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Monday, September 16

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Event Mon Sep 28 2009

Chicago Chef Battle

The new season of Chicago Public Radio Presents kicked off Saturday night at Catalyst Ranch, a roomy, eclectic space on Randolph filled with 50's collectible kitsch and decorations from as far away as Haiti, Thailand, and Pier 1 Imports. This month's event featured Chef Jill Barron of Mana Food Bar, Chef Ben Sheagren of Hopleaf, and Chef Jared Van Camp of Old Town Social.

Hosting the event was Studio 312's Jimmy Carrane, whose running commentary kept the evening moving at a fast pace. Goose Island Brewery is sponsoring this year's series, and their 2009 Matilda was used by each of the three competing chefs; if this had been an episode of Iron Chef it would have been the "theme ingredient."

Team Mana served patrons a vegetarian chili made with chick peas, black beans, corn, guajillo chili and Goose Island Matilda, garnished with sweet beer cornbread, 10-year cheddar and green onion; the Hopleaf Bar came armed with an exotic sounding rabbit stew with fennel, rapini, garlic sausage, roasted garlic, white beans and yukon gold potatoes in Goose Island Matilda broth; and the Old Town Social team held forth with Goose Island Matilda beer sausage with cornmeal-bacon waffles and maple syrup.

I started with Mana's veggie chili, and worked my way around the room. Next up was Hopleaf's rabbit stew, and while visions of the feral bunnies that scamper through my yard all summer gave me pause, it didn't stop me from putting it in my mouth. I saved Old Town Social's waffles and sausage for last, because that's kind of like dessert.

Patrons tasted the fare from all three restaurants and then voted on which was the best; the winner by a landslide was Mana Food Bar.

Next month's event on the Chicago Radio Presents calendar will take place October 22nd at The Heartland Cafe, and is titled An October Sort of City: Chicago Authors Talk Chicago. For tickets and information go to chicagopublicradio.org/events.

 
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Feature Thu Dec 31 2015

The State of Food Writing

By Brandy Gonsoulin

In 2009, food blogging, social media and Yelp were gaining popularity, and America's revered gastronomic magazine Gourmet shuttered after 68 years in business. Former Cook's Illustrated editor-in-chief Chris Kimball followed with an editorial, stating that "The shuttering of Gourmet reminds...
Read this feature »

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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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Editor: Robyn Nisi, rn@gapersblock.com
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