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Citrine and evolving Oak Park scene

Citrine and evolving Oak Park scene
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  • Post #751 - May 25th, 2020, 9:58 am
    Post #751 - May 25th, 2020, 9:58 am Post #751 - May 25th, 2020, 9:58 am
    Well, some good news today: Mickey’s has reopened. Heading over soon for lunch.
  • Post #752 - June 1st, 2020, 8:07 am
    Post #752 - June 1st, 2020, 8:07 am Post #752 - June 1st, 2020, 8:07 am
    seebee wrote:Please don't play with my emotions on this one.

    I'll walk, not run back to Katy's OP. If another positive report gets logged, I'll pick up the pace to a jog.


    We've Katy OP'ed a few times since this, and it has gotten better each time. We did a pickup last Saturday for a blowout meal to celebrate an elementary school graduation (guest of honor was jonesing for Katy's Dry Chili Fish and dan dan.)

    I'm happy to report that Katy's is about 90% back to full trust. The noodles were homemade.
    -The dry chili fish was excellent.
    -The 3 chili fish was excellent
    -The 3 chili chicken, for some reason, was lackluster compared to the fish. It was rubbery and flavorless.
    -ALL noodle dishes had the handmade noodles, but suffered from the travel. Most were on the mushy side.
    -The beef noodle soup was excellent. A little on the too salty side, but we watered it down, and loved it. Still had plenty of the spice flavor, and pepper heat.
    -The Dan Dan was back to it's old self. Still not the better, soupy version like Westmont, but totally acceptable to scratch an itch, all things considered.

    (The Lake Street construction is pretty awful for getting there, right now.)

    I'd say Katy's OP is BACK!
    We cannot be friends if you do not know the difference between Mayo and Miracle Whip.
  • Post #753 - June 3rd, 2020, 8:48 am
    Post #753 - June 3rd, 2020, 8:48 am Post #753 - June 3rd, 2020, 8:48 am
    So, I'm hesitate to say a place is back when I never found it quite good in the first place. On top of that, what do I know, from one lucky meal. Still, the food I had at Q BBQ yesterday was so above average, for area BBQ, for suburban BBQ, for BBQ in or near Oak Park, that it deserves some call out. Was it just because it was lunch time.

    In these times of lockdown, the weekly carry-out has been a huge reprieve. For a few weeks, my wife and I had this thing, where we were gonna walk down to Lake Street. She'd have Munch. I Q. But you don't like Q, she insisted (rightly). But in times of lockdown, bbq really appeals to me. The only way I could get her to do the deal was to promise not to complain, serenity now, serenity now, no matter how bad was the food I got. I did not complain an iota yesterday.

    A fluke?
    Think Yiddish, Dress British - Advice of Evil Ronnie to me.
  • Post #754 - June 3rd, 2020, 8:56 am
    Post #754 - June 3rd, 2020, 8:56 am Post #754 - June 3rd, 2020, 8:56 am
    Vital Information wrote:The only way I could get her to do the deal was to promise not to complain, serenity now, serenity now, no matter how bad was the food I got. I did not complain an iota yesterday.

    "The Scorpion and the Frog"
    A scorpion, which cannot swim, asks a frog to carry it across a river on the frog's back. The frog hesitates, afraid of being stung by the scorpion, but the scorpion argues that if it did that, they would both drown. The frog considers this argument sensible and agrees to transport the scorpion. Midway across the river, the scorpion stings the frog anyway, dooming them both. The dying frog asks the scorpion why it stung the frog despite knowing the consequence, to which the scorpion replies: "I couldn't help it. It's in my nature."
    Hold my beer . . .

    Low & Slow
  • Post #755 - June 8th, 2020, 11:34 am
    Post #755 - June 8th, 2020, 11:34 am Post #755 - June 8th, 2020, 11:34 am
    I've made a couple of stops into Oak Park's newest wine shop, Anfora Wine Merchants on South Marion, across from Poor Phil's, and have been impressed. It is all still coming together, but they are building a selection of Italian native variety wines across all price points. The $11 corvina from the Veneto is a great summer barbecue wine and way better that anything else in town at that price point. The owner is ex-Il Buco in New York, which has a great wine program, and they have some space in the back where I heard them say food and perhaps wine by the glass will be available post-COVID. Anyhow, a nice add.

    Anfora Wine Merchants
    128 S Marion
    Oak Park
    https://www.anforawinemerchants.com/
    (708) 613-5388
  • Post #756 - June 13th, 2020, 8:09 pm
    Post #756 - June 13th, 2020, 8:09 pm Post #756 - June 13th, 2020, 8:09 pm
    RE: Anfora

    I split a case of their choosing with Dr Wino. Some real oddities in there. Definitely could do better at Binnys for the price (about $25/bottle).

