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Weekend of Charcuterie (& more) - Vie, The Publican and Mado

Weekend of Charcuterie (& more) - Vie, The Publican and Mado
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  • Weekend of Charcuterie (& more) - Vie, The Publican and Mado

    Post #1 - May 5th, 2009, 9:49 am
    Post #1 - May 5th, 2009, 9:49 am Post #1 - May 5th, 2009, 9:49 am
    It didn't start out as a plan. It just sort of happened. And by Sunday morning, when the idea of brunch at Mado popped into my head, the momentum was just too strong to resist. There was no turning back. After glorious, heart-stopping dinners at Vie on Friday night and The Publican on Saturday night, I promised myself that Sunday would be different . . . but it wasn't. I promised myself an egg-white omelet stuffed with leftover broccoli . . . but I reneged. Instead, what came to pass was an almost unfathomable continuation of unprecedented culinary debauchery -- even for me! In less than 48 hours, I ended up dining at what are arguably the 3 leading restaurants for charcuterie in Chicagoland. And man, was it great! Of course, all these places have all mastered a lot more than the arcane art of meat manipulation, as you shall see.

    Vie

    We started out innocently enough at Vie, which is a personal favorite of mine. The plan was to meet up with a few friends who'd never been there before. I was hoping they would like it but I wasn't too concerned. The food that comes out of chef Paul Virant's kitchen is as delicious, innovative and ingredient-driven as at any other spot in town. Vie is no secret but because of its distance from downtown, it's still hovering in the cult category instead of getting its full share of deserved recognition. This meal, like so many others I've had at Vie, delivered on all counts.

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    Arancini amuse


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    Nathan's Charcuterie Plate - beef summer sausage, country pate, Faith Farm lomo, Werp Farm greens, pickled local swiss chard, fermented plum jam, red wine vinaigrette
    Sous Chef Nathan Sears is a charcuterie bad ass and this platter of treats exemplified his talents. Not only were the meats exemplary but the marriage of sweet and acidic condiments to them was wonderful. I though the pate and the lomo were excellent but the summer sausage was just over the top. It was dense with a complex, bold flavor and perfect definition.


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    "The Recession" - open-faced housemade beef pastrami sammie, apple wood smoked gouda, wood-grilled onions, mustard aioli, Vie pickle salad
    As a concession to tough economic times, Vie keeps a $15 entree -- referred to as The Recession -- on the menu. In this case, it was this well-conceived pastrami sandwich, which the 6 of us split as an appetizer. Very nice.


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    Marrow with Crostini and Himalayan salt
    This was not on the menu on this particular night but chef sent it out for us, which was a magnificent and much appreciated gesture. These marrow bones were from the Dietzler Farm, 21-day aged beef that's served at Vie. The bones were slow roasted in beef suet. What's not to love here? Sometimes, the simplest fare is the most intense.


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    Local Morels - fried - shirred eggs and truffle
    Chef sent out another off-menu treat for us. I really enjoyed this dish -- especially the heady aromas that rose from the bowl -- but I almost wished the morels had been in a slightly lighter coating, just so they would have stood out a bit more.


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    Parisienne Gnocchi - clams, housemade guanciale, preserved Green Acres sweet peppers, shaved Growing Home radishes, pesto
    I only had one small bite of this dish, so it would be difficult to comment on anything other than the gnocchi and the guanciale, both of which I thought were excellent.


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    Midwestern White Asparagus - fried, farm fresh egg, roasted chicken & mustard jus, toasted breadcrumbs, mustard seed oil
    Great eggs was a theme that recurred throughout the weekend. It never fails to strike me how much better farm fresh eggs are than their grocery store counterparts. These eggs tasted like the eggs I ate when I was a kid -- like eggs! The white aspargus, of which I am not normally a huge fan, was delectable and had been cooked in a fantastic broth or bouillon. Wow!


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    Fried Michigan Smelts - local white turnips, carrots, pickled summer beans & jalapenos, herb mayonnaise
    I really enjoyed these light, crispy smelt (a seasonal theme that we encountered throughout the weekend) but the highlight for me might have been the sweet and creamy carrot slaw, which delivered a kick via grilled, pickled jalapenos.


