restaurant review

Fahlstrom’s Fresh Fish Market

Since starting IHABL I haven’t done nearly as many restaurant reviews as I’ve wanted to. Truth be told (and don’t tell my bank), but I go out to eat so much that by the time I’m ready to sit down and rave about a restauarnt, I’m oftentimes headed out the door to try another and become equally enthralled. (Sidenote: in high school my English teacher would take points off if you used certain “taboo words” — and oftentimes was one of them. To this day my heart skips a beat when I write out any of those words, as if something bad is going to happen because of it).

Anyway, this past Sunday my parents ventured into the city to bring me some final touches for my apartment. I’ve been wanting to take them to some of the cool restaurants in my neighborhood so I was excited when they agreed to go out to dinner with me (*cough cough* pay for dinner *cough cough*).

Eating with my family can be tricky: my mom doesn’t eat meat, I don’t eat red meat, my brother basically eats meat exclusively, and my dad will eat anything as long as a green vegetable isn’t within arms length. When I heard that my brother, god love him, wouldn’t be coming along, I jumped at the chance to take them to Fahlstrom’s Fresh Fish Market.

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Fahlstrom’s is a restaurant that doubles as a fish market, so you can simply stop by, choose from 16 pieces of fresh fish daily, and prepare it at home yourself if you don’t feel like eating like a king and then having someone else clean up after you.

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The restaurant prides itself on a few things: 16 pieces of fresh fish to choose from daily (ever-changing based on season and availability), the cereal wall, breakfast anytime, and all-you-can-eat crab legs on Tuesdays. Oh, and The Crabster, but more on that later.

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Do you want a filet of mahi mahi or a bowl of Apple Jacks? No biggie, do both. (Say, WHAT?!)

The menu is…..overwhelming. There is a menu chalkboard on the wall, a menu they hand you as you sit down, and an additional piece of paper that lives on the table and offers even more choices. Truth be told it took 20 minutes AND the opinions of two servers before I could even settle on an appetizer. Somehow we managed, and soon enough the Shrimp Kargot was sitting before us. Boursin, garlic butter, Gruyere, Parmesan, garlic bread

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I don’t know how else to describe this except a garlic butter hot tub accompanied by a hunka hunka burning garlic bread love. There were some dirty deeds going on in that hot tub. The garlic was seeping into every pore of the protein and the shrimp were loving it. Aside from escargot, this was the most garlicky dish I’ve ever had and I was in utter ecstasy. It was so good I would unquestionably eat this on a first date because it would be so much more important to me that my date try this than save face by ordering a piece of grilled chicken and chewing Orbit all night in anticipation. But that’s irrelevant…

After another few minutes of looking over the menu, my parents and I decided to order three dishes and split them, as I have a serious case of Food FOMO and I think they could see the blips of sweat rolling down my face as I worried I was going to make the wrong decision.

First we went with The Crabster, one of the specialties at Fahlstrom’s and, in the words of our server, “what people come here for.” Hand-shucked and seasoned Alaskan King Crab on a toasted New England roll topped with creamy coleslaw.

Second up, the Alaskan King Crab Macaroni and Cheese. Crab, Gruyere cheese sauce…married and baked.

Finally, the Seafood Bisque Fettuccine. Filled to the brim with shrimp, scallops, fairy dust and magic.

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If you asked me to pick a favorite I would literally weep. The Crabster is what I would order again, because the other two were so heavy and rich that I felt like 16th-century royalty shoving them into my mouth as fast as possible. I wish I had a single negative thing to say about any of these dishes so you would better trust my authenticity, but everything was truly wonderful. The shrimp, crab, and scallops were cooked perfectly. They are very difficult proteins to master and just a few seconds can make the difference between underdone, perfect, and overdone. I also appreciated that Fahlstrom’s doesn’t skimp on the seafood. They take a stand for quality AND quantity, and they stick by it. There were huge pieces of crab in both the sandwich and the macaroni, and it definitely made it worth the price point. Wait, let’s just zoom in on that mac one more time:

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I only wish I stopped by for a later dinner so I could have enjoyed all these incredible eats with a glass of white wine. Until next time, Fahlstrom’s…..oh, and what’s the likelihood that you’ll deliver crab mac directly to my couch…..

Fahlstrom’s Fresh Fish Market

1258 W. Belmont Ave, Chicago IL, 60657

(773) 281-6000

Monday – Friday: 11am – 10pm

Saturday: 9am – 10pm | Sunday: 9am – 9pm

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Brunch at Le Grenier (Washington D.C.)

We did lots of food crawling while in DC.  One of the best places that we stumbled upon was a little French spot near Capitol Hill:  Le Grenier

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We wanted to celebrate my friend Amanda’s birthday, which had been the weekend before. Luckily my other friend, Jully, is one of the sweetest girls ever and planned a little brunch celebration.  I actually didn’t know where we were going to eat so when I saw the name of the restaurant and realized it was French food, I was so excited! Let me tell you–the French know their way around breakfast.

Before we even sat down to order, all we could do was marvel at how beautiful the interior decorating of the restaurant was.

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The birdcages were my favorite. Such a creatively designed place!

Our waiter walked over nonchalantly and placed his hand on his hip (as only the European men can get away with).  Without cracking the slightest smile, he recited the day’s specials and brunch deal.  If this guy was an American I’d be irked over the service (as a server myself I have high standards), but because he was clearly from the restaurant scene in Paris, I think we were all simply impressed by his manner.  Tres chic 🙂

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After looking over our options, we all decided to get the brunch special: mimosas, appetizer, and entree.  I started out with a chilled strawberry and beet soup.  I was trying to be adventurous and try something new. Plus, beets seem to be a “blogger thang” so I figured I had to try them.

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Blech. It tasted like a smoothie with a dirt aftertaste.  But hey, the color was gorgeous! I love when real foods create bright colors like this!

In between appetizer and entree, we feasted on pieces of warm, crusty baguette, handed to each of us individually by our server.

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I sprinkled some salt on my bread and butter and the flavor went through the roof.

For my entree I chose (what else?) an omelet.  While some of my friends were a tad more risky and ordered the house special (blood sausage) or eggs benedict, I KNEW that I had to have a French omelet.  They always use the best cheeses and serve a simple leafy salad on the side.  This one did NOT disappoint.

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Somewhere in between all the food we toasted Amanda with one of my favorite drinks: mimosas!

ImageImageImageI love the combination of dry champagne and bright, fruity orange juice.  It’s a good thing these ones weren’t bottomless, because I’ve heard of brunch spots like that and I’m telling you it’d be bad news bears for me!

The end of our meal came with a surprise birthday dessert: profiteroles!!

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These pictures are deceiving.  There were actually two plates of this dessert, and we absolutely demolished them.  The chocolate was so thick and warm that I wanted to swim in it.  If it wasn’t such a classy establishment I definitely would have licked both plates clean.

All in all, Le Grenier was a beautiful restaurant and I would recommend it to anyone in the DC area.  I will definitely be visiting again!

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