    Though the variety was inneresting
    i used to milk cows
  • Post #757 - June 17th, 2020, 6:08 am
    Post #757 - June 17th, 2020, 6:08 am Post #757 - June 17th, 2020, 6:08 am
    Panther in the Den wrote:Edit: Disregard (Plumbing issue for a day)

    La Bella Pasteria
    1103 South Blvd, Oak Park

    80499E5D-CFC0-423A-911B-74CC9891FED2.jpeg

    I know nothing...

    Suburban Italian sister spots La Bella Pasteria and La Bella the Bar are permanently closed

    https://chicago.eater.com/2020/5/12/212 ... oronavirus
    Never order barbecue in a place that also serves quiche - Lewis Grizzard
  • Post #758 - July 16th, 2020, 6:41 am
    Post #758 - July 16th, 2020, 6:41 am Post #758 - July 16th, 2020, 6:41 am
    Barclay's has closed. How sad. It was always such a friendly neighborhood spot.
  • Post #759 - July 16th, 2020, 9:15 am
    Post #759 - July 16th, 2020, 9:15 am Post #759 - July 16th, 2020, 9:15 am
    OPFoodie wrote:Barclay's has closed. How sad. It was always such a friendly neighborhood spot.


    Between this and Winberie's closing, my parents have lost their two favorite restaurants in Oak Park (and their traditional pre and post fast meals for Yom Kippur).
  • Post #760 - July 19th, 2020, 3:49 pm
    Post #760 - July 19th, 2020, 3:49 pm Post #760 - July 19th, 2020, 3:49 pm
    The Heritage in Forest Park has closed for good.
  • Post #761 - July 19th, 2020, 4:25 pm
    Post #761 - July 19th, 2020, 4:25 pm Post #761 - July 19th, 2020, 4:25 pm
    Vitesse98 wrote:The Heritage in Forest Park has closed for good.


    Inevitable, but stone-cold sad as well. Hope the same folks do something else in the area someday.
  • Post #762 - July 20th, 2020, 10:09 am
    Post #762 - July 20th, 2020, 10:09 am Post #762 - July 20th, 2020, 10:09 am
    ndgbucktown wrote:
    Vitesse98 wrote:The Heritage in Forest Park has closed for good.


    Inevitable, but stone-cold sad as well. Hope the same folks do something else in the area someday.


    Agree. This is a big loss.
  • Post #763 - July 20th, 2020, 10:19 am
    Post #763 - July 20th, 2020, 10:19 am Post #763 - July 20th, 2020, 10:19 am
    I know it has been mentioned a few times, but I finally made it to:

    Blue Ribbon Meat Market
    426 Austin Blvd
    Oak Park
    https://www.blueribbonmeatmarket.com/

    and was reasonably impressed. This could be the anti-Carnivore: old school, super cheap meat but seemingly well done. Bratwurst and a lamb and onion sausage were great and around $4-$5 per pound. Lots of lower end cuts at cheap prices - $0.99 pork necks bones, etc. Crowder peas in the freezer, lots of Cajun items, including sausages. Could be useful.
  • Post #764 - July 21st, 2020, 7:26 am
    Post #764 - July 21st, 2020, 7:26 am Post #764 - July 21st, 2020, 7:26 am
    On the other hand, Carnivore just got in a whole alligator, so ...
  • Post #765 - September 14th, 2020, 4:04 pm
    Post #765 - September 14th, 2020, 4:04 pm Post #765 - September 14th, 2020, 4:04 pm
    I finally made it to Lotus Chinese Restaurant on North after sniffing around way back on page 16 or so of this thread. I'll put it in the solidly OK category, but I don't think it is quite crave-worthy. We ordered 3 dishes off the Taiwanese menu: pork buns, referenced before in this thread, were quite decent and the best of the three. Pillowy white buns, tender slabs of pork belly and a nice slather of Chinese-style pickled vegetables. My wife grabbed two of the three in a serving, which is an endorsement.

    San Bei / Three Cups Chicken was a fairly authentic version of the original. Coins of ginger, tons of garlic cloves and bone-in chicken chunks were bathed in a light brown sauce. The sauce lacked a bit of depth, but this I was impressed to get something like this out of Chinatown.

