Tag Archives: Restaurants

Longman & Eagle [3], Logan Square, Chicago

Arrived at 5:30pm on a Saturday just as they gave away the last walk-in table (should have parked faster). We waited at the OSB for around an hour for a table to open up.

At the OSB, got Pretzel with Welsh Rarebit, which is a mustard and cheese sauce; and Smelt and Chips. The pretzel was fluffy and the rarebit was cheesy with a mild mustard flavor. Smelt and chips was a play on fish and chips, with tempura smelt, fries, and tartare sauce. It was okay bar food but not super impressive.

Now on to dinner:

»Beef Tartare, Foie Gras Torchon, Medjool Dates, Klug Farms Peaches, Mustard Greens, Buttered Challah, Truffle Gribiche

Got this last time. It is still my favorite dish on their menu at the moment.

»Slagel Family Farms Bone Marrow, Bacon-Shallot Jam, Green Apple Kimchi, Pickled Garlic & Shallots, Parsley, Sourdough

I haven’t gotten bone marrow in years because while I really enjoyed it when I ate it, I also remembered how incredibly rich it was. Here they did not skimp, giving both halves of a huge bone with all its marrow. The bacon-shallot jam was incredible, and with a sprinkle of sea salt, really elevated the flavor of the marrow.

»Confit Beef Tripe, Puffed Rice, Five Spice Marshmallow, Broccoli, Pork Liver Mousse, Szechuan Sauce

I was wary because they seemed like a dressed up version of “beef and broccoli” but I was quite impressed. The confit tripe was very crispy, bringing a very unique texture to the offal. The puffed rice was also crunchy while still remaining airy. Each bite of tripe and rice brought a punch of flavors from the spice and sauces. Star anise was at the forefront for me, but I don’t think I can identify the other spices in 5-spice anyways.

»Braised Pork Cheek, Sour Cabbage, Sea Island Red Peas, Pickled Mustard Seeds, Green Apple, Chinese Mustard Caramel, Beer Foam

The pork cheek was not sliced thin as I expected. In fact it came in quite a solid chunk. The texture was also different from what I envisioned, closer to the solidity of heart, but not quite as tough, being easy to cut through. I don’t really like whole mustard seeds, so this dish didn’t really resonate with me.

»Slow Roasted Cauliflower, Beluga Lentils, Carmelized Onion, Golden Raisins, Mango, Cucumber Raita

I saw this vegetarian entree recommended on the Internet several times, so we decided to try it. It was good, but not too special. The cauliflower, lentils, curry flavor, and yogurt dressing tasted like a (good) traditional Indian dish.

»Terrine of pecan, bourbon, espresso. Honey comb. Ice cream.

I kind of ignored the fact that this dessert was a terrine and focused on the ingredients: pecan, bourbon, espresso. All my favorites things. The ice cream quenelle was served atop some dehydrated ice cream chunks. The rest of the ingredients came in the form of a layered terrine (a slice with a firm pudding consistency). The flavors were more subtle than I had hoped for. I enjoyed the crunch from the honey comb.

We originally wanted to get the jamon serrano wrapped pork tenderloin but it seems it was not available at the time and required a 1 hour wait.

Once again L&E gives good vibes and an enjoyable meal. Ordering is still a bit hit-or-miss. My track records seems to be 50% dishes that are hit out of the park and 50% average/middling dishes. But the highs outweigh the lows, so it’s still my favorite restaurant in Logan Square.

BROR, Copenhagen, Denmark

Continuing my New Nordic gastronomical tour, I made a reservation for Restaurant BROR tonight (one of the few restaurants open Sundays). I was attracted by their nose-to-tail dining philosophy. I wanted to try all the snacks, so I got the Big BROR menu (normal menu plus all snacks and extra dessert).

Snacks

Bull’s balls, tartar sauce — deep fried testicles, the texture of the testicle is similar to when I cooked lamb’s testicles myself, kind of like seitan. Overall not that stunning in taste as it’s mostly tartar sauce in the end, more of an “eating offals” appeal.

