On Oct 1 I posted a piece stating that I did not receive special treatment because I write a Blog. I believe that still holds, but I do seem to receive "special treatment" as a customer. Whether or not there is any overlap, I'm not sure. All this is preface to what happened at "Boca", 6th and Walnut, Downtown last Wednesday night.
After being seated, upstairs by the front windows, I was handed a hand written note, which said in part, "Chef Falk and I hope you enjoy the sweetbreads. He told me you like them". I was shocked with this act of complete hospitality. Everything that followed bask in the glow of the personal attention we had received.
Three of the four of us had the sauteed Sweetbreads in a wonderful Beurre Blanc sauce with just the proper hint of wine or liquor. The table split an order of Caramelized Brussels Sprouts and then each of us a tasting portion of separate dishes; mine was a perfectly creamy Seafood Risotto, with small pieces of shell fish and snippets of flat fish. Wine, shared dessert and an evening with out of town friends made a memorable event.
Then it was off to Chicago to visit a Granddaughter who is in a Masters program and Northwestern University and to partake, with 3 other couples in our annul Lobster Party, something that has gone on for the last 47 years.
The night we arrived 5 of us had dinner at "Tapas Barcelona" 1615 Chicago Ave. Evanston, IL 60201 Tel. 847-866-9900. I am not going to try to recall all the dishes we shared, eight before desserts, but they were all interesting and very tasty. A few I can remember were: dates wrapped in bacon, goat cheese in a hot fresh tomato sauce, duck sausage with polenta strips, fish with a potato puree and red cabbage, tenderloin of beef scures and shell fish in a lemon sauce. The desserts were excellent Flan, beautiful puff pastry filled with ice cream and covered with hot fudge sauce and a Spanish layer cake. Fun place, good food and very reasonable bill.
Another spot on our granddaughter agenda was "Balena" 1633 N. Halsted (just off North Ave.) Chicago 312-867-3888. This trendy Italian hot spot serves anything from Pizza to Tiramisu. Four of us settled on two appetizers, 2 pastas, one Pizza and two desserts. The pasta dishes were the best; a miniature cup shaped pasta with chopped kale, browned and seasoned bread crumbs and a light butter-lemon sauce. The other was Canestri (flat noodles) with a delicious Pork Ragu. The biggest disappointment was the Pizza with roasted fresh peach and speck ( much to bland for our tastes) and mostly crust.
Last night it was back home to "Sotto" 144 East 6th St. Downtown, noisy, dark but very good, interesting Italian dining. Four of us shared the whole dinner: 2 Bruschetta's, tuna and a chicken liver mousse; Linguine with Cauliflower anchovies and lemon,, Cappellacci with tomato vodka sauce, and a short rib filled ravioli, our meat course was a pounded( thin) pork tenderloin sauteed and crusted with bread crumbs and herbs. The ricotta doughnuts provided the dolcie. It's good to be back to our usual spots.