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See Angels Fly Video: Maria SS Lauretana [+Moon Palace]

See Angels Fly Video: Maria SS Lauretana [+Moon Palace]
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  • See Angels Fly Video: Maria SS Lauretana [+Moon Palace]

    Post #1 - September 5th, 2004, 10:30 pm
    Post #1 - September 5th, 2004, 10:30 pm Post #1 - September 5th, 2004, 10:30 pm
    See Angels Fly: Video: Maria SS Lauretana Festival

    Labor Day is the last of the four-day 104th Annual Festival Honoring Maria SS Lauretana Society of Altaville Micilia, formerly in Italy, then in Cabrini Green, now in Berwyn (right behind North Riverside Mall, corner of Harlem and Cermak).

    The Wife and I went today to see the "flight of the angels" (want to see it? email me and I'll bounce you back the clip of two little girls, dressed angelically, suspended by ropes, floating over the shrine and singing; it's both touching and bizarre). This medieval mise en scene re-enacts the supernatural relocation of St. Mary's house to Lareto, and it's performed before a facsimile of a painting, the original of which was stolen by Arabs and divinely relocated to Altaville Micilia (thence, etc.). While at the fest, I ran into an old buddy, Joe Costello, who told me that he, himself, was actually an angel at this festival when it was held somewhere on Mohawk in the 50s (he was suspended three stories above street-level, wearing wings -- says he has pix to prove it).

    While at today's events, we ate some whole fried octopus (the tentacles were good, but I'm not so hot on eating octo-head). The wife enjoyed a "walking taco," a bag of Fritos filled with chili and jalapenos -- not bad for two bucks (it compared well to the same dish I had at Flo's a few weeks ago). Last night, I had a good pasticiotti (sugar cookie filled with cannoli paste) and some tasty smelt.

    For a slice of Italo-Americana, I recommend this fest;it was cool, even for the non-devout (like me) and the non-Italian (like The Wife, an Ostrogoth).

    Tomorrow, the Sicilian Marching Band plays from 5:00 to 8:00 PM, and the party continues with "Italian entertainment" until 10:30 PM.

    Hammond
  • Post #2 - September 6th, 2004, 11:34 am
    Post #2 - September 6th, 2004, 11:34 am Post #2 - September 6th, 2004, 11:34 am
    David Hammond wrote:The wife enjoyed a "walking taco," a bag of Fritos filled with chili and jalapenos - not bad for two bucks (it compared well to the same dish I had at Flo's a few weeks ago).

    Hammy,

    Who da thunk it, Flying Italian Angels, octopus and Tex-Mex all at the same festival.

    Sounds like a grand time, maybe next year Ellen and I can accompany you and the bride.

    Enjoy,
    Gary

    Postscript:
    Please email me the video.
  • Post #3 - June 5th, 2005, 12:14 am
    Post #3 - June 5th, 2005, 12:14 am Post #3 - June 5th, 2005, 12:14 am
    Moon Palace

    1974 We lived in Detroit. Bill’s brother Bob and his wife lived in Bloomington, IL. We met one weekend in Chicago. Bob, a college math professor, had a colleague’s recommendation for a restaurant in Chinatown, up a long flight of stairs above a gift shop. Moon Palace. We’d had our first Mandarin food in Vancouver a couple of years before, and even owned a copy of Joyce Chen’s first book, but when we went out for Chinese in Detroit, sophistication was marked by almond chicken instead of egg foo yung and by shrimp chow mein instead of pork chop suey.

    Bill or Bob may remember what we ate (Betsy would for sure, but she wasn’t born yet), but all I remember is chopsticks, Chinese families, and jasmine tea. And that I loved it.

    1978. We move to Oak Park with Betsy, aged two, the same day that Bob and his wife move to Chicago with their own two year old daughter. Moon Palace becomes the family restaurant. Orange chicken, Mongolian beef, scallion pancakes, chicken mu shu, hot and sour soup–always the hot and sour soup. Birthdays, visiting family, Friday “cooks night out.”

    Early 80's. My parents, up in the U.P. are boarding a young Chinese student. She takes the bus down for her first visit to Chicago. We’re walking through Chinatown when she gets all excited. She explains that the Chinese characters on the restaurant’s sign say “Shanghai Restaurant”. It’s our familiar Moon Palace, of course. She orders noodle soup with pork and Chinese pickle. I can’t believe how much food she’s getting for $3.75. She orders eels, dried shrimp, jellyfish. She speaks Shanghaiese with the staff, including many who come out from the kitchen. She explains, through tears, that it’s the first time she’s heard Shanghaiese since she came to the U.S.

    1987. Bill’s 40th birthday party. Mu shu, combination pan fried noodles, hot and sour soup, potstickers, orange chicken, etc etc.

    1996? Sometime after the move to their current space on Cermak. Betsy is home from college. Her new boyfriend is in town with his parents for an Indian doctors’ convention. We meet at Moon Palace. Rish’s parents explain that during their first winter in America, they were so happy when they saw a sign in a Chinese restaurant that said “chicken fried rice” that they convinced themselves the chicken was really something other than meat. They hadn’t seen rice served on this side of the ocean until then.

