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Friday Feast: The Big Easy way to eat Chinese

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catfish po-boy and jambalaya from The Big Easy
(photo by Steve Dolinsky)

As I mentioned previously in this space, Hyde Park’s newest restaurant - The Big Easy - has already gone through some growing pains in its first month. Despite the drama, I’m featuring it on ABC 7 today at 11 a.m. While some dishes were just so-so (Who dat serving up the po-boy?) and the popular jambalaya is awkwardly stuffed into a pan-fried chicken breast, the etoufee had a nice, slow burn and the gumbo was rock-solid. Still, I had those dishes under the tenure of Jennifer Gavin, who has since left the building, so not really sure how her successor has been faring this week. Stay tuned.

The next few days are nuts. Mardi Gras festivities will be concurrent with paczki-gulping Poles, while Chinatown gears up for a New Year’s celebration Sunday afternoon, about the same time significant others will be judging how committed their significant others are, finagling Valentine’s Day reservations. Strange days, indeed. One of the big parties for Mardi Gras is taking place on the South Side. Lagniappe Creole Cajun Joynt is planning a big party on Tuesday night, beginning at 6 p.m. They’re going to have‚ a live video stream from Mardi Gras festivities in New Orleans and a few special surprise guests. Tickets are‚ $20; order in advance and receive‚ a free ‘super hurricane.

Laissez Les Bons Temps Rouler! (“Let the good times roll!”)

Tonight at 10 p.m., I’m continuing my monthly series, “My Country, My Cuisine,” by eating some Northern-style Chinese food with my friend, Wen Huang. Wen is from Xian, in the far reaches of Northern China, and when he craves the taste of home, he prefers Ed’s Potsticker House in Bridgeport. I’ve never been a huge fan of Ed’s thick, pencil-shaped potstickers, but their soup dumplings proved surprisingly good, and the Chairman Mao’s pork - redolent with Chinese spices, oil and fatty pork, nestled into toothsome noodles, was just the elixir I needed on a cold night.

Gung Hay Fat Choy, and may you take long nap after consumption of much Chinese food...

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