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Showing posts from May, 2012

Frontera Grill, Chicago

What does it mean when one guy has 5 eateries in Chicago, with 3 all on one city block? That he's probably pretty good and in demand. This is certainly true of Rick Bayless and his Chicago establishments.

On a Saturday night at 5 pm there was already an hour and 45 minute wait for a table at Frontera Grill, the casual Mexican bar and restaurant that is right next door to the more upscale and spendy, Topolobampo and on the other side XOCO, a small torta shop. Considering we were on vacation and there was room to wait at the bar we put our name in.

We absconded a small high top table in the bar and ordered drinks and an appetizer. I started with the tamarind margarita which was very yummy, but too sweet to have more than one of, so after that I switched to the same thing my companion was drinking which was the Topolo margarita, the most popular drink at both Frontera and Topolobampo. For our appetizer we had the amazing and really delicious Oyster and Ceviche platter. I am not a hug…

Lou Malanti's

Pizza. It can be a big debate. What is pizza? Who has the best? Is it Philly, New York, Chicago, Trenton style tomato pie?

If you are not new to House of Skip you know that my companion and I are connoisseurs of tomato pie and are die hard DeLorenzo's fans. We've tried other local pizza places and agree we like tomato pie better than "pizza" and while we think other joints do a good job, DeLorenzo's will always be #1 to us.

So, while in Chicago we felt it was our duty to try deep dish. We can't claim tomato pie is king without trying the competition.

The verdict? Well, let's talk about it.

There are various places in Chicago to get "deep dish" there are probably as many local arguments there as there are on the East Coast about who is better or who is the originator. Well, according to most Pizzeria Uno (now known as the chain bar/restaurant Uno) was the original deep dish pizza place in Chicago but another just as famous and possibly disputed a…

Places to check out in Chicago (according to Skip)

Looking for something sweet? Apparently Chicagoans like Starbucks even more than us East Coasters, there was one like every other block in Chicago, most likely next to a Walgreens. This was great for my coffee addiction, however if you are looking for a sweet treat, try something different than the 1 million calorie frapp or pound cake at the 'bucks and head to More.

More Cupcakes. Another spectacular place that my companion and I saw on a food show. This cute cupcake boutique displays their delish treats in a glass case like they are jewelry. Each cupcake is beckoning you with it's fluffy icing and a trinket on top to tell you what is inside, like the Bacon cupcake that has a little piece of crystallized, sugared bacon on top? Lovely. I did not chose the bacon cupcake, despite my love of pork, as I had just had bacon pancakes (that's another story for you to look forward to). I instead went with the salted caramel, an amazing vanilla bourbon cake with molten caramel on t…

Kuma's Corner, Chicago, IL

Lot's of people claim to have found unique places, but there is no place more unique than Kuma's. And if you don't agree, I'll punch you in the face. Oh, sorry, I got a little swept up in the moment there.

Kuma's Corner is a bar/burger joint in Chicago's Avondale neighborhood that has a focus on heavy metal. Yes, you heard me right, heavy metal. But don't let the tattooed staff, loud music and threatening signs (like the die emo die sign taped to the thermostat) scare you from having one of the best burgers of you life.

Kuma's isn't great just because it is a bar that plays heavy metal and serves burgers. It is great because they serve ridiculously good burgers with insane toppings and then name them after heavy metal bands.

In addition to the burgers, they also have some great craft beers on tap. My companion had an IPA, sorry I do not recall where it was from. I had something called Zombie Dust from Three Floyds which is a brewery in neighboring I…

Mustache Bill's Diner, Barnegat Light

No mustache required at this cash only, tiny diner on Barnegat Light. Mustache Bill's has been featured TV shows, such as Guy Fieri's Diners, Drive-ins and Dives and is also a James Beard winning restaurant. I know you are thinking the same thing I was, a diner won a James Beard? Shocking, but outstanding food comes in all styles and forms.

Now, I did not set out to Bill's because of all these things, I didn't even know all that before going there. My dining companion plotted out a day trip for us, doing what we love to do, drink wine! And this is where he planned for us to have breakfast to start our journey, so I got in the car and went. My companion is lucky I like him so much, what a long drive for breakfast (and without any coffee, grr!).

Bill's looks like a normal diner, booths, tables, counter. The place is fairly small, well at least the main dining room is, you can also be seated on the porch. We were greeted kindly by our waiter who then brought us coffee…

Checkers Bistro

So, on our freedom from taxes celebration and PA wine tour, we had to also stop for lunch. We had tasted wine and learned a lot at both Lancaster County Winery and Mount Winery. Our next stop was Checkers Bistro in Lancaster City. I know what you are thinking and I thought the same thing, is my dining companion taking me that cheesy, drive-thru fast food place? No, Checkers Bistro in Lancaster is the exact opposite of that joint.

Checkers is an unexpected treat. It is a hidden little gem, that is nowhere near touristy Lancaster and not even on a main drag of the city either, but nestled on a side street not near much else. We walked in and were shocked, it's simple brick exterior does not prepare you for the hip bar and bistro that lies inside.

The menu gives a new definition to creative and innovative cuisine. They have a variety of small plates in addition to the lunch entrees as well as some very interesting pizzas. We each ordered a glass of Tempranillo, we had an idea of what…

Aneu Bistro and Wine Bar

Finally free from taxes! Some of you may be aware my companion is a tax man and so we hadn't done much wining or dining for quite some time. So, once tax day had come and gone we planned a day of eating, traveling and drinking wine from local wineries. This particular journey took us to the interesting land of Pennsylvania.

We started with breakfast, the most important meal of the day (especially when you plan on drinking all day). So, we stopped at Aneu Bistro and Wine Bar, I know, I know, you're saying, "Skip, you ate breakfast at a wine bar!". Yes, yes we did but surprisingly we did not drink any wine or other alcohol for that matter. Shocking, I know, I can't say I wasn't tempted, but coffee was much more important to me at the point and time. Those of you that know me personally know that I am not much of a morning person, despite the fact that I regularly wake up at an early hour. So, my companion plotted out our day with a drive into Berwyn, PA for bre…