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Thursday, July 2

Gapers Block

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Review Thu Jul 02 2015

Steaks with a View at Chicago Cut Steakhouse

rsz_dsc_1508.jpgWhether you're a tourist or snow-beleaguered veteran of Chicago, everyone appreciates a great steakhouse, especially in a city that inspired Upton Sinclair's The Jungle.

With a stunning view of the river, Chicago Cut provides an elevated dining experience, complete with tuxedoed waiters, handsome patrons, and a masculine interior. The restaurant has its own dry-aging locker, in-house butchers cutting up USDA Prime beef, and sophisticated broilers that can cook a lot of steak really quickly. Chicago Cut also adores its celebrity diners and updates its website regularly with pictures of movie stars and rock stars.

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Judy Wu / Comments (0)

Event Wed Jul 01 2015

Gapers Block Hosts Third Annual Hot Dog Cookoff for Charity August 1

Gapers Block Hot Dog Cookoff 2015
Join Gapers Block for the third annual Hot Dog Cookoff on Saturday, Aug. 1 from noon to 5pm in the parking lot at Schubas, 3159 N. Southport Ave., to taste new interpretations of the classic red hot by chefs from Harmony Grill, Wiener and Still Champion, Monti's, and two-time defending champions ManBQue.

Participating chefs will start with Vienna Beef hot dogs, but may use them in any way they'd like. Last year's dishes included tacos, Hong Kong-style buns, "Chicago style" dumplings, Buffalo cheese dogs, barbecue and even minty hot dog "chewing gum." We have no idea what they'll come up with this year, but we have a feeling it will go way beyond mustard and relish.

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Andrew Huff / Comments (0)

Closings Tue Jun 30 2015

No More Commuter Bar: Metro Deli Closes

Metro Deli, billed as "Union Station's official commuter bar," closed on June 19.

"I'm not sure if it was a Chicago institution, but it sure felt like one," says reader Larry Dahlke. "The food was actually pretty good, and the fact that they had live music was impressive. It definitely had a Boulevard of Broken Dreams vibe, but it was my favorite place to go for lunch, and I'm going to miss it."

Metro Deli was owned by Schaumburg-based Ala Carte Entertainment, which last year sold Castle -- the nightclub you may know better as Excalibur -- to Four Corners Management. This closure leaves Ala Carte with a total of 20 restaurants and bars, but takes its Chicago locations down to three: Lion Head Pub and The Apartment in Lincoln Park and Moretti's in Edison Park.

Andrew Huff / Comments (0)

Closings Fri Jun 26 2015

Nightwood Closing

The Pilsen eatery is closing July 11 after six years in business. Owners Jason Hammel, Matt Eisler and Kevin Heisner made the announcement on the restaurant's Facebook page this morning, and ended with the following:

Nightwood was named after a mysterious and bizarre changeling of a novel, with the thinking that this space could develop and evolve as it grew. While we announce the last chapter today, we anticipate the possibility of a new plot line in the future.

As for us? We look forward to spending more time with our families and children and focusing on upcoming projects. Stay tuned.

Robyn Nisi / Comments (1)

Food Trucks Fri Jun 26 2015

Friday Foodpic: Prosciutto et al.

18707123739_6c0179e4cb_z.jpgPicture by Mel Hill Photography from the Drive-Thru Flickr Pool.

Robyn Nisi / Comments (1)

Event Thu Jun 25 2015

Preview: Taste of Chicago in Grant Park July 8-12

rsz_img_0031.jpgThe Taste of Chicago is like the Stannis Baratheon of the Chicago food scene -- it plays a major role but somehow manages to leave no impression at all. It serves consistently lukewarm food, which among other things like obnoxious crowds, means it's never going beat Chicago Gourmet.

And yet, the Taste of Chicago can be a fun event if you find the right things to do -- aka, don't eat Mariano's new line of frozen pizza. Every year, the event expands with more vendors, sponsors, food trucks, entertainment acts, and celebrity chefs, so I suggest researching beforehand to lay out your plan of attack. This year, there are going to be "celebrity dinners" featuring James Beard winners and pop-up stalls featuring first-time vendors.

Taste of Chicago will take place July 8-12 at Grant Park. Visitors enjoy free admission, but a strip of 12 food tickets costs $8.50 and "taste of" portions will cost $2.50 or less.

Judy Wu / Comments (1)

Review Mon Jun 22 2015

Art & Food at Fulton Market Kitchen

Located right off the West Fulton restaurant row is a discreetly signed restaurant with an artsy interior and bohemian vibe. Aptly named Fulton Market Kitchen, this New American restaurant features a diverse menu with disparate global influences. I suggest ordering generously from the Appetizer category--for the seafood lover, there are the bay scallops and sweetbreads with pea shoots and fried lemon slices, or grilled octopus with pickled cauliflower. "Two Tails" (crispy pig tail with poached lobster tail) is an interesting twist on surf and turf, although the squash puree and glazed parsnips underlying the dish seemed to be the real stars.

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Judy Wu / Comments (0)

Foodporn Fri Jun 19 2015

Friday Foodpic: m. henry

IMG_2268.jpgBreakfast Bread Pudding by yours truly. Add your pics to the Drive-Thru Flickr Pool.

