WBEZ | Fat Tuesday http://www.wbez.org/tags/fat-tuesday Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Morning Shift: A local connection to the crisis in Ukraine http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift-tony-sarabia/2014-03-04/morning-shift-local-connection-crisis-ukraine-109806 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/Ukraine Flickr Vladimir Yaitskiy.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>We take a look at a local synagogue&#39;s connection to upheaval in Ukraine and how it is affecting the country&#39;s Jewish population. Plus, surprising facts about who colon cancer is affecting. And, a performance from Chicago&#39;s Eighth Blackbird.</p><div class="storify"><iframe allowtransparency="true" frameborder="no" height="750" src="//storify.com/WBEZ/morning-shift-a-local-connection-to-the-crisis-in/embed?header=false" width="100%"></iframe><script src="//storify.com/WBEZ/morning-shift-a-local-connection-to-the-crisis-in.js?header=false"></script><noscript>[<a href="//storify.com/WBEZ/morning-shift-a-local-connection-to-the-crisis-in" target="_blank">View the story "Morning Shift: A local connection to the crisis in Ukraine" on Storify</a>]</noscript></div></p> Tue, 04 Mar 2014 08:28:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift-tony-sarabia/2014-03-04/morning-shift-local-connection-crisis-ukraine-109806 Packing in the paczkis http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/packing-paczkis-109792 <p><p>Happy Paczki Day, Chicago!</p><p>This occasion marks a time of feasting before the Lenten fast &mdash; specifically on the jelly doughnuts&nbsp; known as paczki that are a tradition in Poland. But unlike cultures that celebrate Fat Tuesday, aka Mardi Gras, paczki have their heyday on two distinct days in Chicago&rsquo;s Polish community.</p><blockquote><p><strong>Photos: <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/louisachu/sets/72157641622072985/" target="_blank">Paczki Day in Chicago</a></strong></p></blockquote><p>&ldquo;By being of Polish extraction and living in Chicago, you get the best of both worlds,&rdquo; explained Jan Lorys, managing director of the Polish Museum of America, which is located in the West Town neighborhood on Milwaukee Ave., the longtime &ldquo;Main Street&rdquo; of Polish Chicago.</p><p>Lorys continued, &ldquo;In Poland, the tradition is that you are getting ready for Lent, which is a period of fasting. So you get rid of all of your animal fats...and make paczki, which are deep fried in fat.&rdquo;</p><p>That happens on the Thursday before Ash Wednesday -- both in Poland and in Chicago&rsquo;s bakery-filled Polish-American neighborhoods.</p><p>&ldquo;But when you come to the United States, the big thing is Mardi Gras, the Shrove Tuesday before Ash Wednesday,&rdquo; Lorys said. &ldquo;So the idea came for having Paczki Day on Shrove Tuesday, combining an existing American holiday with something from Poland.&rdquo;</p><p>That is how most U.S. Polish communities do it, but in Chicago we respectfully observe both traditions, meaning, Lorys said, &ldquo;that you have them on Thursday, and then starve yourself over the weekend and then have them on Tuesday again.&rdquo;</p><p>So now that you understand the double-doughnut-day directive, we should say a word about the spelling and pronunciation of this deep-fried treat.</p><p>Paczek (POANCH-ek) is the word for a single doughnut. But, as Lorys said, &ldquo;You never [just] eat one.&rdquo; So the really important word to learn is the the plural paczki (POANCH--kee) -- as in, &ldquo;I can&rsquo;t believe I just ate 17 paczki.&rdquo;</p><p>To make matters more confusing, the word paczki, meaning filled doughnut, looks exactly like the word paczki, meaning package. So if you have ever passed one of Chicago&rsquo;s many Polish shipping services and wondered if the sign saying &ldquo;Paczki do Polski&rdquo; means they specialize in mailing doughnuts to Poland, the answer is &ldquo;no.&rdquo;<br />&nbsp;</p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/paczki%20powder.jpg" style="float: right; height: 197px; width: 350px;" title="" />You may also be wondering if paczki are really that much different from other jelly doughnuts, Bismarcks, Berliners, bombolini, Boston cremes, or sufganiyot. From the looks of them you might think they&rsquo;re all the same. But Dobra Bielinski of Delightful Pastries explains that they are a denser, eggier affair.