Quick Bites: Longman & Eagle, Hot Pan, and Fat Rice in Chicago

Longman & Eagle bone marrow

Winter work in Joliet and DeKalb was fine by me, as it allowed me to fly in and out of O’Hare Airport and to get some quick bites in (and near) Chicago. Leftover on my to-do list from a previous trip was Longman & Eagle, which I actually considered as a place to stay overnight. (The accommodations look great, though being over the restaurant/bar might be a bit noisy.) Staying near the airport, I jumped on the CTA Blue Line and trudged a short distance through the snow to get to the restaurant right after opening.

The entire menu looked attractive, and with the food verging heavy (good gastropub fare), I knew I’d have to choose wisely to maximize my few tastes. I started with the signature roasted marrow bones. I especially enjoyed the bacon shallot jam, with flavor spiked by the sea salt and a hint of preserved Meyer lemon.

Longman & Eagle amuse bouche

Well, actually, I should mention that the meal began with an amuse bouche. The spoon contains hearts of palm custard with roasted hazelnuts and pickled mushrooms. A promising start!

Longman & Eagle salad

After the marrow bones, I was ready to “cleanse” a bit with salad. The greens were extremely fresh, and the green goddess dressing was far from the bottled stuff I loved as a child.

Longman & Eagle wild boar sloppy joe

At the bottom of the list of entrees was the wild boar sloppy joe, which I really wanted to try. The meat comes on a housemade sesame seed bun (good integrity to hold the sandwich together) and is topped with crispy sage and onion and pickled jalapeno. Those additions were welcome in making the sloppy joe more interesting, as the boar itself was, well, a bit of a bore. Maybe it was the sauce that needed a little more brightness or depth of flavor. Still, a satisfying meal.

The next day, I drove to Joliet, and after work there, stopped at Hot Pan Noodles and Dumplings for lunch. (Not Chicago, obviously, but included here for geographic convenience.) Hey…these are two of my favorite foods in the world, so why not? The restaurant rocks with “classic rock” tunes from the Eagles, Moody Blues, and the like, and there’s video gaming available. There’s a rustic vibe in the kitchen, with both the noodles and dumplings made from scratch.

Hot Pan noodles

My order of dan dan noodles satisfied, as the noodles looked udon-like and had a good, chewy texture to them. I also liked the balance of spice and sesame flavor in the sauce, though this chile-head then eagerly added more pepper to up the heat level.

Hot Pan dumplings

The pan-fried dumplings (available with beef, pork, chicken, shrimp, and vegetables) were also pretty good in that homemade way. I got a half-portion (labeled “kid meal” on my receipt!) of dumplings filled with pork. I appreciate that Hot Pan grinds its own meat.

After driving on to DeKalb for evening work, I hurried back to Chicago for a late-night meal at a previous favorite: Fat Rice. I sat again at the counter and quickly remembered my I love this restaurant. Fantastic menu options (small plates enable more sampling of food) and bold ingredient combinations and flavors. As I’ve written up Fat Rice before, here’s a quick look at what I sampled this time.

Fat Rice peanuts

To start: some peanuts and vegetables in a nicely seasoned sauce (star anise prominent, as I recall).

Fat Rice escabeche

Seafood escabeche: I appreciate that I can get a small dish like this at Fat Rice for just four dollars.

Fat Rice dumplings

Pastel: these dumplings (or should I say tarts?) have curried chicken, olive, linguica, and mint.

Fat Rice mackerel guisado

Mackerel guisado: tamarind curry, okra, tomato, and green peppercorns. A typical dish at Fat Rice. Delicious!

Longman & Eagle on Urbanspoon

Hot Pan Noodles & Dumplings on Urbanspoon

Fat Rice on Urbanspoon

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