensive on the menu. Because nothing I have ever had that called itself a Cuban quite compares. I’m not even sure that this is a real Cuban since most sandwiches bearing the description have had variations of deli-meat. This was slowly-cooked pulled pork. Spicy. Amazing.

We caught LA on perhaps its loveliest weekend in a while. We sat outside and wanted to keep our sobriety defeated as thoroughly as the night before. But alas, BLD does not have a liquor license for its great outdoors! A let-down of buzz-killing proportions. The lovely waitress apologized that we were not told up-front and offered to promptly re-seat us on the legal side of drunk. No way. That afternoon, we were heading back to gross Chicago where it would be another 4 months before we could sit outside and not get frostbite. Plenty of time to drink indoors. We kept our spot and drank water. Sober had to come sometime. We sat in sunshine like Senators at fundraising bidding our fleeting intoxication fairy-well with a pound of pork.

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Bazaar 2010-02-13

by foodbitch 13. February 2010 20:47

Sam Nazarian strikes again. With Starck and Andres latched firmly on his nipple, Bazaar at the new SLS Hotel spares no expense. Well, maybe some but gets a solid win despite it.

The hotel took so long to open that I was sure of the project’s death. Shows what I know. Sammy Boy Entertainment (or SBE without deeper meaning as he likes to lie to interviewers) has so much money behind it that whatever problems they were having were simply waited out. Didn’t even have to sell one of his 12 cars or sub-lease the Veyron. Money clearly ain’t no thang considering dysfunctions in the company ensure that not a single bar they’ve ever opened turns a profit. Except The Abby. Gays are profitable. LA hipsters ain’t. But who cares when daddy has a billion dollars? Here’s a few mil kiddo. Go away and don’t bug me. Sammy got enough to buy publicity with Fortune ride-alongs, Entourage cameos and Top Chef judgeships. Good for him, but we’re not here to gossip about Nazarian or envy his estate. We wish to analyze Bazaar on its own merit.

LA restaurants require LA yardsticks. Else, details like timely seating, flighty service and hour-long valet lines would sink them. Bazaar was spectacularly busy even though the place had been open for months. This means ordering will be a lottery of fame and prettiness. This time was no different except that our order was actually taken and delivered in under 5 minutes. A remarkable change of pace in a city whose default motion is through motor oil: slimy, dirty and slow. But Bazaar did better. And made us pay. The disparity between the prices of their food and drinks is canyonesque. A $23 bottle of Peay Vineyards Pinot sells for $19/glass. A Maker’s neat goes for $12. Pretty steep but they’re not afraid to pour making the “shot” in reality a triple. For $4 it’s a steal.

But the food sure hits the sweet spot. And saltiness. And umami. Mention must be made of the Jose Andres take on Philly Cheese Steak which consists of a toasty dumpling filled with melted truffled cheese and topped with a near-raw slice of Wagyu. $8 for a single but worth more. Astounding. I ordered one and got two. It was meant for the party next to us. They let me keep the extra portion. Then, a few minutes later, I got ANOTHER plate delivered with the proper single serve. I didn’t eat it out of politeness but really wanted to. The most expensive item was the lamb at $16. It was worth it. The rest of the items, although good, could not match the the Philly. It was the evening’s highlight. As was the bill. Had we nothing to drink, 8 dishes would have cost $90. Recession pricing indeed.

The evening’s low is LA, not the restaurant itself. They did not seat us until we checked up on our status. An old trick and with the bar prices, a profitable one. The waitress, although competent, had that annoying personality common to those who believe their life to be a stage. And the valet line took 20 minutes to pay the bill and another 25 to get the car. Incompetence by any yardstick. But the people here wait and say nothing which is so different from the adolescent tantrums they throw at every other thing. What is it about cars and parking that bring out LA’s best when it should bring out its worst? I’d rather treat my waiter well and leave tire-tread on the snout of whoever schedules valets. Plan ahead moron. But, it is not fair to judge an LA restaurant by its support services the problems of which are endemic in the city. Bazaar is a fantastic deal in a place where deals are hard to come by. You should go before Sammy Boy Nazarian changes his mind.