</div><p><br />&ldquo;People really eat jelly-filled doughnuts for the filling, not the doughnut itself,&rdquo; the baker said. &ldquo;And with a paczki, what happens is that people eat it for the dough and not the filling. Relatively, there is less filling and and more dough. Once this cools off, when you bite it, it springs back, it doesn&rsquo;t collapse like pancake.&rdquo;</p><p>On Wednesday morning, Bielinski presided over a bustling kitchen that would crank out more than 20,000 paczki over the next week, including 10,000 pre-ordered doughnuts and several thousand for the City of Chicago&rsquo;s birthday celebration in Daley Plaza Tuesday.&nbsp;</p><p>&ldquo;And those are just the orders we know about. We still have to make them for orders [by] people who are coming into the store,&rdquo; Bielinski said.</p><p>Giant bowls of butter, flour, rum, eggs, yeast, and sugar were spinning under the mixer. Workers rolled finished mounds of dough into lime-sized balls for proofing. Once risen, whole trays of paczki buns would be gently lowered into vats of oil. Traditionally, that oil would have been lard, but today Bielinski uses a blend of canola and soy to reflect changing customer demands .</p><p>&ldquo;If I had to do it at home, I would do it in lard,&rdquo; she said.</p><p>&ldquo;Me too,&rdquo; piped in Stasia Hawryszczuk, her mom, &ldquo;because it tastes much better.&rdquo;</p><p>&ldquo;If you were living in a small town in Poland,&rdquo; Bielinski said, &ldquo;everyone would have their own pig in the backyard and the pig was fed scraps, and the lard was fairly healthy because they didn&rsquo;t add anything to it. You would melt it down and you&rsquo;d have all this fat to fry in. &ldquo;</p><p>Midway through frying, the bobbing buns were expertly flipped using what look like two mahogany chopsticks.</p><p>And when the hot walnut-colored pastries emerged from the fryer, they bore nary a drop of grease -- thanks, Bielinski said, to the rum in the dough that prevents excessive absorption of oil.</p><p>Next up, is the sugar glaze, which was traditionally studded with candied orange peels, a delicacy in Poland during this time of year when fresh fruit was scarce.</p><p>When I was a young kid in Poland you would get oranges under the Christmas tree,&rdquo; Bielinski said.&nbsp; &ldquo;There was a lot of rationing of food. So if you would spend your money on oranges, you would use up entire orange and you&rsquo;d put the bits of candied orange peel on top of your pazckis and make a luxury item, so to speak.&rdquo;</p><p>And lastly comes the injection of filling. Traditional fillings including prune and rose petal jam, but in recent years Bielinski has gotten more creative.</p><p>&ldquo;We we do vanilla bean custard and vodka, Jameson&rsquo;s whiskey and chocolate custard, and then we did moonshine with lemon curd,&rdquo; she said. &ldquo;So those were the adult ones.&rdquo;</p><p>Bielinski is especially proud of the tart and tropical passion fruit, which she makes from real fruit puree.</p><p>If you ask a dozen paczki lovers about their favorite flavors, you could easily get a dozen different answers back.&nbsp;</p><p>Responses we got included rose hip jelly, cherry, strawberry, apricot, prune, custard, chocolate, raspberry.</p><p>But regardless of which flavor you choose,&nbsp; we can all agree that these round poofs of sweetness can offer some much needed comfort during this long punishing winter.