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Diner's Journal - west suburbs
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  • Post #241 - March 15th, 2024, 1:08 pm
    Post #241 - March 15th, 2024, 1:08 pm Post #241 - March 15th, 2024, 1:08 pm
    Hi All,

    I'm new to this site and live out here in the Western suburbs so I thought this thread was a good place to start.

    To respond to something upthread - my son and I had a great meal at A2B last December! We wanted to taste a variety of things so we had the Mini Tiffin and the South Indian Rush Lunch. I thought the Biryani was especially good! Thanks for describing the Kothu parotta - I've never had it and now I want to try it out.

    This week I ate at Kitikata Ramen near Yorktown - I had the Spicy Miso Ramen - it was very rich and deeply satisfying - definitely would recommend it, but I also tasted my kid's Chashu side and I can't get it out of my head - the balance of flavors and the creaminess of the sauce was totally unexpected (in a good way) - I'm looking forward to eating it again. It will be hard to pick next time.

    Finally my question - our family will be celebrating a college graduation this spring. We want to take the graduate out for a memorable meal but would prefer to stay in the suburbs. Because of the variety of palates in the group - we should probably stick to American food - I was thinking something like Cooper's Hawk would be the right price point for us - but can anyone here recommend something more local?

    Nice to 'meet' you all - Zorkmead
  • Post #242 - March 16th, 2024, 6:11 am
    Post #242 - March 16th, 2024, 6:11 am Post #242 - March 16th, 2024, 6:11 am
    There is a Cooper's Hawk in Downers Grove on Butterfield, just west of 355, across from the Home Depot.

    Capital Grill is really nice, but pricey. There are several steak houses in Oak Brook: Gibson's, Perry's, Michael Jordan's, and Ditka's. Seasos's 52 in Oakbrook Center is very good, as is Wildfire on the other side of the center.

    We've always enjoyed Parker's on Highland and 31st .

    Further west, you might check out the restaurants in Wheaton. Adelle's is highly praised, and Ivy is in a former chapel, complete with stained glass windows.
    Ms. Ingie
    Life is too short, why skip dessert?
  • Post #243 - March 16th, 2024, 7:56 pm
    Post #243 - March 16th, 2024, 7:56 pm Post #243 - March 16th, 2024, 7:56 pm
    Ms. Ingie - thank you for the recommendations - both of the restaurants in Wheaton and Parker's sound like great options for us. I can't believe I didn't think of downtown Wheaton when I was trying to come up with ideas.

    Zorkmead
  • Post #244 - March 18th, 2024, 6:18 am
    Post #244 - March 18th, 2024, 6:18 am Post #244 - March 18th, 2024, 6:18 am
    Merle and I were looking for a light-ish dinner after catching a matinee (Deathtrap)at Brightside Theater in Naperville. A quick Google search for Asian food led us to J's Kitchen.

    It's located in a strip mall just north of downtown that also has a Jewel. We were the only ones in the place. Granted it was also at about 4:45. Looks like they're open late for ramadan.

    Lamb soup with a handmade bun for Merle. Yellow curry stewed with chicken, potato, carrot, tomato, onion and cilantro with naan noted as J's Family Recipe for me.

    Clean Plate Club for both of us. Merle's bugging me to make lamb soup for her. Sigh.


    J's Kitchen
    115 E Ogden Ave. Suite 117
    Naperville, IL 60563
    (331) 229-8998
    https://chihuojskitchen.com/
    Never order barbecue in a place that also serves quiche - Lewis Grizzard
  • Post #245 - March 18th, 2024, 6:42 am
    Post #245 - March 18th, 2024, 6:42 am Post #245 - March 18th, 2024, 6:42 am
    Dave148 wrote:Merle and I were looking for a light-ish dinner after catching a matinee (Deathtrap)at Brightside Theater in Naperville. A quick Google search for Asian food led us to J's Kitchen.

    It's located in a strip mall just north of downtown that also has a Jewel. We were the only ones in the place. Granted it was also at about 4:45. Looks like they're open late for ramadan.

    Lamb soup with a handmade bun for Merle. Yellow curry stewed with chicken, potato, carrot, tomato, onion and cilantro with naan noted as J's Family Recipe for me.

    Clean Plate Club for both of us. Merle's bugging me to make lamb soup for her. Sigh.