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The Ivy 2010-02-12

by foodbitch 12. February 2010 01:13

Interview Q: Do you have a portfolio? A: Yes. – Good for you. GTFOut. We hire people to work, not audition. And because they obviously hire for ability, The Ivy is without question the best restaurant in LA.

The first thing a patron notices while marching to the table is the relative dearth of pretty people wearing aprons. This is four standard deviations distant from every other LA restaurant and doesn’t immediately sink-in. Why would a star-studded cliché of a spot not follow protocol? And after a dozen or so meals, I feel that the Ivy, unlike every other service sister, understands that its business is to get you in, fed, and the hell out in time to seat the next party. This does not happen when the waiters are too busy learning lines to remember orders.

Today, for the first time, things did not go flawlessly. They usually do. 1 for 12. When my Cajun Prime Rib arrived, it was cooked so thoroughly that well-done would be an understatement. I wish I took a picture. How was it ordered? Rare, of course. So here we know for certain that the waiter, chef, and bus person all looked at a “prime rib” half an inch thick and thought nothing of it. Alarms should have been sounding. But, an error is not serious so long as it’s corrected. And correct they did fast and without argument. Prime Rib round two was 2.5 inches thick and rare as I’ve ever seen. How about you? Some would argue that they overcompensated by serving black-and-blue instead of rare (there is a difference) but I won’t. The Cajun crust more than made up the heat that the center lacked. I can’t imagine eating it another way.

Also on the menu was 1 Grilled Shrimp Salad, 1 Artichoke appetizer, and 5 Ivy Margaritas at the cool price of $16.75 EACH. I thought the menu said 13.75 and can’t find an on-line version anywhere. I would have loved to scream bloody murder at these bastards and had I found proof of the margarita’s price differential I would have. But you know what? They make simply the best margarita I have ever sucked up with hunger for another. I looked up their recipe some years ago trying to emulate them and of course, got a lot of hearsay. The combo tasting most like theirs was: 1 part tequila, 2 parts Cointreau, 2 parts fresh lime juice. The one today seemed to have the tequila/Cointreau ratio reversed since it wasn’t as sweet as I remember. Either that or the limes are out of season. Either way, 3 are enough to knock me on my overfed buttocks. Each has 3 shots of 80-proof liquor. Cointreau is sweet but it sure can kick.

Finally, a note about the pricing. If you are on a budget, cross the street to News Café. Or better yet, get bent. The Ivy is a place that understands its market as well as its reality. They are in the business of turning tables and @ 16.75$/drink you’re a lot less likely to sit there sipping past your welcome. They deliver food that is consistently excellent with service that is second to nothing in LA. They also seat you on time which would be impossible had they not found their equilibrium price and gotten demand to equal supply. My sample size is north of 10 and never have I waited more than a few minutes past time reserved. Yes, you need to make a reservation. Yes, even at these price points. So if you want to be a hater, print out all the tales of woe you read in other reviews and eat them instead. Keep the Ivy’s tables free of human refuse so I can eat in peace.

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Mercat 2010-01-31

by foodbitch 3. February 2010 20:01

The best part about group dinners is group orders. Usually, a party of 8 at a Tapas place would mean that one could sample 1/2 the menu. But today we sampled 1/2 a pig and were ripped off with no denominator.

As most gimmicks in the restaurant world, table-side swine is heavy on price, light on meat and lax on preparation. If one wants to nibble more than pork, it’s important to dine with a large, sample-friendly party and without the vegetarians, Jews or Muslims. One needs to plan ahead: our party reserved the piglet 3 days in advance. And one needs to pay down the plastic because staring at this snout is going to cost you a car payment.

