Monday, May 07, 2007

I'm hungry

Now this is tasty.

I got tagged by Johnny Yen, so now you can add me to this latest interwebs rage. I'll let this copy/pasted text explain how it works:

1. Add a direct link to your post below the name of the person who tagged you.
Include the city/state and country you’re in.

Nicole (Sydney, Australia)
velverse (Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia)
LB (San Giovanni in Marignano, Italy)
Selba (Jakarta, Indonesia)
Olivia (London, England)
ML (Utah, USA)
Lotus (Toronto, Canada)
tanabata (Saitama, Japan)
Andi (Dallas [ish], Texas, United States)
Lulu (Chicago, Illinois, United States)
Chris (Boyne City, Michigan, United States)
AB (Cave Creek, Arizona, United States)
Johnny Yen (Chicago, Illinois, USA)
Bubs (Mt Prospect, Illinois, USA)

2. List out your top 5 favorite places to eat at your location.

3. Tag 5 other people (preferably from other countries/states) and let them know they’ve been tagged.

I was telling Johnny that I wish I'd been tagged like this about 20 years ago, because I would have had a lot more interesting places to list. Ask me about my favorite places to eat in New Orleans, or Las Vegas or San Antonio or the Florida Keys, and I could give you a few good answers; it's just that now we don't go out to eat all that much. We love food, but we get more pleasure out of cooking with our family than we do from dining out. I do have a few places I can mention. Here goes...if you ever find yourself in the dining Sahara that is the northwest suburbs, you should be able to strap on a good feedbag at these spots:

1) Sushi Ai
This is an unexpected treat on Euclid Avenue in Palatine. The place is tucked, unassumingly, into a strip mall, next to a Dominicks. The owners were involved with Starfish in Chicago, though, and once you walk inside the vibe is urban--warm wood, cool design and techno music. The food is outstanding and cheaper than you'd pay at the same place in a hipster neighborhood in Chicago. The staff is really nice.

2) Wholly Frijoles
Now this is a place I'm reluctant to even mention. The food is spectacular, it's in a tiny space, they don't take reservations and it's nearly always packed. It's on Touhy Avenue in Lincolnwood. Outside of Rosario's in San Antonio this is the best Mexican food I've ever had. They guy who owns it used to be a chef at the Pump Room. This time of year you can see people sitting outside in white plastic lawn chairs waiting to get in. It's BYOB, so if you grab a six pack you can have a beer or two while you wait and then drink the rest with dinner.

3) Gail's Carriage Inn
My favorite breakfast place. We found it when we first moved out here, and it's a sentimental choice; still, the food is great. They recently moved to an address on Elmhurst Road in Des Plaines (a casualty of Mount Prospect's "downtown" redevelopment) but I'm happy to report the food is at least as good as before, maybe better. Try a "spuds" omelette totally encased in hash browns.

4) Alt Thai
Another unexpected gem. This is in Arlington Heights in one of those suburban commercial developments that's meant to look like (and usually fails to look like) a city environment. You'll smell this place from a half block away as you walk up--competing aromas of charcoal, cilantro, Thai curries and hints of fish sauce and coffee. It's a cool space inside, and it's surprisingly inexpensive.

5) La Tasca
I remember eating at some tapas restaurants in Chicago in the early 90's, and I loved the idea of it. All those little dishes, shared with your companions, washed down with a lot of tasty Spanish red wine. I didn't even know La Tasca was there until some friends invited us, and now La Tasca is one of our favorite places to relax and eat just the right amount of garlicky, olive-oil laden treats. They've got a great, reasonably-priced wine selection too.

Hmmm...I want to hear about some food I can't walk to, so I tag Jin, my sister-in-law Kate, Splotchy, Mob and Barbara.


Barbara Bruederlin said...

Man, Bubs, now I'm HUNGRY! I almost shorted out my laptop when I drooled a little bit reading your list.

Now that I've been tagged, I guess this necessitates some investigative eating on my part.

lulu said...

The only place on your list I have eaten is La Tasca, which I thought was great! I'm interested in checking out the suchi place though, maybe the next time I am out with my folks I will make them check it out.

Joe said...

lulu, I decided to limit myself to places in the nw suburbs. Sushi Ai won't disappoint. Gail's Carriage Inn has been open about 17 or 18 years, you were probably gone already by the time they opened.

Barbara, I can't wait!

Johnny Yen said...

Hey, I passed by Wholly Frijoles last Wednesday when I was taking my son to the batting cages! I'll have to stop in some time. I remember it because I loved the name. Thanks for the recommendation!

jin said...

Done!! :-D

I'm positive I've eaten at La Tasca before (it looks very familiar). Sometimes I forget the names....I had been known to keep a "Food Diary" of all the restaurants I ate in when I used to hang out with my brother. I don't even know where it is anymore. lol.

Anonymous said...

Heads up on a story. A woman from Detroit lost her parrot. They were recently reunited. Where was the parrot finally found?


Polly want a double down!

Moderator said...

I will check that Thai restaurant. I could live on Thai food.

Coaster Punchman said...

Great ideas of places I can take my parents to next time I visit.

Did you get my questions in the mail, Bubs?

Joe said...

CP, let me know when you're in town. And look for your answers tomorrow.

Grant, it's a great choice.

Kate, THANK YOU! I'm planning a Las Vegas roundup later this week.

Jin, I'm looking forward to it.

JOhnny you'll be glad you stopped.

Splotchy said...

Alrighty, my restaurant recommendations are posted and I am jonesing for some Indian food.

Was this meme started by the shadow restaurant government?

Nicole said...

mmmm well done tag..making me hungry now too!

ps I have an uptodate list of everyone who did the tag...if you know of anyone I miss please do tell me and I'll update you guys in it

Anonymous said...

I think I heard of Sushi Ai from somewhere before not sure where. I think some mags :) Wooo... craves for jap food now.

And I am totally up for Wholly Frijoles. I shall camp outside :D Hehehehe... Yeay... I want good food!

Nice to meet you and thanks for doing the tag :)

Joe said...

Velverse, Nicole, thanks for visiting! I just had a chance to check out your sites.

Nicole, great job starting this thing--I like your "tagging efficiency" ratings.

Katie Schwartz said...

I havent been to the pump room in a gazillion years. I lived in chicago for a minute. great city!

I am running like a dawg to wholly frijoles. love the name. reminds me of this joint out here called lucy el adobe. fantastic food!

Mob said...

Done and done, sorry it took me a few days.

Mark Base said...

Greetings from Helsingborg, Sweden.

I am getting so sick of meatballs.

Can you ship a doggy bag?

Anonymous said...

I've been a customer of Gail's Carriage House and have always enjoyed their food. I've lived in Prospect Heights for thirty years and first became acquainted with the Carriage House when Gail was on Euclid just east of Randhurst Mall. Food was always good, but found the service and demeanor of management somewhat unstable, leaving me unimpressed. The bright side of this is "Monica's Cafe & Pancake House", which is in the old location of the "Carriage House" on Euclid. I find their menu refreshing, food superior and service delightful. Their breakfast specials are second to none. Well worth a visit, you won't leave disappointed.... or hungry. Gary Z.