Wednesday, June 13, 2012

OMango Indian Restaurant

We recently were hunting for a Radio Shack and ran across OMango Indian restaurant on Rt 59.  We walked in liked the menu and then promptly came back that evening for dinner.  I really like this place.  I love  Indian food.  In fact we had been to Indian Harvest the night before.  But this is different than a classic Indian restaurant.

OMango is a fast food sort of Chaat-type restaurant.  In other words, quicker, street type food.  The other thing is the food is less oily and baked instead of fried.   I need to tell my Indian doctor about this, she might actually approve of it.  "Oh the oil and the white rice are so bad for you" I can hear her telling me about my love of Indian food.

The menu is simple.  They offer wraps and dosas (think Indian quesadillas), curries, tandoori and then sides, snacks items and breads.   They then offer two items (like two wraps) or one item.  So you can figure out how much you want to see.  When we went, Justin, my stepson, had a chicken wrap with marsala sauce, I think.  My wife had paneer makhani and I had a special shrimp vindaloo and dal.  The curries came with nan, white or brown rice, a little salad and a chutney.  We also had the baked samosas.

The samosas were a little dry and need a little more sauce to help it.  Without the typical oil used to make and fry, it needed a little more that way.  However, the taste was great.   I don't know much about the chicken marsala wrap, since Justin never really put it down.  The paneer makhani was very good.  Maybe not as oily/silky as a typical order but very tasty.  The shrimp vindaloo was very nicely spiced and the dal was also very very good.

In the end, we spent around $20 something for dinner.  The night before we spent about $60 for the three of us.   We ate out on the patio.  It may overlook a parking lot, but it was nice and would be better on a summer evening.

We will not give up on traditional Indian food.  I still like Indian Harvest and India House in Oak Brook Terrace.  But some days, when we have a taste for a bit of spice and we are in the Fox Valley area, I would certainly go back.   I also like it because if I'm out alone, I would love to go here and be able to get good Indian food without the fuss of a restaurant.

OMango is not easy to find, but it is next to the Red Lobster just south of the train tracks on Route 59.  Turn west on Meridian Parkway and take the first right (north) on an access road.

The web location and menu can be found  at

Monday, March 5, 2012

Pro food places in Chicago

I have a couple of places in Chicago I love to go to. These are kind of random, but are nice to know about.

The first is an important place to me. Northwest Cutlery. I don't know any place else in the Chicago Metro area that will sharpen a knife like these guys. The grinder at the farmers market doesn't come close. First a well sharpened knife will stay sharper longer and with a steel will be usable a lot longer. Second, a really sharp knife will cut better. Part of why an onion causes tears is that you are crushing the onion instead of cutting it. Listen to the sound your knife makes when it cuts an onion. Northwest Cutlery is at 810 W Lake Street, Chicago. They also sell knives and other kitchen equipment. But be careful. A very sharp knife will cut you before you can feel it. They have a supply of band-aids there. I think knives are $3.50 to sharpen and they will take mail delivery. Their web is at here.

Another neat place is Issacson & Stein Fish Company (800 W Fulton Market) near Northwest Cutlery. If you are looking for the very freshest fish or need a special kind (say a whole Roughy for a special dinner), these are the pros. It is open to the public. It isn't like going to Whole Foods, but if you want the freshest, or want it cut a certain way, this is my go to place. Their web is here.

I was going to mention Edward Don Outlet, but I understand it closed a few years ago. Too bad, it was a great place to look at stuff for restaurants and kitchens. Any more I use Sur la Tabla as an expensive alternative. I wish a place for chefs were around. I guess NW Cutlery has a lot of stuff, but where can you find stuff that makes your meal into an adventure.

If you have an idea of what you think is a great dive into foodie stuff, let me know.

Vivo - Chicago

We were going to a play downtown Chicago on a Friday Night and were looking for somewhere interesting, good and pretty quick. Seems easy in Chicago. Except during Restaurant Week.

Restaurant Week is a contrived bit of city wide advertising to get people to go out on a (probably) cold and blustery week and sample some of Chicago best and better restaurants. It is wildly popular so our first choice was out, and our second and third choices. So my wife asked a friend to recommend something a little farther out of the Loop and he recommended Vivo at 838 West Randolph Street, Chicago. Randolph street used to be the market area and there are still some wholesale places in the area. But slowly they are being pushed out.

Restaurants who are participating in the week usually have a Prix Fixe menu that is usually a little less than the menu, (but actually more than we might pay ordinarily). I don't mind anything that keeps chefs and servers employed.

Vivo is a great Italian restaurant. Kind of a neat little room with one wall slowing being built of wine bottles and lots of open brick. The menu was very good high end Italian. The prix fixe menu was $33 for a three course meal. My wife selected a fish dish as well as a salad and dessert. I only got an entree (again fish for me too). The food was excellent as was the service. The room had a nice warmth to it and with good lighting (except to read the menu) and had a nice romantic feel to it.

So here is the big question, would I go again? Yes, it is a nice after work but a little more dressy kind of place. It would be a great place to take a date. And the other question, would I recommend it to others? Yes, it is a little more foodie than say Cafe Buonaro's in Naperville. The food is a higher caliber, but of course costs more. And my other question, would I take my in-laws? No, although a nice place, it would be lost on them to drive a hour and pay that much.

Valet parking $10 (and use it, there is no parking near and the neighborhood off a few blocks gets rougher). Dress appeared to be business casual on up.

In the end, the meal was about $140 for two with a prix fixe, an entree, three glasses of wine and a coffee. A little high, but it was a date night.

Their details can be found here.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Armands Pizzeria Express - Naperville

In a previous post, I lamented the loss of Pizza Fusion. I would still like a Pizza Fusion to come back to Naperville, but a new place replaced Pizza Fusion and I think it is a winner. Armand's Pizzeria Express is in the shopping center with Dick's and Whole Foods. It is a part of a Chicago area chain with locations in three places in Chicago, Naperville and Plainfield as their "express" locations and full service in Elmhurst and Arlington Heights. The express locations have a simpler menu and more of a fast food feel.

Importantly, how is the pizza. It is a very thin crust pizza with a very good sauce and well topped. The pizza is 'well done' by some standards, but I thought it tasted more like the pizzas I remember as a kid, with a bit of brownness to the cheese etc. With the thin crust, it can come out of the ovens quicker than most so a drop in isn't a bad wait. They also offer pizza by the slice.

Naperville's location has a more take out feel. Paper plates, plastic ware etc. Salads were in take away containers, but hey they were pretty good. They have wine, but no beer as it seems even the full service restaurants only have wine.

It is not fussy or expensive. They got lucky in Naperville with a nice location and setting. I know we are going back.