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News Fri Mar 27 2015

LTH Forum Announces 2015 Great Neighborhood Restaurants Awards

LTH forum.jpgLTH Forum, the Chicago food-focused Internet chat community comprised of more than 17,000 foodies, has announced its 2015 Great Neighborhood Restaurants & Resources (GNRs) Awards.

Notable Analogue, Sportsman's Club and Publican Quality Meat's (Paul Kahan's third GNR since 2008) made the list next to lesser-known places like Taza Bakery in West Roger's Park and Jimmy Jam Sweet Potato Pies in Beverly.

The awards didn't stop at Chicago city limits. Geneva got a spot with Bien Trucha, and Wells Brothers in Racine became the first Wisconsin restaurant to win. See the full class, replete with food porn, on the LTH website.

Since 2004, LTH Form has been giving both notable and lesser known places cred with the GNRs in their community-based nomination process. Each member may nominate one place per year, and nominees are then discussed until a consensus is reached. Membership is free and open to anyone.

Brandy Gonsoulin / Comments (1)

Review Fri Mar 27 2015

Chicago's Ramen Game Heats Up

Make room in your belly for one more contender in Chicago's ramen explosion. Strings Ramen, the traditional Japanese-style ramen hall in Chinatown with a serious fan base, opened a second location in Lincoln Park this week and their game is tight.

Thumbnail image for ramen.jpg

You can expect the same handmade noodles and regional Japanese broth specialties Strings is known for, but with new ostrich, crab, and mushroom toppings and five levels of spiciness in the Shoyu broth (levels four and five require you to sign a waiver) that are exclusive to the Lincoln Park location.

Continue reading this entry »

Annie Conway / Comments (1)

Foodporn Fri Mar 27 2015

Friday Foodpic: Lost Lake

lostlake.jpgPicture by Drew Baker from the Drive-Thru Flickr Pool.

Robyn Nisi / Comments (0)

Event Wed Mar 25 2015

Join Baconfesters this Saturday for Charity

logojuinimipo.jpgJoin the organizers (and some participating chefs) of Apr. 17-18's Baconfest for an afternoon at the Greater Chicago Food Depository (4100 W. Ann Lurie Pl.) to benefit those in need (and possibly win a big prize). Help separate and repack bulk food donations this Saturday (1-3:45pm); you'll be entered into a drawing for a pair of VIP tickets for Baconfest. Registration required to attend; must be 14 years old or older.

Robyn Nisi / Comments (0)

Foodporn Fri Mar 20 2015

Friday Foodpic: Zeppoles

IMG_1991.jpgZeppoles from Ferrara's Bakery in honor of the Feast of St. Joseph. Submit your pictures to the Drive-Thru Flickr Pool.

Robyn Nisi / Comments (0)

Cookbook Fri Mar 13 2015

Review: Passion for Pizza

passionforpizza.jpgMost Chicagoans have a lot of serious and deep-rooted opinions about pizza. Each of us has different ideas as to where to find the best pizza in the city. Chances are you've spent a lot of time explaining those choices. If you're like me and consider pizza to be one of the major food groups, then I have an excellent cookbook for you:
Passion for Pizza
by Craig Whitson and Tore Gjesteland.

A few Chicago pizzerias are featured in the book alongside well-known restaurants in New York and Italy. Various pizza shops from each area are profiled, giving readers a glimpse at each shop's personality and most popular pies.

In addition to exploring some of the world's best-known pizzerias in Italy and the US, the book also gives readers recipes to make their own pizza. Key ingredients and proper equipment required for excellent pizza making is provided along with 50 pizza recipes, plus additional dough and sauce recipes. This book is a must have for pizza lovers who want to try their hand at crafting their favorite food at home.

Jeremy Owens / Comments (0)

Food Trucks Fri Mar 13 2015

Friday Foodpic: Cemitas Pueblo

16599668950_7d8b33c24f_z.jpgPicture by pinkkittystudios from the Drive-Thru Flickr Pool.

