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 – 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 – 1/27/17 – Roister and the Loyalist

Roister
When I finally get caught up on my blog I may need to stop the Roister posts as there will be too many.  I feel guilty typing it but we may have had the whole menu x2 (some photos missing) plus a few off-the-menu extras (thank you Chef!).  My previous go-to lunch spots are out the window.



Hushpuppies, corn crema, sour corn, manchego


Hushpuppies, corn crema, sour corn, manchego

Roasted beets, endive tangerine, blue cheese

Chicken noodle soup, mirepoix, meatball, soft cooked egg

Smoked oysters, garlic butter, breadcrumbs

Anson mills grits, key west pink shrimp, crab curry, thai basil

Fried chicken sandwich, sunchoke hot sauce, chamomile mayo

Biscuits and gravy, hearth roasted eggs, green tomato ragout, swiss

Loyalist
Love the people, service, and food.  But I must admit that I feel the burger was overhyped.  Perhaps the fault of my Facebook friends and not the burger.


Winter squash, burrata, pickled honeycrisp

The Loyalist cheeseburger & fries

Apple upside-down cake, sunflower anglaise, creme fraiche

Chicago – 12/2/16 – Oriole

I am so far behind that since this dinner there have been several additional glowing reviews of Oriole.  There isn’t much I can add to those so to sum it up, I concur and absolutely loved it.  Fantastic food, space, service and wine.  And while often overlooked , 2 amazing bread courses.

Golden Osetra Caviar, coconut dashi, lychee and sea grape

Langoustine spring roll with shio kombu, calamansi and mint

Kampachi nigiri with yuzu kosho and genmai

Beef tendon puffed with wagyu tartare and shaved matsutake

Beausoleil oyster, iberico consomme and smoked finger lime

Cardinal prawn, iberico lardo, meyer lemon and fennel


Jamon iberico de bellota, black walnut, egg yolk and campo de montalban

Sea urchin emulsion with bay scallop, cauliflower and anise hyssop

Capellini, white alba truffle, rye berry and yeast

Sourdough, cultured butter, caraway and local grains

Japanese A5 wagyu, charred little gem, furikake and sesame leaf

Lemon tea sorbet with hibiscus, asian pear and bitter greens

Croissant, raclette, apple butter and cardamom

Pistachio gelato with elderflower and puffed rice

Mignardieses

Pie to go

Chicago – 9/17/16 – mfk and Next French Laundry

mfk.
Yet another fantastic brunch at mfk.  I am always baffled as to why this place is not packed at this time of day.  Chicago friends you really need to put it in regular rotation!

ceviche, poblano guacamole, squid ink tostada

shrimp and cucumber aguachile, jicama, avocado

chioggia beets, basil, aged goat cheese, orange yogurt

roasted and chilled cauliflower, almond, red onion, xato

pqm bread service, caramelized shallot butter, radishes

seafood fideous, toasted vermicelli, piperade, saffron

albondigas pork & veal, grana padano polenta, tomato jam

Next: French Laundry
Having the Next French Laundry menu to look forward to helped me to get past the letdown of my French Laundry meal a week before being over.  Its amazing that the dishes on this menu are 20 years old.  They are delicious and still completely relevant.  The French Laundry influenced dozens of chefs since it opened and fine dining has evolved in many ways.  I love the evolution but at the same time I would eat these dishes everyday if I could.  This was absolutely lovely and one of reasons I love Next for allowing me to experience what was before my time.

cornet of atlantic salmon

carrot soup

black trumpet mushroom soup

gulf shrimp and avocado salsa

blinis with peppers and bottarga

barbecue eel with sesame and yuzu

salmon chop

black truffle custard

oysters and pearls – sabayon of pearl tapioca with island creek oysters and golden osetra caviar

tomato salad – yellow tomato sorbet, basil infused oil and brioche crouton

agnolotti – butternut squash, quince and madras curry

pompano “amandine” – orzo, pole beans and preserved meyer lemon

atlantic cod – clam chowder, celery and bacon

sweet butter poached lobster – pommes maxim, melted leeks and beet essence

five-spiced lobster – port poached figs and moulard duck foie gras

“roulade” of duck breast – creamed white corn, huckleberries and chanterelle mushrooms

rabbit “saddle” – applewood smoked bacon with pruneaux d’agen, caramelized fennel and fennel oil

“pot au feu” – beef short rib with root vegetables and sauteed bone marrow

lamb – thyme, tarragon and dried beans

chaource – red plums, chive oil and lolla rossa

roquefort – trifle with french butter pear relish

“verjus” sorbet – peach butter and mint infused oil

“coffee and donuts” – cappuccino semifreddo with cinnamon sugar donuts

mignardises

Chicago – 9/16/16 – Smyth

The dining room at Smyth is one of my favorites of the year.  Perfectly informal is the best description that I can come up.  It is inviting in the same way Noma felt to me, as if you are at a dinner party hosted by a friend with an amazing house and decorator.  The highlights for me were the brioche donut of sorts fried in beef fat (extras should be offered for a supplement…please?) and the outstanding dessert of egg yolk soaked in salted licorice with yogurt meringue.  I’m looking forward to checking out the Loyalist downstairs later this month!

The farm potato

Tomato ice, seaweed, oyster

Smoked & dried beet with scallop

A salad of duck and herbs with roasted squid

Dungeness crab & foie gras with scrambled kani miso

Aged carrot roasted

beef and brioche

Squab, pineapple sage, grapes and peas

Slow cooked saddle of lamb with kelp marmite

Milk chocolate, huckleberries, and preserved shiitake mushroom

Sage honey tart

Egg yolk soaked in salted licorice with yogurt meringue

Frozen tomato mousse, noyaux, and spicy flowers

Chicago – 9/15/16 – Au Cheval and Roister

Au Cheval
Of course now that United’s fares from EWR to ORD have been cut in half there is talk of Au Cheval coming to New York.  This burger was my reward for the dozens and dozens of trips I have made to Chicago, especially those early morning flights to be there by 11am when it opens for lunch.

Roister
A seat at the hearth at Roister may be my new favorite place in Chicago.  In a way the plating is deceiving as some of these dishes are dark and are not necessarily made for today’s instagram age.  And while looks can be deceiving, menu descriptions can be as well.  Oysters are one of the very few foods that I genuinely dislike.  I have been trying to train myself to like them for 2 years now but was set back by an unfortunate episode of food poisoning.  When Chef Brochu kindly sent out a gift of the smoked oysters my stomach sank.  I was dining with my mother, the only person I know who dislikes oysters more than I do, and who would be of no help in eating these.  I made her try one and she admitted it wasn’t bad at all (which is a very high compliment).   I happily ate the rest as they were completely delicious.  I love having my mind changed about an ingredient.  The fries I likely would not have ordered myself as bonito and tofu are not ingredients I particularly enjoy but a friend ordered them on a previous visit and I had to have them again. Then there is the chicken that I still think about.  The leftovers are the first thing I have ever taken in a doggie bag from any meal while traveling.  I cleaned out half of the hotel mini bar and we ate the rest for breakfast. It may have been even better.

Tomato bread – mayo, shallot, pecan oil

Aged cheddar rillettes – truffle, cauliflower, fry bread

Chow chow mein – aged cabbage, noodles, relish

Cucumber – melon, smoked creme fraiche

Smoked oysters – garlic butter, breadcrumbs

Yukon fries – soy dusted, bonito flakes, tofu mayo

Whole chicken & chamomile – braised, poached, fried with sunchokes

Hushpuppies – corn crema, sour corn, manchego