Devon Seafood – Be part of an EXCLUSIVE tasting event!

From December 1-3 after 4pm, Devon Seafood Grill will be opening their doors to Chicago Food Whore readers to experience a 4 course “Low Tides” tasting for JUST $25.00 (Regular price is $35!)

PLEASE MENTION THIS AD ON OUR WEBSITE WHEN YOU MAKE THE RESERVATION AS THIS IS A PRE-TASTING NOT YET OFFERED ON THEIR REGULAR MENU.

low tides seasonal flavors menu:

Seared Scallops with Crispy Pancetta
Spiced carrot beurre blanc, watercress, pickled sultana

Grilled Asparagus Salad
Gorgonzola cheese, candied walnuts, baby greens, walnut vinaigrette

Crispy Potato Wrapped Grouper
Steamed mussled, roasted red peppers, capers, olives, chorizo saffron broth

Chocolate Butterscotch Tart
Sweet and sour cherries, sea salt, sweet balsamic syrup

Two wine pairings are also available ($15; or $25 for the premium wine)

You must call to make a reservation for this special event.

Neighborhood: Near North Side
39 E Chicago Ave
(between Rush St & Wabash Ave)
Chicago, IL 60611
(312) 440-8660
http://www.devonseafood.com

DeColores – Pilsen’s Newest Delicious Restaurant/Gallery

Understand when you walk into this restaurant that you will be greeted with warmth and the food will make you very happy. Oh, did I mention it’s BYOB?? Don’t forget to take a few minutes to look at all the local artwork displayed in the restaurant. They all appear to be for sale.

I’m not saying here that the food is mind blowingly amazing but rather it will bring you immense comfort from the fresh food and high quality ingredients made from scratch. It’s just really good food – period. The recipes in this restaurant have been collected and passed down over generations and now they have brought their food into the restaurant world.

When you get seated, two type of salsa will be placed in front of you. A green tomatillo salsa then a roasted red pepper concoction. Both are really great. I love the spicyness of the green one but also really enjoyed the extra deep flavor of the roasted peppers.

We started with a tilapia ceviche – large chunks of mild white fish with bright citrus – served with saltine crackers – or used the chips provided with the salsa!

Then I enoyed a giant platter of three taco’s (choice of chicken, pineapple, pork, steak, beef tongue) and I chose to have the last three. All of them were good but the pork taco really stood out. The rest of the plate features fluffy Mexican style rice and whole refried beans made from scrath (I loved the beans!)

Hubby ordered the chicken enchiladas and upgraded for $1 to have their mole sauce on top. What a fantastic choice! The mole sauce is comprised of 20 ingredients (no sesame is used for those prone to allergies).

I was lucky it was slow at 3 in the afternoon and had overhead that the chef was preparing the mole sauce. I asked if it was ok to go back and watch Chef Ed make the secret mole sauce. He was able to share a few things with me but there are still many ingredients he has not disclosed! Here is a few pictures of what they showed me!





– Vivian

DeColores
Category: Mexican [Edit]
Neighborhood: Pilsen
1626 South Halsted
Chicago, IL 60608
(312) 226-9886

Pinot Days – Chicago Navy Pier – not to be missed! Nov 13-14th

The third annual Pinot Days Grand Festival tasting is under way this weekend at Navy Pier. If you’re a purveyor of great wines and food, don’t miss out on this event!

This year will feature 50 producers of wine and will offer up to 300 tastings of Pinot – let’s not forget the food that will be served to pair with these delicious wines!

This is a casual affair designed to attract wine lovers of all levels – learn from industry professionals and the people who make these wines!

www.pinotdays.com

Takashi – Bucktown – Chicago, IL

I had a very special and old friend of mine visit from Toronto – he was once a uber picky eater – turned food porn star! He asked me to pick a time and place and he would be there – just make sure it is exceptional. And boy, did I ever find the place!

Takashi has very quickly made a reputation for himself opening this restaurant about a year ago and has since quickly become the Rick Bayless in a Japanese way. If you’re looking for an outstanding meal with Japanese style but French influences, this is certainly a place that will not disappoint.

First off, everything was excellent. My friend and I wanted to have the tasting menu for $68 but since one of the people at our table did not want to partake, we weren’t able to. The entire table has to be involved otherwise, they won’t serve the tasting. So, we ordered a bunch of our own things including:


Summer Roll


Big Eye tuna

Sweetbreads (I can’t believe I didn’t take pictures!)


Seared Maine skatewing


Chicken in Clay Pot


Pork Belly (which we had and loved, then ordered it AGAIN for dessert!).

Super delicious – the pork belly is as good as everyone says it is. But $15 is steep for 3 little pieces. Same with the sweetbreads. Summer roll portion was great! Loved the chicken in the clay pot.

