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Sunday, April 27, 2008

Where not to eat

Brookfield, Wisconsin, is Milwaukee's big suburb to the west. Brookfield is west Omaha without the attitude. No sushi, no Indian, no tapas. Brookfield is where everyone works but then goes anywhere else to eat. I ate lunch at places like Panera everyday but there was no place I wanted to go for dinner. I ordered veggie burgers and fries from room service for dinner every night.

Pacific Wok - I was driving I-94 between Brookfield and Schaumburg, IL, on Thursday and I was really hungry. I finally pulled over at the last Kenosha exit. I passed by Texas Roadhouse (coming soon to that space near Lowe's) because I didn't want to fill up on peanuts and BW3 because I'd had wings for lunch in Wisconsin once before.

Pacific Wok sounded fresh and Asian and just what I needed for lunch. I was just looking for healthy food at this point and that they had. I got a bowl of chicken and rice and it wasn't good but it wasn't bad either; kind of like how all Japanese food except for miso is.

Then I was presented with this thing called a Steamroller. It was all wrapped up in plastic wrap. It was a steamed whole wheat tortilla filled with traditional eggroll filling. In other words, I had a tube of glue. Gross. It's no wonder Pacific Wok only has two locations and neither are within 20 miles of Milwaukee, Chicago or Madison.

New posts at teh otro bl00g, too.

Friday, April 25, 2008

New area food blog

My old friend, Sarah, just started a food blog - Great Plains Foodie. She just has a couple of posts up right now but she has lots of time on her hands so it should be updated fairly regularly, I'm guessing.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Good News for the Southside

I stopped at the BP near 14th & Old Cheney during lunch today and when I went in to pay for my gas I noticed someone is moving in to the space vacated by Doozy's a few months ago. The sign standing between the convenience store and the restaurant space said "Mi Guadalajara Coming Soon. Authentic Mexican food."

I can only hope by "authentic" they mean like the food at El Chapparro, El Comal, Super Taco, etc., and not the "authentic" food at that awful place in Bennett or the Tex-Mex they serve at places like La Paz, Mazatlan, et al. The size of the place, which would be a mostly takeout business, suggests the former.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Madison

I'd like to thank Wisco for the recommendations for my week in Madison although I only ate at one of them. Madison and its suburbs have about 400 restaurants and a staggering number of them are not big chains. If the weather had been better I would have gone out more, but as it rained hard (two rivers under I-94 between Madison and Waukesha looked about to run over the highway on Friday morning) Tuesday through Friday I didn't even make it down to State Street and Williamson Street.

I went to Lao Laan Xang on Monday night, the Atwood location in the Barrymore Theater building because it was closer to my hotel. I ordered a couple of fresh spring rolls with tofu as an appetizer which were perfectly fine if maybe a little over-stuffed so that they fell apart. For my entree I restrained myself from ordering the laap (chicken or beef salad) and had the tam mak houng instead because I haven't had green papaya salad in years. I ordered it with 3 out of 4 stars of spiciness and I was really impressed by how the chef was able to heat the dish up to a point I haven't experienced in a long time without making me sweat. It came with a piece of fried chicken but the shredded green papaya, red and green cherry tomatoes, lime, and fish sauce along with the huge basket of sticky rice were enough that I didn't even eat the chicken.

Tuesday night I ordered pizza from Glass Nickel because it was raining so hard I didn't want to go back out after getting back to the hotel. I had the Socre Bleu which obviously has Blue cheese on it but also has walnuts on request. Walnuts are the most underrated pizza topping ever so I couldn't pass it up. I replaced the salami and Canadian bacon with extra spinach which seemed more appropriate with bleu cheese and walnuts. The toppings were good but the crust was nothing special at all so I can't say that Glass Nickel was better than any other place. Pizza crust is the key to making great pizza and not many people do it well.

Wednesday I drove out to Sun Prairie because there's a Peruvian restaurant there called Red & White that supposedly has great ceviche and lots of Peruvian potato dishes. Only thing is, they were closed. There was a guy inside sitting at the bar but the doors were locked. I booked it back to Madison and drove down Washington until I came to Ella's Deli which I remembered seeing the last time I was in Madison on my way to Chicago from Winnipeg.

Ella's is a kosher deli and ice cream parlor. To truly appreciate the place, you have to be there. Check out the "displays" link on the website. The handmade mechanical castles, clocks, and other animated decorations are really amazing. What I was interested in, though, was the possibility of a big bowl of matzo ball soup. I got that. The matzo ball was huge and didn't disintegrate in the broth at all, but it wasn't too heavy, either.

Thursday night the rain was falling like crazy so I stopped at La Bamba and grabbed a burrito on my way back to my hotel. I'll write more about La Bamba later since there used to be one where Oso is now so it's connected to Eatin' in Lincoln historically.

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Lunch on Saturday and ? for Wisco

I'm sorry I haven't posted much lately. I'd like to get to some of Lincoln's more upscale places but my budget doesn't allow it right now. I'd definitely like to get to that place where Baciami used to be before it closes.

In any case, I'm eating lunch next Saturday at Super Taco at 56th and Holdrege. It's my favorite Mexican restaurant in the whole world so if anyone would like to meet me there, send me an email or leave a comment here.

Wisco: I'm going to be in Madison next week. Any recommendations?

Saturday, April 05, 2008

Mas Mexican

I should note that I stopped at Tina's Mexican Food a few weeks before Le Korb gave us a decent background on its owners. One thing that really impressed me was the cleanliness of the place near 9th & Van Dorn. I can't remember ever seeing that place as clean and neat as it was when it was a Taco Inn.

Cleanliness is usually a good sign because that means the someone cares about the food being served. The salsa bar was also a plus. The refrigeration unit was new and it kept everything on the salsa bar (salsas, curtido, etc.) cold, fresh and safe.

I had a chorizo torta and I got a couple of beef rolled tacos to go. The torta was pretty good although after getting chorizo tortas at other places that serve breakfast, like D'Leon's, I'd recommend against it. The chorizo always has lots of egg mixed in, which gives a different texture to the meat but in the end it is not chorizo.

I still hold Super Taco above all others when it comes to tortas because their tortas (last time I checked) c0me with queso blanco and jalapenos and slices of avocado instead of really mushy just about to turn brown guac. I should probably check out how they're doing. If anyone wants to join me at Super Taco next Saturday for lunch, send me an email or post here.

Last Friday, after being on call for a week, I got a chance to go to Mr. Leno at 72nd & O which is far outside of where I can go for lunch on a normal day. Their drive-thru is open 24 hrs and I almost stopped there one Monday morning at 4 am on my way to catch a plane in Omaha but was afraid of how long it would take at that hour. Chances are I would have made it but who doesn't love sleeping at Eppley for 30 minutes or so?

The menu board at Mr. Leno was strikingly similar to the menus at D'Leon's and Tina's. I ordered a torta, carnitas this time to avoid the egg, and a chorizo taquito. The taquitos at Mr. Leno's aren't deep-fried tubes but the standard little tacos on white corn shells I love so much. At Mr. Leno they're $1.19 which beats any other place in town.

The carnitas was really, really good if you like juicy, fatty pork (who doesn't?). I was disappointed with the toppings though; just lettuce and some thin guac. No queso, no peppers, and the salsas, roja y verde, were nothing much. The salsa roja was smoky but aren't they all these days? I doused my sandwich with it and couldn't really taste it.