Month: January 2014

Polar Vortex can’t keep me in! @piccolosognodue

Piccolo Sogno Due – 340 N Clark Street – Chicago, IL

It was around -10 degrees out last night, and a post call Monday left me with no energy at all to cook even a nearly completely prepped dinner – yes, I’m super lazy.  Sara felt the same way after dealing with her crap all day, so we got on open table looking for a quick, close restaurant week option.  The decision ended up pretty simple – Piccolo Sogno or it’s sister restaurant, Piccolo Sogno Due – both had a good number of choices for each option for the lower $33 price.  Apparently, there was one dish that caught Sara’s eye so down Clark St to Piccolo Sogno Due it was.

There’s obviously no shortage of choices for Italian food in Chicago, but Piccolo Sogno has cemented itself as a fixture in the River West area with a great selection of italian wines, a focus on fresh vegetables, house-made pasta, and pretty swank patio that gets overrun in the summer.  It had a pretty good following for awhile and was almost impossible to get in a good spot in the summer.    Enter PS Due, which opened up about 2 years ago has a very similar style and feel, but a completely different menu.  I haven’t looked at them side by side, but I believe there’s no overlap between the two menus.

For restaurant week, this place was a solid choice, and if you’re going as a couple or a large group, there’s 6 or 7  choices for each appetizer / entree / dessert selection which is perfect because there’s something for everyone, but not enough to overwhelm the extremely indecisive (like myself).   Plus, what is put in front of you is a full sized portion, which makes your $33 go a long way.

Bread basket

Bread basket

The bread service was solid – a rosemary foccacia which was suprisingly the weak link of the four, a garlic salt crisp, sourdough which was perfectly soft with great flavor, and a squid ink wheat bread that had that great, near-black squid ink color and a subtle tastiness.   Piccolo Sogno’s house olive oil is a bit light, but pairs well with the bread and just a touch of black pepper.

 

Polpo - grilled octopus, roasted peppers, and fingerling potatoes

Polpo – grilled octopus, roasted peppers, and fingerling potatoes

To start, I decided to go with the polpo – a healthy portion of grilled octopus.  One of the highlights of PS and PS Due is the wood-fired oven, and the octopus (octopi?) had that great wood-fired char, which you could smell even as the waiter approached with the plates, something I wish came through in the pics (one day smells will be generated by your computer, until then, use your imagination…).  The octopi slices were medium sized – big enough to get that good tentacle texture, but not so huge that it lost its tenderness – sometimes when octopus or squid gets a little big it can get a little firm and chewy, but not here.   A few tentacles were served atop a plate of smallish roasted fingerling potatoes and some nicely charred roasted red peppers.

Zuppe di butternut squash

Zuppe di butternut squash

Sara got the butternut squash soup, which in the end looks better than it tasted.  The base of the soup was pretty standard, but well executed; however, the drizzled balsamic that looks all pretty in the picture unfortunately overpowered the dish, and balsamic is pretty easy to overpower any dish.

Black spaghetti and a whole lot of seafood

Black spaghetti and a whole lot of seafood

For her secondi, Sara went with the black spaghetti dish.  Essentially a squid ink pasta that provided a nice base for a minimally spicy seafood stew with fresh mussels, calamari, and well cooked plump shrimp.  The sauce had a touch of some sort of liquor in it (Pernaud maybe?) to complement the deep seafood flavor.  A solid dish.

Poletto = stacked chicken

Poletto = stacked chicken

For my main, I went with the Poletto, a well roasted half Amish chicken served atop a bed of polenta and wood-fired mushrooms.   The polenta had a nice consistency, similar to that of baba ghanoush or creamy mashed potatoes, and nice contrast to the firmer, but still quite tender chicken.   The chicken was “spatch-cocked” according to my culinary guide, which is when they remove the backbone of the chicken to flatten it for more consistent cooking when they grill or roast it.  The result is a nice even consistency; the skin had a nice crisp to it to add to the complex texture of the dish.

Pretty stuffed at this point, particularly since it took awhile to get our first few dishes, allowing myself to gorge on the bread basket, but we had some great choices for dessert, and it was 15 below out, so why not.   A cup of deep flavorful coffee to get us ready for dessert.

Panna cotta

Panna cotta

 

Sara was initially set on the Tavoletta, a chocolate mousse based dish, but called a last minute audible when the coffee came and switched over to the Panna Cotta, perfectly cooked with great texture, and as you can see from the picture, a healthy dose of vanilla beans, giving it a great appearance, and an even better deep vanilla flavor.

