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Evanston Lunch Group, WEDNESDAY, Feb 18 12:30 Jilly's Cafe**

Evanston Lunch Group, WEDNESDAY, Feb 18 12:30 Jilly's Cafe**
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  • Evanston Lunch Group, WEDNESDAY, Feb 18 12:30 Jilly's Cafe**

    Post #1 - January 23rd, 2009, 8:13 pm
    Post #1 - January 23rd, 2009, 8:13 pm Post #1 - January 23rd, 2009, 8:13 pm
    It was difficult figuring out where to book our lunch for this month; we didn't have a lot of time to discuss it at our last meal, and many people offered a number of suggestions. In particular, it was mentioned that there are restaurants deserving of our support nearer to my part of town. Then I remembered the "Mhays effect," and thought it best to go with a stalwart Evanston favorite, immune to the vagaries of economic downturns and shadowy bad luck. I thought at once of Jilly's Cafe, a tiny bistro that has resided in that spot for my (somewhat abbreviated) memory of Evanston. Our own George R has set up a number of lovely map-related dinners there. While I've only been once, my meal there was certainly memorable (in particular, I remember a delicious cream of asparagus soup that was the special that day.)

    I don't recall if anyone had any timing issues in February - I'm flexible, so if we need to change the date to accomodate someone, please PM me. Otherwise, if you plan to join us, post here!

    Jilly's Cafe
    2614 Green Bay Rd
    Evanston, IL 60201
    (847) 869-7636

    **Please note date change
    Last edited by Mhays on January 29th, 2009, 11:37 am, edited 1 time in total.
  • Post #2 - January 23rd, 2009, 8:25 pm
    Post #2 - January 23rd, 2009, 8:25 pm Post #2 - January 23rd, 2009, 8:25 pm
    Can I be invited?
  • Post #3 - January 23rd, 2009, 8:29 pm
    Post #3 - January 23rd, 2009, 8:29 pm Post #3 - January 23rd, 2009, 8:29 pm
    Does it have to be on paper, or will "nr706, honor of your presence is requested at the Evanston Lunch Group of the Seventeenth Day of February in the Year Of Our Lord 2009" do? :wink:
  • Post #4 - January 23rd, 2009, 9:01 pm
    Post #4 - January 23rd, 2009, 9:01 pm Post #4 - January 23rd, 2009, 9:01 pm
    Jilly's is a great idea! I haven't been there in ages....

    However, I may have a problem with the 17th. A couple of work-related interviews are being set up for that week, and Tuesday is usually their first choice.

    I'll try to nail it down on Monday and let you know for sure. I would hate to miss this!
    "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 #5 - January 23rd, 2009, 10:19 pm
    Post #5 - January 23rd, 2009, 10:19 pm Post #5 - January 23rd, 2009, 10:19 pm
    Tuesdays are out for me, even for a ELG lunch in Evanston. Sorry to miss it. I'll see you in March. (Tuesdays are fine in March, BTW).
    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 #6 - January 24th, 2009, 8:48 am
    Post #6 - January 24th, 2009, 8:48 am Post #6 - January 24th, 2009, 8:48 am
    This date is good for me. Lunch during the rest of the week is pretty open for me, also. I'll be there.
    Did you know there is an LTHforum Flickr group? I just found it...
  • Post #7 - January 25th, 2009, 12:13 pm
    Post #7 - January 25th, 2009, 12:13 pm Post #7 - January 25th, 2009, 12:13 pm
    Dang!

    On the 17th I will be in Vegas, which for me has turned more into an eatin' town than a gamblin' town since LTH (don't know which costs me more money tho!). Have a great time @ Jilly's, and hopefully I'll be able to catch the next one!

