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What did you eat last night for dinner? - Page 637

post #9541 of 25314
Quote:
Originally Posted by randallr View Post

Sfield for good Chinese I really recommend that you try Chinn Chinns in Kalamazoo, MI. It would be quite the journey from Chicago (maybe 2 hours) but in my opinion it would be worth it. Maybe you could make a trip of it and check out Lake Michigan from the other side or something. Anyway, this place is fucking insane. I love most Chinese food but this stuff is just next level in terms of freshness. It's just one of those places with really amazing food without all the bullshit. The chef there competes in local "Chopped" style events for charity and absolutely destroys the competition. I've met people there who have driven 2 hours one way just to eat there....lucky for me it's a mile down the road from my grandparents house.

I've only ever been to Kalamazoo once, and it was to pick up my brand new Les Paul Elegant from the custom shop. I will try to make the trip to see this. I think Fresh is the biggest thing missing from Chinese food... and most often not, a clientel that doesn't really care. They go to eat cheap fried food so it ends up coming out pretty thoughtless even if the proprietor wouldn't eat like that.
post #9542 of 25314
Quote:
Originally Posted by SField View Post


I haven't had BBQ that blew me away, but I've spoken to enough people whose opinions on food I trust who have liked it. Foodguy has referred to a guy down in texas he once knew who apparently made really sensational BBQ. He spoke about it in such a way that has to cue someone like myself to exercise some restraint in decrying that genre of food. He's eaten enough things with enough careful consideration of his opinions that I should keep an open mind about it.

awww shucks. it is really tough to generalize about cuisines. some of the best meals i've ever had were chinese (i still remember a 30-course sichuan banquet back in teh 80s when china sent the first groups of chefs over for diplomatic reasons). but i rarely eat chinese on my own. i do eat a LOT of mexican and find few things more satisfying than a really well-made taco. fresh tortilla, well-cooked meat, just the right salsa, onion, cilantro, squeeze of lime ... amazing.
barbecue is an extreme example. to me, barbecue is like the blues. it's a very limited form that in the right hands is capable of transcendence. but most stuff below that level is deeply unsatisfying. and the number of muddy waters/howlin' wolfs/vaughn brothers/bbkings are few.
post #9543 of 25314
Quote:
Originally Posted by foodguy View Post


awww shucks. it is really tough to generalize about cuisines. some of the best meals i've ever had were chinese (i still remember a 30-course sichuan banquet back in teh 80s when china sent the first groups of chefs over for diplomatic reasons). but i rarely eat chinese on my own. i do eat a LOT of mexican and find few things more satisfying than a really well-made taco. fresh tortilla, well-cooked meat, just the right salsa, onion, cilantro, squeeze of lime ... amazing.
barbecue is an extreme example. to me, barbecue is like the blues. it's a very limited form that in the right hands is capable of transcendence. but most stuff below that level is deeply unsatisfying. and the number of muddy waters/howlin' wolfs/vaughn brothers/bbkings are few.

Well I just haven't eaten almost any good chinese food. And if you can tell by my raving about that taco place in that random strip mall in Encino, you can tell my experience there is limited too. I can see the good possibility for both, but I've only had a few instances of them. That's all I'm saying, that I haven't really had any good chinese food, and only really one good mexican meal (that I can remember right now.)

BBQ, I'm sure, can be great, but given that there's not really much in the way of vegetables, it limits my enjoyment of the style. More often than not, I order things based on the vegetable preparations that come with it. In fact, almost every time I'm forced to go to a steak house, I order their vegetarian option.
post #9544 of 25314
SField, I would tell you to go to Tradicion under the red line Belmont stop for the city's best al pastor taco, but it seems that it closed a month ago. frown.gif


If you go up to Carmela's Taqueria in Uptown, I can promise you (PROMISE YOU!) a good taco.
post #9545 of 25314
Quote:
Originally Posted by SField View Post


I've only ever been to Kalamazoo once, and it was to pick up my brand new Les Paul Elegant from the custom shop. I will try to make the trip to see this. I think Fresh is the biggest thing missing from Chinese food... and most often not, a clientel that doesn't really care. They go to eat cheap fried food so it ends up coming out pretty thoughtless even if the proprietor wouldn't eat like that.

I agree. I was trying to find some articles on this place but couldn't find anything that did it justice. When I'm eating Chinese food it's all about the crunch of the green peppers or tenderness of the meat. Each ingredient needs to have its own taste. Often times when I eat Chinese it's smothered in some shitty sauce and everything tastes exactly the same. This place is the exact opposite.

