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Thursday, May 28

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Recipe Wed May 27 2015

Pickling Watermelon: A Refreshing Summer Dish

6848901867_8ef2b40439_z.jpgOne thing that pops up after large floods--besides animal corpses and mold in your walls-are watermelons. After the waters recede and sunshine glares upon the wet earth, watermelons begin appearing in the oddest places--on the side of roads, in the front yard. It may be just a Southern thang, but what a wonderful thang it is.

Because watermelons produce so much waste, one trick I learned during my childhood was pickling watermelon rinds. Sweet and tender, these rinds pair well with grilled pork, ramen, and pretty much anything. So here's one more recipe for the pickling movement:

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Judy Wu / Comments (0)

Event Mon May 18 2015

Farmers Markets Opening for Business

I don't think it's going to snow anymore, so it's time to look forward to the opening of the city's many farmers markets this month and next.

Already Open:

  • Green City Market (Clark & Lincoln), Wednesdays and Saturdays 7am-1pm

  • Daley Plaza Farmers Market (50 W. Washington), Thursdays 7am-2pm

  • Division Street Market (Division & Dearborn), Saturdays 7am-1pm

  • Lincoln Park Farmers Market (2001 N. Orchard), Saturdays 7am-1pm

  • Beverly Farmers Market (95th and Longwood), Sundays 7am-1pm

  • 61st Street Farmers Market (6100 S. Blackstone), Saturdays 9am-2pm

  • Logan Square Farmers Market (3107 W. Logan Blvd), Sundays 10am-3pm
  • May:

  • Federal Plaza Farmers Market (Adams & Dearborn), Tuesdays 7am-3pm (starting tomorrow)

  • Andersonville Farmers Market (1500 W. Berwyn), Wednesdays 3-8pm (starting May 20th)

  • Edison Park Farmers Market (6730 N. Olmsted), monthly Wednesdays 4-8pm (starting May 27th; June 24th, August 26th, September 30th, October date TBD)

  • Pilsen Community Market (1800 S. Halsted St.), Sundays 9am-2pm (starting May 31st)
  • June:

  • Lincoln Square Farmers Market (Lincoln, Leland & Western), Tuesdays 7am-1pm (starting June 3rd)

  • Low Line Farmers Market (Southport Brown Line Station), Thursdays 3-8pm (starting June 4th)

  • El Conuco Farmers Market at Humboldt Park (California & Division), Saturdays 10am-3pm (starting June 6th)

  • Horner Park Farmers Market (2741 W. Montrose Ave.), Saturdays 9am-1pm (starting June 6th)

  • Portage Park Farmers Market (Berteau & Central), Sundays 10am-2pm (starting June 7th)

  • Glenwood Farmers Market (6950 N. Morse Ave.), Sundays 9am-2pm (starting June 7th)

  • Loyola Farmers Market (6550 N. Sheridan), Mondays 3-7pm (starting June 8th)

  • Fulton Market Farmers Market (Fulton, between Peoria & Green), Wednesdays 4-8pm (starting June 10th)

  • Northcenter Farmers Market (Belle Plaine, Damen & Lincoln), Saturdays 7am-1pm (starting June 13th)

  • Garfield Park Community Market (200 N. Kedzie Ave.), monthly Saturdays 10am-1pm (starting June 13th) and monthly Thursdays 10am-1pm (starting June 18th)

  • Edgewater Farmers Market (1200 W. Norwood Ave.) Saturdays 8am-1pm (starting June 13th)

  • Jefferson Park Sunday Market (Lawrence & Long), Saturdays 9:30am-1:30pm (starting June 14th)

  • Wicker Park Farmers Market (1425 N. Damen Ave.), Sundays 8am-2pm (starting June 14th)

  • Bridgeport Art Center Farmers Market (1200 W. 35th St.), Saturdays 7am-1pm (starting June 20th)

  • Printers Row Farmers Market (Dearborn & Polk), Saturdays 7am-1pm (starting June 20th)

