Potbelly Sandwich Works
190 North State Street
This quirky chain of sandwich shops, has not only great sandwiches but stocks the amazing IBC Root Beer. The perfect place for a healthy lunch.
401 1/2 N. Franklin Street
Chicago IL 60654
Unfortunately I did not heed the reviews and showed up at the Doughnut Vault an hour after the opening time. I should have arrived half an hour before they opened! This place cooks their donuts before opening and once they are gone, they are gone.
Of course, this meant that by the time I arrived I was given the last item available, the Gingerbread Stack. Accordingly I was not able to properly review the full range of donuts available. While the Gingerbread Stack was pleasant enough, it lacked the freshness and flavour punch of the donuts I had on previous visits to Do-Rite Donuts (This might be because my order had been sitting on the counter for too long, as opposed to Do-Rite Donuts’ offerings which are freshly baked every hour or so). Nonetheless, I would certainly given it a try should I end up in Chicago again, although next time I will definately arrive earlier.
Lou Malnati’s Pizzeria
439 North Wells Street
Chicago, IL 60654
A very nice, pizza with a buttery crust and ample cheese and tomato sauce. However, it did not adequately represent the Chicago Deep Dish I was seeking. I would have no problems ordering it again if I was in town and looking for an easy pizza fix but I would not go out of my way for it.
The Malnati Chicago Classic
Deep Dish Pizza with lean sausage, some extra cheese and vine-ripened tomato on Buttercrust.
50 W. Randolph Street
Chicago, IL 60601
Buttermilk Old Fashioned
50 W. Randolph Street
Chicago, IL 60601
Best. Donuts. Ever.
Or at least in my experience. Every donut was fresh, fluffy and perfect. The Cinnamon Crunch donut may have been the plainest of the three options but it still packed a punch when it comes to flavour. The bacon on the Candied Maple Bacon donut was perfectly crisp and full of enough flavour to provide an amazing contrast to the dough to which it was affixed. The star of the show, however, was the Banoffee Pie, featuring a donut filled with delicious banana and toffee filling.
So good I might travel to Chicago again just to visit this place.
Candied Maple Bacon
1723 N Halsted
Chicago, IL 60614
Three Michelin Stars, Michelin Guide 2012
Number 7, S. Pellegrino’s The World’s Best Restaurants 2012
A glass of Lemonade
accompanied by a glass of Gimonnet Brut with St. Germain and Esterhazy Beerenausiese
passionfruit, heart of palm, allspice
shiso, soy, daikon
accompanied by a glass of Georg Breuer ‘Terra Montosa’ Riesling, Rheingau 2009
Miso prepared in a coffee siphon
fennel, orange squid
acting like agedashi tofu (featuring miso from the coffee siphon)
accompanied by a glass of Bodegas Godeval ‘Vina Godeval” Valdorras 2010
A glass of miso from the coffee siphon
thai banana, sea salt, kaffir lime
accompanied by a glass of Chehalem ’3 Vineyards’ Pinot Gris, Willamette 2011
ramps, asparagus, smocked date
accompanied by a glass of Descendientes de J. Palacios ‘Petalos’ Bierzo, Spain 2009
cold potato, black truffle, butter
A close-up of the 60 or so accompaniments to the lamb
explosion, romaine, parmesan
inspired by Miro
accompanied by a glass of Valpolicella Classico, Superiore ‘TB’ Bussolo 2006
onion, brie, smoking cinnamon
accompanied by The Rare Wine Co. ‘Boston Bual – Special Reserve’ Madeira
five other flavours
buttermilk, sorrel, macadamia
accompanied by a glass of Paolo Saracco Moscato d’Asti 2011
helium, green apple
strawberry, english pea, lemon
6801 Hollywood Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90028, USA
Describing itself as an “All-American” hamburger joint, lunch at this chain was a quick fix after our flight from Sydney was delayed as we did not want to eat lunch any later and risk being too full for our dinner reservation.
