Skatewing schnitzel


Black forest pots de creme


***** (5 stars)

Funkenhausen offers a modern take on German food. They say it’s served with a Southern twist, but I didn’t really detect that aspect in what I had.

The menu is divided between smaller plates and larger ones, but all are sharable.

I started with the surfenturf, a delightfully creative and flavorful combination of seared scallops and braised short rib. This was my favorite dish.

The skate wing schnitzel was an interesting take, more like a breaded and fried fish filet.

The most German item I tried was the weisswurst, nicely seared sausages.

The black forest pots de creme is heavier than a normal pot de creme, essentially a fudge, topped with marinated cherries.

The wine list focuses on German and Austrian wines, and there is also a nice assortment of interesting German beers. The cocktail list is also creative. I really liked the German Visits Mexico, a blend of tequila and cucumber, rimmed with fennel salt.

The dining room probably gets noisy when busy, in the beer hall tradition, but I went early and enjoyed the funky soundtrack.

I’d rate the food a four, but the service was a solid five stars. My water glass never got more than an inch below the rim!

1709 W Chicago Ave
Chicago, IL
(312) 929-4727

Heaven on Seven Wabash

BBQ Shrimp po’boy

Gumbo and jalapeno corn muffin



Hot sauce wall (only half of it!)


One table’s hot sauce

***** (5 stars)

This is a very good Cajun restaurant. No, it’s not as good as many in New Orleans, but it’s good. And what makes it special is the vibe, with its thousands of different hot sauces lining the walls (no, there are no repeats) and its perpetual Christmas-garlanded ceilings.

I started with a cup of the gumbo, which was excellent, with its generous helping of tender, flavorful Andouille sausage.

A jalapeno corn muffin wasn’t all that impressive compared to others I’ve had.

My main was a Cajun barbecued shrimp po’boy. The shrimp was very hot, with a slight saffron flavor, and the bread was nicely grilled. The whole mess (and I use the term intentionally) was covered in a flavorful Cajun gravy with just the right amount of spice. At first, as I picked at it with my fork, I thought it was just okay, but once I’d eaten enough shrimp to be able to pick the whole thing up and get a bite of everything, I really liked it.

Service was friendly and efficient. A lot of regulars came in and sat at the small, U-shaped lunch counter while I was there. I could tell it’s a place many people have been coming to for decades, and I can see why.

Heaven on Seven Wabash
111 N Wabash Ave
Chicago, IL 60602
(312) 263-6443


**** (4 stars)

It’s about time Orlando had some authentic Cajun food. Pointe Orlando seems an unlikely location, and this upper deck location seems cursed, but so far Lafayette’s is doing a lot better than the former succession of tenants.

The large space is divided into four dining areas that feature three bars. Live music is featured in the evenings, but if you don’t want it quite so loud it should be possible to sit a fair ways away from it.

The menu features Cajun classics such a Po’Boy sandwiches and Jambalaya. Note, however, that they’ve applied a twist to some dishes. The Jambalaya, for example is made with angel hair pasta, which sounded awful to me. Fortunately our server, who was from Louisiana suggested getting it made with dirty rice inside. Great call! It was the best jambalaya I’ve had outside of New orleans. The food is pretty mild, so be sure to ask for that bottle of hot sauce if you like it spicy.

There are also non-Cajun dishes such as chicken wings, but I wasn’t too impressed with them. The cheese grits, however, were delicious.

There’s a decent selection of beers and some wine. Service was extraordinarily friendly and helpful. This place definitely is filling a much needed niche.

9101 International Dr
Ste 2220
Orlando, FL 32819
(407) 917-2870

Café Amelie

***** (5 stars)

There are few better places for lunch on a nice day in the French Quarter than Cafe Amelie. It’s secluded garden patio is an oasis from the touristy surroundings.

The lunch menu features New Orleans standards such as blackened catfish, along with creative starters like glazed shrimp. The breads are delicious, and there are some nice wines and cocktails, all at reasonable prices.

Service is very friendly and gracious.

Café Amelie
912 Royal St
New Orleans, LA 70116
(504) 412-8965

Dixie Kitchen & Bait Shop

**** (4 stars)

Considering the owners are not originally from the South, this is a remarkably authentic dining experience.

I had the lunch special of a half blackened catfish poboy and a cup of gumbo. The catfish was the perfect spiciness, still moist, and not muddy, and the bread was fresh. Gumbo was a tasty, rich mixture, served with the rice separate on one side of the cup, which was an interesting approach. My meal came with a pair of corn meal pancakes rather than muffins, which is a bit unusual, but tasty. At under $7 it was a good buy for lunch.

The unsweetened peach tea was very tasty; it’s hard to find good unsweetened tea in the South. The breakfast items and salads I saw also looked good.

I love the funky atmosphere. The space is decked out like a bait shop, and red checkered plastic tablecloths brighten things up. There are also four tables out on the sidewalk.

Dixie Kitchen & Bait Shop
825 Church St
Evanston, IL 60201
(847) 733-9030