Sunday, June 28, 2015

schwa - ə

In linguistics, specifically phonetics and phonology, schwa refers to the mid-central vowel sound in the middle of the vowel chart, denoted by the IPA symbol ə, or another vowel sound close to that position. Schwa in English is mainly found in unstressed positions.

So last night we joined two other couples for a dinner at schwa. This was my second time dining there - the first was recounted here:

Schwa is a tiny, 825 square feet restaurant located in the Wicker Park neighborhood of Chicago. Seating 26, it features what chef Michael Carlson describes as a "pared-down" approach to food and has been described as being on the forefront of a new "molecular gastronomy" style of cooking. The menu is short and constantly changing.  Unlike typical upscale restaurants, Schwa does not have a wine list, a liquor license, or even stemware.  The pared-down approach can also be seen in the way the business is run. Carlson maintains a staff of only four people to run his restaurant – himself and three other chefs. Schwa has no receptionist, waiters, or other support staff. Schwa's chefs do every job in the restaurant ranging from taking orders to busing tables. Tables are small, simple, and have none of the usual restaurant amenities – no flowers, candles, salt, or pepper. The decor is minimalist, and the kitchen is viewable by patrons in the dining room. (from wikipedia)

I am going to post my favorite course first (a teaser)

here is the menu from online but I can tell you upfront - this wasn't what we had... you have to be flexible and see what comes out of the kitchen...

and here is what we had - in order- 

an experimental bourbon and tea tasting with varying scents of manhattan, old fashioned and mint julep that you sniffed while drinking to see how the flavor you tasted "changed" - 

a fabulous shrimp course with beefy flavors "underneath"

one bite (or shot) egg - with some black truffle- yummy!

the flavors of the forest with mushrooms and fiddleheads and black quinoa and snails... very good combo and interesting presentation.

my personal fave- the pappardelle pasta - squash blossom and very summery feel (despite our less than summer weather so far)

the "fish fry" course- I was talking to one of my dining companions and did not hear what type of fish- my apologies...

an oyster shooter- with pepper and pop-rocks underneath!

the foie gras course with oatmeal

the bird course - Phil and I later disagreed on the exact bird- I said chicken and he said something wilder-- pheasant or quail....

the cheesecake course- which had us reminiscing about Wendy (Savoy Truffle) Gilbert's blue cheese cheesecake- from the prior incarnation of this space-

unagi palate cleanser in ice cream and granita form-

and then "ants on a log" with flavors of peanut butter and celery and blackberry--- not one of my favorites but as always very much an adventure!

we had wines we brought - an excellent rose sparkler from Argyle and a Nebbiolo that was not good- but the other wines were wonderful - especially the Puligny and the Beaune Theurons...

the table was convivial and we had an extremely pleasant evening... capped by a song about halfway home that we blasted at top volume in the car and sang to... LOL and our ages will become readily apparent when I tell you it was CSN "Southern Cross".... 

next up YUZU for lunch on Sunday... good news bad news there but a separate post to give the full story...stay tuned!

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