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The Party Is Over Chicago’s once-vaunted dining scene has lo

The Party Is Over Chicago’s once-vaunted dining scene has lo
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  • Post #31 - December 15th, 2018, 9:39 am
    Post #31 - December 15th, 2018, 9:39 am Post #31 - December 15th, 2018, 9:39 am
    If anything I think a case can be made that Chicago has reached a peak of maximum consistency (for lack of a better phrase). That is, I can think of a long list of sure-thing restaurants I would be happy to eat at with no prompting, from hole in the wall hot dog stands to seated tasting menu epics, to ethnic hood haunts to just about any spot under the umbrellas of several restaurant groups, most at a relatively reasonable range of price points from about $5 on up. Because of this I can say at least from personal experience that's why we've more or less excised fine dining (which is the food that gets perhaps the most attention nationally, fwiw) from our rotation, since the prices (and tickets, and other headaches) seem to be out of wack with our own standards and sensibilities, but that still leave us more than satisfied with plenty of places for a fraction of what we might have paid elsewhere. Too many, in fact, to hit with any regularity these days.

    (Btw, there's your orchestra tie-in: there might not be young people at the CSO, but Millennium Park is absolutely *packed* when the orchestra plays for free in the summer. In fact, I once was at a rock show there and the crowd was so thick and active and sneaky that I actually asked an usher/security, isn't this nuts? And he shook his head and said it was nothing compared with what they deal with when the symphony plays the park.)

    Anyway, I very much digress. The modest point I was going for was that, no, Chicago dining is not dead, but perhaps we have grown a little complacent, since we are not lacking for great food. And that's not necessarily a bad thing! Other cities might desperately flail and lurch for more-more-more, bigger-better-more expensive, newer and more novel, but I think the vibe here is slightly different, more for the better than for the worse.

    Another anecdote: a bunch of us made (separate) trips out to the west coast in recent months, and we all had great meals, yet natural setting aside all agreed that we could eat just as well in Chicago. That's the miracle of the world we live in now.
  • Post #32 - December 15th, 2018, 10:00 am
    Post #32 - December 15th, 2018, 10:00 am Post #32 - December 15th, 2018, 10:00 am
    ld111134 wrote:I respect what you’re saying, Ron, but people like us aren’t going to keep these beloved places in business. Instagramming millennials are.

    Example: South Side aquarium barbecue is dying. The reason is that their customer base is dwindling and younger, affluent (read: white) millennials don’t know about it or value it, while they go crazy over Memphis and Carolina barbecue (much of it mediocre) purveyed by numerous Northside joints. If the national food media paid attention to these places, maybe they would develop a new audience that would allow them to carry on.

    It was no longer ago than February of this very year that Chicago's south side barbecue was the focus of national media attention, so I'm not sure it's accurate to say that it's dying (is it dying?) due to lack of media exposure.

    But again, looking at these issues within the context of the piece that was written, I think we can agree that it was merely some weak-tea to complain about the perceived state of things. If anyone has the power to illuminate for all of us what's out there, it's someone who writes professionally about food for a major publication. But maybe it's just easier to make ill-informed proclamations than it is to get out there and actually do the work. The are unending resources the writer could have used to get himself informed (hell, talking to 5 cab drivers would have exponentially expanded his universe) but apparently, that would have involved actual effort, dedication and passion, all of which are clearly lacking here.

    Look at it this way: LTH is clearly a passion-driven place. I think it's safe to say that almost none of us have any professional aspirations. We're largely hobbyists and amateurs. And yet, the information and knowledge offered and shared here far surpass anything this writer could have ever hoped to muster.

    Other than the brief moment of attention his train-wreck of a piece garnered, my guess is that in a couple of years, the writer will look back and cringe when he thinks about what he laid out here. It's not our neighborhoods that are tired. It's writing like this that's tired, and tiresome.

    =R=
    Why don't you take these profiteroles and put them up your shi'-ta-holes? --Jemaine & Bret

    There's a horse loose in a hospital --JM

    That don't impress me much --Shania Twain
  • Post #33 - December 15th, 2018, 12:01 pm
    Post #33 - December 15th, 2018, 12:01 pm Post #33 - December 15th, 2018, 12:01 pm
    Yeah I didn't get too worked up about all the notions that the food scene is tired and has no buzz. That type of commentary is intended for a different audience so I chose to not get worked up about it.

