Wednesday, April 21, 2010

The Home of Dr. Louis Keith

As the president of Northwestern's Jewish Medical Student Organiztion (JMSO), I was recently contacted by an emeritus professor, Dr. Louis Keith. He has no restaurant or website for that matter (making this relatively non-traditional for my blog), just an East Pilsen apartment generously open to some poor medical students in need of a good meal. With his ex-caterer roommate Michael and dog Truman, Dr. Keith put together an excellently delicious and entertaining experience for the whole crew.

In a neighborhood next to the start of the Chicago Fire (not the soccer team) there's a penthouse apartment full of fine artwork, lots of tchotchkes, and you guessed it... medical text books. In the middle of all of this, there's a finely set dining room table and a kitchen full of gourmands. A smell of cloves and a background of classical music continued to give this apartment a unique appeal. On top of all that, the combination of multiple large windows and lack of neighboring high rises allows for an excellent view of the city, even as far north as Wrigley Field. It's an impressive setting for dinner, and yet one that is so invitingly filled that even the shyest guest would feel comfortable.

The Food
I came in expecting a traditional Shabbat dinner of matzo ball soup, kugel, and some chicken dish, but I was very mistaken. Instead, we were served a much more interesting and tasty meal. I'll try to describe everything as best as I can, but I've got to say I'm somewhat in over my head. I told our hosts about my blog, not realizing their extensive food knowledge, and I must say some of the recipes are a little over my head (but I'm learning right?).

 Champagne Gefilte Fish with Spicy Mustard Sauce

We started off with an hors d'ourves tray of tortilla chips filled with a bean salsa and topped with fresh cilantro. It was a crisp bite to get our taste buds going, a good thing since we were in for a little spin on a traditional dish. Rather than a regular chicken soup, we were served a chicken and rice soup flavored with curry and ginger (spices I believe that were freshly gathered on a trip to the other end of the world). With a strong aroma and clear flavors, this was a delicious alternative to a dish I know and love.The last of our appetizers was gefilte fish, but not what you're thinking. This fish was cooked in and soaked up a champagne broth, making it light in texture. Also, rather than horse radish, the fish was served with a spicy mustard sauce. Let's just say I never thought I'd enjoy eating gefilte fish outside of passover, and I was wrong.

Chicken Mole Fajita with Cooked Carrots

The main course was a pulled chicken mole fajita with a side of cooked carrots. With a thick, scrumptious sauce, and perfectly cooked chicken, that plate came out cleaner than it came in. Finally, for dessert we had a unique spread of gingerbread and chocolate cookies along with strawberries covered in a polish vodka.

Vodka Strawberries and Chocolate Butter Cookie

The hospitality offered up by Dr. Keith was greatly appreciated by all who attended this fantastic dinner, but this doesn't really tell the whole story. Between the food and the dog tricks a meal was had that will hopefully be the first of many. If you happen to be in the Chicago land area sometime in June and are up for an event of a dinner, hopefully you can join the next Keith Shabbat with the JMSO.

Special thanks to Diana Kost for taking the pictures and bailing me out. I've really got to start carrying my camera around at all times.


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