Saturday, January 13, 2007


...but some times, you just gotta sin a little.

Regular readers of this blog know that my trips to Chicago mean one thing--gluttony!

Indeed, it's amazing that I'm not clinically obese, given the typical itinerary of my visits to the new world.

My Christmas 2006 visit was no exception. I ate so many things from so many different restaurants, stands and greasy spoons that I'd surely bore my readership to tears if I attempted to describe these exploits in detail.

So, I'll just mention the two highlights (i.e., those above and beyond my already well-documented Christmas and New Years Eve pig-outs).

The first highlight involved--quite predictably--Q.

My law school roommate, Tony Soju, and I pillaged my favorite of all Chicago Q joints--The Smoke Daddy, at 1804 W. Division Street. [TBF...take note!!!]

Pictured above are the two protagonsists seated at a booth in Smoke Daddy.

And here's what we ate!

On the left, we have a Ribs Sampler--containing equal parts baby backs, spares and rib tips. Sides were cole slaw and baked beans. On the right, we have The BBQ Sampler--which proudly sports brisket, pulled pork, cole slaw and sweet potato fries. We split both plates between us and--with some pain and to our waitress's amazement--ate everything!

That was highlight #1. Here is #2.

Tony, Jai (my longtime high school and weight-lifting buddy) and I went to Sushi Station in Rolling Meadows, IL to snarf an ocean of raw fish. [TBF...take note!!!]

Behind us you can see Sushi Station's conveyor belt of sushi. It's pretty much an oval track running the length of a long, narrow, three-sided bar. The conveyor belt is covered with a plastic encasement. Each seat at the bar has its own door to the conveyor belt. When the sushi of your dreams is passing before your eyes, just lift the door, pull out your plate, and close the door.

Here we see Tony and Jai. I had to take the picture, because the waiter never returned as promised to take it for us. He must've been Spanish.

Each time you take a plate of sushi, you stack it. Plates are color-coated by price. Pink plates hold $2 sushi, blue plates $3, etc. At the end of the night, the waitress comes, counts your plates and calculates your tab. It's a task that would require me 45 minutes and a Kray supercomputer.

BTW...what you see above is around $100 worth of sushi plates. Boys will be boys.

Tony informed that a sushi meal should end with a bowl of noodles. He should know these things. He is, after all, married to a Japanese woman. So, I had no choice but to toe the Nippon line.

And boy-oh-boy, am I glad that I did! Why? Because of all Japanese dishes, noodles are my favorite.

I've had a special affinity for Japanese noodle dishes (not to mention, raw eggs!) since I first watched the movie "Tampopo"--which is a surreal, 1985 Japanese film about the search for the perfect bowl of Ramen noodles.

There were no Ramen at Sushi Station. Ramen, after all, is for truck drivers.

But Sushi Station does have Udon noodles. And the photo above shows the bowl of Udon noodles--with an outrageously flavorful bonito broth, a slice of fish cake and a tempura shrimp--that met a quick and violent demise just minutes after I grabbed hold of that spoon.

The sushi was great, but the Udon was the highlight for me.

And, now...I'm back in Spain. Wondering what, where and how much I'll eat during my next trip to Chicago.

I don't know the answer, but you'll be the first to find out.


At 3:12 AM, Blogger Brenda said...

Oh man! I'd forgotten all about Tampopo! That was a great movie. And now I'm going to need to find it again.

At 3:14 AM, Blogger Brenda said...

Oh, and did you want to mention anything about the Cooking with Beer book that you seem to be displaying? Could be a SW article in that book...

The Editor

At 5:20 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sal - Darn good intelligence and security at that "tongue depressor" firm. I show up in Downers Grove and you are on the next flight back to Spain.


At 1:09 PM, Blogger christina said...

Absolutely, positively green with envy. I think I feel a cooking spree coming on. Which means a trip to the Asian market some time soon.

At 3:31 PM, Blogger Pam said...

I don't mean to gloat, but I had the best damn Udon last weekend. Man. I don't know when I've had Udon so good.

Do they even HAVE Udon in Spain?

At 5:52 PM, Blogger Di Mackey said...

First thought in my head after reading through comments ... Pam, they don't need Udon in Spain because Spanish crusine is one of the best in the world ... sigh, I miss it.

Hey Sal, welcome back :) I'm just about to go cook some NZ fish Belgian-style for dinner ... shouldn't have looked at your blog while hungry, almost drowned in 'want some of those ribs' juices.

Tot straks from the Kiwi!

At 7:35 PM, Blogger CanadianSwiss said...

I agree with ww totally. I shouldn't read this when I'm hungry. And I AM hungry!

At 11:29 PM, Blogger The Big Finn said...

Sal -

I took notes...I TOOK NOTES!!!

I'll be leaving for Chicago this Thursday and meeting up with Mrs. TBF who will be arriving in Chicago from NJ. We already have our sushi and BBQ places picked out.

I'm glad you had a good eatin' time in Chicago.


At 2:51 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ciao Sal... thanks for reminding me that I need to go eat lunch. Just one question though, in all that gluttony, where are the COCONUTS?!?! (Sorry, I couldn't resist.)

At 5:16 PM, Blogger Angie said...

"He must have been Spanish..." lol

I was just in Chicago last weekend and finally saw the big bean. Our haute dining only went as high as Giordano's and Big Bowl, though. Yummmmm...

At 6:03 AM, Blogger Chris said...

I'll skip the sushi but the BBQ is right up my alley. Although, the best pulled pork is smoked in my smoker:)

Glad you had a great time!

My Blog

At 4:39 PM, Blogger Angie said...

Where have you gone, Joe DiMaggio?

At 6:12 PM, Blogger Alison said...

Oh how I miss good sushi! I've yet to find a really good spot in Brussels. Amsterdam had a sushi bar with a conveyor belt and the coloured plate system but the one you went to looks better!

At 2:06 AM, Blogger The Big Finn said...

Sal -
You know Quincy's assistant - Sam Fujiyama? Awesome!

At 11:06 PM, Blogger Mike B said...

HoLy Chow, Bat Man. That's quite a spread.


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