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Windy City Blogger Wed Mar 10 2010

Windy City Blogger Wednesday: Food on the Dole

I hope everyone is loving these warmer temperatures! Dare I say that Spring is on the way?! This week I would like to introduce, Hugh of Food on the Dole.

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What brought you to Chicago?
I've lived all over the country, from Colorado to Boston to Rhode Island to Vermont to Atlanta; by the time I got to Atlanta I really desired a city like Chicago: a bit of an underdog to New York and San Francisco, but with plenty of good food and room and potential for that to grow. Plus I love the lake.

What do you do when you aren't blogging?
I cook, I explore new places to eat, I teach cooking. I like to focus on smaller, unknown places that might be a bit challenging vs. the hot new places with precious names. Chicago is a great place to do that--lots of neighborhoods to explore...

Favorite restaurant in Chicago?
I live up in Andersonville, and absolutely love going to The Hopleaf, when it is possible. Which is rare. That place is always jam-packed. But great food and beer and people behind the bar. Just up the street, Anteprima is also a favorite of mine--the brick-grilled game hen is one of my favorite dishes in the city: so simply served with rapini and lemon. And naturally, Lula Cafe has been a favorite since I hit town. The smaller places I speak of include MeDee Cafe in the Lincoln Square area, Lao Sze Chuan in Chinatown, Pho 777 on Argyle, Huaraches Dona Chio in Edgewater...

Favorite restaurant in Chicago, if you aren't paying?
Charlie Trotters. Hands down best service I've ever received, which allowed me to really experience the food, which was, of course, flawless. But really, if I love a place, the whole paying thing is kind of secondary. I often find myself thinking "wow, this could have been a trip to Italy" or something like that but, hey--it's worth it.

Favorite recipe and/or post
I don't really post a lot of recipes. The aim of Food on the Dole is to get people thinking about food and feeling it from the gut--to let go of any cooking-related anxiety, and to really get them exploring more flavors and expanding out from comfort zones, while still focusing on traditions and what really matters about food--that it creates bonds and brings us together. Sometimes, food can be secondary to the connections it fosters. Here's a good representation of what Food on the Dole is all about.

How do take your coffee?
Usually, I like a scalding hot black coffee from Metropolis. Metropolis has ruined me for all other coffee (except for when I'm in San Francisco or Portland). Sometimes I like a well prepared latte--not meringue plopped on top of coffee, but really well blended--when I'm in the mood for something a little softer. And never, never with a lid on top.

Cubs or Sox?
Sox. Red Sox that is. My time in Boston cemented that.

What is the one thing/place/restaurant that you recommend to your out of town guests?
I always take people to Paulina Market to smell the smoky air outside. And to eat the sausages inside. Argyle for Pho and The Hop for beer. Those are always standards.

One (or two) things that you can't live without in your kitchen
Cast iron. I love love love cast iron. For everything. Whether it is fancy-pants Le Creuset or just the raw Lodge iron, I can't be without it.

 
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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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