What were your top 5 meals of 2007?
As I think about the great meals I had this year, I think I may have had some my finest dinners ever in 2007. And since we are getting close to the end of the year, I thought this would be a great time to reflect on some of our best meals in the from of top 5 lists.
My top 5 (most memorable) meals this year:
5) Schwartz's deli (Montreal)
4) Bacci's Italian (Waukegan)
3) Bella Bacino's deep dish pizza
2) Joe's Stone Crab
and drum-roll please!
1) Hugo's Frog Bar
My worst meals (or least my biggest letdowns) would have to include Toplobompo, The Italian Village & a really dumpy Waukegan Taco stand called El Taco Parado that went straight into a trash can.
Ya know, all my friends really think I'm a food snob, but I really am not. I just can't stand it when you go to a restaurant and they use low quality ingredients, or in some other way you can tell that the cooks or chefs simply do not give a rat's patoot about what they are serving. That being said, my friends are ALWAYS surprised when I tell them some of my favorite spots to eat because a lot of them are dives. Sure, I do like going to fancy places that serve good food, but there seems to be far more holes in the wall that serve really good food as well in this city.
My bestest meals including value:
5. Tac Quick:
fried baby bok choy, cucmber salad, chive dumplings, panang curry.
Nothing too out of the norm, but EASILY 5 stars for each dish. Out the door tax/tip for under 40.00 and have had nothing come anywhere close since.
4. Burrito from Las Asadas
3. Burrito from Las Asadas
2. Brothers Sushi in Los Angeles. Um, can you say FRESH? Once you've had fresh mackerel, you can understand why it's as popular a fish as it is on the island nations of the world. As was explained to me one time, Mackerel breaks down FAR quicker than most fish which is why it is not on a lot of menus in the states. The chef at Brother's asked where I was from. He then told me that I have never had fresh good mackerel, and threw a piece at me gratis. Good, fresh, mackerel is right up there with good yellowtail. I had just never had it before at the sushi spots in Chicago. I have since only had a good piece of saba at that pricey sushi place in arlington heights. It is a rarity in Chicago. I loved that mackerel. </craving>
1A. Sol De Mexico.
Let's just say that Frontera is almost an afterthought for me these days...And by using the term "almost," I am just being nice.
1B. Sorry, it's a tie. I was introduced to Khan's BBQ early this year, and I cannot for the life of me shake the craving for Khan's grilled or broasted chicken. Amazing.
#1 Avenues - outstanding all around.
#2 Medusa in Lake Geneva WI - perhaps I was so impressed because I had no expectations, but the Chefs Choice is the one meal I keep longing for - a huge platter for two loaded with vegetables, potatoes and an amazing mix of strip steak, two home made sausages, fish, scallops, and grilled shrimp.
#3 Stop 50 Pizza in Michiana Michigan - the best wood fire pizza I have had. Coal Fire still on the to do list.
#4 Whenever I run out of dinner ideas, my standby has been Coco Pazzo and I have never had a bad meal there. Some better than others, but always good, so it deserves note here.
#5 May Street Market. Not sure why I don't get over there more often. Most memorable meal was the Maytag Blue Cheese Cheesecake appetizer and Venison entree.
Great thread but difficult to really address. On some days having a great deep dish pizza hits all of the spots, especially at Dues or Lou Malnatis, other days a great Thai or Japanese or Chinese meal hits all of the spots and on other days a wonderful Turkish or mid-eastern meal brings great joy. However, if I had to list memorable meals in 2007 here is a quick list:
5. Erba on Lincoln
4. Tank Sushi on Lincoln
3. Hole in the Wall in Northbrook (always great)
2. Boka - fabulous each time we went there
1. Aliniea - no question on this one although we know that this restaurant is not for everyone
Unlike some others we did have a wonderful meal and great service at Aigre Doux recently and in talking to the owner he did indicate that service had been a problem and he hoped that he had smoothed that out.
As to the original post here, we have eaten at Schwart's Deli in Montreal and it was great. And Baccis Tratoria in Waukegan is great. We also had a great meal in Rancho Sante Fe this summer but I will keep the list to the Chicago area. Let us do this more often. Don
Folks, our goal here for this board is to share tips on great LOCAL chow. Please restrict your answers to restaurants that can be found in the Chicago area. If you'd you'd like to discuss your overall best meals of 2007, please start a new thread on the General Chowhounding Topics board. Thanks.
5) Cafe Iberico--afternoon at the bar. Had a plate of sizzling clams in garlic, parsley and olive oil with a glass of Albarino, the special which was suckling pig cooked to perfection with a glass of Tempranillo from Navarra, then flan and a glass of Pedro Ximenez. The whole thing with tip set me back about $35!
4) Harold's Fried Chicken--1/2 mixed dinner swimming in hot sauce--multiple times throughout the year.
3) Chicago Chop House--Clams Casino, Bone-In Strip w/ Creamed Spinach
2) Riccardo Trattoria--Tuna Carpaccion followed by absolutely perfect Lobster & Porcini Rissoto
1) North Pond Cafe--Did the tasting menu with wine pairings
Plans for first visit to Alinea this Winter.
Five of my top ten meals in 2007 were in the Chicago area:
1. Tallgrass (Lockport IL) - best meal of the year (see www.chowhound.com/topics/403032
)2. Avenues (Chicago IL)
3. one sixtyblue (Chicago IL)
8. Aigre Doux (Chicago IL)
10. Vie (Western Springs IL)
It was a great year for dining; I had wonderful meals at North Pond and Oceanique, too, but they couldn't crack the top ten.
It's also worth noting that I went to Michael in Winnetka a couple of weeks before 2006 ended, and it was terrific, and would have made the top five for 2007 if it had taken place a few weeks later.
Worst meals were at two restaurants on the same block, Gio and Dave's Italian Kitchen, in Evanston.
Most overrated: TAC Quick, Smoque, Sol de Mexico, Burt's Place, Quince
Due to a chronic lack of money last year, my choices are mainly cheap.
1. Cafe Iberico. I love this place, but we hit a night when everything was outstanding. I had a platter of fat grilled oysters on toast rounds with a braised leek base and some sort of delicious sauce drizzled over them, followed by a bowl of grilled squid in squid ink pasta that actually tasted like something special.
2. Spoon Thai. Too many dishes to remember now, although the banana blossom salad was far different than I expected, but delicious.
3. Coco Pazzo. It was a large group and they made a huge platter of appetizers for each table. I had perfectly cooked lamb for the main course.
4. Banh mi from Pho 777, eaten at an outdoor ? and the Mysterians concert in Evanston. We got about 10 of them to split between four people and they taste even better outdoors. We were the envy of all the people around us.
5. Emelio's to celebrate my daughter's college scholarship. We had just about everything, but the octopus really shone. Points off for a mediocre paella.