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life is good here - lunch in the Loop

life is good here - lunch in the Loop
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  • Post #31 - January 16th, 2015, 3:52 pm
    Post #31 - January 16th, 2015, 3:52 pm Post #31 - January 16th, 2015, 3:52 pm
    I've had good success with Sushi Sai on Randolph/Wacker.
  • Post #32 - January 21st, 2015, 4:49 pm
    Post #32 - January 21st, 2015, 4:49 pm Post #32 - January 21st, 2015, 4:49 pm
    Had a nice lunch yesterday at Taza Cafe on Franklin just north of Randolph. I went at 11:45 and was a bit put off by the steam table-held grilled items, shawerma and falafel. The counterman assured me that the falafel had just left the fryer and without asking promptly handed me one of the well-shaped and appropriately golden brown specimens. Indeed it tasted fresh out of the fryer, with a crackling crust, a fluffy interior, and aggressive cumin, coriander, herbal, and hot red pepper notes. Really a perfect falafel. I ordered a platter which came with good hummus, a cooling Jerusalem salad, and turnip and cucumber pickles. Hot sauce ("shatta") and a tahina based sauce ("tahiniyya"). A great lunch.

    I worry however that future visits may be inconsistent because of the steam table issue. I realize turn over is quick during lunch and that this is necessary to expedite the lunchtime rush so that hungry workers can get back to the office. That's fine. But I'll be asking for fresh grilled or fried whenever I feel that the food has been sitting around too long. They seem nice enough to accommodate such a request.

    Also, FYI, their Baklava is from Nazareth Sweets on Kedzie, so it should be quality.

    I want try pierogi heaven soon. Any experiences or recs?

    Thanks again,

    H
    "By the fig, the olive..." Surat Al-Teen, Mecca 95:1"
  • Post #33 - January 22nd, 2015, 1:53 pm
    Post #33 - January 22nd, 2015, 1:53 pm Post #33 - January 22nd, 2015, 1:53 pm
    We do Taza about once a week (for the past 7 years) - it has always been really good and consistent. You are correct, if you want something special or different, they are happy to oblige.

    We do pierogi heaven on occasion - decent enough food, but we just aren't that into nap time food very often.

    Highly rec Naansense (next to them), though. Good variety for fast takeout Indian - quality is also consistent and they don't shy away from specil requests.
  • Post #34 - January 22nd, 2015, 2:05 pm
    Post #34 - January 22nd, 2015, 2:05 pm Post #34 - January 22nd, 2015, 2:05 pm
    stoutisgoodfood wrote: Naansense fast takeout Indian



    Is there a thread on restaurant names? This should be on it.
    fine words butter no parsnips
  • Post #35 - January 22nd, 2015, 2:24 pm
    Post #35 - January 22nd, 2015, 2:24 pm Post #35 - January 22nd, 2015, 2:24 pm
    Pierogi Heaven is just okay. It's not that the food isn't good, it's just very much a one-note place. Would be good as a side or appetizer, it just doesn't work (for me) as a meal.
  • Post #36 - January 22nd, 2015, 3:27 pm
    Post #36 - January 22nd, 2015, 3:27 pm Post #36 - January 22nd, 2015, 3:27 pm
    spinynorman99 wrote:Pierogi Heaven is just okay. It's not that the food isn't good, it's just very much a one-note place. Would be good as a side or appetizer, it just doesn't work (for me) as a meal.


    If that's a side or an appetizer to you, I'm impressed--even a half dozen with the works I find to be a hefty lunch. After topping with melted butter, grilled onions, bacon, and sour cream, Pierogi Heaven could make an old shoe taste good. It is definitely a one-note place, but the pierogi are good, it's very quick, and when you need to grow an extra layer for winter, I think it's great to have around. Every day? No, at least not for the sake of your cholesterol. Great to have on hand, though--especially if happy hour the night before was a bit much.
  • Post #37 - January 22nd, 2015, 5:20 pm
    Post #37 - January 22nd, 2015, 5:20 pm Post #37 - January 22nd, 2015, 5:20 pm
    mtgl wrote:
    spinynorman99 wrote:Pierogi Heaven is just okay. It's not that the food isn't good, it's just very much a one-note place. Would be good as a side or appetizer, it just doesn't work (for me) as a meal.


