LTH Home

my best 10 meals of 2004

my best 10 meals of 2004
  • Forum HomePost Reply BackTop
  • my best 10 meals of 2004

    Post #1 - December 17th, 2004, 8:18 pm
    Post #1 - December 17th, 2004, 8:18 pm Post #1 - December 17th, 2004, 8:18 pm
    1. Boka
    2. Carlos
    3. Blackbird
    4. Everest Room
    5. Arun's
    6. Miramar
    7. Le Francais
    8. Mr. Beef
    9. Mirai
    10. My Mom's House for Thanksgiving
  • Post #2 - December 18th, 2004, 10:37 am
    Post #2 - December 18th, 2004, 10:37 am Post #2 - December 18th, 2004, 10:37 am
    Care to tell us more?
    Watch Sky Full of Bacon, the Chicago food HD podcast!
    New episode: Soil, Corn, Cows and Cheese
    Watch the Reader's James Beard Award-winning Key Ingredient here.
  • Post #3 - December 31st, 2004, 6:16 pm
    Post #3 - December 31st, 2004, 6:16 pm Post #3 - December 31st, 2004, 6:16 pm
    Well, as I've now ordered pizza for the evening it seems safe to close my list for 2004. Here are the ten things that most impressed me this year (see fine print disclaimers):

    I've kept the list to things I tried for the first time; of course, there are lots of things I continue to eat that I love dearly and think rank among the best things I am lucky enough to get to eat, so it's nothing against steak at Smith & Wollensky, mole at Taqueria La Oaxaquena, premium fatty toro at Katsu, Dinkel's chocolate bismarcks, the Fish & Chicken Plank platter at LJS, and many other gastronomic wonders that they didn't make the 10 best list. There's also the matter of whether one ought to go by single dishes or entire restaurants; there are places I like a lot, like Tank Noodle or Rudy's Taste, which never made a single thing which totally floored me but make very nice meals overall and would certainly be among my favorite, most recommended restaurants in toto. I bring all this up because someone else may choose to define 10 best some other way; for me it's 10 individual things that I can still taste months and months later, that wowed me enough at the time to be recallable now. Without further ado:

    TEN BEST THINGS I TASTED IN 2004

    10. Pie made by me with leaf lard and wild blueberries from Evanston Farmers' Market.

    9. Fish Fragrant Eggplant at Ed's Potsticker House. And I don't even like eggplant!

    Image
    (Photo by GWiv)

    8. Chocolate ginger ice cream from the Snooklefritz lady (now reportedly moved to SF), bought at Green City Market.

    7. TIE: Vito & Nick's on Pulaski (but add garlic);

    Image

    and Candlelite (photo by GWiv):

    Image

    And heck, let's throw in Bill's of Mundelein, too. All proof that there's always another good pizza out there that you haven't tried yet.

    6. Spareribs made by me under the tutelage of the Wiviott 5-Step program.

    Image

    5. Caprese at Follia:

    Image

    4. A wonderful, buttery small-production merlot, name long since forgotten, which Ivar the World's Greatest Waiter recommended for me and his roommate Wyatt at dinner at Blackbird (which also offered lots of good food-- but like anybody needs me, at this late date, to rave about the pork belly at Blackbird).

    3. Tarte flambee, with a side of pork goulash, kilometerwurst and bratkartoffeln, at the Christkindlmarkt.

    Image

    2. Kao Mok Kai Yang, and pretty much everything on this board, at TAC Quick:

    Image

    1. Yeah, I'm the one who started the raking of Moto over the coals, but I've also defended the defensible parts of my meal. And as over the top as some of it was, when it was good it was great, and the tenderloin atop braised oxtail was stunningly good, sublime.

    SPECIAL AWARD: This wasn't a tasting but of course the most significant event was: The founding of and, more to the point, the rapid growth of and contributions by so many made to, LTHForum. Huzzah to all!

    * * *

    TOP FIVE DISAPPOINTMENTS OF THE YEAR

    5. The city of Orlando, Fla. I spent a week with the kiddies in Florida, and actually the problem wasn't that the food in the parks was lousy (put some effort into finding the better choices and you can find very acceptable things) but that the food in the fancy restaurants (even the one in town with no park/hotel affiliation at all) wasn't that much better-- indeed, seemed to share a giant-foodservice-provider kind of competency rather than a personal restaurant/chef level of inspiration and creativity. If you need a reason to be glad we have chefs like Cantu willing to risk scorn, an expensive-but-safe restaurant scene like Orlando's is why.

    4. The Hackney's burger.

    3. The Redamak's burger.

    2. Kettle corn.

    1. Sushi paper gimmick at Moto. Next time they should just serve an edible warning label....
    Watch Sky Full of Bacon, the Chicago food HD podcast!
    New episode: Soil, Corn, Cows and Cheese
    Watch the Reader's James Beard Award-winning Key Ingredient here.
  • Post #4 - December 31st, 2004, 6:19 pm
    Post #4 - December 31st, 2004, 6:19 pm Post #4 - December 31st, 2004, 6:19 pm
    Just for the Internet record, since it was only sent out to the old LTH list-serve, here's my 2003 list:

    10. Spinach and feta byrek at Noli's Pizza.

    9. Lime ice from Miko's.

    8. Steak taco at Rubi's or huarache at Ricos, Maxwell Street, doesn't matter what the stuff on top is so much, but the freshly-griddled masa, mmm, Maaaasaaaaa.

