Pollack’s Dinner at Bistro One West in 111 Words
Bistro One West (1 W. Illinois St., St. Charles; 630-444-0600) has a comfortable dining room tucked inside a building that’s a tad hard to find in the dark. Made me wonder what I had gotten myself into. Turned out to be the wonderful world of George Guggeis (remember Mango in River North?) and Doug D’Avico (recently of Trattoria No. 10)—a world where simple flavors shine. I loved the Italian burrata with roasted tomatoes, I loved the grilled Scottish salmon with roasted cauliflower, and I loved the French butter cookies with lemon curd. I’m pretty sure I will love dining on the outdoor deck along the Fox River this summer, too.
“Eats first, morals after.” —Bertolt Brecht (1898–1956), German playwright, in The Threepenny Opera
Life, Liberty, and Lots of Different Tacos
If there’s one principle that the founding padres would have added to the Constitution if they had thought of it, it’s variety on taco platters. In addition to house-made tortillas and margaritas in flavors such as lime, mango, prickly pear, and blood orange, the opportunity to mix and match steak, carnitas, chicken tinga, and vegetable tacos (among others) will be offered at Barrio, An Urban Taqueria (714 W. Diversey Pkwy.; 773-360-8316), which is scheduled to open late this month in the former Zen Sushi space. “I don’t want someone to come in and have four steak or four chicken or four pork [tacos],” says Dorian Menchaca, the owner. “People should not be forced to have the same kind.” Amen, hermano.
“We’ve gotten a great reception because we gave out tres leches samples,” says Alex Renteria, who owns the two-week-old Cake Bros. Bakery (6808 W. North Ave.; 773-237-8005) with his brother, Ivan. The brothers, who both have bakery and culinary-school experience despite being in their early 20s, are making Mexican specialties such as the aforementioned tres leches cake (which comes in parfait cups) and bolillos, but they’re also using their education and catering to the market with French and American baked goods. “What we’ve seen is there is a lot of business with cupcakes,” Alex says. Yes, we’ve heard that rumor.
He Said It
“Poblano, for instance: When it turns red it’s referred to as an ancho, even though it’s the same chili pepper. When you are eating an ancho, you are really eating a poblano. Like a senior citizen poblano. And when you are eating a jalapeño, you are eating a young chipotle. It ages and turns red and is called chipotle.” —Joe Miltimore, the owner of Abiquiù Cafe (1034 W. Belmont Ave.; 773-577-3917), a New Mexican restaurant we first heard about in The Stew, explaining what makes red chili sauce red and green green. Open as of yesterday, Abiquiù serves culinary classics of New Mexico such as sopaipillas, biscochitos, and entrées smothered in chili sauce.
- Scallops with crispy pork belly were a good idea at Redd Herring (the giant meatball, on the other hand, should get a second thought).
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On the Blog
Dreams can come true: Martial Noguier is opening his own modern bistro (with Matt Fisher) in the old Eve space.
Things to Do
1. Stop by Sepia (123 N. Jefferson St.; 312-441-1920) this Friday after catching its cameo in Vince Vaughn’s new comedy The Dilemma, show your ticket stub, and get a free cocktail—inspired by a scene from the movie—with your dinner purchase.
2. Toast the fifth year of Lush Wine & Spirits at its University Village location (1257 S. Halsted St.; 312-738-1900) with free wine and beer, plus complimentary birthday bites, this Friday from 7 to 9 p.m.
3. Get the story behind the transatlantic friendship between Julia Child and Avis DeVoto and how their letters (recently published in As Always, Julia: The Letters of Julia Child and Avis DeVoto) influenced Child’s “cookbookery” from Dr. Joan Reardon, culinary historian, for $3 to $5 on Saturday at 10 a.m. at the Kendall College School of Culinary Arts (900 N. North Branch St.). For more information, call 630-620-1457.
4. Sip a free Absolut Bloody Mary with the order of any brunch entrée this Sunday from 12 to 3 p.m. at Chicago Cut Steakhouse (300 N. La Salle St.; 312-329-1800).
Dot Dot Dot . . .
David Blonsky and David Rekhson, the guys behind Bull & Bear, officially throw their hats (er, their tabletop taps) in the gastropub ring this Thursday when Public House (400 N. State St.; 312-265-1240) opens. . . . Otom closed last week, making way for ING (951 W. Fulton Market; no phone yet), a forthcoming adventure led by Homaro Cantu. . . . The Mexican restaurant Zapatista (444 W. Fullerton Pkwy.; 773-525-4100) made its Lincoln Park debut on New Year’s Eve at its second Chicago location (there’s a third in Northbrook). . . . Totopo (3041 Butterfield Rd., Ste. 117, Oak Brook; 630-573-8686) is now spreading Dudley Nieto’s love for the many types of tortilla chips (and for other market-inspired Mexican fare) in Oak Brook Promenade.