The newborn table-pig is not a newborn concept. Greektown has been doing it for as long as Halsted crossed Van Buren. But unlike the flesh of nature’s oceans which allows for great variety in the sampling of Snapper, the only ready portion of a porker lies in the loin. And maybe belly. And maybe, if we were in China, the trotters and tail and every other damn thing. But, for the American table, little piggy means little else than 5 pounds of pulled pork. Not bad but how much sloppy pig can one eat? I did more than my fair share but not enough to make it worth $220. However, how cool would it be if the restaurant would send the porker back after its table-side theatrics and proceed to cure some ham, cut some shoulders, braise some ribs and bring back the dinner party a week later for pig-round-2? THAT would make it worth the price!

Sadly, with the way things stand, buying the pig defeats the entire purpose of Tapas dining. Your party would have to seat 15 to make the purchase viable and taste some other dishes. But at that size, you’d be fighting over the single piglet. And if you get two, well, from forth the fatal loins of those two porks, a pair of star-cross’d piglets gave their life; whose misadventured piteous oven-spits doth with their death bury their diner’s appetite.

Mercat is a good restaurant. Go there for tapas. Or suffer the 3-hours’ traffic of pig’s stage.

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Urban Belly 2010-01-30

by foodbitch 30. January 2010 20:52

At first glance Urban Belly appears like the Corner Bakery of rice and noodles: underserved and overpriced but that's mostly because they make you pay the bill before first bite. It was well worth the $50/2.

For those whose dining world is contained in a 1mi^2 radius from the loop, a journey to 3000s north and west had better mean cheap. Especially for rice and noodles. Overcharge the roundeyes on our own turf but if we travel we expect savings. So when we forked over nearly 50 bucks before taking a single bite and got a deli-style number to stand up at the table, we were naturally concerned. We certainly weren’t at Arun’s. Thank the sun god that the concern wasn’t warranted.

The fried rice must be fried in cream because every gooey mouthful dissolves in the acidic moisture of your tongue and leaves a buttery residue as it slithers down your throat. The best $7 cup of rice I’ve had since Hakkasan. Is it me or is rice a lot more expensive since they mapped its genome and found it more complex than the human? The fowl and fungus dumplings taste almost as good outside as they do inside which rarely happens outside a bakery and the vegetarian Asian Egg noodles are pan-fried before they are immersed giving them that crispy texture on every 4th noodle. The Udon, however, is more like pho with big fat noodles since all the floating fat is still doing backstrokes in my fourth stomach chamber. Chef Kim: you’re supposed to throw away the first batch of broth after you cook your scrapple in it. Besides, where does coriander/sweet chili/lime broth get fat from anyway? I thought Udon broth was clear. Anyway, despite the fact that there was enough cumulative garlic in our dishes to smell back home the food was really pretty good. Even 3 hours later if you catch my draft.

Finally, even though all you social creatures love it, I HATE communal seating. This is why we went at 11AM when no one else was there. If others were, I’m not sure where we would have parked given that 99% of the strip-mall parking seems to be reserved for the laundromat next door. Maybe they have valet. The tables are made of some pretty impressive wood though. The little stools are made of the same and are so heavy that had I done shrugs yesterday, I would have needed help sliding in.

Finally, finally: Dear Chef, unlike aircrafts, mooses, deers and fishes, I’m pretty sure “rices” is not a proper plural. Let’s check that before reprinting the next batch of menus.

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Epic 2009-01-23

by foodbitch 25. January 2010 20:04

Who charges $14 for the “house” pinot? $16 for three pieces of grilled octopus? $18 for a single crab leg? 3 infuriating dollars for 2 ounces of horseradish? The same people who bring out desserts we didn’t order and then charge for them.

Seated 15 minutes late for a 9:30 reservation, we knew that things could have been worse. The bar was packed and the staff had trouble navigating since management thinks patrons shelling out $13.25 for a half-filled martini would appreciate having none of the precious liquid spilled en route and asks the hosts to carry drinks up on a tray. This multiplies seating time by 3X.

We took our time deciding which was no problem at all since our server, Tony, was without a doubt one of the best waiters to ever work in a new and trendy restaurant. He suggested when we needed, pushed items but not too far and delivered nothing but courteous assistance to what would have otherwise simply been a price-abusive dinner. He also never let a drink go empty and never took one away with anything left in it.