    But what the article did do is make me yearn for some of the good food/cuisines that are lacking in Chicago. Its probably not fair to expect excellence in all cuisines here, but I wish we had more access to good tsukemen, hainenese chicken, pinxtos, xlb to name a few.
  • Post #34 - December 15th, 2018, 1:09 pm
    Post #34 - December 15th, 2018, 1:09 pm Post #34 - December 15th, 2018, 1:09 pm
    WhyBeeSea wrote:That type of commentary is intended for a different audience so I chose to not get worked up about it.

    Funny you should mention this. The piece was first sent to me by a friend who referred to it as "great." After I read it, I was stunned. I told my friend I thought the piece was garbage, a total joke. But he said that for him, being a mainstreamer, a lot of it rang true. I guess perspective is everything.

    =R=
    Why don't you take these profiteroles and put them up your shi'-ta-holes? --Jemaine & Bret

    There's a horse loose in a hospital --JM

    That don't impress me much --Shania Twain
  • Post #35 - December 15th, 2018, 2:14 pm
    Post #35 - December 15th, 2018, 2:14 pm Post #35 - December 15th, 2018, 2:14 pm
    ronnie_suburban wrote:
    WhyBeeSea wrote:That type of commentary is intended for a different audience so I chose to not get worked up about it.

    Funny you should mention this. The piece was first sent to me by a friend who referred to it as "great." After I read it, I was stunned. I told my friend I thought the piece was garbage, a total joke. But he said that for him, being a mainstreamer, a lot of it rang true. I guess perspective is everything.

    =R=


    Yeah I didn't have the vitriol for the article as others and I honestly didn't think it was that bad. But at the same time, it was a Chicago magazine piece. 10-15 years ago I read that thing obsessively for its restaurant content. And now I know I'm not really the demo for the mag
  • Post #36 - December 18th, 2018, 11:15 pm
    Post #36 - December 18th, 2018, 11:15 pm Post #36 - December 18th, 2018, 11:15 pm
    Another voice on this issue: Jefe's take
    Cathy2

    "You'll be remembered long after you're dead if you make good gravy, mashed potatoes and biscuits." -- Nathalie Dupree
    Facebook, Twitter, Greater Midwest Foodways, Road Food 2012: Podcast
  • Post #37 - December 19th, 2018, 7:22 am
    Post #37 - December 19th, 2018, 7:22 am Post #37 - December 19th, 2018, 7:22 am
    Cathy2 wrote:Another voice on this issue: Jefe's take


    Actually I think I aired out pretty thoroughly upthread. This link here's my year end wrap up (employing "The Party's Over" as an anecdotal bridge to other topics.) Thanks for looking though!
  • Post #38 - December 19th, 2018, 8:27 am
    Post #38 - December 19th, 2018, 8:27 am Post #38 - December 19th, 2018, 8:27 am
    Jefe wrote:
    Cathy2 wrote:Another voice on this issue: Jefe's take


    Actually I think I aired out pretty thoroughly upthread. This link here's my year end wrap up (employing "The Party's Over" as an anecdotal bridge to other topics.) Thanks for looking though!

    I also liked your thoughts on the sandwich blog. I did not realize the origin of his quest was derived from a list on wikipedia.

    BTW - I happened to follow the lead from Art Jackson.