Gelato!

Gelato!

I, of course got the gelato – the waitress had told me what flavors were available tonight – straciatella, coconut, and strawberry.   I asked for as scoop of straciatella, after which she proceeds to tell me I get THREE SCOOPS as dessert .  Did I mention I was stuffed at this point?!! But I can’t turn down gelato, so three scoops it is!   Served in a frozen stainless steel bowl, the gelato at PS is freshly made with good ingredients, shown by the slightly paler but real pink color of the strawberry.  The gelato here had a good consistency and a deep fresh flavor.

Overall, what Piccolo Sogno Due is nothing flashy or overly memorable, but solidly done.   The choices are diverse, the ingredients are fresh, the preparations are pretty traditional but with a bit of twist to make it still interesting.  Fresh housemade pasta is always a huge plus, as is fresh made gelato.  And for $33, this is probably one of the best restaurant week deals you’re going to find on the menu.

Thanks everyone for reading – Sara has gotten jealous watching me amass followers and views, so we’ve decided to continue my blog as a joint venture.  The idea is to for me to continue to help you find the best spots to grub in Chicago, and at the same time, to chronicle our attempts at creating interesting dishes in our own kitchen.  And to top it all off, we’re tackling a kitchen renovation starting this spring, so we’ll give you updates and you can follow us through the process, from cabinet design to appliance picking, and finally to demo and construction.  Honestly, the demo entries might be quite memorable, especially if you get a sledgehammer in my hand….

The new site will be http://eatsindinesout.wordpress.com

Thanks everyone for following so far, and hope you’ll continue to check it out…

Mark

 

 

 

Advertisements

It’s Restaurant Week! @TableFiftyTwo

When I’m on call over the weekend, it’s rare that I find time to eat, let alone sit down for a nice meal.   So as I was driving home from Hinsdale at 7:30pm, I was preparing myself to throw something quick together at home or stop at Mr. Beef for a dipped with hot peppers and provolone, but Sara grabbed a rez at Table 52 and since restaurant week just started, I figured, why not?

Table Fifty Two is Art Smith’s restaurant and one of the best places for Southern food in Chicago.  Art Smith made a name for himself as Oprah’s personal chef for years before he settled down to open up Table 52.  His take on Southern staples like fried catfish and shrimp and grits are a little dressed up and small portioned, but wonderfully done.   The restaurant week menu was a good set of 2 choices each for appetizer, entree, and dessert for $44 each.  Not a super steal deal, but it’s a reasonable cost to get a three course meal at a top notch restaurant.  And when there’s two choices for each, and you’re dining for two, it makes decision making easy, particularly when all 6 picks were worth trying out.

Goat-cheese buttermilk biscuit

Goat-cheese buttermilk biscuit

The meal starts out like all good Southern meals should start out – with a biscuit, of course.  This biscuit was cooked with goat cheese and had a perfectly soft, buttery texture on the inside, with a slightly burnt crust on the outside – the cheese added an awesome subtle bite – a nice little start to the meal.

 

Crab Cake

Crab Cake

Fried Green Tomao

Fried Green Tomao

 

 

 

 

 

The apps come out with a petite crab cake with a potato and leek puree, some grapefruit, and an herb salad.  While small, the cake had good chunks of real crab meat and was nicely cooked.  The parsley and grapefruit mini salad served atop the cake gave a nice citrusy flavor to the dish.

The second app was a fried green tomato, also topped with goat cheese, but served with two small slices of house cured bacon.  The tomato was perfectly battered with a nice, light coating, and covered in a smorgasbord of greens, goat cheese, and the bacon, of course, which was quite smoky and thick cut, giving some balance to the dish.

For the main’s, there were two options, and they both sounded awesome.

IMG_3677

 

To start, we got the braised short rib served atop a carrot puree, with some drizzled cider gastrique and garnished with some shaved parsnips and carrots.  Like some of the dishes up to here, there was a dominant savory  flavor with a hint of sweet.  The short rib was a bit undercooked and didn’t have that flaky, fall-apart with your fork texture that a good braising will create, but overall a solid dish.

Fried Chicken!

Fried Chicken!