</p><p><em>Monica Eng is a WBEZ producer and co-host of the&nbsp;</em><em><strong><a href="http://www.wbez.org/content/chewing-fat-podcast-louisa-chu-and-monica-eng">Chewing the Fat</a></strong></em><em>&nbsp;podcast. Follow her at&nbsp;<a href="https://twitter.com/monicaeng">@monicaeng</a> or write to her at&nbsp;</em><em><a href="mailto:meng@wbez.org">meng@wbez.org</a></em></p></p> Thu, 27 Feb 2014 12:30:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/packing-paczkis-109792 Delightful paczki do Mardi Gras, Polish-style http://www.wbez.org/blogs/louisa-chu/2013-02/delightful-paczki-do-mardi-gras-polish-style-105474 <p><p style="text-align: center;"><a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/louisachu/8467187863/"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/paczkidelightfuldrunken.jpg" style="height: 413px; width: 620px;" title="Drunken Donuts paczki with vanilla custard and vodka at Delightful Pastries in Jefferson Park, Chicago (WBEZ/Louisa Chu)" /></a></p><p>When Pope Benedict XVI shocked the world with his resignation announcement yesterday, Catholics across Chicago could at least stress eat with paczki.&nbsp;</p><p>The Polish pastries are part of the great last hurrah before Lent. They&#39;re traditionally eaten in Poland on Fat Thursday (last Thursday), and across this country today on Fat Tuesday, or Mardi Gras. In Chicago, we celebrate both days thanks to our Polish-American population, and because we like to eat.</p><p>Paczki look like everyday doughnuts but should feel heavier, bite denser, and taste unfamiliar, filled with stewed plum or rose hip jam. Before the gourmet doughnut trend, there were paczki.</p><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: center;"><a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/louisachu/8468265190/"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/paczkidelightfulstorefront.jpg" style="height: 413px; width: 620px;" title="Delightful Pastries in Jefferson Park, Chicago (WBEZ/Louisa Chu)" /></a></div><div class="image-insert-image ">But at Delightful Pastries, pastry chef/owner Dobra&nbsp;Bielinski, is injecting a little of the new world too, sometimes with a shot of vodka. Yes, she makes all the old world flavors at her Jefferson Park location. She says her older, Polish customers prefer them.&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: center;"><a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/louisachu/8467161237/"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/paczkidelightfulbox.jpg" style="height: 413px; width: 620px;" title="Box of rose hip, drunken chocolate, strawberry whipped cream, and chocolate raspberry jam paczki from Delightful Pastries in Chicago (WBEZ/Louisa Chu)" /></a></div><div class="image-insert-image ">Yet, during a visit on Fat Thursday last week, an older Polish-speaking man listened carefully to a young Polish-speaking shopgirl explain the new flavors, including passionfruit jam. He eventually added a decidedly untraditional chocolate raspberry to his box of a dozen paczki.</div><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: center;"><div class="image-insert-image "><a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/louisachu/8468250580/"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/paczkidelightfulplum.jpg" style="height: 413px; width: 620px;" title="Plum jam paczki from Delightful Pastries in Chicago (WBEZ/Louisa Chu)" /></a></div><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: left;">Me too, but I like the stewed plum jam the best. Powidła is made with late harvest plums, cooked down slowly for hours with no added sugar or pectin, earning its sweet, tart, and thick character only with time.</div><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: left;">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: left;"><a href="http://www.delightfulpastries.com/">Delightful Pastries</a></div><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: left;"><p>Jefferson Park<br />5927 W. Lawrence Ave.<br />Chicago, IL 60630<br />773-545-7215</p><p>Old Town<br />1710 N. Wells St.<br />Chicago, IL 60614<br />312-255-0724</p>Chicago French Market<br />131 N. Clinton Ave.