  • Southport Farmers Market (1420 W. Grace), Saturdays 8am-2pm (starting June 20th)

  • Garfield Park Conservatory Farmers Market (300 N. Central Park Ave.), Sundays 11am-4pm (starting June 21st)

  • South Shore Farmers Market (Rainbow Beach Park, 3111 E. 77th St.), Sundays 1-5pm (starting June 21st)

  • Willis Tower Farmers Market (233 S. Wacker Dr.), Thursdays 7am-3pm (starting June 25th)

  • South Loop Farmers Market (1936 S. Michigan Ave.), Thursdays 4-8pm (starting June 25th)

  • Englewood/Anchor House Farmers Market (71st St. & Racine Ave.), Saturdays 8am-1pm (starting June 27th)

  • The Back of The Yards Community Market at The Plant (1400 W. 46th St.), Saturdays 11am-3:30pm (starting June 27th)

  • West Humboldt Park Farmers Market (3601 W. Chicago Ave.), Saturdays 10am-2pm (starting June 27th)

  • Perry Avenue Community Farmers Market (5749 S. Perry Ave.), Sundays 10am-2pm (starting June 28th)

  • Columbus Park Farmers Market (Harrison & Central), Tuesdays 2-7pm (starting June 30th)
  • Robyn Nisi / Comments (1)

    Foodporn Fri May 15 2015

    Friday Foodpic: Doughnut Vault Truck

    17430933949_42aa37ee90_z.jpgPicture by Brule Laker from the Drive-Thru Flickr Pool.

    Robyn Nisi / Comments (0)

    Event Wed May 13 2015

    During Fire Repairs, Baker Miller & The Winchester Pop Up to Benefit

    Winchester Baker Miller Pop-Up.jpg

    Operating a restaurant is no easy task. Fires don't help, either. So is the case of The Winchester in East Village, which closed its doors due to a small fire on May 3.

    According to the official statement:

    "Due to a small electrical fire that took place at The Winchester early Sunday morning (May 3), the restaurant will be closed for an indefinite period of time. We hope to be up and running in the near future and appreciate your patience with us while we undergo repairs. No one was injured in the incident."

    The Chicago restaurant community is known for banning together when one of their own faces trouble, and Baker Miller, the grain-centric sweet and savory bake-house in Lincoln Square (4610 N. Western Ave), has graciously opened its doors for a pop-up benefit this Saturday, May 16 in support of the staff.

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    Brandy Gonsoulin / Comments (0)

    Foodporn Fri May 08 2015

    Friday Foodpic: Meatball Sub from Pompei

    IMG_2145.jpgSubmit your pics to the Drive-Thru Flickr Pool.

    Robyn Nisi / Comments (0)

    Random Fri May 08 2015

    Before They Were Culinary Stars

    When I saw a picture on my Instagram feed several weeks ago of some of Chicago's most notable chefs gathered together looking up at what appeared to be a restaurant opening, I expected to hear more later. Turns out, they weren't awaiting a restaurant opening, they were filming a scene for "The Chef Whisperer," a whimsical parody casting some of Chicago's top chefs and Beard nominees that debuted at Monday's James Beard Awards.

    The mini film starring some of Chicago's top chefs chronicles Carl Stankowski, aka "The Chef Whisperer," played by Second City's John Hartman as he leads us through how he uncovered and guided chefs to their true talents -- pulling Rick Bayless out of a career dedicated to slinging burgers and fries with "I see Mexican," recommending that Stephanie Izard "use the whole pig and not just the pretty parts," and discovering Alpana Singh's palate at the age of seven, saying she "shouldn't waste it on juice boxes."

