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Food Highlights of 2018

Food Highlights of 2018
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  • Food Highlights of 2018

    Post #1 - December 28th, 2018, 12:38 am
    Post #1 - December 28th, 2018, 12:38 am Post #1 - December 28th, 2018, 12:38 am
    I have no plans to eat out again in 2018, so I figured I'd go ahead and get this thread started. It's always fun to see people's different tastes and get some ideas for future food adventures.

    Lots of different approaches to putting these lists together. For me, I like to only consider dishes or restaurants that were new to me in 2018. I limited myself to 10 plates of food in Chicago and 10 restaurants/experiences outside of the Chicago area. Both lists are in order of preference.



    Alinea, grand finale dessert. I had to be talked/goaded into spending Alinea money for a meal. It's hard for me to drop anything close to that kind of coin on a meal without thinking how many pounds of meat I could get from Zaragoza for the same amount of money. I don't regret going to Alinea but I doubt I'll return. If I do, it'll be in large part because of the final dessert course of the night. The variety of textures and unbelievably delicious flavors in this dish was giggle-inducing.

    MCCB - Spicy Tender Tofu with Flank Steak is discussed quite a few times in the MCCB thread.

    Hoosier Mama - Triple Berry Plum Apricot w/ oat crumble. I average about 25 visits to Hoosier Mama a year and can comfortably proclaim that August is the best month to go thanks to the variety of berries and stone fruits that Paula & Co. get to play with. This slice of pie is Exhibit A in my argument.

    Big Jones - Onion soup with onion dumplings and braised chicken wings (special dinner for Chef Todd Richards' cookbook)

    Aroy Thai - Gaeng Hung Lay (LTH holiday party). This was the best thing I've ever had at Aroy, which is damned high praise.

    Somerset - Somerset Sundae. This place needs more love on LTH. If more people would try the Somerset Sundae, that would happen.

    Cho Sun Ok - Kimchi fried rice

    Lost Larson - Cardamom bun

    Three Floyds - Dark Lord Chemtrailmix

    The Ruin Daily - Bacon Slider – bacon pate, bacon dijonnaise, baby arugula, and house pickles (Baconfest)


    Charlie's Peranakan Cuisine, Singapore
    Bad Saint, Washington, DC
    Xiu Ji Ikan Bilis Yong Tau Fu , Singapore
    Ramen Shack, NYC (Quiet Storm)
    Loo's Hainanese Curry Rice, Singapore
    All of the fruits of Bali
    Thip Khao, Washington, DC
    Nomad, NYC (burger only)
    188 Cuchifritos, NYC
    Blue's Egg, Milwaukee
  • Post #2 - December 28th, 2018, 9:55 am
    Post #2 - December 28th, 2018, 9:55 am Post #2 - December 28th, 2018, 9:55 am
    I love the year end lists. I get to see what I missed here and learn of some amazing bites elsewhere. As always I limited myself to only the places I posted about which also happen to be new to me. So there were some 2018 highlights that will get pushed into my 2019 list. I also tried to choose just one bite from each trip but this year that was really hard. So instead I broke out some sub categories as far as the best of Chicago and beyond Chicago goes. You can click HERE for links to pics etc.

    Happy Holidaze.

    Best of Chicago

    Pica Pollo at Morena's Kitchen
    Chicken Katsu Plate Lunch at Aloha Wagon
    Venezuelan Empanadas at Rica Arepa
    Chips and Queso at Lonesome Rose
    Vietnamese Chicken Salad at Ca Phe Da
    Wood Roasted Pita at Pacific Standard Time
    Afghan Grilled Meats at Kabul Kabab
    Filet Mignon Tlacoyo at Xocome Antojeria
    Potato Burek at Astoria Cafe
    Ddukbokki Lamb Ragu at Passerotto
    Pork Chop ”Chourcroute" at Funkenhausen

    Best of Beyond Chicago

    Whole Fried Local Fish at Summer Luxury Resort (Koh Phangan)
    Bánh Cuốn at Bánh Cuốn Gia Truyền (Hanoi)
    Thit Nuong (Grilled Pork) at Hieu Hien BBQ (Hoi An)
    Khao Kha Moo at The Cowboy Hat Lady (Chiang Mai)
    Isaan Fried Chicken (and dip) at Polo Fried Chicken (Bangkok)
    Crostini with Truffled Sausage at Le Volpi e l'Uva (Florence)
    Sausage Pizza at Trieste (Rome)
    Fried Halibut & Chips at Brigham Fish Market (Cascade Locks, OR)
    Pork Chop over Rice at For Kee (Hong Kong)
    Griot at Agrikol (Montreal)
    Albondigas at La Dominicaine - Café Traiteur (Quebec City)

