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Hungry Magazine - All Things Tasty
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Archive for February, 2008

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« Previous Entries

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02.29.08

Metromix Gets Froggy with It

Bites: News and Miscellany


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Chris LaMorte gets him some frog at Lao Szechuan. We like the tenor of the column, the personal anecdotes etc and the frog and champagne pairing.

One thing though…LaMorte Writes:

“Thanks to Anthony “I ate the still-beating heart of a cobra” Bourdain, food writers are supposed to fearlessly chomp anything misfortunate enough to be lower on the food chain.”

Having once eaten a goat eyeball, we’ve been thinking about this a lot lately. The reason you eat “weird shit” is that it’s an intellectual pursuit of the palate based on the knowledge that openness will lead to the discovery of the sublime. Internal cuts of meat may be called offal, but they’re anything but, and truly, I’ve never met an organ meat I didn’t like. In fact if Boudin Noir (blood sausage), liver or sweetbreads (calf thymus) are available, I’ll skip the rest of the menu. I think that’s how Bourdain operates. He doesn’t necessarily pursue crazy food to shock, rather to establish relationships, honor the hospitality of cooks, and to discover.

Guys like Andrew Zimmern of Bizarre Foods who are on a mission to eat the nastiest stuff just to get ratings are the ones we have a problem with.

02.29.08

Hopped up on Half Acre

Bites: News and Miscellany


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Andrew Huff and the Gaper’s crew have a good interview with Gabriel Magliaro of Half Acre Beer about price increases on Hops.

02.29.08

Bruno Calls Out Maggiano’s and a Reader

Bites: News and Miscellany


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Last week, we said we’d given up parsing Pat Bruno’s restaurant reviewing for lent, because it just wasn’t fun or even sporting anymore. So this week, a little praise. St. Bruno breaks out the spine and tells a reader he needs to get out more and that Maggiano’s knows diddly about red sauce. I’m not sure I would have gone after the reader, but he’s definitely right on Maggiano’s.

02.29.08

Wall Street Journal Wine Writers Protest Too Much

Grape Pun: All Things Wine


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The Wall Street Journal wine team of Dorothy Gaiter and John Brecher examine what happens in high end restaurants when you request by the glass wine pairings to accompany a tasting menu.

What could have been an interesting nuanced exploration turns into the typical crochety affair of a couple of journalists living high on the hog and their expense accounts hoping to be taken care of at high end restaurants. They seem to be more obsessed with rejecting tables they don’t think are good enough and communing with head sommeliers than parsing their pairings. More »

02.28.08

In Search of Edward Hopper

Bites: News and Miscellany


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Chris Borrelli from the Trib goes in search of a real Chicago diner that represents Edward Hopper’s iconic Nighthawks. Do watch the accompanying video, as Borrelli’s economic and vivid narration is even better than the written piece. He doesn’t find exactly what he’s looking for, and frankly we’re not sure it exists anymore. Though, while there’s no plate glass expanse as in the painting, I’d say Chicago’s closest manifestation is the Ramova Grill. More »

02.28.08

Polish Buffet Smackdown

Bites: News and Miscellany


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Poles like them some garlic. I should know. I am one. My mom was born in small town outside Krakow and I’ve been eating the national cuisine, which is loaded with more stinky cloves than a season of Emeril Live, my entire life. Problem is I developed a mild garlic allergy a few years ago, which makes me achey. Fortunately, what doesn’t kill me and tastes awesome, I plow through. Unfortunately that tactic kicked my ass this week, as I wrote Time Out Chicago’s first ever “Smackdown” feature, pitting Chicago’s polish buffets against one another in order to find the best place for Chicagoans to celebrate Pulaski day..

Eating at nine buffets in two weeks had me throwing down more carbs than Lance Armstrong before the Tour de France. Eating just as much garlic through endless links off kielbasa, stuffed cabbage, and chopped steak had me laid up on the couch with my garlic ache almost every night.

