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Hungry Magazine - All Things Tasty
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Archive for February, 2009

02.27.09

On Coffee

Bites: News and Miscellany


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One of my favorite M. Doughty (former lead singer of Soul Coughing*) songs is Busting Up a Starbucks. Not because I REALLY dream of kicking in the windows of the local franchise of the twin-tailed siren and taking my frustrations out on a couple of baristas. It has more to do with using ironic appreciation of extreme notions as a way of salving my general ennui toward the company formed on the basis of unexamined ideas about Starbucks being a bad corporate citizen. More »

02.26.09

Ruling Rhizome

Food History, Recipes


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Helen of Troy may have been a great beauty, but spices have launched more ships. The world has pursued big, exotic flavors for almost as long as the world has eaten—and among big, exotic flavors, almost nothing surpasses Zingiber officinale, better known as ginger. Ginger was one of the “big three” spices (along with black pepper and cinnamon) for which everyone, for most of recorded history, wanted to get to the Far East. More »

02.25.09

Top Chef Finale Live Blog/Abducted by Twitterati

Bites: News and Miscellany


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Those of you looking for the usual Top Chef hijinx should direct your browsers over here at 8:30 - 9 p.m. where I will be joining a stellar crew of local food personalities to live blog the finale. Also, if you haven’t heard, I’ve (Mike nagrant) finally been co-opted in to the Twitterati. So if you really want to hear what I sound like when I don’t have an editor, follow my stuff. In the meantime, I’ll throw down some pre-show odds:

“Sideshow” Carla Hall - Even money

If we’ve learned anything this season, Tom Colicchio really only digs cooks who cook like he does, i.e New American simple seasonal, and though it’s not called Top Chef New American, it pretty much is, and Carla, once the dark horse, is the favorite.

Stefan “Panzerboy” Richter - 2-1

Though as he contested last week, Top Chef is not a “butt rubbing contest”. Unfortunately, as he’s learned all too late, it is. So if Stefan can do a little butt rubbing, skip the smoke breaks, and stick to the Nicorette, he’s probably the most talented of the group.

Hosea “I did not cheat on my girlfriend” Rosenberg - 3-1

The other remaining member of team chromedome has got more whine than the cellars at at Chateau Margaux. While he’s talented enough to win, we’re not professional bookies, and so we’re letting our complete and utter disdain for him cloud our oddsmaking and making him the longshot.

02.23.09

Spicy Smackdown

Restaurant Reviews


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With all the truth-seeking, moneyed, mid-life-crisis-experiencing entrepreneurs “climbing” Mt. Everest, it’s surprising there hasn’t been a nationwide boom in Nepalese cuisine. After all, in the late 1960s and early 1970s when the counter-culture got tired of smoking peyote and mainlining Mexican mezcal, they returned to the States bearing larded beans, chimichangas and burritos as big as your head. But, while young reformed hippies needed to build a life and make some money, flush hedge-fund managers don’t quite need sidelines beyond month-long sojourns to the Turks and Caicos or weekend benders at Maybach dealerships. And so our nation suffers a culinary debt. More »

02.23.09

Spicy Subido

Profiles in Food: Interviews


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It always amazes me how the quiet folks tend to have the most spitfire personalities. There’s so much more beyond the surface; so much to be discovered. Kristine Subido, chef of Wave Restaurant and Bar located in the W Hotel on Lakeshore is just this kind of “timid firecracker”. After serving as banquet chef and executive sous chef at the restaurant, Kristine graduated to executive chef four years ago. And she’s been sculpting her Mediterranean-inspired masterpiece ever since. More »

02.18.09

30 Seconds on Top Chef: Old Porno Movie Edition

Bites: News and Miscellany


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Eez Top Chef, Not Top Hot Funny Italian Chef

1 Fabio’s mohawk is awesome. Fabio just beats out Richard and Dale for Top Mohawk.
2 I guess this mean’s Top Chef New Orleans next season. Also awesome.
3 It’s Top Chef, not Top Chef Second Chance.
4 Why would you make something you’ve never made before, Leah?
5 I’m amazed Jamie isn’t doing creole dusted scallops or scallop gumbo.
6 They should have let the remaining contestants choose who gets back in by a blind tasting of their dishes.
7 Jeff is back. Good thing he didn’t do crawfish ceviche.
8 Yeah, I’m sure the New Orleans tourism center picked Korbel champagne for their gift basket.
9 I’m so tired of Hosea.
10 “This is not a butt-rubbing contest” – Stefan
11 Once again, Top Caterer rears its ugly head. Advantage Stefan.
12 Beware the ghost of Spike and Tramonto! Avoid the producer planted frozen seafood from Emeril’s walk-in.
13 That’s absurd. Sideshow Carla is about to shuck 100 oysters for a catering event. I hope she’s cooking ‘em, cause she’ll lose the liquor.
14 I love how Colicchio always dons the blue chef jacket even though he’s not cooking.
15 Hosea’s more insecure than Anna Nicole Smith.
16 Don’t trust a chef who doesn’t drink.
17 Dude, they kicked Toby Young to the curb in favor of my super crush, Gail.
18 Why can’t Jeff, a high end chef, say chipotle right? Why can’t anyone? Chi-pot-lay, not chi-pot-el, not chi-pol-te.
19 Interesting, Hosea’s home restaurant is named Jax, which ironically was an old school southern beer.
20 Jeff gone. Fabio gone. Milli Fusili broken up. Blame it on the rain.