    7. One of the salads at Spoon Thai, I forget which now, from the lunch meal a couple of months back. [Probably banana blossom.] Kind of a blur, but 2 or 3 things from the not so secret menu blew me away, redefined Thai.

    6. Bhel Poori I made myself from ingredients I bought at Patel Bros., from a recipe from Sheila Lukins' All Around the World Cookbook. I kind of don't want to try authentic Bhel Poori on Devon since I like my somewhat Americanized version so well (and have made it 3 times now).

    5. Melissa's Red Hen-worthy (both visually and orally) sourdough, hot from the oven and dug into immediately by the whole family.

    4. Katsu. Can't pick just one thing, it's the contrast from one to the next that really makes it.

    3. Hash browns at Gary's fave, Edgebrook Diner. Best hash browns I've had since leaving Kansas, where I was spoiled by the assumption that every diner knew how to make hash browns right.

    2. Four-year-aged gouda ("probably more like five by now") from The Cheese Stands Alone. I've bought this 3 times now, and nibbled on it like Charlie Bucket savoring every morsel of Wonka chocolate.

    1. Chocolate mousse in ginger broth at Spring. I pretty much slammed the rest of the meal, but I can still taste that magical dessert.

    But wait, what about the bread at Kababish or the Lula drink at Brasa Roja or the whole crabs at Little Three Happiness or the baba ghanoush at Sarah's Kitchen...
    Last edited by Mike G on December 19th, 2005, 11:52 pm, edited 2 times in total.
    Watch Sky Full of Bacon, the Chicago food HD podcast!
    New episode: Soil, Corn, Cows and Cheese
    Watch the Reader's James Beard Award-winning Key Ingredient here.
  • Post #5 - December 31st, 2004, 7:00 pm
    Post #5 - December 31st, 2004, 7:00 pm Post #5 - December 31st, 2004, 7:00 pm
    Mike G. wrote:TOP FIVE DISAPPOINTMENTS OF THE YEAR

    5. The city of Orlando, Fla. I spent a week with the kiddies in Florida, and actually the problem wasn't that the food in the parks was lousy (put some effort into finding the better choices and you can find very acceptable things) but that the food in the fancy restaurants (even the one in town with no park/hotel affiliation at all) wasn't that much better-- indeed, seemed to share a giant-foodservice-provider kind of competency rather than a personal restaurant/chef level of inspiration and creativity. If you need a reason to be glad we have chefs like Cantu willing to risk scorn, an expensive-but-safe restaurant scene like Orlando's is why.

    4. The Hackney's burger.

    3. The Redamak's burger.

    2. Kettle corn.

    1. Sushi paper gimmick at Moto. Next time they should just serve an edible warning label....


    Mike,

    I have to agree with the Redamak's burger in New Buffalo. I've had occaision to be in New Bufflalo this fall and ate several hamburgers there. Not worth the trip.

    Regarding Orlando, there are a couple of very good places to eat. My wife's mother has a house in St. Cloud and we have found 2 very good places tp eat. Both are local, inexpensive, non tourist spots. I highly recommend both.

    The Catfish Place
    2324 13th Street
    St. Cloud, FL
    407-892-5771

    Outstanding catfish. Probably the best I have ever eaten. Coleslaw and hush puppies are great. They also serve alligator and have a full menu. Open for lunch and dinner. Good sized portions. Nice interesting decor.

    Pounder's Fresh Fish
    1213 N. Central Ave.
    Kissimmee, FL
    407-846-8980

    Great place for lunch. I don't think the are open in the evening. The place is more of a fish market put has the Maine Seafood style. Fresh fish cooked straight forward with your choice of fried, baked, blackened, etc. Multilple types of fish available.
    Bruce
    Plenipotentiary
    bruce@bdbbq.com

    Raw meat should NOT have an ingredients list!!
  • Post #6 - December 31st, 2004, 7:06 pm
    Post #6 - December 31st, 2004, 7:06 pm Post #6 - December 31st, 2004, 7:06 pm
    Thanks, Bruce, I actually had Pounder's on a list but the opportunity for that kind of a meal never presented itself-- it was either eat with kids within the Disneyplex, or fancy dining out with my wife. By the way, I forgot I ever posted about it but here's the link to a few specifics, if anyone is curious.
    Watch Sky Full of Bacon, the Chicago food HD podcast!
    New episode: Soil, Corn, Cows and Cheese
    Watch the Reader's James Beard Award-winning Key Ingredient here.
  • Post #7 - December 31st, 2004, 7:07 pm
    Post #7 - December 31st, 2004, 7:07 pm Post #7 - December 31st, 2004, 7:07 pm
    My top meals of 2004 would be:


    Several of my trips to Little Three Happiness. I probably ate there 6 times this year and at least 3 of the meals were beyond belief. All were great but several were beyone reproach.

