A man named Bob posted this week saying he will do anything I say after taking my advice on seafood udon noodle soup at Teaism. Having tasted power, I hunger for more, moRE, MORE!
So several directives for anyone with a yen to submit to the vagaries of my taste, which Bob and I agree is impeccable:
District Chophouse for the mussels appetizer. They come in a mix of two sauces -- one that seems like a chili aioli (garlic mayonnaise) with a sundried tomato kick and a pesto with two or three delightful, crisp, garlicky crostini. Unbearably good but BE WARY: the mussels almost invariably come out of the kitchen with cool spots on them. It's weirdly consistent and I always have LONG conversations with the waiters (to their delight, I'm sure) and the management about the problem and warn them in advance that I want these babies HOT. I am not normally a pest in restaurants (I am an alumni of the late lamented Pleasant Peasant wait staff at mazza gallery and put up with more than my fair share of pests, including the bulimic who flew down once a month from CT. with 2 friends, ordered 4 full dinners, threw up after every course and then took out little jars for me to fill with dessert sauces so she could go home and throw those up too I suppose...I'm sorry. I still have flash backs) but these mussels are worth it if they are hot hot hot.
The serving is generous enough to be a main dish (or what the heck, order two) and do try the char-grilled romaine salad. Sounds freakish, tastes GREAT.
Next I commend to you Market Lunch at Eastern Market for breakfast (lunches are great too. I am a true devotee of this line). If you must go on a weekend (and sometimes you must, when you hanker for blueberry buckwheat pancakes with an ICE CREAM scoop of salty melting butter sliding on top...because pancakes are only served on Saturday) show up before 9:30, earlier if possible. Otherwise it's overrun with people that seem to think it's cool to wait in line for an hour for breakfast. I do not. Be mindful that Market Lunch says they have real maple syrup, but you have to pay extra. I've never exercised this option (I bring mine from home if I feel I must).
But on Tuesday thru Saturday mornings you can have the single BEST breakfast sandwich of your life...ham, egg and cheese on freshmade, buttered bread, lightly toasted...you can get it with potatoes on it in which case it is known as a Brick, but I think the pommes weigh the sandwich down. Much better to have them on the side-- fried, crisp little coins of pure potato essense. ANYWAY, the sandwich: pour a little Texas Pete hot sauce on top and dig in.
You can have it with bacon but the crispness of the thick cut makes it hard to get a neat bite. The sausage is a little too heavy. The ham is thinly sliced, griddled...and bites through cleanly. Eat it there, at the counter. It suffers from trapped steam if you wrap it to go...you will chew, surrounded by flowers and dead and dying fish and the rhythms of merchants preparing for the day, and you will speak my name reverentially.
Be nice to the women behind the counter, Brenda and Mary especially.
For another Cap Hill taste sensation, go to Park Cafe on 13th (on Lincoln Park) and order mixed seafood fajitas, which have nothing to do with fajitas and everything to do with smoky mussels, fragrant broth and sauteed peppers and onions. They now have a liquor license but I think you can still bring your own bottle if you pay a corkage fee.
Do as I say and no one gets hurt.
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