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Evanston Lunch Group Thur Sept. 17, 12:30-Prairie Grass Cafe

Evanston Lunch Group Thur Sept. 17, 12:30-Prairie Grass Cafe
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  • Evanston Lunch Group Thur Sept. 17, 12:30-Prairie Grass Cafe

    Post #1 - August 19th, 2009, 8:00 pm
    Post #1 - August 19th, 2009, 8:00 pm Post #1 - August 19th, 2009, 8:00 pm
    With Prairie Grass Cafe having been selected as having the best burger in Chicagoland by Chicago Magazine, September seems like the right time to visit by the Evanston Lunch Group. We have (tentatively) selected Thursday September 17th (but it can be moved to Friday September 18th if there are conflicts).

    We hope to be guided in our ordering by the very considerable talents of Ronnie Suburban.

    Prairie Grass Cafe
    601 Skokie Blvd # N6t
    Northbrook, IL 60062-2813
    (847) 205-4433
    http://www.prairiegrasscafe.com
    Toast, as every breakfaster knows, isn't really about the quality of the bread or how it's sliced or even the toaster. For man cannot live by toast alone. It's all about the butter. -- Adam Gopnik
  • Post #2 - August 19th, 2009, 8:05 pm
    Post #2 - August 19th, 2009, 8:05 pm Post #2 - August 19th, 2009, 8:05 pm
    I like this idea! I've never been to Prairie Grass yet; I had to pass on the one other chance I had recently. Looking forward to it.
    "Your swimming suit matches your eyes, you hold your nose before diving, loving you has made me bananas!"
  • Post #3 - August 19th, 2009, 8:09 pm
    Post #3 - August 19th, 2009, 8:09 pm Post #3 - August 19th, 2009, 8:09 pm
    If someone might be kind enough to give me a ride from/to campus or dowtown Evanston or thereabouts, I'm definitely in. I've wanted to try Prairie Grass for a long time, and I'll just have finished my busiest work week of the year on that date, so I'll be due for an extra leisurely and yummy lunch.
  • Post #4 - August 19th, 2009, 8:12 pm
    Post #4 - August 19th, 2009, 8:12 pm Post #4 - August 19th, 2009, 8:12 pm
    I'm in (unless I somehow get waylaid at work).

    Thanks,

    =R=
    Why don't you take these profiteroles and put them up your shi'-ta-holes? --Jemaine & Bret

    There's a horse loose in a hospital --JM

    That don't impress me much --Shania Twain
  • Post #5 - August 19th, 2009, 8:21 pm
    Post #5 - August 19th, 2009, 8:21 pm Post #5 - August 19th, 2009, 8:21 pm
    I'm in. And, of course, I can provide rides from Evanston.
  • Post #6 - August 19th, 2009, 8:30 pm
    Post #6 - August 19th, 2009, 8:30 pm Post #6 - August 19th, 2009, 8:30 pm
    Sharon, I will be on campus that day and can give you a ride. Of course, who can resist the lure of the Tom-mobile.
    Toast, as every breakfaster knows, isn't really about the quality of the bread or how it's sliced or even the toaster. For man cannot live by toast alone. It's all about the butter. -- Adam Gopnik
  • Post #7 - August 19th, 2009, 9:25 pm
    Post #7 - August 19th, 2009, 9:25 pm Post #7 - August 19th, 2009, 9:25 pm
    HI,

    I really have little excuse when you are in my neighborhood. Unless something I don't expect occurs, I plan to be there.

    Regards,
    Cathy2

    "You'll be remembered long after you're dead if you make good gravy, mashed potatoes and biscuits." -- Nathalie Dupree
    Facebook, Twitter, Greater Midwest Foodways, Road Food 2012: Podcast
  • Post #8 - August 19th, 2009, 9:29 pm
    Post #8 - August 19th, 2009, 9:29 pm Post #8 - August 19th, 2009, 9:29 pm
    I love Prairie Grass and rarely get the chance to go there for any meal besides breakfast on the weekends (not that there's anything wrong with that). Count me in.
    Steve Z.

