TOC & Tribune: Warm Fuzzies for Sunda and Hot Chocolate

• Call us crazy, but we’d never have pegged Heather Shouse’s visit to Sunda to land in a rave. But that’s exactly what we’ve got here — albeit in slightly hedged form. The behemothic pan-Asian restaurant from the Rockit Ranch team is an exercise in excess, and to maximize that maximization Shouse steers us away from boring and expensive sushi, and to a pow-zing-wham list of unexpectedly good appetizers. Entrees fall short, but even that doesn’t deter her jubilant attitude. [TOC]

• Even though it’s been open for four years, Phil Vettel had never visited Hot Chocolate until it was time for this review, and he gets blown away. A mild curse word is used in regards to the nearness of the food’s ability to knock his socks off! He doesn’t dislike a thing, from the beer-poached pretzels to the charred octopus to pastry chef/owner Mindy Segal’s signature Chocolate No. 1. He even falls for the cocktails. Swoon. [Tribune]

But wait, there’s more!

• It’s a flowchart (Literally! Water is involved! Get it?!) from Julia Kramer on the various ways Chicago restaurant people are being easily green and variously virtuous. From the Green Chicago Restaurant Co-Op to Consolidated Printing to Farmer Nick, it’s a vast network of people and goods & services that keep us feeling good aobut what we eat. [TOC (print it out for easiest reading)]

• Besides that other Chicago celeb cookbook there are new volumes out from two other local kitchen jockeys: Takashi’s Noodles from the eponymous chef at Takashi, and from Salpicon, The Salpicon Cookbook: Contemporary Mexican Cuisine. Both are high-gloss volumes and the tested recipes worked out nicely. [TOC]

• Want to eat cheap? Renee Enna points the way to Rolling Meadows’ Pierogi Place, where you can probably guess what they serve. Fifteen flavors, to be precise, with light pillowy dough and a variety of savory and sweet fillings. But there’s more than just pierogi — beef goulash, polish sausage, potato pancakes, and other Eastern European delights are on hand. Come hungry. [Tribune]

[Photo: Sunda/official site]

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TOC & Tribune: Warm Fuzzies for Sunda and Hot Chocolate