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Feature Tue Dec 28 2010

New Year, New Stomachs

eatacular.png

As 2010 comes to a close, we look to what new items 2011 brings, but we also look back to the great meals of 2010. Behold, our EATACULAR 2010:

Alan Lake:

Beef karee w/roti at TAC Quick (3930 N. Sheridan).

Tofu w/spicy and salt at Chinese Kitchen in Westmont, (6551 S. Cass, Westmont). Creamy, egg-like center between crisp pillows of fried tofu.

Pig's ear with crispy kale, cherry peppers & fried egg at Purple Pig (500 N. Michigan).

Grigliate Mista at Volare (201 E. Grand) . Grilled octopus, sea scallops, calamari and shrimp drizzled w/ balsamic vinaigrette. Simple, but perfectly cooked and seasoned each time I've had it.

Okra @ Kabul House (4949 Oakton, Skokie).

Macau pork belly @ Ming Hin, a new restaurant in the Chinatown Mall (2168 S. Archer).

Cinnamon Cooper:

Earlier this year we purchased a 1/4 cow from Slagel Farms and picked it up at Mado restaurant. The steaks we've made have been undoubtedly the best steaks I've ever eaten. Salted before cooking, a little pepper afterward, no sauce needed. Delicious! Thankfully we have a chest freezer which made this doable, but we ended up paying just as much for high-quality free-range beef as we would have for corn-feed beef from a major grocery chain. The quality and variety were so great that I'm really looking forward to frequenting Butcher & Larder.

Ruthie Kott:

The most surprisingly wonderful thing I ate this year was at Sabor Saveur (2013 West Division) It was a piece of seared salmon, covered with a warm dark-chocolate sauce. I wouldn't have ever chosen it for myself (I don't usually like salmon filet), but our server recommended it. I was expecting the the topping to be more of a mole, since it's a Mexican-French restaurant, but it really was a chocolate sauce. The rich, chocolate creaminess was a great balance to the fish, and the corn and red-pepper salad lying underneath the salmon added some crunch. I pretty much licked the plate.

I also loved the steak tartare at Henri (18 South Michigan). I never thought I'd crave raw meat, but I honestly can't wait until I go back in February for my birthday to eat that again.

Ben Schulman:

Homemade Timpano

Saag Aloo Curry from Veerasway (844 W. Randolph)

Grilled Cheese sandwich with Bowl of Chili from Ramova Grill (3510 S. Halsted)

Pistachio Gelato from Black Dog (859 N. Damen)

Apple Fritter from Old-Fashioned Donuts (11248 S. Michigan)

Berkshire Pork Shank from Anteprima (5316 N. Clark)

Sharon Bautista:

Whole Sonoma Valley foie gras with roasted pears, candied walnuts and rosemary at Avec (615 W. Randolph)

Seared cobia with hoja santa-scented mole verde and kohlrabi at Chilam Balam (3023 N. Broadway)

Veal heart with mixed greens and shaved parmesan at Balsan (Elysian Hotel, 11 E. Walton)

Lychee and coconut panna cotta at Ruxbin (851 N. Ashland)

Tandoori-spiced lamb shoulder with minted ratatouille, shaved fennel, arugula and tzaziki at Longman & Eagle (2657 N. Kedzie)

Head-on prawns with anchovy butter and tarragon at The Bristol (2152 N. Damen)

Steak frites at The Drawing Room (937 N. Rush)

Tobasco pie at First Slice Cafe (4401 N. Ravenswood)

Szechwan eggplant at Moon Palace (216 W. Cermak)

Salted peanut gelato at Black Dog (859 N. Damen)

Milkshakes from Edzo's (1571 Sherman, Evanston)

Habanero caramel cheesecake by me at home Corned beef at Jake's Deli (Milwaukee, WI) Chevrot with rhubarb, bacon vinaigrette and sweet cicely at Corton (New York, NY) Basil macarons from Two Tarts Bakery (Portland, OR) Lamb tartare with heirloom tomatoes, shiso and sous vide egg at Spur (Seattle, WA)

Andie Thomalla:

Having just returned from a trip down south, I'm pretty confident the best thing I ate last year was the silky smooth chicken liver pate I ate this past week at Fig, in Charleston, SC. (The affair with organ meats continues, it seems.)

More locally, the sea urchin shooter at Arami (1829 W. Chicago) is something I just keep coming back to with the taste buds of my mind. For such a tiny, self-enclosed symphony of flavors and textures, it could almost be the world's ultimate amuse bouche -- except that you get several of them. Salty, bright, meaty, with a hint of heat and the pleasing pop of tiny roe against your teeth, it's feat of delicate culinary engineering, and leaves you almost literally panting for more.

At the other end of the exoticism spectrum, the lowly ham and cheese sandwich at Floriole Bakery (1220 W. Webster) is also something I keep fondly remembering (as in, "I have to get back there and tear up another one of those"). Composed of nothing more special or secret than a crunchy/airy baguette, rich and tangy white cheddar cheese, shaved ham with just enough of a fatty edge to be sort of decadent, a slip of butter and a spatter of grainy mustard, it's a sandwich that defines the good of the sum of its parts.

Robyn Nisi:

Goat cheese gelato from Black Dog (859 N. Damen)

Passionfruit meringue pie from Hoosier Mama (1618.5 W. Chicago)

Bacon fat popcorn from Revolution Brewery (2323 N. Milwaukee)

Tagliatelle from Kith & Kin (1119 W. Webster)

Mexican chocolate milkshake from Edzo's (1571 Sherman, Evanston)

Apple Fritter from Old-Fashioned Donuts (11248 S. Michigan)

Andrew Huff

Black Hole Peru coffee from Dark Matter, picked up at City Provisions (1820 W. Wilson) -- deep and dark yet surprisingly smooth.

Brunch at The Publican (837 W. Fulton). Simple, tasty, laid back -- ideal brunch conditions.

Pumpkin donuts from Bennison's Bakery (1000 Davis, Evanston) made me glad to have errands up north.

The House Special Spicy Crispy Tofu at Lao You Ju (2002 S. Wentworth) -- I could have eaten the entire dish, but I was sharing with three other people so I had to play nice.

 

Charles / December 28, 2010 3:08 PM

Andy, you are either stalking me or I am stalking you...Brunch at the Publican and I have to go with the Maple Bacon donuts at Bennison's, and yes, I brought some in for my co-workers

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I was using Rick Bayless' restroom, I mused, staring up at the ceiling window that was projecting a heavenly beacon of light upon my less-than-angelic duties. I could barely distinguish Rick's faint murmurs through the orange walls, something about how...
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