    Best Soups

    Pozole at Grill 47 (Chicago)
    Bun Ca at Bun Ca Sam Cay Si (Hanoi)
    Mi Quang Noodle Soup at Random Street Vendor (Hoi An)
    Khaotom Moo Yat Sai at Koay Chup Restaurant (Chiang Mai)
    Seafood Tom Yum at Raan Yaam Jae-Euang (Bangkok)
    Taiwanese Beef Noodle Soup at Chinese Cafe (Westmont, IL)
    Yak Noodle Soup from A Bu Noodles (Beijing)
    Wonton Noodle Soup at Mak's (Hong Kong)
    French Onion Soup at L'Oncle Antoine (Quebec City)

    Best Noodles and Pastas

    Pho Chien Phong at Pho Cuon 31 (Hanoi)
    Cao Lau at Cao Lau Thanh (Hoi An)
    Thai Style Suki (dry) at Suki Koka (Chiang Mai)
    Kuay Teow Kua Gai in Kua Gai Alley (Bangkok)
    Pasta Alla Gricia at La Tavernaccia (Rome)
    Pappardelle with Wild Boar Ragu at Trattoria Giovanni (Florence)
    Gnocchi Night at Nostrano (Portland, OR)
    Wanza Mian at Pang Mei Noodles (Beijing)
    Curry Tendon at Kau Kee (Hong Kong)

    Best Dumplings

    Dumplings at the Led'Tawan Night Market (Chiang Mai)
    Wonton at Mung Korn Khao (Bangkok)
    Kimchi Mandu at Bukchon Sonmandu (Seoul)
    Pyzy at Little Polish Diner (Parma, OH)
    Potstickers at Country Kitchen (Beijing)
    King Mandu at Passerotto (Chicago)
    Sheng Jian Bao at Cheung Hing Kee Shanghai Pan-Fried Buns
    (Hong Kong)

    Best Tacos

    Lengua at Tata's Tacos (Chicago)
    The Lalo Taco at Tacotlan (Chicago)
    Jerk Chicken Tacos at Yamon Jerk Grill (Chicago)
    Cecina Taco at El Chubasco (Chicago)
    Salvadoran Taquitos at Papuseria Metapan (Chicago)
    Tacos de Canasta at Taqueria Belen (Chicago)

    Best Sandwiches

    Banh Mi at Madam Khanh's (Hoi An)
    Gyro Grilled Cheese at Garfield Gyros (Chicago)
    Pork Sirloin Torta Sandwich at RC's Grill (Melrose Park, IL)
    Roast Beef Sandwich at Da Nerbone (Florence)
    Lampredotto Sandwich at Sergio Pollini Lampredotto (Florence)
    'Banh a Mia' Sandwich at Tempesta Market (Chicago)
    Bulgogi Hoagie at Broadway Cafe (Ann Arbor)
    Fried Chicken Sandwich at Fry the Coop (Oak Lawn, IL)
    Build Your Own Biscuit Sandwich at Smack Dab (Chicago)
    The Wilensky Special at Wilensky's Light Lunch (Montreal)
    Smoked Meat Sandwich at Snowdon Deli (Montreal)

    Best Burgers

    Cheeseburger at Ring's Bar (Plain, WI)
    Cheeseburger at Ridott Corners Tavern (Ridott Corners, IL)
    Create your own Burger at Blimpy Burger (Ann Arbor)
    Classic Cheeseburger at Goldyburgers (Forest Park, IL)
    Cheeseburger at Frunchroom (Chicago)

    Best Sweets

    Coconut Ice Cream and Sticky Rice on the Street (Hanoi)
    Mango Smoothies all across Thailand
    Hungarian Strudels at Lydia's Bakery (Parma Heights, OH)
    Pear Gelato at Gelateria Della Passera (Florence)
    Italian Ice at Ava's Italian Ice (Chicago)
    Popsicles at Pretty Cool Ice Cream (Chicago)
    Hawaiian Shave Ice at Wailua Shave Ice (Portland, OR)
    SnowBalls at Ina Mae Tavern (Chicago)
    Strawberry Kakigori at Shari Shari Kakigori (Hong Kong)
    Orange Julep at Gibeau Orange Julep (Montreal)

