July 20, 2017

Jin, La Fonda, Jerry’s Sandwiches and Pasteur restaurants

I love having relatives and friends visit because it affords me the excuse to eat, drink and be merry while showing off our city, Chicago. My middle sister visited and we took them to a fantastic Lakewood-Balmoral/Edgewater Thai restaurant called Jin. This sibling and her family have traveled in Thailand and pronounced Jin as having some of the best Thai food they have eaten in the States. The friendly service and Thai movies projected on a dining room wall add to the stylish ambiance.

We chose a couple of other Lakewood-Balmoral/Andersonville spots for my brother and his family, La Fonda, a Colombian restaurant and Jerry’s, a sandwich emporium. La Fonda is frequently partially empty which always puzzles me because it has delicious food and friendly service. Colombian cuisine bears a resemblance to Mexican food, but also has touches of Argentinian and Cuban food with fried plantains, cassava, beans and a large selection of beef, chicken and fish entrees.

Jerry’s bills itself as having cosmic sandwiches and drink and I can’t argue. Mini corn dogs, Philly pretzels and fried cheese curds make this the perfect place to take teenage boys. Angus or Waygu Kobe beef  burgers come with an overwhelming selection of toppings. My husband, a grilled cheese fan couldn’t decide which of the nine options he should order, finally opting for Good Ol’ American. The sandwich menu seems to go on forever featuring pork, steak, corned beef, turkey, chicken salad, seafood and even vegetarian. Some of the notable selections were Cheesesteak, Hot Meatloaf and Nola Roast Beef Po Boy. Everything we ordered was top notch. My only complaint was the noise level which made shouting across the table necessary, but then again, our mouths were full most of the time.

My youngest sister recently met us to try the current version of Pasteur for Saturday lunch. A little history is in order. My husband and I first encountered Pasteur on Lawrence and Sheridan. It had simple, well-prepared Vietnamese food but bare-bones decor and Lazy-Susan contraptions on the tables telegraphed “hole in the wall” status. They moved to a Broadway location in Edgewater adding much more style to the venue and upping the artful presentation of its food. After a tenure on Devon called Bistro Viet, the owners re-opened the Broadway location with spectacular decor and a charming back patio. The menu is more upscale as well with items like duck and shrimp won ton soup, sea scallops with apples, peas, carrots in a balsamic reduction, and pineapple calamari.
Open for lunch as well as dinner, try the Banh Mi Viet specialty sandwich with your choice of seafood, meat or vegetables garnished with pickled carrots, cucumber, daikon and fresh herbs. This may not be the best value for your money in terms of food, but if you want a lovely atmosphere to go along with your Southeast Asian dishes, give Pasteur a try.

Jin, 5458 N. Broadway, Chicago, IL 60640 – http://jinthaicuisine.com

La Fonda, 5350 N. Broadway, Chicago, IL – http://www.lafondalatinogrill.com

Jerry’s Sandwiches, 5419 N. Clark St., Chicago, IL – http://jerryssandwiches.com

A second location is in Wicker Park, 1938 W. Division Street (at Damen)

Pasteur, 5525 N. Broadway, Chicago, IL – http://pasteurrestaurantchicago.com

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