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#1
Posted August 30th 2006, 7:49am
Hi,

My SO and I went to Candlelite last night for their Tuesday 2 for 1 pizza deal. Since discovering this bar/restaurant a few months ago, their pizza has become one of my favorite thin crust pizza in the city.

Last night, we ordered the white and veggie pizza's. When it came out, I instantly noticed something different about the crust. It didn't have the smooth texture as it used to have ( see G Wiv's pics). Unfortunately, I didn't have my camera with me(I gotta start getting better at this!), but the texture was a lot coarser, though it still was cracker thin. Its almost as if they used either cornmeal or a semolina flour. I asked our server if I was just imagining it or did something change with their pizza. She didn't know for sure, but did know that a new chef started last week. I told her that whatever it was that changed, it was delicious before and its even more so now.

Has anyone else been to Candlelite within the last week and noticed the difference? Enjoyed it or prefer the previous crust? Anyone know what they changed in the crust?

Joel
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#2
Posted August 30th 2006, 7:55am
JoelM wrote:Has anyone else been to Candlelite within the last week and noticed the difference? Enjoyed it or prefer the previous crust? Anyone know what they changed in the crust?


We were there a couple weeks ago on 2-for-1 night. We were waiting for our pizza and watching pizzas get delivered to other tables and noticed an immediate difference visually. These had "puffier" crusts with a much different texture.

The crust tasted distinctly different and ours was far from the cracker-like crust that I was fond of from Candlelite. Perhaps this was an interim cook before the new one started last week.

Either way, we were both disappointed but wrote it off to an anomaly on a busy 2-for-1 night.

Best,
Michael
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#3
Posted August 31st 2006, 5:58am
Thanks for the post Joel. I will keep this in mind (with camara in hand) next time I order pizza from there. Question: Does the Tuesday 2 for 1 deal work for carry-out or is it eat in only? Thanks!
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#4
Posted August 31st 2006, 6:28am
2 for 1 is eat-in only.
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"You'll be remembered long after you're dead if you make good gravy, mashed potatoes and biscuits." -- Nathalie Dupree
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#5
Posted September 17th 2006, 12:13pm
After all the glowing mentions, we ordered Candlelite carry-out (well-done and lite cheese per instructions) last night. What we got was good, but definitely not the cracker-thin crust we wanted. Plus, the chef had a heavy hand with the pepper, and it seemed a little bit too perfectly round on the edges. At least it was square cut. I don't think this is the Candlelite pizza of GNR fame any more.
>>Brent
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#6
Posted September 18th 2006, 3:45pm
I ate at Candlelite on Friday night and am sad to report that the change in crust reports are true (despite the denials of our watiress).

It's not like the new crust sucks exactly, but IMHO there's no way they would have received the glowing rep that they did on this board with the new crust - the texture is definitely not the same, "puffier" is pretty accurate, and it somehow seemed very bland.

I happen to know one of the owners (same guy that owns my health club) and will be sure to give him a hard time about it the next time I see him.
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#7
Posted September 18th 2006, 6:32pm
I believe it was the previous owner of Candlelite who developed their pizza recipe, including the crust. He now owns a small place in Evanston called Bluestone where you will find the very same pizza he made so popular at Candlelite. If that's what you're looking for, give Bluestone a try.

Bluestone
1932 Central Street
Evanston
847.424.0420
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#8
Posted September 19th 2006, 3:50pm
BR wrote:I believe it was the previous owner of Candlelite who developed their pizza recipe, including the crust. He now owns a small place in Evanston called Bluestone where you will find the very same pizza he made so popular at Candlelite. If that's what you're looking for, give Bluestone a try.

Bluestone
1932 Central Street
Evanston
847.424.0420


Gotta disagree vehemently here. Bluestone is awful. I live nearby & have given the place WAY too many chances to serve me a decent meal - and they have failed miserably each and every time.

You might be OK w/ a pizza or some of the bar food (which, IMHO, is passable - barely), but the restaurant side is absolutely abysmal. I'll still stop in for a drink at the bar once in a great while, but have totally given up on the food.
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#9
Posted September 19th 2006, 4:41pm
ChiNOLA wrote:
BR wrote:I believe it was the previous owner of Candlelite who developed their pizza recipe, including the crust. He now owns a small place in Evanston called Bluestone where you will find the very same pizza he made so popular at Candlelite. If that's what you're looking for, give Bluestone a try.