02.17.09

Guy Talk

Restaurant Reviews


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How many guys does it take to make a great burger? Based on my recent experience at Five Guys in Oak Park, it’s definitely more than five. Of course, quantity probably doesn’t matter, as McDonald’s Corporation employs hundreds of thousands of people and they’ve yet to get it right. More »

02.15.09

The Name Game

Food History, Recipes


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What’s in a name? Well, if you’re a food item, it might be anything from a description of your appearance to a regional or historical association to an expected reaction. For example, ladyfingers looked to someone like long, female digits—though in Britain and the U.S. this sobriquet identifies narrow strips of golden cake, while in India it refers to okra. More »

02.11.09

30 Seconds on Top Chef: Fabio is not a Top Pussy

Bites: News and Miscellany


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I was robbed.

1 – Sideshow Carla says she used to model…eyeball model for Cocaine monthly?

2 – Ironically, Fabio did exactly what Wylie does at his restaurants by faking an egg in a sweet application, but Wylie didn’t like it. Maybe that’s how his customers feel?

3 – I can’t believe Leah’s buying challah for her Benedict. Seriously, make your own bread component. There are only four components in the dish. The ghost of Paul Kahan asking why the Top Chefs didn’t make their own sausage from last year’s tailgate echoes in my head.

4 – “I got so many kick in my ass, that sometime when I’m in the bathroom I still poop shoes out of my ass.” - Fabio

5 – Can you imagine the beautiful baby Marcus Samuelsson and Padma would have? The kid’s cheekbones would be higher than Snoop Dogg after smoking an ounce of chronic. (I fully realize this something Toby Young would say)

6 – Holy cow. Stefan might be going home? Can you say Salmon-gate? Did Stefan really overcook his salmon, after being technically brilliant most of the show?

7 – I wonder if Lidia Bastianich’s orange rimmed glasses were a gift from Mario Batali?

8 – “It’s top chef, not top pussy.” - Fabio

9 - Toby Young had nothing to say at dinner with Pepin, Samuelsson, Colicchio, Bastianich, etc, suggesting he was intimidated because he truly knows very little about good food. Young validates this by asking for “crispy” texture on his potatoes at judge’s table. Traditional dill potatoes in Sweden are boiled.

10 - Top Chef is pretty predictable. Cook simple food simply and you win.

11 – Leah, she gone, invalidating the judge’s protestations that past performance has no bearing on current elimination. I’m pretty sure she was better than Stefan tonight.

02.11.09

Parsing Palestinian Olive Oil

Everybody Loves Pommelo: Noteworthy ingredients, Food Production


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You wouldn’t expect some pita and olive oil to set off a bout of soul searching. But, take a good hard look at that bowl of oil, because there could be a whole lot of blood, sweat, and tears behind it. More »

02.08.09

Sweet on Senegal

Restaurant Reviews


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I don’t know if Diaw Sow, owner/chef of Café Senegal in Rogers Park, has seen “Field of Dreams,” but she clearly doesn’t agree with the movie’s tagline that if you build it, they will come. Or, rather: if you cook it, they will come. Because the restaurant is so new and because of her concern for freshness, she’s waiting for customer traffic to increase before she expands her selection. As a result, though her French-inflected West African-style printed menu features forty or so items, you’ll likely only be able to order a handful on any given night. More »

02.08.09

Hungry Magazine Goes Legit

Bites: News and Miscellany


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Friday Night, Nick Digilio, 720 AM WGN late night maestro and his producer Andy Hermann had a momentary lapse in judgement and they allowed me, Hungry magazine editor, Michael Nagrant, on real radio. Seriously though, Digilio knows his food, and I was privileged to spend some time talking about Top Chef, Gordon Ramsay, Cafe Senegal, and condensed soup. If you missed it, check out these podcasts of the show

Part 1 Nagrant Interview
Part 2 Nagrant Interview
Part 3 Nagrant Interview
Part 4 Nagrant Interview

02.04.09

30 Seconds on Top Chef: Pablo Escolar Takes out Jamie

Bites: News and Miscellany


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May I gut Hosea like this fish?

1- I wonder if Eric Ripert highlights his hair that way, or is it natural? “Oui, I will have zee zalt and pepper Jorge Clooneey frosted teeps.”
2– Stefan is a bit Hannibal Lecteresque in his bloodlust for killing eel

3– I think Stefan is going to overcook the lobster by just chucking it in water. My guess is Ripert coddles that shit like it’s the Hope diamond. (Or not, Ripert seems to like it)

4– Leah and Jamie should just go home, get some coffee, and share bad attitudes together.

5– Who knew I’d miss the days when Toby was riffing on Tropic Thunder? His spontaneous stuff is somehow more contrived than his canned stuff. Pablo Escolar? I wish Escobar was here to avenge the affront.

6– Jamie, she gone. Clearly top chef wants a couples showdown between Milli Fusili and Lesea (or is that Hosleah)

7- Next week, Jacques Pepin and Wylie Dufresne arm-wrestle

02.04.09

A Happy Pig Makes a Beautiful Ham

Food Production


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Written by Urban Nilmander, Photos by Carin Tegner

For millions of Spaniards, gourmet chefs in Spain, Paris, Chicago and New York, there´s no doubt: Spanish cured ham in general and the ham from Jabugo in Andalucia in particular, made from happy, black pigs bred on only acorns and grass, is the best in the world. More »

02.02.09

For the Love of Cookbooks

Cookbook Reviews


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My wife and I likely have over 500 cookbooks. They line the bookcase shelves in the kitchen, dining room, and den. Years ago, we had a carpenter build a kitchen–long shelf a foot and a half below the ceiling, and now it’s lined with the balance of 38 + years worth of acquisitions. More »


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