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Hungry Magazine - All Things Tasty
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Archive for July, 2006

07.28.06

Seasonal Spirits

Podcasts, Profiles in Food: Interviews


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green drink

Adam Seger is the Charlie Trotter of cocktails. Actually, Trotter doesn’t serve spirits in his Lincoln Park restaurant, so it might be more appropriate to call Seger the Grant Achatz of spirits. The important thing is that Seger, also the general manager and sommelier at the Nuevo Latino restaurant Nacional 27 in Chicago, is blurring the distinction between the bar and the kitchen. He’s leading a wave of mixology that focuses on creating balanced cocktails from farm fresh locally sourced produce, with homemade liquors, aromatic infusions and spiced drink rims. As Seger puts it, “I think about food and how I can translate that to a liquid form.”

A lot of this philosophy comes from Seger’s time working with Rick Tramonto and Gale Gand at Tru and Thomas Keller at the French Laundry. Seger was even hired as the pre-opening GM of Keller’s new york outpost Per Se. For this podcast, Adam and I met at Chicago’s Green City Market so I could see how he constructed his weekly market based cocktail list.

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: Adam Seger Interview

If you would like to read about the experience, view the companion article I wrote for Newcity Chicago here

07.27.06

Still Smoking

Restaurant Reviews


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This article first appeared in Newcity Chicago

boti

Chicken Boti at Khan BBQ

Khan BBQ was a smoky dingy cabbie joint, with cracked ceramic tile, red plastic bench seating bolted to the floor ala Kentucky Fried Chicken circa 1985, and no air conditioning. On a swampy summer day, with the clay tandoor ovens at full charcoal flame, the solitary rickety general-issue floor fan blew more hot air than a Chicago alderman and offered little relief. A year ago, when I first entered the restaurant, an old man with a prodigious white beard took one look, calculated me as a Devon Street day-tripper, nodded towards Hema’s Kitchen across the street, and said “our food is very spicy.” More »

07.24.06

An Eye for an Eye

Food Memoir


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eyeball

This article first appeared in Newcity Chicago

Some people sleep around. I eat around. There’s been brain, kidney, intestine, liver, stomach, tendon, fish eyeball, brain, bone marrow, thymus and pig’s feet. It’s probably not a healthy occupation. Most STDs are treatable. Mad Cow-related maladies are not. According to the Center for Disease Control, “no specific therapy has been shown to stop the progression of these diseases.” By progression, they mean death. More »

07.22.06

The High Cost of Dining

Bites: News and Miscellany


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money

Chicago’s Zagat survey is out. A stat I found interesting…

In line with the Consumer Price Index, the average cost of a meal in Chicago is up an annualized 3.3% since the last Zagat survey (from $31.64 to $33.75) and remains just above the national average of $32.21, but at the high-end, among the twenty most expensive Chicago restaurants, prices went up 6.75%.

Is this top toque hubris and an attempt to gouge unsuspecting foodies? Or is the world market price of black truffles, chanterelles, and liquid nitrogen outstripping the Consumer Price Index?

07.19.06

The Chicken or the Egg

Food History


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chickens

Descendants of chickens that escaped years ago during a tropical storm wander the streets of Key West, Florida.

A chicken in every pot was not first promised by American politicians but by a French king. Henry IV (Henry of Navarre) said, in the 16th century, “I want there to be no peasant in my realm so poor that he will not have a chicken in his pot every Sunday.” Nowadays, chickens outnumber humans worldwide, and just about everybody can boil up a bird once considered so sumptuous that it was forbidden for religious fast days. More »

07.17.06

Browne’s Ale - The Craftsman of Libertyville

Bartender, Pour me a Drink: Alcohol and Spirits


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belgian beer

This article first appeared in Newcity Chicago.

Libertyville is a beer-geek mecca. Aficionados from California, and occasionally Europe, belly up to Mickey Finn’s, a brewpub nestled between a collection of turn-of-the-century Georgian painted ladies with ornate hand-carved wooden crowned roofs. They come to this North Shore community, forty miles outside of Chicago, to taste the biscuity carmel-flavored Maibocks and the banana-perfumed Hefeweizen’s, the signature craft-brewed beers of Greg Browne. More »

07.14.06

Beyond the Gut Bomb (Loop Lunch Alternatives)

Restaurant Reviews


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quesa

Spa Cafe’s Steak Quesanini

This article first appeared in the Chicago Journal

The modern workday is a Sisyphean collection of personal trials. It starts out with you walking bleary-eyed across the rust-colored iron trusses of the Chicago River bridges, or sweltering in overpacked el cars dodging errant briefcases.

Then there’s the descent into the cubicle, the modern sensory deprivation chamber, a fabric box of Post-it Notes and push pins. This is where you spend your first work hour, checking whether the Cubs finally won a game, flipping through the digital New York Times, or reading the latest blog rant in a state of paranoia reserved for citizens of socialist dictatorial regimes. It’s only a matter of moments before your boss arrives with ridiculous demands. More »

07.10.06

A Market for All Seasons

Travel


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atwater berries

Metro Population of Montreal - 3,635,700

Metro Population of Chicago - 9,391,515

Almost three times as many people are breathing in Chicagoland as are in metropolitan Montreal, and yet Montreal has almost four times as many major public markets? I arrive at this math by considering Chicago’s Green City Market as half a market, since it only operates during the summer, and part of the Fall at the Lincoln Park Zoo, while the Atwater and Jean Talon Markets in Montreal operate year round in permanent facilities. More »

07.05.06

The Seed of Life

Food History


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coconut

Tree of Life—it sounds somewhat mythical or mystical, but in many parts of the world, not only does such a tree exist, it exists in abundance. It is the coconut palm, that slender, graceful tree that is so much a part of our image of tropical paradise. While coconut is enjoyed worldwide, for approximately one-third of the planet’s population, coconut is a major food group. It is an essential part of the diet in West Africa, and coconuts and coconut milk are dominant ingredients in the cuisines of southern India, Southeast Asia, Malaysia, and the South Pacific. In many of these places, coconut milk holds a position similar to, and even more important than, that of cow’s milk in Western cultures. While most of us in the West think of coconut as a confection, it is important enough in the Eastern hemisphere to be considered a world staple and one of the planet’s most important food crops. More »


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