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    Seared Diver Sea Scallops - Werp Farm arugula, La Quercia speck, pickled asparagus, dill butter
    These scallops were seared perfectly and the other components in the dish elevated them even beyond the point where great scallops normally dwell. The explosive combination of pickled asparagus and dill butter was nothing short of magnificent.


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    Gunthorp Farm Duck Breast - Three Sisters polenta, pickled ramps, organic creme fraiche, Michigan cherry & marcona almond jam, Werp Farm frisee, duck cracklin'
    The first dish I ever had from chef Virant was at a benefit in 2005. It was a duck and cherry combination. While it's a familiar combination from him, it's never been the same twice. I loved this take on a Virant classic and the addition of the ramps and polenta was inspired.


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    Wood-grilled Rushing Waters Rainbow Trout - creamed nettles & Washington Island organic wheat berries, white asparagus bariguole
    Fantastic dish. I only tasted a few bites but the trout was moist and trouty (I'd forgotten that trout actually had such a distinctive flavor).


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    21 Day Aged Dietzler Farm Beef Combination - wood-grilled steak and beef 'blanquette,' Spence Farm ramps, Cedar Grove aged cheddar toast, local spinach
    As I tasted this one, I really didn't want to give it back to my companion who ordered it. The depth and complexity of the beef was sensational and addictive.


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    Seared Daurade - Wisconsin oyster mushrooms, morels, Spence Farm spring garlic, local watercress, pickled carrots
    Another piece of perfectly cooked moist fish, which had wonderful, distinctive flavor. I loved the textural interplay with the oyster mushrooms.


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    Slow-cooked Mint Creek Farm Goat - local cannellini beans, sweet peas, mint, salad of house-smoked loin, Three Sisters pea shoots, Manley's feta
    I loved everything about this dish . . . except for the mint. My bad. I'm not usually a fan of mint (in savory dishes) and its inclusion distracted me. What I loved, though, aside from the tender and flavorful goat -- was all the other accompaniments, especially the tender-but-not-mushy cannellini beans, the amazing cured and smoked loin and the supremely pungent, locally-made feta. Minus the mint, I would have bathed in this dish.


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    Living Water Farm Red Bibb Lettuce - housemade coppa, creamy roasted garlic dressing, pickled garlic & fennel, shaved radishes
    I "needed" to try this salad because I had to try Nathan's coppa. I actually loved this salad -- the dressing and the pickled garlic and fennel were amazing -- but also wished for a more naked presentation of the coppa. What can I say? I'm a charcuterie geek.


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    Elderflower and Pear Sorbet - elderflower liqueur and berry sauce
    Vie almost always serves a sorbet intermezzo between the savory courses and the desserts. This was one of my favorites of all time. I loved the way the flavors and aromas complemented each other.


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    Toasted Almond Cheesecake - almond amaretto cookie crust, brandied cherries
    Yeah, we fought over this one. Luckily, I did get a taste, which I thought was sensational -- creamy and rich.


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    Citrus and Spanish Olive Oil Cake - lemon curd mousse, candied lemon
    Bright citrus flavors masterfully countered by restrained sweetness and rich oil.


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    Warm Gooey Butter Cake - Lindeman's peche lambic ice cream, Klug Farm brandied peaches
    This dessert is one of my all-time faves at Vie. I can't remember not seeing it on the menu at Vie but it's always themed differently. I really enjoyed this peachy-boozy take.


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    Au Pied de Cochon's Wisconin Maple Pudding Chomeur - whipped cream, candied walnuts
    Holy *&$%! Can you say trump card of desserts? I do not have the words to describe the depth of magnificent flavors here or the way they echoed and evolved on the palate after the bite. The texture here was also almost indescribable -- calling it ethereal doesn't begin to do it justice.


    We also ordered a few house-made ice creams. I tried the pistachio and the coffee, both of which were sensational -- creamy with great bursts of distinctive flavor. My friend who ordered the rocky road . . . well, he finished it up before I could taste it! :lol:

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    Mignardise - chocolate cookies and peanut-butter filled chocolates
    I love a taste of chocolate at the end of such a powerful meal. These little bites were just the thing. Actually, even though I was pretty damned full, I could have eaten a few more.