    Dry Hakka Noodles were perhaps the least attractive of the three dishes, and was a little different than I expected. These were broad noodles, rice-based I'd guess, but very soft, so perhaps a blend of rice and wheat starches. I kind of liked them, but the seasoning was really just plenty of oil, some scallions, a few bean sprouts, some shredded pork and a slightly sour element - perhaps a splash of rice vinegar? There wasn't any wok hay and that left the simple treatment a bit bland and oily.

    I'll go back, but it might take another 10 pages on this thread. I'll probably order pork buns and something new, looking for another hit. Maybe the beef noodle soup when winter comes.

    EDITED: I'm coming back to upgrade my view of the three cups chicken after leftovers for lunch. A bit of time has allowed the garlic, ginger and chilies to blend and improved the sauce. I also forgot to note the basil in the dish, which I don't recall in other versions I've had but makes sense in a Taiwanese dish. With time, this is pretty solid.
  • Post #766 - September 28th, 2020, 2:55 pm
    Post #766 - September 28th, 2020, 2:55 pm Post #766 - September 28th, 2020, 2:55 pm
    Short note to say the Chengdu dumplings at Katy's OP are great. Just regular Katy's dumplings but they nailed the Sichuan sauce, with a little black vinegar to sour it and tons of Sichuan peppercorns.
  • Post #767 - October 9th, 2020, 1:54 pm
    Post #767 - October 9th, 2020, 1:54 pm Post #767 - October 9th, 2020, 1:54 pm
    Panther in the Den wrote:
    Panther in the Den wrote:La Notte Cafe
    6822 Windsor Ave, Berwyn
    http://lanottecafe.com/
    (708) 749-1800

    ... is planning to open another outpost on Marion St in Oak Park

    http://www.oakpark.com/News/Articles/6- ... -Oak-Park/

    At the location of the shuttered...
    Aripo's Venezuelan Arepa House
    118 N Marion St

    Happened to be driving by on Friday and noticed people inside. Locked on the binders and stopped in.

    Apparently they have been having a couple of soft openings (fixed and limited menu) during the last week and Friday was their hard opening (full menu).

    La Notte Cafe.jpg

    High End Table Settings!

    Things were good. Service had a few fits and starts but I was able to keep them on track. Prices on the high side ($20 - $30) in keeping with the other high end restaurants that have been opening up lately. Drinks good at $10 although inconsistently prepared.

    Seemed like it was another FFaR (Friends, Family and Relatives) evening and the staff (hostesses and chef) would sit at various tables to chat, hugs upon exit. Most of the upper staff are all related with the father being the chef. Heard them apologizing to other patrons for the slow service and they even mentioned to us that papa needs some additional help at the stove.

    Not sure what their relation is to the other location in Berwyn. They confessed that it was their fathers dream to open a place of his own.

    My Brides Alfredo was just as it should of been, my Veal Marsala was tasty enough but could of been presented better (4 thin slabs on a plate) and the side of pasta with red sauce was very good!

    We are planning to go back to the Berwyn location and order the same meal to see how it compares and to compare the pricing.

    All in all it might not make it into my regular rotation as there are several good Italian places in the area at a lower price point but I will stop in again.

    La Notte Ristorante Italiano
    118 N Marion St, Oak Park
    (708) 948-7576
    http://www.lanotte-op.com

    La Notte's executive chef and owner Giovanni Matteo Mancini has a multitude of recipes which draw on his upbringing in Italy, but also his families ancestral recipes from Rome and Tuscany and Bari.


    La Notte to make a big move down Marion
    https://www.oakpark.com/News/Articles/1 ... wn-Marion/
    Never order barbecue in a place that also serves quiche - Lewis Grizzard
  • Post #768 - October 11th, 2020, 9:23 pm
    Post #768 - October 11th, 2020, 9:23 pm Post #768 - October 11th, 2020, 9:23 pm
    Francesca's Fiore on Madison closed Saturday night. What a sad event. We all loved Francesca's.
  • Post #769 - October 15th, 2020, 8:56 am
    Post #769 - October 15th, 2020, 8:56 am Post #769 - October 15th, 2020, 8:56 am
    Wow, another Coronavirus casualty.
    Healy's Westside on Madison closed Oct 13, after 25 years.
    It really hurts to hear this news.
    https://www.oakparkeats.com/food-news/madison-street-loses-two-long-time-businesses/
  • Post #770 - October 27th, 2020, 6:14 pm
    Post #770 - October 27th, 2020, 6:14 pm Post #770 - October 27th, 2020, 6:14 pm
    Giovanni Mancini, owner and executive chef at La Notte, is moving his five-year-old restaurant, currently at 118 N. Marion St., to the former home of Barclay’s American Grill, 1120 Pleasant Street. Mancini aims to be up and running in the new location by Nov. 1.