    Jay
  • Post #8 - January 25th, 2009, 3:39 pm
    Post #8 - January 25th, 2009, 3:39 pm Post #8 - January 25th, 2009, 3:39 pm
    Since both Tarte Tatin and GAF and now jnm123 have a problem with that date, it's looking like we might reschedule...PM me if you have any preferences for that week.
  • Post #9 - January 25th, 2009, 4:27 pm
    Post #9 - January 25th, 2009, 4:27 pm Post #9 - January 25th, 2009, 4:27 pm
    Sorry, but we are flying off to Paris on the 17th. We will see you in March or April,
    Robert
  • Post #10 - January 27th, 2009, 1:22 pm
    Post #10 - January 27th, 2009, 1:22 pm Post #10 - January 27th, 2009, 1:22 pm
    I've floated the 18th as an alternative and it works for GAF and tarte tatin - if that date isn't workable for you, please PM me and we'll figure something out. I'll change the masthead to reflect the 18th if I don't hear from anybody by, say, tomorrow...

    The course of true lunch never did run smooth...
  • Post #11 - January 27th, 2009, 1:28 pm
    Post #11 - January 27th, 2009, 1:28 pm Post #11 - January 27th, 2009, 1:28 pm
    Date-wise, I'm easy.
  • Post #12 - January 27th, 2009, 1:37 pm
    Post #12 - January 27th, 2009, 1:37 pm Post #12 - January 27th, 2009, 1:37 pm
    nr706 wrote:Date-wise, I'm easy.


    I've often heard that said about you.... :wink:
    "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 #13 - January 30th, 2009, 4:42 pm
    Post #13 - January 30th, 2009, 4:42 pm Post #13 - January 30th, 2009, 4:42 pm
    Jilly's lunch menu can be viewed at:

    http://jillyscafe.com/lunch.htm
    Where there’s smoke, there may be salmon.
  • Post #14 - January 31st, 2009, 1:29 pm
    Post #14 - January 31st, 2009, 1:29 pm Post #14 - January 31st, 2009, 1:29 pm
    Do you have room for a newbie to the Evanston gang? I work from home now and it would be nice to talk to someone other than the dog in person. Although my dog is pretty interesting sometimes, especially when she gossips about the cats.

    There is a chance I might have to cancel since my work schedule is a little unpredictable.

    Assuming my client doesn't drop an emergency in my lap that day...looking forward to meeting you guys. :)
    "things like being careful with your coriander/ that's what makes the gravy grander" - Sondheim
  • Post #15 - January 31st, 2009, 1:38 pm
    Post #15 - January 31st, 2009, 1:38 pm Post #15 - January 31st, 2009, 1:38 pm
    Newbies are always welcome (of course, you'll be subjected to the initiation procedure :wink: ) Glad to have you!
    Also, those of you have responded, make sure you note that the date has changed!
  • Post #16 - January 31st, 2009, 1:45 pm
    Post #16 - January 31st, 2009, 1:45 pm Post #16 - January 31st, 2009, 1:45 pm
    Mhays wrote:Newbies are always welcome (of course, you'll be subjected to the initiation procedure :wink: )
    "Thank you sir, may I have another?"

    Ah, the immortal Kevin Bacon....
    "things like being careful with your coriander/ that's what makes the gravy grander" - Sondheim
  • Post #17 - January 31st, 2009, 2:22 pm
    Post #17 - January 31st, 2009, 2:22 pm Post #17 - January 31st, 2009, 2:22 pm
    I'll be there.
    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 #18 - February 2nd, 2009, 11:12 am
    Post #18 - February 2nd, 2009, 11:12 am Post #18 - February 2nd, 2009, 11:12 am
    Many thanks for adjusting the date!