<br />Chicago, IL 60661<br />312-234-9644</div></div><p style="text-align: center;"><a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/louisachu/8467150043/"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/paczkidelightfuldobra.jpg" style="height: 413px; width: 620px;" title="Pastry chef/owner Dobra Bielinski holds tray of plum and rose hip jam paczki at Delightful Pastries in Jefferson Park, Chicago (WBEZ/Louisa Chu)" /></a></p></p> Tue, 12 Feb 2013 05:00:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/louisa-chu/2013-02/delightful-paczki-do-mardi-gras-polish-style-105474 Friday Foodie Forecast: a gala, a carnival and Fat Tuesday festivities http://www.wbez.org/blog/steve-dolinsky/2011-03-04/friday-foodie-forecast-gala-carnival-and-fat-tuesday-festivities-8332 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/mardi_gras_mask.jpg" alt="" /><p><p style="text-align: center;"><img height="428" width="400" alt="" title="" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-March/2011-03-03/mardi_gras_mask.jpg" /></p><p>Whether you call it Mardi Gras, Fat Tuesday or Carnival, it usually conjures up images of flying beads, masqueraded party-goers on floats, and general all-out debauchery. But you don&rsquo;t need to attend a parade this week to join in the decadent festivities. A charity gala featuring acrobats and award-winning chefs, a Brazilian celebration of cuisine and cocktails, and a good old-fashioned Cajun-style crawfish eating contest are all offerings this week for the foodie looking to share in some of gluttonous fun.<o:p></o:p></p> <p><strong>Redmoon Spectacle Lunatique Gala</strong><o:p></o:p></p> <p>Match out-of-this-world food with mind-blowing theater as <a href="http://www.redmoon.org/">Redmoon</a> hosts its annual <a href="http://redmoon.tix.com/Event.asp?Event=320955">Spectacle Lunatique Gala</a> at Redmoon Central on Saturday, March 12th from 6:30 p.m. to 1 a.m. Since 1990, the theater organization throws the one-night only showcase of its signature large-scale, site-specific, spectacle performance work (think equal parts pageantry, gadgetry, puppetry and acrobatics) all for an invited audience of donors that gather in support of the companyʼs civic mission of creating public art for the city of Chicago. This year, the group has teamed up with four 2011 Michelin Guide Chicago Starred Restaurants, four 2011 Michelin Guide Bib Gourmand Restaurants, three James Beard Award winning/nominated chefs, four &ldquo;Best New Chefs&rdquo; listed in <em>Food &amp; Wine</em>, two Jean Banchet Award winners, a Bravo &ldquo;Top Chef&rdquo; winner, an &ldquo;America&rsquo;s Best Mixologist&rdquo; from the program <em>On the Rocks</em>, and more. <span style="font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;;"><span style=""><o:p></o:p></span></span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="">The list of chefs includes: Paul Kahan (<a href="http://www.blackbirdrestaurant.com/">Blackbird</a>), Jessica Oloroso (<a href="http://blackdogchicago.com">Black Dog Gelato</a>), Giuseppe Tentori (<a href="http://www.bokachicago.com/">BOKA</a>), Chris Pandel (<a href="http://www.thebristolchicago.com/">The Bristol</a>), Charles Joly (<a href="http://www.thedrchicago.com/">The Drawing Room</a>), Stephanie Izard (<a href="http://girlandthegoat.com/">Girl &amp; The Goat</a>), Mindy Segal (<a href="http://www.hotchocolatechicago.com/">Hot Chocolate</a>), Randy Zweiban (<a href="http://provincerestaurant.com/">Province</a>), Jimmy Bannos, Jr. (<a href="http://www.thepurplepigchicago.com/">The Purple Pig</a>), Michael Carlson (<a href="http://schwarestaurant.com/">Schwa</a>), Andrew Zimmerman <a href="http://www.sepiachicago.com/">(Sepia</a>), Bill Kim (<a href="http://urbanbellychicago.com/">Urban Belly</a>), as well as select students participating in the dessert and hors d&rsquo;oeuvres service from <a href="http://www.frenchpastryschool.com/">The French Pastry School of Chicago</a> and <a href="http://www.kendall.edu/ ">Kendall College School of Culinary Arts</a>.<span style="font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;;"><o:p></o:p></span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="">The cost for individual tickets range from $50 for late-night entry at 10:30 p.m. including drinks, dancing and dessert, to $175, which includes tastings from Chicago&rsquo;s premier chefs and a Redmoon Spectacle moment at 8:30 p.m. VIP tickets include early entry at 6:30 p.m. and range from $650 for two guests to $2500 for eight guests. Corporate packages are also available and range from $2,500 to $10,000. All tickets can be purchased by calling 312.850.8440 x100 or online at <a href="http://www.redmoon.org">www.redmoon.org</a>. Proceeds fund <a href="http://redmoon.org/naprogram/">Redmoonʼs Neighborhood Arts Program</a>, directly impacting Chicagoʼs diverse communities. <a href="http://www.redmoon.org/">Redmoon Central</a> is located at 1463 W. Hubbard St.