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Citrine and evolving Oak Park scene

Citrine and evolving Oak Park scene
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  • Post #211 - September 16th, 2017, 10:56 am
    Post #211 - September 16th, 2017, 10:56 am Post #211 - September 16th, 2017, 10:56 am
    Heads up, Cafe Descartes (the coffee shop next to the Lake Theatre) has been offering home made Indian snacks/lunches a couple of times a month, including today. Down south, Addis Cafe had for a while been talking about doing the same, albeit Ethiopian, but it looks like Descartes beat them to the stealth street food punch.
  • Post #212 - September 16th, 2017, 12:53 pm
    Post #212 - September 16th, 2017, 12:53 pm Post #212 - September 16th, 2017, 12:53 pm
    I stopped by Lea French Street Food and picked up their Parisian sandwich. I was really impressed. Great ham and fresh romaine lettuce and tomato. I take back my previous words.
  • Post #213 - September 23rd, 2017, 1:50 pm
    Post #213 - September 23rd, 2017, 1:50 pm Post #213 - September 23rd, 2017, 1:50 pm
    So what do people like for Thai these days around here? We always loved Yum Thai in Forest Park, but the business was sold a couple of years ago and all of the really interesting dishes (from the "Thai Menu" which used to be secret) disappeared. We found the old Thai restaurant standards that remain to be just OK.

    So, where should we get take-out from? If not Thai, then what?
  • Post #214 - September 23rd, 2017, 4:29 pm
    Post #214 - September 23rd, 2017, 4:29 pm Post #214 - September 23rd, 2017, 4:29 pm
    mj18 wrote:So what do people like for Thai these days around here? We always loved Yum Thai in Forest Park, but the business was sold a couple of years ago and all of the really interesting dishes (from the "Thai Menu" which used to be secret) disappeared. We found the old Thai restaurant standards that remain to be just OK.

    So, where should we get take-out from? If not Thai, then what?

    As far as Thai in Oak Park, one of my old friend's family has run Mama Thai on Madison for about 15 years.

    When we got stuff there it was always very good. I recall Tom Kha, Red Curry & See Eiw specifically.

    If other locals have had negative experiences, by all means I hope they speak up. It's been a few years since I last had it. But the cuisine & location appear perfect for your request.

    Mama Thai
    1112 Madison (1.5 blocks east of Harlem)
    (708)386-0100
  • Post #215 - September 23rd, 2017, 6:03 pm
    Post #215 - September 23rd, 2017, 6:03 pm Post #215 - September 23rd, 2017, 6:03 pm
    I'm a fan of Amarinds' on North Ave
    http://www.amarinds.com/
  • Post #216 - September 24th, 2017, 8:25 am
    Post #216 - September 24th, 2017, 8:25 am Post #216 - September 24th, 2017, 8:25 am
    Went to Altiro Latin Fusion with friends last night. Pretty unexceptional, as I expected, but a few observations worth making.

    1) One, don't call yourself "Latin Fusion" if essentially what you are offering is slightly more ambitious Mexican. Altiro is less "Latin Fusion" than Maya Del Sol, which is right down the street, so they're not fooling anyone.

    2) Even as far as slightly more ambitious Mexican goes, Altiro is not radically different from or better than Axcan in Forest Park, but you don't see Axcan getting all pretentious about what is in the end modest variations on familiar fare.

    3) What is up with the layout? Tiny tables in a vast room that seems like 50% empty space. It felt like dining in a furniture store. Or at an underpopulated reception. Or in the spillover room at a wedding function for less favored guests.