Bluestone
1932 Central Street
Evanston
847.424.0420


Gotta disagree vehemently here. Bluestone is awful. I live nearby & have given the place WAY too many chances to serve me a decent meal - and they have failed miserably each and every time.

You might be OK w/ a pizza or some of the bar food (which, IMHO, is passable - barely), but the restaurant side is absolutely abysmal. I'll still stop in for a drink at the bar once in a great while, but have totally given up on the food.

All that I'm talking about is the pizza -- I've had other items at Bluestone, and while I did not think they were bad, I did not find them worthy of a repeat visit. But I do enjoy their pizza and I think it's a decent spot for a quick bite after a movie.
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#10
Posted September 20th 2006, 12:54am
I'm a big Candelite fan but haven't been there for a couple of months. When did they change owners and is the only real difference in the pizza the crust or have other things changed too? Boy would this bum me out!
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#11
Posted September 20th 2006, 4:44pm
DaveChgo wrote:I'm a big Candelite fan but haven't been there for a couple of months. When did they change owners and is the only real difference in the pizza the crust or have other things changed too? Boy would this bum me out!


As far as I know, it's the same group of owners that bought the place a few years back (from the guy that now owns Bluestone) & did all the remodeling, etc. Apparently it's a different cook that's changed the Pizza, and not for the better IMHO.
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#12
Posted October 13th 2006, 8:17am
I just mentioned this on Chowhound, but alas, it seems that the changes in the kitchen have also brought problems upon the garlic fries, which in the past were one of my primary motivations for going to Candlelite.

They now use shoestring potatoes instead of the thicker cut; sogginess from over application of the dressing was always a risk and I think thinner fries make it nearly inevitable. The fries were also served lukewarm, but I think that might be a timing problem in the kitchen -- our burgers were served more done than we'd asked, and my friend's brat had sat under the warmer long enough to start crusting up the mustard on top.

*sigh* I hope this is just an adjustment phase.
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"Whatever may be wrong with the world, at least it has some good things to eat." -- Cowboy Jack Clement
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#13
Posted October 13th 2006, 1:37pm
When City Noor first opened, they had an Egyptian Chef/cook. Many here noted this, though he quickly disapeered. Why? The owners had specific recipes they wanted to offer their customers, the Egyptian had his own ideas. Since it was the owners money, reputation and future on the line, they got rid of the Egyptian and found someone who would follow their lead.

City Noor understands whose driving the train. Candlelite’s owners needs to understand the same.

Regards,
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Cathy2

"You'll be remembered long after you're dead if you make good gravy, mashed potatoes and biscuits." -- Nathalie Dupree
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#14
Posted October 13th 2006, 5:04pm
The last time we headed there for PIZZA was (I believe) Tuesday Sept 12 - and the GFs were both divine and devoured. The pizza deal (now at least) is HALF price pizza (which is good if you're not that hungry) and NOT 2 for 1 - although we did (rashly) order 2 and ate only one and they happily boxed up the whole left over pizza.

As for the quality: Back then - the Fries were still terrific and the crusts were thin and crispy (perhaps due to a conservative hand with the sauce) Popeye Pesto was available - but we were advised the spinach was frozen (due to scare) - so we took a pass.

Since then we stopped by last Friday, 10/6 (night around 10pm). Agreed the new-fangled shoe-string GLs disappointed - lacked the substance to hold up to the powerful saucing.

The pretty OK burger we split was somewhat overcooked -but not too dry. Of course, we prefer our burgers grilled - not fried - but our waitress, knowing we were splitting, kindly cut the burger in half and seved on separate dinner plates, allowing room for self-serving the Greek Salad we were also splitting.

Greek Salad was surprisingly good - but we should have declined when thoughtfully asked if we'd like anchovies on it - since they were clearly old and unfortunately rancid specimans.

We'll try it again on a Tuesday night to see what's going on with the Pizza and above all the Garlic Fries - it will break my heart if the original recipes are gone for good. Tuesdays will never be the same...
Last edited by Hancock on October 13th 2006, 8:24pm, edited 1 time in total.
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#15
Posted October 13th 2006, 5:22pm
We've tried the place THREE times for lunch - all before we knew about the connection to Candlelite - and therefore it did not occur to us to order pizza there.

To be perfectly honest, we probably would not have gone back after our first disappointing (dismal?) visit - except for it's convenient proximity to 1000 Central - when we had a limited time to get back. I honestly can't recall anything we order there (probably salads, or burgers/sandwiches) - nothing even remotely memorable.

