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Posts Tagged ‘chicago’s best

Purple Pig too busy chewing the fat to serve food

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After going to a networking event in Chicago, I had a craving for a quick snack that didn’t require me sitting in a crowded douchey sports bar paying for overpriced food. So after some walking around, I realized that there was a place nearby that I had been meaning to try that just might fit the bill. So I went to the Purple Pig.

I have a bit of mixed feelings about this place. On the one hand, the food was pretty good, although I think I ordered the wrong entree.The decor was pretty nice inside and it fit the theme of what they were going for, sort of a wine tasting with pork and cheese involved. So barrels everywhere, warm colors, lots of wood. And sitting at the bar let me see the detailed work of the chefs, which impressed me.

On the other hand, service was absolutely terrible.I sat there for a good 10 minutes trying to flag someone down to get water and a menu. Then I was basically ignored since I wasn’t drinking alcohol or ordering tapas on a consistent basis. And while it’s kind of standard to complain about overpriced food in Chicago, I have to do it anyway, particularly on my entree.

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The JLT. The J stands for Jowl, as in pork jowl.

So here’s the JLT: pork jowl, tomato, frisee, and a fried egg on top. Basically it was an open-faced BLT on brioche bread. It was very tasty, but not very big for $13. And truthfully, the egg was pretty unnecessary. I was enjoying the tomato and frisee combo with the jowl much more than anything the egg was adding to the dish. The frisee was dressed in some sort of vinaigrette that brought a lot of flavor with the tomato’s acidity. And the pork was pretty damn delicious, for the few strips that were on it.

I looked around at a few other people’s entrees, and what the chefs were cooking, and i definitely ordered the wrong food portion-wise. There were definitely better options out there that I didn’t know about. But fortunately, the JLT wasn’t the reason I came here. I came for the sicilian iris.

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Your filling cannot be contained in a simple brioche dough ball.

The sicilian iris is a brioche beignet-type dessert filled with ricotta cheese and chocolate chips. This dessert was featured on Chicago’s Best too. It was the perfect blend of sweet and filling, and god was it rich. Warm, tasty and sweet, it was almost worth the $7. Decent size as well. Course it was sent to the people next to me instead of me, which is part of the crap service complaint I had.

While I might like to try some of the other dishes, I don’t think this place is for me and I probably won’t go again of my own suggestion. But that sicilian iris is definitely worth the try. Maybe if the service was a bit better I would be interested in giving it another go.

Written by mlogli

May 23, 2014 at 3:59 am

Cemitas for dinner and gelato for dessert

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That’s right everyone, it’s another food review! I’m doubling up on Chicago’s Best locations again too (though it happened on accident).

Back in March I bought two Living Social deals for a place called Cemitas Puebla. As the hyperlink will show you, this place is very popular for its cemitas, a special Mexican sandwich featuring ingredients straight from the town of Puebla. In Puebla. In Mexico.

Puebla.

Anyway, I was able to convince my family to head to what is a scary neighborhood for them (stone’s throw away from the admittedly bad Humboldt Park area) and head in.

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I’m cheating as I didn’t take this picture. Sorry.

What the picture doesn’t show is the line of photographs all over the back wall of the family, the grandparents, the soccer and baseball players… even Chris Jericho was there.

Our deals come with an order of chalupas (appetizer size, so not very big here) two sandwiches and two drinks. We tried every cemitas we possibly could: milanesa, al pastor, el Atomico (Guy Fieri made this one famous) and the arabes (which is the meat on a spit as shown in the Food Network video).

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El Atomica: Ham, milanesa pork and carne enchilada (that’s more pork).

This sandwich was tasty. Everything was really, even the tacos we later got (my mom didn’t like the sandwich much). The flavor was great, and the meat on all sandwiches was excellent. What kept this from being the best sandwich in Chicago, a claim the guy explaining cemitas to us made, is it is so damn dry. Avocado and chile pepper spread are delicious, but they’re no mayo. The bread was great, but it was also part of the problem, as it was thick and, sadly, dry. Fortunately there were plenty of sauces around, and my mom got a side of sour creme to use too, but it didn’t quite fix the problem.

Hardly disappointed by the flavor, but I did expect a less dry sandwich. Jarritos helped, but not enough.

After our sandwich excursion, we all wondered about dessert. Unfortunately the Chicago’s Best map hasn’t been working these past few days, so unless I knew exactly what was on the list and was close, I couldn’t exactly help pick a dessert place. No one wanted to head back to Logan Square for Bang Bang Pie sadly, but I will visit them another day.

We started to travel to Harlem Irving Plaza area, near where my dad grew up, when we crossed an authentic Italian gelato shop: Bellezza Gelato.

