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Pearl’s Southern Comfort, Chicago

9 Oct

I‘ve been to Pearl’s Southern Comfort in Chicago’s Edgewater neighborhood three times now – the food is delicious, there are good beer and cocktail options, the service is friendly and attentive, and I like the ambiance. Pearl’s also has a rooftop deck that opened this past summer that serves up drinks and bar bites. Pearl’s is busy, but I’ve never had to wait for a table. Plus. the bar has a couple of good screens for watching the Cubs game.

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We love the boudin balls,  delicate fried dough balls filled with sausage and a bit of rice.

Pearls Southern Comfort - Boudin balls

The catfish bites are lightly battered pieces of flaky fish.

Fried catfish bites

The gumbo is so flavorful, packed with dark meat chicken, sausage, and okra. (This photo was taken after we had already devoured half the bowl!)

Gumbo

Hubby ordered the shrimp po’boy. The fries were extra crispy.

Shrimp po'boy

I had the blackened catfish which was nicely done. It was served with collard greens, and the only disappointment of the night – the mac n’ cheese. Which, unfortunately, was a huge disappointment. I ordered the catfish partially because it came with a side of mac. However, this was probably the worst restaurant mac n’ cheese I’ve ever tasted. It kind of made me wonder whether the restaurant had run out of real cheese, and came up with this Kraft dinner / cheese whiz concoction instead. It tasted so bad, I couldn’t eat more than one spoonful of the mess.

Blackened catfish

Luckily, the fantastic banana bread pudding redeemed the night. This gigantic dessert was epic. Don’t attempt to finish this on your own, this is a dessert meant for sharing. It’s soft, sweet bread layered with banana and served on a plate drizzled with chocolate and caramel sauce. There were hints of rum in there as well.

Banana bread pudding

 

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The Final Word: Overall, Pearl’s severs up excellent Southern food, and it’s a great place for a date or dinner with friends. The only thing I’d wish they’d change is the mac n’ cheese. 

Info: Pearl’s Southern Comfort, 5352 N. Broadway Street, Chicago, IL 60640 USA

Pearl's Southern Comfort Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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Great Road-Side Eats: Kawamata Seafood, California

12 Jun

Our drive down the Pacific Coast Highway included a stop in Dana Point to enjoy the view over the marina. As the time ticked past lunchtime, our stomachs began to grumble, and we wanted to find a nice spot to enjoy some seafood. Of course, there are several overpriced options near the marina. But we were looking for good value, not just a view.

Dana Point

 

If you’re willing to drive a few miles away, you’ll find Kawamata Seafood near Capistrano Beach. Come here for fresh poke bowls – salmon, tuna and octopus sashimi over a bed of seasoned sushi rice, topped with goodies like wakame salad, avocado, raw scallops, ginger, and tobiko. 

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This is a pretty bare-bones place – just a few stools indoors, and a couple of tables outside. But it’s the perfect place for a filling lunch.

Above: My regular box with salmon, tuna, and wakame over brown rice.

Above: Hubby’s large box, with salmon, tuna, scallops, and wakame over white rice. We both chose the “original blend” rice, seasoned with soy sauce, sesame oil, and lemon juice.

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Regular box stacked on top of the large box.

All together, our two poke boxes came to a little over $20. Not bad for poke! (Keep in mind that Kawamata is cash only, so be prepared).

Info: Kawamata Seafood, 26881 Camino De Estrella, Dana Point, CA 92624

Kawamata Seafood Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

I Miss Boston’s Aji Sushi Bar!

10 Apr

Before leaving Boston, hubby and I had been coming here somewhat regularly. I haven’t been able to find a sushi place quite like it here in my new home (Chicago), so I’ve been thinking back to our old haunt – Aji Sushi Bar in Newton, just outside Boston.  The first time we came, the place was completely empty… was that a bad sign? Then we realized that it was Super Bowl Sunday. I guess we were the only people in town who didn’t follow football.  

Aji Sushi

We shocked the staff with the sheer amount of sushi we ordered…and devoured. Everything was great – good quality fish, reasonably priced. Yum. Aji Sushi quickly became our go-to sushi spot. 

