Chicago – 8/26/17 – Proxi

Yet another fantastic addition to the west loop.  Those tempura elotes alone are worth a visit.

tempura elotes

salad of sugar snap peas and carrots, yuzu kosho, sesame, miso brûlée

shaved zucchini, sheep’s milk feta, pine nuts, mint

baby octopus, red chermoula, fava bean hummus

black pepper pork, butter lettuce, peanuts, apple, mint

merguez sausage, eggplant aioli, almonds, grapes, radish

Chicago – 8/25/17 – Roister and Alinea

Roister
If you haven’t been to Roister and live in Chicago we probably can’t be friends. Always excellent and dishes that are so much better than they read on the menu. The spicy cucumber salad I could easily eat once a day forever. And those grits may not look like much…but the scallop XO….amazing. Some others told me that the foie gras toast was too sweet. But as dessert is is perfect and evoked so many amazing childhood cinnamon toast memories.

anson mills grits, scallop XO, egg yolk sauce, parmesan

avocado toast, english muffins grapefruit, everything butter

spicy cucumber salad, pineapple-fish sauce dressing, lots of herbs

Foie gras, cinnamon toast, strawberry jam

Alinea
Still my favorite restaurant a decade later.  Somehow I am missing a few photos because I was enjoying myself too much to be bothered.  Always an an amazing experience and always something new that is a complete surprise.  On this visit, the spud.  Perhaps not the prettiest dish in the era of instagram (despite best efforts which gave me a good laugh) but absolutely delicious.

spear | avocado, coriander

paper | langoustine, bouillabaisse, olive oil

crunch | rouille, nori

ink | olive, artichoke

garden | orange, sherry, tomato

black bass, shellfish, kuzu
kaffir lime, tropical fruit
coconut
chicken, rice



steam | hamachi, rosemary, kombu

glass | blueberry, lapsing soughing, maitake

spud | truffle, midwest dairy


toast | gruyere, black truffle, pumpernickel

smoke | veal cheek, pineapple, hearts of palm

rock | sweet potato, chocolate, miso

nostalgia | bubblegum, candy bar

Chicago – 5/13/17 – Next Hollywood 

Hollywood was absolutely the most fun Next menu.  The presentations were all fantastic and perhaps too much fun as I have never had so many missing photos.


Movie Quotes – Gone with the “Caviar”

Popcorn – meyer lemon, fennel, guanciale

The Breakfast Club – bento box, sandwich, soup, pixie stick


Cool Hand Luke – trout roe, kiwi, young coconut, turnip


The Wizard of Oz – fave bean, golden raisin, romanesco

20,000 Leagues Under the Sea – octopus & scallop



Blade Runner – noodles, duck, pickled ginger

Jurassic Park – madeira, jambo, brioche

Star Wars – frog, Ethopian spices, yellow split pea


Ratatouille – byaldi

The Godfather – taro root, ricotta, olive

Horror – smoked pork neck, beet, garlic

Pulp Fiction – bulgogi big kahuna burger


Honey, I Shrunk the Kids – foie gras, chamomile, sunflower


Marie Antoinette – rhubarb, raspberry, black tea

Missing:  “Life is Like a Box of….” and Mary Poppins

Chicago – 5/12/17 – Frontera Grill and Maple & Ash

Frontera Grill
It has been ages since I have been to Frontera Grill as I tend to default to XOCO on most visits to Chicago.  I must admit that I prefer the XOCO guacamole but still delicious.





Maple & Ash

Maple & Ash is certainly a scene especially on a weekend evening.  It makes for entertaining people watching and may give the impression that the food isn’t serious but I was very pleasantly surprised as it was absolutely delicious.  I’m not sure what the girls in the bondage dresses and crop tops are possibly eating but I’m sure their dates are enjoying eating double.  Thank you to the extraordinary Chris Gerber for knowing what I should have ordered.  In all of my trips to Chicago this was the first time I took food ‘home’ and admittedly ate the rest of my NY Strip with my fingers for breakfast along with the remainder of the phenomenal coconut cream pie out of the hotel mini fridge.


chilled louisiana white prawns

fire roasted alaskan king crab

maple & ash wedge

NY strip

potatoes

coconut creme pie

Chicago – 2/24/17 – Au Cheval, Milk Room, and Quiote

Au Cheval
Twice in a week and I don’t live in Chicago. I think I have a problem!

Milk Room
I had been wanting to check out Milk Room, coffee bar by day/spirits by night, since it opened but never planned far enough in advance for a reservation. While perhaps cost prohibitive to visit with any regularity, anyone who appreciates the unique and hard-to-find should love Milk Bar.  And with only a few seats you will get plenty of time to chat spirits with the knowledgeable staff.


Quixote
Yet another excellent addition to the Chicago dining scene for 2017.  We enjoyed some tasty mezcal based cocktails in the basement bar before dinner which is worth going early or staying late to visit.  The avocado salad may not look like much but I could eat it everyday and I somehow forgot how much I enjoyed this bone marrow dish until going though the photos.  Thank you for the excellent hospitality Daniel D!

quesillo y jamon – country ham, queso Oaxaca, escabeche

aguachile – hamachi, pomegranate, walnut, habanero, mint

avocado salad – brussel sprouts, lemon, tomatillo, quinoa

pork collar – pasilla, pinto beans, gem lettuce

bone marrow – avocado, salsa macha, sourdough

chorizo verde – potato, raisin, poblano

Chicago – 2/18/17 – Next Ancient Rome

I admittedly was prepared to dislike this menu based on the report of a dear friend whose visit predated mine.  There have been a few Next menus that have been somewhat polarizing and this seems to be one of them.  My expectations were greatly exceeded and I found myself enjoying the theme much more than I thought I would.  With the Roman Cookery book it all made more sense.  And it did not hurt to be dining with the best man in my life, my dad, who is still up on his Latin.


vinum ex atro candidum facies (honey, cabbage, apple, grape)

herbal rusticae (melon, herbs, liquamen)

cuminatum in ostrea et conchylia (kamut pancake, oyster, pomegranate)
isicia ex sphondylis (mussels, saffron, lardo)
patinam de rosis (rose, white asparagus, rosemary)
aliter tubera elixas et asperso sale gusti de cucurbitis (beets, black truffle, chicken skin)


pisam coques (smoked mascarpone, beans, mackerel)

panem (beef fat, poppy & fennel seed)

isicia de sculls vel de cammeris amplis (shrimp, olives, walnut)

aliter porros (leek, cabbage, butternut squash)

pullus farsilis (quali, spelt, lovage)

embalm in cervinam assam (venison, chestnut, laurel)

sales conduits ad multa (oxtail, turnip, horseradish)

aliter car duos (artichoke, carob, citrus)

gaius octavos gustan de praecoquis (goat cheese, honey, fennel)

domum felix (mastic, taffy, lavender)