Well, if you read this regularly, this is one dish you may end up seeing a lot of…and Art Smith’s is arguably the best in the city.  For restaurant week, the portion size was a bit skimpy, but I can’t complain too much, because I wasn’t exactly hungry at the end of the meal – I think Art’s just looking out for my cholesterol.   The batter was flaky and crispy without being burnt, and the meat was perfectly tender, warm, and not oily at all.  Served with just a thin layer of mashed potatoes, this should be your go to dish at Table 52 if you decide to go.  Traditionally, it was only served on Sunday nights, but apparently, they realized how big of a mistake it was, and now they’re serving it every night.

Brussell sprouts with Andouille etoufee

Brussel sprouts with Andouille etoufee

The extra side we got may have been the highlight of the meal (besides the fried chicken, of course).  Everyone’s doing bacon or pancetta with brussel sprouts, and I even had brussel sprouts with chorizo a few months ago (which was awesome), but this may have been the most interesting supporting cast member to the brussel sprout dish to date.  The thinly sliced andouille sausage had a nice smoky flavor and the spiciness of the sausage layered the oil that coated the sprouts.  The etoufee added a bit of bready texture, and a few slices of orange continued the “touch o’ sweet” them that seemed to resonate this meal.

No southern meal would be complete without dessert – unfortunately, Art’s “Hummingbird Cake” – a banana toffee topped with coconut and pineapple – didn’t make the restaurant week cut, but no matter – the two dishes that did make the cut were pretty solid.

Twelve-layer chocolate cake

Twelve-layer chocolate cake

The twelve-layer chocolate cake speaks for itself.   A pretty complex cake that I’m sure is miserable to prep ends up on the plate as a visually appealling slice of alternating layers of standard vanilla flour cake and a rich chocolate cake.  It’s topped with a flavorful chocolate frosting and some crunchy chocolate topping.

Oatmeal cookie sandwiches done three ways

Oatmeal cookie sandwiches done three ways

Next up is the oatmeal cookies done three ways – standard oatmeal, ginger, and chocolate – each creating a sandwich of a slightly soupy whipped cream filling.   The differences in flavor between each cookie was subtle, but the cookie itself had a great texture.

In the end, for $44, not a huge amount of food, and there’s much better options strictly in terms of the restaurant week menu if you’re looking to gorge, but we were both extremely pleased as Table Fifty-Two has not disappointed us yet.  There’s some fantastic standards on the menu, and the ambience is great.   Interestingly enough, it seems as if we’ve been clustering pairs of meals in similar cuisines recently (had pizza twice last week – Japanese twice over last weekend), and we got another Southern meal coming up this week, so it’ll be interesting to compare…

 

@sozaibanzai and @matsuri – Japanese in the burbs

Sozai Bonzai – 1089 E. Golf Rd., Arlington Heights, IL

Matsuri – 507 S. Third St., Geneva, IL

So last weekend, Sara and I had a couple excursions to the burbs, first for a trip to Abt on Saturday and Sunday a trek out to St. Charles to visit with the folks, since they just got back from a taxing trip to Hawaii.   While we were out there, we checked out two Japanese restaurants – one definitely worth checking out, the other….well, not so much.

Sozai Banzai!

Sozai Banzai!

We’ll start off the trek with a trip to Sozai Bonzai in Arlington Heights.  Typical strip mall setting and hard to find, since the overhand just says “Sushi & Grill” (look closer for the actual sign in the window).   Not much more impressive when you walk inside…but I think that’s what they’re going for.  Service was friendly and food came out reasonably quick.

 

Convenient list of the top dishes in case you're not sure what to order

Convenient list of the top dishes in case you’re not sure what to order

Pretty no frills

Pretty no frills

 

 

 

 

 

 

However, the first plus sign is that the menu is also in Japanese, a pretty good sign the place is legit authentic.   As you can tell from the pic, it’s pretty simple – a handful of tables, a beverage cooler next to the register, and some pretty low quality laminated menus.

Menu is all good Japanese comfort food – bentos, ramen, rice bowls, and some good apps.   Just what we needed on another snowy day (is this winter freeze *ever* going to end?  Man, I’ll tell you, though, when it’s flurrying out and 10 degrees, nothing hits the spot like a bowl of good ramen (well, maybe a glass of single malt, but hey, it was 1 in the afternoon)

Karaage appetizer

Karaage appetizer

Started off with a bite of chicken karaage – the Japanese version of Chicken nuggets.   These are not your typical McNuggets – karaage are small fried bites of chicken thigh marinated in soy sauce and garlic with a nice smooth crisp.  This version was solid – great flavor, well fried – squeeze a bit of lemon on it for some nice balance – perfect size for a starter.