    Chef Gaetano Di Benedetto is reopening his fine dining restaurant as an artisan food market in his Forest Park location.

    Chef Joe Farina, known for his Chicago-style Italian fare, is bringing Victory Italian to Oak Park. Set to open in the former home of Two Brothers Social Tap, 100 S. Marion St.
    "I drink to make other people more interesting."
    Ernest Hemingway
  • Post #771 - November 8th, 2020, 4:12 pm
    Post #771 - November 8th, 2020, 4:12 pm Post #771 - November 8th, 2020, 4:12 pm
    Seems like a decent place to plop this...
    Sun Wah is doing a drop off on Harlem and Madison Nov 11th:
    https://sunwahbbq.com/restaurant/events/
    We cannot be friends if you do not know the difference between Mayo and Miracle Whip.
  • Post #772 - November 13th, 2020, 1:05 pm
    Post #772 - November 13th, 2020, 1:05 pm Post #772 - November 13th, 2020, 1:05 pm
    I feel a little sorry for the folks at Kettlestrings: they opened I think the weekend of the March lockdown, or within a few days. I did try them fairly soon after for takeout, and recalled it fine but it didn't make a huge impression and pub grub is more of an in-person thing, so we haven't been back. Today, they were doing a dine-out for my son's soccer team, so we tried again and I must say I was very impressed. My son proclaimed the burger first rate, probably the best of the type (thick pub burger) in Oak Park (caveating that Goldyburger is across the border and Mickey's is an altogether different type). Thick cut fries are the choice among the fry eaters in the house and were appreciated. I got the pho short-rib French dip, which was excellent, kind of Italian beef-ish but with a firmer texture, a fried egg and a nicely seasoned dip with anise. I chose a salad on the side and it was far better than you'd expect, with romaine, radicchio, cucumber and dried fruit. It all traveled fairly well for pickup. I'll be back.
  • Post #773 - November 14th, 2020, 7:28 pm
    Post #773 - November 14th, 2020, 7:28 pm Post #773 - November 14th, 2020, 7:28 pm
    We've picked up from there a couple of times over the past several months and it has been great each time. A little pricy, perhaps, but I'm not going to quibble over that considering the conditions.
  • Post #774 - November 15th, 2020, 12:57 pm
    Post #774 - November 15th, 2020, 12:57 pm Post #774 - November 15th, 2020, 12:57 pm
    tazerowe wrote:My son proclaimed the burger first rate, probably the best of the type (thick pub burger) in Oak Park (caveating that Goldyburger is across the border and Mickey's is an altogether different type).


    The Oak Park Burger is one of the better burgers around. Well-executed and very tasty.
  • Post #775 - December 29th, 2020, 3:19 pm
    Post #775 - December 29th, 2020, 3:19 pm Post #775 - December 29th, 2020, 3:19 pm
    Fair notice: the tamales at Amerikas are really, really good. A week ago there were traditional corn husks with chicken mole and rajas with cheese. This week was pork and more rajas with cheese, but both with the Oaxacan banana leaf wrapping. All were moist and quite large - one of each made a fine meal. I'm not always a fan of the banana leaf, but these were subtle and nice. They offered a vegan one as well, although I passed. Same for the churros and chocolate, which appear quite popular. I suspect it might be a little frustrating for a chef with some ambition to be back to street foods, but they are doing a brisk business and I hope this lets them survive.

    Speaking of survival, I hear rumblings of tough times for Goldyburger. I had called a few times and not gotten an answer but did confirm they were open Sunday (after, I am afraid, I had eaten). Sounds like they will be open for takeout but the person on the phone admitted things were a bit up in the air. I need to get there ASAP, as I'd hate to lose that one...
  • Post #776 - December 31st, 2020, 3:25 pm
    Post #776 - December 31st, 2020, 3:25 pm Post #776 - December 31st, 2020, 3:25 pm
    Kettlestrings


    I know I mentioned it was a little pricey, but man: last week we took advantage of their Tuesday burger special , which is two burgers, two fries and two beers for $35. Added on two kid burgers for $5 each, plus an order of curds, plus tax, plus tip, and ... the total came to $75, which is kind of a crazy tab for burgers when Big Guys does a great job for a fraction of that.

