Tribune Reviews: South Suburbs, Cold Soups, ‘Sammies’

• Speaking as one who honed her teenage palate in the staid bistros and canned-sauce Italian joints of the south ‘burbs, we are quite psyched to learn of this introduction to the area: Phil Vettel hands over 2 stars to Dan McGee 330 W Lincoln Highway, Frankfort, 815 469 7750). Dan McGee is both the name of the restaurant and the name of the guy in the kitchen — a CIA grad who’s paid his dues in hotel kitchens, at Charlie Trotter’s, and on two other continents (which ones, Phil?! We yearn to know!). The place is in a strip mall, but if you can get past that, you’ll find “compositions of generally familiar foodstuffs marked by artful, clean presentations and subtle seasonings.” There are, of course, highs and lows: a “gummy disaster” of a risotto cake mars an otherwise lovely shrimp dish, but also a creative halibut/short rib riff on surf-and-turf. All in all we’re on board: the south side’s not the wasteland most folks think it is, and we’re grateful Dan McGee is helping turn that misconception around. [Vettel, Tribune]

• We don’t know how Chris Borrelli does it, but the guy gets the best article assignments we know of. First there was the kayak thing, and now he’s out being BFFs with chef Martial Noguier (for now, but not for long, of one sixtyblue) and rounding up the city’s best chilled soups. Borrelli summarizes the oxymoronic dish ideally:

Stripped of the rich smell, and devoid of the curling wafts that rise from a warm puree, no matter how sophisticated your palate, no matter how familiar with the concept you are, conditioning and experience kicks in and cold soup seems sort of incongruous. I should be finishing this bowl with a straw, you think, not a spoon.

For ourselves, we’ve always felt that the only difference between a cold soup and a smoothie was the vessel it was served in. But we digress! Besides those to be found at one sixtyblue, Borrelli recommends varieties from Sepia and Tallulah, among others. [Borelli, Tribune]

• Dear Monica Eng,
Why do you have to call sandwiches “sammies” in your headline? We gave you the benefit of the doubt, actually, and arrived at the hypothesis that you were dealing with column-width space restrictions in the printed paper, so we actually counted the number of characters (including spaces!) in the whole hed, and you come in at 32 — which is 8 less than the 40 it took for A ‘Biggest Loser’s’ calorie-busting tips. And you really only needed 3 more characters for “sandwiches.” So, um, that hypothesis failed. Anyway, don’t call them “sammies,” please, because that is a Rachael Rayism, and we very strongly deeply and with great vehemence dislike Rachael Ray, especially now that we have learned that she makes $18 million a year.

Anyhoo, yes, we are totally on board with you: Knead Marketplace (13 S. LaGrange Rd, LaGrange, 708 482 7910) sounds like they make some really good stuff, and we are kind of digging the cutesy names. In fact, we would consider renaming “Barbara’s Last Request” (seared steak, hollandaise sauce, romaine lettuce, and a poached egg in a fresh ciabatta roll) “Helen’s Last Request.” Our last request right before the “sandwich” thing.xoxo
MenuPages [Eng, Tribune][Photo: Chilled cucumber-curry soup from Le Bouchon, not one of the ones Borrelli mentions, via ulteriorepicure’s Flickr]

Tribune Reviews: South Suburbs, Cold Soups, ‘Sammies’