On Friday, the 22nd, The Kids' Table offers its "Kids/Parents Night Out!"‚ Instead of leaving the kids home with a babysitter, you can drop them off at this adorable cooking school where they can find their inner Giada. Kids 4 - 10 yrs. old spend the first hour rolling, chopping and mixing their way toward the completion of their meal. After eating and clean up, they get to watch a movie and dig into stove-top popcorn (how Old School is that? Now they just need to resurrect coconut oil). The night runs from 6 - 9 p.m. and costs $35 per kid.
Jose Garces, Iron Chef (photo
courtesy The Food Network)
Allez Cuisine!‚ Jose Garces hails from Philadelphia - where he has five restaurants - but he also is quick to point out his Chicago roots.‚ Growing up on the Northwest Side in an Ecuadorian-American household, Garces is also the man in charge at Mercat a la Planxa in the Blackstone Hotel on South Michigan Ave.
He recently became the Food Network's "Next Iron Chef," and then proceeded to clean the clock of his first competitor on last Sunday's "Iron Chef America" - his first battle in the new chef's duds.‚ I spoke with him this week about the newfound stardom and his humble Chicago roots. Jose Garces
mussels and sauvignon blanc from the town of Barwon Heads in Victoria, Australia
Attention all Aussie-philes: "The Donald's" Chicago chef - Oz native Frank Brunacci - spearheads the Trump International Hotel & Tower's second annual "Australia Week," with activities beginning on Friday, the 22nd.‚ Brunacci, a Melbourne native, is joining forces with the Australian Government, Wine Australia and the State of Victoria, to bring a taste of "Down Under" to the Windy City.‚ It's all part of his efforts to celebrate Australia Day, the country's national holiday (Jan. 26).
The Italian beef and meatball sandwiches from Fabulous Freddie's
As some of you know by now, I'm in the midst of a month-long search for winter comfort; the kinds of dishes that make you want to throw on your pajamas and take a nap after eating.‚ So far this month on ABC 7, I've featured the fried chicken and updated tuna casserole at Hearty, then dug into the Hawaiian-influenced "urban luau" Sunday dinners at Sola.‚ Today, I'm headed to Bridgeport: land of countless Daley cronies, die-hard Sox fans and some of the largest sandwiches I've ever seen, compliments of Fabulous Freddie's on 31st St.
- On Wednesday, the 20th, Sushisamba is hosting a simultaneous "Meet & Tweet" at its four locations across the country (Chicago, Miami, New York, Las Vegas). Guests will be live streaming conversations using the hashtag #sstwtup, while special rolls and cocktails are served. ALL proceeds from the sale of the twitteROLL will go to support the recovery efforts in Haiti. The local times of the Tweet Up in Chicago are 6:30 - 8:30 p.m.
The special menu includes:
Whenever I long for a taste of the pastry shops of Vienna, I can head over to Julius Meinl, which now has two cafe locations in the city, plus a new patisserie and coffee shop. But rather than go for the predictable dobos torte or strudel, I always gravitate toward the luscious almond cream croissant: a masterful combo of sweet cream, crisp shell and butter-laced pastry. I went to the Lincoln Square location this week to eat just one more (duty calls).
Here are a few photos of the Meinl location at Southport and Addison.
It's been 20 years since I attended my first adult dinner party. It was my senior year in college, and after receiving the Silver Palate Cookbook as a gift from someone, one of my friends felt that hosting a dinner party would be fun (and certainly a lot better than eating from the cafeteria meal plan we had at the dorms). I think his model was the yuppie couple du jour: Michael and Hope from "30 Something." The plan was that our host would attempt to make Chicken Marbella, and guests would bring bottles of cheap wine and candles to help set the mood.‚ We were so grown up. The food may have been just o.k. and the wine passable, but it was the comraderie and the conversation I remember the most.‚ Some people would hook-up after a long, fumƒ© blanc-filled night of reverie.‚ Everyone chipped in for clean-up and the whole night might have cost each of us $10.
Fast-forward two decades; the idea of the dinner party isn't lost, it's just become a lot tastier.‚ There are dozens of talented chefs hanging out in Chicago; many of them have left dead-end restaurant jobs or just felt their creativity was being stifled, standing on their feet for 15 hours a day, chopping vegetables into a fine brunoise. Some of these chefs have started their own businesses, and others have resurrected the private, invitation-only dinner club.‚ The only difference is that they're not cooking out of books by Sheila Lukins anymore and they're charging for their work (the BYOB policy, however, still stands).