It wasn’t until we got past the door that we even realized it was a Chicago’s Best location. We didn’t try their specialty, the affogado that mixes coffee and gelato together in one cup. But I don’t like coffee anyway. Trying the cappucino proved to be too much for me.

But fortunately there was plenty of gelato to try, and I was pretty thirsty.

It was the best gelato I ever had.

I put my lemon sorbet into a smoothie, which was very tart but delicious and cured my thirst easily, We tried S’mores gelato, the banana creme (one of my favorites), New York strawberry cheesecake, the Sweet Home Chicago (chocolate, peanuts, toffee and mini-marshmellows) and the boysenberry sorbet. All of it was fantastic. Not a bad flavor in the bunch.

If I had more of a stomach I would have tried a gelato cookie sandwich or a brioche, but I guess I’ll just have to come back instead.

They even make gelato pies! How delicious is that! Good thing it’s better for you than ice cream.

 

Written by mlogli

August 3, 2012 at 5:30 pm

In honor of Ozzie Guillen, I ate a marlin

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For those of us in the Chicago area, there is a show which started a little over a year ago called Chicago’s Best. Focusing solely on Chicago and the suburbs (though they go kind of far out there. I sure as hell wouldn’t count Lake in the Hills as a Chicago suburb) this show finds some of the best places to eat. So far its recommendations haven’t steered me wrong. Every place I’ve been to that’s been on the show has been above average or higher. That’s more than I can say about the show’s hosts…

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Yeah, these two jamokes. Ted you're a weird dude some times. Brittany, you seem nice, but vegetarians shouldn't be on the show, even if they are the daughter of Sweetness.

Back to the food.

I’ve made it my self-appointed duty to follow up on these locations to make sure Ted and Brittany aren’t just suckers swayed by Twitter votes. I’ve been to at least 20 of the locations that have been on the show (another entry on that will be later) and before covering a story tonight, I decided to drive to Lake Forest and check up on another one.

Sushi Kushi Toyo (say “Ah-ah-ee-ee-Sushi-Kushi. Congrats! You sound like the parrot from George of the Jungle) will not be the place that breaks my Chicago’s Best trend of solid recommendations. Hands down, this was the freshest, most delicious sushi I’ve had so far. If everything they had was about $2 cheaper, I would make the drive out there a lot more often. Sadly that’s not the case.

After sitting down at the sushi bar and getting a view of the menu and fresh ingredients, I turned to my left to see an ironic special staring me in the face.

Hawaiian Marlin, $2.50 per piece

Aside from being nigiri, the fact that Marlin of all things was the special reminded me of former White Sox coach Ozzie Guillen and the stupid things he’s already said and been suspended for over in Miami. Also the #guillenmisquotes Twitter topic was hilarious. So I decided to get my first taste of marlin, as well as order the maki roll featured on the show, the volcano roll.

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I get it! Volcano! (Volcano business in front, marlin in the back)

The volcano roll is spicy tuna and shrimp with jalapeno mayo, wasabi mayo and spicy crunchies. Not as hot as lava, but still ridiculously delicious. And an A+ on the presentation. My first taste of marlin however…was also fantastic. Good lord why don’t people eat marlin more often? (note: probably because they’re marlins and there’s not many of them, like there are of tunas). It tasted like it could have just been a very raw steak, only without the iron or blood, having been replaced by sweet sweet mercury (a.k.a. tiger blood).

Since I still had 40 minutes to kill I made a second order. I got two pieces of unagi nagiri (BBQ eel, a fave of mine) and it was, you guessed it, the best eel ever. It’s nice to know your eel tastes like it was just out of an ocean somewhere. But the highlight was the Twin Tiger, a sampling of the black and white tiger maki rolls.

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What was once BBQ eel is in the back. I don't think I need to say which tiger is which.

White tiger was a tuna roll on the inside, salmon on top with salmon roe  and french dressing. But the black tiger….hoooooooooooooooooooollllllllyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy crap. I wish I could remember everything that was on that, and unfortunately it’s not on the online menu yet. But good lord it is fantastic. It is now my favorite maki roll, beating out spider and dragon rolls. Aside from falling apart like a dried out leaf if it got anywhere near soy sauce or wasn’t lifted perfectly with chop sticks, there was absolutely nothing wrong with it.

I then got soup and yakitori (chicken skewer) to end the night because I’m a fat man (not physically but gastronomically) and both were alright. The miso soup (only option) was hot and tasted good. The yakitori was okay, but probably could have been cooked a little longer. But then again I wasn’t there for that crap.

Truly worth the stop. So long Sushi Kushi Toyo and thanks for all the fish.

Written by mlogli

April 11, 2012 at 4:53 am