<span style="font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;;"><span style="color: rgb(51, 51, 51);"><o:p></o:p></span></span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><strong>Carnival at SushiSamba</strong><o:p></o:p></p> <p>Transport yourself to Rio de Janeiro and celebrate the annual Brazilian tradition of Carnival this Saturday, March 5 at <a href="http://www.sushisamba.com/">SushiSamba Rio</a>. Beginning at 9 p.m., guests will sip the evening&rsquo;s featured drink -tangerine honey caipirnhas &ndash; alongside samba dancers, batacuda drummers and live feed from Brazil. The night&rsquo;s special festive menu includes casquinha do siri (blue crab, dende oil remoulade, fresh lime, $14), acaraje with braised short ribs (black bean fritter, cilantro, pickled onion, $24), beinjinho flan (sweet coconut flan, lime beignet, pineapple caipirnha sorvete, $8) and a manqueria roll (avocado, tuna, yellowtail, salmon, eel, shrimp, spicy mayonnaise, $22). Reservations can be made by calling 312-595-2300. SushiSamba Rio is located at 504 N. Wells St.<span style="font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;;"><o:p></o:p></span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;;"><o:p></o:p></span><strong>Crawfish Contest at the Cactus Bar &amp; Grill</strong><o:p></o:p></p> <p>Celebrate Fat Tuesday Cajun-style while donating to charity at the first annual <a href="http://www.dontdrinkandtrade.com/">Cactus Bar &amp; Grill </a>crawfish-eating contest this Tuesday, March 8 at 6 p.m. The goal is to be the first to eat three pounds of the crustaceans to take the title of crawfish king or queen. It is $25 to participate, which includes a souvenir t-shirt, and all proceeds benefit the <a href="http://www.stbaldricks.org/">St. Baldrick&rsquo;s Foundation</a>, which promotes research and treatment of childhood cancers. Spectators can enjoy $3 Abita Turbo Dog pints and $5 bowls of gumbo all set to a Mardi Gras scene of beads, masks and prize giveaways such as a $50 gift certificate to the restaurant. Cactus Bar &amp; Grill is located at 404 S. Wells St. For more information, visit <a href="http://www.dontdrinkandtrade.com">www.dontdrinkandtrade.com</a>.</p></p> Fri, 04 Mar 2011 18:00:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blog/steve-dolinsky/2011-03-04/friday-foodie-forecast-gala-carnival-and-fat-tuesday-festivities-8332 Top 5 places to celebrate Paczki Day/Fat Tuesday http://www.wbez.org/blog/steve-dolinsky/2011-03-03/top-5-places-celebrate-paczki-dayfat-tuesday-82964 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/Oak Mill Bakery 1.jpg" alt="" /><p><div style="text-align: center;"><i><img src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-March/2011-03-01/Oak Mill Bakery 1.jpg" alt="" title="" style="width: 485px; height: 317px;" /><br />Paczki from Oak Mill Bakery (photo: Joseph Storch)<br /></i></div><div style="text-align: left;">Last year, I happened to be in New Orleans for Mardi Gras, and recall it was just a week after the Saints had won the Super Bowl; it was mid-February. This year, the festivities get going a little later, with Ash Wednesday falling on March 9, meaning Fat Tuesday occurs on March 8. Back-timing it one step further, Paczki (POANCH-key) Day always falls on the Thursday <em>before</em> Fat Tuesday, which means today is the day to bury yourself in sweet, fried Polish &quot;doughnuts&quot; the shape of softballs, usually filled with some type of jam or rose petal-flavored preserves. In both cases, these gluttonous days are meant to serve as one last splurge, before moving into the season of Lent, the 40 days before Easter when observers will typically give up meat or some other food item. Enter the pepper-and-egg sandwich at your favorite beef joint, as well as the Filet-O-Fish at your local McD's.