    Best Meals

    Cha Ca Dinner at Chả Cá Thăng Long (Hanoi)
    Indian Feast at Ganesh Indian Restaurant (Hoi An)
    Lanna Spread at Midnight Sticky Rice (Chiang Mai)
    Home Cooked Thai Dinner at Baan Nual (Bangkok)
    Burmese/Malaysian Feast at The Family House (Chicago)
    Dinner at Osteria del Cavaliere (Rome)
    Dinner at Osteria Vini e Vecchi Sapori (Florence)
    Dinner at S.K.Y (Chicago)
    Chengdu Feast at A Place by Damao (Chicago)
    Dinner at Proxi (Chicago)
    Dinner at Han Oak (Portland, OR)
    Korean BBQ at Maple Tree Barbecue (Seoul)
    Peking Duck Dinner at Siji Minfu (Beijing)
    Dinner at The Chairman (Hong Kong)
    Dinner at Joe Beef (Montreal)
    Dinner at La Buvette Scott (Quebec City)
  • Post #3 - December 28th, 2018, 10:56 am
    Post #3 - December 28th, 2018, 10:56 am Post #3 - December 28th, 2018, 10:56 am
    Here's my best of 2018, some near, some far, some made by friends:

    Out of Town

    Chicago Area
    • Fish Fry, The Abbey, Fontana WI - perfectly crisp everything, walleye and potato pancakes
    • Sausage Pizza, Wells Brothers, Mt. Pleasant, WI. Finally got there, and it's worth a trip.
    • Crispy Vietnamese Crepe with Pork Belly and Shrimp, Proxi, Chicago
    • Wings, Bonchon, Glenview - best opening in my neighborhood
    • Burger with Merkt's Cheddar, Green Chile and Onion Rings with Tots, Finn McCool's, Mt Prospect - Just around the corner and a damn fine burger.

    Homemade by Friends
    • Panettone with 100% wild yeast by pairsforlife - it's to challah what challah is to wonder bread
    • Spam Khao Tod at the Montrose Beach Barbecue -- I can't remember who made it, but it was on par with Rainbow Thai's Naem Khao Tod.
    What is patriotism, but the love of good things we ate in our childhood?
    -- Lin Yutang
  • Post #4 - December 28th, 2018, 11:05 am
    Post #4 - December 28th, 2018, 11:05 am Post #4 - December 28th, 2018, 11:05 am
    Best dinners, Chicago
    1. S.K.Y.
    2. North Pond
    3. Smyth
    4. Band of Bohemia
    5. Somerset
    6. Dos Urban Cantina
    7. Twain
    8. Parker's
    9. Carnivale
    10. Michael

    Best Dinners, Out of Town
    1.(tie) Willows Inn, Lummi Island WA
    1.(tie) The French Laundry, Yountville CA
    3. Singlethread Farm, Healdsburg CA
    4. The Herbfarm, Woodinville WA
    5. Baker Street, Fort Wayne
    6. Frenchette, New York City

    Best Lunch/Brunch, Out of Town
    1. DanDan, Milwaukee
    2. Sarabeth's, New York City
    3. La Note, Berkeley
    4. Super Six, Seattle
    5. Royal Feast, San Mateo
    6. Brunch, Milwaukee
    7. Pershing Square Café, New York City
    8. Din Tai Fung, Seattle
    9. Gather Kitchen, Seattle
    10. Night + Market Song, Los Angeles

    Biggest Disappointments
    1. Saison, San Francisco
    2. Estela, New York City
    3. BLVD, Chicago
    4. Haisous, Chicago
  • Post #5 - December 28th, 2018, 12:54 pm
    Post #5 - December 28th, 2018, 12:54 pm Post #5 - December 28th, 2018, 12:54 pm
    My year end wrap up on my blog was outed on another thread (sincere thanks Cathy.)

