Food, Random Musings

Gather in Lincoln Square

Beautiful night, in-laws babysitting. Had dinner at Gather after strolling through the Thursday night concert-goers and the teeming al fresco tables on Lincoln Ave.

Gather has a beautiful front room backed by a welcoming open kitchen, and there’s a gorgeous covered patio in the rear (which we remembered from a few years ago when it was Tallulah). The night was so ideal, and we were so relaxed by the summer air, that we actually opted to wait 30 minutes past our reservation time to get a seat on the coveted patio. We happily wandered on Lincoln until the table freed up.

Food was inventive but not overly so. Nothing truly memorable, but everything explicitly farm-sourced and delicious. A hamachi crudo had more flavor than I expected, and a tender octopus appetizer sat on top of a huge but fairly lean (read: not chewy) slab of house-cured bacon. The pasta entree was a delicious fresh pappardelle with an utterly straightforward and seasonal sauce of spring peas and asparagus, and wild mushrooms bursting with umami.

We’re really interested in bringing the kids back for the Sunday family-style dinner.

Most notable thing to me was the price point. For that location, ambience, and food quality, I feel like it could easily charge 10-15% more without pushing anyone away. It really shows a commitment to being a neighborhood place and cultivating regulars. Which is awesome.

Gather Restaurant in Chicago →
4539 N LINCOLN AVE

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Food, Random Musings

A collective gasp could be heard across the creative communities when this NYer piece started making the rounds. Like so much linkbait, though, the title is inflammatory and a bit misleading.

How Caffeine Can Cramp Creativity →
By Maria Konnikova in The New Yorker (via Kottke.org)

The real take-away isn’t that you should stop drinking coffee, just that it’s okay to let your mind wander periodically. Which, actually, is a good reminder.

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Food, Parenting, Random Musings

Angelina Restaurant, Elegant But Unfussy

Another great meal at Angelina last night. Elegant, but unfussy. Simple and rustic, but also classic red-sauce Italian. And good bread — always such good bread.

The kids actually love it too. Naturally we get them plain noodles to placate them, but last night they only nibbled at the noodles, and they absolutely shunned a luscious sweet corn soup that was completely unadventurous and straightforward. No, last night they only had eyes for Mom’s frutti di mare, particularly the shrimp (with tails) and the squid legs. That’s right, not the innocuous little rings, but the tangle of tentacles.

That’s when you know you’ve found a good place.

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Food, My Old Blog

So Long, Shikami

I keep telling myself that this is not a food blog, but I just can’t help myself.

Last night we dined at Kevin. The restaurant holds special meaning for me & K as the site of a memorable meal with our parents, celebrating our engagement back in ’04. Alas, the restaurant is closing its doors next week, so we went to pay our respects. As anticipated, it was pretty empty, but the food was damn good. We even got to meet the chef/owner and thank him for the ridiculous broth on the lobster dumplings at his newer restaurant, Shikago (which I gushed about previously).

Kevin Shikami is a diminutive and quiet man, with small circle-rim glasses. He doesn’t make the rounds in the dining room the way some more boisterous chefs do, so I asked if he could come by our table (I never do this, BTW).

His hand, when you shook it, was big and heavy. And rough as dried and cracked leather.

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