The food was promptly served and generally passable even if forgettable. I would only recommend eating here if you were in Hollywood & Highland and did not want to go to the effort of travelling somewhere better for lunch.
Cheddar cheese, iceberg lettuce, white onion, pickles, mayonnaise & their supposed signature “red red sauce®”
8400 Wilshire Blvd
Beverly Hills, CA 90211
Established by chef Jordan Kahn, a veteran of notable restaurants such as Alinea, Michael Mina and Per Se, Red Medicine seeks to provide a modern, western take on Vietnamese food.
This restaurant is infamous less so for its food but more for Chef Kahn’s decision to kick out and publicly out a LA Times critic who visited the restaurant in its early days. Neverthless, treated as a restaurant serving western food with Vietnamese flourishes, as opposed to a restaurant serving traditional Vietnamese cuisine, it certainly delivers an excellent meal. The food was mostly excellent with only two dishes falling into the “good” category. Services was professional and attentive if not overly friendly, although this could be due to the crowding of the restaurant when we visited.
The major drawback with the restaurant is the darkness of the dining room, most likely designed to create a hip environment, and the poor acoustics making it almost impossible to hold a conversation unless you wish to shout the entire time. Provided you do not need to talk at length with your dining companions, you should be fine.
#73 Novo Fogo Silver Cachata, Lime, Sugar
served in a Mason Jar
The novelty of this cocktail, being served in a mason jar, was half of the attraction. The cocktail certainly contained ample alcohol for $10 but was too strong for my liking.
#70 Johnny Drum Bourbon, sapling maple liqueur, maraschino liqueur, shaken with an orange slice and served over crushed ice with seasonal berries and mint
Again a strongly alcoholic drink only slightly sweetened by the myriad of berries sitting on top of the ice. Again, a decent drop of alcohol for $10 but I personally prefer my spirits served neat or diluted by more refreshing flavours than this middling contrast.
Chinese Lion Peppers
almond skins, honey, soy, violet basil, dates
This course was our attempt to add some vegetables to a meat-centric meal and it was an excellent addition. The Chinese Lion Peppers contained excellent flavour and the breadcrumbs added a nice texture to the dish. Fantastic.
Crispy Spring Rolls
dungeness crab, lime, pea pods, fines herbs, chili
Unfortunately the photo for this dish does not do it justice. The spring rolls were perfectly cooked, with a crisp outer shell and decent amounts of crab on the inside. While there was no strong flavour aside from the crab meat, it still provided a tasty twist on the traditional spring roll
caramelised sugar, pork fat, lemongrass, confitures
This dish provides a do-it-yourself takes on san choy bao. A dish containing nine compartments featured four crisp meatballs of chicken mince that could each be placed in provided lettuce cups and to which a range of accompaniments could be added, including pickles, scallions and various sauces. While not traditional dumplings as described in the menu, this dish provided quality ingredients that could be molded together to form quite the fun and tasty snack.
crispy chicken skin, lychee, clove, pistachio, spicy herbs
An extremely generous portion of rillette served in a cocotte covered by salad that had to be removed to reveal the feast that lay underneath. The rillette was warm and all of the ingredients worked well together even if by combining so many together there was no true standout flavour.
Accompanying croutons for the pork rillette
caramelised black vinegar, goji berry, spring onion, dried almond
Don’t let the picture fool you; this dish contained two very large pieces of caramelised pork shoulder that fell apart at the first touch of a fork and which melted in your mouth. Not dissimilar from Momofuku Seiobo’s caramelised pork shoulder, the version at Red Medicine acted as a true main course, as opposed to Seiobo’s play on petit fours, with stronger, heavier flavours. This dish was divine.