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The last time we went, the place was packed! We managed to grab the last two-seater table available. This time, the waitress didn’t flinch at the long list of sushi rolls we ordered. We sipped our green tea as we waited for our food. I looked over at the couple at the table next to ours. You can always tell when a couple is still in the awkward, early stages of dating. She orders one maki roll, and perhaps a miso soup. Maybe she wants to look like a dainty eater. He orders two rolls and perhaps the seaweed salad. Come on, guys. Don’t tell me you’re not still hungry after what really amounts to a snack. Aji Sushi is fantastic – so go ahead and order another maki roll!

A few minutes later, our waitress returned to ask if we would like to move to a larger table that had just become available, because our current table would not be able to accommodate our entire order. Yes, please! My guy and I quickly relocated to the table meant for four. We glanced at the other couples. Amateurs.

Depending on how busy the place is, the presentation of the sushi can be quite artistic:

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When the restaurant is packed however, the beautiful flowers become a preschooler’s scribble. But the sushi still tastes great.

One time, our order was arranged on a big sushi boat!

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Yes, maybe the sushi chefs have a fondness for tempura bits..But this mango roll is one of my favourites:

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Boy do we miss this place. For those of you in the Newton, Massachusetts area, consider yourselves lucky to have this spot around!

Info: Aji Sushi Bar, 340 Walnut St, Newton, MA 02460 USA

Aji Sushi Bar Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Chicago Restaurant Week 2016: Catch 35

21 Feb

For Chicago Restaurant Week at the end of January, hubby and I decided to check out Catch 35, a slightly splurgy seafood spot near the river. During Restaurant Week, you can nab some pretty good prix fixe deals at top Chicago restaurants, and Catch 35 offers two dinner options – a $33 menu and a $44 menu.

Ambiance-wise, Catch 35 has a bit of a personality disorder. It’s a very long restaurant, and the front section evokes a bit of a classy jazz lounge/bar feel. There’s a shiny black grand piano surrounded by high top tables with views out the front window towards the water. A long bar stretches towards the back of the restaurant. Across from the bar are a few casual-looking tables positioned fairly close together. After the bar comes a brightly lit display case showing off fresh cuts of fish, and a few more tables. It’s like you’re in a fancy fish market. Walking deeper into the restaurant, you then go up a few steps. It’s here that you’ll find probably the best and most comfortable tables. There are a few booths on one side, and tables for four on the other. Then up a few more steps, and now you’re officially in the largest section of the dining room. Maybe it’s going for a fine dining feel, but it’s more like 90’s hotel meets Senior’s night.

Despite its confused look, Catch 35’s food is anything but. Everything is plated nicely, and more importantly, tastes pretty awesome.

Catch 35

Kicking off the start of a fantastic meal, my husband started off with a creamy and flavorful lobster bisque.

Catch 35 - beet salad

I got the beet salad, which was a huge portion with tons of beets, topped with creamy goat cheese and crunchy pistachios. 

 

Mahi

For my entree, I had the perfectly cooked mahi mahi served over roasted root vegetables and red grapes (part of the $33 menu). Catch 35 has a pretty good wine selection, and I had a terrific and sweet riesling from Mosel, Germany that went well with my meal.

 

Brussel sprouts

We shared a ginormous side of roasted Brussel sprouts, and also the short rib hash (not pictured). Actually, we probably didn’t need the side dishes – our entree portions were well-sized, but we just couldn’t resist. With a name like Catch 35, you might be tempted to stick to seafood only, but the short rib was fantastic. I highly recommend the short rib hash, or any other dish with short rib in it. 

 

Chilean sea bass

Hubby got the Chilean sea bass – yum! (part of the $44 menu).

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We each got our own molten chocolate cake for dessert. It was soooo good, though very rich. One portion would have been enough to share!

The Final Word: Solid seafood and wine selection. The service could be more attentive, and the decor is not the most chic, but I would come back for the nicely prepared dishes.

Info: Catch 35, W. Upper Wacker Drive, Chicago, IL 60601 USA

Catch 35 Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

 

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