Gapers Block has ceased publication.

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.
 Thank you for your readership and contributions. 


Thursday, December 7

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News Fri Mar 27 2015

LTH Forum Announces 2015 Great Neighborhood Restaurants Awards

LTH forum.jpgLTH Forum, the Chicago food-focused Internet chat community comprised of more than 17,000 foodies, has announced its 2015 Great Neighborhood Restaurants & Resources (GNRs) Awards.

Notable Analogue, Sportsman's Club and Publican Quality Meats (Paul Kahan's third GNR since 2008) made the list next to lesser-known places like Taza Bakery in West Rogers Park and Jimmy Jam Sweet Potato Pies in Beverly.

The awards didn't stop at Chicago city limits. Geneva got a spot with Bien Trucha, and Wells Brothers in Racine became the first Wisconsin restaurant to win. See the full class, replete with food porn, on the LTH website.

Since 2004, LTH Forum has been giving both notable and lesser known places cred with the GNRs in their community-based nomination process. Each member may nominate one place per year, and nominees are then discussed until a consensus is reached. Membership is free and open to anyone.

Brandy Gonsoulin / Comments (3)

Random Tue Jul 09 2013

Real Food "Dieting"

juicy steakNo one fucking eats food anymore. Eating out becomes a pain when I have to accommodate my vegan or "gluten-intolerant" friends, and I can't buy almond milk without additives like tapioca starch, carrageenan, or sunflower lecithin. People eagerly purchase low-carb pasta, zero-fat cheese, and sugar-free ice-cream to compensate for their weekend BBB (burger, brat, and beer) binges, and let's face it, seitan will never replace bacon.

Continue reading this entry »

Judy Wu / Comments (6)

Blog Mon Jun 11 2012

Touring the States Through Sandwiches

statelysandwiches.jpgChicago design student Kelly Pratt can't afford to travel, so she's making her way around the country via a signature sandwich. Stately Sandwiches is the result. Each sandwich is carefully researched, made and consumed, and its component parts are artfully photographed and turned into a poster. I asked her a few questions about the project, which debuted on over the weekend.

What inspired the project?

As an aspiring designer, I often hear about the importance of having a side project to inspire creativity, do something you love, and stay curious. Stately Sandwiches started a way for me to further my design skills, get back into cooking, share a meal with friends while hopefully meeting new ones, and of course eat as many sandwiches as possible. All of these have happened and so much more! I have connected with people from all around the globe, across all social networks, who love sandwiches and my project!

Are you a big fan of sandwiches?

Um, yes, absolutely. How can you not be a huge fan? Sandwiches are the greatest. There is a never-ending supply of ingredients to make a sandwich so I never tire of them.

Continue reading this entry »

Andrew Huff

Blog Wed May 16 2012


Grub Street's digging a brand-new video blog about Chicago mixologists.

Sunny McDaniel

Blog Fri Dec 09 2011

12 Days of Sugar Coma


Chicago-based food blog Lottie + Doof is four days into its annual 12 Days of Cookies feature. Mmm, rugelach.

Laura Sant

Blog Sat Nov 12 2011

The Best Side of the Tortilla

Maura Hernandez was awarded the Best Latin@ Food Blogger award from LATISM (Latinos In Social Media) for her blog The Other Side of the Tortilla. She focuses mostly on traditional Mexican cooking techniques, but occasionally writes about culture and travel as it relates to Mexico. She's an engaging writer, and even if you don't cook, you'll likely learn enough reading her blog to make you enjoy your tacos more than you do now. Especially if you're eating them from La Lagartija Taqueria, one of her fave Mexican places in Chicago.

Cinnamon Cooper

Blog Tue Nov 08 2011

Serious Eats Finally Comes to Chicago

seriouseats-chicago.jpgNational foodblog Serious Eats announced today that it's launching a Chicago city section on Nov. 14. It's been a long time coming.

Back when Eater was preparing to enter the Chicago market the first time, in 2008, Serious Eats founder Ed Levine talked informally with a number of local food writers about a Chicago outpost for his site. Nothing came of it then -- the economy tanked and Eater Chicago was put on the shelf for a couple years, so SE Chicago was, too. But in the meantime Serious Eats bulked up its roster of local writers, including Nick Kindelsperger, who is helming the new Chicago office and is a former editor of Grub Street Chicago, Blake Royer and Daniel Zemans. Once Eater opened its doors here, it seemed like only a matter of time before Serious Eats did too, with some strong talent already in place.

Dennis Lee and Anna Deem, who's written for Chicagoist, fill out the new staff. "I'm really proud of the team Nick has assembled. They are all passionate, discerning, and inclusive serious eaters," Levine said.