    J's Kitchen
    115 E Ogden Ave. Suite 117
    Naperville, IL 60563
    (331) 229-8998
    https://chihuojskitchen.com/


    This looks super interesting. Did you get any sense of the cultural background of the ownership? I found their menu on Yelp and there's a lot of Northern Chinese items sprinkled with some modern pan-Asian signifiers like ramen. They clearly cater to a Muslim clientele. Lamb soup sounds like it could be Central Asian but naan and curry point south-ward. At any rate, I look forward to trying this place!
  • Post #246 - March 18th, 2024, 7:11 am
    Post #246 - March 18th, 2024, 7:11 am Post #246 - March 18th, 2024, 7:11 am
    Jefe wrote:
    Dave148 wrote:Merle and I were looking for a light-ish dinner after catching a matinee (Deathtrap)at Brightside Theater in Naperville. A quick Google search for Asian food led us to J's Kitchen.

    It's located in a strip mall just north of downtown that also has a Jewel. We were the only ones in the place. Granted it was also at about 4:45. Looks like they're open late for ramadan.

    Lamb soup with a handmade bun for Merle. Yellow curry stewed with chicken, potato, carrot, tomato, onion and cilantro with naan noted as J's Family Recipe for me.

    Clean Plate Club for both of us. Merle's bugging me to make lamb soup for her. Sigh.


    J's Kitchen
    115 E Ogden Ave. Suite 117
    Naperville, IL 60563
    (331) 229-8998
    https://chihuojskitchen.com/


    This looks super interesting. Did you get any sense of the cultural background of the ownership? I found their menu on Yelp and there's a lot of Northern Chinese items sprinkled with some modern pan-Asian signifiers like ramen. They clearly cater to a Muslim clientele. Lamb soup sounds like it could be Central Asian but naan and curry point south-ward. At any rate, I look forward to trying this place!

    Sorry, no. It was just the two of us and (I think) the owner. She was pretty engrossed with her phone and other than taking our order and serving us, that's about it.
    Never order barbecue in a place that also serves quiche - Lewis Grizzard
  • Post #247 - March 18th, 2024, 3:31 pm
    Post #247 - March 18th, 2024, 3:31 pm Post #247 - March 18th, 2024, 3:31 pm
    While on the topic of West suburban Chinese, I finally checked out Chef June's in Westmont. Of course, comparisons to Katy's will be made, though the menus are notably distinct. My seven year old's favorite food is dumplings, so of course we had to start there. First up, pan fried pork and cabbage dumplings — based on their non-uniformity these were most likely homemade. And a bit on the small side, which hastened their inhalation by my growing boy. Northern style thicker wrappers encasing lightly seasoned, though quite juicy pork. I would say these are better than recent examples at Katy's, whose recipe seemed to have changed sometime around 2018 when they started dyeing the considerably thicker wrappers. Our favorite is still Minghin's potstickers which are huge and filled with the most aromatic, satisfyingly bouncy ground meat mix. Oh we also got XLB, a first for the boy, but even he's discerning enough to call out a mass produced product at this point, lol.

    Image

    Biang biang noodles are something I don't remember from Katy's menu and seemed popular on the Yelps. These were pretty satisfying — slippery noodles with just enough give, ground pork, peanuts, diced tomatoes, ground chili, a single bok choy. The server instructed me to stir it all up, incorporating a thin, brothy, slightly sour sauce with a kiss of chili oil. Good stuff, and to be sure, a different form of noodle than Katy's chewy ropes, but the flavors didn't intoxicate with mala like the dan dan and Chongqing noodles down the street.

    Image

    While I'm here, I'll dump this one in the W. burbs "junk drawer" too — I revisited the Freedom Commons Invicto after many years and really liked it. The chorizo verde mula (foreground) is one of the best Mexican bites in the area. I'm not sure if they make the chorizo in house, but it's nicely herbaceous and mingles well with queso and masa. That wild pile in the back is a vampiro, which had lots of flavor and textures but its precarious build just made for too big of a mess.
  • Post #248 - March 20th, 2024, 9:41 pm
    Post #248 - March 20th, 2024, 9:41 pm Post #248 - March 20th, 2024, 9:41 pm
    While I'm here, I'll dump this one in the W. burbs "junk drawer" too — I revisited the Freedom Commons Invicto after many years and really liked it. The chorizo verde mula (foreground) is one of the best Mexican bites in the area. I'm not sure if they make the chorizo in house, but it's nicely herbaceous and mingles well with queso and masa. That wild pile in the back is a vampiro, which had lots of flavor and textures but its precarious build just made for too big of a mess.


