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)

Chicago – 2/17/17 – Bad Hunter and elske

Bad Hunter

I had heard mixed reviews of Bad Hunter But I’m very glad that I decided to check it out.  For lunch I absolutely love the menu. Everything was fantastic and I am sure it is even better in the summer with the patio open.


carrots & fennel – pistachio-green Chile pesto, avocado cream, queso fresco

smoked salmon tartine – Meyer lemon creme fraiche, celery root, vadouvan


Elske

I hope that the west loop does not soon run out of real estate with the number of restaurants continuing to open there. Elske is yet another fantastic addition and if the duck liver tart was on the a la carte menu it would be very dangerous.

tea of lightly smoked fruits and vegetables

creamed parsnip with osetra caviar

duck liver tart with buckwheat and salted ramps

leeks vinaigrette with toasted oats, olives and blue mound cheddar

confit bass with white beans, charred squash broth and shaved shiitakes

Our additions to the tasting menu which unfortunately I do not have descriptions of


grilled leg of lamb with broccoli, pickled ramps and butter fried almonds

citrus sundae with toasted milk, barley malt caramel and satsuma

Chicago – 1/29/17 – the Bristol

The Bristol is one of the first places I dined at when I started making frequent trips to Chicago many years ago.  Happily it is still as good as it was back then and has a really excellent brunch.  Just as the raviolo is a must-order at dinner, do not miss the cinnamon roll at brunch.  It’s as dangerous as the Moscow mules.