So am I hearing that one should NOW try Bluestone if they want to get authentic Candlelite Pizza? Man, I hope that's not the case....
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#16
Posted October 13th 2006, 6:47pm
Hancock wrote:So am I hearing that one should NOW try Bluestone if they want to get authentic Candlelite Pizza? Man, I hope that's not the case....
Here is the story as I understand it. The principal owner of the Bluestone, John, was a former co-owner of the old Candlelite. He and a business partner had purchased the Candlelite from John's aunt and uncle (I believe) who were retiring after owning the business (but not the building) for many years.

The original Candlelite was known for its ultra-thin crust pizza, a recipe that was passed on by the original owners to their nephew. It seems that several decades ago, there was a sort of impromptu competition between several bars as to who could lay claim to the thinnest crust pizza in town. The Candlelite's crust was so thin, it was almost transparent. Remember the Bucket o' Suds? They also made a super-thin pizza. I was not particularily enamored with the ultra-thin "tavern" style crust, but some people absolutely loved it.

My favorite thing at the old Candlelite was actually the homemade Italian Beef on garlic bread with hot and sweet peppers and Mozarella cheese which was cooked under a broiler until the cheese was bubbly and brown, and the crust of the bread was crispy (called a John's special). The superheated little hot peppers would explode in your mouth spraying out searing hot pepper juice, which required immediate dousing with cold beer to avoid blistering. They also made a decent steak sandwich.

Anyhow I digress, about 5 years ago, John opened the Bluestone in Evanston, shortly after that, the Candlelite closed (maybe because the lease was up). John kept a few of the original Candlelite favorites including the pizza and the beef sandwich, in the hopes of attracting some of the old Candlelite crowd. Other than that, the Bluestone had a completely different menu.

The original Candlelite space sat empty for a couple of years until it was re-opened and re-modeled by a group of investors who had nothing to do with the original operation. Since the original owners did not own the building, I do not think they made a dime off the deal. The new investors decided to feature thin crust pizza, since that is what the original Candlelite had been famous for. However, the recipe was completely new and not at all the same. The crust was not as thin as the original, but personally, I thought it was actually a much better pizza (though some of the old customers might disagree). Now it seems it may have changed yet again.

So when people tell you the Bluestone serves authentic Candlelite pizza, they are referring to the recipe that dates back decades, to way before the re-modeling and re-opening. However, to make sure it is the real thing, I would first inquire if John is doing the cooking, since he is the keeper of the old family recipe.
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#17
Posted October 14th 2006, 9:15am
The sandwich you describe reminds me of Paterno's Italian beef sandwich on garlic bread with mozzarella. The beef is thinly sliced, comes with a side of au jus, a heaping mound of hot, crisp shoestring fries and nondescript cole slaw for just under $6. Their meatball sandwich is also very good neighborhood bar fare.

Paterno's is located on the corner of Milwaukee and Central, a couple blocks north of Foster.
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#18
Posted October 17th 2006, 10:36am
I'm happy to report that the garlic fries at Candlelite are back! Not that they had really ever left, but it was reported above they were using different fries. Mr. X and I were there about a week ago after returning from vacation to a bare cupboard. (Not really true, but who really wants to cook after a long flight?) We wandered over to Candlelite to split a burger and the beloved garlic fries. The fries were lukewarm, skinny and devoid of any real garlic. In speaking with the bartender, he asked if we preferred the old style or new style and we strongly said "old!"

Fast forward to yesterday's Bears game. Both garlic fries and regular fries were ordered. Garlic fries were thick, hot and reeking of garlic. Regular fries were the skinnier version. (We found out that the regular fries are fresh, handcut? while the garlic fries are frozen.) The great garlic fries are back!

The pizza, on the other hand, disappointed. We ordered the Popeye Pesto extra-crispy with sausage. We thought it was flavorless. The crust tasted like cardboard to me and that was not a result of the crispiness. It was just blah. I usually don't order light on the cheese because I like cheese, but this was blah cheese. The sausage didn't add any zest either. It had been a while since I had a Candlelite pizza and this didn't inspire me to rush back for pizza. But oh, those garlic fries!

On our way out, I believe I spied GWiv at the bar. Perhaps he will have additional comments on Candlelite.

-The GP
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#19
Posted October 19th 2006, 8:14am
The GP wrote:On our way out, I believe I spied GWiv at the bar. Perhaps he will have additional comments on Candlelite.

GP,

That was me having a post San Soo Gap San drink and watching the end of the Bear's game with d4v3 though we did not have anything to eat. We had been to SSGS with Trixie-Pea and company to give them the GNR and, to say the least, I was not hungry.

