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Hungry Magazine - All Things Tasty
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Archive for August, 2006

08.28.06

Modern Comfort

Restaurant Reviews


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jibarito

The Jibarito from Borinquen Lounge

It took ethnic comfort food to make me forsake my own mother, but, Puerto Rican jibaritos (hi-bar-itoes)–deep fried plantain sandwiches–and Vietnamese pho (fuh)–beef tendon soup–have displaced her chicken noodle and grilled bologna and cheese in my personal comfort-food pantheon. If you ever saw my mom tenderize a recalcitrant pork chop or bring the gleaming business end of her Wusthof cleaver to bear on bloody tenderloin, you’d know that I’m betting a whole lot on the notion that the mother and son bond will keep me safe. More »

08.22.06

Red Sauce Reminiscence

Restaurant Reviews


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gnocchi

Gennaro’s Gnocchi

Gennaro’s is the kind of restaurant no one writes about until it closes.

It’s not the oldest restaurant in the city, it doesn’t have liquor license number one, they don’t dip the Italian sausage in liquid nitrogen and the interior doesn’t look like a Frank Gehry dream of imploding stainless steel. It’s just an old red-sauce emporium in Little Italy whose stoop is darkened by the shadow of the ABLA power-plant tower and the crumbling remains of Jane Addams Homes. More »

08.18.06

Cheap Wine, Oh So Fine

Grape Pun: All Things Wine, Podcasts


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Cameron Hughes

This week I sit down with Cameron Hughes, the man some folks are dubbing the robin hood of wine. Hughes owns no vineyards, makes no wine, but he has an inside connection to some of the best wineries that do. The way the model works is many top wineries produce wine that either doesn’t fit in to their profile or they make too much of a wine. That’s where Hughes steps in. He buys up the excess lots and then markets them under his own label and sells them direct on his website or through Costco. Because Hughes bypasses traditional middle men and marketing fees, he’s able to offer incredible wines for about $10 bucks.

Now I know this all sounds too good to be true. I was skeptical myself. I’m very concerned about craftsmanship and it seems that if this excess wine was any good, it would be selling, or the wineries would market the wines themselves. I don’t know why I decided to listen to Hughes. I guess part of it was the Two Buck Chuck, or Charles Shaw cheap wines phenomenon. While I don’t drink it everyday, Charles Shaw is a good drinkable wine and it’s cheap. I was curious why I’d want to pay more. As you’ll hear in the interview, there is no comparison. Hughes wines are superior to Charles Shaw and only for a few bucks more.

If you are in Chicago, Hughes will be in store at the Lincoln Park, Glenview and Oakbrook Costcos this weekend telling his story. My personal favorite was the Lot 14, a nice spicy 2003 Merlot.

If you have Adobe 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: Cameron Hughes Interview

08.16.06

Toro, Toro, Toro

Podcasts


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Andrew Zimmerman plates Octopus Terrine

Andrew Zimmerman once played music for 10,000 people, recorded with famed Producer Steve Albini who’s recorded PJ Harvey, Nirvana, and the Pixies, and played a guitar Kurt Cobain once used. He gave up his music career, and now rocks it out in the kitchen at Chicago’s Del Toro restaurant, a gourmet Spanish influenced small plates restaurant.

If you have Adobe 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: Andrew Zimmerman Interview

08.15.06

Taste of the Nation

Serve: All Things Sustainable or Charitable


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bin 36

A chef from Bin 36 serves up cheese at the Taste of the Nation Gala-Photo:Tuan Bui

Eat, drink and be a hero was the constant mantra at Monday night’s Share Our Strength’s annual Taste of the Nation gala. Held across the nation in 60 cities, Chicago’s version took place at the stylish River East Art Center. According to Billy Shore, Executive Director of Share Our Strength, the event showcased food and drink from 23 of the city’s top chefs, drawing 500-600 guests and raising $100,000 in the name of ending world hunger. Share Our Strength is a charity that funds food banks and advocacy efforts that help feed hungry children across the nation and the world. It was founded in Washington, D.C., in 1984. More »

08.15.06

Go Inside Taste of the Nation

Serve: All Things Sustainable or Charitable


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Go inside Share Our Strength’s Taste of the Nation Benefit (3:18 min)

In order to view the video, you need Macromedia Flash installed. If you do not want to install it, you can watch a regular slideshow from Hungry magazine photographers Tuan Bui and Stacy Smith of Taste of the Nation.

08.11.06

Getting Fresh with a Cocktail

Bartender, Pour me a Drink: Alcohol and Spirits, Recipes


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margaritaI’ve given cocktails short shrift. I’m a descriminating gourmand, who’ll travel a thousand miles just to eat a local specialty, but when it comes to the bar, I’m more likely to amble a couple of blocks, and ask for my old standby of bourbon and Coke.

Lately though I’ve been spending some time with bartenders who pursue mixology with the same dedication as top chefs. These guys are focused on seasonal ingredient driven cocktails filled with chopped farm fresh fruits and vegetables.

I don’t know why it took me so long to have an epiphany. Whenever possible I’m looking for farm grown heirloom tomatoes for caprese salads or local creameries for my milk, and yet I think nothing of using mixes full of corn syrup, sodium benzoate, shelf stable gums, and artificial colorings for my drinks. More »

08.08.06

A Matter of Taste-The Summer of Foie Gras

Bites: News and Miscellany


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This article first appeared in Newcity Chicago. Pics are taken from my 12 course foie gras tasting at Avenues restaurant in May.

foie torchon

Asparagus with bacon bits, confit duck egg, and foie gras torchon

If karma truly governs the universe, then someday my prostrate body will be pecked to death by a quacking covey of bloodthirsty Moulard ducks. I am a foie gras eater. More »

08.04.06

It’s All Greek

Food History, Podcasts


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gyro

This week we try something different, with a little reporting piece on the history of greek restaurant staples the gyro and flaming saganaki. Believe it or not, flaming saganaki, Opaa, and the whole theatrical production was invented in Chicago on Halsted St in the 1960’s at the Parthenon. The Parthenon also played a role in popularizing the gyro in Chicago by giving it away as sort of a free amuse course in the late sixties.

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: Saganaki History

08.02.06

Pepper: King of Spices

Food History


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turkish spices

Istanbul’s famous Spice Bazaar, still pungent with spices today, was at the eastern end of the Spice Route.

The recorded history of pepper goes back farther than that of any other spice, with Sanskrit texts testifying to its use by the peoples of India more than 4,000 years ago. The Aryans of the Ganges valley were the first to export wild pepper, but the spice appears not to have reached the Mediterranean until the 5th century B.C. It was the first Oriental spice to reach Europe, and it was an immediate hit. More »


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