    But here's top 10ish lists in three geographic categories, all listed chronologically, all new bites this year:


    Dante- Tempesta
    Pica pollo- Morena's Kitchen
    Fish sandwich- Red Hot Ranch
    Feijoada- Brasil Legal
    Lamb & coriander dumplings- Qing Xiang Yuan
    Dan dan noodles- Min's Noodles
    Liangpi- Shan Shaan Taste
    Smashville- Tempesta
    Pasulj, spinach burek- Astoria Cafe
    Red hot tamales- The Delta
    Tacos- Loncar's

    Da burbs:

    Lao sausage, papaya salad- Lao & Thai Spicy Noodles, Elgin
    Double cheeseburger- 2 Toots, Glen Ellyn
    Torta de Milanesa- Bien Trucha, Geneva
    Chili chicken roti paratha wrap- JK Kabab, Naperville
    Gyros dinner- Charcoal Flame, Morton Grove
    Adobo de cerdo sandwich, salchipapas, sauces- SanguCHE, Naperville
    Pot roast sandwich- Berger Bros., Winfield
    Niu rou mian- Chinese Cafe, Westmont

    Outta town:

    Injera & chicken tibsi- Keren, Washington DC
    Breakfast Sandwich- Cait’s Cafe, Goderich, ON
    Chili chicken- Yueh Tung, Toronto
    Goat roti- Island Foods, Toronto
    Pan fried pork & leek dumplings & wontons in spicy sauce– Northern Dumpling Kitchen, Richmond Hill, ON
    Niu rou mian– Mei Tung Beef Noodle House, Markham, ON
    Lamb dum pukht biryani- Spice Indian Bistro, Toronto
    Sausage biscuit- Kismet Bakery, Douglas, MI
    Pljeskavica- Balkan Grill, Gary, IN
  • Post #6 - December 28th, 2018, 3:35 pm
    Post #6 - December 28th, 2018, 3:35 pm Post #6 - December 28th, 2018, 3:35 pm
    Best (New to Me) Dinners Chicago 2018
    -Pacific Standard Time - pita and pastas
    -Macku - always something new and fresh, Macku is a great host and makes each visit personalized
    -The Loyalist - The omelette was amazing

    Favorite (New to Me) Delivery 2018
    -Jimmys Pizza Cafe
    -Chengdu Impression
    -Rainbow Thai
    -Monteverde - Ragu Napoletana!
  • Post #7 - January 15th, 2019, 8:28 pm
    Post #7 - January 15th, 2019, 8:28 pm Post #7 - January 15th, 2019, 8:28 pm
    From most recent to oldest, here are all the things I ate in Chicagoland restaurants, bars, pop-ups, etc. in 2018 that made me happy. This isn't necessarily a 'best of' list. These places and bites moved (or consistently move) the culinary needle for me. Sure, there are a few one-trick ponies but it's overwhelmingly a list of things I'd happily order again at places that, with very few exceptions, I'd enthusiastically recommend to others. Of course, between 'then and now,' a few of these places have changed their chefs, deteriorated in some significant way or reconcepted, though I don't think any have outright closed. Multiple entries indicate multiple visits . . .