You should have said hello, I would have loved the chance to chat a bit.

Enjoy,
Gary
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#20
Posted March 10th 2007, 9:05am
Last night, we got out of a show at the Old Town School of Folk Music around 9:30pm. We hadn't eaten dinner beforehand and were definately hungry. The usual suspects for us within walking distance (Bad Dog, Daily Bar & Grill, Grafton, etc...) looked pretty packed, so, as we were parked on Western Ave. and had recently dined at Spoon, it occured to us to shoot up to Candlelite for some pizza. We hadn't been in awhile and only once since the "crust change." That last time, a few months ago, I was disappointed that they had messed with the crust recipe, but everything else about the pizza had seemed to us pretty much the same. That was not the case last night. We decided to share a white pizza (roasted garlic, mozz, goat cheese & carmelized onions,) and asked for 1/2 to have sausage and 1/2 to have Kalamata olives. Here was my exchange with the waitress:

Me: "On 1/2 the pizza sausage and 1/2 with Kalamata olives please."

Waitress: " 1/2 sausage, 1/2 WHAT?"

Me: "Kalamata olives."

Waitress: "WHAT? Oh..., are those green?"

Me: "No, they're black."

Waitress: "Oh, they're in the comupter as black olives. I'm not sure we have those. I'll ask the kitchen."

Waitress disappears. Pizza appears with (surprise!) canned sliced black olives. As I'm staring disappointedly at my pizza, waitress comes over and says - "Yeah, we didn't have any of those olives and we haven't in a really long time. I don't know why they're still on the menu. Can I bring you something else?"

Grumble, grumble.... OK Lynn, get over it and just eat your pizza. Well, it wasn't just the olives. Mozzarella tasted to me like the cheapest of the bulk - salty, greasy, rubbery. Stingy on the goat cheese, barely tan & oily "carmelized" onions, and maybe 4 cloves of roasted garlic on the whole large pizza. Major bummer. We should have just headed home and walked to Marie's.

I will say, despite my perception of a decline in pizza quality, the place was packed. No seats at the bar when we walked in around 10pm and only a couple of open tables. Maybe it's me, maybe it was just a bad night, but it will be a long while before I give them another try.
Last edited by LynnB on March 10th 2007, 5:17pm, edited 1 time in total.
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#21
Posted March 10th 2007, 10:19am
LynnB wrote:Here was my exchange with the waitress:

Me: "On 1/2 the pizza sausage and 1/2 with Kalamata olives please."

Waitress: " 1/2 sausage, 1/2 WHAT?"

Me: "Kalamata olives."

Waitress: "WHAT? Oh..., are those green?"

Me: "No, they're black."

Waitress: "Oh, they're in the comupter as black olives. I'm not sure we have those. I'll ask the kitchen."

Waitress disappears. Pizza appears with (surprise!) canned sliced black olives. As I'm starring disappointedly at my pizza, waitress comes over and says - "Yeah, we didn't have any of those olives and we haven't in a really long time. I don't know why they're still on the menu. Can I bring you something else?"


That's funny - I had a similar exchange about olives a year ago with a male server at Candlelite. I asked him if I ordered "black olives" on the pizza, whether they'll be Kalamata (as opposed to canned)? He responded that they were canned because, he insisted, Kalamatas were green olives, although they had them. We ordered Kalamatas anyway despite his insistence they we would be getting a pizza with green olives.

This was pre-crust change, and what we got was a pie topped about three inches high with Kalamatas (they were black), an undercooked crust and cold - and I mean - cold cheese in the middle. And the abundance of olives was unpalatably salty. We sent the pizza back. The second pizza was only slightly better and suffered again from too many toppings and this time only lukewarm cheese. I remembered later some people's recommendation to ask for less cheese and for the kitchen to "overcook" it, but geez, they should know how to appropriately top and cook pizza without having special instructions.
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#22
Posted March 10th 2007, 11:33am
LynnB wrote:We decided to share a white pizza (roasted garlic, mozz, goat cheese & carmelized onions,) and asked for 1/2 to have sausage and 1/2 to have Kalamata olives.


Just curious. Do they offer kalamata olives on their menu?
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#23
Posted March 10th 2007, 12:14pm
Yes, they are listed as a special ingredient, along with goat cheese and a few other things I don't remember. Pricier than your standard onions, green pepper, etc... I think it was an additional $4 for toppings in that section. Waitress said she didn't know why they were still on the menu.
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