Posted by Krista on October 9, 2012
I didn’t really want a burger for lunch, but I had some time to kill and I was walking past The Lockdown and I remembered that they were supposed to have a good burger.
No one mentioned the heavy metal.
I am not a heavy metal fan. If anyone had told me that The Lockdown was all about the heavy metal, I never would have eaten here.
Do you know how hard it is to listen to excruciatingly loud, ANGRY heavy metal and eat a huge juicy burger at the same time?
I took home three-quarters of my burger — “The Punk Bitch” with garlic mustard, gruyere, and proscuitto, — and 7/8ths of my caesar salad. I ate them at home in the quiet comfort of my living room. With some Satie playing.
Everything was very good, particularly the garlicky caesar. But I won’t be going back for more.
The Verdict: LOUD, even with no patrons.
Posted in American, Burgers, Chicago, Ukrainian Village, United States, West Town | 3 Comments
Posted by Krista on October 8, 2012
After my Big Shoulders experience the other day, I decided to check out the source of all Unicorn Blood — I mean Dark Matter Coffee — and try out the Star Lounge.
It’s an interesting space…it must have been a real bar at some point, but now it’s a coffee bar full of kids with Mac Book Airs mooching off the free wifi. This furthers my notion that what Chicago really needs is an Internet pub. A true pub with beer, but with lots of outlets and super fast wifi too. Anyone want to go in on this one with me?
The guy next to me was doing Bayesian equations. I was just drinking a cappuccino, staring off into space.
It was a good cappuccino. $4.25 worth of cappuccino Dark Matter is a fruity blend. Based on my limited experience, I currently like Big Shoulders better, but this will be determined by a repeat visit to Big Shoulders in, oh, about 15 minutes.
The Verdict: Good stuff. A little hot inside and the staff is a bit distant and slow. But an interesting experience nonetheless.
Posted in Chicago, Coffee, United States, West Town | 3 Comments
Posted by Krista on October 5, 2012
I gave up coffee for a while. But now I am back on the sauce. Especially now, TODAY. Because I’ve finally found decent replacements for my loves of London loves, Monmouth Coffee and Prufrock Coffee. My new Chicago loves are Dark Matter Coffee. And Big Shoulders Coffee. I’ll thank Wendy for Dark Matter — she laughed at one of my Starbucks trip one day and advised that I take myself to Do Rite for some Dark Matter. (They have a coffee called UNICORN BLOOD.) But I’ll give myself all the credit for “finding” Big Shoulders. (Not hard to find, right there at the corner of Chicago and Milwaukee.) I THINK I like Big Shoulders better. I think. But I will need some caffeine to decide for sure.
I particularly like the vibe at Big Shoulders. It’s all clean and neat and white, and they’ve got a big TV showing approaching train and bus times, which is awesome. You should go here. Take the bus!
P.S. I took this photo with my iPhone 5. It’s so awesome. I love it so much.
Posted in Chicago, Coffee, United States, West Town | 2 Comments
Posted by Krista on October 3, 2012
I live by this little taco stand. I used to walk by it and think it looked a little sketchy. But then one day when the taco cravings hit, I went in. And I had the tacos al pastor and they were so gosh darn wonderful that I think I ate them three times that week. I like the staff. I like the service. I like that they give you a real hunk of lime and not just a little sliver and that they use corn tortillas, not flour. The interior decor — what there is of it given that there are really only about eight stools — could use a lot of work, but lately, they’ve spruced up the outside, so that’s nice. Oh, and did I mention that, besides for being super delicious, Taqueria Traspasada is also super, super cheap?
The Verdict: You should go here. Like really.
The Question: Where are you favorite tacos?
Posted in Chicago, Mexican, United States, West Town | 2 Comments
Posted by Krista on May 16, 2012
There. I’ve said it. I could happily eat falafel all day, every day. I don’t know why. I just like it. Texture? Hummus? Hot sauce? Yes.
I was lucky today. I had an errand to run and the shopkeeper told me to come back in 30 minutes. So I went in search of tacos to kill some time. I thought for sure I’d find tacos somewhere.