    Chivo, Beans, Arroz con Gandules - Morena's Kitchen
    Chilaquiles Verdes, lengua taco, dos salsas - El Habanero
    Spicy Tiger wings - Landbirds
    Muffaletta, Dante, B. Franklin - Tempesta Market
    Skirt Steak - Wildwood Tavern
    Asada Special Pambazo, Al Pastor Pambazo, Green Pozole, Nachos - El Habanero
    Country Loaf Bread - Lost Larson
    Bun Bo Hue, Nem Nuong - King Pho
    Pascalini Salad with Gyros, Navy Bean Soup, Fried Zucchini w/Skordalia - Psistaria
    LTH Holiday Dinner (multiple items) - Aroy Thai
    Wings - Landbirds
    Lentil Soup, Beef Shawarma & Hummus - Larsa's
    Everything Knot - Fat Rice Bakery
    Chilli Prawns, Prawn Balchao Fried Rice, Lacassa, Pork & Ginger Dumplings - Fat Rice
    Lumpia Shanghai - Bayan Ko
    Tasting Menu - Lula Cafe
    Cookies & Cream Custard Bar, Pumpkin Pie Custard Bar - Pretty Cool Ice Cream
    Ham, Butter & Pickles Baguette Sandwich - Cafe Marie-Jeanne
    Lecso - Finom Coffee
    Italian Sub, Meatball Sub, Beef & Hot Sausage Combo - Nottoli & Son
    Assorted Savory Pastries - Tous Les Jours
    Chilaquiles, Salsas, Lengua Tacos - El Habanero
    Hot Doug's Atomic Pizza w/Pepperoni - Piece
    Meatball appetizer, Skirt Steak - Mirabella
    Lamb Shank, Stuffed Chicken, Appetizer Sampler (ezme, hummus, octopus salad, baba ganoush), Mardin Eggplant Stew with lamb, Spicy Red Lentil Soup - Gundis Kurdish Kitchen
    Umami Ramen - Oiistar
    Griddle Cooked Beef Tongue & Short Rib - Sizzling Pot King
    Grilled Pork Neck Salad, Wings, Som Tum - Aroy Thai
    Pappardelle, Fazzoletti, Tortellini - Daisies
    Carnitas, Beef Head Barbacoa - Carnitas La Esquinita
    Oysters Hockafeller, Carpaccio, Weisswurst - Funkenhausen
    Tokyo Dog - Boba Burger
    Chavas Special - Chavas Original
    Cilantro Rice, Beef Empandas, Crispy Yucca - D'Candela
    Omakase+ - Omakase Yume
    Goat Soup, Kimchi Pajoun - Golden Chopsticks
    Fried Pork Belly-hot&dry, Crispy Numb Oil Chicken, Pea Leave with Garlic Sauce, Potstickers, Hot Oil Dumplings - Golden Harbor (Champaign, IL)
    Tofu Laab, Jeun Gai Lao Fried Chicken Wings, Crab Khao Poon, Khao Piak Sen - Sao Song Pop-Up @ Ludlow Liquors
    Island Creek Oysters - Spilt Milk Tavern
    Sauteed Peas and Onions, Skirt Steak, Grilled Calamari - EJ's Place
    Hot Doug's Atomic w/Pepperoni - Piece
    B. Franklin, Dante - Tempesta Market
    Assorted woodfired pizzas - Our House Pizza
    Cubano, Ropa Vieja, Papas Rellenas - Taste of Havana
    Beef Shawarma & Hummus, Lentil Soup - Larsa's
    Carnitas - Carnitas La Esquinita
    Asada-Combo Pamabazo, Lengua Taco - El Habanero
    Black Trumpet & Chanterelle Mushroom Ragout - Prairie Grass Cafe
    Lobster Lettuce Wraps (special), Crispy Potatoes w/Black Truffle Dip, Maine Lobster Dumplings, Black Truffle Croquettes, Cornbread Madeleines , Organic Fried Chicken, Foie Gras Bi Bim Bap, Berkshire Pork Chop, Mediterranean Sea Bass - SKY
    Roasted Pork Feet w/Peanuts, Wonton In Hot Soup, House Special Spare Ribs - A Place By Damao
    Becks Burger - Beck's Chicago
    Wedge Salad, Twice Baked Potato Gnocchi, Sloppy Marrow, Mississippi Mud Pie - Twain
    Paris Omelet - Breakfast House-Ashland
    Carnivore - Paulie Gee's
    B. Franklin - Tempesta Market
    Chinese Greens, Pork Fried Rice - Szechuan Kingdom
    Grilled Cheese with Bacon and Egg - Diner Grill
    Oysters Hockafeller, Charred Broccolini, Summer Spaetzle - Funkenhausen
    Pig Face Fritters - Best Intentions
    Braised Brisket - DiPescara (I kid you not)
    Lengua Taco, Chilaquiles Verdes with Over Easy Eggs - El Habanero
    Tortellini w/ Lentils/Collard Greens/Pork Sausage, Ravioli w/Black Truffle Ricotta/Corn/Cilantro/Cheddar, Linguine w/Ramps/Fresh Cherries/Bacon/Egg Yolk, Pappardelle w/Mushroom Ragu/Basil/Parmesan, Cavatelli w/Zucchini/Mint/Feta/Bottarga - Daisies
    Bone-In Ribeye, Mashed Potatoes - Swift & Sons
    Chicharon Bulaklak, Sizzling Sisig, Inihaw na Baboy - Bacolod Chicken Haus
    Sweet Corn and Salt Cod Brandade - Good Measure
    Choley - Tava
    Chicken Biryani, Lamb Vindaloo - Spice Room
    Trashy Sub Sandwich - Panaderia La Canasta
    Karaage, Takoyaki - Torino Ramen
    Potstickers, Mapo Tofu - New China Station
    Dolmades, Arni Fornou - Psistaria
    Shrimp & Crab Dip - BiXi Beer
    Bi Bim Bop, Kimchi Pajeoun, Yuk Hwe, Mandoo - San Soo KBBQ
    Jerk Chicken Taco, Oxtail Stew w/rice & beans - Yamon Jerk Grill
    Ham & Cheese Omelet, Hash Browns - Diner Grill
    Lamb Shank - Bamyan Kabob
    Lamb on Bone w/Cumin, Green Beans w/Mushrooms, Pancake w/Smoked Pork - Homestyle Taste
