I can't believe how terrible I am at updating this food blog -- I blame it on my hub who barely takes me out to eat. It's just too difficult trying to add 'taking photos' to my cooking process, although I should.. cuz there are recipes I'd love to try again, and there are others that I really should make adjustments to...
I did take a couple photos of a few recent eating adventures though.
First is a revisit of one of our old fave Japanese places in Chicago -- Itto Sushi. My oh My, has that place gone to shiiiee... ok, maybe not that bad. But the food wasn't that good.. at all. Fish wasn't fresh (especially uni... I wanted to spit that back out). The only thing decent was chawanmushi, but it's hard screwing up steamed egg custard. Even still, the fish in that custard was NOT fresh. wtf is going on.
this is their eggplant -- very simple. i like simplicity but this was just boring...
this used to be my favorite at itto, and it's still good...but not awesome.
I didn't take photos of this, but I wanted to mention my recent burger outing at Taylor Place Brewery.
One of the best burgers I've had in recent years. Never-frozen, freshly grounded (or so it tastes) big chunk 'o beef patty, fresh vegetables, and a tasty layer of mushroom/onion sherry sauce. My medium rare was cooked perfectly .. still got some bloody raw goodness. My friend Roo's medium barely had any reds, but the tenderness remained. The only complaint I had was the burgers got a lil soggy at the bottom (even though we asked for our sherry sauce on the side). I prefer the buns to be a bit more toasted so there's some crunch to the layer. Also, 1 tiny slice of pickle came with my burger instead of either a couple slices or 1 long piece...but I'm sure I can just ask for that. Other than that, it was delicioso... next time I plan on getting burger with one of their beers, since they're brewed in-house.. yum.
Lastly, I went to Cocoa Bean for lunch and took pictures of my Veggie Sandwich - Roasted portobello mushrooms with sweet onion marmalade, sliced tomatoes and provolone cheese on Italian bread, and my brother's Tuna Melt Sandwich- White albacore tuna with mozzarella cheese on wheat bread.
I really don't think they used 'Italian bread' for my Veggie sandwich because it tasted more like rye. For some reason, it got a bit soggy, losing the crisp texture that I obviously love. And they weren't kidding about the "sweet" onion marmalade because it was SWEET. argh. I prefer my savory items to be salty, so I was pretty disappointed.
I've had my brother's tuna melt so I drooled at the thought of that taste while stuffing the 'way too sweet marmalade thing' down my throat. Our sandwiches came with cookies this time... either the cashier last time forgot to give that to us, or it's a new idea to encourage customers to return (with the current recession, I wouldn't be surprised if they're lacking business). Cookies turned out to be quite delicious. Very soft, chewy, just the way I like my cookies. Esp. oatmeal raisin was STUFFED with oats & granola.. mmm.
My coworker (who eats 1 hour earlier than I do) also went to Cocoa Bean and brought back a little gift for me -- Rasberry Rugelach - Flaky pastry rolled in coarse sugar. Not something I'd typically order, so I was excited to try it. OH MY, yummers!! This soft, chewy dough was wrapped around each other with rasberry sauce spread in between... melted sugary goodness made the dough slightly chewier and crispier than expected. And the dough was airy! Definitely something to buy for one of my sweets- loving friends. don't you just LOVE to share good food?? i do! (unless it's MY portion that I intended on eating by myself.. there is a distinct difference)
So of course I couldn't resist bringing home a couple things to share with hubby for tomorrow's breakfast (i'm contributing to the economy!!!):
Plain Croissant - *updated* - VERY GOOD... it not only looked perfect and beautiful, the buttery layers made this a luscious treat. I want to go back and eat 10 more.
Leek & Gruyere Quiche- "updated" - fresh ingredients, nice separation of a leek/egg layer, and a gruyere layer, crispy/flaky crust. but i dont think i'm a huge fan of quiche.. a bit too heavy for me.
Ham & Cheese Brioche - "updated" - crust was actually a bit too thick for me, then again, this is prob. the first time i had a Brioche. very ok. will not order again.
My brother ordered a Pistachio brulee cake for my dad's bday, and it was light, creamy, delicious! Look at the writing on the cake too.. so pretty! This is my new go-to place for cakes for sure!
2616 N. Halsted
Chicago, IL 60614
Taylor Place Brewery
717 East Butterfield Road
Cocoa Bean Bakery
11 S. Seventh Street
Geneva, IL 60134