    Service was good, though, so they're not incompetent, but I would not have guessed this was the third or so outpost of an established local ... chain? Franchise? Family business? Whatever it is, it's disappointing that so many of Oak Park's latest additions feel like fixtures of far out suburbs rather than the closest inner burb to a huge city. Brewpubs, generic fancy Mexican, Cooper's Hawk ... We're a 20 minute drive from the west loop, so it's disappointing that Oak Park dining increasingly seems more suited to, say, Downers Grove. Is that the price we have to pay for development and growth? Factor in the rumored decline of Autre Monde, the simplification of Big Guys, the closing of Taste of Brasil, the changeover at Katy's ... despite Heritage and Citrine, it feels like we're regressing.
  • Post #217 - September 24th, 2017, 8:42 am
    Post #217 - September 24th, 2017, 8:42 am Post #217 - September 24th, 2017, 8:42 am
    I feel your pain!
    i used to milk cows
  • Post #218 - September 25th, 2017, 7:47 am
    Post #218 - September 25th, 2017, 7:47 am Post #218 - September 25th, 2017, 7:47 am
    So what do people like for Thai these days around here? We always loved Yum Thai in Forest Park, but the business was sold a couple of years ago and all of the really interesting dishes (from the "Thai Menu" which used to be secret) disappeared. We found the old Thai restaurant standards that remain to be just OK.

    So, where should we get take-out from? If not Thai, then what?


    I've found Mama Thai to be perfectly serviceable, but we haven't been in a while because we now get take out from Bodhi Thai - on the Berwyn side of Roosevelt, 6211 W Roosevelt Rd - http://bodhithaiberwyn.com/

    Some of their specials are really excellent. Currys are good.

    Which reminds me that I want to check out their "street style" venture in Pilsen, https://www.bodhithaichicago.com/
  • Post #219 - September 25th, 2017, 8:30 am
    Post #219 - September 25th, 2017, 8:30 am Post #219 - September 25th, 2017, 8:30 am
    bobbywal wrote:
    So what do people like for Thai these days around here? We always loved Yum Thai in Forest Park, but the business was sold a couple of years ago and all of the really interesting dishes (from the "Thai Menu" which used to be secret) disappeared. We found the old Thai restaurant standards that remain to be just OK.

    So, where should we get take-out from? If not Thai, then what?


    I've found Mama Thai to be perfectly serviceable, but we haven't been in a while because we now get take out from Bodhi Thai - on the Berwyn side of Roosevelt, 6211 W Roosevelt Rd - http://bodhithaiberwyn.com/

    Some of their specials are really excellent. Currys are good.

    Which reminds me that I want to check out their "street style" venture in Pilsen, https://www.bodhithaichicago.com/


    We still do Yum (a few times a month) and find it offers the best value and potentially strongest flavors of the local options with some coaching. They will sell you Isaan sausage and will attempt to make most of the things on the original Thai menu depending on how busy they are. Bamee features their lean red pork and can be made with broth (including a soaked crab rangoon) or dry with a runny fried egg, for example. Sour curries are another. From the regular menu, the egg rolls Thai style, the satay, the pad sieu ordered specifically with Chinese broccoli (khana, gai lan), and the sesame chicken are all sweetly delectable.

    Bodhi is back on track. The soups and pad sieu are strong and whatever is on the specials menu can usually be trusted. Things seem fresher and less sweet than they did the past few years, and the lunch special is a good bargain. Lemongrass chicken and the pad prik king are favorites. The sai oua is only ok. The Pilsen "street food" menu in my experience is pretty much the same as Oak Park, specials often the same, the minor differences being a single-plate special at the latter and the more consistent use of the grill (vs. griddle). It's still jasmine rice vs. sticky rice (but then, sticky rice is an obnoxious upcharge at the already-dear JJ Street Thai, though I like the flavors at that place).

    I'm glad to hear Amarind is still cookin' - it was always fresh and the best experience dine-in (particularly nice plating). I have not had good luck with Mama Thai (or New Pot).

    Does anyone still do King & I? I've also heard promising things about Na Siam (North Ave., formerly Oak Park Thai).
  • Post #220 - September 26th, 2017, 11:00 am
    Post #220 - September 26th, 2017, 11:00 am Post #220 - September 26th, 2017, 11:00 am
    Had Mama Thai once...never again. Incredibly bland. Zero flavor in any of the dishes we ordered. I can't even remember what we got because we wanted to forget quickly. Wife orders the King and I once in awhile. Better than Mama but everything skews sweet and is mediocre but edible. Still looking for decent Thai around OP. Haven't tried Bodhi yet. It's on the list.
    "I Like Food, Food Tastes Good" - The Descendants
  • Post #221 - October 1st, 2017, 4:12 pm
    Post #221 - October 1st, 2017, 4:12 pm Post #221 - October 1st, 2017, 4:12 pm
    Driving down Roosevelt I noticed a newer awning for a new restaurant...