    Pork Gyros - Charcoal Flame
    Sausage, Pad Kra Pao, Grilled Pork Shoulder -Fireside (Late-Night Thai menu)
    Mapo Tofu with Pork, Peapod Greens, Sliced Ox & Maw - Szechuan Cuisine
    Lengua, Al Pastor Tacos - Carniceria Guanajuato #3
    Asada Pambazzo - El Habanero
    Tostada Nachos - The Moonlighter
    Fries - Scofflaw
    Dan Dan Noodles - Peppercorns Kitchen
    Banchan, Seafood Pajeoun - So Dong Gong
    Beef & Onion Dumplings, Lamb & Onion Dumplings, Chicken & Mushroom Dumplings, Pork/Shrimp/Leek Dumplings, Pork & Pickled Cabbage Dumplings - Qing Xiang
    Chicken, Rohan Duck, Pasta & Clams, Aged Cheddar Rillettes, Wedge Salad, Grits & Shrimp - Roister
    Fish Sandwich, Buffalo Wings - Parsons
    Takoyaki, Buta Slider - Wasabi
    Bread & Snacks, Radicchio Salad, Tomatoes, Pre-constructed Baba Ganoush, Pork Hock, Corn Ice Cream - Cellar Door Provisions
    Green Beans, Happy Scallops, Short Rib, Stuffed Rigatoni - Giant
    LBW Burger - Little Bad Wolf
    Hot Doug's Atomic Sausage Pizza + Pepperoni - Piece
    Tasting Menu - Oriole
    Bolo Fries, Shrimp Fried Rice - Old Habits @ Ludlow Liquors
    Dry Chile Fish, Chef's Special Kung Pao Chicken, Lamb w/Cumin, Potstickers, Spicy Chicken Wings, Combo Fried Rice - New China Station
    Eggs On Eggs, Whole Roasted Bass - Band Of Bohemia
    Kalbi, Cacciucco Soondubu, Bay Scallop Crudo - Passerotto
    Buffalo Wings, Sausage & Chicken Gumbo - Toons Bar & Grill
    Rajas Empanada - Cafe Tola Loncheria
    Chef Magic Tofu, Sauteed Sliced Pork with Chili Pepper, Hot Pot spicy/hot, medium spicy with beef tongue and bullfrog and black fungus - Sizzling Pot King
    Won Ton Soup, Combination Egg Foo Young, Egg Rolls, Combination Fried Rice - House of Wah Sun
    Basil Chicken, Catfish Hor Mok - Rainbow Thai
    Umami Ramen - Oiistar
    Fried Dumplings, Steamed Dumplings, Crispy Chili Oil, Pork Banh Mi - Lost Lake
    Pork & Onion Pancake, Beef Tendon Noodle Soup, Pork & Chive Potstickers - Katy's Noodles
    Rib Tips, Crab Rangoon, Smoked Cauliflower - Old Habits @ Ludlow Liquors
    Piri Piri Chicken, Minchi Hash, Green Curry Mussels - Fat Rice
    Mandoo, Seafood Pajeoun, Bulgogi, Banchan - San Soo Gab San
    Sausage, Pepperoni and Jalapeno Pizza - Barnaby's of Northbrook
    Hot & Sour Soup, Potstickers, Moo Shu Lamb - Hong Hua
    Meatballs, Lox, Chicken Liver Mousse, Chicken Parm Sandwich - Frunchroom
    Tasting Menu - Cellar Door Provisions
    Braised Oxtails - TropiCuba
    Cheese Curds, Wings, Taco, Tostada Nachos - The Moonlighter
    Aguadito, Chicken - D'Candela
    Pork & Shrimp Dumplings (small) - Joong Boo Chicago
    Chasshu Ramen, Gyoza, Karaage Wings - Ronin's Spoon
    Chicken Fried Chicken, Catfish Po Boy, Burger, Coppa de Puerco - Dove's Lucheonette
    Crispy Chickpeas, Fried Pickle Chips - The Violet Hour
    5 Pintxos, Cantabrian Nduja & Pickled Egg, Sausage-stuffed Piquillos w/Manchego Mornay, Huevos Diablos w/Boquerones, Lemon Aïoli - Bar Biscay
    Fluke Crudo, Crispy Cauliflower (serrano-poblano hot sauce), Charred & Chilled Broccoli (garlic chips, pickled chilies, spicy peanut sauce), Crispy Rock Shrimp (broccoli, cherry bomb sauce) - Fort Willow
    Beef Koubideh, Chicken Koubideh, Shish Tawook, Dill Rice, Hummus, Chicken-Lentil Soup, Vegetarian Okra - Kabobi
    55-day aged Porterhouse, Roasted Ramps - Boeufhaus
    Beefy Boy, Rib Tips, Lumpia, Frensch Fries - Old Habits @ Ludlow Liquors
    Italian Sub w/extra meat & imported provolone - Bari
    Tonkotsu Ramen-full spice - High Five Ramen
    Sausage, Pepperoni, Onion, Jalapeno Pizza - Barnaby's of Northbrook
    Beef Empanadas, Chicken, Aguadito - D'Candela
    Umami Ramen - Oiistar
    Salsa, Tacos: Carne Asada, Al Pastor & Lengua - Carniceria Guanajuato #3
    Empanadas: Green Chile Pork, Pinto & Cheese, Rajas - Cafe Tola Loncheria
    Whole Chicken & Chamomile, Maple Poached Salmon, Anson Mills Grits, Aged Cheddar Rillettes, Buttered Pipe Pasta & Clams, Wedge Salad, Rohan Duck Platter, Smoked Oysters, Cookies & Milk - Roister
    Grilled Pork Neck Salad, Som Tum (Thai style), Nor Noom, Thai Wings, Northern Larb Fried Rice - Aroy Thai
    Fried Cheese Curds, Chili Cheese Fries - The Moonlighter
    Salsas, Pambazo Asada, Chilaquiles Verdes Con Huevo, - El Habanero
    Caesar Salad, Fish Taco, California Street Corn - Lonesome Rose
    Leafy Green Salad, Wild Boar Ragout - Split Rail
    Assorted Tamales - Yvolina's Tamales
    Cumin Pork Ribs - Sze Chuan Cuisine
    Handmade Bell Dumplings - A Place By Damao
    Chilaquiles Rojos, Carne En Su Jugo - Chavas Original
    Oimen Ramen - Oiistar

