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Hungry Magazine - All Things Tasty
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Archive for April, 2008

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« Previous Entries

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04.30.08

Zweiban of Nacional 27 Establishing His Own “Province”

Bites: News and Miscellany


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Chef Randy Zweiban, the ceviche king of Nacional 27, is set to open “Province” in September at 161 N. Jefferson St. The new concept is described as:

A new American restaurant influenced by the modern, evolving cuisines of South America and Spain. Housed in a certified green building, Province will incorporate green building materials, recycled design materials, low-voltage lighting and Energy Star equipment. Sustainable practices will be followed in the kitchen, from an aggressive recycling program to a composting partnership with a city farm.

Sample dishes from the proposed menu:

House-smoked sable ceviche with Hawaiian papaya $7

House-cured anchovies with celery, Parmesan, arbequena olives $7

Prawn and bay scallop “paella” with saffron and roasted peppers $19

Shrimp and organic grits with manchego cheese $9 (pictured below)

04.30.08

Okra

Food History


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I find that most people are surprised to learn that there is a plant called the marshmallow. It grows in marshy areas and, like most mallows, has pretty flowers—though the flowers are not as showy or large as those of the related hibiscus and hollyhock. The marshmallow has a root that was at one time used to make a creamy confection, which has more recently found itself vaguely imitated by the sugar and gelatin puffs we now buy in bags. More »

04.28.08

Dancing With Tripe

Restaurant Reviews


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All I really know about Romania I learned from Nadia Comaneci, Dracula and those late-eighties/early-nineties commercials depicting squalid orphanages. And I might have kept on thinking that the country was populated exclusively by agile beauties, blood-sucking monsters and doleful children if my favorite burger spot, Kuma’s Corner, didn’t have a two-hour back-up last Friday. More »

04.28.08

Tentori, Poli Pour

Bites: News and Miscellany


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Giuseppe Tentori and Ryan Poli do the guest bartender thing tonight at the Libertine. Bring your clogs and the bourbon’s cheap.

04.23.08

Top Chef: Second City Edition

Bites: News and Miscellany


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Yeah, I’m a pastry chef, but I’m totally aggro, check out my wallet chain.

1 - Top Chef pimps its own cookbook during the quickfire challenge.

2 - After three previous seasons of Top Chef dessert disaster, anyone who doesn’t have a dessert or two planned for this quickfire competition is an idiot and should go home.

3 - Didn’t the wallet chain go out of style in 1997?

4 - There’s something about Richard’s pink shirt that doesn’t jive with his faux hawk.

5 - Spike and Andrew were totally separated at birth…when they were removed from their foster parents’ meth lab.

6 - Now that the chefs have been shopping at the same Whole Foods like ten times, I wonder if the butchers see Mark and Richard and are like “oh god, here comes that abusive kiwi bastard and his punky egomaniacal friend.”

7 - Antonia and Lisa buy chorizo for a Polish sausage challenge…..joke time: How many Spaniards does it take to make a Polish Sausage? Can anyone say Nikki?

8 - Well, since they removed all the electrical equipment from the kitchen, now we’ll discover the “Top Chef to Call During a Power Outage”.

9 - Squash soup, that’s totally Chez Panisse 1977.

10 - Nothing says sexy like the word “log”.

11- There’s a whole bunch of empty and half-drunk Michelob bottles next to full glasses of wine at each diner’s place-setting…that wine must really suck.

12 -When Dale and Richard end up in the final against each other, their man love is going to get really ugly.

13 - Lisa says, the only Polish sausage she’s ever had is cryovaced Turkey sausage? She must hail from the Polish community in Oregon or Berkeley.

14 - I wonder if Tom Colicchio calls his soul patch a “flavor saver”. That would be totally appropriate considering his profession.

15- Jen. She gone. Happy reunion with Zoi time. Stephanie, close shave.

Next Week: Art Smith and Common Threads edition

04.22.08

The Making of a Neighborhood Restaurant

Bites: News and Miscellany


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Chef Rob Levitt makes pasta at mado

We’re the green-market dorks,” says Allison Levitt, chef and co-owner with her husband Rob of the just-opened Bucktown restaurant, mado. Levitt’s referring to the band of chefs who get up at dawn most every Wednesday and Saturday to scour the Green City Market looking for the best responsibly grown food for their restaurant kitchens.

These chefs aren’t who you think they are. There are very few big-time local chefs. Most of those guys drop by occasionally, but usually only for a photo-op. The real “green-market dorks” are more likely line cooks, sous chefs and young restaurateurs, a group of inspired, hungry unknowns. More »

04.16.08

30 Seconds on Top Chef: Tom Colicchio Beloved by the Bears Community

Bites: News and Miscellany


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Hey, you come here often? Nice shoes…

According to some reports, Tom Colicchio is big in the bear community. This week he visits a different kinds of Bears community. Apparently, according to the Top Chef cell phone poll, 50% of America wants to touch him in touch football too.