Service was lacking. For that kind of money, I don’t expect that our waitress would give us snark remarks about how she wants to know our drink order ‘now’ so she doesn’t have to go up and down the stairs. She was overall having a bad day and I didn’t appreciate it.

Other than that, Takashi-san, great job. Love the restaurant. Will be back on a Sunday to try your noodles.”

– Vivian

Neighborhood: Bucktown
1952 N Damen Ave
(between Armitage Ave & Homer St)
Chicago, IL 60647
(773) 772-6170

www.takashichicago.com

Glenn’s Diner – Excellent brunch and worth the trek!

I first heard about this place on Yelp when it was featured in the “Hot on Yelp” section – but then next thing I knew, it was featured in Food Network’s “Diners, Drive-In and Drives” hosted by Guy Fieri.

I FINALLY was able to convince my husband to drive all the way from University Village to come here – afterall, from where I live, there isn’t an easy way to get here except mostly via local traffic. James kept saying, “this is a long way to drive for eggs..it better be good!”

Obviously he doesn’t know me yet! I know seek out GREAT food and I new from reading reviews on this place that it would not disappoint! I was worried about any line ups because I know that I cannot wait for breakfast – anywhere. So we were up and on the road by 8:45 to get there in time for when they open.

I was only pleased to find that on this 73 degree November day that there was wait, but the patio was open too! Unfortunately, I wasn’t dressed warm enough to soak up some of the rays today but dining inside was just as great! Service was a little slow but friendly.

We ordered two Bloody Mary’s right away and it was probably one of the BEST BM’s I’ve ever had. It had a unique sweetness to is (and I usually like the savory kind). Best of all, it came with a skewer of cocktail shrimp! Check it out – I posted this picture of facebook and I had a friend comment, “would you like some shrimp with your bloody Mary?” LOL… This BM is a little heavy on the horseradish so if you don’t like horseradish, I can’t reommend it. But if you like bold flavors and SHRIMP – then you MUST order this!

I immediately skimmed through the breakfast menu and found myself suddenly disappointed in what they offered. My heart, literally sank. The back of the menu listed just simple and standard breakfast fare. Had we come to the wrong place? What was with all the amazing seafood dishes I had read about? Then I glanced up and realized there is another HUGE menu full of delicious sounding dishes with TONS of seafood selections on the chalkboard and my eyes immediately dialated – wondering what I was going to order.

I saw the eggs benedict first – three kinds – classic, crab, spinach and tomato. Though I am normally inclined to order Eggs Benedict (I’m on a search for the city’s best!) I was in the mood for something spicy! The Louisana Omelette was it! James opted for biscuits and gravy with three eggs done to his liking.


ALL THE FOOD was incredible. The andouille sausage was perfectly spiced – not too oily and there were SO many shrimp on my plate! Tossed with tri-colored sweet peppers, red onions and a huge plain egg omelette beneath it – this was breakfast fit for a New Orlean’s King!

The biscuit was big and moist – and the gravy had a great consistency and not too salty (I always find that white gravy can get a little too salty sometimes). Eggs were done correctly – over easy.

I can’t wait to come back to try their crab eggs benedict or even their dinners. I saw several plates of the Crab Eggs Benedict get delivered to neighboring tables and no kidding, the crab cakes were the size of hockey pucks!!!

There aren’t alot of restaurants in Chicago that get my repeat business, but Glenn’s Diner is certainly one of them that will!

– Vivian
Neighborhoods: Ravenswood, Lakeview
1820 W Montrose Ave
(between Honore St & Ravenswood Ave)
Chicago, IL 60613
(773) 506-1720
www.glennsdiner.com

Charlie Trotter’s – Wonderful Food, Disappointing Experience

(Image courtesy of http://lastheplace.com/images/article-images/12009Articles/1AJANE/Palazzo/Charlie.jpg)

James and I LOVE dining out and we couldn’t think of a better choice than Charlie Trotter’s as a place to celebrate our one year wedding anniversary! Despite being in the middle of a recession, it was still “sort of” difficult to get a reservation at the time that I wanted. In the end, I booked a 8:45pm reservation for a Friday night via OpenTable.com (note that you will have to leave a credit card deposit for a reservation here).

For those of you unfamiliar with Charlie Trotter – he is one of the world’s most renowned chefs and perhaps the height of his career was in the 80’s and 90’s gaining a reputation for forward thinking, fresh and innovative dishes. An author of 14 cook books and ranked “5th” in top US restaurants according to Restaurant Magazine in 2007

I don’t care who you are or what your income is, but spending $700 on dinner for two is alot of money and really quite excessive. But it only happens once in a while and when we spend that kind of dough – we expect nothing short of spectacular. But our experience unfortunately, fell short.

We arrived promptly at 8:45 two a cute house-like building lined with grapevines and waited just a couple of mins and were seated in my opinion, at the best seat in the house (besides the kitchen of course)!

