II Tony's at West End

22 Feb 2015

Two Tony's Restaurant on Urbanspoon

OK, I'll fess up--Two Tony's wasn't our first choice last night. When we struck out at our first choice in Lakeview, we decided to stay in the neighborhood, and ran over there. It was a good idea!

Fried Eggplant and marinara for a starter. Not the big sticks like at Mandina's, but cooked well. Good choice.

Shrimp and roasted pepper bisque. Good seasoning level, tasty peppers, but not spicy-hot. 

Mrs. YatPundit had lobster au gratin, one of the evening's specials. Very rich! She took half of the lobster and all of the alfredo home. 

Veal Montalbano - the sauce is a stock/wine reduction, with mushrooms. Delicious! 

All that and a Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand. Tasty! 


Lenten Friday

21 Feb 2015

Mrs. YatPundit's work schedule has been nasty since the beginning of the new year, so I've been planning simple dinners that can handle schedule disruptions. We went with seafood tonight, so it was a Whole Foods' dinner. She had their "Creole Crabcake", and I picked up a crabmeat-stuffed salmon filet.

The rice is a simple pilaf I made while the fish and crab were in the oven. It's just white rice with a little holy trinity and some sliced mushrooms. 

Usually Mrs. YatPundit likes the crabcake, but this one turned out to be a bit more on the spicy side. The stuffing in the fish wasn't as hot, so I knocked it out of the fish, gave it to her, and replaced it with half of the crabcake. Win-win. Next time, I'll have to try the Maryland-style crabcake for her.

Cava is a wonderful thing, because it's inexpensive, tasty, and #bubbles. Nothing better to pick up one's spirits after a challenging work week! 

Deep Dish from @LouMalnatis

8 Oct 2014

Lou Malnati's Pizzeria on Urbanspoon

When I teach in ChicagoLand, the office is in Itasca, IL. I usually stay in Schaumburg, IL. There's always that night during the week where I'm watching a bunch of teevee, or writing, or both, so I'll order in. I'm not a big fan of deep dish, but sometimes, when in Rome...this is the Malnati Chicago Classic, small size (there's also a "personal" that's smaller). There's some tasty sausage under the sauce and cheese.

Even when I'm not looking for deep dish, I order thin crust from Lou Malnati's.

Ramen Tenma in San Jose

4 Oct 2014

Ramen Tenma on Urbanspoon

There's a TownPlace Suites hotel (Marriott) just off I-280 at Saratoga Avenue. Prior to an ownership change at the Residence Inn in Sunnyvale, I was growing more and more unhappy with that hotel, so I decided to try a different neighborhood. I hit the jackpot of small places to eat! Across the street from the hotel is a Chinese supermarket with a take-away shop attached, a taqueria, Chinese hot pot restaurant, Korean BBQ place, a donut shop for breakfast, and Ramen Tenma.

Laminated menu at the table at Ramen Tenma.

Ramen Tenma is a strip-mall noodle shop--nothing fancy, just good food. They do a number of combinations on the classic Japanese bowl of soup, as well as serving several appetizers and side dishes.

Orion is the house beer. They do promotions, like a big Orion and gyoza for $10. They've got several other brews, domestic and Japanese, on the menu.

Here's the pan-fried gyoza. Most sushi places drop these in a deep-fry and hustle them out to placate you while your sushi is prepared. Ramen Tenma does a much better job.

"Tenma" Ramen, the house version. It's pork broth (with a slice of roast pork). I've had their Tonkatsu, Miso, and "Spicy" versions as well, and each has been a treat. The soup bowls range from $8.50 to $12.50, depending on what's in them, and you can add extras (another egg, more seaweed, corn, etc.) as well.


Wakin' Bakin' - Tasty Mid City Breakfast

3 Oct 2014

Wakin' Bakin' on Urbanspoon


"Breakfast Bowl" with eggs, grits, cheese, and chorizo.

Wakin' Bakin' is a neat little breakfast place/coffee shop on Banks Street, just up from Jesuit High School. It's small, but the food is wonderful. The two items I order regularly are the breakfast bowl (above), and the "Big John's" biscuit. Wakin' Bakin' do a number of combinations on the breakfast bowl, starting with a base of grits or hash browns. My favorite combination is what you see in the photo, grits, eggs over easy, cheese, and chorizo. The regular breakfast sausage is also tasty, as is bacon.