    Brandy Gonsoulin / Comments (0)

    Review Tue May 05 2015

    Old School Dining at Tortoise Club

    rsz_dsc_0171.jpgNestled adjacent to the Museum of Broadcast Communications, Tortoise Club is a masculine, mahogany-paneled restaurant with an old-school vibe. It's where Ron Swanson could sit alone under the dim lights, eating steak and drinking a couple of glasses (bottles?) of bourbon. In addition to classic steakhouse fare, the restaurant also offers unusual American twists like pheasant pie with foie gras, wild boar Bolognese, and bourbon barrel meatloaf. The menu also contains rare sightings for the nostalgic diner, including oysters Rockefeller, creamed spinach, and baked crab dip.

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    Judy Wu / Comments (0)

    Beer Tue May 05 2015

    Rub Shoulders with Brewers at New "Beer Social"

    beer-and-big-shoulders.jpgIf you're passionate about beer, you like to talk about it. But rarely does the opportunity arise to talk directly with the people who make that beer. A new event series at Hopleaf hopes to change that.

    On Tuesay, May 12, bartender Mark Bullock premieres Beers and Big Shoulders, a monthly "beer social" that introduces beer lovers to local craft brewers in an intimate setting. The special guests will be Ed Marszewski, founder and owner of Marz Community Brewing, and his brewers, Eric Olson, Tim Lange, Eli Espinoza and Alex Robertson. Bullock will conduct a brief interview with the brewers about their beers, plans for the future and the local craft beer scene in general, then open it up for audience questions.

    "It'll be a loose interview scenario with a Q&A session to follow -- and then you can hang out afterwards and talk to everybody and drink some more beer," Bullock said.

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    Andrew Huff / Comments (0)

    Foodporn Fri May 01 2015

    Friday Foodpic: Roeser's

    16672632124_86c03d6b67_z.jpgPic by Adrienne Cragnotti from the Drive-Thru Flickr Pool.

    Robyn Nisi / Comments (0)

    Review Fri May 01 2015

    Firecakes Launches Kool-Aid Collaboration

    IMG_0164[1].jpgNearly every culture has a version of fried sweetened dough. Look doughnuts up on Wikipedia and you'll find a 15,000 word treatise describing doughnuts from across the globe.

    Here in America--and specifically in Chicago--we have been doing a comprehensive exploration of the vast donut macrocosm in recent years. From the classic: old fashioned; cruller; long john to the exotic: milk chocolate pudding with a raspberry glaze and milk crumble; maple glazed and pretzel; lemon pistachio old fashioned--we have run the gamut of donut varities here in our fair city. Witness: wonut, cronut, dossaaint; donut ice cream sandwich; donut burgers...the list goes on and on.

    So, imagine my delight to learn of a new donut collaboration with a unique flavor profile. Firecakes Donuts has teamed up with Kool-Aid to launch their new Cherry Kool-Aid Donut. And to celebrate, the local chain welcomed a visit from the favorite iconic childhood mascot, The Kool-Aid Man, to their local shop and a food truck stop on Friday morning.

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    Jeanne Newman / Comments (0)

    Beer Thu Apr 30 2015

    Best Beer Brewing Classes in Chicago

    rsz_events-friends.jpgAs food and drink trend towards artisanship and simplicity, craft beer is leading the movement in Chicago. Numerous breweries have opened in Chicago during the last three years, and booze fests become larger (and drunker) each year. Brewing beer is complex chemistry, as there are multiple ingredients and steps that must be executed carefully to create the perfect product. The process isn't easy, and that's why I've listed five educational resources that will help you brew your first beer:

    Brew Camp
    Brew Camp is a small homebrew shop in Lincoln Square and Evanston. Their mission is simple and straightforward: "We have everything you need to make great beer & wine. We teach classes, We throw private events, We talk about brewing." Their introductory Making Beer at Home class goes over the basics (equipment, ingredients, techniques) and costs only $20 dollars for 1.5 hours of instruction. Brew Camp also has more advanced classes, like all-grain brewing ($20 for 2 hours) and kegging workshops ($10 for 30 minutes).

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    Judy Wu / Comments (0)

    Foodporn Fri Apr 24 2015

    Friday Foodpic: Cutting Pasta

    17224297772_26b278a743_z.jpgPicture by Seth Anderson from the Drive-Thru Flickr Pool.