    I am partial to Al's Italian Beef as one of my choices.

    La Pariaso here in South Bend served outstanding Chile Verde.

    Spondivot's in Atlanta had 2 great seafood meals.

    I visited a friend in GA and we had 5 great meals including 2 breakfasts, 1 lunch, and 2 dinners. Traditional BBQ pork, eggs poached in lard, tuna-tomato hushpuppies, oysters, and other delights to numerous to mention.

    I also visited Charleston, SC and have to say my meals at the SeeWee Inn were outstanding.
    Bruce
    Plenipotentiary
    bruce@bdbbq.com

    Raw meat should NOT have an ingredients list!!
  • Post #8 - January 1st, 2005, 4:32 am
    Post #8 - January 1st, 2005, 4:32 am Post #8 - January 1st, 2005, 4:32 am
    10 Best Things I Consumed in 2004

    1. Fresh carnitas from Jimenez Brothers, the Hispanic butcher shops in Berwyn and Melrose Park (I prefer the funky dark hunks)

    2. Salt and pepper shrimp with long beans on the side from Little Three Happiness (had 'em just last night for probably the tenth time in six months)

    3. Black Iron High Mt. Ali Shan tea from Todd & Holland (don't bother trying to get it; it's gone for a while)

    4. Gyros from Mickey's in Oak Park (la sauce c'est tout).

    5. Cauliflower with breadcrumbs and cured black olives (from Saveur, Oct 04 issue)

    6. Oaxaca tamal from Maxwell Street (on my 10 Best List now and forever)

    7. GWiv's corned beef (can easily suck down 2 pounds plus in an evening, and have done so on several occasions)

    8. Isaan sausage with chunks of ginger and parsley at Spoon

    9. Sage, fried in butter, and sprinkled over scrambled eggs (made by me)

    10. Goat curry from Tropical Time in Maywood (a late entrant).
    “We all have to stand before the kitchen gods.” Chef Jacob Sahaya Kumar Aruni
  • Post #9 - January 4th, 2005, 12:14 am
    Post #9 - January 4th, 2005, 12:14 am Post #9 - January 4th, 2005, 12:14 am
    I can never come up with 10, but let me throw some out there.

    1. Green (romaine lettuce primarily) mole and chicken at Amanacer Tapatio
    2. The 8 million plate tasting menu at Trio. Most memorable, strangely, was the Thai iced tea broth served with poached lobster, though there were numerous great dishes. Sorry I never posted this, but neither did Gary who had the same meal in the same kitchen exactly one week before, as it turned out.
    3. The real Gyros at the now sadly-departed Mythos in Naperville. This was bits of marinated, roasted lamb (carnitas a la gracque). If anyone knows of a place that makes this in Chicago, please let me know. This has no relation to the ground meat gyros served everywhere else, believe me.
    4. A number of barbecue experiences thanks to Gary and Joel, including one set of almost perfect ribs I made as a student of the master.
    5. Soup noodles with barbecue pork at Fabulous Noodles (every year?).
    6. Braised pork on a bed of greens at Mandarin Kitchen.
    7. The beef sandwich at Johnny's on the June Beef-athon. Those sandwiches, for whatever reason, the weather, the company, were Beef perfection.
    8. More excellent meals than I could list with the wonderful company of my fellow LTH-ers.

    After that come probably 50 meals/dishes that were wonderful, but not clearly better than each other.

    And my New Year's thanks to each and every one of you for your pleasant camarederie, and excellent info which enrich my life and add much to my eating pleasure in every way.

    I look forward to breaking bread and sharing with all of you often in the year to come.
    d
    Feeling (south) loopy
  • Post #10 - January 4th, 2005, 10:57 am
    Post #10 - January 4th, 2005, 10:57 am Post #10 - January 4th, 2005, 10:57 am
    Fresh carnitas from Jimenez Brothers, the Hispanic butcher shops in Berwyn and Melrose Park


    Is this the same Jimenez Brothers that own, or used to own the market on Western just north of Armitage? I believe it's called Danny's. Rick Bayless had this market listed as a fave in the back of one of his books, but it was listed as The Jimenez Brothers Market. Either way, the carnitas I got from there a few weeks ago were sublime. We fought over the scraps.