1 - Koren Grieveson is a guest judge. Bring the Avec love.

2 - Dale says he has no experience pairing beer with food and seems scared. Odd, I thought good chefs trust their palate. Though he’s not nearly as bad as Spike who says, “It all tastes the same to me.”

3 - Quickfire challenge = Anheuser Busch commercial

4 - Stephanie takes a page out of the Hopleaf pagebook, mussels and beer

5 - Spike not only hates women, but now he’s a homophobe. Though he takes a bath with Mark in this episode, so maybe he’s just a self hating closet case.

6 - Richard only likes “refined” food. That’s cool, I only like humble chefs.

7 - Ryan’s making poached grilled pears with creme fraiche? It’s a tailgate dude, not Charlie Trotter’s in 1994.

8 - Richard goes with a gas grill. The dude smokes everything with his porta-smoker, but he wusses out here, odd.

9 - How cute, Paul Kahan and Tom Colicchio wore matching newsboy caps.

10 - I still think Andrew’s on crystal meth.

11 - Richard confirms multiple personality disorder and refers to himself as “we”

12 - Nicky bought sausage and grilled some peppers and onion? Hmmm, the show is called Top Chef, not Top Short Order Cook.

13 - Ryan - he gone. Bit of a shocker. At least he cooked something.

FYI, Potential Spoiler: Pete Wells over at NYT speculates that a female chef might win it all this year. Here in Chicago, my sources tell me that Stephanie Izard hasn’t been looking for a job, and has been cooking a lot of “dinner parties” for friends and other cooks. Sounds like practice for a live finale to me.

04.14.08

mado Makes Debut

Bites: News and Miscellany


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mado (1647 N. Milwaukee), Allison and Rob Levitt’s Bucktown restaurant makes it’s debut today. The Levitt’s vision behind mado reflects the early 90’s DIY spirit of Wicker Park/Bucktown, rather than the hipster mag mile of boutiques hawking $200 shoes that it has become. Their plans remind me of Avec crossed with Lula Café, a spot to grab affordable rustic fare in a casual no fuss setting that’s committed to the farm and the community. Lots of chefs say they’re using farm produce and seasonal stuff, but the Levitts are the real the deal, the antidote to phony Food Network driven celebrity. I’ve got a big profile of the two and the restaurant coming out in Wednesday’s Newcity. In the meantime, check out these photos of Rob Levitt making tagliatelle, the mado kitchen, and early menu templates.

04.14.08

Cinful

Restaurant Reviews


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“You know Jerry Springer? I’ve inhaled with him more than a few times,” says Ed, a displaced Cincinnati architect nursing a glass of red wine at the end of the bar. On my left, a barrel-chested buzz-cut man, another former Queen City native, a national guardsman about to be deployed to Afghanistan, reminisces about lazy afternoons watching Pete Rose and the Big Red Machine at Riverfront stadium. The transplanted faithful are out in force on the first Saturday night of Lincoln Square’s new Cincinnati-style chili parlor and lounge, Cinner’s. More »

04.14.08

Bleeding Heart Cooks Up Top Chef Cupcakes

Bites: News and Miscellany


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Each week, Bleeding Heart Bakery (1955 W. Belmont Ave.) plans to cook up cupcakes inspired by ingredients from the previous week’s episode challenges. Pictured above is fire, a spicy chocolate ganache cupcake with a “bacon” rose from the “earth, wine, and fire” episode.

We’d like to see cupcakes representing each of the personalities and guest judges too. No need for a Padma version though, as plenty of local bakeries cook up beautiful looking, but insipid tasting cupcakes.

04.09.08

First Bite: Big Jones

Bites: News and Miscellany, Restaurant Reviews


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Andersonville is hot. The strip of Clark north of Lawrence and its surrounding blocks are home to Chicago’s best beer bar, Hopleaf, Chicago’s best pastry shop, Pasticceria Natalina, and of course its most beloved if not quite best cinnamon roll at Ann Sather. In the last few months the strip has also seen the birth of La Cocina de Frida, Great Lake pizza, and now Big Jones, a spot for coastal southern cooking out to prove that the south is haute. More »

04.09.08

30 Seconds on Top Chef: East Meets Midwest Edition

Bites: News and Miscellany


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1 - Ming Tsai might be the first guest judge who’s taller than Padma.

2 - Richard “I’m basically the executive chef” Blais and his faux-hawk is an affront to Dale Levitski.

3 - Lisa doesn’t like Dale and Stephanie’s seared beef and deviled egg dish. She would rather pander by cooking Asian food for Ming Tsai…’cause it’s always a good idea to give a sermon to the pope.