    C5B302D2-AB86-4DA3-8696-410EFE7916FF.jpeg

    Brasas Restaurant and Pancake House
    6033 W Roosevelt Rd, Cicero

    A quick google had me notice that this has the same title as the tiny hole in the wall a block to the east...

    CD44026F-DBFC-4324-B9D0-EAE78ED42B74.jpeg

    Brasas Restaurant (taco stand)
    6011 W Roosevelt Rd, Cicero

    Which led me to stop in and inquire.

    It will open in a few months (reading between the lines, stalled).

    The 6011 location was doing a booming business! Around 15 people inside the 4 - 2 top restaurant. Not surprisingly most waiting for carryout.

    Of course while I was there I had to give something a try, I probably haven’t been in there since it was JTs and had a Jibarito. No Jibarito on the menu and the only unusual items were The Mexican Hotdog...

    75C64925-DDAC-420A-9F96-E25AFEFBBC22.jpeg


    Pretty good! Bun a touch stale but the onion was nice and sharp.

    They also had Mexican and a Tex-Mex burgers on the menu.

    I’ll keep an eye on things. :)
    "Make Lunch, Not War" ~ Anon
  • Post #222 - October 3rd, 2017, 4:15 pm
    Post #222 - October 3rd, 2017, 4:15 pm Post #222 - October 3rd, 2017, 4:15 pm
    Vitesse98 wrote:Heads up, Cafe Descartes (the coffee shop next to the Lake Theatre) has been offering home made Indian snacks/lunches a couple of times a month, including today. Down south, Addis Cafe had for a while been talking about doing the same, albeit Ethiopian, but it looks like Descartes beat them to the stealth street food punch.


    One of my best friends bought this shop ~5 months back and re-did the coffee program to now use beans from Sputnik roasters, who I hadn't heard of prior. The owner of the cafe, Naveen, is Indian, and his Mom used to cook for us often (vegetarian), and though I haven't been to any of these street food events, if she's cooking it'd be worth checking out. He and his wife, Shivangi are super nice and would love feedback if you check the place out.
  • Post #223 - October 3rd, 2017, 10:47 pm
    Post #223 - October 3rd, 2017, 10:47 pm Post #223 - October 3rd, 2017, 10:47 pm
    Now open at the old location of Red Hen Bakery at...

    7B764C5F-EAAE-408A-B73A-74A48B164A93.jpeg

    Courageous Bakery & Cafe
    736 Lake St, Oak Park
    "Make Lunch, Not War" ~ Anon
  • Post #224 - October 4th, 2017, 5:38 pm
    Post #224 - October 4th, 2017, 5:38 pm Post #224 - October 4th, 2017, 5:38 pm
    I went to Courageous Bakery on Saturday. It was crowded. I had the Ruben sandwich. I really enjoyed it, one of the best ones I've had in a while. I definitely would order it again. The banana cream pie cupcake was so-so, but I don't enjoy cupcakes all that much. The almond croissant was average I much prefer the Trader Joe croissant (the one you leave out overnight and bake the next morning).
  • Post #225 - October 4th, 2017, 7:07 pm
    Post #225 - October 4th, 2017, 7:07 pm Post #225 - October 4th, 2017, 7:07 pm
    My family went on Sunday. They said it was packed but service was fast and friendly. They also observed that most people were getting sandwiches and savory goods, not cupcakes, which I think is a good sign for the shop's longevity. My wife got the BLAT sandwich and brought me half. It was excellent.
  • Post #226 - October 4th, 2017, 7:36 pm
    Post #226 - October 4th, 2017, 7:36 pm Post #226 - October 4th, 2017, 7:36 pm
    Any recs for good thin crust in OP? Like, actually in OP (or at least very close)? Really don't feel like driving to Brookfield, or Berwyn, etc.
  • Post #227 - October 4th, 2017, 8:51 pm
    Post #227 - October 4th, 2017, 8:51 pm Post #227 - October 4th, 2017, 8:51 pm
    If I were to order a thin crust in Oak Park, I would probably order from Pizza Puree. A friend tells me that Old World has been serving pretty good thin crust these days. In the past I have had some very good and some mediocre pies from them.
  • Post #228 - October 5th, 2017, 12:29 am
    Post #228 - October 5th, 2017, 12:29 am Post #228 - October 5th, 2017, 12:29 am
    zoid wrote:Any recs for good thin crust in OP? Like, actually in OP (or at least very close)? Really don't feel like driving to Brookfield, or Berwyn, etc.

