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Grand Lux Cafe

Our last team dinner was at Grand Lux Cafe. I’d never heard of this place before, but it’s a basically a different version of the Cheesecake Factory, with a different name. It actually quite looks similar, but with less emphasis on cheesecake. Since Philadelphia is always the last to get chain restaurants, it didn’t surprise me that this was a chain.
Here’s my Asian Chicken Salad with chicken, fried wontons, rice noodles, lettuce, cabbage, almonds, carrots, tomatoes, in their asian dressing. As with any cheesecake factory item, it was ginormous. But also, not bad.
This is the Salmon Three Ways. It is done in soy glaze with shiitakes, horseradish crusted with asparagus, and finally almond ginger with green beans and buerre blanc.
While the food was really just ginormous portions of mediocre food, I really enjoyed the desserts. They have many baked to order desserts that you have toorder with your main entrees, as they take a long time to prepare. Since I love me some cobbler, I got the Peach Cobbler. It is super hot and served with vanilla ice cream. Delicious!
Here are the adorable Roasted Pineapple Upside-Down cakes, also served with vanilla ice cream.
They do a really decent B
eignet! They are served with different dipping sauces.
Also, on a random lunch, I had the biggest baked potato I’d ever experience in my life. It was the size of the entire container. I swear to  you, it was the size of my head!
Grand Lux Cafe on Urbanspoon

Ditka’s – Chicago

Our second team dinner was at Ditka’s Restaurant. Yes, that Ditka.
It’s primarily a steak spot. Also, there’s lots of drinking. And plenty of TV’s for sports watching.
We ordered a bunch of oysters to start. These suckers were huge, like they were on steroids!
The angus prime rib. It is heavy aged and slow roasted, served with burgundy mushrooms, horseradish cream, and au jus.

The tomahawk! It was a special that night and beyond expensive. Look how caveman this thing is!
The filet, 8 oz. of center cut prime.
The Filet Medallions – 3 Ways. We have horseradish, blue cheese, and oscar styles.
I was the lone weirdo who did not get a steak. Yeah, at a steak house. Whatever. I got the Blackened Mahi Mahi. There were two healthy sized hunks of grilled fish with two different sauces – cilantro pesto and smoked tomato. Oh, and a bunch of mixed rice. I loved this! I liked both sauces but definitely preferred the smoked tomato. The rice was also a winner.
We also got a few sides to share. The truffle fries were kind of amazing! The sweet corn dish with cheese was even better. It was sweet, it was sour, it was awesome.
The smashed sweet potatoes with bacon was also good. I am a huge fan of all their sides!
Last but not least, we all ended up sharing this giant piece of chocolate cake. Oh, it was delicious, and there was still some left over.
Also, earlier in the trip, I went and had some pierogi at Pierogi Heaven. These were, by far, the best pierogi I’ve ever had. I tried potato with cheese and sauerkraut. They’re served with bacon and lovely sweet caramelized onions. I imagine they’re just like your polish grandmother would make!
Mike Ditka's Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Giordano’s – Chicago

I recently got a chance to go to Chicago and actually hang out for about a day before having to do what I went there for, which is work. It’s a pretty cool town. It was unseasonably warm as well, so it was especially nice to wander about.
Our first team dinner was at Giordano’s, so we could try chicago-style deep-dish pizza. The pies take awhile to cook, so you order your food in advance while you wait for it to cook and while you wait for an open table. There are plenty of bars to keep you busy during the wait.
We also ordered a regular thin-crust pie for those not into the deep-dish. This wasn’t particularly exciting to me.
Here’s a plain deep-dish. The size of this pie was huge. It was almost scary. And the depth was also surprising. I had never experienced genuine chicago-style pizza. Plus, I actually don’t really like deep-dish pizzas, in general. But this thing? I surprised myself and really enjoyed it. It’s mostly cheese, and that’s no exaggeration at all. It’s just filled with pounds of melted cheese. There’s a bit of a crust at the bottom and up the sides. But basically, you’re looking at a big hunk of melted cheese. A delicious hunk of melted cheese. I could barely eat one slice. After that, I was pretty much done!
Oh, and right after I got to my hotel, I walked to Hendrickx Belgian Bread Crafter and had an almond croissant. This thing was really different from any croissant I’d had before. I highly recommend it!

Giordano's Pizza on Urbanspoon

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