The good, the bad and the kinda good

It was my birthday this weekend, so I found myself dining at a flurry of restaurants I have never been to before.

Friday night, we decided to ditch our normal routine of Riverview Tavern or Village Tap or Beat Kitchen and head over to Xippo on Damen. We had looked at a house on Damn and Waveland about 2 years ago and noticed Xippo up the street. I have wanted to go there for a while, but never really got up the excitement to make it. I looked at the menu online and saw dishes like “pan-seared duck breast and sauteed Black Tiger shrimp served over ravioli in an alfredo sauce garnished with black caviar”. That looks good. We got there around 8:30 or 9, and were seated near the kitchen at a raised table. We then moved because the tables had a totally unintuitive design and had a bar around the legs right at your knee, so you kept slamming your kneecaps against them when you tried to sit comfortably. Awesome. So we moved to a boothish thing, and waited another 10 minutes for a menu. I was expecting a nice, elegant menu, and was surprised when a laminated piece of paper with about 15 dishes on it was placed in front of me (and it was on cloud print paper from Michael’s). The food was OK; I ordered the turkey burger with brie that was tasty but too big and too hot, Brianne ordered the chipotle hummus which she hated, and Patrick got the BBQ chicken salad which he decided was good. So that all kind of blew.

Saturday night, we headed out to Cafe Ba-Ba-Reeba for my birthday with the whole Liss clan in tow. I had never been, and usually prefer Iberico for tapas, but my dad had a gift certificate that he would never normally use (note: parents hate restaurant gift certificates. It forces them to realize they can never go out). I wouldn’t say that it is better then Iberico, it is much of the same. Ba-Ba-Reeba’s sangria was better and offered more variety. We had the Black raspberry and Passionfruit sangia, and both were totally awesome. However, the patatas bravas tasted EXACTLY like BBQ Pringles. I am not even kidding. My 11-year-old sister even agreed. In the long run, I will probably pick Iberico just because the atmosphere feels more authentic and less “theme”-ey.


On Sunday morning, I headed to brunch at Wishbone, along with half of the North Side. The place was packed to the rafters. People were stacked on top of each other. It was totally surreal. Turnover was pretty efficient, and we only had to wait about 30 minutes for a table. I had heard a lot of good reviews of Wishbone, and agreed that it was good, but not that good. Not good enough to draw a small nation to Sunday brunch. The grits were awesome, but Matt’s steak was overcooked and underseasoned. I still prefer Mitchell’s or Kitsch’n for breakfast.

2 Comments so far

  1. sarita bonita (unregistered) on January 31st, 2005 @ 10:59 am

    i just went to kitsch’n for brunch for the first time on saturday! i had the green eggs and ham, which was the epitome of yummy. :D

  2. jwi (unregistered) on February 3rd, 2005 @ 5:34 pm

    Coincidence – I must live right near you – but my birthday is next weekend. Been wanting to try Xippo but definitely won’t bother now – thanks. We went to La Tapatio on Roscoe and Ashland – the food was thumbs up and the Margarita was as authentic as San Diego – not to mention it kicked my arse! Gotto have the Contreau!

    I absolutey agree about Iberico – much better feel and its not the much maligned average Lincoln Park crowd. Salmon Ahumado is the fav tapas fria!

    I also must have been at Wishbone the same time you were. It is usually more busy – we lucked out. I kind of agree with you about the food , good but not ga ga good – except the cheese grits we’ll want to (insert happy southern expression here)!

    Kitsh’ns'(how on earth to pluralize that) Green Eggs and Ham – “to die for”. However I prefer to rate all brunch gigs by the Breakfast Burrito – (call me boring) again Kitch’n wins!

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