Main courses for the evening were mostly good: Smoked Rib Eye, NY Strip, great: Sea Bass and not acceptable for the price: Yellowfin Tuna. Overall, the entire meal was unacceptably overpriced with little dings to insult even the most extravagant of diners. Charging $3 for a bottle-cap of horseradish when the steaks are already in the 40s is abuse of a high order. $18 for a single crab leg cut in two is nothing short of gouging and $14 for the “house” wine is just comical. Dear management: This isn’t a resort. You have not a captive clientele.  

But a manager did seem to care enough to make his rounds at the tables and we told him the truth. We also complimented the waiter as is our practice when deserved. He said he understood. To our delight, out come 2 excellent desserts: a crème brulee and a chocolate/hazelnut ice cream. How about that? The floor manager truly heard what we had to say and was trying to make the pain of Epic pricing hurt a little less. A+ for service – I thought. It was not until the following day that I stood corrected. There, on the bill, were two $10 charges for each of our “free” desserts. Nicely done gentlemen. I’m sure a lot of people won’t ever notice.

Dear Management, a restaurant isn’t an airline serving a unique route and although it may be tempting to invent charges for condiments and coat checks there are 10 thousand places downtown that don’t and never will. They can expect our speedy return whereas you, alas, cannot. Just please don’t charge us a non-returning customer fee.


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ShowPlace Icon 2010-01-09

by foodbitch 9. January 2010 19:18

On the menu at ShowPlace Icon were 2 pizzas, 2 sandwiches, 3 appetizers and 3 dimensions of Avatar. The food was good, solid bar-food. And the film was good, solid Cameron excrement. Since the movie was a part of the experience, I cannot properly review the evening without casting some stones.

One of the reasons brew and view is best at bars is because theaters are set up for serial entry and exit, not constant movement. But ShowPlace Icon does the best job it can with its handicap. We dined and took our drinks into the spacious VIP lounge-seating. There was unanimous consent about the pizza but disagreement about Panini. I must report that I liked everything even though half of our party found themselves underwhelmed by the sandwiches. Clearly their expectations were higher than mine. My half of a prosciutto Panini and pizza was better than anything I’ve had at Corner Bakery and for about the same price. Indeed, I was fully expecting the traditional movie theater price-goatse. Personal pizza for $20, amateur martini for $18, soggy fries for $10. You can imagine my surprise when the martini cost $10 and the house-wine $5! None of the entrees were anything out of the neighborhood’s typical price-range. Even the parking was free! For a bar that’s still trying to get its bearings, the table-service was quite efficient. I just cannot complain even though I want to. About the food that is. The movie…

How many times have we seen Avatar? Evil white man rapes and pillages poor defenseless natives until a converted white man sees the light and turns against his people and saves the savages.  At Play in the Fields of the Lord, Emerald Forest, Farewell to the King and even Pocahontas are all DVDs that were At Play in the House of the King (of the world) when he was generating this latest turdlet in his titanic arsenal. But inspiration is one thing. A simple search-and-replace job like with say, oh, I dunno: Dances with Wolves is a whole other matter. I’m not sure about you, but if I handed in Avatar to any of my English profs I would have been expelled for plagiarism. And for using low-caste Hindi words in titles. I guess Kings have a double-standard.

I don’t give a flying rhino about the CGI if the material beneath is a decaying heap of bleeding-hearts and neither should you. If it’s CGI you want go play a 3D video game. With the action all your own, you’re at least guaranteed originality. And if you need to feel guilt about something why not start with the fact that the countless upcoming cults and Facebook pages dedicated to Na’vi and arguments over whether Optimus Prime would be able to take Jake Sully will all be at the expense of doing something useful.

So, with all due haste, go see something at ShowPlace Icon. Just not Avatar. And don’t drink so much that you’ll have to hit the can 5 times during the film and have the irritated sober people try to trip you on your way. But if you do make it, be sure to take off the 3D glasses first. They don’t have the effect you hope for.