    We discovered Invicto by total accident about six month ago. My favorite thing I've tried is the Mushroom tacos, but now I want to try the chorizo.

    A new location just opened on 22nd street in Oakbrook . . .

    -Zorkmead
  • Post #249 - March 21st, 2024, 5:20 am
    Post #249 - March 21st, 2024, 5:20 am Post #249 - March 21st, 2024, 5:20 am
    zorkmead wrote:
    While I'm here, I'll dump this one in the W. burbs "junk drawer" too — I revisited the Freedom Commons Invicto after many years and really liked it. The chorizo verde mula (foreground) is one of the best Mexican bites in the area. I'm not sure if they make the chorizo in house, but it's nicely herbaceous and mingles well with queso and masa. That wild pile in the back is a vampiro, which had lots of flavor and textures but its precarious build just made for too big of a mess.


    We discovered Invicto by total accident about six month ago. My favorite thing I've tried is the Mushroom tacos, but now I want to try the chorizo.

    A new location just opened on 22nd street in Oakbrook . . .

    -Zorkmead


    Yeah, I saw that they opened the Oak Brook store, they park their food truck there which you can see from I88. I guess that's why I referred to the "Freedom Commons" location. They also have a spot in Vernon Hills.

    It was opened by investors from Naf Naf and they have plans for expanding the chain. Let's just hope the quality doesn't follow a similar path (Naf Naf across the parking lot sucks now.)
  • Post #250 - March 30th, 2024, 1:54 pm
    Post #250 - March 30th, 2024, 1:54 pm Post #250 - March 30th, 2024, 1:54 pm
    I wanted to give a shoutout to Babcock's Grove on St. Charles in Lombard on this thread.

    We had a meal on Thursday that was just what we needed during a long week: relaxed atmosphere, familiar food, quality ingredients with nicely paced service. I thoroughly enjoyed the hot chicken sliders (probably could have been spicier and had more mayo, but I'm nit-picking here). My companion very much enjoyed the cheeseburger sliders (thin griddled patties, cheddar cheese).

    If you are in the area, like old buildings, are inclined to support a local business and are hungry for some classic American food (with a smattering of N European dishes) I recommend giving this place a try.

    https://www.babcocksgrove.com/

    - Zorkmead
  • Post #251 - April 16th, 2024, 10:16 am
    Post #251 - April 16th, 2024, 10:16 am Post #251 - April 16th, 2024, 10:16 am
    We love A2B Indian in Warrenville as my husband is south Indian and they have all the favorite foods there. I do love the Hakka noodles which is an Indian Chinese dish.
    They serve mostly Indian clientele and get quite crowded at times.
    Toria

    "I like this place and willingly could waste my time in it" - As You Like It,
    W. Shakespeare
  • Post #252 - April 16th, 2024, 1:20 pm
    Post #252 - April 16th, 2024, 1:20 pm Post #252 - April 16th, 2024, 1:20 pm
    toria wrote:We love A2B Indian in Warrenville as my husband is south Indian and they have all the favorite foods there. I do love the Hakka noodles which is an Indian Chinese dish.
    They serve mostly Indian clientele and get quite crowded at times.


    Head's up — I started a dedicated thread for A2B, since I love it so much. I'll have to try those Hakka noodles + I'd be interested to know what your husband's favorites are. The menu is so expansive, I try something new every time I go.
  • Post #253 - April 27th, 2024, 11:44 am
    Post #253 - April 27th, 2024, 11:44 am Post #253 - April 27th, 2024, 11:44 am
    Yeah, I saw that they opened the Oak Brook store, they park their food truck there which you can see from I88. I guess that's why I referred to the "Freedom Commons" location. They also have a spot in Vernon Hills.

    It was opened by investors from Naf Naf and they have plans for expanding the chain. Let's just hope the quality doesn't follow a similar path (Naf Naf across the parking lot sucks now.)


    We had dinner at the Oakbrook location this week and I think the atmosphere in the restaurant was more inviting and overall more pleasant then the Freedom drive location (nicer seating and less noisy / echo-y).

    I tried a shrimp taco this time and thought it was delicious! I'll have to go back to 'research' the chorizo :)

    The relationship to Naf Naf is interesting - I did not know that.

    Has anyone here tried Naansense? There is one next door to Invicto in Oakbrook.
  • Post #254 - April 27th, 2024, 2:47 pm
    Post #254 - April 27th, 2024, 2:47 pm Post #254 - April 27th, 2024, 2:47 pm
    zorkmead wrote:
    Has anyone here tried Naansense? There is one next door to Invicto in Oakbrook.