Tomato, rosemary, asparagus — I was surprised they would have Danish tomatoes since Amass mentioned how hard it is to get good tomatoes here. Didn’t taste or see asparagus; it was served on a cracker, and the tomatoes tasted pretty good.

Steak tartare, nasturtium, hazelnuts — the tartare was not as finely chopped as usual. There were enough interesting flavors to pair with the rawness, so it was good aside from the texture.

Cod cheek, horseradish, dill — the cooked cod cheek is served whole with bone and fin. You kind of make your own smørrebrød by placing cheek on rye bread and then topping with a horseradish and dill sauce and a sprinkle of salt. Since the meat was still attached to the bone, this was actually slightly cumbersome to assemble, and I preferred the smørrebrød I had for lunch.

Courses

Sourdough bread made in house for the Café lillebror next door was served with a bone marrow infused butter topped with lemon salt.

Cold cod slices with currants, baby corn, corn purée — the currants (I think) were the most interesting part, with small explosions of juices in each bite.

Small cubes of veal (tongue?), roasted broccoli, mushrooms, hazelnuts, sauce of gooseberry and tarragon — the sauce had nice flavor

Hake, fish bone broth foam, roasted baby leek, red pearl onions, dill potatoes on the side — this was the only dish that really impressed me tonight. Not sure if Hake refers to cod or haddock, but I’m guessing haddock since it was a little firmer than typical cod. The bone broth flavor was really wholesome and delicious. The hake had some flakes sprinkles on top, which added a crunchy texture. The fish was cooked beautifully and everything just worked.

The waiter asked if I wanted cheese before dessert, and as the French tradition is to never refuse cheese, I accepted though I didn’t really process that I would have to pay extra for it until later…

Cheese (Wrångebäck Sweden), pear-apple-mustard seed chutney, flatbread cracker — cheese was aged 24-30 months, which a sharp flavor.

(Extra dessert) Berries (raspberry sorbet), shortbread, toasted hay — the toasted hay came as a cream, with a hard to describe flavor.

Burnt cream parfait, compote, bits of cocoa(?) — the parfait was cold but looked like a dehydrated milk which was interesting. I liked this dessert more than the previous.

I was not satisfied with this dinner. Aside from the hake, which was excellent, all the other courses were “good” but without that creative vision that I felt from my meals at Amass and Radio yesterday. The service is also severely understaffed: only one waiter and two waitresses (both of whom were pretty, one exceptionally so) served the entire room. Not all plates/utensils were cleared with each course. After asking if I wanted more bread, the bread never came. The check took forever to arrive after all courses were finished. Apparently tap water costs 35 DKK. Since there are not that many restaurants open on Sunday, perhaps this would make a decent meal if you just got the BROR menu without any add-ons. But at this price point, I feel like Copenhagen has better to offer.

Edit: In retrospect, the food was executed without mishaps and tasted good. Given how wonderful the hake was, I would say that the normal BROR menu without any extras is a good meal.

Day 1, Copenhagen, Denmark

Woke up at 4:15am to fly from Bergen to Copenhagen. Unfortunately I didn’t pack fast enough and missed the 4:45 airport bus from the hotel, so I had to take a taxi. This was very very painful for me and my wallet — 580 NOK. Moreover when I got to the airport check-in and security were a breeze so I could have easily taken the 5:30 airport bus and still made it in plenty of time. The hotel was nice enough to pack me a breakfast for free though, which I ate at the airport.

Arriving in Copenhagen, I was tired and not in a great mood. I still had 160 NOK in cash, but all the airport currency exchange places charged 40 DKK fee. Giving up, I took the train to Copenhagen Central Station. There I tried exchanging currency with Forex [Western Union]. They still charged 45 DKK fee, but when I said I just wanted to exchange a small amount of money, they waived the fee! This put me in a much better mood, and gave me a great first impression of the helpfulness of Danes (Denmark is supposed to be the happiest country in the world).