    Actually we have always been fond of the Monster Pizza at...

    Geppetto's Pasta & Pizza
    http://www.geppettosofoakpark.com
    113 N Oak Park Ave, Oak Park
    (708) 386-9200

    Even with the 3 meats and veggies the thin crust manages to stay crisp and there is a light browning of veggies on the top.

    Your results might vary with mileage as we often will order it and eat it at events in Scoville Park.
    "Make Lunch, Not War" ~ Anon
  • Post #229 - October 5th, 2017, 11:16 am
    Post #229 - October 5th, 2017, 11:16 am Post #229 - October 5th, 2017, 11:16 am
    I'd also give Gepetto's a chance. It might be worth your while to specify how you'd like your crust - like extra thin and crunchy or whathaveyou. It's been a while since I've had one of theirs, but I vividly recall consistency never being a strong suit. Back in the day, when they were great, they were really great.
    We cannot be friends if you do not know the difference between Mayo and Miracle Whip.
  • Post #230 - October 5th, 2017, 2:22 pm
    Post #230 - October 5th, 2017, 2:22 pm Post #230 - October 5th, 2017, 2:22 pm
    dradeli wrote:If I were to order a thin crust in Oak Park, I would probably order from Pizza Puree. A friend tells me that Old World has been serving pretty good thin crust these days. In the past I have had some very good and some mediocre pies from them.


    Since Grand Slam closed :cry: Old World's been our go-to for delivery pizza. I think it's to the better end of thin crust pizzas. Armand's has 1/2 price pizza on Monday's. What's the math here: it's not half as bad but something like that; I'm saying there's week's when I'd rather have the cheaper Armands, but overall, Old World's better. I also like Jim n Pete's pizza, but for some reason never quite think to order it.

    Eat in, Jimmy's has great thin crust.
    Think Yiddish, Dress British - Advice of Evil Ronnie to me.
  • Post #231 - October 5th, 2017, 3:25 pm
    Post #231 - October 5th, 2017, 3:25 pm Post #231 - October 5th, 2017, 3:25 pm
    seebee wrote:I'd also give Gepetto's a chance. It might be worth your while to specify how you'd like your crust - like extra thin and crunchy or whathaveyou. It's been a while since I've had one of theirs, but I vividly recall consistency never being a strong suit. Back in the day, when they were great, they were really great.


    Good call, and they do really honor done-ness requests. So for that matter does Lou Malnati's, which I tend to trust for party catering since they have (in my experience) piping-hot delivery in a given 15 minute window down to a science. I like pepperoni, giardiniera, half (light) cheese, "full distance" (well-done). It's a poor man's Vito & Nick's or c. 1986 Aurelio's throwback.
  • Post #232 - October 11th, 2017, 10:40 am
    Post #232 - October 11th, 2017, 10:40 am Post #232 - October 11th, 2017, 10:40 am
    Vitesse98 wrote:Heads up, Cafe Descartes (the coffee shop next to the Lake Theatre) has been offering home made Indian snacks/lunches a couple of times a month, including today. Down south, Addis Cafe had for a while been talking about doing the same, albeit Ethiopian, but it looks like Descartes beat them to the stealth street food punch.

    Stopped in Addis today for a waffle and some coffee and asked the owner about her next Ethiopian popup and she rolled her eyes and mentioned it was a lot of work.

