Sunday, November 7, 2010

Eating..but not Chicago

And the work travel continues.

I did Boston for a couple days - which included a semi-private tour of Fenway for a work event and a delicious lunch at my favorite Beacon Hill Hotel.

After Boston, I spent almost a week in Los Angeles. It was my first introduction to how pregnancy can really take a toll on your stamina when traveling cross country and running to an average of five meetings each day. One meeting was a very late, but deliciously decadent, dinner at the new and outrageously too-hip-for-the-likes-of-me Red O Restaurant in West Hollywood. The paparazzi outside was sort of a guilty treat, as was the spotting of Top Chef regular Hubert Keller, who was on his way out of dinner as I was heading in. Oh and yes, there was good food, too. Traditional Mexican flavors with rich meats and just-right portions made it clear that even tacos can be gourmet. The next day, I managed to get up for an early breakfast meeting (and another awesome lunch at Elements Kitchen in Pasadena) but crashed as soon as my meetings were over at 4 pm. I wandered over to a Wolfgang Puck Bistro by my hotel for dinner, figuring that it wasn't going to be fancy but that it would at least provide better nutrition options than the nearby Carl's Jr. I was disappointed by the caesar salad (who just throws a few full leaves of romaine in a to-go container and calls it a salad?) but the spaghetti bolognese more than made up for it. I fell asleep at 6:45 PST with a belly full of spaghetti and a world series game on the TV and didn't wake up until morning.

I am currently in Chicago on a half-fun-half-work trip. The husband is a U of C graduate, so we are both here for the weekend to see college friends from both of our undergrads. It's been quite a food weekend, so I'll give the highlights...

  • Our first meal was post-airport at the Pork Shoppe, when we rendez-vous'd with our friends and hosts for the weekend. Almost all of us had the pulled pork sandwich, and it was certainly a delight. But the highlight of the meal was the side of cole slaw. I'm not a slaw girl, but wanted to get some form of veggie in that night. The slaw was considerably un-mayo-y, just the way I like it, and had plenty of carrots as well as raisins and apple chunks. Savory and sweet and perfect.
  • The most anticipated trip was the one we took yesterday morning: Hot Doug's. We've been before, but since their options change so often, it is always a new experience. The line can be intimidating (and cold), but you endure the wait for their special fries which are cooked in rendered duck fat and only served on Friday and Saturday. The husband and I happily chowed down on five separate meat dogs in a variety of flavors, including kangaroo, apple chicken, buffalo, and others. There was one with fig mustard, and the cheeses on all of the items were a variety of grandiose that can not truly be explained in mere words. Get thee to this place if you can.
  • Dinner was a delicious Thai meal at Opart Thai in Lincoln Square. Philadelphia has a severe lack of serviceable Thai restaurants, unless you venture out to the suburbs. I usually just withhold my Thai food cravings until we can get to our old standby, Joya, in Brooklyn. But Opart definitely gave Joya a run for its money, even though I stand by my belief that nothing can beat Joya's beef pad see yu. Ever.
  • Breakfast today was at Over Easy Cafe, again in Lincoln Square. I enjoyed the breakfast sandwich with pancetta and gruyere while the husband indulged in the Salty and Sweet platter, which included pancakes that had bacon inside the batter. Divine, really.
So yes, we've eaten well, albeit in a vacuum void of nutritional value. We had to miss this week's CSA share for the trip, and I'm becoming increasingly guilt-ridden about our CSA slacker-ness as of late. But next week is the last week for this particular CSA, and in a month or so, we will start the Winter CSA at a place much closer to home, so the cooking adventures should start up again, soon. The husband flies out tomorrow, but I'm here for another three days for work, so I will try to follow up with any ensuing foodie braggery. I'll leave you, though, with the best picture of the weekend...our friend Rudy's reaction to our Hot Doug's haul...


  1. What a culinary adventure! I'm jealous.

    We just moved to Brooklyn, and live fairly close to Joya. We haven't tried it yet, but after your endorsement I will put it on the list. Any other suggestions?

  2. Much like Philadelphia, Chicago is a GREAT city in which to do some serious eating. We love it almost as much as we love our dear Brooklyn.

    DEFINITELY visit Joya. I recommend the pad see yu (of course), as well as the red curries, the spring rolls, and whatever they call the salad that has strips of tofu and peanut dressing.

    My other Brooklyn standby is the Chip Shop. The original is in Park Slope, but they have another location on Atlantic Avenue near Court. The fish and chips is their signature, but I also love the chicken curry over chips, as well as any of their deep fried candy bar desserts, which you must try at least once in your life.

    If you have time to burn on a Saturday morning and want to have the greatest bagel that you will ever experience in your lifetime, go to the Bagel Hole in the Slope. The experience is just as good as the bagel.

    Sweet Melissa Patisserie also makes a good brunch that I've enjoyed many times with "my girls" when visiting.

    If you are looking for a cool drinking spot it's Abilene. I hear they have food, too, but I've only been there at night. They always have cool drink specials and the inside decor is pretty neat, as is the music that the bartenders choose to play.

  3. Awesome! We have been to the Chip Shop, but none of the others. Thanks for the suggestions.