Paid for luggage locker at Urban Hostel, then went back to the Tivoli Garden area to get a breakfast/snack at Andersen Bakery, which was recommended on Chowhound. You get a ticket when you enter and then wait your turn to order (it’s slightly cheaper to take out than eat in). Only as I was making an order did I realize that I usually call most of the pastries they were selling just “Danishes”, which of course wouldn’t be the appropriate name here! I was going to get some pastry with a creme center, but observing what others were ordering I decided to try something that looked very ordinary and hope for a nice surprise. Indeed I was rewarded! I ordered a Thebirkes, which is a hollow pastry with sesame seeds on top and a lightly sweet marzipan filling. It was quite good, leaving me very pleased.

Now it was time for the first coffee of the day. It seems Copenhagen has quite a good coffee culture so I will be checking a bunch of cafes out. First up was Coffee First (pun!) which uses Estate Coffee beans. I got a double espresso, served in a large 4-5oz demitasse cup. I saw the shot blonding after ~15 seconds, and the barista kept pulling for another ~30 seconds… The top tasted like typical blonded coffee (a little bland), and the bottom was a little more acidic. Overall the taste was actually not bad, but it was more like a small Americano than a true espresso. 28 DKK.

Walked past Tivoli Garden but didn’t want to pay to go in, and I don’t think I will tomorrow because it looks pretty touristy. I caught a bus to Amass Restaurant, which I wrote about in a dedicated entry. Quite full after the meal, I decided to walk 30 minutes to Christiana. I didn’t quite understand Christiana: it seemed to just be a hippy commune / area where people bought weed. I already had a lot of coffee today, but I felt it was my duty to sample Copenhagen’s coffee scene so I took a stop at Copenhagen Coffee Lab. I was going to just order a single espresso but I saw the barista actually do some latte art for someone’s cappuccino, so I decided to order a cortado. Unfortunately it came with no latte art, and the taste was pretty mediocre. Not much success with coffee in Copenhagen yet, and the prices are ~1.6x those in the US.

I had wanted to check out some design and art galleries, but unfortunately they all closed before 4pm on Saturday (and aren’t open on Sunday). Instead, I returned briefly to the hostel before heading to a fantastic dinner at Restaurant Radio, which can be read here.

Basically, all I did was eat good food and drink coffee today.

Chicago dining and drinking

I’ve been to Purple Pig a bit too often lately (3x), but they have delivered without fail. And they are the only decent place for lunch in River North. My favorites are their Eggplant Caponata spread, and just recently their pork blade steak with ‘nduja and honey. Apparently ‘nduja is some spreadable sausage, which was super tasty. Their pig tail was also surprisingly good – a bit fatty with some rump? Other dishes I’ve tried: pork neck gravy spread, greek yogurt with rhubarb jam spread, pork neck rillete spread; all of the cured meats; a la presca (I think, it was pork shoulder), milk braised pork shoulder, roasted cauliflower.

Bar Pastoral is quite a nice wine and cheese sit down lounge in Lakeview. Will definitely go again.

OK restaurant in Chinatown has great dim sum (yelp sucks)! Cheap and lots of food. Their egg custard bun is really good (custard but (duck?) egg is still a bit runny).

Avec delivers again: braised pork shoulder with rice and their fish special (both large plates) were excellent. chorizo stuffed dates were good but novelty wore off. For brunch, the french toast and coddled egg are quite good. I thought the hanger steak and focaccia were good but not spectacular. The duck liver with garlic bread was tasty.

Best meal in Duluth

The Duluth Grill did not disappoint. Got the caramel roll with pecans, which is probably my new favorite dessert in Duluth (possibly better than pie shake)! Got the duck confit omelet (wild rice, duck confit, bleu cheese, cranberries) with red flannel hash. Very tasty. The duck and wild rice were great; could have used less cheese. Got a kid cone of raspberry truffle ice cream at the Malt Shoppe (raspberry ice cream with mini chocolate truffles) – a little soft (it was a hot day) but tasty. I may prefer ice cream to malts.

Malt to try: hot fudge, marshmallow, caramel (or fruit) together with cookie dough base.