But instead I found Chickpea, just west of Damen on Chicago Ave. So I paid $4 (!!!) and had the best falafel I’ve had since Hoxton Beach on Whitecross Street in London. And that’s saying a lot because Hoxton Beach is sort of awesome.
The vibe at Chickpea was pretty great too. All old action movie posters, in Arabic. And cool dangly lights. I liked it. I think you will too.
The Verdict: Go!
Posted in Chicago, Middle Eastern, Ukrainian Village, United States, West Town | 2 Comments
Posted by Krista on March 23, 2012
I’ve probably said this before. I love my Chicago local. Frontier, on Milwaukee Ave. It’s the food, mainly. Along with the soundtrack. But really it’s the food.
For someone who was gone for a while, this is casual American bar food, but grown-up. Venison chili, DUCK TACOS, pulled boar sandwiches, rabbit and dumplings, and DID I MENTION THE DUCK TACOS? And the oyster menu? And how on Tuesdays, they do $2 half pints?? The beer menu is pretty awesome as well.
Now if only they had free wifi. That would be awesome. But a minor quibble, that.
Here’s another example of how awesome they are:
They’re open for lunch now, during the week (except Mondays) but word doesn’t seem to have gotten out yet because it’s Friday as I sit here and write this and it’s pretty quiet. But that’s a welcome change from the craziness of Big Star.
My lead photo? That’s my lunch today. An Ahi tuna sandwich with crispy tobasco shallots, sprouts, WASABI GINGER MAYO, and rosemary fries. (!!!) Pretty great, for a casual Friday lunch. Excellent, actually.
Life is good.
Posted in American, Noble Square, West Town | 3 Comments
Posted by Krista on October 18, 2011
I’m taking a quick break while the builders are in. At Yuzu on Chicago Avenue. And while the miso soup was only tepid and the chicken and green onion skewer was just chicken and green onion, the beef short rib was fantastic and the pork shoulder return-visit worthy.
Not a bad lunch if I do say so myself. And quite a steal at $8 for the set-menu. You should visit Yuzu. And soon.
Posted in Chicago, Japanese, United States, West Town | Comments Off
Posted by Krista on October 16, 2011
Hanging out at my most favorite place, Lush Wines on Chicago Avenue. Because I am the (newly-minted) mayor after all. Happy Sunday, wherever you are.
Posted in Chicago, Ukrainian Village, United States, West Town, Wine | Comments Off
Posted by Krista on July 13, 2011
I can’t stop. I really can’t. I’m addicted.
Skyline during Crazy Storm Day
Under the Tracks at North & Halsted
New Noble Square Art
Somewhere on Chicago Avenue
Along Ashland. A Variation.
At Ashland & Chicago
Love These Signs
Ropa para Caballeros
He Still Loves Her (Above)
Posted in Chicago, Noble Square, United States, West Town | 2 Comments
Posted by Krista on May 2, 2011
937 N Damen
Date of Last Visit: Sunday, April 17, 2011
The Victim: Joe aka Chicago Food Snob
The Damage: $20 each
The Breakfast: I am a bad American. I’ve never been much one for big American-style breakfasts and brunches. Waffles and pancakes and all that. If given the choice, I would happily have Chinese food for breakfast every morning. Or roast chicken. This is why the UK suited me so well. Sunday roasts!
But when fellow Chicago food blogger Chicago Food Snob suggested we meet up for brunch at Jam, I of course said yes because firstly, he is Chicago Food Snob and secondly, Food & Wine magazine voted Jam’s Malted Custard French Toast as one of their best dishes of 2010.
I did not order the French toast because it sounded a bit too dessert-y for my liking. (I was catching up on No Reservations on my flight back from London yesterday and was glad to hear Tony B announce that he too is not a huge dessert fan and is more a savory person. See I’m not crazy.) Instead, I opted for the Spanish Omelet, with chorizo, roasted peppers, melted onions, garrotxa Cheese, and fingerling potatoes. For $1 extra, I added white anchovies.
It was a pretty little omelet of manageable size. The chorizo was excellent; my only wish would be for larger chunks, as the chorizo was diced up quite small.