Robyn Nisi / Comments (0)

Random Thu Mar 12 2015

Fascinating Origins of Gourmet Foods

truffle-203031_640.jpg
What the heck is yuzu? As I was eating a yuzu-marinated fish a few day ago, this question suddenly popped in my head. I had seen this ingredient used a thousand times in TV shows and on restaurant menus, but I didn't know how to describe it other than "sour Asian stuff." So out of pure curiosity, I looked into the origins of common "gourmet" ingredients or food products, and I learned some interesting tidbits:

Truffle
From the Latin word tuber (or "lump"), truffles are the fruiting bodies of subterranean Ascomycete. Or, the fallopian tubes of underground fungus. Though unpleasant-sounding, truffles are one of the most prized ingredients in European cuisine, and each pound (depending on whether you get white or black truffles) costs thousands of dollars. Because truffles cannot be grown in the traditional sense, they're simply "cultivated" by planting roots of certain trees and hoping that truffles eventually crop up. During harvesting, dogs and pigs are used to "sniff" out the truffles.

Meyer Lemon
A Meyer lemon is actually not a lemon at all, but a cross between an actual lemon and an orange. The fruit is indigenous to China and was commonly grown in people's gardens. A USDA employee named Frank Nicholas Meyer bought some seeds back from China during the early 1900s, though the fruit only became mainstream almost a century later. The Meyer lemon is sweeter, less acidic, and more fragrant than the traditional lemon.

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Judy Wu / Comments (0)

Foodporn Fri Mar 06 2015

Friday Foodpic: Meat!

16331611038_8aa1e343dd_z.jpgPicture by Mel Hill Photography from the Drive-Thru Flickr Pool.

Robyn Nisi / Comments (0)

Recipe Tue Mar 03 2015

"Red-Cooked" Pork Belly Recipe

hong shao ro.jpgHong shao rou ("red cooked" pork belly) is the beef bourguignon of China--velvety red, intensely savory, and braised slowly with wine. Though pork belly is fairly common in the American dining scene, this dish rarely makes an appearance, even in authentic Chinese restaurants. The star anise and Shaoxing wine makes this dish distinctively Chinese, and the delicious final result is often served with rice or noodles.

RECIPE for FOUR:

2 lbs pork belly, cut into 2 inch squares
3 pieces of whole star anise
2 cloves garlic, smashed
1 2-inch piece of ginger, cut into slices
1/3 cup dark soy sauce
1/4 cup Shaoxing wine (or dry sherry)
3 tbsp. sugar
1 tsp. salt
2 cups water
2 tbsp. vegetable or peanut oil

Continue reading this entry »

Judy Wu / Comments (1)

Foodporn Fri Feb 27 2015

Friday Foodpic: Pho from Pasteur

16605945005_92096803fe_z.jpgPicture by deep blue skies from the Drive-Thru Flickr Pool.

Robyn Nisi / Comments (0)

Event Mon Feb 23 2015

Your Own Private Whisky Fest at Billy Sunday

billy sunday silent stillsWhiskyFest Chicago is long sold out, but that's OK -- it's too crowded to really enjoy and contemplate all the fine scotch and bourbon on hand. Have a much more civilized experience at Billy Sunday on March 29 at the debut of the bar's Silent Stills series, a tasting of 10 scotches from distilleries that have been closed or demolished -- although in some cases revived or rebuilt. Among the scotches to be sampled are a 1976 Glen Albyn (closed in 1983 and demolished in 1988), a 1982 Linlithgow (also closed in 1983), a 20 year Littlemill from 1990 (closed and dismantled in 1994), and a 21 year Tamdhu from 1990 (the distillery is back to work after closing in 2010).

"Last year we focused almost entirely on amari for our tastings due to the large amount of interest in Billy Sunday's inventory," said Alex Bachman, head bartender at Billy Sunday. "This year scotch will be taking center stage as we strive to expose people to wonderful defunct whiskies that have been lost due to the unfortunate trend of consolidation that has been taking place over the past 25-some-odd years."

Tickets are $125, which is $50 less than WhiskyFest and much rarer an opportunity. Call 773-661-2485 or email jon@billy-sunday.com to research a seat. There are only 12 seats total and only two remain, so hurry up or this whisky fest will be sold out, too.

Andrew Huff / Comments (0)

Beer Mon Feb 23 2015

Vote, Then Drink: Election Night Beer Events

it might get dark 2015Once you do your civic duty tomorrow, there are a couple of beer events you might be interested in attending -- assuming you can pull yourself away from election coverage.

