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Hungry Magazine - All Things Tasty
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Archive for September, 2006

09.29.06

Black Truffle Explosion is Back

Podcasts


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black truffle

Don’t call it a comeback, it’s been there for years. Grant Achatz’s signature black truffle explosion, the dish that launched his career at Trio is back on the Alinea menu, at least for tonight. It’s not quite like Michael Jordan’s multiple returns to the NBA, but in culinary terms it’s close. Achatz never officially retired the dish, but his vision is to perfect a dish and then replace it, and the storied black truffle course has only been broken out a few times since he left Trio.

I sat down with Chef Achatz this afternoon for an upcoming podcast interview that we’ll post within the next few weeks, and we spoke about the art of retiring dishes, and whether it was a disservice to the diner to do so. You can listen to the five minute podcast snippet below. Don’t mistake the black truffle return as a bit of softness. Achatz is still working tirelessly to develop mind blowing meals. Also, good luck getting a chance to taste the fabled course. Gourmet did just name Alinea the #1 restaurant in America. Also in case you’re wondering, in the snippet below, Achatz references a Victor Pasmore painting on the wall at Alinea. Pasmore is a British abstract artist.

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: Achatz on the Black Truffle Explosion

09.28.06

TRU Character

Podcasts


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tramonto

One of America’s best chefs launched his career at Wendy’s Hamburgers. It’s been a long road since those early days. Rick Tramonto has worked at Tavern on the Green, Gotham Bar and Grill, and Charlie Trotter’s. He’s opened up some of Chicago’s best restaurants including Brasserie T, Trio and the award winning TRU. If that weren’t enough, Tramonto also writes cookbooks with a John Grisham like frequency, and in 2001 he won the James Beard Award for best Chef Midwest.

Instead of resting on his laurels, Tramonto is about to launch four new restaurant concepts including Tramonto’s Steak and Seafood, Osteria di Tramonto, RT Lounge, and along with his long time kitchen partner Gale Gand, Gale’s Coffee Bar. The coffee bar and the osteria are slated to open on October 12th at the Westin Chicago North Shore in Wheeling. We sat down to talk about the new concepts, and as it turns out the Wendy’s beginning isn’t the only surprising thing I learn. Tramonto is remarkably complex, candid, and fascinating. In this interview we talk about spirtuality, family, drugs, divorce, success, the invention of the caviar staircase, and why Mario Batali beat him on Iron Chef.

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: Rick Tramonto Interview

09.25.06

A Roe by Any Other Name

Food History


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caviar on toast

When Shakespeare’s Hamlet said of a play he’d seen, “‘twas caviar to the general,” caviar was barely known in England. Familiar only to gourmets and royalty, it was a fitting metaphor for something the masses could not readily appreciate. Some things have changed during the 400 years since the bard penned those words. Today, refrigeration permits the shipping of this Epicurean delight far from the seas where the roe are harvested. It also permits the use of less salt in the processing. But caviar is still a rare treat that speaks to us, as it did to Shakespeare’s melancholy prince, of sophistication, good living, and scarcity. More »

09.24.06

It’s for Kids

Events


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bruce sherman

North Pond’s Bruce Sherman will be lending a hand at the Healthy Schools Benefit

Healthy Schools Campaign is holding its annual benefit at the Stadium Club at U.S. Cellular Field on Tuesday, Sept. 26. The Healthy Schools campaign is a vibrant and growing not for profit organization dedicated to making Illinois schools healthier places in which to learn and work. The night features celebrity chef demos from Gale Gand of Tru, Bruce Sherman of North Pond, and the youngest James Beard Award winners, Isabella & Olivia Gerasole of Spatulatta.com with plenty of great food cooked up by area culinary arts students. Full details are available here

09.23.06

Don’t Fritter Away this Opportunity

Restaurant Reviews


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apple fritter

Life might be a journey, but sublime food is a destination, and there’s no better destination than the apple fritter at Old Fashioned Donut. People always ask “what’s the best?”, and the answer is usually a subjective handful of choices. Consider it a lock, like the Daley administrations over the last half century, the Old Fashioned apple fritter is the best. These deep fried and super icing slathered concoctions make Krispy Kreme look like the health food section at Whole Foods. Most apple fritters should be called cinnamon spiced donuts, because if you’re lucky they might have one chunk of apple. The fritters at old fashioned are dotted with toothsume hunks and an orchard’s worth of apple perfume. More »

