Around the BLOCK

A Taste of Austin

Don’t get me wrong, Austin is a cool city. Pockets of eclectic neighborhoods, tons of live music, a pretty lake with an awesome trail surrounding it and a booming downtown. But for me, it’s all about the food. I was recently there for 4 nights and didn’t come close to trying all of the restaurants […]

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China Poblano–Las Vegas

Jose Andrés is to food and restaurants what Peyton Manning is to quarterbacks and football. He is revered in his industry and everyone tries to emulate him. And it’s no wonder. Andrés has built a growing empire of restaurants from coast to coast and beyond. He started with Jaleo years ago, a Spanish tapas restaurant […]

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Port Fonda/Maza Azul Collaboration Dinner

Patrick Ryan of Port Fonda and Jonathan Zaragoza of Masa Azul in Chicago recently teamed up to prepare a goat and mezcal dinner at Port Fonda. And what a dinner it was. Each course was an adventure in itself, made more so because we got a little education about  mezcal.  Beforehand I didn’t even know the […]

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Taco Republic

I was very excited to try the new Taco Republic restaurant when it finally opened after the usual construction delays. Beautifully positioned to capture the overflow from its across-the-street neighbor Oklahoma Joe’s, I had watched its transformation from a former gas station and was intrigued by the new setup. Part indoors, part out, this place […]

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Latin Bistro Express: First Taste

Latin Bistro Express is the fast casual concept created by Chef Tito of Latin Bistro in North Kansas City. While the man himself was in the house the day I went through the food line, it was not as pleasant an experience as my visits to his bistro have been. And I’m talking just about […]

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La Choza in Santa Fe

La Choza is one of those restaurants I go to whenever I visit Santa Fe.  Sister restaurant to The Shed, it serves more locals because of its off Plaza location near the Railyard District.  The red chile sauce is some of the best in town, often considered second only to Mary & Tito’s in Albuquerque. […]

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First Taste: Frida’s Taqueria

Many of you are familiar with Frida’s Contemporary Mexican Restaurant. If you’re not, you should be.  Owner Ivan Marquez has a hit on his hands there, with cuisine that makes you smile with every bite. Not content to simply move the original restaurant to 119th St. from 149th St. in Stanley ( which has done […]

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Port Fonda

Before it even opened, the buzz was all about Port Fonda. Aside from being one of the most exciting-sounding restaurants to open in more than a year, Chef/owner Patrick Ryan has an impressive pedigree. He worked with Rick Bayless at Frontera Grill in Chicago, one of the country’s most highly acclaimed Mexican restaurants, and Ryan’s […]

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El Dorado

El Dorado is a tiny little Mexican restaurant in Greenwood, east of Hwy 291 on Hwy 150. The restaurant itself is not much to look at, but that’s rarely the point when you’re looking for some satisfying Mexican fare. It does have a cozy bar with a full array of liquor and there are two […]

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Topolobampo–Chicago

I’ve been a fan of Frontera Grill for as long as it’s been open. But I’d never tried its more upscale neighbor Topolobampo–I just couldn’t believe it would captivate me in the same way. And the menu is meat-oriented, which can be problematic when traveling with my sister, who is not a carnivore (otherwise she’s […]

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