    July 1999. Betsy and Rish’s rehearsal dinner. We take over the entire restaurant. 120 people (yes, that’s more than they can seat comfortably–but they did it). Rish’s brother is doing a residency at U of C so we’ve also been educated in the joys of salt and pepper fish and pea pod sprouts with garlic. We’re grateful. So are the guests.

    March 2005. Chowhound/LTH Shanghai dinner. Lots of Shanghai specialities that were new to me. Loved the squab–or was it baby chickens?

    The truth is that this year I did my birthday dinner at LSC, and these days I’m more likely to go there than to Moon Palace. Someone else can nominate LSC and I’ll chime in with my appreciation. But for my one “Great Neighborhood Restaurant” nomination, Moon Palace is our Chicago restaurant home.





    Mike G’s EVER MORE UNOFFICIAL (NOT TO MENTION NON-CONTROVERSIAL AND MUCH BELOVED) CHICAGO VISITOR TIP SHEET AND SORT-OF FAQ.

    GWiv from January 2003

    Amata recalls eating there with the famed late Jim McCawley

    Vital Information talks about negotiating the Shanghai dinner

    Moon Palace Recommendations (with G Wiv’s seductive photos)

    gleam gives a so-so review of their Peking duck

    More recommendations, this time specifically for the unadventurous. *

    Moon Palace
    216 W Cermak Rd,
    Chicago, 60616 -
    (312) 225-4081



    * What I can’t find, but I hope someone else can, are the write-ups of the Shanghai dinner itself.

    Aha, Ed took on the challenge. here is the lengthy chowhound thread reporting on the dinner
  • Post #4 - June 6th, 2005, 9:07 am
    Post #4 - June 6th, 2005, 9:07 am Post #4 - June 6th, 2005, 9:07 am
    Your post struck a chord. I also remember eating at Moon Palace in the early '70's. In fact, I learned to drive on the way home from the restaurant because my date was too drunk to manage his own vehicle. The reason for the dinner was his department holiday dinner from work. While a lot of that evening is hazy as nobody seemed to realize I was underage, I remember the food was wonderful. I also remember someone betting my date $10 that he couldn't walk down the stairs and back up without holding on to the wall or the railing because he was so obviously sloshed. I never was able to find the restaurant again, probably because of my own inebriated state. :oops:

    My family found Moon Palace in their newer location a couple of years ago, after Hong Min's fire. It's now a favorite destination for us and while the kids are willing to try other restaurants in Chinatown, they always request Moon Palace first.

    Great choice, Ann!

    Suzy
    " There is more stupidity than hydrogen in the universe, and it has a longer shelf life."
    - Frank Zappa
  • Post #5 - June 6th, 2005, 6:54 pm
    Post #5 - June 6th, 2005, 6:54 pm Post #5 - June 6th, 2005, 6:54 pm
    A great place for Shanghai delights, a pretty room, and friendly and helpful folk. Pretty good food, too, and they were quite accomadating for that massive dinner way back when.

    I like Moon Palace, tho like Ann, it is not my fave in Chinatown any more, fickle fellow that I am. But that is not a reflection on Moon Palace, just other new and different spots and cuisine to try.

    I also have enjoyed Moon Palace in many incarnations, starting with the upstairs joint by the arch some 30 :!: years ago. I think this version is the best one. But mostly, I just love their soup dumplings. Need to go back, really.
    d
    Feeling (south) loopy
  • Post #6 - March 6th, 2007, 5:10 pm
    Post #6 - March 6th, 2007, 5:10 pm Post #6 - March 6th, 2007, 5:10 pm
    Well, let me be the first to say that I'm not sure that Moon Palace should be re-upped. It was already sliding down the slippery slope to mediocrity in 2005. My one visit since then (so take this with a grain of salt) was universally average to poor.

    A shame, too, since I have many fond memories of Moon Palace as a kid.
    Ed Fisher
    my chicago food photos

    RIP LTH.
  • Post #7 - March 8th, 2007, 4:08 pm
    Post #7 - March 8th, 2007, 4:08 pm Post #7 - March 8th, 2007, 4:08 pm
    Sadly, Ed, I must agree. There are better Shanghai options at Mandarin Kitchen - more authentic, varied and interesting. And there are many other places where the food is prepared with more love, care, and just better.

    So Moon Palace has gone, in two years, from being one of my top three choices in Chinatown, to no longer being one of my top ten.

    Still is a nice room, and they can do good work, but you have to wade through a menu of Sino-American mediocrity to find one or two gems, or even try to order things that are not on the menu at all.

    GNR no more, in my book.
    d
    Feeling (south) loopy
  • Post #8 - March 8th, 2007, 4:10 pm
    Post #8 - March 8th, 2007, 4:10 pm Post #8 - March 8th, 2007, 4:10 pm
    I think petit pois summed it up for me pretty well (and succinctly) after our last visit: "I don't want to eat here anymore".

    I had a hard time disagreeing.

    I don't consider Moon Palace one of Chicago's great restaurants. I'd like to hear from someone who does.

    Best,
    Michael
  • Post #9 - March 8th, 2007, 5:01 pm
    Post #9 - March 8th, 2007, 5:01 pm Post #9 - March 8th, 2007, 5:01 pm
    eatchicago wrote:I don't consider Moon Palace one of Chicago's great restaurants. I'd like to hear from someone who does.


    Going against the overwhelming conscensus is VI, according to Monica Eng's column in the Tribune.
    Steve Z.

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

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