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Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Tuesday Update

Last Friday, June 20, was National Ice Cream Soda Day in the USA. I have not forgotten about it. I am actively seeking an ingredient to make my very interesting ice cream float.

I have to apologize about the lack of new posts. I have been out of town on vacation. The family went to Chicago to visit friends and enjoy some time away from the grind. I have to share one of our meals with you. I am not fortunate enough to be Jennifer Zyman or Cliff Bostock when it comes to describing restaurants, but I hope to do this one justice.

One of the best things that we did in Chicago was have the honor of being the first customers at Marcus Samuelson's new restaurant, the C House. For those of you who don't know, Chef Samuelson is the owner of Aquavit in New York City and appeared on Iron Chef a couple of weeks ago.

Our meal was fantastic. As is his style, Chef Samuelson offers a menu filled with seafood, including an extensive raw bar. His flavors were clean, fresh, and inventive. I had the fluke, which was served in a clear sweet and sour broth that was light and had the most unexpected, yet delicious flavor. Mrs. Fellow enjoyed the lobster club sandwich, which may be one of the best reasons to go to Chicago. Lobster with avocado on a bacon brioche served with some outstanding fries and house made spicy ketchup (if memory serves they use half beef fat and half vegetable oil for frying). One last super delicious thing to note, Chef Samuelson offers a version of macaroni and cheese using goat cheese and chorizo.

Our desserts featured ice cream (no surprise there). I had the warm black forest cake with brandied cherry ice cream. Warm chocolate cake is almost always good and this one was no exception. I really enjoyed the cherries on the top. The accompanying brandied cherry ice cream was very tasty, but really did not have a lot of brandy flavor, which is just fine because I don't really like a lot of alcohol in my ice cream. The pastry chef stopped by our table and gave us a taste of her blueberry sour cream ice cream. It was delicious, but suffered from the same problem as my recipe -- a slight icy texture. Our friends loved it and did not notice the iciness. Maybe I'm just too critical. Mrs. Fellow ordered a trio of house made confections consisting of chocolate covered spiced marshmallows, blueberry biscotti, and the best vanilla cupcake ever. Words cannot describe the softness of the cake or intensity of the vanilla flavor. You have to eat one to believe it.

We also found the staff to be exactly what you want in this caliber of restaurant. They were friendly and knowledgeable. The wait staff did not know the menu inside and out, but that is easy to forgive on opening night. I appreciated that they were not afraid to tell you when they were unsure of ingredients and preparations especially where the Baby Fellow's order was concerned (because of her allergies). Chef Samuelson visited us several times. We found him to be a wonderfully warm and gracious host. Especially surprising was his great rapport with the three kids at our table. The wine steward left Napa Valley to come to Chicago for this job. He has put together a great wine list that definitely leaned towards whites which is a perfect compliment to the seafood heavy menu. He had great technical knowledge and was extremely helpful in aiding our wine selection.

With all the good food in Chicago, it is hard to go wrong, but you would be doing yourself a disservice if you skipped the C House.

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