TOC Digested: Turning Japanese, Caribbean Countdown

Not too much today from those crazy kids at TOC. They must be working overtime on their much-ballyhooed Sex Issue (have you taken the sex survey yet? You get bonus points if your most memorable sexual experience involves food. You get double bonus points if you send David Tamarkin a picture directly.) (We made that last part up).

• Bianca Jarvis wins the award for Best Headline Pun 2008 with “Umami Dearest,” a breakdown of authentic Japanese food — you know, the stuff that leaves California rolls and spicy tuna lying in the dust. Most of the restaurants on her list are in the ‘burbs, but Lincoln Park’s Itto Sushi gets the nod for best raw fish, while Sunshine Cafe on Clark St. serves up delicious homestyle Japanese without a sushi roll in sight. Other highlights include shabu-shabu at Chiyo and dessert at Mitsuwa market, which for the record is this blog’s absolute all-time favorite grocery store.

• On the restaurant review front, everyone’s gone Caribbean Crazy! David Tamarkin starts us off with a hike up to Evanston, where he finds a sultry atmosphere and fiery jerk chicken at Jamaica Jamaica (1512 Sherman Ave, Evanston, 847 328 1000). Martha Bayne checks in at the new Cafe con Leche, whose Cuban-centric menu branches out into Mexican and other pan-Latin flavors — dinner goes okay, but brunch is less than stellar. And to wrap things up, it’s a report from Heather Shouse, fresh off her cubano sandwich countdown, sampling the menu at 90 Miles Cuban Cafe: guava-cream-cheese pastelitos, bracing espresso, pressed sandwiches, and hearty stewed dinners like ropa vieja all combine to create an entirely authentic Cuban culinary experience.

[Sashimi platter at Itto Sushi via taekwonweirdo’s Flickr]


TOC Digested: Turning Japanese, Caribbean Countdown