Karaage Set-to

Karaage Set-to

Sara was a bit jealous or had the same idea and got the Karaage set – essentially the same dish surrounding by a good supporting cast of vegetables to round out the fried chicken – A tamago like omelet, a simple salad, and a few small plates of different types of seawood (cut off from the picture on the left).  Not a bad addition for an extra couple of bucks.

Negi Chashu Ramen!

Negi Chashu Ramen!

I ordered the Negi Chashu ramen – negi refers to the thinly sliced Japanese onion/leeks on top, the Chashu refers to the deeply flavorful pork base for the soup.  Served with a couple slices of pork (belly?  cheek?   not sure), a partially boiled egg, some bamboo shoots, and a single piece of nori as a backdrop, this dish was solid from start to finish.  First off, the portion size was perfect.   The negi and bamboo added a good balance of textures, and the boiled egg complimented it well, although it probably could have used another minute or so cooking.  The broth itself had great flavor without being overwhelmingly rich. The pork was sliced perfectly, very tender, but had just a bit too much fat on it.  All that aside, though, everything worked very well with this bowl of noodles, and was quite slurpworthy.

Sozai Banzai was awesome and worth checking out if you’re in the area.  We’ll almost definitely be back in the future.   It doesn’t quite get my “worth a trip out to the burbs by itself” recommendation, but in reality there’s only one restaurant that I can immediately think of that definitely gets that nod – will keep that a secret for now until I post about it.   But here’s a hint – it’s just west of Oak Park….

So Sunday, we took a trip out to St. Charles to visit my parents.  They had lucked out, leaving for Hawaii about 6 hours before the blizzard hit the day before the polar vortex, completely missing the worst of the cold (although it’s not much better now).  Since they had been travelling all morning, we offered to cook them dinner, but they insisted that we go out, and they were looking for sushi.  So we headed down to Geneva to check out Matsuri.

Matsuri is a pretty standard cookie cutter suburban Japanesse sushi restaurant.  We were the only people eating there at the time, but the room itself is decent size.

soft shell crab

soft shell crab

sauteed scallops and mushrooms

sauteed scallops and mushrooms

 

 

 

 

 

We started with the sauteed scallops and mushrooms, pretty meh – not much flavor, the scallops were a bit chewy.  The soft shell crab was pretty decent, served with a simple ponzu sauce on the sde.

Karaage (again!)

Karaage (again!)

For a third appetizer, we decided to go with the karaage, just to be able to compare with the day before.  Matsuri’s was well fried, but not as flavorful and a bit soggy when compared with the sozai banzai.  Still pretty good, but far from the best I’ve had.  I’m surprised this dish hasn’t caught on mainstream – I feel like it would be much more appealing than some other appetizers you typically see on a Japanese menu.

IMG_3657We got an assortment of nigiri next, and none of it was anything more than average.  The salmon didn’t have that really oily texture, the tuna was a bit firm and lacked good color, and the super white tuna was missing that burst of cool freshness when you bite into it.  The rice itself was lacking in flavor.   The unagi was the best of the lot, with a solid BBQ sauce on top and a good texture to the eel.

IMG_3660

Next were the rolls – a spider roll, spicy tuna roll, an Ebi crunch roll (california roll with cooked shrimp instead of imitation crab), and the Geneva roll, which I’m blanking on in terms of the ingredients.  Like the nigiri, the rolls were overwhelmingly underwhelming.  The spicy tuna had only a touch of kick to it, the spider roll lacked any crunch, as did the ebi crunch.

In the end, Matsuri is more or less you’re standard, run-of-the-mill sushi restaurant.  Given it’s one of the only sushi restaurants in the area, it’ll probably be around for awhile, but there are much better options in the Geneva area.  Ultimately, I’m probably just getting spoiled with good sushi.

 

 

@pranzichicago on a wednesday night for 50c wings

Pranzi Chicago – 434 W Ontario St.  Chicago, IL

On a strip on Ontario St, just west of Orleans is a row of restaurants that is ever changing.  The only reason I would talk about this strip is because it’s about the halfway point between where I live now, and where I used to live.  Reza’s, on the west end, has really been the only constant fixture in a rotating row of restaurants.  The second longest tenure belonged to Zocalo, which I just realized is closed as we walked up to the newly opened Pranzi, an offshoot of a Pizzeria/Bar out in South Elgin.

