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Hungry Magazine - All Things Tasty
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Archive for April, 2006

04.30.06

Getting My Fix

Restaurant Reviews


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Slider

Buffalo Slider with foie gras mayo

Fixture (2706 N. Ashland Ave.), a modestly priced small-plate American restaurant, literally sticks out from its neighbors on a somewhat bleak strip of road. Surrounded by a row of dirtied-by-years-of-Chicago-weather white buildings, its solid black, boxy storefront juts out closer to the street. Had I not already been on my way there for the grand opening party, I would have stopped out of pure curiosity. More »

04.29.06

Demolition

Bartender, Pour me a Drink: Alcohol and Spirits


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Demolition BeerFor me, the taste of spring is a smooth citrusy ale.

Last week as I was picking up a six pack of my spring standby, Bell’s Oberon, I chanced upon a stark black and white labeled brew from Chicago’s Goose Island craft brewery. I had never seen it before, but it turns out that’s because Goose Island only does a limited batch run every year in May, and this brew isn’t widely distributed. According to the label:

“Back in the early ’90’s, our landlord went bankrupt and they tore down the mall surrounding the original Goose Island Brewpub. Sure, we were still open, but who would know it with all the demolition going on. We had giant wrecking balls careening around, the walls were shaking… it was tough. We lost a good part of our business for a year, and if not for the most loyal of our customers, Goose Island would have closed. To honor those brave souls, we brewed a strong, golden ale called Demolition. It was so good and so popular, we’ve brewed it every year since (I even served it at my wedding!)” -Brewmaster Greg Hall

It’s brewed with Saaz and Styrian hops. Saaz hops are “noble” hops, which means they’re high in aroma, but low in bitterness, while Styrian hops tend to lend spiciness and earthy grassy flavor. Both of these characteristics come out in the Goose Island Demolition. It’s a balanced beer, with orangey notes, a brighter citrus taste than the compareable Oberon, but with a nice spicy palate zinging spicy finish.

I found it at Trader Joes here in Chicago. If you don’t live in Chicago, check with your specialty beer retailer. The beer is aptly named, because if you don’t go out and buy some now, the supply will probably be demolished until next spring.

04.27.06

Surgeon of Saltaus

Podcasts, Profiles in Food: Interviews


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Nader Salti

Sometimes it’s easier to save a life than serve a diner.

This is some of the wisdom I recieved from Nader Salti, a Jerusalem born practicing surgeon, who owns and operates Saltaus restaurant in Chicago’s West Loop neighborhood in his free time.

In this week’s podcast we talk about street food in Jerusalem, the challenges of restaurant entrepreneurship, and Saltaus chef Brad Phillips, previously of Nomi and Blackbird restaurants.

If you have Macromedia Flash installed, you can play the file right on this site, below, by pressing the play button. If not, download the file and play it on your PC or on an MP3 player here: Nader Salti Interview

Check out our photo slideshow of Saltaus by photographer Tuan Bui.

04.26.06

Forget the Drug Dealers, Save the Ducks

Bites: News and Miscellany


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rubber duck

It’s official, according to the Chicago Sun Times, the city of Chicago has banned Foie Gras. The amazing thing is they did it without Mayor Richard Daley’s backing. Could it be that the Daley’s iron grip on city politics has been foiled by Foie? Read About it!

04.26.06

Coffee Cream Éclairs

Food History, Recipes


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Eclair

In Boston, some folks consider the proximity of a Dunkin Donuts franchise when purchasing a new home. According to a short New Yorker piece last year, allegiances to a particular store can be measured in the number of steps it takes to reach the front door. More »

04.23.06

Eating My Way Through the East Coast

Bites: News and Miscellany


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lobster tail

When the folks at Hungry Magazine offered to let contribute to their site, I couldn’t wait to dig in. I figured with the original writers all based in Chicago, I could bring another angle to the site with some East Coast flavor. More »

04.21.06

Blackbird Cooking in the Dead of Night

Podcasts, Profiles in Food: Interviews


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Paul Kahan

If Paul Kahan was a musician, he’d be a critic’s indie darling. Kahan makes a career of flying below the radar, all the while turning out sublime cuisine. Even though he won the James Beard award for Best Chef Midwest and was named Food and Wine Best New Chef in 1999, he skipped the limelight, avoided writing ego driven cookbooks, and focused on his craft. In contrast to his fellow Food and Wine Best New Chef classmate, Rocco Dispirito, there was no reality show restaurant meltdown for Kahan.

