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Trip report - great bang for your buck weekend

Trip report - great bang for your buck weekend
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  • Trip report - great bang for your buck weekend

    Post #1 - January 17th, 2011, 4:56 pm
    Post #1 - January 17th, 2011, 4:56 pm Post #1 - January 17th, 2011, 4:56 pm
    We just returned from a quick trip to Chicago (from Minneapolis) to see a young friend perform with the Laboratory Dancers at the Viaduct Theater this past weekend. While the performance was excellent, and the company talented, the second major agenda item was to chow down and drink craft beer in as many places as possible during our short stay. Armed with a printout from the Top 10 Chicago Restaurant Dishes of 2010 thread, filtered by Best Bang for the Buck potential due to our limited budget, we set off.
    Post performance on Friday night, we were invited to join our friend and her family at Bob San's. Since the ordering was done by others, and consisted most of rolls, of which we are not really fans, I don't think we got the best representation of this sushi place. However, I enjoyed the pumpkin tempura (nice light batter, well cooked,) and the edamame (again, well cooked - these are often mushy.) I would like to go back and try some sashimi and nigiri, which are my preferred choices at sushi places.
    Saturday morning we set off for Uncle Mike's place, for some Filipino breakfast. We very much enjoyed the baby Bangus and marinated skirt steak, and learned to mix spoonfuls of the sasawan into the fried rice as you ate it by watching the large Filipino family at the next table. Now this is what I mean by bang for your buck, a huge plate of homemade tasting food at a great price in a cheerful cafe setting, including soup and dessert. Even the fruit on the fruit plate was perfectly ripe.
    Next stop was Goose Island Brew Pub, for some Cask Bitter Cold, Midway IPA and Caber Toss Wee Heavy, all excellent representations of their type.
    The evening started off with (more) beer and snacks at the Publican. While my husband had his mind blown by the Yeti Imperial Stout, Oyster Stout, Wells Bombardier and Aecht Schlenkerla, I couldn't stop eating the pork rinds and frites, although I have to say that while the rinds were nicely light and crunchy, I didn't find them to be especially spicy and I prefer the chicharrones at my neighborhood carniceria. We haven't seen Sclenkerla on tap since we were in Bamburg Germany a few years ago.
    Next, on to Sun Wah, to meet some local friends for some cuttlefish - so delicate, water spinach (which I love and never see on a menu in Minneapolis,) Singapore noodles - so non-greasy!, softshell crab appetizer (some of the best ever) and of course, Peking Duck. Sadly, they were out of the octopus whiskers, Hakka Tofu and tofu with ginger dessert. But the Peking Duck (that skin!) with lovely steamed buns and amazing table-side carving performance, made up for these omissions. And we loved the fried rice and soup made from the duck carcass - while some of the reports I read called the soup bland, I found it to be the very essence of delicate duck flavor.
    Sunday morning we started out with some pour-over coffee and delicious scones from Intelligensia. I am often leery of coffee shop scones - they tend to be tough from over-worked dough, but these were lovely and light. Then a pitstop at NY Bagel and Bialy in Lincolnwood on our way out of town. The whitefish salad, while not as mind-blowing as my first taste at a deli on Long Island, was wonderfully garlicy and went well with the nicely chewy Salt and Poppyseed bagel. My husband took one bite of his pastrami, said "Wow", and proceeded to devour it before I even got a bite. The black and white cookie was first-rate, very "short." Again, this is a bakery item that is often awful, even at NY delis, but this excellent.
    All in all, a successful chow down in a great chow city.
  • Post #2 - January 17th, 2011, 5:08 pm
    Post #2 - January 17th, 2011, 5:08 pm Post #2 - January 17th, 2011, 5:08 pm
    Liz,

    I am truly impressed. Someone who did their own research and let us know how happy they were with their trip. Usually we received lots of queries with no follow up on what happened. I like this out-of-the-blue report. :D

    I didn't find them to be especially spicy and I prefer the chicharrones at my neighborhood carniceria.

    Sometimes I travel to your part of the world, where is your neighborhood carniceria?

    Regards,
    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 #3 - January 17th, 2011, 9:33 pm
    Post #3 - January 17th, 2011, 9:33 pm Post #3 - January 17th, 2011, 9:33 pm
    Well thanks, Cathy 2!

    We have many fine carnicerias in the Twin Cities now, but my neighborhood one is a market called La Alborada on east Lake St in South Minneapolis. The have a very good Antojitos cafe too, with tacos lengua, cabeza, etc.

    Oh, and I realize that I had forgotten three more highlights that we manage to squeeze in - an incredible slice of Dutch Sour Cream Cranberry pie at Hoosier Mama (that crust!,) more craft brews at the Map Room, and yet more at our favorite - Hopleaf - including the especially memorable Van Honsebrouck Gueuze Fond Tradition to wash down a fantastic toasted sandwich of house-made cashew butter, fig jam & morbier cheese. You know you've had a good chow weekend when you forget about _three_ of your destinations!
  • Post #4 - January 18th, 2011, 2:15 am
    Post #4 - January 18th, 2011, 2:15 am Post #4 - January 18th, 2011, 2:15 am
    lizpeck wrote:Saturday morning we set off for Uncle Mike's place, for some Filipino breakfast. We very much enjoyed the baby Bangus and marinated skirt steak, and learned to mix spoonfuls of the sasawan into the fried rice as you ate it by watching the large Filipino family at the next table.

    Now, that's impressive! You did it right! If I were a visitor to Chicago, I'd love to experience it the way you did. Thanks for sharing.
  • Post #5 - January 19th, 2011, 12:40 pm
    Post #5 - January 19th, 2011, 12:40 pm Post #5 - January 19th, 2011, 12:40 pm
    High praise indeed! Thanks, LTHforum, for helping to make our weekend a success. We hope to come back again soon with a bigger budget to try some of Chicago's legendary chef-driven spots.
  • Post #6 - January 19th, 2011, 11:24 pm
    Post #6 - January 19th, 2011, 11:24 pm Post #6 - January 19th, 2011, 11:24 pm
    Liz,

    I don't know if you noticed, but you hit a homerun with your first post. You have been quoted on the banner, "You know you've had a good chow weekend when you forget about _three_ of your destinations!"

    Scroll up to the top of the page, then look underneath LTHforum.com.

    Regards,
    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

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