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Hungry Magazine - All Things Tasty
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Archive for September, 2008

09.30.08

Chowing with the Stars

Bites: News and Miscellany


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ravi

Paging Schwa…The Bristol seems to really like your quail egg ravioli so much they’ve sorta stolen it for their own

Last night the dining room at The Bristol (2152 N. Damen) had more big time ballers than an NBA all-star game. Stephanie Izard held court front and center alongside her season four Top Chef homey, Antonia, while kiddie corner to them Dave Beran, sous chef at Alinea, and John Peters, former sous chef at Alinea and former executive chef of Powerhouse, (turns out Peters is back at Alinea now - spoke to him last night) threwdown over some monkey bread and assorted vittles. I’m not normally one for gossip, but you just don’t often see this much culinary talent in one place, unless someone’s handing out free beer and pork…well, then again maybe they were, who knows.

Anyways, full details on the Bristol next week, but in short, I experienced some Schwa (egg and ricotta ravioli) and Mado deja-vu (communal tables, chalkboard menu, organ meat), the service for this level of casual restaurant is top notch, the cocktails were disappointing, and I had one of my best dishes of the year. It wasn’t even on the menu. I was totally disappointed that the sweetbreads were sold off during the weekend and that there were basically no “fifth quarter” goodies to be seen. More »

09.29.08

Dancing the Sweetango

Bites: News and Miscellany, Faster than Rachael Ray: Product Reviews


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sweetango apple

Sending a pack of apples to a fat man is a lot like sending a case of Coca-Cola to a crack addict, a set-up for incredible disappointment. Once in a while you get lucky though, maybe you find a thirsty grateful crack-ho, or in this case, a curious food-loving fat man who’ll put anything in his craw twice. More »

09.24.08

Inside baseball, or a look at the underbelly of food journalism and the Yelp phenomenon

Bites: News and Miscellany


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This week David Tamarkin of Time Out explores the “online critic” phenomenon.” He interviewed me for the story, and though I’ve edited a bit, what’s below is how I responded to his questions. I figured it might make for another interesting take on how this specific food writer/editor feels about the internet phenomenon and the rush to review restaurants.

Above all, my guiding principle as a food writer and website editor is to try and get a story or review best or right before I get it first. I don’t mind breaking news, and I think it’s a good skill to have, as it means you are paying attention and are plugged in. That being said, my main mission is to explore the craft behind cooking and the culture of dining and provide deeper information about food topics. If I’m breaking news, great, but I’m just as happy providing a new perspective or deeper approach to a topic that’s already been explored. More »

09.24.08

Havana Hideaway

Restaurant Reviews


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cuban sandwich

A few weeks ago, some folks suggested I was an elitist jerk potentially in need of a hooker to loosen up. Most of this vitriol was from readers who took umbrage with my negative review of Yats, the Cajun Creole spot in the West Loop. In response to this hellfire, I went back and checked the last few years of my columns, and the data suggests I’ve spent more time lauding ethnic storefronts and casual spots over high-end fine cuisine. There was no need to call Eliot Spitzer to acquire the Emperors Club VIP hotline. More »

09.22.08

Scenes from an Abattoir

Bites: News and Miscellany


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Monica Eng proves once again why she’s one of Chicago’s best food reporters with this incredible investigative essay on the origin of your meat, aka the slaughter.

09.19.08

The Cupcake Culture Wars

Bites: News and Miscellany


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Bacon Top

I wrote a little ditty on bacon cupcakes from the new Gold Coast boutique, More, for Serious Eats this week. What I didn’t mention in the piece, is that while I love the bacon flight cupcakes, I’m a little more lukewarm on the big guys at More. The small cupcakes, being the size of Hostess minis, have a much better ratio of frosting to cake than the bigger cupcakes. Likewise the bigger cupcakes, while moist and well-flavored, are a bit dense, more muffinlike if you will. More »

09.17.08

How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Science Food

Food Memoir


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for Marco Pierre White

cpop

A sip of liquid soul: caramel corn at Alinea.
(pic courtesy of Lara Kastner and Alinea)

The phrase, “Molecular Gastronomy” is a meaningless construct. From, the roasting of lamb schwarma at a kebab shack to the baking of a soufflé at a temple of haute cuisine, most cooking is molecular. Frying an egg in a cast iron skillet southern grandmother style is molecular gastronomy. Heating a raw egg breaks the molecular bonds of proteins in the yolk, allowing these proteins to unfold so they can bond with other surrounding proteins until the runny yolk becomes solid.

People use the phrase, not for its essential truth, but because they like the syllabic consonance, the sonorous “r’s” rolling into each other. They also use the phrase because it taps a part of basic humanity, our fear of new concepts. In the culinary world, this is nothing new. It’s part of the same cycle that initially vilified cooks like the Troisgros brothers and their Nouveau cuisine or Charlie Trotter, who was once considered a reckless fusionist. Today, these same folks prey on a good deal of the population’s horrid memories of bare survival in high school chemistry or biology by dubbing what a current generation of cooks do as “science food” because it makes great copy. More »

09.16.08

Pro BLT, Anti Gop

Bites: News and Miscellany


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blt tee
.

Chicago super-gourmand Theo Hahn has exercised his freedom of choice regarding mayo, bacon, lettuce, tomato, and bread to produce some cool t-shirts. All profits go to the Obama campaign. Even if we weren’t already supporting Obama, the fact that Cindy McCain cribs her recipes from Gale Gand and the Food Network would convince us to buy this shirt.

09.15.08

My Favorite Things: The Threepeat

Bites: News and Miscellany


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Willi

Willi Lehner of Bleu Mont Dairy

I was concerned that Pat Riley, the former NBA Coach and the only man who used more Brill Cream than my grandfather, was going to come after me with a dream team of lawyers over the title of this column. It turns out though he only owns a commercial trademark on the term “three-peat,” and this column is most decidedly a journalistic one, written for the public good. Yes, it’s true, I’m back with my Oprah-inspired “favorite things” list of food finds I haven’t been able to work into a regular column, but are most definitely worthy of your gullet. Enjoy. More »

09.10.08

Chile

Food History


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Chili Bunch

I think that Christopher Columbus said it best. When he wrote about his first experience with the New World delicacy, chile peppers, he described them as “violent fruit.” More »

09.08.08

Inside the Urban Belly

Restaurant Reviews


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ramen

Urban Belly, Chef Bill Kim’s new Avondale noodle and dumpling house, is decent Asian food for unadventurous pseudo-foodies and hipsters with money to burn. Of course, you wouldn’t know it, as most of the local-eater-and-journalist set are drooling in their noodles and falling over their Twitter and blog-software interfaces and Yelp postings anointing it as the Second Coming. More »

09.02.08

The Publican of The Publican

Podcasts, Profiles in Food: Interviews


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My name is Brian Huston and I will be your purveyor of pork.

As they say in the stock market, past results are no guarantee of future success. That being said, the crew from Avec and Blackbird seems to do pretty well each time out. As a result, the expectations for their newest venture The Publican (845 W. Fulton Market) which opens on September 15, are pretty steep. The man who will be helming that ship is chef Brian Huston. I recently sat down with Huston for this podcast to talk about his early days working on the opening crew at Blackbird, how ruining a Thanksgiving turkey almost ruined him, his love of Chicago sports, and how menu testing for The Publican at executive chef Paul Kahan’s house went awry after a few two many beers. Enjoy the interview.

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: Brian Huston Interview

09.01.08

If Only I Weren’t Married…

Bites: News and Miscellany


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I mean, c’mon, a surprise trip to Alinea…


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