Heirloom Rice Porridge
Santa Barbara uni, egg yolk, hazelnuts, ginseng, echire butter
Probably Red Medicine’s most famous dish, it appears at first instance to be your standard rice porridge eaten at dessert. However, the savoury nature of the dish quickly becomes apparent courtesy of what appears to be three sticks of butter mixed into the porridge. The savoury flavour is then further enhanced once the egg yolk and uni is mixed in to the porridge to transform an attractive dish into an unattractive but absolutely delicious bowel of glop. A truly memorable dish.
almond praline, red current, orange blossom, jasmine
Initially mistaking this dish, ordered by the table next to us, for something else on the dessert menu, we accidentally ordered the right dish and I am glad we did. Served in a clear bowl so that you can see the bubbles forming underneath a crunchy crust, once the crust and contents underneath were mixed together every spoonful conveyed something cold and refreshing while extremely sweet to the point that I was worried my teeth would fall out. A visually stunning and delicious dessert.
6a Barker St
GRIFFITH ACT 2603
A very nice, quiet venue in Griffith featuring perfectly cooked meats. The barramundi, gnocchi and pork assiette were divine. The offer to replace our BYO slightly-warm bottle of Moet with a chilled bottle from their cellar was a very nice touch from our server.
Some of the dishes lacked creativity or genuine flavour – I am fairly confident the sauces with the barramundi and the steak were substantially identical or deceptively similar, to borrow from trade mark parlance. The confit duck was not very exciting.
Service-wise, there were some very, very long waits between courses. While it may be the case that this was due to the difficulty of a custom degustation for a group of six people, it is also the case that a restaurant should not encourage said custom degustation menus if it will result in serving difficulties. The delays also resulted in the wine pairings appearing stingy. Last, but not least, by the time the meal ended I had to walk up to the front of the restaurant and ask for the bill as everyone was packing up and there was no one in the back area to serve us.
WA red claw yabbies with leek and gorgonzola gratin, flying fish roe
Crisp skin Barramundi with crab, chive and potato dumplings, roasted tomato and fennel sauce
Roasted chive and potato gnocchi (flourless), confit tomato, basil, tallegio cheese
Berkshire pork assiette – belly with chilli lime caramel; rolled shin and boudin noir with a crispy ear and herb salad
Confit duck, spiced plum salsa, pickled carrot, St Maure d’Poitiu goats cheese
Roasted lamb shoulder and grilled lamb loin, speck lardons, peas and mint
Chargrilled beef fillet in bacon, beef jus, sauce béarnaise, confit tomato, thyme roasted kipflers
Ginger and lime crème brûlée, crème fraîche sorbet, roasted passionfruit
Gorman House Arts Centre
BRADDON ACT 2612
A fabulous meal featuring excellent ingredients and presentation. While some of the dishes were creatively presented, I never felt that creativity came at the expense of taste, something which cannot be said of a number of other restaurants I have visited.
The menu changed in the days before our arrival, which unfortunately denied me a dish that I had been anticipating when I made the reservation. However, the dishes on the new menu did not leave me wanting at the end of the meal. The lemon sole and veal tenderloin, which featured a small addictive sweetbread, were particular standouts. I cannot fault any of the dishes, although perhaps the beetroot and carrot dishes lacked the punch of the protein courses.
Our server was friendly and helpful throughout the night. From the moment we sat down, he offered help us add additional courses to the autumn omnivore tasting menu should we desire. We did so desire after reviewing the a la carte menu and after a quick trip to the kitchens our server confirmed there would be no issues incorporating two extra courses (the pork and duck courses).
As for the venue, it is within walking distance from the centre of the city and thus conveniently located. The room is very nice with tasteful, modern furnishings.
While not an inexpensive restaurant, I regarded the meal as providing exceptional value for money in Canberra.
There were four occasions during the nearly four hours we were dining that we had to wait more than is usual for our glasses to be refilled or for our next course. However, the issue was usually resolved before we began to get really irritated by the issue. In the case of the timing of the courses, this may have been the result of our adding courses to the tasting menu, which may have placed the kitchen out of synch, so I will not hold it against them.
The tables against the walls are probably too close ot each other for my comfort, but at least the music was at a low enough level that the restaurant never felt too crowded and one did not spend the entire night listening to his neighbour’s conversations.
Even though it is technically still Autumn, it got very cold in the restaurant each time someone opened the front and back doors to the restaurant.
House baked bread