Tough Actin’ Tinactin The Tribune: Old Town Brasserie, Jai Yen, Monica Eng Doing Her Thing

Okay! Two reviews happened, and then Monica Eng showed two sides of her personality that are probably the same side. But we’ll get to that in a sec.

Phil Vettel totally wants to have Old Town Brasserie’s baby, calling Bob Djahanguiri and Roland Liccioni’s new French restaurant “one of the best…of the year.” Vettel swoons over the duck consomme and the salmon and artichoke terrines, and is so enamored with the entrees combining two proteins that he recommends getting anything matching that description, up to and including “cuttlefish and Brillo pads.” We will admit to chuckling a bit from that one, but cuttlefish is just squid, so it’s kind of a cheap joke. Given David Tamarkin’s similarly glowing review from a month and change ago, though, we have no reason to doubt that OTB is the real deal.

Meanwhile, Cheryl Bowles eats cheaply at Jai Yen, a restaurant we’re guilty of confusing with Hai Yen. But do not fall into that trap! Instead, enjoy their reasonably priced Asian fusion in the yoga studio-like atmosphere, eminently sulliable with their corkage feeless BYO policy. Drunk yoga? Drunk…naked yoga? Drunk naked yoga and then you eat Thai food? Yes, that last one.

Now that we have gotten out of the way, onto the deconstruction of Monica Eng. In her two articles this week, we get to see Ms. Eng’s practical-suburban-mother eating personality and her insider-foodie-cheap-ethnic-food personality. The former comes out in an article on big box store eats - Costco, Sam’s Club, SuperTarget, and of course, IKEA. Full disclosure: we did market research one winter at a Costco, and in lieu of eating their disgusting-looking cafeteria food (Eng says it’s actually pretty good), made liberal use of the sample stations and their lack of a one-per-customer policy. Some of the stuff wasn’t half bad!

But we were more interested in her foodie article. It’s a chronicle of her eating tour with Dan Protess and Geoffrey Baer, the creators of the much-discussed documentary, “The Foods of Chicago - A Delicious History“. Dan, Geoff and Monica all tried to outdo each other with increasingly esoteric and far-flung ethnic eateries, preferably ones that have long histories or cute stories attached to them. The Zen moment came when everyone chose the same carniteria (Carnitas Don Pedro on 18th and Carpenter), entirely without constraint or premeditation. Anyway, if you like the long posts on LTHForum, you’ll enjoy this article.

Old Town Brasserie [MenuPages]

Jai Yen [MenuPages]
Jai Yen [Official Site]

[Photo: Swedish meatballs at Ikea]

p.s. Jai Yen has its own website but Old Town Brasserie doesn’t? That’s stoopid.

p.p.s. We are running out of things that start with T. Suggestions?


Tough Actin’ Tinactin The Tribune: Old Town Brasserie, Jai Yen, Monica Eng Doing