A few things that are good early in the morning: breakfast burritos, blow jobs, strong coffee, forgiveness for last night’s sins, that first cigarette of the day and banana lumpia from Tropical Grill… I love banana lumpia. Love, love, love. And in particular, I love banana lumpia when it’s made by Leah Eveleigh at Tropical Grill, which opened a few months back in the dead husk of what was once a half-decent Hawaiian restaurant in Aurora. This week, I finally got the chance to write about the place (a task taken on, more or less, as an excuse to shamelessly gorge myself on banana lumpia and a little bit of everything else off Eveleigh’s Filipino-Hawaiian, Pac-rim, straight-up tropical menu) and though not everything I ate there was wonderful -- I had some issues with the halo halo, for example, because it looked (and tasted) kinda like pudding gone wrong -- enough of it was that now I’ve become a full-fledged addict.
Between runs for more banana lumpia, I started chasing down all the restaurant news that’s been breaking now that summer’s over. The end of August and beginning of September are murderously slow in the industry, but when the weather broke, so did the logjams of news. In Bite Me, you’ll find all sorts of openings, closings, chefs going AWOL and at least one piece of news that made me happier than just about anything has all year.
Anything but that banana lumpia, anyhow. -- Jason Sheehan