Monthly Archives: April 2010

Eating…NYC

Eating the World is wrapping up a great weekend trip to NYC currently, where we added three countries to our map: Haiti, Venezuela and, wait for it, AUSTRALIA! As you know Australia has been one of our most sought-after counties. We also hit up some Turkish and Greek restaurants, Momofuku Milk Bar and our favorite multi-national falafel chain, Maoz. Stay tuned for the reviews.

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Why doesn’t Chicago have food trucks?

Seriously!!! Going to Philly, New York , LA and San Fran, the sidewalks are chockablock with awesome food carts. It’s not just tacos and burgers anymore either, check out the creme brulee cart (which like many other food trucks, Twitters its news and location), a must do for when we go to San Fran. Sure, in Chicago there is the erstwhile paleta cart, but I’m talking about the full out Food-Truck experience. Check out Chicagofoodtrucks.com a site with more info about how food trucks might come to the Windy City.

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Delicious French Crêperie in Madison: Bradbury’s

Bradbury’s
127 North Hamilton Street
Madison, WI

Madison has an impressive number of homegrown coffee shops, though it definitely had less of a “crepe” presence. However, now both aspects of the Mad-town dining scene get a boost with Bradbury’s which specializes in both. Bradbury’s is primarily a breakfast and lunch space, located right off of the square. It is a cozy space (on the smallish side), swimming in windows and packed with tiny tables. The menu is written on the walls above the windows on one side of the cafe and consists of mostly coffee drinks a some sweet and savory crepe selections.

M, a particular oddity for grad students, doesn’t like coffee, so he enjoyed a generous bowl of hot chocolate. L got her caffeine fix through a macchiato. Also on the menus are more “advanced” coffee options like the Japanese Siphon coffee, which seemed to come with a neat cadre of serving implements. No seriously, it looks like a chemistry set of a mad scientist.

For our breakfast proper, we indulged in 2 chocolaty crepes (could it really be anything else?) L opted for the almond and nutella crepe ($4.5), which also came with bananas, but she opted for the non-fruit route, while M went for the dark chocolate and marmalade crepe ($5.5). After sampling each, L prefered the classic hazelnut/chocolate nutella crepe, while M, the chocolate purist, thought his crepe had a richer taste. For both crepes, the pancake itself was perfectly uniform and thin, something crepe carts often get wrong.

Bradbury’s a great place for a crepe and some coffee, and were were definitely tantalized by the range of savory options, like the spinach potato and cheddar ($6.5) or the chorizo and chevre ($7.5). We think a lunch may be in our future.

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Gardening the World

It was nice weather in Chicago for a few days (though some snow might fall tomorrow, ugh!) so all of the sun got me to thinking about what I should plant in my little balcony garden. I was inspired by apartment garden blog Life on The Balcony’s post on planting herbs based on your taste in international foods. Basil and oregano for Italian food, cilantro for Mexican, etc. So far M and I are definitely thinking of Italian basil, Thai basil, Cilantro and Rosemary alongside some veggies and flowers. Hopefully our little balcony will not run out of room.

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Happy Easter!

Ukrainian Easter Eggs by Vanberto

Happy Easter – enjoy these beautiful Pysanky eggs from the Ukraine. These types of eggs are made using a wax-resist method where the designs are drawn on with a wax stylus. These Pysanky definitely make American-style food-colored eggs jealous. Though it may be a little late, Design*Sponge has a guide on how to make your own Pysanky.

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Filed under Finer Things Club, World Eats

Colombia: Las Tablas

Las Tablas
2942 N Lincoln Ave.
Chicago, IL

We  had been warned that to really enjoy Las Tablas you have to prepare yourself for an epic onslaught of starch and meat. We were prepared. We entered Las Tablas’ Lincoln Avenue location (There is also a newer Irving Park Location) on a Saturday night, and the place was packed to the gills and the bar was lively. We had a reservation but even had to wait 20 minutes for the party to clear out a bit. The decor inside was nice, with cute Botero reproductions lining the walls.

Looking at the menu we saw a distinct emphasis on… well, meat. However, on the large menu there were ample non-meat options to serve as teasers for the main event. We started off the meal with an order of Las Tablas’ 2 cheese empanadas ($2.5 each) and a rather more unusual appetizer of Aborrajado ($8) which was a plantain stuffed with guava jelly and soft white cheese. They made a mistake with our empanadas by giving us a meat order – and quickly made amends by bringing our correct cheese order out in addition. Though the meat empanadas were good – we actually preferred the cheese empanadas, maybe it’s the Wisconsin influence.

The appetizer portion of the dinner concluded our meatless run, and we pulled out all the stops for the main course. M ordered the “Matrimonio” which was a combination platter of chicken breast and Entraña skirt steak – the specialty of the house ($20). L ordered another combination platter with steak and shrimp ($20). Alongside each dish came plantains, potatoes and some somewhat unappealing fibrous yuca. The steak was definitely the house favorite for a reason. The chicken and shrimp were good, but not as memorable since they had the same spice rub as the beef. The portions were so huge we ended up taking about 1/2 of each portion home each, which served us for another meal and a half.

We washed everything down with a Las Tablas Limonada, a homemade lime cordial, which reminded us of the Venezuelan drink Papelon con Limon. For dessert we chose the Brevas con Arequipe ($4.5) a simple dish of figs covered in a semi-soft caramel sauce, much like dulce de leche, but with a slight sour flavor. Though not as sweet as it’s cousin, dulce de leche, M gobbled up the figs.

We stumbled out of Las Tablas in a veritable food coma, one induced for less than $60 no less. Though we sometimes had to shout to make ourselves heard above the din, Las Tablas is a great place for carnivores to share a lively dinner.

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Eating…North Korea?

In honor of April fools day here’s something from our “strange but true” file. So as everyone knows North Korea is a totalitarian regime that is nearly closed to outsiders. So how can it be that there are North Korean restaurants dotted across Asia? It turns out these restaurants are in fact run by the government itself and used as a tool for North Korea to acquire foreign currencies. Seriously. Not a joke. The restaurants are called Pyongyang, after the North Korean capital city.

Pyongyang restaurant in Siem Reap by lecercle

Pyongyangs are staffed by North Korean waitresses and feature a variety of Korean foods, including some basics like bibimbop and kim chee and also some unique/bizarre North Korean dishes like noodles served in a block of ice. There is no overt propaganda, but there is also a song-and-dance-laden dinner show that accompanies some meals. When we are in SE Asia this June we just might have to go! There are locations in Siem Riep, Cambodia and in Kuala Lumpur.

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