    1. Brisket from Kreuz, Black's and Smitty's in Lockhart, Texas.
    2. Grouper sandwiches from Dockside Dave's and Frenchy's in Florida
    3. Conch fritters with Key Lime Mustard Sauce in Key West.
    4. Discovering the wonders of Scheinehaxen in Garmisch, Germany.
    5. Chilequiles verde at Lazo's, corner of Western and Armitage.
    6. Pepper crusted smoked pork tenderloin from Paulina Market
    7. Kringles from Bendtson's Bakery in Racine
    8. Sausage pizza, greek salad and breadsticks from Louie's in Waukegan
    9. Pastrami from Shapiro's in Indy
    10. Pulled pork sandwich from A&R BBQ in Memphis
  • Post #11 - January 4th, 2005, 11:19 am
    Post #11 - January 4th, 2005, 11:19 am Post #11 - January 4th, 2005, 11:19 am
    My 10 best likely relate equally to the company as well as the food:

    1) Christmas Eve, most likely my Grandparents last
    2) Beefathon II, specifically Jonnie's and the Cantaloupe ice from Frannie's
    3) The meal I prepared as practice for the meal I prepared for New Years
    4) Every Meal at Amancer Tapatio, specifically the 2 outings
    5) Chili Dogs from Portillo's, always before an afternoon meeting!!!
    6) Caramels and Apples from Dan's in Joliet
    7) My first experiences with Thai food, Thanks guys
    8) Ham and cheese omelets from Nancy Lynn's in Brookfield @4AM
    9) Gene and Judes, need I say more?
    10) The Spring World dinner, you gotta love fried pork intestines, MMM

    I look forward to the many experiences that this year offers. My wish list this year includes:

    Finally visiting LTH
    Enjoying an authentic thai meal
    Beefathon III
    Hot Dougs
    Superdawg
    Alinea

    Flip
    "Beer is proof God loves us, and wants us to be Happy"
    -Ben Franklin-
  • Post #12 - January 4th, 2005, 11:44 am
    Post #12 - January 4th, 2005, 11:44 am Post #12 - January 4th, 2005, 11:44 am
    victoria56 wrote:
    Fresh carnitas from Jimenez Brothers, the Hispanic butcher shops in Berwyn and Melrose Park


    Is this the same Jimenez Brothers that own, or used to own the market on Western just north of Armitage? I believe it's called Danny's.


    Victoria,

    I've seen Jimenez Brothers at several other markets, so they could very possibly have been at the one you mention. What they seem to do is set up a separate butchering operation within a larger grocery store. I have noticed some slight variation in carnitas from location to location, but that could just be natural variability.

    What I do prefer, though, are the locations, like Berwyn, where they allow you to pick your own carnitas, rather than the one in Melrose Park, where the guy behind the counter does the picking (at your direction, of course, but still...I like to get just the right crispy dark pieces and when I let the counter guy do it, he always assumes I want the big white chunks).

    Hammond
    “We all have to stand before the kitchen gods.” Chef Jacob Sahaya Kumar Aruni
  • Post #13 - January 4th, 2005, 12:21 pm
    Post #13 - January 4th, 2005, 12:21 pm Post #13 - January 4th, 2005, 12:21 pm
    Who doesn't love lists? Especially year-end lists? Anyway, I'll give it a go:


    -) For many reasons, wedding cake from our (wifey and I) wedding. Made by a small baker in Cincy, not sure of name.

    Image

    -) Staying on the Cincy theme for now - late night chili "sandwiches" (hot dog bun filled with chili, no dog) at the original Skyline.

    -) How can I leave out the dozen or more lunch trips to Al's for beef. It's become like cold beer or a hot shower for me - utterly irreplaceable. I wonder if they'd studied the effect of a beef on post-lunch production in CHicago? Hot and Dipped please. I should drop in Lawry's Prime Rib sandwich here as well, since I may have eaten it as many times this past year.

    -) From the summer BBQ circuit, I gotta go with the hefty lamb/beef burgers topped with beet horseradish and cheddar we grilled up multiple times.

    -) Bone-in Ribeye from Nine - despite the frou-frou atmosphere, this place can cook a steak like nobody's business.

    -) The Nehari from Sabri Nehari. Again a frequent meal. Or maybe I should send a shout out to the Kharai Ghosth from Khan BBQ, another outstanding Devon meal...

    -) The Foie Gras at 4Taste. Gorgeous, oversized portion of heaven. Or maybe it was also the foie gras at Bistro Campagne? :lol:

    -) Russian Herring (Seliedka) at Russian Tea Room. Or maybe it was the 3rd flight of vodka? Either way, outstanding.

    -) BBQ Beef Ribs at Jack's Stacks in KC. Brontosarausly delicious.

    -) Harolds chicken, Pequod's Chicago-style and everything else delicious I missed...

    So many more great meals both at home and out and about, these simply came to mind. Many thanks to folks here - Happy New Year everyone!

    [/img]
  • Post #14 - January 4th, 2005, 8:30 pm
    Post #14 - January 4th, 2005, 8:30 pm Post #14 - January 4th, 2005, 8:30 pm
    LTH,

    I'm working on my Top Ten for 04, in the meantime I thought I'd post my 2003 Top Ten.

