Saturday, August 2, 2008

Eating Abroad: People of Wicker Park, Chicago

Let's see...where are my notes? Hmm, no notes, actually. Just some pictures as a reminder for a mind that had just had two shots of absinthe for the first time before eating at this trendy tapas bar in Wicker Park called People.
What makes a tapas bar trendy? Well the fact it IS a tapas bar, could be one thing. As they are increasing in popularity and they are ACTUALLY Spanish now. Rather than the "small plates bar", who realized that it was not very inviting for the Americans who prefer to get the bang for their buck, and therefore chose "tapas" to explain their food because as I hear so frequently at my second job, "What does tapas mean??". But aside from the simple fact that tapas are trendy, this place had a DJ, and I mean "two turn tables and microphone" dj. And it seemed there was a posse along with the DJ as well. OH, and I believe I saw a guy with an iguana outside, and YES there is a picture as proof so I know it wasn't the absinthe. I just don't have the picture. (I swear there is a picture).

I was dining at People with three colleagues/friends. We each decided to order two things, which was a great plan, and something I suggest for all tapas-goers. We started with pickled vegetables, olive tapanade, and I chose to drink Cava.

We then had a tomato sauce and goat cheese tapa. Followed by (one that I ordered) a skirt steak tapa. Where the tomato sauce and goat cheese was quite straightforward, the skirt steak was more like a roast, in a tomato wine-like broth. No complaints, as it was quite comforting and great to dip bread in; however, it--and not a bad thing--made you wish there was MORE!

So of course, the fact that there was alcohol involed PRE-People could take away a bit of my reliability as a blogger. Upon linking to the website, I took another look at the menu. Initially I was not so sure the shrimp were as they were described, then God bless digital cameras, because I looked at my picture and I was all, "Oh yeaaaaah." I knew I remebered the shrimp as delicious. And now it is clear why...there was some lobster bisque going on there! What a great idea! Lobster bisque as a SAUCE! But dude, how much time goes into that just for a sauce? Probably a lot, which makes me wonder if they make it there or get it via a wholesaler. I shoulda asked. Oh well.

Our next round was mussels with chorizo and chicken and rice. I plan on making mussels next weekend, so I have been tasting them as much as possible. The mussels were cooked properly and tasted fresh. I was more just looking at the combo with the chorizo; it was good, but you really wouldn't eat a mussel and chorizo chunk at the same time. That just seemed wrong. The chicken was bland, rice cooked fine, and sauce unmemorable.

Ah the paella. I was happy we ordered this as it had more mussels in it, and quite a few! It was, though, watery and the rice seemed more like white rice and less like the appropriate paella rice, which is like an arborio (risotto).

If you are in Wicker Park, have some absinthe at a bar called Absinthe, but don't expect the bartender to be that nice; he was kinda a douche. And then walk about a block to the left of Absinthe and have some Tapas. They have a late crowd and possible iguanas outside, a girl in a leather tank top (does her mother KNOW she wears that?), and good Spanish tapas for sharing.


Joelen said...

I've heard of Abstinthe but my fave tapas bar in the city is Cafe Iberico. So affordable, lively atmosphere and amazing portions of delicious tapas! I'll have to check out Abstinthe the next time I'm in Wicker Park :)

Natalie said...

Wow that food looks good and very different.