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Bar Wed Dec 11 2013

Holiday Eats: Hopleaf

Throughout this month, Drive-Thru staffers will be writing about their favorite bars and restaurants to celebrate the holiday, as so much of the holiday is not the day itself, but the days that come before -- the places you end up at after a holiday party, a day of errands and shopping, or just to hide away from the shorter days and colder weather.

One of my personal favorites this time of year is Hopleaf in Andersonville. Though it's much expanded since I first set foot in the cozy bar, it still feels friendly and inviting, and if anything the expansion into the back of the building and next door means that it's less of a fight for one of the coveted booths.

hopleaf_phineasxjones.jpg
Photo by Phineas X. Jones

Of course, it's also nice this time of year to get a table close to the wood-burning stove in the back room, which pumps out prodigious amounts of heat. Barring that, I typically look to the menu to warm me up. A pot of steamed mussels with an abundent side of fries (dare I say too many? I don't think I've ever finished an order) and crusty bread hit the spot, as does the CB&J, a toasty sandwich of crunchy, house-made cashew butter and fig jam, with raclette cheese helping meld it all together. Hopleaf's menu is great year-round, but winter is when it comes into its own as fuel for the cold days.

The draft list is ever changing depending on the season, and with winter's chill come stouts, harvest ales and Christmas ales to warm your cheeks. It's one of the few places around town to find Anchor's annual Christmas Ale on tap, in fact.

There's warmth on the bottled beer menu as well. Hopleaf's lengthy tap list makes it easy to forget the wealth of amazing beers hidden away in bottles. One of my favorites is Unibrou's Quelque Chose, a malty beer brewed with cherries that Hopleaf serves hot this time of year. Hot beer, you ask? Yes. The heat brings out the mellowness in the cherries as well as notes of chocolate and clove. It comes in a 750ml bottle for $20, which also encourages sharing -- perfect for this season of giving and camaraderie.

Hopleaf
5148 N. Clark St.
773-334-9851

 
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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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