    I think my friends were impressed by Vie and they said as much. I thought it was a truly representative experience, too. On display was the unique aesthetic that Vie is known for -- plates (and cocktail glasses) loaded with local and seasonal ingredients, hand-crafted charcuterie and house-made pickles and preserves. Service, provided by Maureen and team, was magnificent, as usual. I'm so happy to have had another great experience at Vie and even happier to have shared it with appreciative friends who'd never before had the pleasure.
    <><><><><><><><><>

    Publican

    I'd never been to The Publican before and I had a feeling that I was going to like it. I was wrong. Turns out, I absolutely loved it. The menu spoke to me in way that few ever have. I'm sure that this type of extremely focused menu is common in other parts of the country and world but it's rare here and I wish there were more of it. Almost everything on the food menu -- which focuses mainly on pork, charcuterie, offal, oysters and small fish -- was something that I wanted to try. And, as many items as we did try, I feel like we barely scratched the surface. Compound that with the fact that The Publican's menu is an ever-changing work in progress intended to harness and showcase the best of what's available, as well as seasonal offerings, and the possibilities are mind-boggling.

    I'd read a lot about the mostly-two-tone beige space, which I found to be visually pleasant. While some have described it as stark and uniniviting, I didn't feel that way about it at all. Our party of 4 was seated at the end of the bar, so while it wasn't entirely communal, it wasn't private, either. Still, at the end of the line of taps, we were essentially separated from other diners. Only one person in our party sat next to another diner. I was on the end and the other 2 in our party were on the opposite side of the bar, next to the server space. Seating was comfortable.

    I'd also heard quite a bit about the gruff service at The Publican. Our experience could not have been further from that. Our server, Seth, was friendly, helpful, enthusiastic and knowledgeable. I was actually nervous because I'm not a huge beer fan and that is one of The Publican's focal points. I wondered how my questions about other beverages would be met. Not only was Seth friendly as hell in providing other options but the bourbon selection was beyond excellent (again, populated with spirits just not offered anywhere else in town). I was thrilled to try a rare, A.H. Hirsch 16-year bourbon that embodied everything I love about bourbon. Fans of rye whisky might not enjoy its astonishingly mellow, almost-caramel back notes but for me it was liquid perfection. I could have sipped the entire bottle.

    One other criticism I'd heard fairly often before our visit was that pricing at The Publican was too high but I thoroughly disagree. Simply put, this is a 'you get what you pay for' type of place. Considering the number of dishes and ingredients on the menu that appear virtually no place else in Chicago -- and their provenance -- I found it to be a value. Not cheap but completely in line with what's being served. And what's being served is mighty fine . . .


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    Spicy Pork Rinds (Slagel Family Farm, Fairbury, IL)
    These rinds had a pork flavor that's usually not there in commerical versions that come in a bag. They were dusted with seasonings that included cheese powder but I cannot remember the others.


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    Frites - George's organic eggs
    Great crispy, potatoey frites and the eggs -- as with those at Vie -- were sensational and bursting with flavor. Combined together, this was a fantastic combination in which, if ingredients or preparation were sub-par, the dish would have been merely average. Instead, it was exemplary.


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    Col. Bill Newsom's Country Ham (Princeton, KY)
    On this night, there were 3 hams offered. Since I'd already tried the other 2 (Serrano and La Quercia Rossa), we opted for this country ham. It was definitely salty but not as much as I thought it would be and the aroma was slightly, beautifully funky.


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    Spring Salad - Werp Farms greens, black olives, grapefruit, pecorino, peanuts
    Others at the table were impressed by this salad. I didn't have very much but I did enjoy the slightly bitter greens and the perky, acidic dressing.


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    Bread
    Great bread, with a tender, non-uniform crumb and a beautifully sturdy and tasty hearth-baked crust.


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    Lake Smelt Fry (Lake Erie) - artichoke, lemon, parmesan, tartar sauce
    Maybe this could have used just a touch more salt but I loved this dish -- especially the fried, thinly-sliced wheels of lemon and baby artichoke quarters.


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    Sardines (Monterey Bay, CA) - grapeleaf, celery salsa verde, yogurt
    A very nice combination in which the salsa and the yogurt combined to complement the strong flesh of the sardines. The crispy skin was delicious, too.


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    Wellfleet Oyster- Cape Cod, MA
    We ordered 3 types of oysters: Kumamoto, Malpeque and Wellfleet. Of the 3, I enjoyed the pictured Wellfleet the best. Incredibly fresh, I applied only a few drops of fresh lemon to each one and never even bothered with the mignonette sauce.


