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Saturday, October 10

Gapers Block

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Foodporn Fri Oct 09 2015

Friday Foodpic: Red Popcorn

21744063771_51a54ee6c9_z.jpgPicture by Seth Anderson from the Drive-Thru Flickr Pool.

Robyn Nisi / Comments (0)

Openings Wed Oct 07 2015

Corridor to Open on Southport Corridor

corridor brewery

The team behind DryHop Brewers open their newest project, Corridor Brewery & Provisions, on Thursday Thursday, Oct. 15 at 3446 N. Southport Ave. The new spot, just a few doors north of the Southport Brown Line stop, will be open from 5 to 11pm on its first day, and 11am to midnight daily from there forward.

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Andrew Huff / Comments (0)

Foodporn Fri Oct 02 2015

Friday Foodpic: Stuffed Pumpkin

21649726738_ca7ac5a6c9_z.jpgPicture by Mel Hill Photography from the Drive-Thru Flickr Pool.

Robyn Nisi / Comments (0)

Random Fri Oct 02 2015

Pro Chef Kitchen Hacks

octopus with knives

I was recently asked to contribute my favorite kitchen trick for another publication. I couldn't stop at one, though, so below are another 20-plus for Gapers Block readers. You and your food will benefit by following these helpful kitchen hints, and in the meantime, bon appétit.

Layer flavors by seasoning as you go. Everything should taste delicious on its own. At the end, adjust seasonings to your taste. 

The right knife for the job. A knife should feel balanced and comfortable in your hand and should be the proper type and size for whatever you're doing. You don't fillet fish with a paring knife any more than you'd use a large cleaver to devein shrimp. Also, make certain whatever knives you use are sharp. It's worth it to have them professionally sharpened as needed. Many accidents occur when overcompensating for a dull blade. 

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Alan Lake / Comments (0)

Column Thu Oct 01 2015

Backwards Thinking Spoils the Broth


There is a difference between men's and women's approaches to food. I can't help noticing the food that women love: regional, instinctive cooking that is not being celebrated in the top-fifty lists. The loving, nurturing side of the trade, the instinctive side -- and, I would say, the feminine side -- is being forgotten.

--Chef Margot Henderson (Rochelle Canteen, London)

Somewhere underneath the dense layers of sexual generalizations, a familiar point emerges: women are underrepresented in kitchens. Surprise. In "Where Are All the Women Chefs?," Chef Henderson echoes a repetitive message, unique only in the sense that it's chock full of mundane stereotypes and fossilized nostalgia. Henderson asks why women aren't running more kitchens, given their inherent love for cooking and nurturing. Her theory is that it's because two types of cooking exist: a male kind and a female kind.

She explains that the loving, nurturing, and instinctive aspect of cooking is no longer part of the culinary trade. Quasi-science follows suit: "I think it's ancient. I think it goes right back to the Stone Age. Women produce food; men provide food. In other words, we breast-fed while the men went out and hunted. Both were necessary. We needed both to survive. And both are still in our instincts. Our anatomies decided that."

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Judy Wu / Comments (0)

Restaurant Thu Oct 01 2015

Firefly Kitchen in Wilmette Has Moxie

firefly.jpgWhen it comes to restaurant options, Chicagoans are very spoiled. We have everything. If you're like me, you probably even have the city organized not by the things you want to see or do, but by what and where you want to eat next. A food map of the city is an excellent idea, but how far out does your appetite extend? Does it cover the whole Chicagoland area? Yes, friends, believe it or not, there are actual, real live restaurants in the suburbs. Many of these eateries are incredible and not to be missed like the newly opened Firefly Kitchen.

Firefly Kitchen, is a Brooklyn-inspired upscale neighborhood bistro located at 111 Green Bay Road in Wilmette. The restaurant builds upon Chef Dean Salerno's Bronx upbringing and experience opening five NYC restaurants, as well as his successful Firefly Events and Catering business located here in Chicago. Trained in classic French, creative American, and Pan-Asian cuisine, Chef Salerno's menu offerings include comforting dishes like Roasted Organic Chicken with Potato Croquette, Grilled Romaine Steak Salad, Hibachi Skewers served on a tableside grill, and multiple styles of house cut fries and chips.

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Jeremy Owens / Comments (0)

Chicago Gourmet Tue Sep 29 2015

Filipino Feast Surprise & More at Chicago Gourmet

rsz_dsc_1544.jpgEach year, I attend Chicago Gourmet with a different goal. Year one: eat all dem stuff. Year two: Eat less stuff, attend all the seminars. This year, I wanted to find new dishes--ones that would astound me and make me come back to the restaurant that served it.