Paris, Day 3. The best life

I woke up pseudo-naturally to the sound of a hostel locker creaking. After a bit of breakfast, I took the metro straight to Odéon and walked to the Jardin du Luxembourg. Learning from yesterday, I decided to just spend the morning in the garden doing some math. The garden itself together with the palace was very beautiful, and I found a nice quiet spot where I joined the locals in the most popular activity of reading (second most popular is jogging)! I actually got a bit stuck on a bit of math for over an hour. (I later resolved the problem while enjoying my wonderful lunch!) At 1pm, I decided to walk south through Montparnasse (14e) and check out the menus of a few restaurants I had in mind (since I had no Internet access). Right on the edge of the 6th and 14th arrond was La Cagouille, which was recommended by multiple guidebooks for having great seafood. The fix menu was 35€ for two courses, and I don’t feel like Paris is a mecca for seafood, so I decided to pass. Next up was Le Severo, where many consider makes the best steak in Paris. I had an address, but the maps I had all didn’t go that far south. Luckily, there were maps along the way at every bus/metro station. The restaurant was, however, closed on Monday – there also didn’t seem to be a fixed menu, and the best steak (côte de bœuf) was only for >2 people. Lastly (and what I had the highest hopes for anyhow) was Le Verre Siffleur – a neighborhood bistro in southern Montparnasse recommended by my friend Thanos via lefoodling. I had no address and only a very general location from a Google map I had printed. Walking even further south, I eventually stopped into a clothing store and asked the sales clerks. They actually knew the place, and I was only a 5min walk away!

Jardin du Luxembourg

This was my best lunch (and probably 2nd best meal overall) in Paris! The restaurant was a local neighborhood bistro, and I think I was the only tourist there (at least everyone else spoke French). There was no fixed menu, but the plat du jour cost only 11€. Today this was magrets de canard poêle, gratin de pomme terre, pommes caramélisée, crème de maison (duck breast in an apple sauce with mashed potatoes). I got an entrée of oeuf cocotte (baked egg) and the plat du jour. The entrée was recommended as the best by the waiter, and it indeed tasted delicious and one of a kind! The dish was a pot of egg (yolk still runny) and mushroom together with bread. For the main, I had not known the cream for the duck would be apple flavored. The dish came beautifully presented on a plate with mashed potatoes and two slices of soft caramelized apple. I think I actually preferred this duck ε more than the fillet from yesterday (both are fantastic!). The sweet sauce was a bit lighter, and the presentation was more pleasing. The breasts were also easier to cut/chew since it was on a plate as opposed to in a pot. The bistro was quite busy, so I did not get a bread refill, but that’s just a small oversight! The meal came out to just 18€.

Oeuf cochotte

Duck breasts

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Paris, Day 1. Still the best city in the world

Today I have returned to the wonderful city of Paris! I took the Eurolines overnight bus from London Victoria Coach Station to Paris Gallieni. Getting to London from Cambridge was actually slightly complicated – I originally booked a National Express coach from Cambridge, but it seemed there was a traffic accident on the road, and people with smartphones were saying it would be a 1hr+ delay. Not wanting to risk missing my coach to Paris, I biked to the rail station instead and bought a direct train to London Kings Cross for 14£. From Kings Cross, I took the tube to Victoria and made it with plenty of time to spare. The Eurolines coach left at 9:30pm, and we got to Calais at around midnight, where we had to go through passport check and then get off the bus to get on the ferry. The ferry took almost 3 hrs to cross the English Channel (I slept through it all).

We arrived in Gallieni at 7:00am. Since it was early, I decided to stroll my way to the city center. I got some viennoise au chocolat (bread with chocolate) at a Boulangerie (1.4€) and then stopped in a bar/café for a café espresso (1.1€). I then walked through the 20th arrondissement, passing by some open air markets (just setting up in the morning). I then entered the beautiful Cimetière de Père Lachaise (cemetery). From the cemetery, I walked through the 11th arrondissement to Place de la Bastille. Along the way, I passed many boulangeries, charcuteries, fromageries, and boucheries. I love the French culture of these special shops for fresh sustenance! From the Place de la Bastille, I walked along the Seine to Île SaintLouis. I was able to get a good view of the Cathedral de Notre Dame from the back. This beautiful view is even better than from the front in my opinion.

Notre Dame

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