Monday, June 28, 2010

Joy Yee

Bobcat was very reluctant about going to Joy Yee, but I insisted because I found out they make Hainan Chicken. I LOVE LOVE LOVE that dish, and really wanted to try their version.

We also decided to try their thai-style chicken in lettuce wrap. This tasted ok, but it wasn't thai whatsoever. The portion was huge (should've known, since the price was $10 or so). We didn't even come close to putting a dent on this dish.

My hainan chicken! It wasn't on the menu, but the waiter said they do offer it. I LOVE the juicy chicken dripping flavored rice! I just wish they had that mixed tomato dish on the side that we usually dip the chicken in. Or I at least wish the tomatoes next to this chicken was more ripe.
The hubby decided to try their tom yum noodle dish. This was pretty good, he enjoyed it.
watermelon smoothie w/ tapioca -- Joy Yee makes great smoothies, and I LOVE the chewy tapioca. I tried to be healthier & requested no simple syrup...but it really isn't the same w/out that sugary addition.

Joy Yee Noodle
1163 East Ogden Avenue
Naperville, IL 60563-8535
(630) 579-6800


Grotto was surprisingly delicious (didn't expect much from a strip mall generic looking exterior). fresh ingredients, great flavors. our waiter was nice, but he claimed the gratuity (for the two of us) was automatically calculated by the computer (we used coupon). I didn't question it, but honestly, I did not believe it either. I somewhat understand since there seems to be a lot of cheap people that calculate tip via the total AFTER discounts instead of BEFORE. But it also kind of sucks that the waiter assumed that'd be us.. because it isn't. we would've given him more.

Grotto's Famous Chicken Vesuvio with olive oil, white wine, special seasonings $18
Tender chicken, slightly greasy. Not a fan of huge potato wedges.

Pasta Marinara w/ clams - $21.00

This was right up my alley... LOVED the flavorful sauce, fresh clams... awesome.

I don't remember what soup this was, but I remember it being good.

Oysters were very fresh! $1.75/pc.

Grotto Oak Brook

3011 Butterfield Rd
Oak Brook, IL 60523
(630) 571-5700

Bien Trucha (Updated)

Bien Trucha doubled their space, and turned it into a Chicago-trendy-restaurant-like atmosphere (w/ hip music). It was strange, but thankfully, the food is still delicious & well-made.

Bien Trucha
410 W State St
Geneva, IL 60134
(630) 232-2665

Bobcat & I slept over at a friend's house in Vernon Hills, and wanted to grab a bite before meeting our family for golf (father's day). I used my Yelp app to find this local joint down the street.

It's a small space. More people seem to carry out than eat in. I was hoping to find enticing bakery items to purchase, but nothing stood out.

We did order some delicious brunch items though.

Their tuna ni├žoise sandwich was refreshing, nice balance of fresh veggies, olives, tuna. It's canned tuna...but it's good.

This is their creative to-go sandwich that's supposed to have turkey sausage & egg inside. We ended up being too full, so I gave this to Bobcat's brother.

I got their veggie omelette with potatoes. Everything was prepared nicely, but the veggie omelette lacked flavor, which is surprising since it was pretty cheesy. I would've rather skipped the cheese and added a bit of salt.

They had a good selection of tea leaves, and this is how they present it. Creative, cute, I liked it.
Green Prairie Bakery & Cafe
279 Evergreen Drive
Vernon Hills, IL 60061
(847) 918-7005

Cafe Society

Since Cafe Society is just down the street, we often pick up breakfast grub when we're short on time, or too lazy to venture out. It's not spectacular, but the food is good. HUGE portions. I was surprised they gave me such a huge piece of salmon on the skillet.

Favorite item -- smoothies. All-fruit. YUM.

Cafe Society
1801 S Indiana Ave
(between 18th St & Cullerton St)
Chicago, IL 60616
Neighborhood: Near Southside
(312) 842-4210

India House

India House in Oak Brook was actually recommended by Bobcat's co-worker, but honestly, we never got a chance to stop by until I purchased a coupon.

This place was indeed difficult to find. You have to drive into a business park, and wind around the huge lot before finally locating it. The place seemed pretty big, had outdoor dining area, but seemed pretty slow. At 7:30pm on a Saturday night, we were one of 4 tables.

According to online sources, mango lassi is a delicious non-alcoholic beverage made of yogurt. Since I don't usually eat mango, I chose their strawberry option, which was decent. Nice cool drink against the spicy Indian food.

strawberry lassi - yogurt blended drink- $4.25

The waiter recommended their Flying Horse beer - $8.00
It wasn't bad, but it didn't stand out either. Huge bottle.

Sauces & Cracker - typical

Dal Ka Shorba - lentil soup- $3.00
We enjoyed this soup. It was soothing, calm, nice bean flavor.
Papdi Chai (Street Food of Bombay) $5.99 - Homemade pastry crisps mixed with potatoes, garbanzo beans, chopped onions, tomatoes, and cilantro smothered with sweet chutney and chilled light yogurt

I love street food. So I had to give this a try. Bobcat thought it was alright. I liked the cold yogurt/onions/cilantro against the crisp, crunchy pastry crisps. I don't think I'd order this again, but it wasn't bad.

