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My recent foodie trip to Chicago - review

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I just got back from 3 short days in Chicago. I have to say I was quite impressed with the city, the people, and the food. All in all, a fantastic place to visit or reside.

We started our trip off with the Primehouse American Dim Sum Brunch. There were definitely high and low points over the course of the meal. We opted for the $10 AYCD mimosas as our server promised a buzz by 1:30, and he delivered said promise. I barely saw the bottom of the glass. The high points of the meal were the cooked to order selections, where the low were the room temp cart selections. The High: Fantastic dry aged corned beef with poached egg and hollandaise – the best course of all. Buttermilk pancakes with a luscious interior and a light ‘crisp’ exterior. Pear maple syrup was a nice touch. Excellent. Mac & cheese & cheese. Rich, cheesy and delicious. Too bad we were near full at this point. Chicken fried steak with sausage gravy – I’ve never had chicken fried steak before, but will definitely have again. Dessert – although we were full, we did have the cheesecake lollipops – yum. The Low: fishy – been sitting for a while - calamari which appeared to be served ceviche style? Angry shrimp cocktail. I think the only angry thing about this shrimp is the way it had me feeling after I ate it – bland and poorly executed. Kobe beef carpaccio served on a crisp toast. I tasted toast, but no beef. It was overpowered unfortunately. Ceaser salad…. Not sure how this fit in to the menu. Soggy lettuce. Steak au Poivre w/ creamed spinach….. steak was awful, cooked well done, and chewy. I believe it may have been poached… to death. The bamboo basket of fried goodies as well as the balance of the surf and turf were good, not great. All in all, it was a decent start. Not something I would highly recommend, but if you are looking to get stuffed – go for it. I think they’re cooked to order menu would be much better. The all you can drink aspect was a nice touch!

Brunch had us full until quite late. We opted for Quartino Ristorante. I had a Goose Island Honkers Ale. Very good. We both had thin crust pizzas. The toppings were nice and plentiful, and the pizza had a nice crisp crust.

Feeling so full, we had fruit for breakfast, and went to Askenaz Deli for a Rueben sandwich at lunch. Wow. Fantastic. I highly recommend. I have been searching for good Jewish deli’s in my hood since I got home. The house made pastrami was excellent. Nice fresh rye, and tasty sauerkraut – this from a guy who despises jarred sauerkraut! A long walk brought us to Bacino’s Pizza for spinach and cheese stuffed pizza. It was very good, but I think I would have preferred some sausage in there. Both of these places were visited on the “Chicago Food Planet” food tour. A great tour and good value!

We chose for The Publican for dinner. It’s a good thing there is no Publican in Toronto…. I would be there all of the time. I loved the room, the concept, and the food. I had the Two Brothers – Cane and Ebel ale. It was delicious, full of flavor and a nice delicate hoppy bite. Unfortunately once again, not available in Toronto:( For the meal, we shared the smoked trout, served with ham, pickled onion, arugula and fried egg on rye toast? I have to say, I wasn’t too sold on the idea of this course with the egg, but I decided to break the yolk and dive in. Mmm…. My mouth is watering just thinking about it. Nice light smoky flavor. The pickled onion and arugula added a very welcomed acidic and peppery note. Everything about this dish worked for us. We decided on the artichoke and bresaola for the veg. It leaned more towards a salad than a veg. Still tasty. For the meat, I was hoping for the pork belly, but they were unfortunately sold out. We chose the country pork ribs instead. We were expecting a classic ‘rib’ type serving, but delicious meaty chops arrived. It was more of a bone in rib chop that what I would consider ‘ribs’. Regardless, they were delectable. Mouth still watering.

Overall, we were very happy with our itinerary, and all of the food we ate. You guys have a great city!

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  1. Need to try Quartino's after your review. Most of the other Goose island brews are high quality too. The IPA especially. Glad you visited.

    3 Replies
    1. re: Alan N

      The pizza was good but nothing to rave about. I wasn't a big fan of the cheese. I can't comment on the rest of the menu.

      1. re: Derksen

        Quartino's is one of my main go-to places in the area largely because of its quality/value/location/ambience quotient. That being said, there are better places for pizza and pasta in Chicago and subs.

        1. re: jbw

          It would have been nice to try the rest of the menu. Unfortunately, David Burke's brunch used up all available space. I did go to Quartino's on a rec from good source & it was good value for what we ate.

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