I'm excited to see how the new blog turns out. The announcement mentioned original columns called "Sausage City" and "Standing Room Only" -- the latter of which Kindelsperger wrote for Serious Eats until April 2010 -- along with other regular Serious Eats columns like "A Sandwich A Day" and "The Vegetarian Option." I've always liked the tone and range of the Serious Eats blog family, and the staff includes some of the best young food writers in the city, so the ingredients are there. Like any recipe, though, it's how they're put together that makes the meal.

Andrew Huff

Blog Tue Nov 08 2011

Punk Pastry Enters The Blogosphere

sign.jpgThe tiny but mighty punk folks behind Fritz Pastry are opening up the back of the house and showing us the art behind their (mostly) vegan pastry. They started a new blog housed neatly at their normal .com and thus far have given us the scoop behind house-made croissants and a seasonally appropriate apple tart. Here's hoping their killer macaroons get a starring roll in early December.

Joanna Kanakis

Blog Wed Oct 05 2011

School Lunch Blogger Revealed

"Mrs. Q.," the author of Fed Up with Lunch, a blog that chronicled a yearlong project of eating lunch foods sold in the Chicago Public Schools system, has revealed that she's CPS speech pathologist Sarah Wu, who works at a Northwest Side elementary school. The blog was started in an effort to show parents and the public the nutritional pitfalls of mass-produced and (often nutrient-deficient) food.

Robyn Nisi

Blog Wed Jun 29 2011

It's So Nice to Have You Back Where You Belong, LTH

LTH Forum, which was forcibly put up for sale earlier this month as a result of a bankruptcy filing by the site's owner, Gary Wiviott, was sold today for $40k to a group of longtime forum participants who say the site will mostly remain the same.

Robyn Nisi

Blog Sat Apr 30 2011

Who's the Best?

Screen shot 2011-04-30 at 6.56.53 PM.pngIf you love to stalk food online like me, head over to ultimate foodie magazine Saveur's site and vote for your favorite food blogs in various categories.

You'll be surprised at how much is out there. I'm discovering new blogs to obsess over!

Ryan Frieson

Blog Wed Jan 05 2011

Chicago Eater's Top 10 Craft Beers of 2010

It's no surprise that the last decade has been the best and most prolific that small, craft breweries across the country has ever seen. New Holland, Lagunitas, Anchor Steam, Great Lakes, and yes, even Chicago's own Half Acre are consistently pushing the boundaries of the American palette, creating new and exciting flavors. With that in mind, Chicago Eater's Craft Course has just released their list of the top 10 craft beers of 2010. Included on the list is Avery's Quinquepartite, a sour ale ales aged in Port, Chardonnay, Zinfandel and a pair of Cabernet barrels, and Dogfish Head's Bitches Brew, created in honor of the 40th Anniversary of Miles Davis' seminal album. It's a great list full and one that's sure to include something you've never heard of but are dying to try. You can check it out here.

Andrew Carlin

Blog Wed Dec 29 2010

New Year's Goal: Eat Globally

Looking for a goal for the new year? How about eating your way around the world without leaving Chicago? Two foodblogs can help you with this food adventure.

Chicago Alphabet Soup has reviewed at least one restaurant from nearly A to Z -- it's missing D (what, no Dominican?) and a couple other harder to hit letters -- but it's a a great starting point for your own run.

The more established Eating the World started out with the goal of eating food from every country in the world, in alphabetical order, but has since branched out both in scope and location, posting food news and reviewing restaurants in other parts of the country and overseas.

Andrew Huff / Comments (3)

Random Thu Dec 09 2010

The Gastropub Revolution Will Not Be Televised

The Chicago Bar Project has a nice write-up this month on the rise of the gastropub in Chicago. You know -- it's that place a few blocks walk from you that serves incredible food, has an unbeatable craft beer selection, and is steeped in classic, English-style pub charm. CBP points to Hopleaf as being the first of its kind in Chicago in 2003, beating even The Spotted Pig to the punch, widely considered to be the first gastropub in America. (Take that, West Village!). Sean Parnell writes:

Gastropubs dovetail perfectly with our changing tastes and demographics, operating in that gray area between restaurant and bar. And by offering the best of both worlds, gastropubs have quickly gone from concept to mainstream, changing the entire bar scene for the better.

In many ways, the gastropub defines the modern Chicagoan: We like to eat well and drink better -- and we're not going to pay out the ear for it.

Andrew Carlin / Comments (2)

Blog Tue Nov 16 2010

Michelin in Comparison

At last night's Michelin Guide pre-launch party at the Violet Hour, I remarked to Tammy Green of Chicago Bites that it would be great to see the Michelin-rated restaurants compared alongside ratings from other guides. Whether I just guessed their plan on inspired it, Chicago Bites delivered, producing a spreadsheet of Michelin, Yelp, Metromix, Urban Spoon and Zagat ratings for all the star and Bib Gourmand winners. Other than the large number of restaurants weren't in Zagat's guide, the only surprise might be how divisive deca is, rating a Bib from Michelin and four stars on Yelp, but only 1.4 stars on Metromix and a 50 percent rating on UrbanSpoon.