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Here are a few of my favorites this week, with Fat Tuesday-related dishes highlighted in parentheses:</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>1. <a href="http://www.oakmillbakery.com/">Oak Mill Bakery </a>(six locations in suburbs and city - paczki)</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>2. <a href="http://www.cajunjoynt.com/">Lagniappe</a>, 1525 W. 79th St., 773-994-6375 (gumbo, etouffee)</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>3. <a href="http://www.macandmins.com/">Mac &amp; Min's</a>, 1045 W. Madison, 312-563-1008&nbsp;(po' boys)</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>4. <a href="http://www.delightfulpastries.com/">Delightful Pastries</a>, (three locations in town, including French Market -&nbsp;paczki)</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>5. <a href="http://www.heavenonseven.com/">Heaven on Seven</a> (three locations in the area, but still prefer original on Wabash - jambalaya)&nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>(Would have recommended&nbsp;<a href="http://www.alliance-bakery.com/">Alliance Bakery</a>&nbsp;at 1736 W. Division, but they're only selling paczki on March 8, not on the actual Paczki Day today)</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div style="text-align: center;"><img height="607" width="404" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-March/2011-03-01/Oak Mill Bakery 2.jpg" alt="" title="" /></div><div style="text-align: center;"><em>Fancy-schmancy paczki from Oak Mill Bakery (photo: Joseph Storch)</em></div></p> Thu, 03 Mar 2011 12:00:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blog/steve-dolinsky/2011-03-03/top-5-places-celebrate-paczki-dayfat-tuesday-82964 Tuesday Foodie Forecast: It's Fat Tuesday - eat something http://www.wbez.org/dolinsky/2010/02/tuesday-foodie-forecast-its-fat-tuesday-eat-something/14958 <p><p>While Fat Tuesday is typically a day of debauchery for many Americans, it's also a time for some Cajun-inspired gluttony for many foodies. Later today, <a href="http://www.dunlaysonclark.com/">Dunlays on Clark </a>will celebrate Fat Tuesday with Cajun and Creole inspired specials.</p><p>Their menu includes:</p><ul> <li>Crispy catfish bites with Creole remoulade</li> <li>Five olive salad, orange confit, orzo, smoked lemon vinaigrette</li> <li>Deep-fried chicken thighs, housemade waffle, andouille pan gravy</li> <li>Cajun rubbed, braised pork shoulder with crawfish risotto</li> <li>Shrimp po-boy with lettuce, tomato, avocado and spicy shrimp aioli</li> <li>Beignets with three dipping sauces</li> </ul><p>And if you are observing Lent this year, you may be looking for satisfying alternatives to meat. While avoiding that filet mignon or burger on a Friday may be difficult, here are two alternatives you can choose from:</p><ul> <li><strong>Fish and Chips</strong>: The Four Seasons Lounge is offering their Home-style Fish and Chips with Hand-cut Fries, Remoulade and Malt Vinegar every Friday. It costs $22 when ordered a la carte for lunch or dinner and is also part of the Four Season's Friday prix-fixe menu for $30.</li> </ul> <ul> <li><strong>Complimentary Ceviche Sampler</strong>: Nacional 27 is offering all dining guests a complimentary ceviche sampler on Fridays from Feb. 19 -- April 2.</li> </ul></p> Tue, 16 Feb 2010 15:00:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/dolinsky/2010/02/tuesday-foodie-forecast-its-fat-tuesday-eat-something/14958 Something You Should Eat: Pita Inn's lunch special http://www.wbez.org/blog/steve-dolinsky/something-you-should-eat-pita-inns-lunch-special <p><p style="text-align: center; "><img class="size-full wp-image-15089" alt="" width="265" height="198" src="/sites/default/files/archives/blogs//IMG_3017.jpg" /><br /><em>the $4.95 lunch special at the Pita Inn (photo by Steve Dolins</em>ky)</p><p>There really isn't much to find these days on the lunch front for less than five bucks. I mean, you can get a burrito or a burger, but that never really satisfies - both from a taste and a nutritional standpoint. But the <a target="_blank" href="http://www.pita-inn.com/">Pita Inn</a> has been serving its impressive lunch special for $4.95 for years, and you can bet just about every day there's a line to score one. The Pita Inn has three suburban locations (Wheeling, Glenview, Skokie) and the lunch special is available on weekdays only, from 11 a.m. - 3 p.m. The plate is overloaded with saffron-hued rice, kefta kebabs, shish kebab, falafel, salad and chicken kebabs. Make sure you order one of their freshly-squeezed glasses of lemonade to go along&nbsp;with it!