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Hungry Magazine - All Things Tasty
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Feature Archive 'Bites: News and Miscellany'

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« Previous Entries

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Newer Entries »
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10.05.08

Quick Sneak: Province

Bites: News and Miscellany


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trees

Stopped in last week to talk to Nacional 27 vet Randy Zweiban and check in on his new restaurant project Province (161 N. Jefferson - debuts the week of October 13). We sat down for a podcast I hope to debut in the next couple of weeks where we talk about his days as a diamond setter and drummer (he loves Charlie Watts and John Bonham). In a Food Network driven world where young gun chefs crave immediate success, Zweiban has been a serial monogamist, spending 7 years in Florida with Norman VanAken and and a decade with Lettuce Entertain You. It’s refreshing to see a deliberate and very talented guy at work. Anyways I found the mostly finished dining room which features hanging petrified manzanita trees, hot pink accent walls, a glass winecellar like curtain wall, cork and reclaimed wood tables, and breathtaking food photos from Zweiban’s longtime girlfriend Laurie Proffitt to be one of the cooler looking rooms around. More »

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 »

09.22.08

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 »

09.16.08

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 »

09.01.08

If Only I Weren’t Married…

Bites: News and Miscellany


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

08.05.08

Eggs Benediction

Bites: News and Miscellany


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Benny

They say you always remember your first. And were we talking about a kiss, I remember sitting on a recessed bench filled with orange life jackets on the second level of the Boblo Island ferry leaning towards my sixth grade “girlfriend” Monica. I remember the stench of rotting sea life from the Detroit River and the paprika scent of Better Made BBQ potato chips mingling with the floral waft of Giorgio perfume from her neck (though I suspect it was the Parfums de Coeur Designer Imposters knock-off—after all what 12-year-old can afford the real thing?) as we hesitantly merged our lips. Were we talking about sex, I remember that too, but kissing and telling is one thing, getting laid and doing so is quite another. More »

08.04.08

Breakfast of the Future

Bites: News and Miscellany


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rosie

In Chicago you can score foie gras milkshakes and edible seaweed-flavored paper for dinner. Breakfast, though, has remained a relatively familiar selection of eggs, pancakes and bacon. Innovation usually comes in the form of sickeningly sweet towers of chocolate and fruit-infused pancakes or savory breakfast burritos as big as Jay Leno’s head. Breakfast is really one of the last frontiers for culinary innovation. There’s really no master of the flat-top, no diner designer kicking out orange-juice bubbles and French-toast snow to the morning masses. To find out why, I checked in with John Bubala, former chef/owner of Timo, who now teaches classic-breakfast cooking at Kendall College culinary school, as well as Chicago’s top dinner dramatists, Grant Achatz of Alinea, Homaro Cantu of Moto and Graham Elliot Bowles of Graham Elliot restaurant to see why innovation has been slow and what their visions of breakfast look like. More »

07.17.08

One Harley Davidson, Finely Chopped

Bites: News and Miscellany


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Anne Burrell made her debut on the Food Network recently. It was quite a performance. The only thing I can think of that was close was seeing Joe Cocker many years ago with his Mad Dogs & Englishmen at the Fillmore East (re-issued as a CD, it holds up pretty well today). Mr. Cocker, for those too young to remember, was famous for his British workingman’s gritty voice and his bizarre body language. More »

07.17.08

Kahan, Huston Gastropub to be called the Publican, Opens August 18th

Bites: News and Miscellany


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Not to be confused with the name of the party of George W and John McCain, the new beer, pork, fish palace from Paul Kahan and Brian Huston at 845 W. Fulton is called the Publican, aka, “pub owner”. August 18th is the tentative opening date to throw down some hops and get your hog on.

Since we’re talking about Kahan, here’s an interesting fact: His first job was working as a bicycle mechanic at Spoke and Ski in Skokie when he was 15.

Also, if you can’t get enough PK…Face the Wrath of Chef Paul Kahan, August 6, 2008

Blackbird Chef Paul Kahan will visit Juicy wine co., 694 N. Milwaukee, on August 6 to spin a special guest DJ set. Kahan will fish out tasty bites and crunchy tunes from 10:00 p.m. ’til close. The event, which marks the second DJ stint for the chef at Juicy, is free.

07.08.08

Calling for Culinary Common Sense

Bites: News and Miscellany


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Hmmm..how can I contradict myself next? Maybe I’ll totally bash that whole raw food movement I supported. It never caught on anyway.

This article first appeared in Newcity’s common sense issue

Chefs are the new rock stars, and as such, some of them have been honoring that heritage by acting like first-class liquored-up self-indulgent retards. I figured since this is the common-sense issue, I’d try and bring a little balance to all things silly and culinary. More »

07.06.08

Soybeans on Parole (and where to find them)

Bites: News and Miscellany


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Recently, while channel surfing, I happened upon a rerun of “Friends.” Normally a years-old episode of a show well past its prime would not have caught my eye. What brought a halt to my remote however, was the dialogue exchange between always-witty Chandler and the loony vegetarian Phoebe. The episode, in which Phoebe battles pregnancy cravings for meat, finds her moaning, “I tried to trick the baby into thinking I was eating meat by making it a soy burger, but no, I got nauseous,” Chandler quips “Yes, that’s because soy burgers suck!” Soy burgers do suck. Since the dawn of their existence, those frozen grocery store hockey pucks passed off as burgers have given the vegetarian diet a bad name. More »

06.27.08

Trib Live Blogs the Taste of Chicago

Bites: News and Miscellany


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The header says it all.

06.24.08

Snapper in the City

Bites: News and Miscellany, Recipes


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While I abhor Cosmopolitans, the one thing I do love about those ladies from “Sex and the City” is their camaraderie. I suspect their daily meetings, however, are nothing but TV mythology. There’s no way anyone with a real job and life has time to meet with their friends so often. Still, their gatherings duly represent my aspirations of whiling away endless afternoons over drinks, food and banter to celebrate life. And so I do. Since I moved to Chicago, my best friend Aamir and I have made it a pretty regular habit to decompress at various downtown establishments after work. More »

06.22.08

Tracing the Taste of Chiles Rellenos

Bites: News and Miscellany


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Once upon a time, in a land not so far away (a little place called Mexico), the world came to taste a soon-to-be classic meal. Otherwise translated as “stuffed peppers” to the English linguist, chile rellenos are a damn fine creation born and bred in Mexico. Spoken by the god of Mexican cookery himself in his book, Mexico One Plate at a Time, Rick Bayless exalts chile rellenos as the ultimate special occasion meal. More »

06.17.08

Throwdown at the Drawing Room

Bites: News and Miscellany


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Enjoy your victory dude. I’ve got $100,000 dollars and international fame.

Stephanie Izard might be Top Chef America, but is she Top Chef Chicago?

On Sunday night, Executive Chef of The Drawing Room(937 N. Rush) Nick Lacasse edged out Stephanie Izard in a cooking throwdown battle. More »

06.12.08

Sammy Sosa’s Alleged Wine Partnership

Bites: News and Miscellany


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This might be the funniest thing I read all week. Of course, I’m a Sox fan. Then again Kerry Wood, aka Kid 401K, who allegedly smashed Sosa’s boombox with a bat back in the day, would also probably enjoy this.


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