All-in-all, this was very well done. A very good breakfast indeed. One complaint would be that they don’t put salt and pepper on the tables and I would have liked some salt for both the potatoes and the omelet. Then again, I probably could have asked our server and I didn’t. Lazy beans.
Service: Antipodean (we don’t get many around these parts) and quite nice.
The Verdict: Nice.
Posted in American, Brunch, Chicago, United States, West Town | 3 Comments
Posted by Krista on April 26, 2011
1450 W Chicago
Date of Last Visit: Wednesday, March 9, 2011
The Victim: Liz of Elizabites
The Damage: About $40 each
The Background: I love Liz’ blog, Elizabites. Her posts are simple and straightforward, and there’s always a contest or two thrown in for good measure. She doesn’t always write about the food…it might be the decor or a sign or something on the table or a product-find. each post is its own little nugget. There’s no messing around.
Liz is much the same herself and we had a very enjoyable dinner at Leopold in West Town talking all things food. (Seriously, have you seen that Wendy’s is hocking sea salt fries?)
We split the mixed green salad, which was accompanied by gouda croquettes. The croquettes were cold and hard. They could have been so much better. The salad dressing was nice though.
The home-made pierogi of cheese and onion were a bit on the stodgy side and had maybe a tad too much butter, but that didn’t stop us from finishing them.
Best was the cassoulet. Confit rabbit, braised pork belly, and German bratwurst. This was a ridiculously huge portion for one; I would highly recommend splitting it. But be ready to fight over all the juicy bits of meat in here. I really enjoyed this dish and finished my leftovers for breakfast the next day.
The Service: Quirky but attentive. “Working on his poetry,” and all that.
The Verdict: Enjoyable company and good food overall. I’d definitely go back for the cassoulet.
Posted in Beer, Chicago, Modern European, United States, West Town | 2 Comments
Posted by Krista on January 26, 2011
1829 West Chicago
Date of Last Visit: Friday January 21, 2011
The Victims: Santanu, Christina
The Damage: About $60 each
The Background: It’s a good thing that Santanu left London! Because he moved back to Chicago, went to a party, and met Christina. And now they’re married! Sadly though due to one of those, “It’s the economy, stupid,” type things, she spends most of her time in Ohio every month, as a professor of Spanish literature. So Santanu is more often than not alone.
Not this weekend though! They were both in town and despite the frigid temperatures, we made plans for dinner at Arami.
After polishing off some sake at the bar, we treated ourselves to a very lovely bottle of Silk Deluxe. It was almost too easy to drink. Too smooth. Very deceptive. Dangerous.
I felt our hamachi collar was slightly overcooked. It was just too dry. This didn’t stop us from finishing it, but it just wasn’t as nice as I think it could have been.
Our chef’s selection of sashimi was one of the most beautiful things I’ve experienced in a restaurant. Sadly, despite taking about 10 photos of this, I managed to cut the orchid out of the tops of ALL the photos. For $30, I thought this was an EXCELLENT value particularly when compared to what I’ve been trying out in my omakase challenges. I wish I could tell you exactly what was in it, but I can’t for the life of me recall. (Blame the sake.) I can tell you that there was a huge variety of fish.
I wish I could tell you what this was for certain. Seriously…too much sake. I think it might have been Hamachi Maguro Ebi…yellow tail, tuna, scallion, jalapeno, shrimp, spicy mayo. Whatever it was, it was spicy. We like things spicy.
I thought the braised short rib was good, but I’ve never been a big fan of braised meats. It’s a texture thing.
The Hirami Spicy Tako was FUN. Spicy octopus, fluke, ginger apple dressing. We liked the sweetness of the little apple slices contrasting with the heat of this roll. Different.
And then there was our Suki Yaki. I should have taken a before photo, before we had mixed up the egg and stirred everything up. I could see having this for lunch, but having this at the end of our meal was perhaps a poor choice. By this point, I was stuffed to the gills and was not in the mood for soup.
The Verdict: I liked Arami, despite what you might think. I would go back again for the sushi and sashimi. Or for some of the soups, but I wouldn’t go back for all of that together.
Posted in Chicago, Japanese, United States, West Town | 2 Comments