It's been a while since I've done a proper update because shit has been crazy, but I think it's time to SHARE!
I have drastically cut back my alcohol consumption for personal reasons lately, but I am still willing to make an exception for certain things, such as Ben Schiller's cocktails (And he just won Wednesday's "Sweet Sixteen of Mixology" battle so kudos!). I was a huge fan of Ben's work at In Fine Spirits in Andersonville, and now he's migrated to Boka. I went there for a Plymouth Gin pairing dinner back in April and had some ridiculously chocolately/savory dessert that I still can't stop thinking about. Anyway, I requested something gin with a low alcohol content, and Ben whisked up this lovely little confection with Gin, grapefruit juice, an egg white and a bunch of other stuff, but the little hearts are too friggin cute for words. Next time I will order dessert too!
2. I am semi indifferent to the cult of Rick Bayless because of the time he served me some tough and pedestrian beef chili thing at Chicago Gourmet two years ago. And the wack, fishy tasting swordfish I had at a Tequila Pairing Dinner at Frontera a while back. I was willing to try Xoco though since it's supposed to be more casual, hence less of a $$ risk, and less wait time. It's reasonably close to work and I was having a craptastic day and decided it was necessary to placate myself with carbohydrates. I got it to go, and my wait time was about 15 mins, which not that bad considering how hot the hype is, and the fact that I spent 2 hours waiting at Hot Doug's last weekend (more on that later). And while Xoco is supposedly cheaper and more casual, a "Cubana" sandwich and an order of churros set me back almost $17. Ouch, considering that the sandwiches at Cafecito are also friggin amazing (try the Guava-Q sometime) and cost half as much. My verdict? The sandwich was indeed super tasty, with it's melted together press of
"Smoked Maple Creek pork loin and bacon, black beans, avocado, artisan Jack cheese, chipotle mustard," and the accompanying salsa was also fantastic. It was big enough for 2 meals if I wasn't pmsing. The churros, on the other hand.....GREASY. Yes, I realize they're fried food, but I feel like I was eating a sugar coated grease-dipped sponge. Ah well, I satisfied my curiosity. Definitely would come back for another sandwich or to try the AM coffees and hot chocolates.
3. You already know why Hot Doug's makes me angry, but I haven't been in a few years (because they're always closed or there's a line around the block) but I recently had business in that part of town and decided to suck it up and wait. Fortunately I had a 4" thick smutty novel to keep me entertained (besides eavesdropping on the yuppies behind me) because I stood in line for TWO HOURS. TWO HOURS. No hot dog is 2 hours worth of delicious. I mean, at Kumas you might wait 2 hours for a burger, but at least you're usually seated after the first hour and you can get drunk while you wait.
That said, Hot Doug's is awesome, the food is awesome, they were playing Gary Numan when I finally made it through the door, but the wait is just fucking bogus. I actually debated ordering two sausages to justify the wait but in reality was not that hungry. I decided to try the controversial fois gras sausage that got Doug Sohn slapped with a city fine during the short lived Chicago fois gras ban. I also decided to give duck fat fries a second try since the first time I concluded that they didn't taste that different from the regular fries my vegetarian friend had ordered. And um, they still don't. Sorry. The fois gras sausage was delicious, but a bit of overkill- it really didn't need BOTH aioli and honking slabs of fois gras on top- it would have benefited from some acidic element to cut through all that fat. My gall bladder hated me all day. So, I enjoyed it, but I won't be waiting in line for 2 hours again any time soon.
4. I never made it to Schwa because my life went to shit that week and I wasn't feeling up to it, but the ladies at Chicago Bites did, and blogged about it.
5. The potato pancakes at Eleven City Diner are beyond awful, and I still don't know where to go for good Jewish Deli food in this city. (Manny's I guess?)
6. The Koldunai meat dumpling at Healthy Food Lithuania were pretty amazing, and that place is like stepping into a bizarro time warp.
7. I'm going to Milwaukee on Saturday and New Orleans in January and have every intention of stuffing my face with praline bacon and muffalettas and crawfish etoufee and whatnot.