Robyn Nisi / Comments (0)

Review Wed Jun 17 2015

Three Course Brunch at Black Bull

rsz_dsc_0238.jpgA few months ago, Black Bull failed to impress me with paella reminiscent of minute rice, but my return for its weekend brunch left me on a positive note. The brunch itself followed three courses:

First Course
Housemade Chocolate-Filled Croissants & Palmerita Pastries

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Judy Wu / Comments (0)

Dish Tue Jun 16 2015

Around Town: Bites and Libations to Put in Your Mouth

Food lists can be difficult. One person's best bite can be another person's meh. Geographical location can limit your experience unless you make an effort to trek beyond convenience, and with more than 7,300 restaurants in the city, rest assured that I have not been to all of them.

While not definitive, the below are a few of the things I've eaten of late that made me stop and say, "I'd do that again." Or the secondary headline, Good Sh*t You May Want to Be Eating if You Haven't Had This Good Sh*t Yet.

Bon appétit!

Nonna's Relish Tray

Relish Tray.jpg

There are relish trays, and then there's the relish tray at newly opened Formento's (925 W. Randolph St.). This unique spin on the classic relish tray, inspired by the grandmothers of both Chef Tony Quartaro and co-owner John Ross, swaps store-bought olives and pickles for bites like the southern Italian marinated "rinforzo" salad, roasted beets dotted with puffed rice and sweet potato cannoli. Plus, it's served on the same platter that most likely made an appearance at every one of your holiday gatherings. (Photo credit: Formento's)

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Brandy Gonsoulin / Comments (0)

Bar Mon Jun 15 2015

Gone South at Hideout's "A Day in the Country"

hideout1.jpgSunday's "A Day in the Country" at the Hideout looked like it was plucked straight out of a summery, smoky day in the south and dropped right in the middle of an otherwise gloomy Chicago--warm weather, lawn chairs, and plenty of dancing late into the night.

The music, of course, was the main event. A wide array of country-rooted styles including the punk rock-tinged jams of the Siderunners and the velvety crooning of Sarah Potenza drew a devoted crowd. Event organizer and local musician Lawrence Peters played one of the liveliest sets of the night, transforming the Hideout into a swirling dance floor.

htbbq.jpgThe food included Honky Tonk BBQ's pulled pork sandwiches and corn on the cob, and Bang Bang Pie provided dessert (which disappeared very quickly). Lagunitas Brewery was featured on tap.

If you were unable to make the event, or simply looking to find out more about the music you heard, check out the following links to transport you back to A Day in the Country.

The Lawrence Peters Outift

Derek Hoke
Chuck Mead and his Grassy Knoll Boys
Sarah Potenza

For upcoming events at the Hideout, click here.

Danielle Snow / Comments (0)

Foodporn Fri Jun 12 2015

Friday Foodpic: Lou Mitchell's

IMG_2259.jpgSubmit your pictures to the Drive-Thru Flickr Pool.

Robyn Nisi / Comments (0)

Event Wed Jun 10 2015

Escape to A Day in the Country at the Hideout

ADITC_poster.jpgIt'll be a pie-eatin', beer-guzzlin' good time at the eighth annual "A Day in the Country" music extravaganza, this upcoming Sunday at the Hideout.

Presented by Chicago-based musician Lawrence Peters, the all-day event will feature brews from Lagunitas Brewing Company, pies from Bang Bang, and barbecue from Honky Tonk BBQ-- representing the best of Chicago's picnic-ready food and drink.

Peters has also invited an array of bands representing a wide spectrum of country music genres, including bluegrass and honky tonk. Artists such as headliner Chuck Mead and His Grassy Knoll Boys, Derek Hoke, Sarah Potenza, and Peters' own The Lawrence Peters Outfit perform throughout the day across two different stages.

ADINTC.jpgStop by the Hideout on Sunday, June 14 to be a part of the action. Doors open at 1 pm and performances continue until 11 pm. Click here to see the full lineup. Tickets are $10 and the Hideout is located at 1354 W. Wabansia.

Danielle Snow / Comments (0)

Review Wed Jun 10 2015

Newly Opened Dolce Italian Astounds with Simplicity

rsz_dsc_0250.jpgWhen it comes down to it, there are only two characteristics absolutely crucial to a restaurant's success: impeccable food and flawless hospitality. Liquid nitrogen and modern décor won't negate an absent server or lukewarm entrees lathered in salt and grease. The perfect restaurant experience is a fluid symphony of chaotic elements, and if not executed perfectly, the diner will remember (and write about) every flat note.

As such, Dolce Italian in Chicago is an ensemble worth your time. Its sister restaurant in Miami recently won first place on Bravo's new show Best New Restaurant, and for good reason. The series' first season, hosted by Tom Colicchio, featured 16 restaurants competing against each other on best dish, décor, service, and overall concept. Dolce won for its hospitality and consistently beautiful food.

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Judy Wu / Comments (0)

Restaurant Mon Jun 08 2015

Andersonville Welcomes Pork Shoppe

The vibrant strip of Clark Street between Foster Avenue and Victoria Street has become something of a restaurant row over the last few years. Restaurants continue to move into this hip downtown section of Andersonville and make the question, "Where are we going to eat?" something of a conundrum. Not to fear, there's a new addition to the neighborhood that will surely become your new favorite.

Pork Shoppe, the Michelin rated restaurant (2011-2014), recently expanded from their Avondale location to Andersonville. They bring their handcrafted, slow cooked meats ranging from Carolina style pulled pork, Memphis dry rubbed ribs and Texas beef brisket and their own signature smoked pork belly pastrami.

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Jeremy Owens / 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...
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Wed Jul 8 2015
Taste of Chicago Begins

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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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