Consider the hot dog. While most of us are weaned on the iconic Vienna Beef here, very few (if any) chefs would dare attempt to make their own. But Jared Van Camp decided he would not only take a stab at it, he would do so in a research-and-development mode only a cooking drone for "America's Test Kitchen" could appreciate. Van Camp has been working with ratios of fat to beef, emulsifying times and smoking technique, to produce his own batch of homemade hot dogs at Old Town Social, which he not only dresses up "Chicago style" (mustard, neon green relish, onions, tomatoes, sport peppers, celery salt and a pickle), but also in a chili dog with mustard and even a corn dog. With baseball season officially here, it's a great time to take one of America's favorite snacks, and turn it up-market with a bit of culinary ingenuity. If you're interested in how he produced his own hot dog, check out this blog post from last year, in which he goes into great detail.
Food can be fun, but around here, it’s no joke. That being said, this week still promises a good time for foodies looking for a sense of whimsy but free from the fear of hoaxes and tricks. Take a trip down the rabbit hole to the Meinl Coffeehouse and enjoy an Alice in Wonderland themed tea party worthy of the Queen of Hearts. Or use that twitter account to secure your spot at Glimpse - a collaborative pop-up restaurant led by a culinary crew including Gaztro-Wagon’s Matt Maroni, Hum Spirits and Fritz Pastry – where only those who hurry up and become followers will reserve a table. So let your guard down, no need to be on the lookout for mischief and shenanigans today - a hidden whoopee cushion on your chair? Now that’s a different story.
Afternoon Tea with Alice in Wonderland
Don’t be late to this very important date!
Proving there is no lack of compassion among the Chicago food community, Takashi Yagihashi will host some of Chicago’s most talented chefs in his namesake restaurant on Monday, April 18, as a superstar culinary lineup comes together to raise funds for those devastated by the earthquake and tsunami in Japan.
"I am very thankful to all of you for joining me in this effort to help Japan during this difficult time," said Yagihashi in a personal plea of help for his native country posted on his restaurant's website. "The events of March 11 have taken an enormous toll on its people - physically, emotionally and financially. "The resources needed to help survivors, let alone rebuild, are unimaginable."
In the rare case where too many cooks in the kitchen is a good thing, all-star chefs from across Chicagoland will join forces to prepare a six-course meal where all of the proceeds will benefit the Japanese Red Cross.
Grabbing a beer and a shot in Chicago is easy. But it seems like every other neighborhood bar has the same menu these days: (fill in the blank) sliders, "flatbreads" (a.k.a. weak pizza) and that ubiquitous duo - beets with goat cheese and/or some form of pork belly.
But there are bars in Chicago where the kitchen takes its side of the bargain more seriously; where chefs have either consulted on the menus or are executing the dishes themselves. These five all take creative approaches to bar food, and offer delicious companions to the craft beers that often steal the show. I've added one dish (parenthetically), that I think is a worthwhile investment.
Some fans of craft beers are foaming over the news that industry giant Anheuser-Busch plans to buy 23 year-old Chicago-based, brewing powerhouse Goose Island Beer Co. The $38.8 million deal was announced Monday, but is set to close in June.
On the surface, the two brewers couldn't be more different: One is known for mass-marketed and mass appeal brands like Budweiser and Busch; the other is known for microbrews and specialty ales like 312 and Matilda.
So why would Anheuser-Busch gobble up Goose Island? Two words: craft brews.
“These critically acclaimed beers are the hometown pride of Chicagoans,” said Dave Peacock, president of the St. Louis-based Anheuser-Busch in a statement. “We are very committed to expanding in the high-end beer segment, and this deal expands our portfolio of brands with high-quality, regional beers. “As we share ideas and bring our different strengths and experiences together, we can accelerate the growth of these brands.”
As overall U.S.
Martial Noguier never quite settled into his previous assignments. At one sixtyblue, his cooking would veer into French territory, but the fact diners were there for Michael Jordan's connection as much as anything, probably limited his creativity. At Café des Architectes, inside the Hotel Sofitel, he explored his roots a bit more, but still, he was a hotel chef, succumbing to the whims of business travelers and chopped salad lunch-goers looking to get in and out in about an hour.
At Bistronomic - a stone's throw south of the Sofitel - Noguier seems more at home than he ever has been. There are terrines and patés, of course, but also Lake Superior whitefish over French lentils and a seriously good tartar, made with tuna, rather than the more traditional (and fashionable) beef. Arriving in a glass jar, topped with lemony-scented avocado, it's a fabulous way to wake up your mouth as you get ready for the really serious stuff.