Truthfully, that goal was surprisingly difficult to reach. Between the salsa and ceviches, sandwiches and rolls, crostinis and pastas, salads and cookies, I wasn't altogether mesmerized by anything that would make me reach for seconds. I was drinking rather morosely in the corner of the park when I saw a crowd of onlookers gathering around a roasted pig. My curiosity piqued, I joined the gathering only to stumble upon the most magnificent thing my feeble eyes have ever witnessed. The team at Sunda had crafted a monstrous Kamayan feast: three long tables covered with banana leaves, topped with white rice, lechon kawali, shrimp and chicken adobo skewers, grilled head-on prawn, Chinese long beans, mangoes, and longaniza. Oh, and homemade chili sauce and garlic vinaigrette. Everyone who managed to grab a seat at this communal table was crying with joy, or wanted to. This wasn't crappy, haphazardly-grilled meat--we're talking about gigantic prawns that dripped with juice and chicken that peeled apart with flavor. The crackly skin on the lechon was like fainting on a bed of glittery marshmallows.

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Judy Wu / Comments (0)

Foodporn Fri Sep 25 2015

Friday Foodpic: Pioppino Mushroom

21471647215_72479545f4_z.jpgPicture by Seth Anderson from the Drive-Thru Flickr Pool.

Robyn Nisi / Comments (0)

Event Fri Sep 25 2015

Underground Indonesian Feast on October 4th

Rijsttafel_Den_Haag_Javastraat.jpgRooted in Dutch colonial tradition, an Indonesian "Rijsttafel" (literally "rice table") is a feast of massive proportion. The sheer variety and number of dishes is meant to astound with extravagance. The Rice Table team in Chicago will be holding their own rijsttafel on October 4th in a secret location in Bucktown. The 15-dish, family-style meal will include classics, such as pork sates, sambal tempeh, gado gado, and 1000 layer spice cake.

Doors open at 6:30pm with dinner service beginning 7:00pm. BYOB. Tickets are $50.00 per person (tax included but without gratuity) and can be purchase by emailing

See below for menu.

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Judy Wu / Comments (0)

Recipe Thu Sep 24 2015

The Perfect Autumn Dessert: Cinnamon Rolls

rsz_cinnamon_rolls_drizzled_with_glaze_3_april_2009.jpgCinnamon rolls are truly the ugliest desserts. A tray of these pastries resembles baked pig flesh matted with dark sand, covered with the gonadular remnants.

But damn, are they a delicious thing. In the spirit of autumn, I tried my hand at these pastries, and while I wasn't completely successful from an aesthetic standpoint, I'd reckon they were tasty enough to earn me a stand at a farmer's market.

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Judy Wu / Comments (0)

Event Thu Sep 24 2015

The Whistler Celebrates 7 Years Tonight

whistler anniversary party.png
If The Whistler owners Billy Helmkamp and Rob Brenner had set out to open one of the best cocktail bars in America, an accolade among others awarded to them by GQ, they likely wouldn't have achieved it; the world doesn't seem to align that way. If fact, The Whistler was never actually intended to be a bar when Brenner first purchased it in 2008 and called upon Helmkamp to join him. The two had previously met at NYU and had collaborated in the Chicago artists collective scene, hosting live underground events in various warehouses across the city.

After tossing around several ideas, they eventually landed on a music venue on the first floor. This led to the idea of beer. "We thought, if we're going to have a music venue then it would be awesome to sell beer," says Helmkamp. Easy enough, but neither had experience in the bar business. What they did have were industry relationships with OG's at places like Empty Bottle and The Hideout who helped answer any questions their "How to Start a Bar" Amazon-bought books couldn't.

With every intention of running the bar program themselves, a serendipitous chain of events that would introduce them to industry vet Paul McGee would take The Whistler in a direction Helmkamp and Brenner likely never imagined. "We had never been to Violet Hour and didn't know there was even a cocktail scene to be a part of," says Helmkamp. "McGee had just landed in Chicago off of being Wolfgang Puck's right-hand man in Las Vegas. "I've always been a big proponent of surrounding yourself with people who know more than you. I think McGee thought doing something on the mom-pop scale was very attractive." The three collaborated on the vision with McGee becoming the face while Helmkamp and Brenner took the much-preferred backstage. "When we opened we were getting so many press inquiries. If Paul wasn't around, we may not have done all the media we did."

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Brandy Gonsoulin / Comments (0)

Random Tue Sep 22 2015

My Chicago-Inspired Hot Dog Menu

hot dog.jpgSince the passing of Hot Doug's, I've been hurting for a creative frankfurter. In my nostalgic anguish, I drafted a menu of dogs inspired by Chicago-related people.

