22 February 2017

sushi dokku.

okay, peeps. this was a tough one. not because the food wasn't good (it was fine / okay), but because the service was terrible.

sushi dokku had been on our to go to list for a while ... so when it was time for a birthday celebration (happy birthday, c&b ... last september), we decided to give it a try.

per the website ... "the menu is incredibly diverse & ranges from delicate sashimi cuts, to creative nigiri bites & maki rolls, to a japanese-inspired filet mignon for the non-sushi eater in the group." well, this non-sushi eater didn't have a filet, but ...

here's what i had ...

edamame :
warm soybeans & salt.
why i photographed this, i don't know. we all know what edamame tastes like & if you don't, this must be your first day as a vegan. welcome aboard!

cucumber & aged tofu salad :
tomato, red onion, green onion & garlic-soy vinaigrette.
this was actually pretty good. i liked having some protein in my cucumber salad. 

shishito peppers :
always good. 

veg roll :
ok, here's where things completely derailed. we did the "just let the chef make whatever he wants" thing ... this was horrible. maybe he didn't know rice is vegan? because, if not, why would you create / serve such a thing?! it was so slimy ... sorry, chef.

so things (food-wise) went downhill at the end of the meal ... service was bad from the get-go. look, i know this has nothing to do with a restaurant's ability to make a legit vegan meal ... but i just can't send anyone here without this warning ... our server never asked if we wanted more drinks (we did, it was a birthday, come on.) ... our waters were never refilled the entire meal (we were parched.) ... it took forever for someone to bring our bill. (i suggested we dine & dash, obviously kidding ... but that's how long it took.)

give them a try -- but diner beware.

sushi dokku
823 w. randolph st.
chicago, il 60607

15 February 2017

new orleans : la petite grocery.

when i started researching where to eat in new orleans, the first thing i did was google which chefs had been on top chef. i came across a few options, but once i remembered justin devillier was down there, i knew we had to head to his restaurant, la petite grocery.

on the la petite grocery website, it says : "in march of 2004, la petite grocery opened its doors ... we hope to provide a dining experience that evokes nostalgia of old new orleans. ... devillier puts his creative spin on traditional new orleans cuisine with dishes." get excited! after a quick search to see that la petite grocery was cool with vegans in general (traditional nola cuisine doesn't make me think of vegan food, per se), i called ahead of time to give them a heads up & make our reservation.

here's what i had ...

shaved apple salad :
apples, radish, pecans.
per the recommendation of our server, this was quite delicious. plus, already vegan besides just some cheese on top. i was really feeling the pecans & could have used a lot more of them on top here.

veg plate :
bok choy, cauliflower, cabbage, etc.
this a "let the chef make magic" dish. it was magic. but i did feel slightly cheated because our server described it as having red quinoa also ... which it would have been nice to have a hearty carb along with the awesome veg flavors.

blueberry sorbet & satsuma granita :
 i know it's just sorbet, but this was my favorite dish of the night ... i had never heard of satsuma (a citrus fruit grown in the area) so i kind of had to try this. the sorbet was amazing. the granita was amazing. a perfect end to the meal. side note ... since this, i've seen satsuma at whole foods every week. so basically, i'm just oblivious to the world around me.

la petite grocery is awesome ... cool ambience / design ... great food ... awesome dessert ... plus, top chef status. if you're down there, check it out.

la petite grocery
4238 magazine street
new orleans, louisiana 70115

08 February 2017

coda di volpe.

along came december, which meant time for the annual erin's birthday dinner extravaganza for my friend, erin (obv). per usual, i picked the place. (it's not my birthday, but we all know i like to have a say.) so i opted for the new-ish  coda di volpe in my old hood : southport corridor.

the deets : "coda di volpe is a neighborhood favorite & a dining destination serving southern italian fare." i love me some carbs, the national food of italy. so i was ready for this like woah.

my friend duarte & i decided to share our entrees so we could try more food & pretend like we were eating less. (lolz.) here's what i had ...

first off, rosé all day, y'all. 

vegetable antipasti :
pickled, marinated & grilled.
give me a plate of pickled things (esp. olives) & i'll give you an empty plate back. 

marinara pizza :
san marzano tomato, garlic & basil.
some people think pizza like this is boring ... i think those people are dumb. we say simple.

bucatini pomodoro :
fire-roasted cherry tomato & basil. 
more simplicity in the best way ... so good.

trombette trapanese :
tomato, almond, garlic & basil. 
they left the cheese & sausage on the side here ... but honestly, i can't imagine the dish needed it. it was sooo good on its own!

walking out of coda di volpe, i was already making mental plans on when i'd be back ... apparently, "southern italian fare" is code for winter comfort food ... i want to eat here every day. 

coda di volpe
3335 n. southport ave.
chicago, il 60657

01 February 2017

new orleans : dreamy weenies.

when my coworker (hi, madeline!) found out josh & i were going to new orleans for a little baby-free getaway, she immediately insisted we must go to dreamy weenies. when our flight down was delayed & we arrived in nola starving, we quickly dropped our bags off at the hotel, grabbed an uber & hauled ass over there ...

the whole time, i sang "dreamy weenies, dreamy weenies, dreamy weenies, dreamy weenies! dreamy dreamy weenies. dreamy dreamy weenies. dreamy weenies. dreamy weenies." to the tune of frère jacques. (josh loved it.)

so you understand why i was so excited ... "dreamy weenies is not your average 'street meat.' we've taken one of america's favorite comfort foods & reinvented it with a unique new orleans twist. ... out of respect for people's various dietary needs, dreamy weenies uses separate cooking equipment & utensils for the kosher, halal & vegan hot dogs." yuuuuum.

we decided to over order & share in a classic case of our eyes being bigger than our stomachs. here's what i had ...

satchmo dog & the "higgy" :
top satchmo : vegan andouille sausage topped with red beans & rice.
bottom higgy : vegan andouille sausage topped with in-house chili, vegan cheese & 7th ward grits.
guys ... sooooo good. this was my first experience with grits & although untraditional in presentation, i found them to be absolutely delicious. i mean, the whole mid-afternoon meal was perfection. dreamy weenies even has special vegan buns ... so no need to worry on any front.

basically, i'd be 300 pounds if i lived in nola ... well, 1. because my alcohol consumption would exponentially increase. but 2. because i'd be at dreamy weenies everyday. if you go down there, you absolutely must go. 

dreamy weenies
740 n. rampart st.
new orleans, la 70116