Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Veni, Vidi, Ziti

1. Add a direct link to your post below the name of the person who tagged you. Include the city/state and country you’re in.

Nicole (Sydney, Australia)
velverse (Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia)
LB (San Giovanni in Marignano, Italy)
Selba (Jakarta, Indonesia)
Olivia (London, England)
ML (Utah, USA)
Lotus (Toronto, Canada)
tanabata (Saitama, Japan)
Andi (Dallas [ish], Texas, United States)
Lulu (Chicago, Illinois, United States)
Chris (Boyne City, Michigan, United States)
AB (Cave Creek, Arizona, United States)
Johnny Yen (Chicago, Illinois, USA)
Bubs (Mt Prospect, Illinois, USA)
Splotchy(Brookfield, Illinois, USA)

2. List out your top 5 favorite places to eat at your location.

Okay, okay. I have been living in Brookfield for two years, and I have three children under the age of 5. Consequently, I have not been the restaurant butterfly that I was a few years ago. Still, I have five restaurants that I will submit for anyone's culinary amusement.

1. Moti Mahal (Belmont Avenue, Chicago)
This was the first place I ever had Indian food, and for me, still the best. I have eaten at a few Indian restaurants downtown, and some on Devon Avenue, but I swear at Moti Mahal they must lace their chicken tikka masala with codeine. I literally take all available naan (a wonderful flatbread) and wipe the serving dish this stuff comes in clean. Ahh, and the bhagan barth, the alu dum, sag paneer, oh my freaking God. And I always have a somosa as an appetizer (a fried pastry filled with spicy potatoes and peas). My wife and I have a ritual -- one of us asks "Would you like a somosa?" and the other answers "I suppose-a." Hey, we are comfortable in our lameness. Since we moved out to the 'burbs we have not had the opportunity to discover an Indian restaurant to replace Moti Mahal. I'm hoping there's some fantastic restaurants in Westmont, which has a sizeable Indian population.

2. Mayan Sol - Albany Park, Chicago
We usedta get takeout from this affordable Guatemalan restaurant in Albany Park when our oldest kids were just wee ones. We would usually get the standard steak taco dinner, the highlight for me being the sweet plantains they provided along with the tacos, beans and rice. I recently ate there again with a friend of mine and the food was as good as I remembered.

3. Manny's - Southwest of the Loop, Chicago
This is a restaurant I'll occasionally go to for lunch, as it's just a few blocks from where I work. It's expensive, but they go crazy with the Jewish deli fixings. I always get a corned beef sandwich on rye with a hockey puck potato latke, but you can get knishes, kishke, tongue, kreplach and matzoh ball soup, etc. And horseradish at your table! Mazel with the Tov!

4. J.B. Alberto's - Rogers Park, Chicago
I have eaten so much of this place's pizza that my arteries surely carry at least a few threads of mozzarella. They are only a carry out and delivery place -- no eating area. Regrettably we are out of their delivery distance. Try 'em out if you want some tasty pizza.

5. Blueberry Hill - La Grange
Finally a restaurant that it is the vicinity of my new suburban digs, that I have eaten at and can heartily recommend. A really great family restaurant that focuses primarily on breakfast. Good, quick service, tasty food in respectable portions. It's popular, for a very good reason.

3. Tag 5 other people (preferably from other countries/states) and let them know they’ve been tagged.

I'm too freaking tired to tag anyone else. I want Indian food.


Joe said...

Yay for Manny's! Is it still full of firefighters from the CFD academy? They have great cabbage rolls. I almost listed Jim's Original Maxwell St. but decided to stick with the n/w suburbs. I've eaten a few good meals from Moti Mahal too...good choices.

lulu said...

I have seen more than one roach at Moti Mahal, although I kind of figure that they are everywhere...

J.B. ALberto's is on my speed dial. I love their pizza, and they deliver really really late!

Nicole said...

wooo alberto sounds yummylicious with the cheese!!!

ps thanks for doing the tag...

Anonymous said...

Now you make me crave for Indian food too. The way you describe Moti Mahal, I think I can like stay there for years and just eat everything in there everyday and not get bored :)

Thanks for doing the tag :D

Johnny Yen said...

That's funny-- my brother had his wedding reception in Westmont, catered by an Indian restaurant (his wife is Indian).

I'm fortunate to live a short drive from Devon Avenue here in Chicago, where I have a number of Indian restaurant options.

I've passed the Mayan Sol many times-- I'll have to try it. I love Guatemalan food.

When I was a young kid, my family lived not too far from there, on Central Park and Lawrence. It's been fascinating watching the ethnic changes in the neighborhood over the last 40 years.

Splotchy said...

bubs, yeah, still a healthy contingent of the academy's finest regularly eat at Manny's.

lulu, sorry about your roach sightings at Moti -- always a bummer when you see vermin when you're out for a bite. Hey, have a slice of J.B.'s for me some time you cityfolk!

nicole & velverse, you're welcome and thanks for the meme.

Splotchy said...

JY, if your brother is out Westmont way and you wouldn't mind asking him for some Indian restaurant recommendations, I'd surely appreciate it.

What was the predominant ethnic makeup of Albany Park back when you lived there? I thought it was an amazing mix when we lived there in the early aughts. I miss hearing the ranchera music spilling out of every window.

Johnny Yen said...

Unfortunately for you, he now lives in Fremont, California, which has one of the highest percentages of Indian restaurants (and Indian people) in the world outside of India. Maybe his in-laws, who still live in the western 'burbs now. I'll ask.

When I lived there, from 1968 to 1971, a few of the Jewish people were left-- we had our Cub Scout meetings at a synagogue near Jensen Park (it later became a Korean Christian church, and was torn down a couple of years ago for a parking lot for the new middle school near there). Appalachians moved there as soon as they could afford to get out of Uptown. I had some Lebanese friends and a Hungarian friend. My best friends, Steve and Richie were from Alabama and Poland, respectively. There was an Italian lady down the street who spoke not a word of English, and I had an Irish friend, a Korean friend and a couple of latino friends, and the rest were just basic blue collar europeans-Americans. The Appalachians and Jews were the predominant groups, but even then Albany Park was on its way to becoming the incredible ethnic mosaic that it is today.

Johnny Yen said...

That should have read "european-Americans"

lulu said...

My mom grew up in Albany Park, she was one of the only non-Jewish kids in her class. Like her, the other non-Jews were Swedish.

Swedes and Jews both eat a lot of lox, I wonder if that is how they ended up in the same neighborhood.

Johnny Yen said...

That would explain all the great bakeries back then, too.

Splotchy said...

Thanks for all the info regarding Albany Park!

Hey, do either of you know what the Admiral Theatre usedta be?

It's a beautiful building (filled with beautiful strippers?).

Johnny Yen said...

It was a regular theater back in the day. I remember seeing regular movies there as a young'un.

Coaster Punchman said...

Don't believe Lu's roach story for a minute. She totally planted it in a cheap effort to get a free meal.

Dude, if you want serious Indian food visit 6th Street in NYC's East Village. Cheap, and copious.

Why does everyone insist on saying "dude?" Now they've got me saying it. I need a drink.

Splotchy said...

d00d, serious Indian food is what I am searching for.

If the Feelies ever play a reunion show, I'll have somewhere to fuel up before/after hitting Maxwell's in Hoboken.

Thanks for the heads up.

Johnny Yen said...

I saw the Feelies open for Lou Reed in 1990 or 1991-- on the New York tour. They were great. My late friend Mark, who I saw the show with, was a huge Feelies fan.

One of my college girlfriends is married now to the co-owner of Maxwell's.