Like an indie band, Kahan makes sure he’s saying something with his art. He pays attention to the politics of the plate, using organic products, developing relationships with independent purveyors, and always respecting seasonality. This is no mere lip service. Kahan was instrumental in building up Chicago’s Green City Market which supports small family farms.

Along with Charlie Trotter and Rick Bayless, Paul Kahan and Blackbird paved the way for independent restauranteurs and played a role in defining Chicago’s current fine dining scene.

Fans of Kahan will be exicited to hear he may be opening a gastropub in Chicago later this year. In our podcast we talk about the vision for this new concept, sustainable agriculture, meat cures, the power of chefs, the influence of architecture on food, and whether chefs take themselves too seriously.

If you have Macromedia Flash installed, you can play the file right on this site, below, by pressing the play button. If not, download the file and play it on your PC or on an MP3 player here: Paul Kahan Interview

Check out our photo slideshow of Blackbird restaurant and Paul Kahan by photographer Tuan Bui.

04.19.06

Snacking with the Drunken Chef:Sun-Dried Tomato, Goat Cheese, and Walnut Crackers

Recipes


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sund dried tomato

Drunken chefs like me need to have a little something to munch on with a bold glass of wine. This is an almost no-cook recipe, and it’s easy to assemble. Try it if you’re hanging out with friends or if you’ve got a last-second engagement. Don’t forget the wine…no matter what Paul Giamatti says in Sideways, skip the Lindsay Lohanesque overexposure of Pinot Noir, and pair this app with a Shiraz, maybe a 2003 Mclaren Vale, either the Tintara or the Tapestry. More »

04.14.06

Soul of a Food Writer

Podcasts, Profiles in Food: Interviews


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Michael Ruhlman

Writer Michael Ruhlman - Photo by: D.T. Ruhlman

If the writer thing didn’t work out, Michael Ruhlman could have always opened a restaurant. On the afternoon I interviewed the writer and James Beard Award winner, he cooked a lunch of sweet cured confit pork belly which we ate on crusty French bread with Dijon mustard and a few glasses of Pinot Noir. It was exceptional. Thankfully, his food writing is even better.

Ruhlman penned The Making of a Chef, a behind the scenes look at what it takes to make it at the Culinary Institute of Arts, and The Soul of a Chef, a profile of top chefs including Thomas Keller of the French Laundry in Napa Valley.

His new book, coming out in May, The Reach of a Chef , examines Grant Achatz of Alinea in Chicago, Masa Takayama of Masa in New York City, and topics like Food Network’s impact on the culinary world.

Ruhlman also coauthored the French Laundry Cookbook, Bouchon, and Charcuterie:The Craft of Salting, Smoking, and Curing.

In this podcast we talk about, the impact of chef driven cuisine, whether chefs are artists, food personalities like Anthony Bourdain and Chef Thomas Keller, and charcuterie.

If you have Macromedia Flash installed, you can play the file right on this site, below, by pressing the play button. If not, download the file and play it on your PC or on an MP3 player here: Michael Ruhlman Interview

04.13.06

West Side Bounty

Food History


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West Side Market

Cleveland’s West Side Market

Do you want to know the secret of life?

Shop at your local farmer’s market. Whether its the oceanic bounty of Pike Place in Seattle, the organic and sustainable Midwestern greens at Chicago’s Green City Market, or the iron rich meats at Cleveland’s West Side Market, the secret can be found.

Public markets are the last bastions of family owned and operated businesses, granting individualized service and a celebration of seasonality, community, and craftsmanship. It’s good to go where unripe green tomatoes and oranges aren’t gassed with ethylene, where the rainbow of colors at the market signals produce at its peak, ready to be shared at the communal table. Public markets are celebrations of humanity bringing even the most jaded urbanite closer to the mineral rich soils of the heartland.