    If that's a side or an appetizer to you, I'm impressed--even a half dozen with the works I find to be a hefty lunch. After topping with melted butter, grilled onions, bacon, and sour cream, Pierogi Heaven could make an old shoe taste good. It is definitely a one-note place, but the pierogi are good, it's very quick, and when you need to grow an extra layer for winter, I think it's great to have around. Every day? No, at least not for the sake of your cholesterol. Great to have on hand, though--especially if happy hour the night before was a bit much.


    Appetizer as in what they serve at the Berghoff. I'll eat one and pass the plate.
  • Post #38 - January 23rd, 2015, 10:59 am
    Post #38 - January 23rd, 2015, 10:59 am Post #38 - January 23rd, 2015, 10:59 am
    Baba Village is an Indo/Pak/Hallal restaurant at 310 S. Canal. Unlike the more chain-y, polished Indian places downtown, Baba runs on the cabbie joint model - big plates of home-style cooked curries, biryanis, snacks and of course, breads. I had a wonderful chicken biryani with an even better chapati (out of this world) and a salt lassi. The Biryani was good, especially for downtown, but it's no Bismillah (on ridge) or Shan (on Sheridan). Still, the best you will find in the loop. Even better the chapati was a chewy, toothy, stretchy, charred masterpiece and the lassi was light, frothy and blended with ice. So damn good. Everything was authentically spicy, no dumbing down on the dishes I had.

    If you work downtown and want some humble and delicious Indo-Pak, hit up Baba Village. Be warned, when lines are long, wait times suffer.
    "By the fig, the olive..." Surat Al-Teen, Mecca 95:1"
  • Post #39 - January 23rd, 2015, 12:17 pm
    Post #39 - January 23rd, 2015, 12:17 pm Post #39 - January 23rd, 2015, 12:17 pm
    Thanks for that rec....opposite end of town for me, but during the warmer months a nice lunchtime stroll is always welcome. I'll put it on the list!
  • Post #40 - January 23rd, 2015, 12:25 pm
    Post #40 - January 23rd, 2015, 12:25 pm Post #40 - January 23rd, 2015, 12:25 pm
    Habibi wrote: but it's no Bismillah (on ridge) or Shan (on Sheridan).


    OT I know but, is Bismillah good? I drive past it frequently (live off Ridge in Evanston), and have always wondered about that place. I always end up going to Devon though.
    www.justnoms.com
    Rate the Food, Not the Restaurant
    @justnoms_com
  • Post #41 - January 23rd, 2015, 12:30 pm
    Post #41 - January 23rd, 2015, 12:30 pm Post #41 - January 23rd, 2015, 12:30 pm
    Bismillah has great Biryani, breads, and tandoor grilled items (boti, shami, seekh) as well as a kick ass spicy griddles Chapli kabob.
    "By the fig, the olive..." Surat Al-Teen, Mecca 95:1"
  • Post #42 - January 23rd, 2015, 3:53 pm
    Post #42 - January 23rd, 2015, 3:53 pm Post #42 - January 23rd, 2015, 3:53 pm
    Just north of the Loop but the Roland at Dough Bros is probably my favorite lunch bite in the area right now.
  • Post #43 - January 23rd, 2015, 4:29 pm
    Post #43 - January 23rd, 2015, 4:29 pm Post #43 - January 23rd, 2015, 4:29 pm
    Habibi, dunno if this is outside your geographic range, but Bombacigno's J & C Inn at 558 West Van Buren Street (a couple blocks west of Baba's) is one of my West Loop go-tos when I can't take the chain dreck that predominates around here. Not cheap, but good sandwiches, pasta specials and other goodies. And the place has the kind of character you don't find downtown much anymore.
  • Post #44 - January 23rd, 2015, 4:35 pm
    Post #44 - January 23rd, 2015, 4:35 pm Post #44 - January 23rd, 2015, 4:35 pm
    Luckyguy wrote:Habibi, dunno if this is outside your geographic range, but Bombacigno's J & C Inn at 558 West Van Buren Street (a couple blocks west of Baba's) is one of my West Loop go-tos when I can't take the chain dreck that predominates around here. Not cheap, but good sandwiches, pasta specials and other goodies. And the place has the kind of character you don't find downtown much anymore.