    Maybe not soon...

    Addis Cafe
    https://www.facebook.com/Cafeaddis/
    818 S Oak Park Ave, Oak Park
    (708) 613-4142
    "Make Lunch, Not War" ~ Anon
  • Post #233 - October 11th, 2017, 2:33 pm
    Post #233 - October 11th, 2017, 2:33 pm Post #233 - October 11th, 2017, 2:33 pm
    Fresh off the press (pizza oven?)...

    46FC41EE-66B6-4308-91EB-F20F9F2EB51F.jpeg


    Rosati’s (opening soon)
    1013 Madison Ave, Oak Park
    "Make Lunch, Not War" ~ Anon
  • Post #234 - October 13th, 2017, 7:55 am
    Post #234 - October 13th, 2017, 7:55 am Post #234 - October 13th, 2017, 7:55 am
    mj18 wrote:So what do people like for Thai these days around here? We always loved Yum Thai in Forest Park, but the business was sold a couple of years ago and all of the really interesting dishes (from the "Thai Menu" which used to be secret) disappeared. We found the old Thai restaurant standards that remain to be just OK.

    So, where should we get take-out from? If not Thai, then what?


    My view of Yum Thai has certainly gone through a lot of twists and turns over the years, mostly shaded by how special it was for that brief period when we cracked the secret menu. The place got so bad, that we didn't even go for about a 2 year block. We've slowly returned because, well, it is the best of the local options, no?

    Anyways, last night, my wife and I had an early dinner here, and I'm here to report that it was quite astonishingly good. I mean not good as in the way it used to be, in the sense that you had a small window into how Thai people were eating, but good in the sense of how they put the dishes together. I'm just saying that whichever Thai student they've temporarily hired to work the kitchen has a nice touch. The ratios of fish sauce to sugar to chili to lime in the dishes hit the spot. Honestly, who knows how long.
    Think Yiddish, Dress British - Advice of Evil Ronnie to me.
  • Post #235 - October 13th, 2017, 9:49 am
    Post #235 - October 13th, 2017, 9:49 am Post #235 - October 13th, 2017, 9:49 am
    Vital Information wrote:Since Grand Slam closed :cry: Old World's been our go-to for delivery pizza. I think it's to the better end of thin crust pizzas. Armand's has 1/2 price pizza on Monday's. What's the math here: it's not half as bad but something like that; I'm saying there's week's when I'd rather have the cheaper Armands, but overall, Old World's better. I also like Jim n Pete's pizza, but for some reason never quite think to order it.

    Eat in, Jimmy's has great thin crust.

    I also still mourn the closing of Grand Slam. What has it been, 10, 15 years. Living a half block away made it our mainstay. They were another restaurant (like Falco’s on Cermak) with a recipe from Home Run Inn.

    Jim and Pete’s used to be great when they were closer to Harlem but have way too much cheese (like Benny’s on 26th) for my taste nowadays.

    Armand’s has always been ‘just good’, never ascending to great.

    Even though a friend of mine helped establish Old World I have never dined there and will make a point of rectifying that. Thanks for the recommendation!

    Jimmy’s. Extra sausage, extra crispy is always spot on and we often will order a small as an appetizer.

    Falco's Pizza
    5651 W Cermak Rd, Cicero
    http://falcospizzeria.com/
    (708) 652-2027

    Jim & Pete's Restaurant
    7806 W North Ave, Elmwood Park
    http://jimandpetes.com/
    (708) 453-5204

    Benny's Pizza
    6806 26th St, Berwyn
    http://www.bennyspizzaberwyn.com/
    (708) 749-1771

    Armands Pizzeria
    7650 W North Ave, Elmwood Park
    http://armandspizzeria.com/
    (708) 456-5200

    The Original Old World Pizza
    7230 W North Ave, Elmwood Park
    http://originaloldworldpizza.com/
    (708) 456-3000

    Jimmy's Place
    7411 Madison St, Forest Park
    http://www.jimmysplaceforestpark.com/
    (708) 771-7476
    Last edited by Panther in the Den on October 13th, 2017, 12:41 pm, edited 1 time in total.
    "Make Lunch, Not War" ~ Anon
  • Post #236 - October 13th, 2017, 10:28 am
    Post #236 - October 13th, 2017, 10:28 am Post #236 - October 13th, 2017, 10:28 am
    zoid wrote:Any recs for good thin crust in OP? Like, actually in OP (or at least very close)? Really don't feel like driving to Brookfield, or Berwyn, etc.