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    Charcuterie Plate - head cheese, duck and foie gras terrine, pork pie, chorizo, pickles, mustard
    A fantastic plate and a real highlight for me. All the items were excellent. I was thrown by the cilantro in the head cheese (first noticed by our friend with the seasoned palate) but I appreciated the departure from the conventional. The pickles and mustard combination were hardly afterthoughts, either. I enjoyed them so much, even after we finished all the characuterie, we hung onto them.

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    Potted Rillettes - rhubarb-currant jam, sourdough
    Not exactly rillettes in the form I was expecting, I really enjoyed this potted version. As you can see, it was more like chunks of tender pork which had not been broken up yet. The rhubarb-currant jam surprised me because I really enjoyed it. I'm not normally a fan of fruit and meat together but this combination was very nice.


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    Sweetbreads (Le Quebecois Co-Op, Quebec, Canada) - ramps, fresh chickpeas
    Maybe my favorite dish of the night. The sweetbreads were absolutely perfect -- crispy on the outside, tender on the inside and magically seasoned. The ramps and fresh chickpeas were perfect accompaniments.


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    Pork Belly (Becker Lane Organic Farm, Dyersville, IA) - cannellini beans, fennel, pear, dijon
    i appreciated the new-to-me take on this but it was just too sweet for my palate. It certainly was original but it tasted almost candied to me. I loved the texture of the sticky fat but not even the expertly rendered pickles atop it could get me past the sweetness.


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    Spring Vegetable Ragout (Mick Klug Farms, St. Joseph, MI) - asparagus, ramps*, fava beans*, egg, parmesan
    This dish turned out to be a problem for a couple of reasons but Seth did his best to make it all right. First, our plate was missing the ramps. Secondly, peas had been subbed for the favas. Of course, we didn't catch any of this until we were more than halfway done with the dish. When we finally mentioned the problems to Seth, he apologized and disappeared for a short while. While we waited, and picked at the remainder of dish, he passed by a few times and smiled but did not approach us. Finally, he came to the table with a plate of sauteed ramps. It was one of those 'above and beyond' moments that made us all feel good. One of my dining companions had actually mentioned that the only way they could fix this problem was to bring us a plate of sauteed ramps -- and that is exactly what they did. So much for the gruff service at The Publican.

    I think that as an additional way to make up for what had happened with the ragout, the kitchen sent the full complement of desserts to our table and they were surprisingly excellent (only surprised because I did not anticipate them being this good and because even though we were very full, we ate a lot of them) . . .


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    Waffle - pickled pears, honey butter
    Light and, I dare say it, ethereal. The pickled pear and lightly salted honey butter were excellent with the waffle.


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    Financier - lemon sorbet, confit lemon
    Supremely buttery, and those brown edges were crispy and even more dense than the rest of this cake. Awesome.


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    Chocolate Gelato - chocolate nib toille
    Great flavor and the slightly salty chocolate nib toille was addictive. I did think that the gelato was a tiny bit grainy but that may have been in contrast to the warm desserts because it faded as I delved deeper into the gelato.

    The meal left me very satisfied and wanting more, all at once. I had high expectations and they were easily exceeded. I didn't love everything but I loved the thought, feeling and dedication behind it all and many of those dishes blew me away. We did encounter one other minor problem with our bill but since it involved such a small amount of money and we knew Seth would immediately correct it, we decided not to worry about it. I will say that the room got fairly loud by the end of our meal, making it somewhat hard to converse. I think that is by design and it forces a couple of things: 1) with conversation slightly impeded, focus on what you're eating is promoted. 2) If it were quieter, no one would ever leave. :D
    <><><><><><><><><>

    Mado

    I don't think I could have planned the third leg of this eating triathalon any better if I'd tried. With the egg white omelet promise to myself already broken, all that was left to do was decide on a venue for Sunday brunch. While talking with my friend on the phone about where to eat, Mado suddenly popped into my mind and when I suggested it to him, he was more than enthusiastic. I'd never been to Mado for brunch before and had really wanted to try it. An hour or so later, we were sitting at our table, browsing the tempting menu . . .