    Regards,
    Cathy2
    Cathy2

    "You'll be remembered long after you're dead if you make good gravy, mashed potatoes and biscuits." -- Nathalie Dupree
    Facebook, Twitter, Greater Midwest Foodways, Road Food 2012: Podcast
  • Post #39 - December 21st, 2018, 11:05 am
    Post #39 - December 21st, 2018, 11:05 am Post #39 - December 21st, 2018, 11:05 am
    By citing Twenty new(ish) Chicago restaurants that prove the party ain’t over, Sula demonstrates that if you're actually paying attention, there's plenty to get excited about, even in Chicago's "boring" neighborhoods.

    at chicagoreader.com, Mike Sula wrote:Last week while I was shimmying into my white and blue striped cheer skirt (four red stars emblazoned across its form-fitting spandex torso), about to start writing my annual year-end recap of how glorious the year in eating was, food writer John Kessler over at Chicago Magazine was dropping a big deuce on the city's restaurant scene. The former Atlanta Journal-Constitution restaurant critic, who's been a Chicagoan for some three years now, wrote a brutal five-point takedown of a once celebrated dining culture now wallowing in complacency and blinded by its own defensive, blinkered boosterism. Or so he says. Chicago doesn't know local from Sysco, he argued. Bloated restaurant groups are sucking the blood out of the scene and the national press only comes to the Beard Awards every May to gloat over how far we've sunk. So dispiriting on its face I almost wrote a year-end Worst Restaurants of 2018 list.

    at chicagoreader.com, Mike Sula wrote:A million hot Twitter takes later, I'm left with the naked fact that the national critics whispering in Kessler's ear about Chicago's faded glory haven't done the legwork that those of us in the local food media have done for years. If you missed out on any of these exciting new spots, you weren't paying attention. If they don't inspire you, you just don't care.

    =R=
    Why don't you take these profiteroles and put them up your shi'-ta-holes? --Jemaine & Bret

    There's a horse loose in a hospital --JM

    That don't impress me much --Shania Twain
  • Post #40 - December 21st, 2018, 1:24 pm
    Post #40 - December 21st, 2018, 1:24 pm Post #40 - December 21st, 2018, 1:24 pm
    Only 20? Party's over.
  • Post #41 - December 21st, 2018, 6:23 pm
    Post #41 - December 21st, 2018, 6:23 pm Post #41 - December 21st, 2018, 6:23 pm
    ronnie_suburban wrote:By citing Twenty new(ish) Chicago restaurants that prove the party ain’t over, Sula demonstrates that if you're actually paying attention, there's plenty to get excited about, even in Chicago's "boring" neighborhoods.

    =R=

    This article is a masterpiece that reminds me what a brutal loss it's going to be if the Reader's seemingly inevitable demise comes to fruition. Not only does Sula destroy Kessler's piece, but without saying so, he also exposes the biggest gaping hole in the Chicago food scene - the lack of quality coverage and mediocre writing among the big media players in town.
  • Post #42 - December 28th, 2018, 3:18 pm
    Post #42 - December 28th, 2018, 3:18 pm Post #42 - December 28th, 2018, 3:18 pm
    MarlaCollins'Husband wrote:
    ronnie_suburban wrote:By citing Twenty new(ish) Chicago restaurants that prove the party ain’t over, Sula demonstrates that if you're actually paying attention, there's plenty to get excited about, even in Chicago's "boring" neighborhoods.

    =R=

    This article is a masterpiece that reminds me what a brutal loss it's going to be if the Reader's seemingly inevitable demise comes to fruition. Not only does Sula destroy Kessler's piece, but without saying so, he also exposes the biggest gaping hole in the Chicago food scene - the lack of quality coverage and mediocre writing among the big media players in town.


    Amen to that. I’ve been beating that drum for years. Restaurant reviews in the Tribune are puff pieces and could have been written by the restaurants’ publicists.
  • Post #43 - December 29th, 2018, 6:35 pm
    Post #43 - December 29th, 2018, 6:35 pm Post #43 - December 29th, 2018, 6:35 pm
    On a more positive note, here is a paean to Chicago’s food scene written by a hip food writer for one of the coolest and hippest sports/pop culture websites:

    https://www.theringer.com/2018/9/6/1782 ... food-diary
  • Post #44 - December 31st, 2018, 8:54 am
    Post #44 - December 31st, 2018, 8:54 am Post #44 - December 31st, 2018, 8:54 am
    ronnie_suburban wrote:I read it yesterday and was honestly hoping no one would even post it here because it barely warrants discussion. The piece is massively uninformed. The author really should have done some homework before spouting off like that publicly. He should be embarrassed.

    =R=


    I read it because of this thread. I suspect the piece was to draw attention to himself.