Check out our photo slideshow of the West Side Market in Cleveland’s Ohio City Neighborhood founded in 1840. The permanent building profiled in these pictures opened on Halloween in 1912.

04.12.06

Cleveland Cooks

Restaurant Reviews


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Chef Rocco Whalen of Fahrenheit

Chef Rocco Whalen

Like a geographic Rodney Dangerfield, the Midwest gets no respect.

Our culinary consciousness, much like our artistic one, veers to the coasts. Whether it’s the California stylings rooted in locally grown politically vetted food of Chez Panisse or the celebrity studded tables of Mario Batali’s neo-Italian empire in New York, there is often no in-between. More »

04.11.06

El Bulli Gores the Fat Duck

Bites: News and Miscellany


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bull

Nothing starts an argument quicker than subjective objectivity.

The 2006 list of “The World’s 50 Best Restaurants” has been released.

Ferran Adria’s gastronomic science institute, El Bulli, tops the list. El Bulli charged at, and knocked the quack out of last year’s winner, Heston Blumenthal’s Fat Duck

North America clocks in at #4 with Thomas Keller’s French Laundry, rounded out by Keller’s Per Se at #8, Jean George’s at #16, Chez Panisse #20, Charlie Trotter’s at #26, Le Bernadin #32, and Gramercy Tavern at #45.

Surprising not to see Grant Achatz’s Alinea making a run at the top 50, but young upstarts don’t make any appearances on this list. It could also be the fact that the North American committee was headed by John Mariani, who previously wrote off Alinea in his best new restaurants article for Esquire. Then again, Charlie Trotter was on the North American committee too and he only garnered #26.

04.10.06

A Flan for All Seasons

Restaurant Reviews


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flan

Lelolai bakery’s coconut flan


I hate champagne.

Well, I used to. On a preposterous whim, I asked my folks to get me a bottle of Dom Perignon to celebrate my college graduation. My dad took me seriously and came through with the trademark bottle - a dark shade of green, almost black, bearing the golden shield marking the house of Moet. I stared at it reverently for almost a year, in two separate apartments, as an unmistakable talisman of the fine things to come. More »

04.07.06

Symon Says

Podcasts, Profiles in Food: Interviews


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Mike SymonBesides my Polish grandmother, no one, except Chef Michael Symon, has done more for the humble pierogie. Using his father’s recipe, Chef Symon incorporated the lowly dumpling into gourmet cuisine by stuffing it with lobster and crab. Chef Symon calls upon his heritage, whether it’s his mother’s Greek and Sicilian ancestors, or his father’s Eastern European roots , and refines the best examples of those cuisines. He also likes to throw in a dash of Cleveland, avoiding pretension and striving for accessibility in his food.

At Lolita and the soon to reopen Lola in Cleveland, along with his New York City venture Parea, Chef Symon is practicing what might be classified as New Midwestern Cooking, a unique style that has earned him honors such as Food and Wine Best New Chef, a James Beard nomination, multiple appearances on the Food Network including an Asparagus battle with Iron Chef Morimoto, and even his own chapters in the book, Soul of a Chef.

In this week’s podcast, I spoke with Mike Symon about curing his own meats, James Beard, his Iron Chef dream ingredient, and what’s going on in his new restaurants.

If you have Macromedia Flash installed, you can play the file right on this site, below, by pressing the play button. If not, download the file and play it on your PC or on an MP3 player here: Michael Symon Interview

04.04.06

A Diner is Worth a 1000 Pictures

Bites: News and Miscellany


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Hungry Photographer Tuan Bui captured the food at Chicago’s Eleven City Diner in this slideshow


pastrami

Mmmm…Pastrami

04.04.06

Bravo for Opera

Restaurant Reviews


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Opera Interior

The wacky interiors of Opera

If you were binging on absinthe and someone dropped you in the alleyway of a Beijing brothel, it would probably be pretty akin to dining at Opera restaurant in Chicago’s South Loop. More »

04.03.06

La Sardine, Offally Good

Restaurant Reviews


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bouillabaise

La Sardine’s Bouillabaisse

I never met an organ meat I didn’t like.

This has become my eating mantra. It makes me sound like a culinary bad ass and makes the chicks swoon. Food network chicks anyway. More »


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