I’m a fairly cheap guy but for some odd reason I indulge in food. Not always. I’m generally cheap with food also. But I like food, and depending on the circumstance, am willing to pay a lot for good food.
I think the trip was a successful one food wise. We had our Chicago hot dogs, which Jieun and I both love. Tried an Italian beef sandwich, little too soggy for my taste. Chicago deep dish pizza – good stuff. One jewel – the last day we had sandwiches from Potbelly’s. Delicious. They load tons of meat on bread, toast it (in a way better than Quiznos) and add many tasty condiments (including pickled carrots – interesting), all for $3.79 a sandwich. I dunno, I’m a fan.
The only thing I would like to have tried is a good Chicago steakhouse. But whatever, I’m pretty happy.
So one night we ate at Charlie Trotter’s, which is sort of a foodie mecca. My opinion: great food but too expensive. I’m glad I went but don’t think I’ll ever go again. I had read all these reviews online that warned about the snooty service but our server was actually quite personable and down to earth, while still knowledgeable and attentive. It was a good time.
In terms of the food I liked the seafood courses better than the meat. In particular we loved this one dish, a skate terrine with caviar, mussels and clams, in a tomato broth with saffron infusion. I have no idea what either a terrine or infusion is, but it was delicious. The amuse gueule (an ahi dish), and this other hamachi dish were also quite good.
Their dessert philosophy is also interesting. It’s a prix fixe meal but the desserts aren’t fixed – they essentially keep bringing you different desserts until you want to stop. And the way they do it is, they apparently just make random desserts in the kitchen and the staff brings out whatever’s ready. Kind of interesting. We ended up sharing 6 desserts, in addition to this sorbet.
Also interesting I thought were some bold combinations in the meal. So like, after the meat courses they brought out this pineapple and ginger sorbet. Again, delicious, the strong ginger added an interesting kick to the sweet-tart pineapple. The bold part is, they also added spices like thyme, pepper and sea salt, and topped it off with olive oil (dunno what to call it but ultra virgin olive oil – it’s $100 a bottle). Bold. But it worked, I thought.
Another bold thing that worked – they topped a flan with goat cheese. It was actually delicious. And this rice pudding in a chilled peach soup – incredible. This and the tomato broth thing were similar in that the broth/soup was relatively simple but absolutely delicious.
Other things didn’t work. Only one I can remember was one dessert, I’m going to say it was chocolatey with a sorbet, included a cilantro sauce. It just clashed in a weird way. But yeah, definitely interesting.
Anyway, yeah, delicious meal, but too much money. I dunno, I think I liked better the Lobster Iron Chef meal at Masa’s. And I dunno, I don’t think the meal we had at Julia’s Kitchen in Napa was that much worse, and it was way less expensive. So, glad we went, doubt we’ll ever go again.
You know, come to think of it, seafood seems to make a greater impression on me in general. Like here. Ron Siegel’s lobster dishes. I love the origami sea bass and black pepper mussels at Straits Cafe. Can’t really think of a meat dish that made that kind of impression.
Not that anyone cares.