    The above posts should be strong enough support that "chain dreck" is no longer the norm in the Loop.
  • Post #45 - January 23rd, 2015, 6:31 pm
    Post #45 - January 23rd, 2015, 6:31 pm Post #45 - January 23rd, 2015, 6:31 pm
    Went on a networking lunch with a potential client at Gene & Georgetti's today. We sat at the "Mahagony Club" bar with all the regulars. I had a massive liver and onions with bacon, side potatos (included), a super Tuscan by the glass, and a big old pour of Fernet on the rocks to help digest the insane richness. I was only able to finish exactly half of the plate, but let me tell you, that damn calve's liver was mild and smooth as butter, with a bit of char, and the bacon was nice and chewy and well-rendered. Fucking awesome lunch. Can't wait to go back.
    "By the fig, the olive..." Surat Al-Teen, Mecca 95:1"
  • Post #46 - January 23rd, 2015, 8:05 pm
    Post #46 - January 23rd, 2015, 8:05 pm Post #46 - January 23rd, 2015, 8:05 pm
    Habibi wrote:Went on a networking lunch with a potential client at Gene & Georgetti's today. We sat at the "Mahagony Club" bar with all the regulars. I had a massive liver and onions with bacon, side potatos (included), a super Tuscan by the glass, and a big old pour of Fernet on the rocks to help digest the insane richness. I was only able to finish exactly half of the plate, but let me tell you, that damn calve's liver was mild and smooth as butter, with a bit of char, and the bacon was nice and chewy and well-rendered. Fucking awesome lunch. Can't wait to go back.


    I'm doing lunch all wrong
  • Post #47 - January 23rd, 2015, 8:17 pm
    Post #47 - January 23rd, 2015, 8:17 pm Post #47 - January 23rd, 2015, 8:17 pm
    If you like liver and onions, RL does an excellent rendition, as does Cafe Orchid.
    "In pursuit of joys untasted"
    from Giuseppe Verdi's La Traviata
  • Post #48 - January 23rd, 2015, 9:45 pm
    Post #48 - January 23rd, 2015, 9:45 pm Post #48 - January 23rd, 2015, 9:45 pm
    Habibi wrote:Went on a networking lunch with a potential client at Gene & Georgetti's today. We sat at the "Mahagony Club" bar with all the regulars. I had a massive liver and onions with bacon, side potatos (included), a super Tuscan by the glass, and a big old pour of Fernet on the rocks to help digest the insane richness. I was only able to finish exactly half of the plate, but let me tell you, that damn calve's liver was mild and smooth as butter, with a bit of char, and the bacon was nice and chewy and well-rendered. Fucking awesome lunch. Can't wait to go back.


    So very happy to have you back in town Habibi--as interesting as your NYC posts were, it's so much more interesting seeing your local play by play. Welcome home!!
    "Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit; wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad." Miles Kington
  • Post #49 - January 24th, 2015, 12:04 am
    Post #49 - January 24th, 2015, 12:04 am Post #49 - January 24th, 2015, 12:04 am
    I love this thread. But man, I have yet to meet the "potential client" wooable with liver-breath. Clearly I need a new career.
  • Post #50 - March 19th, 2015, 4:02 pm
    Post #50 - March 19th, 2015, 4:02 pm Post #50 - March 19th, 2015, 4:02 pm
    Everytime I have had lunch at Toni's Patisserie, it's been very pleasant. The food is fresh and shows a lot of attention to detail. There is something about the vibe of the place that makes me feel like I'm not in Chicago, but in a good way. I usually get the soup and sandwich for $8.75. I notice they are offering a Cuban sandwich, which I will have to try.

    65 E Washington St, Chicago, IL
  • Post #51 - March 19th, 2015, 5:18 pm
    Post #51 - March 19th, 2015, 5:18 pm Post #51 - March 19th, 2015, 5:18 pm
    cleanplateclub wrote:Everytime I have had lunch at Toni's Patisserie, it's been very pleasant. The food is fresh and shows a lot of attention to detail. There is something about the vibe of the place that makes me feel like I'm not in Chicago, but in a good way. I usually get the soup and sandwich for $8.75. I notice they are offering a Cuban sandwich, which I will have to try.

    65 E Washington St, Chicago, IL


    Agreed. Do they have wi-fi now?
    Ava-"If you get down and out, just get in the kitchen and bake a cake."- Jean Strickland

    Horto In Urbs- Falling in love with Urban Vegetable Gardening
  • Post #52 - March 19th, 2015, 7:05 pm
    Post #52 - March 19th, 2015, 7:05 pm Post #52 - March 19th, 2015, 7:05 pm
    cleanplateclub wrote:Everytime I have had lunch at Toni's Patisserie, it's been very pleasant. The food is fresh and shows a lot of attention to detail. There is something about the vibe of the place that makes me feel like I'm not in Chicago, but in a good way. I usually get the soup and sandwich for $8.75. I notice they are offering a Cuban sandwich, which I will have to try.