    I will now 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 #19 - February 15th, 2009, 8:04 am
    Post #19 - February 15th, 2009, 8:04 am Post #19 - February 15th, 2009, 8:04 am
    Bumping the thread in prep for Wednesday, I see that we have:

    nr706
    tarte tatin
    GAF
    Chgo Mike
    grits (possible)

    I'll call tomorrow and make a reservation.
  • Post #20 - February 17th, 2009, 10:52 am
    Post #20 - February 17th, 2009, 10:52 am Post #20 - February 17th, 2009, 10:52 am
    We have a reservation for 8 at 12:30 under Hays, which gives us wiggle room for one extra person if anybody decides to chime in at the last minute (I'm +1)

    Let me know!
  • Post #21 - February 17th, 2009, 2:47 pm
    Post #21 - February 17th, 2009, 2:47 pm Post #21 - February 17th, 2009, 2:47 pm
    I'm out. I have a 1:00 mtg now. How I hate 1:00 mtgs.

    I will try to catch you guys the next time around.
    "things like being careful with your coriander/ that's what makes the gravy grander" - Sondheim
  • Post #22 - February 17th, 2009, 3:46 pm
    Post #22 - February 17th, 2009, 3:46 pm Post #22 - February 17th, 2009, 3:46 pm
    I wish I could go just to see you all again, but I don't get paid til Thursday, so I'll have to stay home. I'm very eager to try more Evanston places with the lunch group in the future, though.

    And you LTHers farther north, are any of you up for a regular local weekday lunch -- or, if more convenient, Sunday lunch? La Casa de Isaac, perhaps?
    "Your swimming suit matches your eyes, you hold your nose before diving, loving you has made me bananas!"

    As Carl Sagan once said, to make an apple pie truly from scratch, you must first invent the universe. And sometimes I just don't have the time and energy to invent the universe. So I figure it's okay to buy some stuff.
  • Post #23 - February 17th, 2009, 3:51 pm
    Post #23 - February 17th, 2009, 3:51 pm Post #23 - February 17th, 2009, 3:51 pm
    Katie -

    You should attend. nr706 is picking up the check... don't worry about it.

    Edit: No... he's not really picking up the check. Just wishful thinking...
    Last edited by ChgoMike on February 17th, 2009, 3:56 pm, edited 1 time in total.
    Did you know there is an LTHforum Flickr group? I just found it...
  • Post #24 - February 17th, 2009, 3:54 pm
    Post #24 - February 17th, 2009, 3:54 pm Post #24 - February 17th, 2009, 3:54 pm
    Whoo-hoo!

    (Does nr706 know about this?)
    "Your swimming suit matches your eyes, you hold your nose before diving, loving you has made me bananas!"

    As Carl Sagan once said, to make an apple pie truly from scratch, you must first invent the universe. And sometimes I just don't have the time and energy to invent the universe. So I figure it's okay to buy some stuff.
  • Post #25 - February 17th, 2009, 4:12 pm
    Post #25 - February 17th, 2009, 4:12 pm Post #25 - February 17th, 2009, 4:12 pm
    I think I need to consult a lawyer about this. Does ChgoMike know a good lawyer?
  • Post #26 - February 18th, 2009, 3:31 pm
    Post #26 - February 18th, 2009, 3:31 pm Post #26 - February 18th, 2009, 3:31 pm
    Great group, wonderful conversation, good lunch!

    I think I liked the mussels best out of all the dishes we ordered. I could have eaten a whole order of those all by myself! I don't know why it didn't occur to me until I got home, but it was tarragon we were tasting in that yummy cream sauce. A look at Jilly's online menu confirmed it.

    Mussels Marinieres
    Tossed with Tarragon, Shallots and Chablis, finished with Cream, Served with Garlic Bread

    I had not been to Jilly's in a loooong time before today, but I will think of going back soon for more of those mussels.... Thanks for organizing, Michele!
    "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 #27 - February 18th, 2009, 3:56 pm
    Post #27 - February 18th, 2009, 3:56 pm Post #27 - February 18th, 2009, 3:56 pm
    You're quite welcome! I remember that the 'spouse and I had the same conversation about fennel/tarragon (and much of the same meal) the last time we were here. It was fun to have such an "intimate" lunch - and though we had six instead of eight, Jilly's is so tiny they could hardly hold us all. Good to see everybody!
  • Post #28 - February 20th, 2009, 1:37 pm
    Post #28 - February 20th, 2009, 1:37 pm Post #28 - February 20th, 2009, 1:37 pm
    Thanks to Mhays for organizing. I've always liked Jilly's, but had only been there for lunch once before, and that was many years ago. I was surprised there was so much elegant food, yet we came away for $20 each.