The addition of Pranzi doesn’t really add a whole lot.   The menu itself reads a lot like Scoozi, just a few blocks north – some apps, some salads, a pizza section, a pasta section, and some sandwiches/burgers for the lunch crowd.   The most interesting item on the menu might be the Italian beef pizza (which we didn’t get), topped with beef, mozzarella, and hot giardinieras.  There’s arancini on the app menu, but really, other than that, there’s not much else to get too excited about.  That’s not necessarily a bad thing, as long as it’s done well, and the sausage and arugula pizza we had the last time we visited was pretty solid.

50c wings

50c wings

Tonight though, was 50c wing night, and thankfully, I have been blessed with a fiancee who loves wings, so we did start with a plate of wings, with 8 on a plate, served with a side of standard blue cheese.  Nothing special, cooked on the crispier side, but not overdone, and a good thick layer of sauce, which had a bit of tang and spice without being too harsh or too messy.

side....salad!

side….salad!

The salad itself was exactly the way it looks, uninspiring, but it’s a free side salad at a bar, so whaddaya expect?

For our dishes, we skipped the pizza and went to the pastas.   Sara got the Broccoli and Shrimp pasta, which was essentially a healthy plate of linguine tossed with some olive oil, a touch of garlic, some broccoli, and some standard, restaurant-grade shrimp.   I got the chicken Parmigiana which was an equally large serving size of linguine topped with marinara sauce and two large hunks of breaded, fried chicken.

Broccoli and Shrimp Olio

Broccoli and Shrimp Olio

 

Chicken Parmigiana

Chicken Parmigiana

Neither dish was overwhelmingly flavorful or groundbreaking, but what it lacked in quality, it sure made up in quantiy and even after gorging ourselves for this meal and nearly having to roll home in a wheelbarrow, we still had enough left over for another meal or two each.   Bottom line – the pizzas > pastas, and 50c wings is an ok deal, but if you want to eat in and take home a meal for another night or two, the pastas (at least the one’s we got) are not a bad bet, but probably something you could just as easily put together at home for a fraction of the cost and not a whole lot of effort.

The service itself has been very friendly and solid and it’s never too crowded.  For people that live in the area, it’s worth a look as the food is passable.  There’s TVs all around at good viewing heights and angles – when we went, half were playing whatever college b-ball game was on ESPN, and the other half were scrolling through music videos.  What’s interesting enough was the selection – for the first half of our meal, it was a solid half hour to an hour of Dean-O and Frank, probably the most live footage I’ve seen of the rat pack ever – pretty cool stuff.  Then, out of the blue, it takes a complete U-turn and switches to videos of Tiesto and Axwell – talk about bipolar – jeez.

But the highlights came at the end, when they started hitting up old school 80’s – I mean “Papa Don’t Preach” with Danny Aiello, Billie Jean (twice!), and this classic by Debarge.  30 years from now, your grandkids are going to ask you what the 80’s were like – just show them this video:

Healthy Dining Out @seasons52, then not so healthy gelato @Eataly

Seasons 52 – 55 E. Grand Ave., Chicago, IL

Friday night and we need a spot to check out.  With the new year and new resolutions to eat healthier and blah, blah, blah, I guess we were looking for something a bit healthier to check out.   And whaddaya know, we had a nice mailer that gave us $35 off at Seasons 52, a reasonably new addition to Chicago, and conveniently just a few blocks from Sara’s office and a reasonably short walk from my place – it was snowing, but I live for winter – and the snow was flurrying down with heavy, huge flakes.  But enough about the weather – on to the food!

Seasons 52 is a nationwide upscale dining chain, with a focus on natural ingredients and comfort foods. It’s big schtick is that all of their dishes are under 440 calories, which in a world that is increasingly more health-conscious, is a pretty good schtick to have.  Looking down the standard menu, there’s a pretty good variety of dishes that are clearly healthier and easy to keep in that calorie range, and they save some calories with some of the entree-type dishes by cutting back on portion sizes and shrinking the role of the carb-heavy sides.  On top of the standard menu, there were a number of seasonal specials that were extremely enticing as well.

