Posts in the ‘Snacks’ Category

Tiny Lounge, Lincoln Square

Wednesday, November 10th, 2010

she said:

Truffle.  Cheese.  Fries.  Combine these ingredients and what do you have?  Heaven?  Bliss?  A divine trifecta?  You’d think so, right?  Not so much.  The Truffle Cheese Fries at Tiny Lounge were a waste of calories.  They needed salt and without the help of tamarind ketchup (which does not come with the fries, but which is available if you ask), they were as bland as melba toast dipped in milk, and almost as limp.

Next came the Pizzetta Margerita, a crispy thin-crust pizza (topped with mozzarella, basil and tomato) served on a wood cutting board.  Sound like a winner?  Yeah?  Wrong again, sucka.  It, too, was rather light in the flavor loafers.  Instead of tomato sauce, the pizza is coated in herb-infused oil which just made it greasy.

Normally, I’d never order fries and pizza in one meal, but I had no choice.  They were the only vegetarian options.  Wait.  That’s not true.  There was another version of the fries, this one served with garlic mayo and the tamarind ketchup, and there was another pizza.  A truffle cheese pizza.  You can see my dilemma.

So, I must really hate Tiny Lounge, right?  Wrong.

The lounge is cozy and candlelit, with a modern vibe and very nice staff.  The drink menu offers dozens of classic and original cocktails, an extensive beer list and quality wines.  Clearly, drinks are their specialty.  If approached as a cocktail lounge, rather than a restaurant, Tiny Lounge is the cat’s pajamas.  It’s nice that they have a menu, rather than bags of old peanuts.  Plus, it’s not their fault that I’m a vegetarian.

I’ll definitely be back.  My prediction:  after a couple of their specialty Hemingway cocktails (flor de cana aged rum, turbinado sugar, fresh lime juice), those fries will look (and taste) pretty damn good.

he said:

Here’s the thing about Tiny Lounge: we entered under false pretenses. We were going just for dinner. We’d made some…questionable choices the night before and didn’t really feel like drinking it up. Had we known that this was a bar with a gourmet grub menu, we might have saved our Groupon.

We had a hard time using up our $40 deal without ordering from their expensive drink menu. A Dark and Stormy, a classic mixed drink in the Florida rum-bum tradition, was the extent of our alcohol bill. Nice and tasty, though at $9, it’s a bit pricy for your typical Floridian rum-bum.


My beautiful wife loves her salt.  A whole lot. So when she complains that the fries weren’t salty, that’s not saying much. I thought the fries were great. They had a different flavor profile than the McDonald’s variety – - more rich, more interesting, more layered. They were superior BECAUSE they weren’t salty. Salt would have taken away from all the savory stuff that was going on there.


For dinner, I had the Tiny Burgers, which are sliders.  These little guys are definitely the star of the menu, as I saw them on almost every table in the joint. And they are exactly what I’d want to eat at the end of a long night of Hemingways and Dark & Stormys (Stormies?).

The burgers come on a great pretzel bun, with good angus beef, smoked bacon and delicious cheddar.  The accompanying tamarind ketchup and garlic mayo came together in a weird melange that tasted like barbecue sauce, which has no place on a burger if you ask me. And it could have used something to crsip it up, like onions or a pickle.

I’d head back to Tiny Lounge, but I’m not going to make a point of it. I feel like I’ve already sampled half of their menu, and there was nothing to fall in love with.

Popcorn, Garrett to the Rescue

Friday, December 18th, 2009

she said:

When I was a little girl, I had this great book about a little bear who throws a party because his bear parents are out of town.  He makes popcorn in a big black kettle, but all the party guests (I can’t remember if they’re all bears; I think rabbits come too)  independently bring popcorn and then there’s so much that it fills up the whole house (even flowing from the chimney) and they have to eat it all before the bear parents come home.  Sorry to have ruined most of the plot (I posted a link below so you can buy the book yourself if you want. There’s a twist at the end that I’m not telling you).  The point is that I loved that book and I love popcorn.

I did not love the other night.  Here’s what happened.  I skimped on dinner so I could eat lots of popcorn at the movie we saw.  In the time it took me to buy our tickets, Guy (without my knowledge) ordered popcorn with so much butter on it that I’m shocked either of us is alive.

Apparently, when the tub was halfway full, the concession stand man pumped gallons of the butter flavored crap into it and then repeated the process when the popcorn reached the brim.   Flash forward.  The previews end and I stick my hand into an oily mess that left my fingers glistening like sick disgusting diamond puke.  Flash forward again.  Five minutes pass and the popcorn cools to room temperature, turning the kernels into hard pellets of saturated fat.  I couldn’t even eat the stuff.

In conclusion, if you love popcorn and books about popcorn, don’t go to the movies with my boyfriend.  Do, however, visit a Garrett Popcorn Shop.  There are several of them in the Chicago loop.  The smell alone is worth the trip.  The popcorn is scooped out of huge steaming vats and served to you in a parchment paper bag.  I stopped by during my lunch break for a mixed bag of caramel crisp and cheese corn, which seems to be everyone’s favorite.  The salty sweet combo is heavenly.  It tasted like popcorn, redeemed.

he said:

What can I say? That was stupid. That popcorn tasted like crap. I won’t be doing it again.