Saturday, May 24, 2008

A full day of food tasting in Chicago

Eventhough still very tired, we decided to start early that morning since I've made a list of food places to visit. We left the hotel at 10 am and went to Vanille Patisserie to get our breakfast.

First stop for breakfast: Vanille Patisserie
Vanille Patisserie: StoreIt was easy to find the place since it has a big brown awning in front of the store. The place was small but cozy and the person behind the counter was very friendly and helpful. We only ordered one croissant, a chocolate dessert called "Sophia", two chocolate truffles and hot tea eventhough there were a lot of tempting items. We would go to more places to eat so we had to save some room.

The croissant was good, buttery and crisp in the outside, but inside didn't have a lot of layer -- we still love the one from Patisserie Claude more but this one was pretty good.

Sophia was very good, I liked it a lot! The chocolate mousse was very chocolate-y with the crunch from the hazelnut crisp. Definitely a must have.

Vanille Patisserie: Croissant Vanille Patisserie: Sophia
Croissant and Sophia

The two chocolates truffles (caramel and gianduja orange) were okay, not very special.

Vanille Patisserie: Caramel chocolate and gianduja orange chocolate
Caramel chocolate and Gianduja orange chocolate truffles

Before we left, I decided to buy their macarons to go. On that day they had 10 different flavors: chocolate-hazelnut, coffee, chocolate, chocolate-hazelnut, coffee, raspberry, pistachio, orange-ginger, coconut-passion fruit, rose, red velvet, black currant-violet. I asked for one of each with the exception of coffee and chocolate hazelnut -- which I got two of since I had to fill up a box of 12. I didn't get a chance to try them until we arrived at home (4 days later). They were okay -- a little bit dry (maybe because we didn't consume them soon enough) and not enough filling (especially after tasting Pierre Hermé's).

Vanille Patisserie: Assorted macarons (opened)
Assorted macarons

Next breakfast / lunch stop: Sweet Thang
Sweet Thang: StoreThe place is bigger than Vanille Patisserie and more open. The person behind the counter was just as friendly, so far Chicago has been pretty hospitable. Since we wouldn't have lunch until later, we odered more item: croissant, quiche lorraine, pear tart, chocomisu (which was chocolate mousse and tiramisu) and another hot tea.

The croissant was disappointing, dry and no taste of butter, but had a lot of layer. In my opinion, the one from Vanille Patisserie was much better in taste.

Sweet Thang: Croissant

The pear tart was good, the crust and the filling was perfect.
The chocomisu was good too, the chocolate and vanilla mousses were creamy. I could not taste any coffee flavor in it though -- I assumed it would have coffee since it mentioned tiramisu on the description.

Sweet Thang: Tarte a la poire (close up) Sweet Thang: Chocomisu (close up)
Pear tart and Chocomisu

The quiche lorraine came at the end since they needed to reheat it. We had high expections because it was supposedly one of their specialy. It was very disappointing though, the crust was thick and hard, while the filling was very salty (maybe they forgot that the ham is already salty and put too much salt???). We didn't complain though since we were in hurry, so we just didn't finish it.

Sweet Thang: Quiche lorraine (another view)
Quiche lorraine

Lunch #1: Superdawg
Superdawg drive-in: StoreFrom here we went around for a little bit of sight seeing, before going to Superdawg drive-in to try their famous hot dog. The drive-in area was full, no empty spot, so we just parked on the street and ordered in person to the booth. The line was not that bad, we had to wait about 30-45 minutes until we got our order, which was superdawg with everything and vanilla supershakes.

The hotdog was very good, crispy in the outside, firm and moist inside. They used something called 'Chicago relish', which was definitely different that what we're used to. The fries was okay, some still crispy, some a little bit soggy.

The shake was good, very thick and creamy.

Superdawg drive-in: Superdawg (uncovered) Superdawg drive-in: Supershakes - mellow vanilla (uncovered)
Superdawg - with everything and Supershakes - mellow vanilla

Lunch #2: Hot Doug's
Hot Doug's: Store
From one hot dog place, we go to ... another hot dog place. Our next stop was Hot Doug's to try another famous hot dog. When we arrived there, it was already 3:30 pm (they close at 4:00 pm) but the line was still long. We had to wait 30 minutes until we reached the front. While waiting we chatted with other people on the line, who were very enthusiastic about how good this place was and how much better it was than Superdawg. We also perused their menu which was located on the wall, so we knew what we wanted: duck fat fries, hot dog, corn dog, bacon sausage and orange cream soda. Doug Sohn, the owner and the one who took our order, was quite a character and certainly fit the off the wall atmosphere. It only took about 5 minutes for the order to arrive at our table, so fast!

Their famous duck fat fries was good, very crispy outside and soft inside.
The hot dog was not as good as the one from Superdawg, but still good.
The corn dog was my favorite here, the corn crust was crispy ouside and moist inside.
The bacon sausage was good too, perfect pairing with the toppings (wine-infused grainy dijon mustard, herb-garlic eurocreme and caramelized onions) that came with it.

Hot Doug's: Orders - Duck fat fries, The dog, The Sally Vega, Bacon sausage
Clockwise from top: Duck fat fries, Bacon sausage, The dog, The Sally Vega

We left most of the bread and the fries considering we would have our dinner right after this, crazy huh?!

From here we headed towards Everest, then to Tru since I've been wanting to try their dessert for a while now (because of Gale Gand, their executive pastry chef). You can read our experience on both places on my next post, since this post is very long already. Guess who we stumbled upon that night.


Vanille Patisserie
2229 N Clybourn Ave
Chicago, IL 60614
(773) 868-4574

Sweet Thang
1921 W North Avenue
Chicago, IL 60622
(773) 772-4166

Superdawg drive-in
6363 N Milwaukee Avenue
Chicago, IL 60646
(773) 478-7800

Hot Doug's
3324 North California
Chicago, IL 60618
(773) 279-9550

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