The Violet Hour, Chicago

Whenever poetry is quoted out of context on a bar’s web site, it commonly isn’t an indication of better things to come. The quote to which I’m alluding, appearing in the “About” section of the The Violet Hour’s web site, is from section III, “The Fire Sermon,” of T.S. Eliot’s long poem, The Waste Land….

M. Henry, Chicago

I used to hate New York City. It may have been my as now overcome preoccupation with cleanliness and order, a sense of overwhelming awe, a bit of Second City blues or perhaps a combination of all of the above. But I hated New York City. My mind changed, however, when I was asked  by…

Earth + Ocean, Mount Prospect

View my one-star, brunch-only review of E+O from summer 2013. I enjoy faceless corporate manipulation. Not so much because I approve of it, but more because it’s fun to watch just like a zombie film is fun to watch. True, we know what’s going to happen–fools will be separated from their hard earned money just like zombie…

Ras Dashen, Chicago

Chicago offers a multitude of excellent ethnic food. Among the litany, a storied variety includes Ethiopian. There are three big players in this arena: Demera, Ras Dashen and Ethiopian Diamond. As with all purveyors of the food of proud and ancient cultures, their menus tend to be thick and impenetrable to the casual diner. Luckily,…

Gather, Chicago – Autumn 2013 Update

The following is a shortened update to my prior full, three-star review of Gather, from Summer 2013. I’m certain everyone will be happy to know that the group at Gather is still doing a fantastic job. My most recent meal from Chef Ken Carter gave a hint at what is coming for the fall. From what I gleaned…

Hiking and Dining in Salt Lake City!

I don’t ask a lot of my vacation time. If I’m able to eat at least some delicious food, have an adventure and see something breathtakingly gorgeous, I’m happy. On my recent trip to Salt Lake City with my wife Lina, we managed not only to find a glorious mix of delicious fast food and…

Allium – Kevin Hickey, Chicago

Allium chef de cuisine, Kevin Hickey, has announced today that he is moving on to pursue his own projects. As an 18 year Four Seasons veteran, this comes as quite the shock–especially to me as I’ve been sitting on a review of his creative fine dining oasis in the tourist trap that is Chicago’s North…

Acre Restaurant, Chicago

I don’t particularly appreciate beer culture as it exists today. Although I’m no expert, certain aspects of the beer-making process irk me. Dry hopping, for example, which adds hops to the mash or wort to impart additional hop flavor, is the process that leads to many of the most overwhelmingly bitter but high selling beer monstrosities…

Vincent – Brunch Only, Chicago

Urban legends are an interesting phenomenon; we’ve all heard stories of how they proliferate. Some clever person pens a truthy-sounding narrative, people tell it and retell it, and through the magic of drunks and idiots, people start believing it’s reality. My sincere belief is that via the machinery of urban legend, Andersonville has come to…

Masa Azul, Chicago

They say the old American restaurant is dead, and with it died the old American restaurateur. That may be so and, frankly, I’d normally be the first to applaud their deaths. Despite that perhaps sounding in bad taste, we must all admit that old American restaurant “good eating” (homogeneously flavored and overcooked meat and vegetables…

Earth + Ocean – Brunch Only, Mount Prospect

View my full, one-star review of E+O from autumn 2013. The suburbs of Chicago have historically been a food circus, an unfortunate joke that suburban residents reliably attempt to convince themselves and city-dwellers is at least vaguely comparable to Chicago-proper. The best of one’s hopes for good food in the suburbs are the same hopes…

Hopleaf, Chicago

Chicago has historically had two beer poles: Bucktown’s storied The Map Room and my neighborhood’s own Hopleaf. Although I’ve always loved both bars, my favorite of the two was Hopleaf. After all, Hopleaf has always served excellent Belgian bistro fare, accepts credit cards and has all the beer a brewhead could ask for. The Map…