Wakin' Bakin's biscuits are excellent. The "Big John" is your typical egg-sausage-cheese affair. No complaints.

Coffee at Wakin' Bakin' is good. It's a self-serve setup, so refills are free and easy to get.

Service is awesome at this place! The staff are polite, cheerful, and they seem to have fun and want to be there. Of course, that's not necessarily the case every day, but to consistently convey that impression is a hallmark of a good staff.

Wakin' Bakin' is a small shop; I go early (7am-8am) on weekday mornings. I've heard reports from friends on Da Twittah that Saturdays are a zoo there. Still, it would be worth the wait.

**** (4 doubloons)

5 Reasons to use REAL Absinthe in your Sazerac

30 Jul 2014

The "Toulouse Red Sazerac"

So many bars and restaurants in New Orleans use "absinthe substitutes" when making the "official cocktail of New Orleans," the Sazerac. Using a substitute is, by definition, using something other than the original. It's time to stop, and here's five reasons why:

1. It's historically accurate. - from the 1850s, when the Sazerac as we know it now, was created, until 1912, absinthe was used to coat the chilled glass, then the rest of the contents poured into the glass. Absinthe was banned in the United States in 1912, forcing bars to use "substitutes."

2. You won't lose your mind. One of the criticisms levelled at absinthe distillers by temperance activists at the turn of the 19th-20th centuries, was the notion that absinthe's green coloring was the result of adding copper salts to the drink. These salts would improve the green tint. While there are cases of shady distillers and sellers "improving" the color of their absinthes, this was not a common practice. It's certainly not happening now--go tour Atelier Vie's distillery in Mid City any weekend they're open to the public for tours and bottle sales, and they'll explain how their product is made.

3. It's not expensive. The Sazerac recipe calls for absinthe to "coat" the glass. Use a pourer on your bottle and let a few drops hit the glass, then rotate the glass to spread it around. That's not even half a shot, so you can afford to use the good stuff.

4. It's more potent. Absinthe substitutes are usually, 90-100 proof (45%-50% alcohol by volume, or ABV). Atelier Vie's Toulouse Red is 136 proof, (68% ABV). When you drink Sazerac with a substitute, you're not getting the same kick you would from Antoine Peychaud's original.

5. It tastes better. The real thing is so much more flavorful. That's why local bars such as 12 Mile Limit and Winston's Pub have crafted cocktails around Toulouse Red and Toulouse Green.

So, next time you're in a bar downtown or in the French Quarter, ask your bartender how they make their Sazerac. If they don't say they use absinthe, request it, and travel back to the 19th Century!

"20 Days of Charity" (for @RMHCNewOrleans) at Remoulade by @ArnaudsNOLA

17 Jul 2014

Arnaud's Remoulade on Urbanspoon


We went out to Arnaud's Remoulade last night, to help out Ronald McDonald House's night in the restaurant's "20 Days of Charity." Remoulade is owned by Arnaud's, the classic, old-line, Creole-French restaurant, located on Bienville Street, around the corner. Arnaud's opened up Remoulade, their "casual side" facing Bourbon, which was just brilliant.

Erstas! Clockwise, starting with the red one at the top: Suzette, Bienville, Ohan, Rockefeller, Kathryn. It's great to get such class New Orleans food without having to do the full "fancy restaurant" experience.

Turtle Soup, another taste of local goodness. Mrs. YatCuisine had the "Taste of Louisiana," which starts with turtle soup, then a Natchitoches meat pie and some crawfish etouffee.

"Bourbon Street Blues Burger" - this was tasty! The bleu cheese was good, and a bit of Remoulade's Creole Mustard hit the spot.

Remoulade has cocktails, several Abita Brewery beers on tap, lots of bottled beer, and wine by the glass. If you ask, they'll get you the full wine list from Arnaud's. I asked, and chose this nice Italian red.

We finished dinner by splitting a creme brulee, and I had a coffee. Lovely evening for a great cause!