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Gapers Block published from April 22, 2003 to Jan. 1, 2016. The site will remain up in archive form. Please visit Third Coast Review, a new site by several GB alumni.
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Cookbook Tue Feb 26 2013

Chicago Cookbookery

After the holiday season, it's not uncommon for me to find myself abysmally broke. Going out to eat, usually my most prolific hobby, becomes increasingly uncomfortable as my pocket change dwindles (and then finally disappears altogether). Luckily, there are options. When times get financially tough, I choose to live vicariously through the experiences of others, and I have yet to encounter a better medium for exploring the various microcosms of Chicago restaurants than through cookbooks. My favorite cookbooks are not only compendiums of recipes, but also capture the culture of the restaurant itself--the behind-the-scenes lifeblood that you might normally not experience as a diner. These cookbooks showcase the Chicago food scene at its finest. And all of these titles can be found at your friendly local library branch!

Chicago's Chef Table by Amelia Levin
This book has received a lot of buzz, and for good reason. Within you will find some of the best recipes sourced directly from some of the best restaurants in Chicago: street food to white tablecloth, it's all here.

The Preservation Kitchen by Paul Virant
Chef Virant's Chicago-based restaurant, Perennial Virant, relies on in-house pickling and preserves to create signature dishes that showcase produce at its prime. The Preservation Kitchen makes these techniques accessible to the home cook, with a beautiful balance of the scientific and the sensory.

Soup & Bread Cookbook by Martha Bayne
It's not a restaurant, but it's a Chicago food experience like none other. From its humble beginnings at The Hideout, Soup & Bread has become a nationwide phenomenon bringing together communities for a cause. Some standout recipes and memorable stories can be found herein. (And soup is gloriously cheap.)

Alinea by Grant Achatz
So you probably won't be making any of this food to bring to your next potluck. But that's OK. The gorgeous pictures of the controlled kitchen chaos and untouchably avant-garde food are like a peek into a fantasy world. This cookbook is the next best thing if you can't make it to Chicago's #1 restaurant.

Takashi's Noodles by Takashi Yagihashi and Harris Salat
Chef Takashi's namesake restaurant has helped revitalized the Asian fine dining scene in Chicago. This book provides a comprehensive overview of Japanese noodle styles and accompanying flavors: ramen, udon, soba, and more. Accessible expertise and expressive photography meet in this beautiful book.

Other notable Chicago cookbooks include titles by Charlie Trotter, Stepanie Izard, and Rick Bayless.

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Amelia Levin / February 27, 2013 11:25 AM

Hi Danielle!
Thank you SO much for the shout out! Do you have a copy of the book already? I can send you one for sure. Thanks again and I enjoyed your post!

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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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