    Robyn Nisi / Comments (0)

    Feature Tue Apr 21 2015

    "Cookie Love" Uncovers Dessert's Best-Kept Secret

    cookielove.jpgThe first line of the introduction to Mindy Segal's newest cookbook Cookie Love (Ten Speed, $25) is all you need to know for understanding why this is required reading for all bakers: "I am a cookie nerd."

    Yes, the celebrated pastry chef, James Beard award recipient and owner of Bucktown's Hot Chocolate knows where the real thunder of desserts rumbles -- the cookie. Why? It's versatile in all ways, from a standard chocolate chip, a shortbread with a delicate layer of sugar, or a delicate macaron. The cookie's flexibility has puzzlingly made it an overlooked item when it comes to fine dining menus, banished to being the backup dancer for panna cotta. Segal clearly has a different perspective, taking cookies all over the sensory and flavor map--a cornmeal shortbread dotted with crushed Corn Nuts, a graham cracker and passionfruit whoopie pie cookie, a strawberry rhubarb rugelach with oatmeal streusel (recipe at the end of this article), even a recipe for pumpkin dog biscuits brushed with meat drippings. The ingredients used in Cookie Love span from the recognizable to the average baker (Folgers crystals, peppermint candies), to ones that require trips to specialty stores for things like an Ateco Pipe #826 or orange blossom water. Each recipe requires work and attention; even the batch of simple snickerdoodles I made last night had me making dough very differently (read: less carelessly) than normal as I followed the instructions to Segal's word. It was work, but the results were delicious. If we're going to heighten the food, we heighten the technique.

    Each entry is paired with a thoughtful story about its origins: a family recipe, a request from a bartender for a good oatmeal scotchie, a regular customer whose kids get walked back to the kitchen to pick out their own cookies from the cooling racks -- and is sometimes paired with technical shop talk on how to build on Segal's recipe, like how to chocolate-ify her take on a Fig Newton whose filling consists of figs cooked in port wine and honey. Segal clearly takes her subject matter seriously, and reading through Cookie Love, you'd forget that these cookies are baked daily and served at Hot Chocolate alongside an equally good full menu. Segal intends to release more cookbooks down the line of a single subject, so every item on her table will get their due.

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    Robyn Nisi / Comments (0)

    Video Tue Apr 21 2015

    Don't Try this at Home: the "Big Max"

    McDonald's has been rolling out ordering "Create Your Taste" ordering kiosks in some stores that allow you to customize your hamburger. Oddly, the system appears to allow you to only get up to two hamburger patties and one bun, but "10X" everything else. Moshe Tamssot, founder of MakeItFor.Us, decided to see what resulted from maxing out all of the options. The resulting $25 monstrosity weighed 3.8lbs and included what looks to be two whole tomatoes.

    Andrew Huff / Comments (0)

    Foodporn Fri Apr 17 2015

    Friday Foodpic: Manhattan

    16838243709_45b27b7cb8_z.jpgPicture by Seth Anderson from the Drive-Thru Flickr Pool.

    Robyn Nisi / Comments (0)

    Feature Tue Apr 21 2015

    "Cookie Love" Uncovers Dessert's Best-Kept Secret

    By Robyn Nisi

    The first line of the introduction to Mindy Segal's newest cookbook Cookie Love (Ten Speed, $25) is all you need to know for understanding why this is required reading for all bakers: "I am a cookie nerd." Yes, the celebrated...
    Read this feature »



    Thu May 28 2015
    Eat to the Beat: Chicago Academy for the Arts

    Sat May 30 2015
    Lincoln Park Wine Festival @ Jonquil Park

    Sat May 30 2015
    Story Sessions Brunch @ City Winery

    Sat May 30 2015
    Eating Vincent Price @ Kendall College

    Sun May 31 2015
    Lincoln Park Wine Festival @ Jonquil Park

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