Tag Archives: Chicago

Takashi: Taste + Beauty

Watching Top Chef Masters this season, I was rooting for Chef Takashi Yagihashi.  Not just for the food he was putting out, but also his lovely manner (obviously, I wasn’t the only one who noticed since he was voted Fan Favorite).

So imagine receiving an email being invited to Takashi’s new Japanese Kaiseki Dinner!  The Kaiseki dinner is offered on Sunday evenings with Seven Courses or Eleven Courses.  Wine pairings may be added, as well.

We were presented with the eleven course dinner.

After dining for over three hours, Chef introduced himself and we were able to chat with him…that was my favorite part of the meal! (yes, I get more star struck by chefs than I do rock or movie stars)

You will have to excuse my photography, as it is greatly lacking and doesn’t do his food justice.

Beausoleil Oyster with Fresh Yuba, Jensai Soy, Yuzu Sauce paired with Kurashizuku Ginjo Sake

Crudo of Hirame with Santa Barbara Sea Urchin with Reduction of Verjus and Truffle Salt paired with Rihaku Junmai Nigori

Otukuri of Big Eye Tuna, Day Boat Maine Scallop, Alaskan Spot Prawns with Daikon, Ogo, Wasabi and Umami-Soy

Soy-Braised Pork Belly and Winter Melon with Shi-Shito Peppers, Arimansho Pepper Sauce paired with Kiara Shochu

I’ve had a lot of pork belly and this one has to rank up there in the top three.  The broth and hot mustard complemented the pork belly so beautifully.

Dobin Mushi Matsutake Mushroom, Suzuki, Tofu, Mitsuba paired with Tozai-Junmai

We were instructed to use our chopsticks to eat the mushrooms, fish and tofu. Upon completion, squeeze lime into the broth and pour into the tea cup to drink the broth.  I can’t even explain it.  The broth was amazingly comfortably familiar and yet refreshingly new.

Tempura of Madagascar Prawn and Anago Green Tea Salt, Lime and Yuzu Salt paired with Hitachino Nest White Ale

Generally, I find tempura average, but the green tea salt and yuzu salt in lieu of soy based sauce really created a unique flavor.  You will note that this course was served with beer, as Chef feels that fried food needs beer (I tend to agree).

Grilled Scottish Sea Trout with Moromiso Glaze with Pickled Tokyo Negi and Braised Hijiki paired with Domaine deTriennes “Sainte Fleur” Viognier 09

Seared Washugyu Beef, Miso-Peanuts and Yuzu-Kashio paired with Jaspinegre Montsant 08

(I could not get enough of the Miso-Peanuts)

Ken-Chin Niyumen Country Style Noodle with Dashi Broth

It did not matter how full we were at this point…neither of us could quit eating this dish.

Sheeps Milk Panna Cotta Yuzu Curd and French Macaroon paired with White Peach Sparkling Sake

All I can say is Yummy!

Red Bean Soup with Rice Dumpling Shiso Leaves

If you love sake, this is definitely the dinner for you!  Unfortunately, I could only take little sips, but wanted to show all of the pairings!

Along with dinner, we enjoyed lovely, top-notch service.

1952 North Damen Avenue
Chicago, Illinois 60647

Bang Bang

When Molly first told me about Bang Bang, for some reason the first thing that came to mind was the song in the movie Kill Bill.

When Molly told me that Bang Bang was a pie and biscuit shop, I was skeptical.  I had heard that pies were the next sweets trend, but I didn’t get it and told her that the trend never hit Minneapolis.

But then I walked into Bang Bang and I instantly thought “Why doesn’t Minneapolis have one of these?”

I’m a huge fan of pie, but I’m always a little suspect when the pie crust is too darn perfect.  Real homemade pie should look imperfect…just like the imperfect people who make them.

As far as I’m concerned this apple pie is pretty darn pretty and delicious!

And this pumpkin pie was definitely the most delicious pumpkin pie I’ve ever had.  I believe pumpkin pie is one of the most difficult types of pie, because most of the time the pumpkin tastes processed.  The pumpkin in this pie tasted as God intended!

What made me giggle were the Pie Fries.  I call them Bang Bang Fries.  The availability is limited as they are made from the crust scraps after the pies are made.

And although the butter and jellies are for the biscuits Bang Bang sells, I used the Cherry Chai jelly and the Peach Butter on my Pie Fries (although they are just as good plain).

Bang Bang is located in Logan Square in Chicago.  It is just a handful of blocks off of the Blue Line.