    Why yes indeed, I have been to Naansense, the one in Naperville, twice. It's okay, though I've only tried the naan wraps. They seem to use a fluffy pre-made naan product for the wraps, which is really the weakest link of the sandwich. House-made naan can be ordered on the side or with curry meals. The proteins have been decent to good, I actually preferred the chicken – nicely marinated and charred – to the lamb, which was kofta style, though tasted like beef to me. They have a condiment bar which harkens back to the glory days of Naf Naf and I dug the two hot sauces.

    I also sampled a side of chana, which had a very one-dimensional, cumin-forward profile. And masala fries were coated food service calibre, though my eight year old thought he tasted spices, lol.

    To be certain, it's a Chipotlian fast casual chain. Though it's quick and inexpensive and the wraps are better than what Naf Naf puts out these days. Next time I'll try a curry with fresh-baked naan.
  • Post #255 - April 28th, 2024, 2:52 pm
    Post #255 - April 28th, 2024, 2:52 pm Post #255 - April 28th, 2024, 2:52 pm
    Jefe wrote:To be certain, it's a Chipotlian fast casual chain. Though it's quick and inexpensive and the wraps are better than what Naf Naf puts out these days. Next time I'll try a curry with fresh-baked naan.


    Thanks for the response! Sounds like I could take my kids there and we would all be satisfied.

    What I really want to find is a place where I can carry out fresh made Samosas when the craving strikes. I know my co-workers will get them from Patel Brothers, but I'm not close enough to do that spontaneously.
  • Post #256 - April 29th, 2024, 7:50 am
    Post #256 - April 29th, 2024, 7:50 am Post #256 - April 29th, 2024, 7:50 am
    zorkmead wrote:What I really want to find is a place where I can carry out fresh made Samosas when the craving strikes. I know my co-workers will get them from Patel Brothers, but I'm not close enough to do that spontaneously.


    You want to try Indian Grocery stores, even the very small ones. A very good amount of them have snacks on offer - especially samosas. What areas are you looking for this stuff?
    We cannot be friends if you do not know the difference between Mayo and Miracle Whip.
    Pronoun: That fool over there
    Identifies as: A human that doesn't need to "identify as" something to try to somehow be interesting.
  • Post #257 - April 30th, 2024, 8:22 pm
    Post #257 - April 30th, 2024, 8:22 pm Post #257 - April 30th, 2024, 8:22 pm
    seebee wrote:You want to try Indian Grocery stores, even the very small ones. A very good amount of them have snacks on offer - especially samosas. What areas are you looking for this stuff?


    I wondered if some of the grocery stores would be worth trying. I checked out a few websites but couldn't tell if any of them had prepared food. Something in the SW corner of Dupage county (between 355 / 83 and North Av / Ogden) would be ideal.

    - zorkmead
  • Post #258 - May 1st, 2024, 11:46 am
    Post #258 - May 1st, 2024, 11:46 am Post #258 - May 1st, 2024, 11:46 am
    zorkmead wrote: Something in the SW corner of Dupage county (between 355 / 83 and North Av / Ogden) would be ideal.

    - zorkmead


    I'm not super familiar with that area, but I can vouch for Westmont perhaps being a hotspot. I'd assume Downers, too. I think if you just pop into a few rando Indian grocers, you'll be surprised. Even if they do not have a few fresh snacks on offer, ask - they might have them on weekends only.
    I do know that these places will definitely have some:

    A-1 Indian Grocer, Westmont - small selection, I'd guess they run out early in the day

    Possibly "Great Halal" in Westmont as well. I think that's the better one that I am thinking of which had fantastic, prepared portions of curries, and a good 3 or 4 different kinds of samosas prepared, ready to grab.

