Tag Archives: review

Bad Apple is no Kuma’s Corner

18 Sep

Photo from The Bad Apple

I had high hopes for Bad Apple. Despite their terrible logo (what can I say? I’m married to a former designer, I take these things into account), a co-worker told me about their Wednesday Kobe burgers and said their other burgers were on par with Kuma’s Corner. In my recent dining experience it was all fine, but it was no Kuma’s Corner.

I went with some girl friends for one of those semi-spontaneous week-night gatherings and this was a good spot in the middle for everyone.

I was coming from a stressful day at work, so I immediately reached for the drink and beer list, and I was impressed. They have a lot, like a lot, of beers on draft, bottles, etc… I got an Alagash White on draft. It was delicious.

As a table, we ordered the goat cheese fondue to share. It was…fine. Not bad, I mean, with goat cheese it’s hard to royally screw it up, but it wasn’t memorable.

For my entrée, I got the veggie burger served as their El Dorado (chili cumin burger, spicy corn & black bean salsa, avocado, shredded lettuce). It came with fries which I upgraded to Truffle status.

The burger was made in-house and it was good. Sometimes when restaurants venture to make their own veggie burgers it can go very wrong. That wasn’t the case here. It was filling, robust and had good flavor, if a bit messy. The fries were good, but that’s because they had truffle oil on top. My friends’ got plain fries and there weren’t great. Also, I’m pretty sure they make their own ketchup, which kudos for trying, but it was gritty, acidic and not good.

All in all, this wasn’t a bad meal, after all I was with wonderful company, but I wasn’t going to write home about it.  I’ve said it before and I’ll keep saying it: Chicago’s Lincoln Square and North Center are over saturated with gastro-bars and too often they all fall short. If someone opens up another cookie-cutter bar joint, let’s try to make it spectacular.

The Bad Apple

The Bad Apple

Gourmet lunch in the Loop? Pastoral it is

11 Sep

Photo credit: In Good Taste Blog

I work downtown and while in theory there are a lot of lunch places to grab a good bite, in actuality, it’s mostly made up of Au Bon Pains, Jimmy Johns, Panda Expresses and the likes. Which is good for me because it encourages me to bring lunch to work (my insanely busy days and constant lunches at my desk also help with this!). However, once in a while I’m reminded that among the soup-in-a-bread-bowl chains, Chicago has delicious gems sprinkled throughout the mundane Loop.

Yesterday my friend Carrie Becker and I decided to grab a quick bit. Carrie works for another company in my same building and it’s always fun catching up with her over lunch. She suggested we go to Pastoral Artisan Cheese, Bread and Wine after my initial recommendation fell flat (they didn’t serve sandwiches, oops). I had never been to Pastoral despite hearing about it forever, so I was game. I also didn’t realize just *how* close it is to my office. This could get dangerous.

When we arrived, the line was decent but not outrageous. We each took a look at the menu and shortly thereafter someone came to us in line to take down our order. Right off the bat I was impressed with how friendly everyone was especially considering at most high-brow wine and cheese shops, they usually aren’t. I also appreciated the fact that the guy taking our order had a Vermont hat. What can I say, I married good stock.

I ordered the Sinfully Healthy (roasted turkey on cracked wheat spread with tangy mango chutney, dijon mustard, field greens and fromage d’affinois) and a side order of the fromager’s salad (field greens, tomatoes, goat cheese, spiced almonds and balsamic vinaigrette). It was also very reasonable; only $11 even for both.

The sandwich was amazing. The mustard with the mango chutney paired amazingly with the fromage d’affinois (heaven) and the turkey was well flavored and light. The salad was a little over-done with the goat’s cheese, but better more than too little. I did have to restrain myself from browsing the cheese selection, though I will be back (soon!) and will give it a whirl then.

It’s exciting to find a really good spot that I can go to now when I want to take a little walk and break from the office. For the same price I’d spend on some mediocre sub and chips, I can get a delicious artisan sandwich and pairing.

Thanks, Carrie, for this great suggestion. What about lunch on Monday?

Review: Chelsea Grill in Lincoln Square

29 Jun

I know I’ve said that Lincoln Square needs another pub-grub restaurant like I need a hole in the head, but I think Chelsea Grill has finally figured out how to make it work. The former Erba (which I confess I never ate at) recently re-configured to a lower price p8546_lincolnsquare_print_1oint with basic comfort food offerings and they’re doing it right. And here’s where I think they’ve managed to succeed- they ambiance is great- not too dark lighting (like the Grafton), no bad 90’s pop music playing (like the Daily), no bombardment of flat screen TVs (like the Bad Dog Tavern) and comfortable seating (unlike Latitude). The food was good- I had a grilled chicken sandwich and it was like $8! For all four of us, with appetizers, salads, entrees, a bottle of wine and a shared dessert, it was a few dollars over $100. Not bad! And the service was very friendly and not trying to rush us out.

4520 N Lincoln Ave
Chicago, IL 60625
(773) 989-4200