Still, I discovered some great stuff, made friends with at least three Polish Carhart clad contractors (which should come in handy if I ever earn enough money to renovate something), and one babushka clad Polish grandma. Since buffet crowd=octagenarian set, I also rediscovered what it’s like to be the youngest guy in the room again, a feeling I haven’t had since I sat at the kid’s table for Thanksgiving dinner.

Also, I don’t know what it means, but Grota had the only signed photo of an owner with Richard Daley, so maybe that’s where the mayor eats his Polish food…or maybe this is the spot to get your outstanding parking tickets taken care of….if that’s true, you might want to bump Grota up to number #1.

02.27.08

South Loop Tapas to Make Saturday Debut

Bites: News and Miscellany


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On Saturday, March 8 restaurateur Peter Karpinski, of the Denver-based Sage Restaurant Group and Chef Jose Garces are unveiling Mercat a la Planxa, a modern Catalan tapas restaurant and bar at the historic Blackstone Hotel, 638 South Michigan Avenue (at the corner of East Balbo Avenue).

02.27.08

Best Breakfasts in America (that you can write about while stranded in New York)

Bites: News and Miscellany


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Details magazine has a typical impossible “best of” list highlighting the nation’s best breakfast. What makes it interesting is that author JJ Goode is not one of those insipid writers who makes his living off of press releases, as a lot of “best of” writers do. He wrote some great pieces in the recent Morimoto cookbook.

On the other hand, though, he’s got some good places in here, his only Chicago pick is Lou Mitchell’s. Lou Mitchell’s, while it gets cred for its Route 66 history, basically serves average diner fare and hands out the occasional stale Milkdud to the clamoring masses at the door. More »

02.27.08

20 Seconds on 10 Minute Meals and more from the Dining Pages

Bites: News and Miscellany


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Trib makes Rachael Ray’s 30 Minute Meals look as slow as a pre-Subway diet Jared in a footrace with Seabiscuit with their 10 minute meals

Local Boy takes Paris by storm [Trib]

Klas restaurant, old haunt for former mafia and presidents. [Trib]

02.27.08

DIY Latte

Bites: News and Miscellany


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Lisa Donovan of the Sun Times has a nice practical piece on the IKEA frother, aka the Produkt. I love the article, because ironically, while feeling bad about myself last week, I went to IKEA to buy cheap stuff I didn’t need, but that seemed useful and would provide me a ten minute consumer high. The frother was one of them. It works really well, doubling and tripling the volume of milk in seconds. High end kitchens also use industrial versions of these to froth sauces. The frother even makes a decent skimmable food foam if you don’t want to throw down for a whip cream siphon.

02.27.08

Cakespy on Chicago

Bites: News and Miscellany


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Cakespy has an interview with Claudia Saraniecki of Chicago’s Babushka Bakery Saraniecki gives a run down of her favorite dessert places, even talking a little trash about Lakeview’s Bittersweet cafe. Though we tend to agree with her, favoring Bombon, amongst others, ourselves.

02.27.08

From Microsoft to Meat Cookery

Bites: News and Miscellany


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Wired’s Mark McClusky has a nice piece on Nathan Myhrvold (former CTO of Microsoft) and his penchant for sous vide cookery. There’s some really good tips here, most notably the fact that you don’t need a $700 immersion circulator to cook sous vide.

02.27.08

Frank Bruni, New York Homer

Bites: News and Miscellany


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Frank Bruni, the New York Times chief reviewer, ate from coast to coast, scouring America’s newest restaurants (i.e, those opened between Jan 1 and December 31, 2007)

Bruni says:

My trip didn’t shake my conviction that New York is the finest restaurant city in the nation, with an unrivaled range and depth of options. But it was a fresh reminder of all the exciting dining experiences that aren’t duplicated here, and it was a challenge to the smug superiority New Yorkers sometimes feel. More »

02.27.08

Tru: The Next Generation (written redux)

Profiles in Food: Interviews


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TRU sommelier Chad Ellegood. Photo by Lara Kastner