Beer and candy go together, as you will find at Katherine Anne Confections, 2745 W. Armitage, tonight from 5:30 to 8:30pm. Caramels, truffles and marshmallows infused with beers, liquors and liqueurs will be out for your enjoyment, such as honey caramel infused with Daisy Cutter and FEW bourbon-infused marshmallow swirled with banana caramel. Your $25 ticket gets you samples, savory bites and drinks.

The Paramount Room, 415 N. Milwaukee Ave., hosts a Forbidden Root beer dinner from 6 to 9pm. For $65 a person, you'll be treated to a four course meal paired with the brewery's current beers: oak-aged Forbidden Root, Sublime Ginger, Shady Character porter, and Heavy Petal, the first in Forbidden Root's Divine Mud Imperial Stout series, brewed with pecans, magnolia blossoms and single-origin West African chocolate. For reservations, call 312-829-6300 or reserve online.

Starting at 7p, Fountainhead, 1970 W. Montrose Ave., hosts its fifth annual celebration of dark beer and dark music, It Might Get Dark. More than two dozen dark beers will be on tap, including Half Acre Big Hugs, Goose Island 2013 Bourbon County Stout, Three Floyds Blot Out the Sun, Lake Effect Espresso Gone Stout, Perennial 2013 Abraxas and more. And to match, there'll be heavy metal on the stereo. No cover, pay as you go -- beers will cost $6-12.

Andrew Huff / Comments (0)

Foodporn Thu Feb 19 2015

Friday Foodpic: Romanesco Cauliflower

16335407199_1f9f2c114f_z.jpgPicture by Swankslot from the Drive-Thru Flickr Pool.

Robyn Nisi / Comments (1)

Interview Thu Feb 19 2015

Maddy's Dumpling House: A Top Chef Alum's Pop-Up

maddysdumplinghouse.PNG2015 may be the year of the Ram, but it's also the year of the Dumpling. A delectable morsel of meat and veggies, the dumpling is a humble and incredibly dexterous food item. From fried chicken dumplings to lobster vanilla dumplings, there's been a lot of innovation in Chicago from establishments such as The Yum Dum Truck, Mike Sheerin's (upcoming) Packed, and Chrissy Camba's Maddy's Dumpling House pop-up. I recently caught up with "Top Chef" alum Chrissy Camba for an interview on her current dumpling venture.

First, why dumplings?

Have you ever had an idea that just "popped" into your mind? It was kind of like that. I think the idea had been slowly growing in the back of my mind. For years, [my boyfriend] Ashlee and I have eaten dim sum. A lot. It's so consistent in flavor, fun, cute, and interesting. It's my favorite breakfast. Also, I have lots of hobbies -- calligraphy, origami, crocheting. I love the intricacies of all the different dumplings. Different pleats, different wrappers, different fillings, different methods of cooking... Dumplings have the same type of intricacies. It's cool because I like making really different fillings. I did a Reuben Dumpling at the WBEZ Chef Battle, NOLA Dumplings (Red Beans and Rice, Muffuletta, Louisiana BBQ Shrimp) at a past Sauced Night Market, Fried Chicken Dumplings at another event -- you get the idea.

Continue reading this entry »

Judy Wu / Comments (0)

Gardening Thu Nov 06 2014

Autism Finds A New Solution in Local Urban Garden

By Brandy Gonsoulin

Developmental disabilities present obvious social and economic challenges, but solutions to problems are sometimes surprisingly found in the most unexpected places -- like on a small urban farm in the middle of Chicago.
Read this feature »

 

Events

Tue Mar 31 2015
Bacon Month Kickoff Party @ Berkshire Room

Tue Mar 31 2015
Guest Bartender Series @ CH Distillery

Wed Apr 1 2015
Annual Cocktail Challenge @ The Whistler


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About Drive-Thru

Drive-Thru is the food and drink section of Gapers Block, covering the city's vibrant dining, drinking and cooking scene. More...
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Editor: Robyn Nisi, rn@gapersblock.com
Drive-Thru staff inbox: drivethru@gapersblock.com

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