    “Only the pure in heart can make a good soup.”
    ― Ludwig van Beethoven
  • Post #9 - August 20th, 2009, 1:05 am
    Post #9 - August 20th, 2009, 1:05 am Post #9 - August 20th, 2009, 1:05 am
    I plan to be there!
    "Life is a combination of magic and pasta." -- Federico Fellini

    "You're not going to like it in Chicago. The wind comes howling in from the lake. And there's practically no opera season at all--and the Lord only knows whether they've ever heard of lobster Newburg." --Charles Foster Kane, Citizen Kane.
  • Post #10 - August 20th, 2009, 8:30 am
    Post #10 - August 20th, 2009, 8:30 am Post #10 - August 20th, 2009, 8:30 am
    nr706 wrote:I'm in. And, of course, I can provide rides from Evanston.


    GAF wrote:Sharon, I will be on campus that day and can give you a ride. Of course, who can resist the lure of the Tom-mobile.


    Thanks very much, Tom and Gary. I'm fine with whichever arrangement is easier for the driver. I'll check in closer to the date and see what makes the most sense.

    Sharon
  • Post #11 - August 23rd, 2009, 4:34 pm
    Post #11 - August 23rd, 2009, 4:34 pm Post #11 - August 23rd, 2009, 4:34 pm
    Hi, all - I haven't forgotten you, I'm waiting to see if I will become unburied from the to-do list, which has become unmanageable enough to prevent me from eating out...I will post closer to the date if things clear up! I was sorry to miss Quatto.
  • Post #12 - August 23rd, 2009, 6:19 pm
    Post #12 - August 23rd, 2009, 6:19 pm Post #12 - August 23rd, 2009, 6:19 pm
    List of participants as of September 2nd:

    GAF
    Katie + 1
    Happy Stomach
    Ronnie Suburban + 1
    nr706
    Cathy2
    tarte tatin
    WillG
    moetchandon
    gastro gnome
    ChicagoMike

    Possible:
    Heather22

    Later this week I will call PGC and ask about the size of a table that they can accommodate. I assume that a table of 12 will be fine. If not, we can split into smaller tables.
    Last edited by GAF on September 16th, 2009, 3:44 pm, edited 6 times in total.
    Toast, as every breakfaster knows, isn't really about the quality of the bread or how it's sliced or even the toaster. For man cannot live by toast alone. It's all about the butter. -- Adam Gopnik
  • Post #13 - August 31st, 2009, 1:58 pm
    Post #13 - August 31st, 2009, 1:58 pm Post #13 - August 31st, 2009, 1:58 pm
    I would like to join you if space is still available.

    Thanks, Will
  • Post #14 - August 31st, 2009, 5:56 pm
    Post #14 - August 31st, 2009, 5:56 pm Post #14 - August 31st, 2009, 5:56 pm
    It appears I will be available on this date and would like to join you for lunch...if you still have room for one more.

    Sharon
  • Post #15 - August 31st, 2009, 6:58 pm
    Post #15 - August 31st, 2009, 6:58 pm Post #15 - August 31st, 2009, 6:58 pm
    I realize that I'm actually off of work that day.

    If you can accommodate, I'm game to join.
  • Post #16 - September 1st, 2009, 12:27 am
    Post #16 - September 1st, 2009, 12:27 am Post #16 - September 1st, 2009, 12:27 am
    I'm in under the following circumstances: I don't have to work that day, and I can hitch a ride in the tom mobile. :) I'll let you guys know by that Tuesday!
    Heather

    "As for butter versus margarine, I trust cows more than chemists." Joan Gussow
  • Post #17 - September 2nd, 2009, 1:03 pm
    Post #17 - September 2nd, 2009, 1:03 pm Post #17 - September 2nd, 2009, 1:03 pm
    Please add me to the list.
    Did you know there is an LTHforum Flickr group? I just found it...
  • Post #18 - September 15th, 2009, 9:50 am
    Post #18 - September 15th, 2009, 9:50 am Post #18 - September 15th, 2009, 9:50 am
    Just a bump for this lunch on Thursday Sept. 17th. I have made reservations for a dozen people, but there will not be a problem if we are a few over this number.
    Toast, as every breakfaster knows, isn't really about the quality of the bread or how it's sliced or even the toaster. For man cannot live by toast alone. It's all about the butter. -- Adam Gopnik
  • Post #19 - September 16th, 2009, 2:32 pm
    Post #19 - September 16th, 2009, 2:32 pm Post #19 - September 16th, 2009, 2:32 pm
    Looks like I'll be +1. If that's not possible, please let me know.