    Those are just suggestions that are hopefully in your area, or adjacent enough, but I'm guessing if you just pop into one that you find during random trips, or if you search the map before a trip, and make it a point to try one en route somewhere, you'll find a few gems. I wouldn't trust any of their websites to have mentions of prepared snacks or foods. My fingers are crossed for you - the samosas at Patel Bros are lackluster, imo. I'm hoping you find better. IF Great Halal IS the place I'm thinking of, their samosas, and prepared foods were better than anything I'd expect from Patel Bros. We used to have to go to Hinsdale Central High School for kids' sports practice dropoff, and, we happily beelined it to an Indian Grocery store to pick up dinner/snacks. IIRC correctly, that store was Great Halal, and the prepared food really surprised us. Haven't been back since last summer, so it's a tad hazy, but looking at a map, I think Great Halal was it.
    We cannot be friends if you do not know the difference between Mayo and Miracle Whip.
    Pronoun: That fool over there
    Identifies as: A human that doesn't need to "identify as" something to try to somehow be interesting.
  • Post #259 - May 18th, 2024, 2:54 pm
    Post #259 - May 18th, 2024, 2:54 pm Post #259 - May 18th, 2024, 2:54 pm
    Ms. Ingie wrote:Further west, you might check out the restaurants in Wheaton. Adelle's is highly praised, and Ivy is in a former chapel, complete with stained glass windows.


    We ended up having a really pleasant graduation dinner at Ivy. The family was impressed by the space and everyone found something they liked on the menu. The restaurant gifted us with some deserts and the graduates were very pleased!

    Thank you for reminding me about that place.
  • Post #260 - June 13th, 2024, 6:19 pm
    Post #260 - June 13th, 2024, 6:19 pm Post #260 - June 13th, 2024, 6:19 pm
    So I'm heading to a party in Wheaton in a couple weeks and we're all tasked w bringing some appetizers or sides. Thought a tray of lumpia would be a nice option since that's an easy finger food.

    Any suggestions on places in the area that would be good for this? Or any other ideas that would be better than this? Coming from the city so a stop anywhere in between would work.

    Original thought was some dumplings shredded pancakes from Katys. But not sure if they do catering pans. Thanks in advance yall!
  • Post #261 - June 13th, 2024, 6:57 pm
    Post #261 - June 13th, 2024, 6:57 pm Post #261 - June 13th, 2024, 6:57 pm
    WhyBeeSea wrote:So I'm heading to a party in Wheaton in a couple weeks and we're all tasked w bringing some appetizers or sides. Thought a tray of lumpia would be a nice option since that's an easy finger food.

    Any suggestions on places in the area that would be good for this? Or any other ideas that would be better than this? Coming from the city so a stop anywhere in between would work.

    Original thought was some dumplings shredded pancakes from Katys. But not sure if they do catering pans. Thanks in advance yall!


    I'd bet that Katy's would be happy to fulfill a large order.

    I also have lumpia ideas for you — I've had good lumpia from Hong Ning in Carol Stream. They're kind of on the thicker side, comparable to a fried Thai spring roll.

    I haven't been yet, but Marciana's Kitchen in Villa Park is on my list. Their lumpia look pretty good and they clearly advertise catering.
  • Post #262 - June 13th, 2024, 10:19 pm
    Post #262 - June 13th, 2024, 10:19 pm Post #262 - June 13th, 2024, 10:19 pm
    Jefe wrote:
    WhyBeeSea wrote:So I'm heading to a party in Wheaton in a couple weeks and we're all tasked w bringing some appetizers or sides. Thought a tray of lumpia would be a nice option since that's an easy finger food.

    Any suggestions on places in the area that would be good for this? Or any other ideas that would be better than this? Coming from the city so a stop anywhere in between would work.

    Original thought was some dumplings shredded pancakes from Katys. But not sure if they do catering pans. Thanks in advance yall!


    I'd bet that Katy's would be happy to fulfill a large order.

    I also have lumpia ideas for you — I've had good lumpia from Hong Ning in Carol Stream. They're kind of on the thicker side, comparable to a fried Thai spring roll.

    I haven't been yet, but Marciana's Kitchen in Villa Park is on my list. Their lumpia look pretty good and they clearly advertise catering.


    This is great. Thank you!
  • Post #263 - June 14th, 2024, 3:04 pm
    Post #263 - June 14th, 2024, 3:04 pm Post #263 - June 14th, 2024, 3:04 pm
    Lola Tining's is a tiny storefront just a few feet from Harlem and 290. I haven't been there in over a year, but They always had hot food on offer in steam trays. They also had a sign displayed for lumpia trays. I've never bought a big amount from them, but I know I will, someday. I can eat about 40 of those things without blinking an eye. I can't give a thumbs up or down for their specific lumpia, but it might warrant some investigation on your part. Easy on, easy off the Ike at Harlem.
    We cannot be friends if you do not know the difference between Mayo and Miracle Whip.
    Pronoun: That fool over there
    Identifies as: A human that doesn't need to "identify as" something to try to somehow be interesting.

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