While in Kalamazoo, you could also make a trip out of it and check out Bells and Arcadia Brewery's if you're into beer. Let me know if you decide to go and if I'm in town we can get a special tour of Bell's....my mom knows the owner. Also, Chinn Chinns-my treat.
post #9546 of 25314
Quote:
Originally Posted by kwilkinson View Post

SField, I would tell you to go to Tradicion under the red line Belmont stop for the city's best al pastor taco, but it seems that it closed a month ago. frown.gif


If you go up to Carmela's Taqueria in Uptown, I can promise you (PROMISE YOU!) a good taco.

I went to Tradicion twice... meat was good, everything else kinda bad. Had Al Pastor taco and another time burrito. It was ok.... is it horrible that Rick Bayless is the source of the best mexican food I've ever had?

That and that taco place in Encino where I ate like two times the capacity of my stomach.
post #9547 of 25314
Quote:
Originally Posted by SField View Post


I went to Tradicion twice... meat was good, everything else kinda bad. Had Al Pastor taco and another time burrito. It was ok.... is it horrible that Rick Bayless is the source of the best mexican food I've ever had?

That and that taco place in Encino where I ate like two times the capacity of my stomach.

No, why would it be? Because he's white? Don't be a racist asshole you racist asshole.
post #9548 of 25314
Quote:
Originally Posted by kwilkinson View Post


No, why would it be? Because he's white? Don't be a racist asshole you racist asshole.

You have no idea how many people have said that he can't possibly make authentic mexican food because he's white. There's also a very strong idea, even in elevated culinary circles, that mexican food is best enjoyed within a more humble context than the more elevated goals Bayless has for it.

I think Tortas Fronteras has the best food you can get in an airport in the US, and I've eaten just about everything on the menu.
post #9549 of 25314
Well, people are stupid. He can't make authentic Mexican food? Granted, I've never been to Mexico, let alone had what they consider authentic, but the guy did spend years there researching, travelling, and learning. Maybe he doesn't have recipes that have been in his family for 10 generations but WTF.
post #9550 of 25314
it works both ways. rick's a great cook and some of the best mexican food i've had has been cooked by him. otoh, i remember when his first book came out (i may have rambled on about this before) ... there was also a book by a friend of mine named patricia quintana, who was from a very old, very wealthy mexican family. she does great work, but her book was focusing on a more elevated style of mexican cooking, one that reflected the influence from when it was ruled by france. because the books came out at the same time, they were paired in some reviews and it was commonly pointed out how much more "authentic" rick's book was than Patricia's, because it focused on street food while her's had a lot of cream and herbs.
post #9551 of 25314
Quote:
Originally Posted by SField View Post

BBQ is to me, like most mexican and chinese food. Sinful for me to say so as they are far more varied than BBQ, but I've had very little good mexican, and the only Chinese food I ever really enjoyed was actually Taiwanese homestyle. I'm not joking that my first stop in Tokyo is going to be that Chinese place you refer to. So far, most Chinese food I've had was amorphous slop, distinct yet unremarkable. Hoping to change that once I spend more time in LA.

I'm not sure which way you'd go on Chinese food now - I mean there's this New York thing (so it'll eventually spill out everywhere I guess) nowadays that is going hard right into the middle of Chinese food, hand-pulled noodles in everything (even in dishes that aren't supposed to get them) - NYC can do more authentic Chinese foods, and you know, people like that - these $10-20 dishes of really fucking spicy chicken or lamb chunks in something red, and the hand pulled noodles, what have you. Served up in foil, etc. Almost gritty texture from all the cumin, sichuan pepper, etc.

On the other hand, what I recommended to you, was this really clean, slightly removed version of Chinese food - Japanese-Chinese food, made by 2nd+ gen Chinese chefs, Michelin stars, hotel locations with fine dining style service, etc. A bit stuffy if you think of the other iterations of Chinese food out there, but elegant flavors.
I thought initially that you might be into it, because they do the flavors really nicely and try to go above and beyond with the food the way Western chefs do (whereas innovation is hardly a strong suit with traditional Asian food) without being too fusion-y. As with many foods in Japan (I'll even include some Japanese French here), it takes a sensitive palate and a little concentration sometimes to pick up on all the flavors.

