Monday, September 04, 2006

NURD: Grand Lux Café

I miss Baltimore. I really do. One of the greatest parts about Baltimore is the eating scene. Who know Baltimore had amazing restaurants that pleased my palate month by month? By the lovely honor of Steven Chen and Susie Jang, they bequeathed JHEC (Johns Hopkins Eating Club) to Andrea and I. Already completed their prerequisites of being people who love to eat, I relished the fact I was in JHEC. It required us to eat at a new restaurant in Baltimore every month. Hopefully the next generation (Andrea and Stacy) are still completing the requirements. Here is my CV:
8: Akbar 9: XS 10: Fuzio's 11: Gertrude's 12: Sasha's, San Sushi
1: Café Hon 2: Sabatino's, La Cazuela 3: Saigon Remembered, CVP, Kenka 4: Hopkins Club, Red Lobster 5: Frazier's, Mick O'Sheas, Angelo's, Donna's, Grand Central, Apex 6: Slade's, Pazo, Mughal Garden 7: Tofu House 8: Maggiano's, KobÈ 9: Egyptian Pizza, Hooters, Hippo, Green Olive, Magerk's, Iguana Cantina 10: Drifter's, Yakitori Totto, CafÈ Metro, Klong, Swish 11: Max's, No Way Jose, Skyy Lounge, The O, Walnut Grill, Bateman's, Red Maple, Pei Wei 12: Dal, Szechuan House, Yard House, Bombay Oven
1: You-Chun, Little Seoul, Atwater's 2: Brewer's Art, Dolce, Holy Frijoles 3: Lilly's, El Trouvador, Bangkok Palace, Puerto Sagua, Crobar, Wet Willy's, Clevelander, Iron Sushi, Twist, Eleventh Street Diner, Cafeteria, Caffe Nuevo, Ocean's 10, Nikki Beach, SushiSamba Dromo, Gelateria Parmalat, Mansion, Merkado 4: Ottobar 5: Ambassador, Bertucci's, Obrycki's

Since I'm in a new city (and Amir's suggestion), I should restart JHEC. But this time I shall name it NURG (Northwestern Univeresity Restaurant Group). August was fulfilled with Oysy. But today, I already finished September's requirement by going to the Grand Lux Café.
After a VERY successful shopping trip (got some pillows for the sofa and a salad spinner! Can't live without one! Had to leave my previous one behind...sadness.), Amy and I were starving for some food. The Grand Lux Café always caught my eye whenever I was on Ontario and Michigan, so I definitely was intrigued.

I found out that it was owned by the same people who started Cheesecake Factory. And you know how much I love that place. It definitely had the same feel/decor and the food portions were just as big, if not bigger. The place first started at the Venetian hotel in Vegas and opened some more in several cities around the country. The one here in Chicago is their biggest.
Usually, the wait for the place is obscenely long, but today due to the bad weather and a Monday, there were no people in the restaurant. Still, we sat next to a WALL. But that was resolved and we got a better table. Too bad we couldn't sit in the circular room with the view of Michigan Ave.

Anyways, the food was amazing. I got the Indochine Shrimp and Chicken (A Fusion Dish of Chinese and Indian Flavors. Jumbo Shrimp, Chicken, Onions and Sweet Ginger all Sauteed in a Delicious Spicy Sauce of Curry, Plum Wine and a Little Cream Topped with Sun-Dried Cherries and Apricots. Served with White Rice), and Amy got the Crispy Caramel Chicken (Crispy Battered Pieces of Chicken Breast in a Spicy Thai Caramel Sauce with Mushrooms, Onions, Red Chile Peppers, Garlic and Ginger. Served with Rice). So good. The portions were so HUGE, we only ate a third of our dish.

Then our desert arrived: New Orleans Beignets. We seriously couldn't eat anymore, but since it came, we had to eat it. Beignets are like funnel cake/donut holes but like 990284329 times better. We expected like a tiny donut to come, but no. It had to be done GRAND style. It served 8 beignets. Now they weren't the tiny donut hole size. They were the full on donut size. I ate 4. Couldn't stop eating it. Grand Marnier sauce was the best. So stuffed that I would've thrown up any second. The desert was that good.

The place was amazing. And I wanted to try everything on the menu. Even though the whole place screamed tourist trap, I'd definitely go back. Yum-o!


Judy said...

Oh there's one of those at my mall now, and I've wondered what it was like. And now I know. [cue "The More You Know" public service announcement music]

Jen said...

Oh my gosh... what a brilliant idea, an eating club... somehow i knew you were in this but never connected to the organization of it all... beautiful, beautiful. And yes - Sedaris, and Ira Glass, are mesmerizing. I should have majored in semiotics at Brown; it would have given my life... well, meaning. Hope Med School's going well... lucky duck! Oh how i miss school...

Stacy said...

Yes, I have been keeping up with JHEC! :)
June: Tapas Theatro
July: Prime Rib, Oceanaire Seafood Room, La Tasca
August: Neighbor's Place (when I was at home)
September: Sushi Hanna, Tan-ger-ine (in Philly!)

and more to come!