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Hungry Magazine - All Things Tasty
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Archive for March, 2008

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03.17.08

Cucumbers

Food History, Recipes


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In the United States, when one speaks of “gourds,” the thing that seems to come most readily to mind is something inedible that shows up in centerpieces around Thanksgiving time. But the gourd family is large and varied, and it includes a number of very edible members, including melons, squash, and cucumbers.

Cucumbers are among the world’s oldest cultivated vegetables. Archaeologists have found evidence of cucumbers growing around human dwellings dating to 7750 BC.—and that places cucumbers pretty close to the dawning millennia of agriculture—at least until the next big dig finds something earlier, as seems to be the case these days, with increased interest in and research of early foodways. But at present, it looks like we’ve been intentionally growing cucumbers for nearly 10,000 years. More »

03.15.08

First Bite: Rosscoe’s House of Chicken and Waffles

Bites: News and Miscellany, Restaurant Reviews


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It’s not often you wait two and a half hours to eat for ten minutes. The persistent mass of humanity waiting patiently in the lobby on opening day at Rosscoe’s Chicken and Waffles made the weekend brunch crowds at Wishbone and Bongo Room look like fun. Based on crazy demand (the line rarely thinned out in the three hours we we’re at the restaurant), we’d venture, at least for today, that Rosscoe’s was probably hotter than Schwa or Alinea. More »

03.14.08

First Bite: Rockstar Dogs

Restaurant Reviews


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Rockstar Dogs, which finally opened this afternoon after a license delay, is the culinary version of a vodka ad or maybe more appropriately the Hard Rock Cafe. A lot of money got spent trying to inject personality in to what is otherwise a mediocre overpriced commodity. More »

03.13.08

Salmon

Food History


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At one time, lobster was considered a pest, caviar was given away free in American bars, and salmon was so cheap that Charles Dickens wrote that salmon and poverty went together. In fact, only a few centuries ago, employee contracts contained clauses limiting the number of times workers could be fed salmon. Things change. More »

03.13.08

Chicago Chef Loses Virginity to a Lionel Ritchie Song

Bites: News and Miscellany


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Which Chicago chef bid farewell to virginity to the sweet sounds of Lionel Ritchie, or was it Styx? If you want to find out, check out Thrillist Chicago’s awesome chef trivia game built around chef’s porn star names, their guilty pleasures, what music they lost their virginity to and so much more.

03.13.08

Lushes Start a Blog and Other Hot Links

Bites: News and Miscellany


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The Lush Wine and Spirits team has launched a wine blog. Looks promising.

Chicago Gluttons might be one of the most original critical food voices in Chicago. On the other hand that makes this site sometimes not safe for work or delicate folks.

Heather Shouse gets the goods from local musicians on what restaurants they hanker for when on tour. [Time Out]

Who knew, there’s a Chicago Pizza Club? They check out legendary Pizza Bianco in AZ.

03.13.08

Trib Food Critic Upstaged by 10 Year Olds

Bites: News and Miscellany


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There’s that old W.C. Fields adage that you should never work with animals and children. Phil Vettel should have heeded it. This week the Trib runs dual reviews of Reel Club from the crochety godfather of culinary expense accounts alongside the wide eyed much less jaded commentary of two 10 year old kids, Louie Asimow and Charlie Norton. We like the concept. Trib should go long term with it. Keep Vettel and let him broadcast his cranky missives to the Myron and Phil’s and expense account set, and let hungry young guns like Monica Eng and Chris Borrelli loose to pen a few critiques that might finally bring the young and adventerous demo back to the paper. More »

03.12.08

Forked Over

Bites: News and Miscellany


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I’m pretty sure Alan Richman, the GQ food writer, would piss on a homeless man begging him for change. After all, in 2006, a year after Hurricane Katrina, he kicked a devastated New Orleans in its rocky mountain oysters and tore the city apart for its listless and uninspired cuisine.

Prior to that attack, I’d admired his prose. Though, in the back of my mind, I’d always felt he was kind of the Marilyn Manson of food critics, a satanic puppeteer fully aware of both sides of an issue, but intent upon picking the side that would incite the most hate and vitriol. It was precisely this skill that kept him relevant and regarded. More »

03.11.08

Compliments to the Waiter

Bites: News and Miscellany


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Julia Moskin has an interesting piece in the NYT about how chefs are also doubling as servers. Michael Carlson of Schwa gets some ink.

03.11.08

30 Second Commentary on Top Chef Chicago

Bites: News and Miscellany


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The dreaded moment has come. Top Chef Chicago airs tonight on Bravo. Since everyone else is going write about the whole thing ad nauseum, this will most likely be my first and final word on the topic. The show deserves some credit over other reality shows like say Hell’s Kitchen, because the talent is unmistakably legitimate, and the production values are high. More »

03.11.08

Chefs on Film (and the web)

Bites: News and Miscellany


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Regina Schrambling has a nice comprehensive article on the emergence of chefs blogs for the Los Angeles Times. Since blogging is kinda 2005, we’d like to point you to our favorite use of new media, Moto pastry chef, Ben Roche’s Alley Chef series. Though he doesn’t say it, we view the video as a thinly veiled commentary on the state of food television, where hacks like Sandra Lee use processed corporate garbage to turn out semi-”homemade” food.

