Club Lucky has a retro 1950s look and feel. It’s an Italian restaurant in Chicago’s Bucktown neighborhood. On Friday and Saturday it’s crowded and reservations are a must. We went on Sunday and getting a table is a breeze. (We did have reservations.) The menu features loads of appetizers, salads, pastas, seafood, steaks and poultry. My sister suggested we share a meatball salad, which sounded weird to me. Everyone liked it and it’s a new favorite for some. I’m not big on meatballs so I just had the salad and was satisfied.
I liked my chicken tortellini with English peas and vodka sauce. The serving could easily serve two. Other tempting dishes were the steak sandwich, roast chicken and fettucini with chicken, asparagus and roasted cherry tomatoes. We finished by sharing tiramisu, which was good, though not out of this world.
The service sufficed. Our waiter was polite, but missed the boat taking dessert orders. He later apologized explaining that he was detained giving people directions. We’d finished eating the birthday slice of tiramisu for my sister. While I probably would have ordered some dessert, that moment had passed and we were ready to go.
All in all, a fine place for Italian. Valet parking is $8. Good for groups or dates.
Starbucks in Jinan is a blessing. Not just for cappuccino, but for community. Kristyn and I went and bumped into the American who’s opened an Italian restaurant here. Boy, does he have some stories.
This afternoon I learned a lot. Here are some tidbits:
- All the flour, cheeses and spices are imported from Italy so getting them into China is a big project. This guy, let me protect his identity and call him Guy, was saying that he kept checking on a shipment. It hadn’t arrived and he’d been waiting and waiting. He thought the items were tied up in customs in the port city of Qingdao. Finally he gets a call from a bureaucrat, who tells him he should take a bunch of his colleagues out to eat. His wife, who’s Chinese, urges him to go along and to buy an iPad for each of the guests. So the lavish meal capped off by presentation a beautifully wrapped iPad for each guest. The next day Guy gets a call. “Your shipment is here in Jinan ready for delivery.” Ugh.
- Often when big shot guests come to the restaurant to impress colleagues, they’ll take someone aside and offer extra cash so the chef will use “the good ingredients.” Guy responds via a translator that all the ingredients are good and suggests they just buy desert with the extra money.
- Some people in Jinan have asked him to import wine that costs 500,000 rmb a bottle. That’s almost $80,000.
- I learned that Jinan is a military town and home to what could be called the Chinese Pentagon.
An SVG map of China with Shandong province highlighted Legend: Image:China map legend.png (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
- Guy wanted to find an organic farm for his produce. Most of the ones he visited were showrooms with lots of photos of perfect vegetables and most of the organic produce here isn’t organic at all. There’s a lot of fraud. He did find one honest organic farmer though.
- The sea salt in Chinese should be avoided. It’s highly polluted.
- Customs didn’t want to let Guy’s sea salt from Italy in. They asserted that it had some other chemical in it. He assured them that it didn’t. Mind you Guy’s got a strong background in chemistry from his first career in pharmacy In the end they said to fill a shaker of salt with Chinese salt for that to be tested. Oh, and yes, pay a bribe. He’s well known at the Apple reseller here.
We did talk about how good-hearted most Jinan-ites are. It wasn’t completely negative, but it is interesting to hear about the experiences other expats have.
- Jinan Central Hospital (nofixedplans5.wordpress.com)
- Now in Jinan (smkelly8.wordpress.com)
- New Development Downtown Jinan (smkelly8.wordpress.com)
- Bon Appetit, Jinan (smkelly8.wordpress.com)
- Weekly Photo Challenge: Blue (hereandthere5.wordpress.com)
- Middle Aged at 29 (nofixedplans5.wordpress.com)
- Light Show (jinancitydailyphoto.wordpress.com)
- Ole (smkelly8.wordpress.com)
- Tea with the Cadre (smkelly8.wordpress.com)