Wednesday, August 26, 2009
Sunday, August 23, 2009
Thursday, August 20, 2009
A Different Diner Glenn's Diner is different - they specialize in seafood. And they do it very well. They don't have a fryer and they get their fish delivered six days a week. This diner was also on DDD and it's a great place. The menu is on the chalk board and they had 18 fish/seafood choices that day! Three of us opted for seafood and one chose the pancakes. The chocolate chip buttermilk pancakes were the best I've ever had. The PEI mussels were served with white wine, cream, shallots and garlic. They were steamed to perfection - very tender. I customized my order and got poached eggs with crab cakes and hollandaise on the side. The crab had very little filler - all large pieces of fresh real crab - amazing. The apple jack tilapia (bottom left) was also delicious. That's right - the tilapia was coated with an Apple Jacks cereal crust and the gentle sweetness works very well with tilapia. I told you Glenn's is different. The atmosphere is casual and very friendly. Glenn's is unlike any diner I've eaten at - and it's the best one too.
DDD video: www.glennsdiner.com/ddd/
Deep Dish Dreams Many consider Malnati's to be the best deep dish pizza in Chicago. While I didn't try any others, I don't see how it could be beat. The butter crust pizza with cheese and sausage is something I still dream about. The crust has a richness and slight sweetness from the butter. The sausage is sausage meat, not slices, spread throughout the base layer. Just the right amount of mozz is put on and it's topped of with a layer of crushed tomato sauce - delicious. We got the lunch special: two deep dishes, two pastas, four salads, four pops. The bill: $28! This has to be the best deal in all of Chicago. Marc Malnati beat Bobby Flay on an episode of Throwdown and I'm not surprised. When everything is made to order and from scratch it always tastes great. There a five locations in the city of Chicago, so if you're visiting the windy city, there will be a Malnati's near you.Video from Throwdown is available on Youtube: http://www.youtube.com/
Sunday, August 16, 2009
Smoque is awesome. Another Diners, Drive-ins and Dives experience. Owner, Barry Sorkin, (see pic, bottom right) knows his bbq. He travelled throughout the U.S., (mainly Austin, Kansas City, Memphis, North Carolina) to discover tastes and techniques he could use to make real legit bbq in Chicago. He has succeeded. We got the baby backs, though I'd also try the St. Louis ribs next time, pulled pork, brisket, beans and slaw. His ribs had a visible smoke ring (something to photo next time) and were tender with bite that ribs should have - not that fall off the bone stuff. Everything else was also stellar. The brikset was pure heaven - see the pic with slaw and beans. He serves his ribs with sauce on the side - both were great and I drank the Carolina style sauce straight out of the cup. Even the mac n' cheese was incredible. With the DDD episode airing regularly (and it's available on Youtube), Smoque is very popular - and worth the wait. I have to thank Barry for giving us complimentary sodas while we waited outside - the kids and I found the wait much easier once our thirsts were quenched. The boys devoured their food and I finished what few leftovers we had for breakfast the next day. This is what I call "shoulder dropping" food because the delicious flavours release all the tension in your body - from your shoulders on down. If you're anywhere near Chicago - ever- you gotta go to Smoque.
DDD clip: www.smoquebbq.com/press.html
Friday, August 14, 2009
BBQ by the Beach If I don't see a stack of wood in the parking lot of a bbq joint I turn around and eat somewhere else. Here I could see the smoke before I even saw the restaurant. The big pit is quite impressive and you can see they subscribe to the 'low 'n slow' school of bbq. The ribs were great. The collard greens were the best we've ever had - better than the collards at Melba's in Harlem. Tom puts tamarind in his sauce - very original - and his sauce is sweet and a bit thin and delicious. We bought two bottles to bring back home. Lots of chain restaurants all over Ft. Lauderdale and this place sits among them - and above them.
Fresh out of the Water Best seafood experience on our West Coast trip. (Anchor and Hope in S.F. was a close second - http://www.anchorandhopesf.com/) Both a firefighter and a tow truck driver were in picking up massive orders for their crews at work. They did this every week and I can see why. They offer a vast array of fresh seafood, absolutely delicious chowder,and incredible crab. There is a long narrow counter and slim tables along the other wall. Waited for the men's next to an immense pot of chowder on a single burner outlet. Talked to the chowder cook as he stirred the pot. A short walk from a trolley stop only adds to the flavour of this great spot to eat.