03.10.08

First Bite: Chato’s Chicken and Mashed

Bites: News and Miscellany


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Due to a recent story I wrote for the Sun Times and my fat Elvis like inability to turn down anything that swims in hot oil, I’m in a perpetual state of deep fried hangover. Today I decided to kick the habit with some healthier rotisserie style fare in Little Italy. More »

03.08.08

First Bite: Mercat a la Planxa

Bites: News and Miscellany


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It’s a tough call on what was more surprising about my Saturday night…the fact that a 190 seat Michigan Avenue hotel restaurant run by a guy who spent the last few years building a culinary empire in Philly was mostly spot on in terms of service and food on a packed opening night, or that later in the night, some dude managed to play the Miley Cyrus song Best of Both worlds on the jukebox in a Greg Louganis super triple flip high dive of Logan Square dive bars without starting a fight. It turns out that it’s the former. More »

03.07.08

Not Smoking Kills

Bites: News and Miscellany


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I’m a little behind on my Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations on the Travel channel, but last night I went for the TIVO double banger and checked out the London/Edinburgh and Greece episodes. Fans, may know that Bourdain quit smoking last year around the time his daughter was born. Watching the new episodes and seeing a sneering Marco Pierre White and the Morcheeba dude blow smoke in his face while Bourdain keeps it straight-edge is a whole new sensation.

The thing is, we’ve also noticed that Bourdain has been killing more animals lately. In the England episode, he drops a deer and gets annointed with blood by Marco Pierre White, and in the Greece episode, he obliterates a quail from 10 feet away with a shotgun. We wonder if maybe the 38 years of nicotine followed by six months without has Bourdain on edge? Bourdain flashes a sheepish grin like a stripper after getting another dollar bill shoved in her g-string, after his every kill, so we’re pretty sure he’s not enjoying it. Someone get him some nicorette, stat.

03.07.08

Tavern Spirit

Bites: News and Miscellany


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Chicagoist loves West Town Tavern. So do we. We can’t get enough of it’s accessible prices and come as you are welcoming spirit, and tasty reasonably priced food. Add in fried chicken night on Mondays, some of the cities best duck confit, and, well, why aren’t you there already?

Susan and Drew Goss, the husband and wife, who run the place built West Town on the idea of what they’d love in a neighborhood place. As a result, they attend to every detail from filling out the wine list to making sure the dog water dish outside is filled for neighborhood pups.

We interviewed Goss last year for Centerstage, here are some excerpts from that Q and A:

What do you wish you could change/pickle about the Chicago restaurant scene?

The variety of neighborhood restaurants. There aren’t a lot of cities where you can get amazing food, so much ethnic variety and all at a decent price from owners who have an incredible commitment to their customers. My partner, Drew, and I love to explore different neighborhoods like Chinatown. I love Evergreen restaurant; they have great seafood. We also like the South Side barbecue joints, like Lem’s.

What would your last meal be?

A bottle of Bollinger Special Cuvee with a perfectly roasted chicken and potatoes cooked in duck fat, all served in bed.

What Chicago chef would you like to share a kitchen with?

I share my kitchen every year for a fundraiser to benefit the Greater Chicago Food Depository. It’s called the “Girl Food Dinner,” and this year on June 10, I’ll be cooking with Jackie Shen from Red Light, Stephanie Izard from Scylla, Christine McCabe from Park Grill and Missy Robbins of Spiaggia. If you’re nice, not uptight, down to earth and love to eat, I’ll share a kitchen with you.

What’s the can’t-miss dish at your restaurant?

It used to be the duck confit, but now we do a fried chicken special. I always wanted to cook it, but I’m a fried chicken snob and a purist, so it took a while. Now on Monday nights you can get a leg, breast and thigh with sauteed swiss chard, my great grandmother’s buttermilk biscuits, garlicky mashed potatoes and wild mushroom gravy (which includes seasonal mushrooms—currently hen of the woods, hedgehogs and shitakes).

03.06.08

Naan-Stop Fun at the Indian Buffet

Bites: News and Miscellany


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Fauzia Arain has an informative piece in the Trib on how to navigate an Indian buffet. She has some good recs on local buffets. We’d add the great spread at Khyber Pass, 1031 W. Lake St., Oak Park.

03.06.08

Lovin’ Lockwood

Bites: News and Miscellany


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Phil Vettel hoists a pretty heavy three stars over to Lockwood restaurant , turning a tide of bad restaurant reviews for the Palmer House Hilton’s newest culinary addition. Vettel’s review, which gives cultural context for luxury dining at the hotel is pretty entertaining and one of his best this year.

03.06.08

Tasty Political Ads

Bites: News and Miscellany


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Spotted on the back of a Pace Bus in Schaumburg

03.05.08

Two Dudes and a Big Wiener

Bites: News and Miscellany


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Trib reported earlier this week regarding a huge wiener in front of the Hancock building being used to promote Johnsonville brats and Food Network’s Two Dudes Catering show. If you can’t make it out for the shindig, you can see the set-up here.

While we’re on the subject of Two Dudes: If you haven’t seen the show, Jon Shook and Vinny Dotolo are some of the funnest guys to land on the network since Duff of Ace of Cakes and Jamie Oliver came back on the scene. Though they probably skew a little too stoner for some, the fun, passion, and unfussy way they cook their hearts out is our idea of what food is all about.

03.05.08

An Offal Lot of F-Bombs

Bites: News and Miscellany


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Photo:Michael Harlan Turkell

Chris Cosentino, the king of offal, drops more f-bombs than George Carlin in a stand-up routine, but he should. He’s totally right about using the whole animal when we cook. Enjoy.


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