Here are a few mementos from the places we've been eating lately:
One of our favorite haunts for happy hour has always been Panzano's in the Hotel Monaco. We recently made our own post happy hour-happy hour in the dinning room. Our late-night meal was centered on their fabulous Fattoria Piatto (Prosciutto d’ Parma, bresaola, duck mousse, Pecorino Gran Cru, Grana Padano, local goat cheese, sliced pear, marinated olives, cranberry orange compote, roasted garlic and grilled crostini). A couple of salads and some wine completed the beautiful repast.
A new place on our rotation lately has been the Izakaya Den on Pearl. Sitting at the sushi bar and trying to figure out what everything is can be a fun way to pass the time. Unfortunately it also makes you want to try one of everything on the menu. Granted this isn't your traditional izakaya; but the creativity of the menu, quality ingredients, and friendly staff transcend the need for a neat classification. We've enjoyed a bowl of miso soup, and then splitting the hearty chirashi bowl.
The gorgeous (and huge) dinning room at Le Grand Bistro & Oyster Bar by the Performing Arts Complex promises an amazing meal. We felt so content and warm in this beautiful place. The food, however, was hit-and-miss. The oysters were bity and flavorless, the marrow was sad. As kitschy as it may sound, my favorite dish was the Lyonnaise Style Wing...really, try them! We have to go back and try again, because we SO want to love this place.
Korean food has been constantly on our radar, but we've been reluctant to jump in an try it. Our first taste was actually at the solid little cafe in H-Mart on Parker Road. They have some very satisfying New Year's soup (manduguk?). Anyways, a tipster told us we had to try Silla (Yelp Reviews) on Peoria and Cornell. We tried to casually look over at our neighbors' tables to see what to expect; it didn't help. The menu doesn't give much info about portions or how to order. Not much help from the staff either. Dang we need some Korean friends!
We decided to try the pan fried dumplings. Beautiful, delicious...too many! You can choose a type of meat and either have them cook it for you, or you can grill the raw, marinated meat at the table. We chickened out and had them cook-up the bulgogi for us. One order was plenty for the two of us. Remember, it comes with a least a dozen small plates of Korean "small plates". Each one was an adventure, some were familiar, some were new and delicious, some were strange and interesting. Regardless, this is a cuisine that demands our attention; we will be back.