Truth Be Toad
Pollack ate her first sugar toad. That’s the amuse Jimmy Sneed sends out to every diner at his just-opened SugarToad (2139 CityGate Ln., Naperville; 630-778-8623). She also tried the sweetbread with a poached egg on arugula (hearty and enjoyable) and turnip soup with smoked bacon (more, please). So what’s up with sugar toads? They’re a nice gesture but no big deal—they’re blowfish from the Chesapeake Bay, but taste like frog legs. We’d rather talk about “Jimmy’s Finally Famous” crab cakes. Two massive spheres deliver almost pure crabmeat without the fuss of the nutcracker and the shells.
Homer Simpson, Bacon Lover
HOMER: I’ll have the smiley face breakfast special. Uhh, but could you add a bacon nose? Plus bacon hair, bacon mustache, five o’clock shadow made of bacon bits, and a bacon body.
WAITRESS: How about I just shove a pig down your throat?
(Homer looks excited)
WAITRESS: I was kidding.
iCream Gets Creamed
We were all set to run a fascinating Q & A in this space with Cora Shaw, one of the super-smart partners of Wicker Park’s iCream (1537 N. Milwaukee Ave.; 773-342-2834), a high-tech ice cream shop, but it turns out the tech wasn’t so high. Or was it too high? The ice-cream machines, smoking with liquid nitrogen, have suffered from all kinds of problems since the place unveiled last month—and now, says Shaw, the parlor will have to close for six to eight weeks. Mmm, cold ice cream in the middle of November! Check www.icreamcafe.com for updates.
Damn Ugly, Damn Good
Take the Cake (1635 W. Walnut St.; 312-850-4530), an 11-year-old bake shop that has long specialized in wedding cakes, began a cookie division (Chocolate Gourmet, which produces “Damn Good Cookies”), then spread out to truffles (Ugly Truffles) a couple of years ago. “I love to do wedding cakes, but you can only do so many wedding cakes and do a good job,” says Mary Winslow, the owner, who worked at Bittersweet and Blue Plate Catering. “We needed to expand in a different area.” Every creation has a funny name, such as truffles called “You suck lemon,” and “Messed-up mocha,” and cookies like “Rockabye raspberry.” We can personally vouch for the yumminess of the Chubby Wubby chocolate cookies, the Rockabye Raspberry thumb prints, and powdered-sugar “controlling coconut” horns.
Who You Callin’ Chicken?
An FOD with a legendary appetite recently hit Crisp (2940 N. Broadway; 773-697-7610) with a friend, and left a legend. “We go in, order a whole fried chicken, ten wings, and a ‘big boy’ Buddha bowl—basically, a bowl of marinated veggies and rice with a meat option. The owner seemed concerned when we placed this order, realizing that it was just the two of us eating. ‘That’s a lot of food, boys,’ he said. We looked at each other and just laughed. . . . We successfully killed off the chicken and this bowl of rice, vegetables, and beef, and the owner rewarded us with some honeydew popsicles and a challenge: ‘Twenty Wings and four large fries, and the next chicken dish is gonna be named after you guys.’” Good luck, gentlemen. Let us know how you fare.
We’ve heard so many jokes about the awkward name of the restaurant L2O (2300 N. Lincoln Park West; 773-868-0002) that we finally called owner Rich Melman and asked: What were you thinking? “We wanted to call the place ‘Two,’” he says. “As in ‘One if by land, two if by sea.’ So we did research on it, because we always want to trademark the name, but there was a Two restaurant already [in San Francisco]. So I came up with L2O. Lakes, seas, oceans. The 2 was still for ‘Two if by sea.’” We still don’t get it, and neither did his partners. “They thought it was stupid and changed the meaning to L for Laurent [Gras, the chef/partner] and 2O to evoke water.” Gras, by the way, is recovering nicely from a scary bicycle accident over Labor Day weekend.
Things to Do
- Watch NoMI’s hot new pastry chef, Andrés Lara, make brioche bostock with chocolate berry jam on Front Burner, Chicagomag.com’s video recipe series.
- Check out Fred Ramos’s update of the Italian offerings at Angelina Ristorante (3561 N. Broadway; 773-935-5933) at a three-course, $27 prix fixe dinner on Tuesday nights.
- Watch the “world’s fastest drinker” in action. The stunned faces afterwards are worth it.
Dot Dot Dot . . .
The Roscoe Village outpost of John’s Place (2132 W. Roscoe St.; 773-244-6430) is slated to open on September 17th. . . . A trusted FOD spy poked his head into India Grill (1112 S. Wabash Ave.; 312-662-1111) during a private party last night, admiring the elegant décor and delightful aromas. He learned the place is set to open for lunch September 22nd before being shown the door. . . . Addiction Sports Bar, Grill & Lounge (1023 W. Lake St., 312-421-8845), a new West Loop spot that has safely covered all the bases with its inclusive name, promises authentic Neapolitan pizza from a Moretti Forni oven imported from Italy. . . . We have amassed a good list of restaurants with gluten-free menus. If you’re interested, drop us an e-mail and we’ll send it. . . . The Green Teaist (647 Bank Ln., Lake Forest; 847-735-0400) a “salon de thé vert et l’atelier” dedicated to Japan’s pure green teas, will open on September 18th with a menu that includes Japan’s prized Gyokuro tea ($28 a pot). . . . Home Run Inn has launched a new line of crackery “ultra-thin” frozen pizzas, available at your local grocery store. . . . Eli’s will host its 12th annual cheesecake festival this weekend at 6701 West Forest Preserve Drive (773-736-3417), which will include live music, rides, and free samples.