Ditkas – food chicago

If you watch football you know of Mike Ditka, the Hall of Fame player and coach. He has a namesake restaurant in Chicago and after losing a bet on my beloved Browns against the Bears we settled with lunch at the restaurant of “Da Coach.”

I wasn’t sure what to expect, but the milieu was upscale with some memorabilia but it was tastefully presented, this place was about the food, comfort food with large portions.

We started with a glass of cab, the “Hall of Fame” red and it was quite good. The house brand is made out near Napa by Terlato wines.

A Ditka/Terlato cab drinks very nicely

A Ditka/Terlato cab drinks very nicely

We had our eye on the filet mignon sliders, but chose the pot roast nachos. They were great, the kind of snack that you just can’t leave unfinished. The delicate meat combined with the salty chips and a zesty but not too hot halipeno slices was just right.

The pot roast nachos were outstanding - but almost a full meal

The pot roast nachos were outstanding – but almost a full meal

The bread rolls were excellent, but not photogenic. For my entree I had a pork chop ( well done by request ) served with mashed sweet potatoes and apple chutney and cherry jus with a side of creamed corn. The chop was cooked perfectly, and I admit I gnawed a bit on the bone after the meat had been dispatched. The sauce was very good.

charred perfectly, with apple chutney

charred perfectly, with apple chutney

The creamed corn was not your traditional canned green-giant corn of my youth. This wasn’t sweet and had a hint of garlic but was smooth and rich to the taste. It was outstanding. My friend took the remaining corn home and they fed it to his very aged mother in law who had been off her feed. She finished every bite. I suppose that solidifies the cream corn as comfort food!

putting the c in comfort food

putting the c in comfort food

For dessert, just a little vanilla ice-cream with chocolate sauce. The perfect ending to an excellent meal.

the perfect finish

the perfect finish


the publican – food

My youngest favorite ( as opposed to my oldest favorite ) daughter found a restaurant, and it took her about a year to convince me to visit it with her. How sad we can never recapture those lost days. The restaurant is “The Publican” and it is one of the fine places in Chicago to dine.

The first time we visited we sat in the public seating, row tables where you sit elbow to elbow with whoever happens to occupy the adjacent seat. That day we sat next to a single English lady who was visiting a friend here. She told us confidentially, “My son’s a chef in England and he said if you had to eat at one place in Chicago, it’s The Publican.” I don’t think I can say it better than that.

The Publican is famous for three things, oysters ( which I generally avoid ), Belgian French Fries ( cooked in duck fat which I adore ), and pork belly ( cooked in wonderful sauces which is irresistible. )

Here’s some recent fare:

Fries Cooked in Duck Fat, eggs with  a soft yoke...

Fries cooked in duck fat, eggs with a soft yoke…

mussels in a white wine sauce with toast to soak up the juice...

mussels in a white wine sauce with toast to soak up the juice…

delectable pork belly

delectable pork belly

Beets were served with crumbled cheese and nuts and a blueberry sauce, ( but that was eaten before a picture could be snapped. )

If you get the chance, The Publican is worth a stop.