</p><p style="text-align: center; "><object classid="clsid:d27cdb6e-ae6d-11cf-96b8-444553540000" width="500" height="281" codebase="http://download.macromedia.com/pub/shockwave/cabs/flash/swflash.cab#version=6,0,40,0"><param name="allowfullscreen" value="true" /><param name="allowscriptaccess" value="always" /><param name="src" value="http://vimeo.com/moogaloop.swf?clip_id=9466517&amp;server=vimeo.com&amp;show_title=0&amp;show_byline=0&amp;show_portrait=0&amp;color=b30000&amp;fullscreen=1" /><embed type="application/x-shockwave-flash" width="500" height="281" src="http://vimeo.com/moogaloop.swf?clip_id=9466517&amp;server=vimeo.com&amp;show_title=0&amp;show_byline=0&amp;show_portrait=0&amp;color=b30000&amp;fullscreen=1" allowscriptaccess="always" allowfullscreen="true"></embed></object></p><p style="text-align: left; ">I couldn't very well offer up a &quot;Something You Should Eat&quot; on Fat Tuesday and not at least show you something Big Easy-related. I figured I offered up plenty of ideas and inspiration for NOLA eating in yesterday's posts, but today - as an edible amendment to the Pita Inn video - I'd like to show you the &quot;dessert onslaught&quot; we encountered at Commander's Palace on Sunday morning:</p><p style="text-align: center; "><object classid="clsid:d27cdb6e-ae6d-11cf-96b8-444553540000" width="500" height="281" codebase="http://download.macromedia.com/pub/shockwave/cabs/flash/swflash.cab#version=6,0,40,0"><param name="allowfullscreen" value="true" /><param name="allowscriptaccess" value="always" /><param name="src" value="http://vimeo.com/moogaloop.swf?clip_id=9476435&amp;server=vimeo.com&amp;show_title=0&amp;show_byline=0&amp;show_portrait=0&amp;color=00ADEF&amp;fullscreen=1" /><embed type="application/x-shockwave-flash" width="500" height="281" src="http://vimeo.com/moogaloop.swf?clip_id=9476435&amp;server=vimeo.com&amp;show_title=0&amp;show_byline=0&amp;show_portrait=0&amp;color=00ADEF&amp;fullscreen=1" allowscriptaccess="always" allowfullscreen="true"></embed></object></p></p> Tue, 16 Feb 2010 07:00:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blog/steve-dolinsky/something-you-should-eat-pita-inns-lunch-special Forget Valentine's Day, celebrate Paczki Day! http://www.wbez.org/blog/steve-dolinsky/forget-valentines-day-celebrate-paczki-day <p><p style="text-align: center;"><img height="378" width="504" src="/sites/default/files/archives/blogs//IMG_3026.jpg" alt="" class="size-full wp-image-14552" /><br /><em>a plethor of paczki from Old Mill Bakery (photo by Steve Dolinsky)</em></p><p>While everyone concentrates on Fat Tuesday parties next week, Chicagoans know that today is also a big day for the million or so residents in our area of Polish descent. It's Paczki Day today, and these squat, circular orbs of yeast-fed dough, fruit preserves and frosting will be sold in huge numbers over the next 24 hours.<!--break--></p><p>In this week's <a href="http://chicago.timeout.com/articles/restaurants-bars/82694/paczki-primer-for-a-deep-fried-fat-tuesday" target="_blank">Time Out Chicago</a>, Heather Shouse has a nice roundup of places to stuff your face full of Paczki (PAUNCH-key), but they didn't mention&sbquo;&nbsp;<a href="http://oakmillbakery.com/" target="_blank">Oak Mill Bakery</a> - one of the leaders in local paczki production. With six bakeries in the region - including a new cafe/bakery in Bucktown - they expect to sell about 80,000 packi...today. I spoke with owner Bogna Solak at her newest location, to talk about this delicious tradition - always held on the Thursday <em>before</em> Fat Tuesday. I also found <a href="http://abclocal.go.com/wls/video?id=5924394" target="_blank">the story I did on them two years ago</a>, so you can actually see how they make the paczki. <a href="/sites/default/files/archives/blogs//Paczki-Day.mp3">Paczki Day</a></p></p> Thu, 11 Feb 2010 07:00:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blog/steve-dolinsky/forget-valentines-day-celebrate-paczki-day Gearing up for Fat Tuesday not