    He makes not a single mention of a neighborhood restaurant aside from Lula & Fat Rice (I could eat at either daily, but whatevs) so my takeaway is he lives somewhere b/w Andersonville and the south Loop( actually, maybe he lives in OP or Evanston, not that there is anything wrong with that)and does not venture west or south of that geography b/c he was told it wasn’t safe or “hot” (basically what the rideshare Via has as its boundaries).

    Trust and believe he misses an awful lot of neighborhood food even in those boundaries, GNR Floriole is in Lincoln Park and stays seasonal and local but for chocolate and nuts year round as a frakkin’ cafe and bakery.
    Heck, we had another fine meal on our wedding anniversary pre-Hamilton last Saturday night at GNR Chengdu Impression in Lincoln Park if he wants neighborhood and ethnic.

    It appears Yaheweh may have led him to The Promised Land but he has no idea how to cross into it.

    Here in the Chi, this is when folks I know would simply, and quickly, at worse give him a “Boy, bye!” or “GTFOH w/that nonsense!” And at best he gets a literal wordless *kanye shrug.*

    Back home, in the south, this is when folks slowly shake their heads and proclaim, “Bless Him. That chile, is just lost.”
    Ava-"If you get down and out, just get in the kitchen and bake a cake."- Jean Strickland

    Horto In Urbs- Falling in love with Urban Vegetable Gardening
  • Post #45 - December 31st, 2018, 12:17 pm
    Post #45 - December 31st, 2018, 12:17 pm Post #45 - December 31st, 2018, 12:17 pm
    pairs4life wrote:Back home, in the south, this is when folks slowly shake their heads and proclaim, “Bless Him. That chile, is just lost.”

    LOL, it kind of reminds me of this . . .



    It's a genuine shame that in our current era, this type of "click-bait journalism" probably gets lauded internally at the publication. In a right-side-up world, such a public admission of one's own professional failings and abject laziness would result in termination. Um, dude, it's your job to go find the food, not complain about the dearth of what others have or haven't laid at your doorstep.

    =R=
    Why don't you take these profiteroles and put them up your shi'-ta-holes? --Jemaine & Bret

    There's a horse loose in a hospital --JM

    That don't impress me much --Shania Twain
  • Post #46 - December 31st, 2018, 2:05 pm
    Post #46 - December 31st, 2018, 2:05 pm Post #46 - December 31st, 2018, 2:05 pm
    I haven't read the article, but based on what I've read here, it reminds me of an article a couple of years ago, I think in the NY Times book review, where a local professor said Chicago was the new Detroit. It caused a much broader uproar, was equally stupid, and has since faded into complete and deserved obscurity.
  • Post #47 - December 31st, 2018, 4:28 pm
    Post #47 - December 31st, 2018, 4:28 pm Post #47 - December 31st, 2018, 4:28 pm
    ronnie_suburban wrote:
    pairs4life wrote:Back home, in the south, this is when folks slowly shake their heads and proclaim, “Bless Him. That chile, is just lost.”

    LOL, it kind of reminds me of this . . .



    =R=


    Bingo!
    Ava-"If you get down and out, just get in the kitchen and bake a cake."- Jean Strickland

    Horto In Urbs- Falling in love with Urban Vegetable Gardening
  • Post #48 - January 1st, 2019, 2:36 am
    Post #48 - January 1st, 2019, 2:36 am Post #48 - January 1st, 2019, 2:36 am
    Jonah wrote:I haven't read the article, but based on what I've read here, it reminds me of an article a couple of years ago, I think in the NY Times book review, where a local professor said Chicago was the new Detroit. It caused a much broader uproar, was equally stupid, and has since faded into complete and deserved obscurity.


    That was Rachel Shteir, a Professor at De Paul who said in an interview with Chicago magazine that she couldn’t wait to move out of here.

    She did have one point that resonated with me: When someone in the media writes or says something critical of Chicago or we perceive a slight against out city, we tend to react defensively rather than dismissively as if we’re insecure about our status as a great city.

    This happened on this board a while back when someone got into a lather about Jon Stewart and other coastal types supposedly putting down deep dish pizza.

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