    Speaking of which, this worth pasting in its entirety:

    Friends,
    Welp, 2020 is ending, but so is Big Guys’ luck regarding this damn pandemic.
    The health and safety of our staff and customers is the most important thing in the world to us. Last night we had an employee test positive for COVID 19, we then closed early and this morning we had all staff receive rapid tests where another staff member also tested positive. So with those results we are following guidelines and closing for at least the next week to help everyone isolate or recover to prevent further transmission and to conduct deep cleaning of our establishment.
    We are working with the Cook County Department of Public Health as well as the Berwyn Health District to ensure that our decisions are consistent with best practices. I will provide updates here if the situation changes.
    I regret to say we are unable to serve our New Years Eve Dinner since myself and my staff are now all officially in quarantine. If you reserved a dinner our manager will be calling you today to issue a refund.
    This isn’t our first scare. I have already paid many employees beyond their banked sick days to quarantine after self reporting exposure. I initiated this policy because I wanted to alleviate any moral hazard for employees and encourage them to err on the side of caution. I believe this has been effective as we have gone 10 months without a single employee contracting the virus, and only one (new) employee testing positive for antibodies today.
    However those instances were on an individual basis, this is an entire staff losing a week of pay. I really really don’t want that to happen but in addition to paying out supplemental sick time just the act of closing for a week suddenly like this will cost Big Guys tens of thousands of dollars.
    If you can it would really help if you bought a gift card. We will reopen as soon as it is safe and you can use that card up, but we really can not afford a full stop to our revenue, not after this year.
    Order gift cards here:
    https://bigguyssausage.com/gift-card/
    Thank you for your support. Here’s to a much, much, much better, safer and healthier 2021 to all.
    Your pal,
    Brendan
  • Post #777 - December 31st, 2020, 4:13 pm
    Post #777 - December 31st, 2020, 4:13 pm Post #777 - December 31st, 2020, 4:13 pm
    I bought a Big Guys giftcard online yesterday as a gesture of support for them.

    And I agree about Big Guys in preference to Amerikas, burgerwise...heh, is that a relatable "orientation" for others, or even a real word? --I guess I don't really care much because it definitely is for me.

    Anyway, when it came to seeking more upscale, Mediterranean fusion fare instead of a burger in the pre-pandemic past, I've always walked just a few dozen feet further east from Amerikas and enjoyed Rustico's Italian/Spanish offerings. (Disclosure: Rustico's chef-owner Gabriel Padilla has since become a friend of mine.)

    --mhl
    "If I have dined better than other men, it is because I stood on the shoulders of giants...and got the waiter's attention." --Sir Isaac "Ready to order NOW" Newton

    "You worry too much. Eat some bacon... What? No, I got no idea if it'll make you feel better, I just made too much bacon." --Justin Halpern's dad
  • Post #778 - January 6th, 2021, 11:25 am
    Post #778 - January 6th, 2021, 11:25 am Post #778 - January 6th, 2021, 11:25 am
    I swear Wild Fish and Beef is some kind of hidden camera show, some FoodTV producer has to be lurking in the shadows. The place cannot be real. That name, nothing more than a paper sign in the window. The location--who opens a restaurant on the stretch of North between Austin and Harlem that is not known for supporting restaurants, as we wait yet another place to open in the spot at OP/North. During the Pandemic. With this back story, the guy slinging your hash was formerly chef at Greektown's Pegasus? What are they doing? What do you imagine would be on the menu of a place called Wild Fish and Beef?

    You put beef in the name, but the only beef on the menu is a burger ("Greek burger" because it has feta). And the "wild" fish is tilapia, catfish, ocean perch? There's a salmon dish, yet I doubt it's Pacific salmon. The menu says they offer "Great authentic Greek cuisine." It's in fact, not that different than Mickey's. Kebabs, gyros (commercial made), does that say authentic Greek to you? What if you offer fries with feta?

    It's so close to my house, but I've been quite hesitate to try. I'm afraid to admit that Surf's Up has scared me towards fried food for this whole stretch. We were, though, committed recently to having fried fish. And we did not expect the line at Hagan's to be around the block. We had no choice.

    The Greek chicken is barely eatable. But the portion was great. For $9.99, it was a 1/2 chicken, a lot of Greek style veg, a whole separate container of rice and potato and gratis soup as they desperately try to incent customers. I had ordered up this chicken because I did not want to write up the place after only one meal. Luckily, that first meal, fried fish and fried shrimp and fried calamari and fresh cut french fries was really excellent. Reminded me of Boston Seafood, a very good comparison for sure. None of that seasoning crap, too many places, I'm looking at you, Surf's Up, places are using. Just solid, crisp, fresh. Just avoid the chicken.

    Wild Fish and Beef
    6620 W North Ave
    Chicago, IL 60707
    (773) 887-5035
    Think Yiddish, Dress British - Advice of Evil Ronnie to me.

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