Saturday, August 31, 2013

Elephant & Castle

Hi guys.

Alright, I've been a pretty awful blogger this month. I think this is the longest I've ever gone without making a post. But rest assured - this certainly doesn't mean I've given up stuffing my face with delicious things and cooking up a storm in my kitchen. It just means that sometimes your responsibilities overshadow your hobbies (unfortunately).

The good news is, I'm now back at school and ready for another year of kitchen experiments and favorite restaurants. But before I do, I have a few Chicago posts on my hard drive that I'd like to get out here.

One of them is this post about a fantastic gem of a restaurant I found near my place in the city called Elephant & Castle. It's a British/Indian fusion restaurant with everything from traditional fish and chips to butter chicken and naan. It's also a great little place to grab some beers with your friends after work.

My guest started off with some Ale & Onion soup.

For a long time, French onion soup has been one of my favorite foods. If the broth is well-made and the cheese is melty, we're in good shape. This soup (which I've had on several occasions) has a touch of beer in the broth for added flavor, and the bread on top is chopped into little cubes so that you don't have to struggle to cut it into manageable pieces. 

Next came the appetizer of 'mini yorkies.' This is a delightful little bowl of mini yorkshire puddings filled with roast beef and gravy.

I'm not gonna lie - I ate about half of this and dipped some of my fries in the gravy. It was just SO GOOD. If you visit an Elephant & Castle, you HAVE to try this dish.

I went with the classic fish and chips...

One huge piece of haddock, a pile of fries, delicious tartar sauce, fresh lemon, and malt vinegar. An oldie and a goodie - definitely a dish that won't let you down.

Of course, the next time I'm in town I might have to try this little beauty I found on the menu after we ordered....

^This just brings hot dogs to a whole new level. For real.

I highly recommend visiting an Elephant & Castle if you live near one. You can find your city here.

All in all, a delicious dinner, followed by....

The funniest and best musical I've ever seen. This is another thing that I cannot recommend enough. If the show comes to your town GO SEE IT.

Your abs will hurt from laughing, but you won't regret it.

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Saturday, August 3, 2013

Grand Lux Cafe

If you've been to or live in the US, you've probably heard of The Cheesecake Factory.
Well, as grand and magnificent as The Cheesecake Factory is, I'm a much bigger fan of the franchise's little brother - Grand Lux Cafe.
My friends Courtoon and Sirene (of cosplay fame) first suggested this place to me when I asked them what their favorite restaurant in Chicago is. I had to trust their good taste and made sure to pop in for a visit.

My first impression of Grand Lux Cafe is that this place is BIG. Huge ceilings, huge tables, huge EVERYTHING. It's very impressive and beautifully decorated.
We sat by the waiting area, carefully seated right next to the kitchen, and watched waiters whizzing by with sizzling plates being weighed down by pounds upon pounds of delicious goodies. Needless to say, by the time I sat down, I'd worked up quite an appetite.

Fortunately, minutes after we sat down, an order of Double Stuffed Potato Spring Rolls was plopped down in front of my face.

Let me deconstruct these beauties for you:
A crunchy spring roll wrapping
Filled with creamy and delicious mashed potatoes and green onions
Topped with melted cheddar cheese
Topped with bacon.

.....Are you drooling yet?

Let me just say, this whole plate would have satisfied me for lunch (in true Grand Lux/Cheesecake fashion, all portions are ridiculously large). But of course, there was still a main course coming.....

Including this mammoth of a turkey, apple, and brie sandwich on ciabatta with a side salad.

Trying to be relatively healthy, I got this asian chicken salad, which ended up being about the size of a basketball.

A delicious mix of greens, carrots, lettuce, chicken, crispy rice noodles, all smothered in a tangy Asian dressing. I've had cravings for this salad ever since the day I got it.
If you're in Texas, Florida, New York, or Nevada, I highly recommend checking out Grand Lux Cafe.
Because Cheesecake Factory is so overrated. ;)

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