so "easy" http://www.wbez.org/blog/steve-dolinsky/gearing-fat-tuesday-not-so-easy <p><p style="text-align: center; "><img class="size-full wp-image-14560" alt="" width="432" height="576" src="/sites/default/files/archives/blogs//IMG_2709.jpg" /><br /><em>crawfish etoufee from The Big Easy (photo by Steve Dolinsky)</em></p><p style="text-align: left; "><code> </code> Well that didn't take very long. Less than a month after opening its doors, chef Jennifer Gavin and <a target="_blank" href="http://www.chicagomag.com/Chicago-Magazine/Dining/Dining-Guide/index.php?neighborhood=Hyde+Park&amp;listing=44959">The Big Easy</a> (not to be confused with Big Easy Cajun at Old Orchard Shopping Mall) have parted ways. Gavin - a former contestant on &quot;Hell's Kitchen&quot; - had been brought in to help overhaul the new menu and concept in the former Jalapeño's/Orly's space in Hyde Park, on 55th St.</p><p style="text-align: left; ">&quot;She up and quit on us, right in the middle of the shift on Saturday afternoon,&quot; said owner David Shopiro.&nbsp;&quot;Jennifer, while a good kitchen person, was more into being a celebrity.&quot; Shopiro said the restaurant was pretty busy this past Saturday, and they were expecting a large group from Operation Push to come in around 1 p.m. Gavin had approached him, asking if she could do an exit interview for the Fox TV folks at 1 p.m. &quot;She told me it would take a few minutes, so I thought, o.k.,&quot; said Shopiro. Next thing he knows, the kitchen is in the weeds, and the team is clamoring for help. Customers were getting upset that the food was coming out slow. &quot;I went to the office at 1:25 p.m., and it was locked, so I was shaking the door, asking her to&sbquo;&nbsp;get off of the phone, and come out to help,&quot; said Shopiro. &quot;By 1:40 p.m., customers were getting pissed off, so I started pounding on door, telling her to give them your phone&sbquo;&nbsp;number and&sbquo;&nbsp;call them back,&quot; an exasperated Shopiro recounted. Two minutes later, he says, the chef walked out to the kitchen, told her boss&sbquo;&nbsp;he owed her an apology for yelling at her, and left the premises.</p><p style="text-align: left; ">For her part, Gavin says &quot;things were getting a little weird, and the situation was not what I had planned on.&quot; She has hired an attorney to assist with her separation from the business. In a <a target="_blank" href="http://chicagoweekly.net/2010/01/22/the-big-easy/">recent article</a>&nbsp;from a U of C publication, Shopiro expressed confidence in his new chef/partner, saying she was &quot;skilled in conversing with New Orleans food.&quot; The restaurant has promoted Assistant Chef Ronisha Preckwinckle (daughter-in-law of alderman Toni) to lead the kitchen from this point forward. &quot;She is meticulous, and is a team player,&quot; Shopiro says. &quot;It's just been chaotic.&quot;</p><p style="text-align: left; ">Odd timing, frankly. Considering most restaurants with any sort of tangential connection to the Crescent City will be going full-bore over the next few days - <a target="_blank" href="http://www.heavenonseven.com/">Heaven on Seven</a>, <a target="_blank" href="http://cajunjoynt.com/">Lagniappe</a>, etc. - the restaurant's mantra and title certainly invite comparisons. After one visit early on, I was more impressed with their etouffee and jambalaya (even with the extraneous chicken breast wrapped around the chicken-and-andouille studded rice), but the po-boy proved incongruous: despite the fact they bake all of their breads in-house, the bread used for a perfectly-fried catfish fillet had as much to do with a true <a target="_blank" href="http://www.leidenheimer.com/history_po.htm">Leidenheimer</a>-style loaf as the Bulls do to a world championship team.</p><p style="text-align: left; ">Now for the real awkward moment: guess who's interviewed on-camera for my story on The Big Easy that <a target="_blank" href="http://abclocal.go.com/wls/channel?section=resources/lifestyle_community/food/restaurants&amp;id=7098198">airs Friday on ABC 7</a> at 11 a.m.?</p></p> Wed, 10 Feb 2010 10:00:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blog/steve-dolinsky/gearing-fat-tuesday-not-so-easy