    We started with two appetizers.
    Image
    (top) Escargots a la Bourguignon, baked with Herb Butter and Garlic, topped with puff pastry, and Mussels Marinieres, tossed with Tarragon, Shallots and Chablis, finished with Cream, Served with Garlic Bread
    I thought the escargots were very nice - not rubbery, like they can be if overcooked, and with a restrained hand on the garlic butter. The mussels were clearly a hit ... some were better than others, but overall a great dish. There was minor fighting over soaking up the sauce with the excellent bread.

    Everyone ordered their own main dish. I'll start with mine.
    Image
    The Mushroom Risotto (huge portion) tasted much better than it photographed. To my mind, the mushroominess was there, but muted beside other flavors of tomato, herb and Parmesan. But overall, it worked. I took a half portion home and had it for dinner.

    Image
    Jason's Turkey, Bacon, Brie and Apple Club with Honey Mustard on Multi-Grain Toast was huge, with crispy sweet potato fries for texture.

    Image
    Ms. Jason had the special Salmon Salad - nicely done salmon, in an almost-niçiose-style salad.

    Image
    Meanwhile, tarte tatin continued the salmon theme, with her Smoked Salmon Sandwich with Tarragon Mayonnaise Chopped egg, Onion and Capers.

    Image
    Gary's Spring Roll with Mushrooms, Sweet Cherries, Spinach, and Brie Cheese with Mixed Greens and Raspberry Vinaigrette just didn't work for me - textures and flavors just didn't seem to come together. Asian food may not be Jilly's strength. (Hands courtesy GAF.)

    I didn't get a photo of ChgoMike's Croque Madame, but, hey, he had a camera there, too.

    Overall, I was surprised at the quality/value at Jilly's for lunch. Service was also highly professional. Last time I was there for lunch, I wasn't focused on the food.
  • Post #29 - February 20th, 2009, 5:21 pm
    Post #29 - February 20th, 2009, 5:21 pm Post #29 - February 20th, 2009, 5:21 pm
    For me the sandwiches Croque Madame, the turkey, brie, bacon, and apple club, and the Smoked Salmon sandwich - and the Mussels were the best of lunch. Jilly's is nicely casual, while being nicely elegant.

    The spring roll with mushrooms, spinach, brie, and cherries was for me a once-in-a-lifetime experience. I won't ever order it again.
    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 #30 - February 20th, 2009, 5:40 pm
    Post #30 - February 20th, 2009, 5:40 pm Post #30 - February 20th, 2009, 5:40 pm
    Yup, I'm there with you on the spring roll - but you showed your colors when you ordered it, GAF! I wouldn't have braved it...

    I like Jilly's, within the confines of what it is: it's not innovative (or fails when it tries to be) but the food is carefully prepared and is just the way it's described on the menu. If something sounds good to you, you will generally find that it is good when you recieve it.

    For instance, I was surprised at how good the salmon on my salad was; it looked like it was going to be overcooked, but turned out to be nicely crisped on the outside and cooked just to doneness. The house-made dressing was a flavorful complement; the salad itself was OK, but would have been better without the canned artichokes and red peppers. The sandwiches were generally good, though in some cases the meats were just OK. I wasn't that fond of the risotto (overly tomato-y) or the escargots (overly garlic butter-y, though I'd agree they were restrained in comparison to other places I've had them,) but I did particularly enjoy the mussels and their very rich cream sauce.

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