    Thanks,

    =R=
    Why don't you take these profiteroles and put them up your shi'-ta-holes? --Jemaine & Bret

    There's a horse loose in a hospital --JM

    That don't impress me much --Shania Twain
  • Post #20 - September 16th, 2009, 2:33 pm
    Post #20 - September 16th, 2009, 2:33 pm Post #20 - September 16th, 2009, 2:33 pm
    ronnie_suburban wrote:Looks like I'll be +1. If that's not possible, please let me know.

    Thanks,

    =R=


    Unfortuantely, I'm gooing to have to bow out, so Ronnie's +1 can take my spot.
    Steve Z.

    “Only the pure in heart can make a good soup.”
    ― Ludwig van Beethoven
  • Post #21 - September 16th, 2009, 2:44 pm
    Post #21 - September 16th, 2009, 2:44 pm Post #21 - September 16th, 2009, 2:44 pm
    I'll be bringing a guest with me.
    "Your swimming suit matches your eyes, you hold your nose before diving, loving you has made me bananas!"
  • Post #22 - September 17th, 2009, 11:10 am
    Post #22 - September 17th, 2009, 11:10 am Post #22 - September 17th, 2009, 11:10 am
    Darn, not going to make it now. -2.
    "Your swimming suit matches your eyes, you hold your nose before diving, loving you has made me bananas!"
  • Post #23 - September 17th, 2009, 12:51 pm
    Post #23 - September 17th, 2009, 12:51 pm Post #23 - September 17th, 2009, 12:51 pm
    Hi,

    I completely forgot about this lunch. I knew it, I knew it and at the last moment I blew it.

    Sorry!

    Regards,
    Cathy2

    "You'll be remembered long after you're dead if you make good gravy, mashed potatoes and biscuits." -- Nathalie Dupree
    Facebook, Twitter, Greater Midwest Foodways, Road Food 2012: Podcast
  • Post #24 - September 17th, 2009, 3:47 pm
    Post #24 - September 17th, 2009, 3:47 pm Post #24 - September 17th, 2009, 3:47 pm
    Oh, boy. Just this morning I was taking heat from my mom for (unintentionally) losing weight in the last few weeks. She'll be glad to know that whatever I lost, I gained back with today's ELG outing. I haven't been this full since...well...I guess...Sunday. :oops: :D

    That was one big, very pleasing lunch. I can't ID the pie, and my photos of the rare burger and the second salad were not salvageable. Here's everything else we ate:

    Spicy Chicken Wings with Homemade Ranch Dressing:
    Image

    Greek Fries-French Fries topped with Oregano and Feta Cheese, Drizzled with Red Wine Vinegar:
    Image

    Mixed Greens with Apples, Walnuts, Crumbled Blue Cheese, and Balsamic Vinaigrette:
    Image

    Top Sirloin Burger with Mild Blue Cheese Topping and Potato Wedges (which I think everyone ate with bun):
    Image

    Marinated Skirt Steak Over White Beans and Rainbow Swiss Chard:
    Image

    Crab Cake with Bread Crumb Crust Grapefruit and Avocado Salad, Citrus Butter Sauce:
    Image

    Sauteed Whitefish with Lemon, Caper and Tomato; Broccoli:
    Image

    Homemade Italian Sausage with Rigatoni, Marinara:
    Image

    Warm Chocolate "Muk Muk" Cake with Creme Anglaise:
    Image

    Double Chocolate Cake:
    Image

    Alphonso Mango Sorbet:
    Image

    Nectarine-berry Cobbler (?):
    Image

    Some kind of pie with raspberries and a super-duper flaky crust (?):
    Image

    My favorites were the fries (dressed simply and sparingly with just the right bite), the burger (not usually a blue-cheese-on-burger person because I think the cheese usually overshadows the meat--not at Prairie Grass), the skirt steak (lovely with the chard and beans) and the cobbler (I love buttery crumble, but I liked how the fruit was centerstage here). Though I didn't detect any spiciness, I liked the wings. I also enjoyed the simplicity of the white fish though I thought the broccoli was overcooked. The double chocolate cake was also very good, but the top layer of frosting was too thick and made it difficult to discern the texture of the cake proper in my mouth.