    Enjoy,
    Gary

    2003 G Wiv Top Ten

    1) Crispy Skin Chicken at LTH
    2) Crab w/ginger, scallion and hot pepper at LTH
    3) Mixed seafood w/pan fried rice noodle at LTH
    4) Clam's w/black beans and jalapeno on pan fried noodle Evil R style at LTH
    5) Thai fried chicken at Spoon Thai
    6) Thai fried chicken at Siam's House
    7) Grilled beef salad w/garlic at Thai Aree
    8 Hash browns crisp w/onions and giardiniera at Edgebrook Diner
    9) Mozzarella balloon filled w/heirloom tomato foam and basil essence at Trio
    10) Dry aged Colorado steak (bone-in rib eye) at Smith and Wollensky
    11) Melissa's home made bread at bread tasting
    12) Gribenes chili chicken at Mandarin Kitchen
    13) Toro w/fresh grated wasabi at Katsu
    14) Grilled Kobe steak w/fresh grated wasabi at Yoshi's
    15) Lem's spare ribs
    16) Oysters and tater tots at Davis Street Fish Market
    17) Sausage, garlic and onion pizza at Vito and Nick's
    18 Lemon chicken at Tuffano's
    19) White cheese sorbet at NoMi
    20) My first chicken shawerma at Shawerma King, no subsequent visit has been close.
    21) Anything eaten in the company of [previous internet forum] friends.
    Sauce on the side, always, implied, axiomatic..........never a doubt, BBQ sauce without.

    Low & Slow
  • Post #15 - January 4th, 2005, 9:24 pm
    Post #15 - January 4th, 2005, 9:24 pm Post #15 - January 4th, 2005, 9:24 pm
    G Wiv wrote:LTH,

    I'm working on my Top Ten for 04, in the meantime I thought I'd post my 2003 Top Ten.


    So like you, my friend. Your top 10 is actually 21. :lol:

    Hammond
    “We all have to stand before the kitchen gods.” Chef Jacob Sahaya Kumar Aruni
  • Post #16 - January 5th, 2005, 12:38 am
    Post #16 - January 5th, 2005, 12:38 am Post #16 - January 5th, 2005, 12:38 am
    ANNUS EDULIS

    Since there are two of us, Amata and I are listing some twenty or so culinary highlights for the year, leaving aside my banishment from Planet Leff suffered in defense of truth, which is an abiding source of pride. All seriousness aside, it was a good year (in some very limited ways).

    To avoid hard decisions, we have decided to eschew rankings and have instead opted simply to list places according to the chronological order in which we visited them.

    Restaurants visited for the first time:
    remarkable meals shared with food enthusiasts:
    - Spring World
    - Amanecer Tapatio, Joliet
    - TAC
    other noteworthy restaurants:
    - Taqueria Puebla
    - Polo
    - Ed's Potsticker House
    - City Noor Kabab
    - Papa's Cache Sabroso
    - Resi's Bierstube
    - Casa de Samuel

    Food stores visited for the first time:
    - Riviera
    - Caputo's (Harlem Ave.)
    - New York Bagel and Bialy, Lincolnwood
    - Jaffa Sweets
    - Masi's Italian Superior Bakery
    - Kurowski's Sausage Shop
    - Argo Inc., Georgian Bakery
    - Nea Agora Packing Co.
    - Il Mulino, Highwood
    - Ruffolo's, Kenosha

    'Quisibeves' (places where one drinks things):
    - Mi Cafetal (cafe, good food too)
    - Simpson's (rough neighbourhood bar, stale nuts)
    - Map Room (bourgeois bar, no nuts)

    In addition, we must mention the following generous gifts of home-made food:
    - Juan F's outstanding chorizo casero estilo Guanajuato.
    - Senora G's sublime tamales de puerco en salsa roja
    - Senora G's incomparable tamales dulces de fresa

    Many thanks to our fellow LTHers and to Mugs and RST, through whom we learned of many of the above places and others yet to be visited.

    Antonius atque Amata

    Typo removed.
    Last edited by Antonius on February 19th, 2005, 9:16 pm, edited 1 time in total.
    Alle Nerven exzitiert von dem gewürzten Wein -- Anwandlung von Todesahndungen -- Doppeltgänger --
    - aus dem Tagebuch E.T.A. Hoffmanns, 6. Januar 1804.
    ________
    Na sir is na seachain an cath.
  • Post #17 - January 6th, 2005, 12:23 am
    Post #17 - January 6th, 2005, 12:23 am Post #17 - January 6th, 2005, 12:23 am
    In general, I have to say that my 2004 adventures included a lot of disappointments - and some really bad meals.

    Well, here we go.

    Ten great experiences in no particular order:

    1) Big E's Soul Food in Minneapolis - often touted and worth the time it took to find. Some great food.

    2) Sponge Candy - IGA in Eganville, ON - I am walking toward the check out and I see sponges for C$1. I look at them and they are NOT sponges but sponge candy. No company name or ingredients. In cellophane with a 1"x1" paper saying "sponge candy." Bought a couple and they were great.

    3) Erich Schat's Bakery in Bishop, CA - A chance encounter in 1992 on a long road trip prompted me to head to Bishop rather than taking the long route between Reno and Las Vegas.

    4) The China Date Ranch, Tecopa Springs, CA - I thought I did not like dates ... just never had any good ones. A great drive in a hidden canyon, 100 miles out of Las Vegas.

    5) The Boudin Tour in SW Louisiana - Decided to try boudin at the Boudin King in Opelousas, LA and ended up trying it at six other stands. His was the best. Do not do a u-turn on a busy highway. The locals don't like it.