In the end, we each got an entree and split an appetizer, so to get a dinner meal knowing that it was under 660 calories was a bonus.

Lobster, sweet pepper, scallion flatbread

Lobster, sweet pepper, scallion flatbread

IMG_3636

 

 

 

 

 

Solidly done, the flatbread had a good mix of flavors and textures.  The lobster was chopped pretty small, but added a good meatiness, but lacked a bit of flavor.  The scallions had a nice sharp bite, and the sweet peppers balanced the dish out with a softer texture.  The flatbread itself was nice and thin with a good crisp, slightly burnt crust.

Mesquite-grilled garlic shrimp, saffron-chorizo risotto

Mesquite-grilled garlic shrimp, saffron-chorizo risotto

Sara got the garlic shrimp – good portion size.  As you can see, it had a nice char, but in the process, the shrimp was a bit overcooked, so it lacked that soft meatiness.  The flavor itself was a subtle garlicky, and the supporting players – the risotto and broccolini were pretty average.  The risotto was a bit gummy and overcooked, and heavy on olives, which overpowered the dish, and there’s not much to say about broccolini – simple preparation

Whole roasted branzino

Whole roasted branzino

My entree was a whole roasted branzino (the smallest branzino I’ve seen) from the specials menu – In the end, it was mcuh better than the above dish.  While the portion size was small, it was solidly cooked. Branzino is a Mediterranean seabass, mostly found in Italian dishes.  It has a soft, buttery texture, and at Seasons, they topped it off with a lemon butter that added to the overall smoothness of the fish (and again, it’s under 440 calories!).  The supporting cast – a trio of roasted white and purple potatoes and some grilled broccolini and red peppers were simple but a solid addition to the dish.

The desserts at Seasons are also under 440 calories, but that’s because they serve them in shot glasses. There was a good mix, but we passed on dessert, as Eataly, a block north, was calling our name.   In the end, Seasons 52 is a great idea, but the prices unfortunately don’t always drop to the extent that the portion sizes do, which make it difficult to justify the cost if I’m paying full price.   Thankfully, with the mailer, the total bill with tax and tip came out to well under $50.

So we walked through the snow to the behemoth known as Eataly to get dessert – you figure on a snowy Chicago night when the temps are in the teens, you’d be able to walk in to get gelato and not have to fight a crowd, right?   Wrong.   The line for the gelato was a good 20 people deep, but we were on a mission – I am absolutely frightened to see what the lines are going to be like for this place when it’s August and 100 degrees out.  But if you haven’t had the gelato at Eataly yet, and you’re a gelato or ice cream fan, put it near the top of your list of places to go, because I doubt you’ll find anything this good outside of Eataly, I mean, Italy.

As far as Chicago goes, Black Dog is probably the best known, but makes its name based on interesting flavors and solid execution, but Eataly’s execution is on another level.

IMG_3639IMG_3640

 

 

 

 

There are two types of gelato at Eataly – the traditional gelato, and the gelato “lait” (pronounced ‘late’ or ‘lay’ – I’m not sure), which is essentially the gelato version of soft-serve.  Unfortunately, they’ve been sold out of the lait every time we’ve been, but the traditional gelato is so good, it really doesn’t matter.   One thing to mention is when we were doing our research before going to Italy last fall, I learned that the best gelato places will store their gelato in  stainless steel containers, keeping their flavors covered to keep the temperature constant and the freshness in.  The more touristy spots will leave their gelato out and slather their display with fresh fruit to hide the amount of artificial flavoring they use in the gelato.  The stainless steel containers with the lids we found in the best gelato spots we tried in Rome, and note the containers Eataly uses above.

Chocolate and Hazelnut!

Chocolate and Hazelnut!

At $5 for a medium cup with two flavors, it (like most everything else at Eataly) is a bit pricey, but as long as the lines stay this long, I think Mario Batali will be laughing all the way to the bank.   The flavors at Gelato are all classic flavors – Hazelnut, Straciatella, Fior de lait, Chocolate, Pistachio, etc.  Salted caramel is about as odd as they’ll get with the flavors, and a taste of the salted caramel was a bit heavy on the salt.  I got a cup with Hazelnut and Choocolate and both had a perfect creamy texture and a deep flavor that was just perfect.  Yep, I’m gonna keep coming back.  This place and Hot Doug’s may be the only two places in Chicago that I’ll justify waiting in line any significant amount of time for.   Till next time….