Bill Murray
beef dog, beef chili, and beef jerky, with bacon bits

Walt Disney
Turkey dog, avocado spread, curly fries, fresh rosemary, mustard

Barack Obama
Grass-fed beef dog, pickled red onions, pineapple, cracked black pepper

Michael Jordan
Chorizo dog, fried beef tongue slices, onion rings

Harrison Ford
Spicy beef dog, tequila-marinated pickles, fried onion strings, hot sauce

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Judy Wu / Comments (1)

Event Mon Sep 21 2015

Heritage Pig BBQ Competition & Tasting this Weekend

cochon 555.jpgFor those without tickets to Chicago Gourmet this weekend, there is another event worth attending: Cochon 555's Heritage BBQ competition. Pork lovers will indulge in culinary creations from 15 esteemed chefs, five of whom will each have to create six dishes from an entire pig to earn the crown of "BBQ King or Queen."

Hosted at Morgan Manufacturing, this year's five competing chefs include Alfredo Nogueira (Analogue), Ed Sura (Perennial Virant), Scott Manley (Table, Donkey & Stick), Chris Curren (Seven Lions), and Jonathan Meyer (Freehand Chicago). Non-competing chefs include Chrissy Camba (Maddy's Dumpling House), John Manion (La Sirena Clandestina), Mitch Cavanah (GT Fish and Oyster), and Dylan Lipe (Blackwood BBQ).

The tasting event not only features lots of porky goodness, but also premium wines, artisan cheeses, and first-class liquor. General admission tickets can be purchased online for $100, or $200 for VIP tickets (both of which feature endless libations). The event starts at 5PM this Sunday, September 27, at Morgan Manufacturing (401 N Morgan St. Chicago, IL 60642).

Judy Wu / Comments (0)

Event Mon Sep 21 2015

30 Chefs Compete in Culinary Face-off Next Thursday

rsz_common_threads_poster.jpg30 chefs from Chicago's best restaurants will gather next Thursday in the Loop to compete in a culinary challenge benefitting the fight against childhood obesity. Hosted by Common Threads, this 5th annual charity event will feature restaurants like Bar Siena, Sable, Perennial Virant, and Yusho, all vying for the best dish in four different categories: the garden, the pasture, the seed, or the barrel. The event will take place Thursday, October 1st from 6:30 - 9:30pm at Revel Downtown (440 W. Randolph). Tickets cost $85 online.

Common Threads is a non-profit dedicated to educating underprivileged communities on healthy food choices through hands-on cooking. The organization has served more than 40,000 kids across eight major cities in the US, including Chicago. 100% of the proceeds from the event will be donated to Common Threads.

Judy Wu / Comments (0)

Event Sat Sep 19 2015

The Foodseum Joins Chicago's Museum Scene

foodseum hotdog"What begins with an M and ends with an M?" my father asks 6-year-old me while driving in our '57 green and silver Pontiac (with fins). I've hated riddles ever since, but that ride down Lake Shore Drive to a captured German U-boat coupled with a coal mine turned me into a lifelong museum geek. Besides obligatory visits to the Smithsonian and Louvre, there's been Medieval torture in Tuscany, erotica in Paris and Vinny Van Gogh in Amsterdam, to name a few.

Chicago boasts an illustrious history of fine museums both small and large. A cultural Mecca of sorts took root with the Columbian Exposition of 1893 -- the alluded to above Museum of Science and Industry being a remnant of it. So it is with great interest that a three-month pop-up Foodseum is opening with a Chicagocentric exhibit titled "The Hot Dog and Encased Meats of the World."

Interactive exhibits that will stimulate the senses via touch, smell and taste are planned. Unfortunately, none were in tact on the press preview visit the night prior to opening and additional info requested was not available. While there's plenty of potential and some interesting factoids to be gleaned, I couldn't help but wish there was quite a bit more to "drag through the garden."

Sept. 19-Dec. 20, 2015
Block 37 (2nd Floor)
109 N. Dearborn St. Chicago
Wednesday-Sunday 11am-7pm

Alan Lake / Comments (0)

Feature Wed Aug 26 2015

A Historical Glimpse into the Italian Beef Sandwich

By Jeanne Newman

Philly has its Cheesesteak, Miami has the Cubano, and even Iowa has the Loose Meat Sandwich. Just about every American city boasts its own iconic sandwich, but there may not be one shrouded in such historical mystery and worthy of...
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Sat Oct 10 2015
Bank of America Marathon Pasta Dinner @ The Plaza

Sat Oct 10 2015
Bacon & Beer Classic

Sun Oct 11 2015
Taste of the Nation @ Navy Pier Grand Ballroom

Wed Oct 14 2015
WBEZ Chef Battle @ Kendall College

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