    6) McIlhenney's Plantation on Avery Island, LA - trying 15 different sauces and finishing with pepper sauce ice cream was a great treat. Then a co-worker ordered a monster basket sent to me as a gift.

    7) Almond's Restaurant in Clayton, MO - After years of trips to St. Louis going to the old favorites, I asked a coworker to book me a reservation at his favorite STL restaurant. Great Cajun inspired service and an owner who provided phenomenal service.

    8) Maggione's - Woodfield - My boss sent me there to check out their catering option and they put out quite a spread - a lot better than some that I have seen. And the food was surprisingly good. You could do a whole lot worse.

    9) Chuck's Southern Cooking - another well-hyped place that lives up to the hype. Had four completely incompatable dishes by my own choice and all were excellent.

    10) Biltoki - Elko, NV - what a spread. Put out enough food for the two of us to feed ten and most of it is pretty good.


    Other places worth a mention: Makino Sushi and Seafood Buffet in Las Vegas, Round the Clock in Crystal Lake, Big Mama's in Las Vegas.


    The Disappointments:

    1) Texan BBQ, Algonquin - FIRST meal of the year. Dried out tasteless brisket - and my wife wanted to go to Famous Dave's that evening.

    2) Soochow, Reno, NV - The problem with relying on Chowhound recommendations is that the food on the normal menu does not match what is offered on special menus.

    3) Lotus of Siam, Las Vegas - two meals - Let me guess - "the owner was in Thailand, I did not give the secret CH handshake." Not bad food, just not any better than average,

    4) Gerlach (NV) Country Club - touted as the best restaurant around - well, the ONLY restaurant around. I did not know that you could serve ravioli swimming in that much grease.

    5) Swiss Chalet, Ottawa, ON - I give all chains a fair shot. This place used to be good. It is really bad, really bad.

    6) Red Dragon, Columbus, OH - avoid any restaurant in an old Red Robin location.
  • Post #18 - January 6th, 2005, 12:28 am
    Post #18 - January 6th, 2005, 12:28 am Post #18 - January 6th, 2005, 12:28 am
    Weird but true: night before last I watched Owning Mahowny (Philip Seymour Hoffman as a real life Canadian banker who gambled away $10 million in embezzled money) and there's a scene where, as he's well in the grip of his obsession and planning his next casino trip, he goes bowling with his girlfriend and her parents and ducks out of the chance to go have dinner with them... at Swiss Chalet. I had no idea particularly what the place was about but it was clearly used in the sense of "this is what a pair of very square, very middle class old folks would think was a nice place, and probably will get chuckles from the Canadians in the audience who know it."
    Watch Sky Full of Bacon, the Chicago food HD podcast!
    New episode: Soil, Corn, Cows and Cheese
    Watch the Reader's James Beard Award-winning Key Ingredient here.
  • Post #19 - January 6th, 2005, 1:12 am
    Post #19 - January 6th, 2005, 1:12 am Post #19 - January 6th, 2005, 1:12 am
    My X best meals of 2004:

    1. Chez Panisse Cafe, solo, april 2004, walk-in. Perfect food, wonderful, accomodating service.

    2. Sun Sui Wah, Vancouver. Peking Duck (they were out of the roast squab). Salt and Pepper king crab. Something else.

    3. Katsu, twice. Once at the bar on one of my first "dates" with my girlfriend, once with a friend where we had chef Katsu prepare sushi and sashimi for us at $60 a head. Well worth it, as the plate included toro, gunboat toro maki with gold flake, amaebi with fried head, and dozens of other pieces of perfect, incredible, overwhelmingly good sushi and sashimi.

    4. Green Zebra, writeup elsewhere on this board.

    5. My first visit to Ixcapuzalco... none since have quite lived up to that first one, when I had lamb in mole negro, a pairing they've not since offered.

    6. A dry-aged prime ribeye I cooked a few months ago. One of the most amazing things I've put in my mouth.

    7. Salumi, Seattle. Comfortable and friendly, excellent salumi and assorted sandwiches and soup, just a very relaxing place to have a 2 hour lunch.

    8. Harvest Vine, in seattle. See the Seattle thread in 'Beyond Chicagoland' for a writeup.

    9. Terra Cotta, Windsor, where I had a fantastically cheap ($9CDN) and tasty wood-fired soppresetta and black olive pizza with olio santo.

    that's all I can come up with right now. more eventually, maybe.
    Ed Fisher
    my chicago food photos

    RIP LTH.
  • Post #20 - January 6th, 2005, 3:22 am
    Post #20 - January 6th, 2005, 3:22 am Post #20 - January 6th, 2005, 3:22 am
    It'd be difficult for me to narrow down 10 dishes. Not sure if I'd want to try. But if I did make a list, several things I ate in Chicago would have a chance to make the list, including:

    * These pickled items (someone can probably describe them better than me) from City Noor.

