Thursday, March 10, 2011

Now THIS is Food

A friend of mine has termed my posts this year, "The year of food". I admit that I've had a lot but we all need food to survive. Might as well tell you about things that I like.

I wouldn't describe myself as a "foodie". I like certain things and can't stand other things. Some of those other things, like onions, I understand the value of using in food. That doesn't mean I have to like them.

I also don't know food beyond what I like. I can't tell you if this honey baked ham has different curing spices than that honey baked ham. I can tell some flavors, but I'm not a student of food. Is this meringue dry and tasteless? Is this one soggy? I might be able to tell the difference but I'm more about do I like it.

I needed to help Jon on this job he has in the city. I helped get the job up and going, some 4 years ago, but he got it and it's been a solid money-maker for us. It's also right off of Clark Street in Chicago. If you drive Clark north from the Lincoln Park Zoo, you will pass some very intriguing shops and eateries. Jon found one a block away from his job.

This is an amazing place. As is typical Chicago, it's a hole in the wall, with eating counters facing the windows and tables and chair packed across the floor for maximum occupancy. Three TVs tuned to different channels provided the daytime highlights. There are no public restrooms but Starbucks is just north of this place, if you need to go. The decor is plain, but you aren't going there to gawk at TV or the yellow walls. You are going there for the food.

Loose leaf tea! Be still my heart! I had Assam this time. I am pretty sure I have some loose leaf Assam up in the cupboard but I don't have room for it on the shelf where I store the tea I'm currently drinking.

And see that strainer? I have to get me one of those. It was thin and long, made of a very fine mesh. What I absolutely loved was that the rim was plastic. I have a cup-size mesh strainer but the rim is metal. If I let the tea steep, the edge gets too hot to comfortably remove. I have actually taken to using the tongs (chicken catchers, in my household) to remove it from the cup. This was great. I guess I need to head off to a tea store and take a look.

Jon ordered chicken salad on a croissant. I had a ham and cheese panini. It was just ham and swiss cheese and I could have mayo or mustard on it. I always feel so badly when I have to say, "No mayo, no tomato, no onion" but I don't like that stuff.

Look at this! It was huge and it was so very good. The yellow stuff oozing out is mustard. It might have been one notch better with a German mustard but this was a top notch sandwich.

But, a sandwich is just an excuse for why you're really there; dessert and sweets. There were two large cases of cookies, cakes, pies and desserts. There were two shelves full of breads of all sorts. Jon said, when we walked by the place to reach a location we needed to visit, that we were eating here and I would be amazed by the food. I should have taken that as a clue to go get my debit card so I could bring stuff home.

For dessert, Jon had this.
It was called the "Opera" torte. The tan filling had just a hint of coffee. That's vanilla and chocolate layers frosted with chocolate ganache. He said it was very good, but was not his favorite. Now, he's been eating here for years, since discovering this place and has eaten through about half of the offerings in the case. He ranked this a "7" on the 1-10 scale.

I had this.
Chocolate cake with white chocolate mousse center topped with white chocolate whipped cream. There was a layer of raspberry jam on the chocolate cake. Incredible. It melted in my mouth. The raspberry was just enough, as if it was the "Fred" to the white chocolate's "Ginger". It was the perfect dance of flavor. The whole meal was less than $20 for the 2 of us.

So, Jon wants me to come down with him on Friday to help install equipment. You can bet I'm remembering the debit card when we go to lunch.

Beverage:  Huckleberry tea


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