    In all there were 5 of us, so we decided to start with the antipasto platter, which was a magnificent sampling of many items that were listed on the dinner menu board . . .

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    Mado Antipasti Platter - (clockwise from bottom-left): octopus with chickpeas and smoked paprika, roasted beets with pistachio and mustard, herb and ricotta tart, marinated olives, ciccioli (somewhat hidden), country pate, chicken liver pate, pickled fennel


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    Chicker Liver Pate
    Chef Rob Levitt really has a way with charcuterie and offal. I could not believe the velvety texture and depth of flavor this pate possessed.


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    Country Pate
    Another winner, with a complex flavor and beautiful consistency.


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    Ciccioli
    A wonderful dish which has its origins in the Emilia Romagna region of Italy. I'd never tried this before and really appreciated the concentrated flavor and varied textures within.


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    Roasted Beets with Pistachios and Mustard
    Beets, glorious beets -- tender, sweet and tart. I loved the nutty accent provided by the pistachios.


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    Octopus with Chickpeas and Smoked Paprika
    I think there were also cannellini beans in this tasty mix. The varied textures and bold, distinct flavors were great together.


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    Freshly-baked Sourdough Toast
    Excellent, mildly-tangy toasted bread, which was served with the antipasto platter. We also ordered some of this toast with house-made apple butter but I don't have picture of that.


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    House-smelts with Preserved Lemon and Parsley
    Chef Rob said he wondered when he received these smelts if they could be treated the same way he treats anchovies. He decided to try and the experiment was a success. The unfiltered Tuscan olive oil in this dish was so tasty, I thought one of our friends was going to ask for a straw to finish it off. :D


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    Provolone & Mixed Herb Omelet with Baby Arugula Salad, pine nut vinaigrette
    Tasty and expertly executed, with the pungent, slightly-smoky provolone prominently showcased. Perhaps I could have requested egg whites only but I resisted the urge and outcome was great. :wink:


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    Pan-fried Blood Pudding with Toasted Corn Bread and Sunny Side Up Duck Eggs
    The masterful execution and combining of these components -- especially the slightly runny duck eggs -- was truly inspired. I loved this dish and will remember it for a long time to come.


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    Fried Farm Egg with Chili Aioli and Fontina on Sourdough with Baby Arugula Salad, pine nut vinaigrette
    Another instance of really excellent eggs, perfectly cooked. I thought the spicy aioli was a great touch, too.


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    Eggs in Purgatory - baked in spicy tomato sauce with olives and fennel
    Neither cooked nor set, these eggs lived in this sauce and then in our gullets. I didn't try much of this, but thought that the spicy tomato sauce was terrrific.

    Brunch at Mado was not only fantastic but also a perfect way to cap off the weekend. I loved the rustic, bare-all approach to the dishes. Chef Rob's personal approach to charcuterie truly distinguishes him. And, it seems that whenever I eat at Mado, I find myself learning about and enjoying new items. This trip was no exception but even ingredients I've enjoyed countless times before -- like chicken liver and beets -- are prepared in delicious and distinctive ways at Mado.
    <><><><><><><><><>

    The weekend turned out to be a series of phenomenal and memorable meals with good friends. The food was outstanding but sharing the experiences with our friends was still the highlight. I cannot think of 3 restaurants that better exemplify the way I love to eat and the style of cooking I most appreciate. Vie, The Publican and Mado are not only faves of mine (so happy to now add Publican to this list) but they are among the most important restaurants that this city of culinary wonders has to offer. For a lover of charcuterie like myself, they are true temples but their mastery goes far beyond that one category. If you believe that chefs are artists, these 3 restaurants will feed not only your stomach but also your imagination and your soul.

    =R=

    Vie Restaurant
    4471 Lawn Ave
    Western Springs, IL 60558
    (708) 246-2082

    The Publican
    845 W Fulton Market
    Chicago, IL 60607
    (312) 733-9555

    Mado Restaurant
    1647 N Milwaukee Ave
    Chicago, IL 60647
    (773) 342-2340
    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 #2 - May 5th, 2009, 10:21 am
    Post #2 - May 5th, 2009, 10:21 am Post #2 - May 5th, 2009, 10:21 am
    Incredible post Ronnie, sounds like it was quite a memorable weekend. Thanks for sharing!
    Fettuccine alfredo is mac and cheese for adults.
  • Post #3 - May 5th, 2009, 10:30 am
    Post #3 - May 5th, 2009, 10:30 am Post #3 - May 5th, 2009, 10:30 am
    ronnie_suburban wrote:It didn't start out as a plan. It just sort of happened.