    * Anise braised pork and 1000 year old egg from TAC Quick

    * Lemon Italian ice from Mario's

    * Mole poblano enchilada and pipian verde enchilada from Taqueria Puebla (and their beans)

    * Heirloom tomatos with arugula and heart of palm sorbet from Trotter's


    And if I were to do the most interesting dishes, most would probably come from Chicago, including:

    * Tepache from El Chorrito

    * Cow Hoof Taco from El Chorrito

    * Jibarito from Papas Cache Sabroso

    * These pickled items (what's the name again, Erik?) from Tank

    * Olive oil ice cream at Trotter's

    * This spinach dish (someone know the name) at City Noor.

    * Taco de Ojo in the Maxwell Street Market (also *the* worst thing I ate this year)

    And that doesn't include all the stuff I *saw*!


    Just to be clear: "interesting" does not mean "bad" (except in the case of the ojo), but just more cerebrally stimulating and palate enlightening than personally tummy tantalizing.
  • Post #21 - January 6th, 2005, 12:43 pm
    Post #21 - January 6th, 2005, 12:43 pm Post #21 - January 6th, 2005, 12:43 pm
    extramsg wrote:* These pickled items (what's the name again, Erik?) from Tank


    Trai Coc

    extramsg wrote:* This spinach dish (someone know the name) at City Noor.


    Molukhia

    Regards,
    Erik M.
  • Post #22 - January 6th, 2005, 1:06 pm
    Post #22 - January 6th, 2005, 1:06 pm Post #22 - January 6th, 2005, 1:06 pm
    Mike G wrote:and ducks out of the chance to go have dinner with them... at Swiss Chalet. I had no idea particularly what the place was about but it was clearly used in the sense of "this is what a pair of very square, very middle class old folks would think was a nice place, and probably will get chuckles from the Canadians in the audience who know it."


    Swiss Chalet is a chain that serves chicken and ribs that is based out of Toronto. The food **used** to be pretty decent in my college days. However, the service in Ottawa was pretty bad and the food a great disappointment as the chicken was overcooked. It is sit-down casual dining.
  • Post #23 - January 6th, 2005, 1:36 pm
    Post #23 - January 6th, 2005, 1:36 pm Post #23 - January 6th, 2005, 1:36 pm
    This was my best eating year by far. Many places around the country, as well as Italy. I'll just keep it domestic, otherwise my top ten meals will probably all be from Italy.

    1. Carlos in Highwood- Worked in the kitchen for four hours, had dinner with my wife and another couple, and then sat on a picnic table in the parking lot and knocked down Miller Lite's with the staff until 1 in the morning.

    2. Carlos again, with my family for my Dad's birthday. After the 7th bottle of Turley, we turned the place upside down. The waiters were a riot. I feel sorry for the diners looking for a nice quiet meal that evening. Oh yeah, the food and presentation was spectacular. As close to a perfect meal on all counts. You have to love waiters in a nice restaurant that can make bras and penises out of napkins.

    3. Freddy's in Cicero. My office is down the street. A few days before Christmas, picked up some fresh-baked bread, some Prosciutto di Parma, mortadella, and imported sharp provolone. Spread it out on my desk in my office and a bunch of us had a feast.

    4. Ted's Cheeseburgers in Meriden, CT and Louis' Lunch in New Haven. Two great burgers, two great experiences. Louis Lunch is a weird place, like a church.

    5. Abbott's Lobster in the Rough, near Mystic, CT- Watching my oldest son enjoy his first whole lobster while my younger son fed the fish near the dock with his meal.

    6. Pancake Pantry, Nashville, TN- Sweet potato pancakes with cinnamon cream syrup, crispy bacon, country ham- best breakfast ever for me

    7. La Teresita, Tampa, FL- Killer Cuban sandwich and roast pork dinner, as well as a good Cafe con Leche. The kids, of course, had french fries, while my seven year old continued his research by hanging out in the bathroom for 10 minutes.

    8. Bon Ton Mini Mart- Henderson, KY- Excellent and very fresh fried chicken and homemade lemonade served in an old gas station in the middle of nowhere. As long as you stick with the chicken and lemonade, it's all good.

    9. Royal PoinSiena Country Club, Naples, FL- A decadent seafood buffet with everything flown in fresh that morning. You name it, it's there. Absolutely incredible, insanely decadent. And my in-laws paid for it. The only time I had to wear a tie all year, but it was worth it. Did I mention that my in-laws paid for it?

    10. Blackbird, Chicago- Went there on December 23rd, worried that the food and service might be off so close to the holidays. I was wrong, and it wasn't nearly as pretensious as I thought it might be. Every entree and appetizer was worth talking about.

    11. Sanford Restaurant, Milwaukee, WI. Similar to Carlos, with great food and friendly service. They do not have gourmet bratwurst.

    12. Hamburger Heaven, Elmhurst- I've been going there for 35 years, since I was 4. Took my sons and 4 of their friends there, brought a bottle of ketchup, opened up the back of the SUV and ate burgers, fries and shakes. Then shot down to Johnnie's Beef in Elmwood park for Italian Ice.

