Saturday, August 8, 2015

Mon's "pig out"

OK so the best restaurant you can never get into is where we had dinner last night... a celebration of pork! or it could be subtitled "pork ten ways" and OMG was it a spectacular meal! I am going to go right for it because it is self-evident from the photos.

A disclaimer up front - I missed a photo of the pork spring rolls because 1. I was too busy eating them and 2. in the very first bite I got sauce on the shoulder of my shirt so I forgot to take a photo - I know that is lame but there it is... oh and I see now, I also forgot to photo the amazing gazpacho which would be one of my two favorite courses! - boo hoo!... oh well I was living in the moment! LOL

OK I wanted to start off with those three beautiful presentations to wow you -but what we saw as we came in was - our menu being held by a small chef and his blackboard said Celebrate Pork!

here is the menu he was holding- don't worry about reading it because I will have dissected it completely by the end of the post...
(deleted for privacy)

here it is close up-
first off-
and now you can match up the words and pictures-

we started with some sparkling wine and champagne-

and a white to go with the salad-  compressed watermelon and tomatoes from the garden along with greens cut and or picked right as we sat on the deck under the grape arbor...

then we moved inside (getting buggy) and opened a nearly perfect 83 burg still well balanced and showing extremely well for its vintage-

and a lovely Pomerol -

just a few of the chef's porcine friends - I love the fat white one with the sweet smile!

So it is hard to pick a favorite  course from such an outstanding menu but along with the gazpacho I would say my other two favorites were the Chinese Bao and the watermelon and heirloom tomato salad! And here are the pork belly two ways dishes -

this one was my fave! and if forced to pick a single winning course I would go with it.

the two competitors on the same plate- awaiting the judges decision! LOL

by now we were all already completely sated however the chef had a couple more courses- LOL

and a few more wines-


and by now our meal was nearly five hours into the evening - LOL - it takes a while to eat this many things even when you may (or may not) only have a taste of something...

the drinks from the printed menu were rearranged based upon what the guests brought to add to the pork celebration.... but you saw them all along the way-

So seriously- you can't eat this well in about 90% of the restaurants in Chicago- and I am sorry to tell you that you can't eat here either- LOL- because it's our friends home and he doesn't run a restaurant - he trained as a lawyer not as a chef- but we think he missed his calling--- a real talent!

and so tonight the chef and I are heading to the Korean taco place while his wife does a girl's night out and my husband goes with his girlfriends to a concert of some wailing women... LOL- so my BFF Mick is coming over and the three of us will walk over to the taco place - we will report back later... and tomorrow it is back to the Duck Inn for a Krug and roast pig dinner... so stay tuned!

Thursday, August 6, 2015

hot lunch!

a quick post on today's very hot lunch... the food was excellent but we made a mistake and sat outside and it was HOT! - we had been to mfk once before and really liked it so we decided to go back to enjoy the seafood oriented menu of tapas and large platters.  Again the food was first rate but I wouldn't recommend the shadeless sidewalk cafe on a hot day like today....

ceviche- of striped bass

anchovies- yum!

crunchy shrimp heads-


shrimp and papaya salad-

a missed photo op for the scallops on blue cheese polenta-

and then the chicken ballotine which is outstanding (and I am SOOO not a chicken fan)

two thumbs up from us on this place- it was just as good on the second try...

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

terrific TAUS

Finally, on August 4th, we had a match with a Chicago Gourmets event.  It has been a tough summer for attending their events as our calendar got so full so early. However, it was worth the wait! Last night's dinner at Taus Authentic (not to be confused with Michael's Genuine LOL) was terrific! And i always love it when the place name allows alliteration (small pleasures) lie this one did.

First a bit of background- from their website-

Taus Authentic is named for three Taus generations - my father, grandfather, and great grandfather. All were incredible cooks and helped me develop a love for cooking at a young age. My great grandfather owned a farm in Illinois so growing up he taught me about fresh ingredients. I spent a lot of my childhood in the kitchen with these three great men, and never would have become a chef without them. We wanted to create an environment where guests felt really comfortable, as if they were in a friend's home at a great dinner party.  My wife and I entertain a lot in our home and we wanted that same relaxed atmosphere in the restaurant.  The style is rustic meets modern. Reclaimed wood from old barns and schools was used to create the hutches, dividing wood walls, and tables in both the dining room and bar, and we added modern lighting and dining room seating. 

We have a bit of everything. Our dishes consist mostly of modern French cuisine with global flavors inspired by lots of travels over the last few years. We have a large seafood selection like raw diver scallops with warm truffle vinaigrette, poached quail egg and green apple,  and a striped bass with bok choy in a red coconut curry broth.  We have a variety of meat dishes like a veal cheek 'pot-au-feu' with artichoke, root vegetables, tomatoes and olives, and a flat iron beef with chimichurri spice, radish-fennel slaw, and roasted fingerling potatoes.  I kept the burger I've been cooking the last few years on the menu.  We use a special blend of ground chuck and short rib and serve it with havarti cheese and tomato remoulade on a house made Czech dill roll.  We also have a great fried chicken I make from an aunt's recipe.  

And here are a few visuals to give you an idea of the style of the place-

and here's our menu from last night followed by some (less than excellent) photos which became more difficult as the light waned from outside.  The restaurant lighting is "romantic" rather than photo-ready (unless you use flash which I do not do so as not to disturb other diners)

All the dishes were excellent- wonderful combinations of flavor done with just the right proportions. We can recommend the place unreservedly. It also has a nice sidewalk cafe for the better weather evenings.  All in all - a find!