    Why doesn't this kind of stuff ever "just sort of" happen to me?! I am weak in the knees and salivating. ronnie_, your post is entirely the stuff of my dreams. Thank you for sharing.
  • Post #4 - May 5th, 2009, 10:34 am
    Post #4 - May 5th, 2009, 10:34 am Post #4 - May 5th, 2009, 10:34 am
    Damn Ronnie, I doubt I have to tell you this, but you eat very well.

    nice job, and great pics.
  • Post #5 - May 5th, 2009, 10:59 am
    Post #5 - May 5th, 2009, 10:59 am Post #5 - May 5th, 2009, 10:59 am
    Ronnie has to be one of the most influential food critics in Chicago!
    i used to milk cows
  • Post #6 - May 5th, 2009, 11:18 am
    Post #6 - May 5th, 2009, 11:18 am Post #6 - May 5th, 2009, 11:18 am
    Ronnie - if you get tired of Lucas, will you adopt me as your son? And take me out to dinner frequently?
  • Post #7 - May 5th, 2009, 11:28 am
    Post #7 - May 5th, 2009, 11:28 am Post #7 - May 5th, 2009, 11:28 am
    Amazing stuff, Ronnie.

    I haven't been to Mado yet and brunch looks like it would make for a great introduction. Was it crowded? Are reservations accepted/required/necessary?
  • Post #8 - May 5th, 2009, 11:29 am
    Post #8 - May 5th, 2009, 11:29 am Post #8 - May 5th, 2009, 11:29 am
    What a beautiful post, Ronnie, I am absolutely pea green with envy! :P
    "Baseball is like church. Many attend. Few understand." Leo Durocher
  • Post #9 - May 5th, 2009, 11:38 am
    Post #9 - May 5th, 2009, 11:38 am Post #9 - May 5th, 2009, 11:38 am
    As always, a stunning photo spread. Thanks for the great tour. I'm glad you enjoyed the Publican. I really enjoyed it and have been surprised to see so many lukewarm reviews.

    ndgbucktown wrote:Amazing stuff, Ronnie.

    I haven't been to Mado yet and brunch looks like it would make for a great introduction. Was it crowded? Are reservations accepted/required/necessary?
    I've only been to Mado once for brunch and there were only 2-3 other parties there the entire time. It was dead, which surprised me given the crowds and waits at other neighborhood brunch spots. I'm guessing the lack of crowds is the reason why Sunday brunch is currently the only midday meal Mado is serving (I believe they had been open for lunch during the week and brunch on Saturday). I hope more folks will go - - it's a great brunch, especially if you include the charcuterie.

    Ronna
  • Post #10 - May 5th, 2009, 12:41 pm
    Post #10 - May 5th, 2009, 12:41 pm Post #10 - May 5th, 2009, 12:41 pm
    REB wrote:As always, a stunning photo spread. Thanks for the great tour. I'm glad you enjoyed the Publican. I really enjoyed it and have been surprised to see so many lukewarm reviews.

    ndgbucktown wrote:Amazing stuff, Ronnie.

    I haven't been to Mado yet and brunch looks like it would make for a great introduction. Was it crowded? Are reservations accepted/required/necessary?
    I've only been to Mado once for brunch and there were only 2-3 other parties there the entire time. It was dead, which surprised me given the crowds and waits at other neighborhood brunch spots. I'm guessing the lack of crowds is the reason why Sunday brunch is currently the only midday meal Mado is serving (I believe they had been open for lunch during the week and brunch on Saturday). I hope more folks will go - - it's a great brunch, especially if you include the charcuterie.

    Ronna

    This was our experience at Mado's brunch, too. There were a few occupied tables during our visit but it was pretty empty. Maybe this has something to do with the byo aspect, which may not work as well at brunch as it does at dinner. I also think that because Mado's offerings are fairly unconventional, it's less popular than other brunch spots. Brunch seems to be a fairly non-foodie meal (often, more of a social event than a dining event) and this food may not appeal to less serious food enthusiasts. That said, if you frequent these forums, I think you will absolutely love brunch at Mado. And yes, I think it would be a great introduction to the place.