    Prairie Grass is one of those places I would have never found on my own. I would gladly return, especially to try brunch and dinner. Thank you, ronnie_suburban, for your ordering expertise; GAF for organizing today's lunch; and everyone for the pleasant company.
  • Post #25 - September 18th, 2009, 10:48 am
    Post #25 - September 18th, 2009, 10:48 am Post #25 - September 18th, 2009, 10:48 am
    I was wowed. I was expecting good food because of Prairie Grass' reputation. But I was surprised that dish after dish were much more than I had expected. The relatively simple dishes that are common on many menus (crab cake, skirt steak, hamburger, pasta with Italian sausage, cobbler) were all elevated way beyond the apparent simplicity. I'll be going back soon for the dinner menu.

    Perhaps my favorite dish was the Alphonso Mango ice cream. I remember Alphonso Mango when he played right field with the Mets in the mid-70s. Man, that guy could cover an outfield...
    Did you know there is an LTHforum Flickr group? I just found it...
  • Post #26 - September 18th, 2009, 11:15 am
    Post #26 - September 18th, 2009, 11:15 am Post #26 - September 18th, 2009, 11:15 am
    I think that this is what makes PGC so special. It is not that their dishes are terribly imaginative (although some have nice twists to them), but they take what is close to comfort food and prepare it with respect for the ingredients and with conscientiousness of preparation. I don't know that I would wish to argue that PGC has the "best" hamburger in Chicago (that is a ploy on the part of Chicago magazine to hook in readers), but it has a truly excellent burger. The crab cake was delicious - as indeed was all of the dishes. Even Mr. Mango's ice cream.

    My first meal at PGC shortly after it opened was a little disappointing, but since that time I have been impressed again and again with a "suburban" restaurant that aspires to the highest level of quality.

    Although I still wish that Sarah Stegner had chosen to remain in the four-star game. She can cook on that level with the best of them.
    Toast, as every breakfaster knows, isn't really about the quality of the bread or how it's sliced or even the toaster. For man cannot live by toast alone. It's all about the butter. -- Adam Gopnik
  • Post #27 - September 18th, 2009, 11:16 am
    Post #27 - September 18th, 2009, 11:16 am Post #27 - September 18th, 2009, 11:16 am
    I had a great time and since I've been so busy at work lately, I really appreciate it when the ELG essentially 'comes to me.' :D

    As often as I eat at PGC, I thought yesterday's lunch was at the very top of their range. Most of the dishes were exemplary renditions -- burgers, crab cakes, whitefish, pasta, salads, wings (which are very tasty but not really "hot," as described on the menu), Greek Fries . . . they were all excellent. Fwiw, I don't agree with h_s about the broccoli in the whitefish dish being overcooked. For my taste, it was perfect -- tender with a little bite. Of course, I'm a bit of a broccoli freak and believe I was the only person at the table who ate the raw broccoli that was served with the wings. 8)

    It was also very nice of my friends Sarah and George to send out the Noah's Ark dessert plan for us, too. (2 each of everything under the sun).

    As always, the company was a major highlight, too. It was great seeing everyone, and being able to chat for a while.

    =R=
    Why don't you take these profiteroles and put them up your shi'-ta-holes? --Jemaine & Bret

    There's a horse loose in a hospital --JM

    That don't impress me much --Shania Twain
  • Post #28 - September 18th, 2009, 11:45 am
    Post #28 - September 18th, 2009, 11:45 am Post #28 - September 18th, 2009, 11:45 am
    I had a great time - thanks to Gary for organizing, and to Ronnie for coordinating the ordering (is it possible that Ronnie knows the menu even better than Chefs Sara and George?) I missed the whitefish, but was impressed with everything else. I especially enjoyed Mike's observation that the Greek Fries could easily have been the love child of the Greek Fries at Cross-Rhodes and the Garlic Fries at Candlelite.

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