Came back to Chicago for weekend with the mrs. and wanted to share some our experiences. This is NOT a best of the best list and we know there are better places. That said, I wanted to share some surprises while commenting on the pull a place can have, espcially when it is shared with someone.
First stop Ba Le. Ok, so we are Ba Le freaks. *shrug*
We drove right into town and made a beeline right to Ba Le. The sandwiches were fantastic, we loved the way they spruced up the place, and there were people at the counter who spoke english. Don't get me wrong, they could be serving on a pile of rubble next to a toxic waste dump and we would still go...er, uh, once in a while. Place was busy, but our sandwiches still came our warm, fresh tasting, and like they haven't missed a beat. (I would be very curious to know or somehow determine just how much of an effect CH has had on Ba Le. They were crazy busy with a lot of non-asians.
Second stop, and the biggest surprise was "San Soo Gap San". As we were driving there I was asking myself whether I should have posted about going somewhere else. There have been some posts about it going downhill, etc..blah, blah, blah. We step inside and it all comes back to me. The smell, the rush, the bad service ;), etc The panchan come out and they number at 26...and the next one was better than the last. DEFINITELY much fresher and more diverse than last visit. stand outs were kimchee, gok duki, fish cake, mini-fish and chilis, and 6 varied preperations of seaweed. All this after someone actually asked us how we were doing! WOOHOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Of course the meet was wonderful and that sesame/soy/garlic paste was hittin me right where it should. All my wife and I could do was sit, smile, eat, and hold hands while beef was getting crusty. It was an especially interesting night clientele wise. From a loud group of korean guys, to bible study, and everything in between, that place was firing on all cylinders that night.
The next morning my wife and I make the mistake of eating the breakfast buffet in our hotel before venturing out. What were we friggin thinking?! Long story longer, we shop and window-shop and cleanse our palate with Pho at Pho Hua on argyle. *thinking* Yeah, I know there broth isn't the greatest but I LOVE the huge chunks of tendon they put in soup and their fatty brisket is awesome. Also, my wife loves the place because it reminds her of college in atlanta. (she readily admits that outpost is better, but she can't deny the tractor-beam pull on her.
Anniversary dinner: Vive Cluqueot , split 3 Ba La bahn Mi (meatball, chinese pork and lemongrass sausage), and a apple tart from Fox and Obel. all eaten on the bed while watching a free viewing of the movie "Crash". (we were auppossed to eat at Avec...long story)
While the dessert from Fox was great, the place didn't look as bright or well-maintained as the last time I was there. (any ideas?)
Breakfast (picture skidmarks and exhaust fumes as we left the hotel) was at Goi Quin y on argyle. Small selection was made up for by quality food. Turnip cake fried to order, excellent riblets, (like seperate vertebrate), sticky rice, and stewed tofu rolls of some sort. Got a sesame ball stuffed with red bean paste and we were "good to go" (think Taco Bell).
Museum this, furniture store that, and the cell phone rings and we have to run back home to cleveland. (sorry Avec....am I missing anything?)
Well, there it is. We are creatures of habit and enjoyed good food at too many places we are probabaly too familiar with. My excuse is we have been working so hard that we needed to find comfort in the familiar and we couldn't bring ourselves to getting dressed up or waiting. It was a oh, these are my favorite jeans kinda weekend. HUH? :)
Man do I miss chicago
I really am curious about Avec.