    I know its not technically in OP, but they do deliver to OP and it's a short drive depending on where you live. I don't know if this is the style that you are looking for but I'm surprised no one has mentioned Bertolli's River Pizza yet. They used to be cash only, but I think they accept cards now. I'm also a sucker for their calzone.

    7973 Lake St, River Forest, IL 60305
    (708) 771-2820
  • Post #237 - October 24th, 2017, 8:07 am
    Post #237 - October 24th, 2017, 8:07 am Post #237 - October 24th, 2017, 8:07 am
    Obsessed (former Kinderhook Tap, 800 S. Oak Park) has really brightened that space on the menu, service, and lighting design fronts. I like many of the Asian (the term the restaurant website uses) touches, including house kimchi, and potstickers on the kids' menu like my fave Jackie's in New Buffalo.

    Execution on some brunch staples has not quite been there yet - some significantly undercooked eggs (probably had been too cold to start with), potatoes, and beignets (Paul Hollywood raw) on one visit. Offset by bottomless mimosas and bloody marys. This was a particularly marked contrast with Heritage (Forest Park) which has some of the most perfectly cooked and composed brunch plates I've ever seen [including the stadium nacho breakfast sandwich which sounds ridiculous and is one of the most original and texture-perfect things I've had this year]. I don't want to start a separate thread on that place so it can be our thing, right?
  • Post #238 - October 24th, 2017, 12:53 pm
    Post #238 - October 24th, 2017, 12:53 pm Post #238 - October 24th, 2017, 12:53 pm
    Santander wrote:Obsessed (former Kinderhook Tap, 800 S. Oak Park) has really brightened that space on the menu, service, and lighting design fronts. I like many of the Asian (the term the restaurant website uses) touches, including house kimchi, and potstickers on the kids' menu like my fave Jackie's in New Buffalo.

    ...

    Being the closest restaurant to my house, we have been stopping by on a regular (monthly) basis.

    Since the opening weeks things have settled in nicely. While there are some 'Asian' influences on the menu I would like to see an entree with a touch.

    Drinks are good and fortified.
    Glad to see the Chicken Soup make it's return.
    Their double burger has hit it's stride.
    Fall menu is out.

    This place has a spot in my heart and I am hoping for their continued success. Often busy and with the owner, Daniel, circulating the tables from time to time.

    It's all good
    "Make Lunch, Not War" ~ Anon
  • Post #239 - October 28th, 2017, 9:22 am
    Post #239 - October 28th, 2017, 9:22 am Post #239 - October 28th, 2017, 9:22 am
    Opening in the Harrison Arts District by October 31st?

    District Kitchen and Tap
    (from the people who brought you Scratch Kitchen)
    In the same row of store fronts that also houses Happy Apple Pie Shop (226 Harrison St).

    http://mobile.oakpark.com/News/Articles ... -Harrison/

    They better get going to meet that date. :)
    "Make Lunch, Not War" ~ Anon
  • Post #240 - October 29th, 2017, 8:49 am
    Post #240 - October 29th, 2017, 8:49 am Post #240 - October 29th, 2017, 8:49 am
    Went to Citrine the other night, maybe for only the second time since it opened, and man, that place is so thoroughly mediocre for a restaurant featuring several entrees in the $30-$40 range. Prices like that better give me something better than average, but no way does Citrine deliver on that front. It's too bad, since it's a nice space and much better than the barrage of generic brewpubs and chains invading Oak Park, but it's a shame one of our centerpiece spots is not remotely special. We're having a bunch of out of town guests visiting, and I'm torn about what to even recommend.

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