    Now, can someone please bring me a Topo Chico? :lol:

    Gardening is a bloodsport --Meghan Kleeman

    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 #8 - January 15th, 2019, 9:26 pm
    Post #8 - January 15th, 2019, 9:26 pm Post #8 - January 15th, 2019, 9:26 pm
    Ronnie, I gotta ask, with all due respect... How did you make this list? Surely not from memory! Do you write down (or take pictures of) everything you eat at every meal?

    I have enough trouble trying to identify and name each of the dishes when posting here about a single meal! And if it's more than a few days later, it's even tougher!

    Props to you!
  • Post #9 - January 16th, 2019, 11:03 am
    Post #9 - January 16th, 2019, 11:03 am Post #9 - January 16th, 2019, 11:03 am
    Im curious too! Holy crap what a list.

    I have a beer app called untappd that keeps track of all the beer I drank, what I thought of it and where I drank it. At the end of the year, they created "your year in beer" it was fun to see and examine the "analytics" like most frequent place you drank, your highest rated beers, etc.

    Do you have a "food app" or keep a paper food journal?
  • Post #10 - January 16th, 2019, 11:32 am
    Post #10 - January 16th, 2019, 11:32 am Post #10 - January 16th, 2019, 11:32 am
    Yeah, I just keep track as I go through the year, which is kind of fun to do. But the information is totally analog, so I can't do much with it other than make a long list, hehe. I do record dates and some other details, which I figured were irrelevant here. I also keep pretty accurate financial records, which essentially create a back-up. If I realize I've gone a while without adding anything to the list, it's easy to go back, review where I've eaten and add anything applicable to the list.

    But the compilation method is also why it's not really a 'best of' or ranked list. I don't really rate anything. It's either good enough to be on the list or it isn't. So, highlights in the truest sense.

    I lol'd when I saw that entry for DiPescara. I actually dislike just about everything about the place. But some members of my family hosted a Rosh Hashana dinner there, and the braised brisket was awesome -- way better than anything else I've ever eaten there -- so, onto the list it went. But if I were looking back from December, there's just no way I would have even remembered it. But that's how the brisket I had at a primarily fish restaurant, where it's served as a special maybe 2 or 3 days a year, made its way onto the list.

    Gardening is a bloodsport --Meghan Kleeman

    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 - January 16th, 2019, 2:20 pm
    Post #11 - January 16th, 2019, 2:20 pm Post #11 - January 16th, 2019, 2:20 pm
    Thanks for the explanation.

    ronnie_suburban wrote:I lol'd when I saw that entry for DiPescara. I actually dislike just about everything about the place. But some members of my family hosted a Rosh Hashana dinner there, and the braised brisket was awesome -- way better than anything else I've ever eaten there -- so, onto the list it went.

