foto faves

foto faves

Thursday, July 2, 2015

summer nights

so finally we had a nice (if a tiny bit chilly) evening to eat dinner outdoors... on Monday - after a long day of getting things in the house cleaned out and sorted etc. in preparation for photos for the MLS listing of our house (yes we are moving into a condo and downsizing from our four floor very skinny city home - the only thing you get on a 25 foot lot - LOL) we went to dinner.

we wanted to eat outside and so ran through the usual outside choices but nothing was sounding amazing to us... so we decided to try someplace new to us-

and we were very very happy with our choice- they had a lovely garden with varying degrees of cover from no cover to partial to all covered but with a full garden (waterfall etc.)


full outdoors-


partial - under cover but open air-


more cover- in a sort of greenhouse style covered in glass and only one small doorway to the outside air



we had two apps- the bruschetta made with a basil pesto - very nice-


mixed grill of shrimp and calamari-


you can BYOB with a corkage fee-


Phil had the seafood kabob- with shrimp, scallops and salmon- not over cooked and worth ordering again SOON!


and I was really thrilled with my cevapcici - which was very tasty and served with kaymak, the local cheese from places like Bosnia, along with a fresh salad of chopped tomatoes-cucumbers-onions...


so we give a hearty thumbs up to the Adriatic Cafe! worth a return visit for sure!


so that was a WIN- and so was the copper river salmon we cooked on the grill on our deck the next night. and then last night we had friends over for dinner- and had the following menu- not too many photos because I was the cook...LOL- and I am not trying to juggle pictures on top of cooking and serving- LOL





the first course of a chilled pea soup (Laure's recipe) was accompanied by the pinwheels - something piquant to go with the sweetness of the peas- 


Neil brought some fabulous wines- and we drank a very nice Chablis that Barb brought and a Gaston-Chiquet sparkler from our frig and Mon brought a nice cab. But the Barolet wine that Neil brought was the wine of the evening - 1899 and still going strong- at 116 years old!


 the 1971 Chambertin was somewhat corky unfortunately- but the 1983 white bordeaux showed just fine - of course it was a top producer...


and then the Barolet - CC 99 - "wine red old" LOL was just amazing!


the hearts of palm and avocado salad was a hit- all around- including with the chef (who is a tough sell on her own cooking) this was served with the skirt steak - and nearly everyone had seconds - so I think that both were well received...


for dessert we had a choice of a cherry crostada and Key lime "pie" - it was soooo giant I don't think it qualified as pie per se but with leftovers of both I have breakfast for a few days LOL!

Coming up next two July Fourth weekend events and next week the house goes on the market... wish us luck for a quick sale at a high end price! - - or actually ...anyone want to buy a house in Chicago?

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Yuzu - sorry we're out...

we met our friends for lunch - a last minute thing set up via text on Sunday morning... it is a BYO sushi place in the general area of Wicker Park... called YUZU - the menu has some really appealing dishes on it.

Like this-


However of the first six things we ordered, they were out of four of them - and then out of a fifth as we proceeded through our meal...

what we did have was very well executed but one wonders why there were sooo many menu items that they did not have...





OK - the menu looks fabulous- but here is where the "fail" came in- we ordered the Squash Blossoms, the Tuna Poke, the Wagyu Tartar and the Chawanmushi and they were out of ALL of them...

so we got the Excuse My French and the Grilled Squid and the Yummy Belly-



then we had another go around on the rolls- where the first thing we ordered - they didn't have- but we ended up with the Shrimp Tempura roll on the left and the Monster Spider roll on the right... both were very good -


a wagyu dish they were able to find for us-


Grilled Squid- sauce with a kick but the squid pretty neutral in flavor-


a Born to Chill roll- very good- messy but good-


the Yummy Belly (after we had pretty much demolished it- it looked better but we forgot the photo- LOL


the Riverwalk- another excellent roll - with a beautiful sauce presentation!


up close and personal with the tempura roll and the spider roll-



the wines (free BYO but limited to a 750 ml bottle per two people)



cute decor in the simple exposed brick space-





then we decided to try Black Dog around the corner and known for unusual gelati flavors-




I had the turkish coffee and mexican chocolate- both excellent -


Phil had a very berry Mixed Berry and brown butter (which tasted like glazed donuts)


our friends had the goat cheese (both of them) - one had the hazelnut and one the  peanut butter with lavender - everyone was extremely happy with their choices and our friends even bought some to take home.... so very good food and gelati - only negative was the very numerous "we're out" of the dishes at Yuzu- really four things on one single page of the menu???? seemed like an issue overall as opposed to a single ingredient or purveyor.....

but on we go- cooking this week a few times and then plans for both the 3rd and the 4th of July....
will keep you posted on how the week progresses!

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:

http://blog.semifreelife.com/2013/10/schwa.html

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!