We had a cute table over looking the balcony down into the front bar. Our waitress greeted us warmly and explained the menu and any options available. When I made the reservation, I did mention to them that we were celebrating our first anniversary and they gave us a menu printed with a congratulatory message on it which was great (and we took it home as a souvenir).

Our waitress seemed a little flustered managing three dining times at once and once we place our order, we didn’t see anyone until about 30mins later. Not even any bread. You’d think that we could at least get something to settle our stomachs to start because it was well past a normal persons dinner time. Quite frankly, I was shocked that there wasn’t even an amuse bouche! That was the first problem. The second problem was the bathroom. I went to use the restroom and ended up having to wait alongside another gentleman who was in queue – he was kind enough to let me go first after waiting about 5 mins in the middle of the hallway. I wish he didn’t let me go first because I think I would have preferred to use the other bathroom which was still occupied. Someone made a quarter-sized mess (the chocolate brown kind) on the back bowl of the toilet and I had no choice to block it from my mind and just GO! I had to pee really bad! I made mention to it to James when and he said it would probably be appropriate to let someone know that someone needed to service the bathroom – but our waitress never came around to see us at all. Eventually, our food came about 40 mins later and I was just trying to forget what I saw! (Btw, James says I’m totally blowing it out of proportion, but c’mon, it’s an expensive meal and I want PERFECTION).

Before I move onto the food, make sure you request a tour of the kitchen. In my opinion, probably the highlight of our night!

The Grand Tour menu changes all the time but here is a snapshot of what we had:


Tempura of Nantucket Bay Scallops with Togarashi and Fuyu Persimmon
These succulent and sweet scallops were cooked to perfection. Calling it a tempura is probably incorrect because it wasn’t battered and fried – I think it was lightly dusted in extra fine panko then shallow fried and served with diced persimmons. For those who don’t know what Togarashi is, it’s that red pepper spice that is commonly used for Japanese noodles!


Santa Barbara Sea Urchin with Buddha’s Hand, Ginger and Horseradish
This dish was probably one of the most memorabe for me due to the unique flavor of sea urchin. The big orange ball you see in the picture is a concentrated gelatin of the briny and caviar-like flavor of the sea urchin roe. It had to be eaten bit by bit because it was so heavy in sea urchin essence! But I loved it. I devored every morsel of it and really enjoyed the “buddha’s hand” zest in the dish.


Buddha’s Hand is a fruit of Asian descent with flavors much like a lemon


Arkansas Rabbit Loin with Curried Tortellini & Wilted Mustard Greens
I also really enjoyed this dish – I’m a huge fan of mustard and this had wilted mustard greens and the seeds. The Rabbit was cooked medium – My only criticism of this dish was that it wasn’t served hot enough, and the tortellini was a little undercooked.


Japanese Hamachi with Toasted Wild Rice, Briased Oxtail & Pomegranate
Prior to coming out to dinner tonight, James and I were teasing our hungry stomachs by watching “Chopped” on the food network. One of the ingredients for one of the challenges was to make something out of Hamachi. One of the judges had indicated that Hamachi should never be cooked. So when I received my pan-seared Hamachi, I was surprised. Perhaps the judge from Chopped was right – my fish was a little overcooked on one end, and I found it quite fishy, almost like mackeral. I loved the Oxtail (of of my favorite cheap cuts of beef).


Elysian Field Lamb with Preserved Lemon, Black Mission Figs & Charred Cinnamon
This was buy far James’ favorite dish of the night – he’s more of a red meat eater and I often prefer fish. The lamb was beautifully served, including the loin, tongue and one other cut that I can’t quite remember what it was… The Mission Figs and charred cinnamon created a flavor profile that was excellent and I can hardly desribe it!


Concorde Grape Sorbet with Black Walnut & Allspice
At first taste, this was so TART that my face scrunched up, one eye closed and my head tilted to the left while my right should jolted upwards! But my second bite was much better once I combined my spoon with a few pieces of the very sweet concorde grape. Very tasty once I got over the sourness.


Honeycrisp Apples with Caramelized White Chocolate & Yogurt
This is one of the best dishes of the night. All the flavor combinations were amazing and a great way to celebrate the autumn apple season


Chocolate Sorbet with Cacao Fruit and Smoke Vanilla
Who doesn’t love chocolate? This was simple and yummy!


Dessert Finale (I don’t know what all this was!)

Wine Pairings – $100 per person in addition
Champagne Laurent Perrier “Brute L.-P.” NV
Terlato Family Vineyards Pinot Griogio, Russian River 2007
Yabby Lake Vineyard Chardonnay, Mornington Peninsula 2006
Ancien Pinot Noir “Red Dog Vineyards” Sonoma Mountain 2006
Cornas “Le Grandes Terrasses” Paul Jaboulet 2005
Adelsheim “Deglace” Pinot Noir, Willamette 2007
Niepoort’s 10 Year Tawny Port

Overall, if I had to choose to spend $700 on dinner – I may not eat here again due to some shortfalls in our experience. The lack of attention to us at the beginning of the dinner and then the problem with the bathroom really turned me off despite having enjoyed really delicious food. We may come back on another occasion to dine in the kitchen table but not any time soon.