    Ronna, I too am surprised by the lukewarm response to The Publican. My guess about this is that it took them some time to work out the kinks and many reports that have been posted (here and elsewhere) were done so fairly soon after they opened. I wonder if those who had problems there intially would feel differently about it now. For others, the noise level is probably a legitimate issue. But for me, the offerings were so bold and successful, they easily trumped everything else.

    =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 #11 - May 5th, 2009, 6:52 pm
    Post #11 - May 5th, 2009, 6:52 pm Post #11 - May 5th, 2009, 6:52 pm
    Wow -- if I have three meals like that in a year, it's a good eatin' year.

    One thing:
    Local Morels - fried - sheared eggs and truffle


    Sorry to be Mister Language Cop, but I think you meant shirred eggs.
    I wonder if by fixing the menu for Vie they'll offer me a sample?
    What is patriotism, but the love of good things we ate in our childhood?
    -- Lin Yutang
  • Post #12 - May 6th, 2009, 10:38 am
    Post #12 - May 6th, 2009, 10:38 am Post #12 - May 6th, 2009, 10:38 am
    JoelF wrote:
    Local Morels - fried - sheared eggs and truffle

    Sorry to be Mister Language Cop, but I think you meant shirred eggs.
    I wonder if by fixing the menu for Vie they'll offer me a sample?

    You are correct (and I knew this) but somehow missed it in the proofreading. I've made an edit.

    Either way, a wonderful dish. :)

    =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 #13 - June 13th, 2009, 11:21 pm
    Post #13 - June 13th, 2009, 11:21 pm Post #13 - June 13th, 2009, 11:21 pm
    wow thats nice really delicious!
    assurance vie
  • Post #14 - June 14th, 2009, 4:01 am
    Post #14 - June 14th, 2009, 4:01 am Post #14 - June 14th, 2009, 4:01 am
    Thank you for this post, the descriptions and photographs were amazing!
  • Post #15 - June 14th, 2009, 6:39 am
    Post #15 - June 14th, 2009, 6:39 am Post #15 - June 14th, 2009, 6:39 am
    *is jealous of your tongue but not your belly*
    pizza fun
  • Post #16 - June 14th, 2009, 7:26 am
    Post #16 - June 14th, 2009, 7:26 am Post #16 - June 14th, 2009, 7:26 am
    Did I really miss this on the first go-round? Wow - another reminder that we have to get back to Mado soon, and that Vie and the Publican are still on the to-do list...
  • Post #17 - June 20th, 2009, 10:59 pm
    Post #17 - June 20th, 2009, 10:59 pm Post #17 - June 20th, 2009, 10:59 pm
    ronnie_suburban wrote:

    Image
    Spicy Pork Rinds (Slagel Family Farm, Fairbury, IL)
    These rinds had a pork flavor that's usually not there in commerical versions that come in a bag. They were dusted with seasonings that included cheese powder but I cannot remember the others.


    At a time when chefs are trying their darndest to create sometimes gimmicky upscale renditions of downscale snacks, this Kahan creation is a stunning success. I love the tender crunch of the varied rind shapes, and although they're no low-fat item, they are hardly greasy. Good stuff.
    “Nobody exists on purpose. Nobody belongs anywhere. Everybody’s gonna die. Come watch TV?”
  • Post #18 - June 21st, 2009, 7:19 pm
    Post #18 - June 21st, 2009, 7:19 pm Post #18 - June 21st, 2009, 7:19 pm
    Super post Ronnie. The most decadent weekend feast I can recall.
    What if the Hokey Pokey really IS what it's all about?
  • Post #19 - June 21st, 2009, 8:45 pm
    Post #19 - June 21st, 2009, 8:45 pm Post #19 - June 21st, 2009, 8:45 pm
    Publican Love: Michael Symon just proclaimed on the new Food Network show, 'The Best Thing I Ever Ate,' that the Publican's fried pork rinds are, well, the best thing *he's* ever eaten. He went into minute and loving detail (with action on-location film) about the preparation method, the presentation, and how very happy they make everyone at the table, not to mention how they make the world a better place.

    We're on our way ASAP, Chef Symon. Thanks for the rec! :D

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