A biochemistry major and an actor walk into a restaurant…

It may sound like a joke, but it actually describes the beginning of a beautiful friendship between Tim Graham, 31, chef de cuisine, and Chad Ellegood, wine director and sommelier, of TRU restaurant (676 North St. Clair). With Executive Chef Rick Tramonto splitting time on new restaurant projects and sommelier Scott Tyree departing for fine-wine retailer Hart Davis Hart, Graham and Ellegood were given the keys to the culinary kingdom last year. More »

02.26.08

Charity Case: La Cocina de Frida

Bites: News and Miscellany


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Gaper’s Block Drive Thru covers La Cocina de Frida 5403 N. Clark St. Their tenor is like pretty much every other critical review in town: not bad, but we can’t wait ’til they move beyond the provisional menu. So when did we start giving restaurants provisional reviews? I’m sure it has something to do with the mom and pop nature of things. Mom and pop or not, if you ask me to give you money, you better bring the goods. I’m so tired of this whole “soft opening” business. You’re either open or you’re not. And if you’re open and you’re not bringing your A game, you’re cheating your customers, bottom line.

02.26.08

Restaurant Outreach, aka Cheap Publicity Ploys

Bites: News and Miscellany


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According to the Trib’s Chris Borrelli, Hamid Benna, owner of the Fiddlehead Café (4600 N. Lincoln Ave., 773-751-1500) in Lincoln Square is looking for customer feedback….

Borrelli says:

“[Benna's] been open 17 months but he’s already been frustrated with the discourse between server and eater … So the past month or so he’s been asking customers to send him their favorite stories of meals that turned into disasters. He also wants to know if you have a favorite ethnic recipe or two. If either applies to you, he would like an e-mail (200 words or less). His favorite story or recipe will win the writer a dinner for two (or, for second place, a wine flight for two).”

You can reach benna at hamid@fiddleheadcafe.com.

We’ve got some feedback for Benna. Bring back opening chef Rob Levitt, formerly of Del Toro, and give him carte blanche to keep cooking with the organic and local ingredients from Chicago’s Green City Market. Offer good food made from good ingredients and then you won’t have to rely on cheesy tactics to bring customers in.

02.26.08

Pasta Portraits

Bites: News and Miscellany


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Local food photographer extraordinare Lara Kastner has been teaching an after school art class as part of Around the Coyote’s teaching series. The class just rocked some Vik Muniz inspired pasta portraits. Next up, portraits in chocolate!

02.26.08

Feeling Your Oats

Food History, Recipes


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Sowing your wild rice. Feeling your millet. Hmmm. Things are just not the same without oats, are they? Actually, in recent generations, oats have enjoyed a better reputation than they have occasionally had in the past. Now that it has been discovered that oats are incredibly good for you, with abundant soluble and insoluble fiber, they are practically revered. It was not always so. More »

02.25.08

Poppin’ Off in University Village

Window Shopping: New Restaurant Openings


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Pop This Popcorn Shop looks to be opening up at 1258 S. Halsted in University Village in “spring 2008″. The gutted interior is still littered with a few UPS and Fed Ex signs from the previous business, so we have no idea if they’ll offer a line free alternative to the Garrett’s madness on the mag mile, but we’re looking in to it.

02.25.08

Paula Deen Assuages Guilt, Donates Factory Pork to Chicago Poor

Bites: News and Miscellany


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Via PR Newswire, Paula Deen donated 30,000 pounds of “meat products” on behalf of Smithfield Foods to the Chicago Food Depository. Though Chicago’s homeless and working poor probably don’t need more cholesterol to nudge them to an early death, we applaud the fact that Deen’s using her pull to get Smithfield to do something good. After all, some food is better than no food. Still it seems like an expensive publicity ploy to get people to look past Smithfield’s track record as a bad corporate polluter and for their poor labor relations. Consider this and this

For an alternative story on responsibly produced swine, check out the latest news on Chicago Reader journalist Mike Sula’s Mulefoot Pigs.


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