    What I would like to see in 2005-

    Someplace that has strippers and really good food;

    Charlie Trotter to get run over by a White Castle truck;

    Have the chefs at Frontera Grill make more than 2 chiles relleno and for them to actually take people to tables when the place opens rather than usher them into the bar area for margaritas

    See pot legalized, but only for people over the age of 80

    Have the White Castle truck back over Charlie Trotter

    Biggest Disappointments-

    NOMI, by far. Stuffy waiters, arrogant sommelier, and I'm an idiot for ordering walleyed pike in a chocolate-red wine reduction with poached pears. Later, the waiter said it was a dish "they were experimenting with". Dr. Frankenstein's experiments yielded better results. The other entrees, which were presented well, were still just OK. They should consider leasing the space to a group less petulant and arrogant, such as a law firm.

    MELEAR's, Fayetteville, GA- Probably once excellent, but from what others say and what I experienced, this Georgia barbecue place is well past its prime.
  • Post #24 - January 8th, 2005, 5:01 pm
    Post #24 - January 8th, 2005, 5:01 pm Post #24 - January 8th, 2005, 5:01 pm
    saps wrote:3. Freddy's in Cicero.


    They're about to be hit by the Check Please phenomenon. The show's been taped, they're just waiting for it to run.
  • Post #25 - January 10th, 2005, 1:16 am
    Post #25 - January 10th, 2005, 1:16 am Post #25 - January 10th, 2005, 1:16 am
    saps wrote:Someplace that has strippers and really good food;.

    Saps,

    5-6 months ago, in his Vogue column, Jeffrey Steingarten wrote about Robert's Steakhouse, on 45th Street in New York City, as serving one of the best dry-aged steaks in the country. Robert's Steakhouse is the in-house restaurant for Penthouse Executive Club , an upscale Gentleman's Club.

    Your wish has been answered. :)

    Enjoy,
    Gary
    Last edited by G Wiv on January 10th, 2005, 1:26 am, edited 1 time in total.
    Sauce on the side, always, implied, axiomatic..........never a doubt, BBQ sauce without.

    Low & Slow
  • Post #26 - January 10th, 2005, 5:24 am
    Post #26 - January 10th, 2005, 5:24 am Post #26 - January 10th, 2005, 5:24 am
    We have a place here in Portland, the Acropolis, that is a "gentleman's" club and has its own cattle ranch. Haven't been there, but allegedly they have pretty good steaks, even their $10 steak. Apparently it's a favorite when Bourdain comes to town.
  • Post #27 - January 11th, 2005, 10:15 pm
    Post #27 - January 11th, 2005, 10:15 pm Post #27 - January 11th, 2005, 10:15 pm
    Well not sure I can get up to 10 but here goes...

    1. Meal at Cendrillon in NYC. Perhaps the best single meal I ate this year, $88 for two people in NYC - and each dish was amazing, especially the heirloom tomato salad. Highly recommended (fusion Philappino - and very creative)

    2. Dum Phught (sp?) at the Muraya Sheraton in Delhi, India. One of the best meals among many great ones while in India.

    3. Mehendi ceremony dinner and appetizers, friend's house in Delhi India. Catered by the "top" wedding caterer in Delhi and it showed - really, really good Indian.

    4. TAC Quick - many meals, many times over - always great.

    5. Pepperoni and green chili pizza from Moonshine. Ask them to hold the cheese and if you get them on a good night my vote for the best single pizza in Chicago. Really, really good.

    6. 4taste. Especially for the fois gras. And the lamb chops...

    7. Salmon Nicoise salad I made myself for Julia and I - fresh ingrediants from the Green City Market, Rata Honey in the dressing - very good.

    8. Joe's Salad from Topo Gigio. My favorite salad from a restaurant in Chicago, and one of the great takeout meals in Old Town - $7.65 to go and a meal unto itself. Everything and the kitchen sink in a salad.

    9. 10 year old chedder given as a gift for my birthday by my sister. Purchased at the farmer's market in Madison. Amazing stuff.

    10. Many other meals big and small. Some great gelatos this year, lots of good thai.

    Shannon
  • Post #28 - March 8th, 2008, 4:04 pm
    Post #28 - March 8th, 2008, 4:04 pm Post #28 - March 8th, 2008, 4:04 pm
    why not update this thread to the best meals we had in 2007?

    my favourite meal without a doubt was at a seafood restaurant called the marlin. it's down in ft. myers, FL.
    i had a great lobster over there. i also liked the restaurant itself, there was a huge aquarium in the middle of the restaurant full of nice colorful coral reefs and plenty of fish (waiting to be eaten :( )
    Ritchie from TheReefTank
  • Post #29 - March 8th, 2008, 4:10 pm
    Post #29 - March 8th, 2008, 4:10 pm Post #29 - March 8th, 2008, 4:10 pm
    Richard_a wrote:why not update this thread to the best meals we had in 2007?


    Welcome to LTH Forum. Your wish is my command.
    Steve Z.

    “Only the pure in heart can make a good soup.”
    ― Ludwig van Beethoven

Contact

About

Team

Advertize

Close

Chat

Articles

Guide

Events

more