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Bandera 2010-01-09

by foodbitch 9. January 2010 02:14

For the first time in Bandera’s history, we were served by someone whose opening remark was not “Have you dined with us before?” It could have been all downhill from there.

Many ghosts-of-business-past haunt Bandera’s space and we were certain Bandera would soon be just another apparition. Had we known they had Hillstone Restaurant Group’s money behind it we would not have been so cavalier with the predictions. But financial security has a price and as any seasoned diner will attest, chains like HRG, Grand Lux and McCormick and Schmick have a rigid, corporate feel that removes the distinction from even the wait staff’s appearance and personality. Having worked a block away and eaten at Bandera over 50 times I find it uncanny that I have never had the same server more than once and yet never has the experience deviated in so much as a single variable right down to the opening question. Except today.

Naturally, we wondered what else would be different. The menu was the same. The “soup” was still chicken chili which was not as spicy as we remembered but still delicious. The Veggie Burger was still the same outstanding mish-mash of guilt-free garden gunk that happens to be the best such mess in the city. Even the half-chicken which is the best item on the menu is still there having increased only $1 in 6 years to a budget-bursting $16. I figure that’s an inflation-adjusted 10 bucks. Even ordering it with all white-meat does not incur additional cost (as it does at sister restaurant Houston’s). However, they will get this wrong almost 25% of the time through either waiter omission or kitchen illiteracy. So how does Bandera remain so inexpensive?

We’ve already established that the restaurant must turn-over all of its staff every month or so. Bad even by food-service standards. HRG must really squeeze the hell out of its employees. And today, unlike most work lunches, we ordered drinks. A Bloody Mary costs $9 and contains little more than 2 shots of liquid. The Mimosa contains ice and mostly orange juice but was served in a huge wine glass. Ice with Champagne? Who’s idea was that? Just serve it in a normal flute and skip the fillers.

In all, Bandera is a fine restaurant with a great view of the avenue below it. The food is far better than it needs to be for the price and unless you’re trying to get drunk the meal won’t cost you much. Just be careful asking the staff robots to deviate from script because such curveballs will almost always guarantee a wait.

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Urban Farmer 2009-12-22

by foodbitch 22. December 2009 17:13

The only way to improve on perfectly-cooked steak is more perfectly-cooked steak. Thus, the steak-tasting at Urban Farmer of Portland was an improvement on excellent.  

Never before did oyster appetizers present me with problems. Until now. In retrospect, I felt that every oyster to have slimed down my throat took away room from a precious bite of steak. Twas sinful leaving behind as much steak as I had but there was simply no more room. For me, this is rare indeed but the “tasting” was not at all what I expected. Instead of tiny morsels littering gigantic plates the dish was simply 4 full portions of meat. None could have been smaller than 8 ounces. Just thinking about it now, I can feel the pressure on my cardiac sphincter (and if you must know, the other one too).  I had not been this full since the Cool Hand Luke inspired eating contest but I just could not stop.

The steak tasting consists of Highland-Oak grass-fed, Brandt Prime and Strawberry Mountain 21-day dry-aged. The Wagyu is an optional $30 add-on to an already $60 entree but who cares? It was one of the best cuts of the elite cow I’ve ever had. Naturally, I devoured it first. The rest were excellent too but nothing compared to the perfectly marbleized Wagyu. Have done with the childish notion of saving the best for last. According to the law of diminishing marginal return, one should always eat the best first. Children don’t know this and for this reason you never see any working as economists. The sheer size of the dish was something straight out of Barton G in South Beach. I was fully expecting a giraffe to come marching through the spacious atrium but thankfully some cheeseballishness is reserved for Miami alone.

There was no room for dessert. Barely any for drinks. At dinner’s-end I sat comatose for fear that any sudden movement would fatigue my muscularis and blow all of my undigested steak, along with my submucosa through an orifice of its own making. I would wind up like the fat dude in Se7en whose sin was gluttony. This night, mine certainly was.