4 - I think Team Air should just do a series of foams.

5 - Isn’t Zoi’s name spelled wrong? Shouldn’t Zoi be pronounced “Zoy” and not “Zo-E”…

6 - Spike belies his contempt for female chefs with a smile.

7 - Why does Tom Colicchio put on his chef’s jacket everytime he goes into the kitchen. It’s not like he ever does any cooking.

8 - Tom Colicchio hates shot glass drinks on plated dishes. He and Graham Elliot Bowles probably wouldn’t get along.

9 - I stand corrected. Lisa standing up for herself results in a team win and a trip to Italy.

10 - I’m waiting for Spike to get all alpha male like last week and talk about how security guards are going to have pull him off the set. Maybe his porkpie hat is the source of all his power.

11 - Zoi - she gone.

13 - Top Chef total freakout. Dale vs Lisa. My money’s on Lisa.

14 - Next week, Tom Colicchio proves he’s never been to a football game in his life by wearing a beret with his Bears jersey

04.09.08

Hot Links

Bites: News and Miscellany


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When nutritionists eat at TRU. [SACfoodies]

Kleiner finally opens Park 52 in Hyde Park [Tribune Stew]

Big Jones opening in Andersonville
[Drive Thru]

Get Yer Fruit Beers[Chicago Tribune]

Gaetano DiBenedetto, definitely one of Chicagoland’s underrated chefs, opens a new spot [Forest Park Review]

04.09.08

Trouble in the Henhouse

Bites: News and Miscellany


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As expected, Rosscoe’s chicken and waffles is getting legal heat from the original Roscoe’s in Los Angeles. Kevin Pang over at the Chicago Tribune has the story.

04.07.08

Eaters Up!

Bites: News and Miscellany


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Growing up a Detroiter, there was no mustard-only hotdog religion. The only encased-meat principle that was inviolable was that you got your chili-slathered Coneys at gritty Lafayette, and not the theme-park-like American when you were downtown. With no cultural taboo to hold me back, there were days I ate ketchup on my hotdogs. More »

04.07.08

Restaurant Graham Elliot Menu

Bites: News and Miscellany


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Here’s a sneak peak at Chef Graham Elliot Bowles’ working menu for his new restaurant. As a working menu, it’s always subject to change, but it promises some serious whimsy, including brioche Twinkie croutons, Pabst glazed pearl onions, Budweiser froth, and peach schnapps foam. Reading the menu reminds me of a undercover liquor run in high school.

The snack menu which includes fried pickles with bacon ranch gravy and buffalo chicken wings with bleu cheese foam suggest that this spot is where you might end your night of debauchery instead of where you start it.

Here’s the full menu.

04.07.08

First Bite: Cinners

Bites: News and Miscellany


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Stopped in at Cinner’s (4757 N. Talman, 773-654-1624), the new Cinci style chili joint and lounge in Lincoln Square on Saturday. It’s a swank affair populated with leather banquettes, brushed steel bar chairs, and a red and black lounge lizard lair color scheme. Owner Tony Plum mans the bar and tells stories of his rocker days in California. Most importantly, the chili is good. Though it’s a bit chunkier than typical Cinci style chili, the All Spice and chocolate laden spice profile is spot on, and should prove to sate transplanted Queen Cityites. Stay tuned for more in Wednesday’s New City.

04.04.08

Do Your Taxes. Get Hammered

Bites: News and Miscellany


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Va Pensiero (1566 Oak Ave., Evanston, IL) is offering 15 cent martinis on April 15. Only caveat, “you have to eat dinner”. At 15 cents, even if they’re pouring rubbing alcohol and vermouth, it’s a pretty good deal.

04.03.08

Food and Wine Magazine Names Best New Chefs: Tentori and Grieveson

Bites: News and Miscellany


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Giuseppe Tentori of Boka and Koren Grieveson of Avec were named best chefs by Food and Wine magazine for 2008. Interestingly, there’s only one NYC nod (Michael Psilakis of Anthos).

04.03.08

Barcello’s “Brick” Oven

Bites: News and Miscellany


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Yesterday, Chicago magazine’s Dish reported on Mado restaurant, a new venture from Robert and Allison Levitt (del Toro, La Tache, 312 Chicago, North Pond vets) opening in the old Barcello’s space (1647 N. Milwaukee). Two days ago, I was in the space working on a story (stay tuned) about the new restaurant, I was fascinated by this behemoth of an oven, a 50 year old or so vintage Middleby-Marshall pizza oven that they’d inherited from the old Barcello’s folks (in addition to a trove of icons depicting the Virgin Mary and an old bottle of mezcal with a worm at the bottom). More »


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