I don't really profess to being a Chinese food expert, but from what you said about liking things like ramen, not liking the starch slurry aspect that gets tied to Chinese food (and many Japanese people actually dislike this too, especially women), the monotony and the flavors all in one slop - I guess I'd still say it wouldn't hurt to try it in Japan, get a few plates and just eat a bite or two of each, that's what we do when we go out to eat Chinese in Japan.
That place in the Westin I went to - Ryutenmon; I think it was like $90 for two at lunch, and the plates we got were 1 lunch set (we split) and then two bowls of the tan tan men, plus a couple $12 beers (it's in the Ebisu Sapporo complex so the beer is Sapporo's specialty beers) - could've skipped one of the bowls of the noodles and got more small a la carte plates and had like 5 or 6 things to taste.

soup of the the day - chicken stock based, unremarkable (I do like Chinese soups though, especially the ones based on superior stock) - soup of the day in these places is always unremarkable.
baby bok choy in cream sauce - interesting and almost un-Chinese, worth a couple bites. Nice change-up from the typical garlic stir-fried greens you get. Tasted like blanched bok choy in a thin bechamel, which is probably not far off from what it was.
mapo tofu - again, really the best mapo tofu I've ever had. So elegant and flavorful, with that interesting jasmine-flavored Japanese grown sichuan peppercorn
tan tan men - kinda like a Ramen I guess, pork and soy milk broth with a bit of spice, hand made thin noodles, only garnish was green onion threads. We got cold and hot versions because it's off the menu (but their most popular dish) and that pushed the cost up $30 alone, but just get the hot version for the $15 or so, it's enough for two people as well.
forgot what dessert was, but obviously a pudding or custard of some sort.

I'm actually going back to Tokyo next week and staying at the Conrad, they have a michelin-starred modern Chinese place in there too, gonna try it. Have a feeling the Westin place might be better, but we'll see. Might try some others too and report back. If you do come to Tokyo later, call me out and we can all go. My woman knows a lot more about this stuff and the places to go. I'll probably be in Tokyo permanently in a couple months, slight 10% chance I move to New York.

Quote:
Originally Posted by SField View Post


I'd say the same of most undeveloped food cultures. Same thing in America. Low end can be great, high end as good as anywhere, but middle sucks. The best food countries have the best middle ground that both peasant and prince can afford. (the former on occasion, of course..

Curious as to which countries these are? I mean, quite obviously France, and Japan (if you say about 50 Euro/5000 yen for a small to medium sized meal for one with some sort of drink qualifies as the mid-range)...
post #9552 of 25314
50 Euro for mid ranged meal? I don't think he's thinking that high.
post #9553 of 25314
ok, 30 euro?
post #9554 of 25314
Quote:
Originally Posted by randallr View Post

Sfield for good Chinese I really recommend that you try Chinn Chinns in Kalamazoo, MI. It would be quite the journey from Chicago (maybe 2 hours) but in my opinion it would be worth it. Maybe you could make a trip of it and check out Lake Michigan from the other side or something. Anyway, this place is fucking insane. I love most Chinese food but this stuff is just next level in terms of freshness. It's just one of those places with really amazing food without all the bullshit. The chef there competes in local "Chopped" style events for charity and absolutely destroys the competition. I've met people there who have driven 2 hours one way just to eat there....lucky for me it's a mile down the road from my grandparents house.

I'm going to have to try this out and report back.

My grandparents have a cottage on the lake north of St. Joseph and its not too far from kalamazoo (though other than maybe picking up a local pizza when we arrive late at night, every meal is always cooked at home). They are trying to sell it frown.gif but I'll definitely be there at least one more time this year (at the very least, I have to reclaim my windsurfer before the house is sold) and will try to make it over and check this place out.

I can't say I have seen a lot of great food out thataways though...lots of fresh produce available from various stands and a couple pretty good bakeries but nothing more than mediocre food.
post #9555 of 25314
Quote:
Originally Posted by otc View Post


I'm going to have to try this out and report back.

My grandparents have a cottage on the lake north of St. Joseph and its not too far from kalamazoo (though other than maybe picking up a local pizza when we arrive late at night, every meal is always cooked at home). They are trying to sell it frown.gif but I'll definitely be there at least one more time this year (at the very least, I have to reclaim my windsurfer before the house is sold) and will try to make it over and check this place out.

I can't say I have seen a lot of great food out thataways though...lots of fresh produce available from various stands and a couple pretty good bakeries but nothing more than mediocre food.

Kalamazoo has some decent restaurants (Rustica and Food Dance) but this place just rocks. Trust me, you won't be disappointed. Have you been to many places where there is a wait for lunch during the weekdays? Yeah...it's that good. Also, if you go for lunch it's tough to spend more than $7 per person. Dinner while slightly more expensive has a lot more variety. I'd go to either.
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