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Publican 2009-12-20

by foodbitch 19. December 2009 21:11

If pigs could fly, Publican would probably catch them, rip out their wings and make a dish so tasty it would send the diner (with late hog) to porcine heaven.

Having encumbered Publican with my presence before, I thought I knew what to expect. Indeed, had it not been for the plethora of reviews calling brunch excellent I would not have even bothered. Dinner was just adequate and there are too few Sunday brunches in a year for plain adequacy. This, however, was nothing of the sort.

Forget what you may know of Blackbird portions. Forget about fancy schmancy. This is a place of pork and beer and love. Love because of those damned communal tables which I despise but everyone else seems to, well, love.

I had the grilled pork shoulder sandwich which was so big that upon first bite, the bread buckled with some contents crashing to the plate. Not to be defeated, I picked up the escaping swine and shoved it right back in the breach from whence it came then palmed the sandwich damning good manners to the pigsty. Nothing escaped again. Nor lasted long. Several partners-in dine had the scrapple with fried eggs which, although good, couldn’t hold a bacon-scented candle to my shoulder. But – what they could do is pierce their eggs and let the yolk seep through the sticky offal scraps like an embryonic reservoir whose placenta burst. I only wish they were pig eggs since this seems too erotic a way to mix the species.

Also worthy of mention are the sides of which we sampled three. The spicy pork rinds were less spicy than dreamy with the gentle taste of ungulate undulating through the airy folds of former flesh. The bacon must have been an inch and a half thick and tasted more like a pork belly than plain old Oscar Meyer crispy salt. The hash browns were – hash browns. A little too greasy for my taste but listen to me, drinking what must be a cup of swine-fat and acting all prejudicial against a greasy vegetable.

Anyway, put on your bacon underwear, stick your boar-bristle hairbrush in your back pocket, go to Publican, eat more than I did, bring your dog back some pig ears and tell the swine-haters to go flock themselves.


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Balsan at the Elysian 2009-12-17

by foodbitch 18. December 2009 17:14

The Elysian made no small plans and unquestionably stirred men’s souls. Balsan elevates hotel drinking to a new level of gourmet and if they perform with their food even a fraction as well then we salute them.

We arrived at 7PM for a few drinks and appetizers. We had no reservations and would have been happy anywhere there was room for 5. In the world of trendy hotel bars, such poor planning can be treated 2 ways: Like a club or like a hotel.  The former method involves cavalier disdain or even denied entry (exhibit A: The Mondrian West Hollywood) or the latter (Sunset Tower WeHo) – two polar opposites of one another located in the same neighborhood, on the same strip and presumably competing for the same dollars. Case studies like the Mondrian are few in Chicago but not null (read: W Lakeshore) and if ever there was a hotel to capitalized on its hype and step into snooty shoes the Elysian was it. It didn’t.

The Elysian staff is there to help. Sometimes comically so. A small army of valets rushes your vehicle as you make the elaborate arc around the largest parking courtyard the city has ever seen. For $23/hour they could vacuum it too or something. There is someone waiting to intercept you at the door to help with directions. He/she is not overbearing if you seem to know where you’re going. At Balsan, the hosts sadly informed us that all the tables were, in fact, reserved (none were taken). But the bar was perhaps the better choice. Let us reserve full analysis until after the first full meal but the high-level overview is excellent.

The drinks are priced correctly for Rush Street and perhaps even underpriced. Why? Because they do love them so. I watched as each of the Night/Day Cocktails received 4-5 ingredients and an average 5 minutes of bartender attention. It was great but this certainly won’t scale. 5 more people at the bar would quickly overwhelm the bartenders. To reduce the demand price such drinks at $18 and not 12. The manager told me that they do not use mixers and even make their own tonic. PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE, I thought, don’t cheap out on the prep work after the first month. No one is gonna wait 10 minutes for a vodka-tonic.

Independent of my prophesies, what we had we loved. Stay tuned for the full review after we get a chance to eat here.


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About the author

FB is the CTO of an entertainment company and, these days, writes much more in prose than he ever wrote in code. Which is a good thing. Because people expect quality from code. Meal me:

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