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Event Tue Apr 13 2010

Time Out Chicago Hosts 2010 Eat Out Awards

Last night, Time Out Chicago held their 2010 Eat Out awards ceremony, honoring restaurants in two ways: Critics' Picks, and Readers' Choice. The ceremony was held at the Museum of Contemporary Art and was something of a who's-who of Windy City restauranteurs.

Erwintimeout.jpgThe Critics' Picks were a melange of special categories honoring restaurants, foods, chefs, and designers that Time Out's restaurant critics felt deserved some celebrating. Erwin Drechsler of Erwin on North Halsted recieved a lifetime achievement award, handed out by Chicago celeb chef Paul Kahan, who had some celebrating of his own to do later in the evening.

The main event was the Readers' Picks, which were voted on by an estimated 8000 Time Out readers. I present the winners to you below (along with some thoughts of my own and comments on the evening), but I highly enocourage you to check out all the nominees and winners.


Best New Restaurant
XOCO
449 N Clark St (312) 334-3688

I'm a big Rick Bayless fan, and I counted the days until XOCO opened. There's nothing else like it in the city - not even Bayless's Topolobamo and Frontera Grill next door. Even Bayless admitted, taking a break from his announcer duties to accept the award, that when he planned to open this quick-service, food-stand style joint, he never imagined it would earn such acclaim. In this writer's opinion, it's more than deserved.


Best New Chef
Jared Van Camp of Old Town Social
455 W North Ave (312) 266-2277

Best New Hotel Restaurant
Cibo Matto
201 N State St (312) 239-9500

Cibo Matto is just one of a trio of restaurants at the ultra-cool new hotel, The Wit. It's Italian flare contrasts with the hunting-club vibe of the aptly named State and Lake and the it-lounge party vibe of Roof, which is, of course, on the hotel's roof.


Best New Mexican Restaurant
XOCO
As a native New Mexican (I was born in Los Alamos, NM), I have some issues with this category's ambiguous name, but not with it's winner. There was also a lot of very vocal support in the house for fellow nominee Chilam Balam, and its head chef/owner, Chuy Valencia. Valencia was once a sous chef at Bayless's Frontera Grill, proving that even the vast Chicago food scene is a relatively small world.

Best Charcuterie Program
Publican
837 W Fulton Market (312) 733-9555

Best New Pastry Chef
Patrick Fahy, Blackbird
619 W Randolph St (312) 715-0708

Most In-Demand Dish
Pork belly tacos at Big Star
1531 N Damen Ave (773) 235-4039

Best New Brunch
Publican

Talk about Chicago foodie royalty! The guys (executive chef Paul Kahan, Donnie Madia, Terry Alexander, and Eduard Seitan) behind Blackbird and Avec keep on churning out winnning dining experiences of all kinds. The Publican, The Violet Hour (also nominated, for "Worth the Wait") and bar/taqueria Big Star all exist thanks to this set of guys. Pretty impressive.

Best Weekly Special
Farm Dinner at Lula
2537 N Kedzie Blvd (773) 489-9554

Lula's Farm Dinner is served on Monday nights and consists of three courses for $28. "This is the first time in ten years I've had Monday night off," said co-owner Jason Hammel, accepting the award. He added that the dinner had never been the same twice in those ten years. Cool!

Best New Bakery
Bakin' & Eggs
3120 N Lincoln Ave (773) 525-7005

Best New Late Night Dining
Purple Pig
500 N Michigan Ave (312) 464-1744

Best Indie Restaurant Blog
Chicago Gluttons

Best New Bar
Old Town Social

Best New Gastropub
Revolution Brewing
2323 N Milwaukee Ave (773) 227-2739

Best Specialty Shop
Hoosier Mama Pie Co.
1618 W Chicago Ave (312) 243-4846

This was one of the most interesting categories of the night, as each of the nominees had a different item they were aiming to perfect. Also nominated were more cupcakes, Beard Papa's (an International franchise whose specialty is a killer cream puff) and the Meatloaf Bakery.

Best New Vegetarian
Falafill
3202 N Broadway (773) 525-0052

I had a great experience at Falafill the other day, so after the ceremony, I thought I'd congratulate the owners and tell them about it. I walked right up to Erwin Drechsler, winner of the lifetime achievement award and told him about how great Falafill's staff was. In my defense, he looked a lot like one of Falafill's owners. Oops.

Best Wine Store
Lush Wine & Spirits
1412 W Chicago Ave (312) 666-6900

Best New Burger Joint
Five Guys Burgers & Fries
2368 N Clark St (773) 883-8930
The gentleman accepting this one should also win the award for Most Humble. "This isn't fair, we're a chain. Congratulations to everyone else."

Best Bartender
Paul McGee of The Whistler
2421 N Milwaukee Ave (773) 227-3530

Mr. McGee definitely struck a chord with the audience in a bow tie and short pants. To quote my fellow ceremonygoer (and DT editor) Robyn, "what a dandy fop." I couldn't help thinking that I wanted him to be my bartender.

Most Worth the Wait
Hot Doug's
3324 N California Ave (773) 279-9550

If you haven't been to Hot Doug's, you're missing out on a true Chicago icon. No wonder this shrine to encased meats and its owner, my new BFF Doug Sohn, were chosen by readers as favorites.

This past year was a big one for food in Chicago, despite those pesky economic issues that everyone is always talking about. And why not? We Chicagoans love our food, and we love a great restaurant. Keep it up, city-this is why we're perpetually in the running for Restaurant Capital of Earth.

 
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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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Editor: Robyn Nisi, rn@gapersblock.com
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