    FWIW, I absolutely love their miso-glazed Chilean sea bass. (a.k.a. Patagonian toothfish)
  • Post #12 - January 17th, 2019, 7:05 pm
    Post #12 - January 17th, 2019, 7:05 pm Post #12 - January 17th, 2019, 7:05 pm
    Some of my favorite things from the past year of dining in Chicago (though I'm sure some are repeats from prior years):

    Pizzeria Bebu - maybe my current favorite pizza in chicago, but also some of the best salads around (and I usually hate salads) and great people too.

    Akahoshi Ramen - This is Mike Satinover's ramen pop-up and it is hands down the best ramen in Chicago and there really isn't a close second. Follow him on Instagram and get yourself tickets.

    Baker Miller - They offered a corned beef hand pie for St. Patrick's Day that blew me away. A crisp, flaky, buttery crust with a delicious filling. It rivaled some of the best pies I've had at Pleasant House.

    Band of Bohemia - patty melt . . . one of the best burgers I've ever tasted. And at the same brunch, a cheesecake dessert with fermented banana, macadamia crumble, coconut sorbet and finger lime is one of the best desserts I've ever had.

    Passerotto - many delicious items, but the one that really stood out was the lamb tartare.

    Lost Larson - that cardamom bun might be the most perfect breakfast pastry. Their laminated, flaky cinnamon roll is pretty spectacular too.

    Pacific Standard Time - most everything was very good but for me the two big hits were the ahi tuna with green chickpea hummus and the roasted black cod with fennel purée, marinated mushrooms and jalapeño.

    Peppercorns Kitchen in Evanston - another meal with many hits but a few standouts include the ox tendon and maw, wood ear mushroom salad, and frog dry hot pot.

    HaiSous - I'm a big fan of much of their menu, but I cannot visit without ordering their chicken wings and the chopped clams with Thai basil, lime juice, roasted peanuts & grilled rice cracker. Their brunch pastries are phenomenal too.

    Interurban Boathouse - the Japanese vegetable pancake. Not quite okonomiyaki but so damn good.

    Bistro Campagne - I had kind of lost faith in Bistro Campagne but the current kitchen is doing really well and the mac & cheese and potato chip vichyssoise I enjoyed there this past summer were fantastic. And you really can't beat their outdoor dining area.

    Floriole - their Parisian sandwich - ham, swiss cheese, mustard and butter. I could eat this sandwich just about every day. Sandwiches don't need to be fancy and dramatic to be perfect.

    Bixi Beer - the flaky scallion pancake with egg.

    Pleasant House Pub - tomatillo pie and scotch egg . . . though almost everything I ever eat at Pleasant House will make it onto my year's best eats.

    Bang Bang Pie - chicken pot pie, and with a bottom crust! This is a great version of one of my favorite comfort foods.

    Fat Rice - so much greatness, but the highlight was the sardines served in a can with Chinese mustard, pickles and served with nori for wrapping.

    Immm Rice & Beyond - khao soi, maybe the best version in the city, but there's a lot I like here.

    Tre Kronor - julbord - what could possibly be wrong with eating so many varieties of herring, Swedish Christmas bread and celebrating the holidays!

    Aroy - always great but the LTH holiday dinner might have been my favorite meal ever there.

    Jin Thai - one of my favorite Thai dishes is gai yang, roast chicken, and nobody in town comes close to this version.

    Rainbow Thai - sausage, catfish curry custard, naem khao tod and the crispy pad see ew, the latter a dish I will only order at Rainbow because they do it so perfectly.

    Red Hot Ranch - Double RHR burger & fries (need this once a month).

    Bad Apple - burger & beer & some of the best service around (need this once a month).

    Roots Pizza - the Manny's pastrami reuben pizza (a match made in heaven and created by yours truly) . . . exactly what I hoped it would be.

    Sparrow coffee - the liege waffle . . . twice as good as the next best one I've tasted.
  • Post #13 - January 19th, 2019, 7:10 pm
    Post #13 - January 19th, 2019, 7:10 pm Post #13 - January 19th, 2019, 7:10 pm
    Epic list Ronnie. Well done, trencherman (but then I wouldn't expect anything less).
    "In pursuit of joys untasted"
    from Giuseppe Verdi's La Traviata