Friday Foodie Forecast: Gluten-Free Expo, a culinary tour and more burgers

April 29, 2011

Who says you have to be in the city to have fun? From burger contests to gluten-free expos, even food history culinary tours - it’s a good time to hit the ‘burbs.

A Burger Bash at Labriola

Labriola Bakery Café raises the bar on burger innovation with its Burger Bash on Butterfield - a five-week extravaganza featuring a different special burger each week beginning this Monday, May 2nd.  The short rib burger on chocolate brioche- a hand pattied Black Angus burger topped with slow roasted short ribs, Black Diamond White cheddar cheese, drizzled with chianti demi glaze and served on their newly introduced chocolate chip dark brioche bun with lettuce, tomato and hand-cut french fries - will kick off the burger bonanza until Sunday, May 8th, when it will be followed by Mama's Meatball Burger on Rustic Italian and the Cuban burger among others in coming weeks. Once all five burgers have been featured, the Café will allow patrons to vote on their favorite burger in an online vote with the winning burger earning a recurring spot on the Labriola weekend specials’ menu. The Labriola Bakery Café is located at 3021 Butterfield Road in Oakbrook, IL, open Sunday - Thursday 7:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. and Friday and Saturday 7:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. For more information, please call 630-574-2008 or visit www.labriolabakerycafe.com.

Gluten Free Expo

Living Without, the nation’s leading magazine for people with Celiac Disease, gluten sensitivity and food allergies, is teaming up with gluten-free cooking expert Jen Cafferty to sponsor the fourth annual Gluten & Allergen Free Expo, Friday, April 29 - Sunday, May 1 at the Wyndham Hotel in Lisle. This year’s Expo will feature a variety of cooking and baking classes taught by well-respected chefs, nutritionists and cookbook authors, who will offer tips for preparing gluten-free/allergen-free meals and snacks, the use of replacement foods, the newest allergen-friendly products available and tips on having a balanced diet. There will also be a special cooking class for children, free of the top eight allergens, featuring a designated nut-free area with kids’ activities and performers. Participants will enjoy lively presentations, taste the recipes and have the opportunity to ask questions and interact with the experts. With more than 70 vendors showcasing and sampling their products, including Chicago's own Rudi's offering gourmet gluten-free grilled cheese sandwiches and gluten-free cinnamon raisin toast, the Expo is home to the Midwest’s largest gluten-free vendor fair featuring the tastiest gluten-free cuisines and allergy-free foods in the marketplace. Tickets can be purchased at the door - $15 per adult and free for children 12 and under. The Wyndham Hotel is located at 3000 Warrenville Rd., Lisle, lL. For more information and a complete list of participating vendors, visit www.gfafexpo.com.

A Culinary Tour Through Time

Are you interested in food, history and culture during the 1930’s Depression era? Did you know the 1930s set the stage for the rise of the Midwestern mega-breweries that ultimately came to dominate the US brewing landscape? Now is your chance to learn all about it as Kendall College School of Culinary Arts hosts Midwest Eats! Foodways of the Great Depression - a three-day culinary history event beginning Friday, April 29 through Sunday, May 1st.

Friday: Midwest Eats! opens with a panel discussion led by Margaret Rung, Director of New Deal Studies at Roosevelt University, reviewing events leading to the Great Depression of 1929-1941: Dust bowl, farming crisis, African-American urban experience and the difficult transition from prosperity to depression with food scarcity impacting the lives of city dwellers. Food writer (SkyFullOfBacon.com) and film buff (Nitrateville.com) Michael Gebert will talk about how Depression Era foodways were reflected in films and newsreels, followed by a dinner replicating a “Relief Banquet” from May 7th, 1938 at the Gold Room of the Congress Hotel. This menu reflects a “Typical Chicago Family Relief Budget,” of eight cents of ingredients (circa 1938) with Kendall’s culinary students interpreting.

Saturday: discussions will be followed by fare highlighting recipes from Greater Midwest’s Heirloom Recipe competitions featuring a 1930’s hearty lunch menu including; Booyah soup-stew from Wisconsin and Minnesota; mac and cheese; coleslaw from South Dakota; corn pudding from Illinois; gelatin salad; and yeast rolls and harvest cake from Indiana. Most of the meal illustrates how imaginative home cooks, thriving food companies and resourceful restaurants survived by stretching food costs through those trying times. 

On Sunday, there are two optional tours:

Starting at 10:30 a.m. at Barbara’s Bookstore (218 S. Halsted), a lecture and tour of Chicago’s Maxwell Street will showcase how it has been in operation since the late 19th-century and has now become a well-recognized source for some of the tastiest Mexican street food in the US.

Or, visit Primrose dairy farm in St. Charles, a living history museum circa 1933, and learn the basics of wood stove cookery as you prepare a meal from ingredients and products available during the 1930’s.  This summer kitchen has a wood fueled stove, hand pumped water and a radio run by car battery.  After lunch, you clean up before touring the farm with its mid-19th century barn, milk house, pump house, hog house, sheep barn, chicken house and farmhouse.

For more detailed information, prices and registration, visit Greater Midwest’s website at www.greatermidwestfoodways.com.