09.20.06

Morning Glory

Restaurant Reviews


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hash brown

The hashbrowns platter at Hashbrown’s

The early morning crowd gathered outside Nookies on Halsted looks like a Boystown rave. I’ve watched people read most of the Sunday New York Times while waiting for a seat at Wicker Park’s Bongo Room. Forget Alinea or Schwa, everyone knows the toughest table in town is Sunday breakfast. More »

09.19.06

Something Extra Special

Restaurant Reviews


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etoufee

Etouffée and all the trimmings at Lagniappe

Before it was settled in the nineteenth century, the South Side neighborhood of Auburn Gresham was once flat swampy land. This might explain why some of the best Cajun Creole cooking outside of the arid Louisiana bayou can be found at Lagniappe restaurant on the corner of West 79th and Justine. More »

09.17.06

Morocco Rocks

Travel


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morocco olives

In the market in Meknes, olives and preserved lemons are stacked in impressive displays

Granted, I fall in love with almost every place I visit, but Morocco really surpassed expectations. It was gorgeous, ancient, evocative, rich in culture, with friendly people and surprising scenery. I saw everything I expected and even more I didn’t expect. More »

09.17.06

Shalada Bortukal-Moroccan Orange Salad

Recipes


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Ingredients

4 navel oranges
2 Tbsp. rosewater
3 tsp. granulated sugar
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon

Method

1) Slice the oranges thinly and spread them on a platter (this can be done in stages, if you don’t have a large platter).

2) Sprinkle rosewater over the oranges. Next, sprinkle the sugar over them. Finally, sprinkle the cinnamon over the oranges.

3) Let chill for about 30 minutes. Toss lightly before serving. (If you want to make a presentation of this, chill oranges with just the sugar and rosewater, and then sprinkle on the cinnamon just before serving. You could also garnish it with a mint sprig.)

Notes

Get really nice oranges. The ones sold in the giant bags, where you get five pounds for $2, are usually not as juicy and flavorful as the ones that are sold individually.

As for the rosewater, pretty much any Indian grocer will sell it. It’s fairly common at the international stores, as well. Or you can find it on the Internet.

09.14.06

Rice-a-Roni, the San Fran…err, Asian Treat?

Food Production


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asian rice steps

Check out this photo essay on the Asian Rice Harvest from Hungry’s Cynthia Clampitt.

09.13.06

Battle Lobster Roll

Restaurant Reviews


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red eats lobster roll

Red’s Eat’s Lobster Roll

Mid-nineties songwriter Juliana Hatfield, whose tune “Spin the Bottle” anchored the Reality Bites soundtrack and Maine’s best lobster rolls have one thing in common: They’re both from Wiscasset, Maine.

Unlike Hatfield, who’s undoubtedly the only major songwriter to hail from the sleepy mid-coastal Maine village, there are plenty of roadside stands and seaside shacks serving up lobster rolls. Hungry magazine stopped at two of the best. More »

09.12.06

Postcard from Salt Lake City

Restaurant Reviews


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crown burgers

Quick, name a regional specialty for northern Utah?

Okay, besides skiing and beautiful vistas of the Wasatch Mountains. Chances are, the culinary peaks of the Salt Lake Valley elude most of us. In fact, talk to most people, and Salt Lake comes off as a cultural and culinary wasteland. Maybe that’s why coming across an example of American fast food greatness in Utah felt and tasted so good. More »

09.05.06

Big Max Attacks

Restaurant Reviews


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big max

Max’s Ghetto Fries

Chicago is the land of the obese, the corporate home of McDonald’s, purveyor of deep dish pizza, slinger of fat Vienna franks, and yet we still cede our title of supreme imperial culinary hedonism to Quebec by not adopting poutine, a cholesterol bomb of French fries topped with cheese curds and gravy. More »

09.02.06

A-maize-ing

Food History


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corn

One thing we are all relatively certain about here in the U.S. is that European settlers learned about corn from American Indians. Right? Well, not really. What they learned about from the indigenous peoples of the New World was maize, not corn. Sound like double talk? Well, as it turns out, the word corn may not mean what you think it does, at least not if you’re an American. The term corn actually means the most important cereal crop of a region. Hence, wheat was traditionally the corn of England, oats were the corn of Ireland and Scotland, rye was the corn of northern Germany, and in South Africa, the grain known as Bantu corn is millet. The term can also mean small, hard seed, which is why the seed from barley is often called barleycorn. When settlers reached the New World, they called the grain grown most commonly by the Native Americans “Indian corn.” Which explains why, even though no one in Europe had seen maize before they reached the Americas, you see references to corn in older literature. Only in the United States is the word corn used to denote maize alone. More »


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