If you’re choosing between the two top ranked restaurants in Chicago: Charlie Trotters or Alinea – think about what you want out of the evening. They have both completely different atmospheres with amazing food, presentation and service (for the most part). The big difference was the ambiance. I felt like the ambiance was surprisingly more relaxed at Trotter’s than at Alinea Alinea is quite dark while Trotters felt brighter. Alinea focuses more on a food experience, think Truffle Explosion – while Trotter’s concentrates on classic cuisine that is fresh.

– Vivian

Category: American (New)
Neighborhoods: Lincoln Park, DePaul
816 W Armitage Ave
(between Halsted St & Dayton St)
Chicago, IL 60614
(773) 248-6228
www.charlietrotters.com

Recipe: Truffled Lobster Pot Pie inspired by Michael Mina

I’m an avid cook and my husband LOVES being my guinnea pig for my inspirations! It was halloween night 2009 and neither of us were in the mood to get dressed up to go out. Year after year, we always found ourselves spending a combined $120 or more on useless Halloween costumes then more money on drinks, cab fare, etc.

This year, instead of spending money on costumes we were eventually throw away, I decided to make Lobster Pot Pie as inspired by our visit to Michael Mina in Las Vegas last year. The original recipe can be found here but I found it a little too complicated. Plus the proportions were for 10 mini pot pies. You can follow my recipe for something close, and perfect for 1 pot pie in a 9″ round.

Ingredients:
1 x 9″ pastry shell
1 x rolled pastry dough for pie (you can find this in the refridgerated section near the Pillsbury products)

Prepare the Lobsters:

2 x 1.5lb live lobsters (I picked up the lobsters at Richwell Market in Chinatown for $7.98/lb!! Larger ones were available for $9.98/lb and some of those lobsters were over 3.5-4lbs!)

Put the live lobsters in the freezer for about 15 mins to calm them down and the bring a stock pot to boil and place the lobsters in the boiling water, lid on, for 5 mins (this was traumatizing for both me and the lobsters!). Prepare a large bowl with water and ice and dunk the lobsters in the cold water to stop the cooking process. Let sit for about 20 mins then begin to disassemble the lobster.

Pull off the legs and remove the tail from the head using a quick snap motion. Remove the lungs from the head and scrape out the insides and reserve. You can use a pair of scissors to remove the meat from the tail. Using a roller pin, roll the pin over the legs to squeeze out the meat. Use a mallet to crack open the claws and remove the meat. Put all the meat aside and put all the lobster “bones” into a large saucepan.

Pot Pie Filling
1 x stick of unsalted sweet cream butter, divided into two
1 x white onion
1 x minced garlic clove
1 x carrot
1 x celery
1 x cup of brandy
1 x cup of dry white wine
2-3 sprigs of tyme
1 x bay leaf
1 x pint of whipping cream
1 x tablespoon of truffle butter
1 x egg for egg wash

Over medium heat, melt a 1/2 stick of butter in a large saucepan and sweat the onions and garlic and lobster bones until the onion becomes translucent. Add carrots and celery, thyme, bay leaf and cook for about 7 mins until tender. TURN OFF HEAT. Add Brandy (this may flame so keep your face of out there!). Return the pan to heat and simmer until the brandy is almost gone. Then add wine and simmer until the wine is almost gone.

Remove all bits of lobster bones from the mix as well as the bay leaf and the thyme. Season with salt and pepper. Stir in the whipping cream, simmer for 5 mins then remove from heat.

Using a medium saucepan, prepare a roux (about 1 tablespoon of butter then stir in flour 1 teaspoon at a time until you get a paste). Pour the sauce mixture into the roux and watch your pot pie sauce thicken.

Add 1 tablespoon of truffle butter and mix in until melted (truffle oil can be substituted)

Take all the pieces of lobster and cut them up into bite sized pieces and line the bottom of the pastry shell, evenly distributed.

Pour the pot pie mixture into the pan until almost at the rim.


Roll the pastry top onto the shell and cut off any excess dough. Use a fork to crimp the sides of the pie then cut a few holes in the top to allow steam to escape.

Prepare an egg wash by gently scrambling and egg and add a touch of water. Use a pastry bruch to brush the top of the pie – this will give it a beautiful golden color.

Set the oven to 450 degrees and bake for 15 mins. Reduce heat to 400 degrees and bake for and additional 30

Let sit for about 15 mins prior to serving – ENJOY! Would love to hear your feedback!

– Vivian