    65 E Washington St, Chicago, IL

    Hey! You forgot to mention the terrific pastries!
  • Post #53 - March 20th, 2015, 3:31 pm
    Post #53 - March 20th, 2015, 3:31 pm Post #53 - March 20th, 2015, 3:31 pm
    Yes to wifi and YES to the pastries.
  • Post #54 - March 20th, 2015, 3:58 pm
    Post #54 - March 20th, 2015, 3:58 pm Post #54 - March 20th, 2015, 3:58 pm
    Roger Ramjet wrote:
    stoutisgoodfood wrote: Naansense fast takeout Indian



    Is there a thread on restaurant names? This should be on it.


    I'm contemplating opening a fast-food Ethiopian spot: "Adding Insult to Injera."
  • Post #55 - January 12th, 2016, 11:48 am
    Post #55 - January 12th, 2016, 11:48 am Post #55 - January 12th, 2016, 11:48 am
    Per their Facebook page, the Tortas Frontera in Chase Plaza closed back in November:
    November 6, 2015 "Today is our last day of service at Tortas Frontera in Chase Tower. Please visit us at our other downtown restaurants, Frontera Fresco at Macy's Seven on State and XOCO. Thank you to all for your patronage!"
  • Post #56 - January 12th, 2016, 8:16 pm
    Post #56 - January 12th, 2016, 8:16 pm Post #56 - January 12th, 2016, 8:16 pm
    lodasi wrote:Per their Facebook page, the Tortas Frontera in Chase Plaza closed back in November:
    November 6, 2015 "Today is our last day of service at Tortas Frontera in Chase Tower. Please visit us at our other downtown restaurants, Frontera Fresco at Macy's Seven on State and XOCO. Thank you to all for your patronage!"


    Thank you for posting this - I had been considering a walk over there for lunch this week and would have been very disappointed to have braved the weather and come up empty!
    Objects in mirror appear to be losing.
  • Post #57 - January 12th, 2016, 9:13 pm
    Post #57 - January 12th, 2016, 9:13 pm Post #57 - January 12th, 2016, 9:13 pm
    Love Toni's. For those who are on a super budget and want to avoid the cold-basement Macy's 'Grill' has Vienna hot dogs for $2.50.
    What disease did cured ham actually have?
  • Post #58 - January 13th, 2016, 10:18 am
    Post #58 - January 13th, 2016, 10:18 am Post #58 - January 13th, 2016, 10:18 am
    lodasi wrote:Per their Facebook page, the Tortas Frontera in Chase Plaza closed back in November:
    November 6, 2015 "Today is our last day of service at Tortas Frontera in Chase Tower. Please visit us at our other downtown restaurants, Frontera Fresco at Macy's Seven on State and XOCO. Thank you to all for your patronage!"


    I had gone to that location and to the one at Macy's, and for some reason the Chase location was always just a little bit off in comparison. It seemed the Macy's location took a little more care in their work, but I could never really figure out exactly what it was.
  • Post #59 - February 18th, 2016, 4:22 pm
    Post #59 - February 18th, 2016, 4:22 pm Post #59 - February 18th, 2016, 4:22 pm
    On my way to Benjyehuda for lunch today, I diverted to the new (since December) Spotted Monkey, located in the old Haute Sausage storefront on Franklin. Spotted Monkey is the third venture from the folks of the DuckNRoll food truck and SaucyPorka. Billed as Latin-Asian fusion, the menu features rice bowls, sandwiches, "bacos" (bao style tacos) and more. I tried a veggie egg roll, served with a basil aioli, and two "bacos": panang curry chicken and guajillo pork. Total was under $8 which isn't too bad for the area. I'd be interested in trying more of the menu.

    Spotted Monkey
    335 S Franklin
    Chicago, IL
    312-285-2303
    http://spottedmonkeyeatery.com/
    -Mary
  • Post #60 - February 18th, 2016, 4:55 pm
    Post #60 - February 18th, 2016, 4:55 pm Post #60 - February 18th, 2016, 4:55 pm
    Not the Loop, more like Streeterville, but I had lunch on Monday at Ramen Misoya at 213 E. Ohio. I had the spicy Tonkotsu Ramen. I have not been to the other location, so I cannot make a comparison, but I really thought this was a great bowl of noodles. Thick rich broth, toothsome noodles and a perfectly executed miso egg. I arrived around 11:30 and had no problem finding a seat. Started filling up a little after 12:00, but by the time I left there were still seats available. I will be back.

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