Trendspotting The Tribune: BYO, F-Day, Carthage Cafe & Plan B

Today’s Tribune food section does, indeed, examine two dining trends of genuine interest to us: BYO practices, and check splitting policies. Bring your own seems to be the overarching theme, so we’ll start there. Chris McNamara has a piece on Mickey’s Bar & Grill, which has a bring your own meat policy on Tuesday nights. For three dollars, they’ll grill it to your specifications and throw in a dinner salad and fries. Three dollars? We can’t even cross the street for that little money! We think it’s quaint and community-oriented. A similar policy exists at House of Fortune in Chinatown, but for fish. Now we’re cooking with gas.

Meanwhile, Monica Eng has a lengthy exegesis on what is and is not acceptable to bring to a restaurant, according to a variety of diners and restaurateurs, and her own keen sense of respectability. Highlights:

1) Artisanal salt and pepper, and hot sauces, are not a crime

2) Products which conform to dietary restriction are generally tolerated

3) Frequent customers get much more leeway in their eccentricities

4) If you bring Lean Cuisine to a restaurant, you’re a hick (our words, but it came up in the story)

The At Play section covers a variety of topics this week, but our favorite is about how many cards is OK to hand to a waiter and ask politely, “could you split this?” Janet Franz reports that at least one restaurant (Cuatro) has set the limit to three, because huge parties kept coming in and piling up their plastic and making a mess at the credit card machine. We think the limit should be four, because that’s a normal number of people, but that the waiter should be able to roll their eyes with impunity, and the tip should go up at least a quarter of a percentage point.

Okay, and also, there were reviews! Joe Gray visits Carthage Cafe (come for the Tunisian food and stay for the hookah), and Terry Armour hits up relaxed, anti-buzz Plan B in Bucktown.

And in case you forgot who we’re celebrating on Sunday, Phil Vettel catalogs some tips on what would make him happy, at least.

Got meat? Take it over to ‘Steak Night’ [Tribune]

Mickey’s [MenuPages]

House of Fortune [MenuPages]

Bring your own… [Tribune]

Split the check? Sure–with limits [Tribune]

Cuatro [MenuPages]
Cuatro [Official Site]

Tunisian tastes top cafe’s menu [Tribune]

Carthage Cafe [MenuPages]
Carthage Cafe [Official Site]

Plan B: It’s not what you think [Tribune]

Plan B [MenuPages]
Plan B [Official Site]

5 sure-fire ways to Dad’s heart/stomach [Tribune]

[Photo: Credit Cards]


Trendspotting The Tribune: BYO, F-Day, Carthage Cafe & Plan B