For the entree, I wanted something vegetarian and mild, so I chose this:

Baigan Bharia- roasted eggplant, skinned and mashed, cooked in a rich blend of mughlai spices over low heat to observe the richness of spices $13.99

It was decent, slightly too sweet. I didn't really taste the eggplant flavor, even though it was chunky with eggplants.

naan - bred made from fine leavened flour- $3.50
tandoori roti- whole wheat bread- $3.00

The breads were typical, not exceptional.

Curries - Kadhai - stir fried with bell peppers, tomatoes, onions and spices (chicken) - $16.99

I think the curry dish turned out to be the best. It was recommended by our waiter. The chicken was very moist & tender, and curry had a good flavor.

Overall, the food was decent, and I would've said "yes" to a re-visit, but we were quite unhappy with the services. After ordering all of these dishes, our waiter asked, "is that it?", as if we needed more. (we obviously didn't -- brought so much food home) He asked if we wanted naan, because these dishes only came with rice. I said yes, and again, he asked, "is that it?" So I thought we needed to place 2 orders of bread. But it turned out, we only needed 1. I just don't like it when waiters do not help customers figure out perfect portions. He was obviously trying to get us to order as much as possible. Also, rice wasn't even brought out with the curries. We ended up having to ask from the guy that brought out our dishes. He seemed confused, as if naan replaces the rice, and he asked, "just white rice?" I had no idea what options I had, and whether or not we'd be charged for the options. Lastly, our waiter claimed that we have to pay in cash when we use coupons. WHAT?! This rule was not on the web site, not on the coupon, nor has this ever happened to us. When I questioned him, he said, "You didn't know this???" Thankfully, we had cash. We paid, and booked the heck out of there.

Bobcat reminded me that the last time we went to an indian restaurant (Shakira), we were treated similarly. I really hope it's a coincidence. I would not be able to put up with poor services again.

Lastly, the food was decent, but it's not exceptional. Since the prices are higher than other Indian restaurants (and we weren't even treated well), we'd rather try elsewhere.

India House Restaurant
2809 Butterfield Road
Oak Brook, IL 60523
(630) 472-1500

Pho Le

The Bobcat & I love Vietnamese food. Richly savory broth with fresh herbs & lime, usage of pungent fish sauce, shrimp paste, refreshingly delicious spring rolls and rice crepes... we love it all. It's almost a weekly ritual when we stay in the city. But when we don't spend the weekend in the city, we miss it dearly. For a while, we got our fix at Tay Do. This restaurant also introduced us to beef spring rolls -- which was VERY delicious, even better than their shrimp counterpart. I didn't care that the chairs / tables were sticky. I ignored the fruit flies that accompanied the sauces. It was that good. But alas, all good things come to an end. Since Tay Do, nothing else stood up nor gotten close to our expectations (nay to Vietnamese Bistro, nay to Pho Ha in Naperville (which closed down anyway).
My parents aren't fans of going out to eat, but they do love a good bowl of pho. So that added to why I really wanted to find a decent V. place to go to in the western burbs.
I was feeling ill over the weekend, and did not want to make dinners. I suggested Yokohama for their udons/sobas/sukiyaki... or Joy Yee's for their Hainan Chicken (which, I STILL want to try)...but the husband wanted pho. After a brief search on Yelp, we decided on trying Pho Le in Carol Stream.
It's a small place in a strip mall, 10 tables or so. The menu has the basics, including sandwiches. We made eye contact with the young man at the counter right away, and he pointed towards a two-seater table. On a Saturday night, the place was 85% full. A flatscreen tv plays Vietnamese music. Our server came to us right away to take our order:

Spring Rolls
solid. tightly wrapped, fresh ingredients, nicely flavored pork. well-balanced. as usual, I requested nuoc mam (good balance of sour/slightly sweet, slightly spicy).
Pho Tai
solid. broth was a little oily, but flavorful, and you can really taste the elements that was slowly drawn into the soup. meat wasn't already well-done (raw pieces present)--which is perfect. So little restaurants manage this for some reason (even though they describe Pho Tai as rare beef). The plate of ingredients were decently fresh -- typical sprouts, basil, lime, jalepeno peppers, sawtooth herb, and they also had mixed thinly sliced cabbage.
Noodles with shrimp paste & crab meat (forgot to write the name down)
very good. looked red & oily, but it wasn't that spicy at all. definitely closer to mild. rich broth, strong flavors, very delicious.
We found it we found it we found a gem! This place will DEFINITELY hold our cravings over when we go on a Chicago/Argyle hiatus. Yay!
As a side note, the servers accidentally gave us the wrong bill. They only charged us for 2 bowls of pho. Since we were coming from a church service that TALKED about lying, we definitely did not want to just be lazy & walk away. Since our credit card was already charged, it ended up getting slightly complicated. Everything was resolved in the end -- they were grateful.
Can't wait to go back!!
Pho Le
541 S Schmale Rd
Carol Stream, IL 60188
(630) 588-8299