Andrew Huff / Comments (2)

Blog Fri Nov 12 2010

Complimentary Evening at the Phoenix Lounge


Forkable Blog and theWit Hotel's Phoenix Lounge present a complimentary menu sampling on Thursday, November 18 from 6 pm to 8 pm. The new Phoenix Lounge will welcome a limited number of guests to sample a menu of hand crafted cocktails and Mediterranean-inspired small plates while enjoying live musical performances from local and emerging artists. Guests must RSVP through the Forkable Blog to secure a spot.

The Phoenix Lounge
201 N.State St. Chicago
(312) 467-0200

Gemma Petrie

Blog Thu Oct 28 2010

Celebrity Chef Halloween Costumes

Halloween is only three days away and you don't have your costume. What to do? has put together a do-it-yourself guide to dressing as your favorite food celebrity. Have a bowling shirt and wrap-around mirrored sunglasses lying around? You could be Guy Fieri. Or, if you've got a bald wig and some organic fruit, voila: Michael Pollan. Unbutton your shirt and you're Sexy Michael Pollan.

Lori Barrett

Random Thu Sep 23 2010

Tears Make That Dish Extra Salty

Steve Dolinsky is expanding his role as food critic into relationship adviser on his blog Adventures in Urban Eating. Last week, he suggested his top five first-date restaurants (a list that includes Adobo Grill and Logan Square's Lula).

And today he took it in a heartbreaking direction, listing the top five best break-up restaurants. Qualities that make an ideal break-up restaurant, according to Dolinsky: low prices, fluorescent lighting, and lots of background noise.

Ruthie Kott

Blog Tue Jan 05 2010

The Rules of Sushi

I'm not a big proponent of rules when it comes to food.

I regularly consume beer before liquor. I serve ribeye steaks with white wines. I cook my pork roasts to 145°F (take that USDA recommendation!)

But I do believe that any place that has "All You Care To Eat" and "Sushi" anywhere on the menu should be approached with the caution reserved for a rabid animal or radioactive waste.

That's not to say that my "anything goes" attitude doesn't apply to a sushi bar, but if you don't want to look like the biggest gaijin in the place, there are several nuanced traditions covered by the helpful folks at that will have fellow diners wondering how many years you've spent in Japan.

Cliff Etters

Blog Tue Dec 15 2009

Menu For Hope 6: Hunger Relief

mmenuforhope.jpgRaffle tickets for the sixth annual Menu for Hope raffle, hosted by Chez Pim and other food bloggers, are now available. Over the past three years, Menu for Hope has raised nearly a quarter of a million dollars to feed hungry people around the world through the UN Food Programme.

The list of prizes includes: La Quercia prosciutto, a Vermont gift basket with a canning tool set, a SousVide Supreme, Lowel Ego photo lights, BlogHer conference passes and many other delicious raffle items. Raffle tickets are only $10 a piece and all of the money goes directly to the UN Food Programme. Voting is open through December 25, 2009. For more information, visit Chez Pim.

Gemma Petrie

Blog Wed Dec 09 2009

Soup for the Soul

Wintertime makes many of us think of soup. A quick glance through some of the most recent posts below makes it clear that we love to pull out the big pot and dig out our favorite recipes when the temperatures (and snow) begin to fall. Even for one such as yours truly who is not the most talented of cooks, soup can often be an easy, nourishing, comforting meal - along with some crusty bread or a piece of fruit - during the long winter months. tomato_soup.jpg

One of my favorite local blogs is the naming of things, written is a style that is at once cozy and charming and gives a peek into the life of a girl, Myndi, who seems to do only the loveliest of things. Myndi recently devoted a week of posts to soups...soups with a purpose. Soup for busy nights and soup for hibernating. Her "soup for cleansing recipe" - a leek-based soup - is one that I certainly plan to try after the holiday season.

So take a look, try a soup, and share some of your own favorites, too. It's sure to warm you up.

Caroline Kraft / Comments (2)

Event Wed Dec 02 2009

Forkable Cookie Baking Class

Join Andrea of the food blog Forkable for a day of holiday cookie baking! The event will take place this Saturday, Dec. 5 from noon 4pm at Andrea's Chicago home. The event is $40 per participant and space is limited. Class fee includes ingredients, instruction, apron and cooking equipment use. All participants will be sent home with a bag of their fresh baked goods. Register through Brown Paper Tickets.

Gemma Petrie

Event Wed Dec 02 2009

Menu for Hope 6

mmenuforhope.jpg The food blog Chez Pim is hosting the sixth annual Menu for Hope in collaboration with the UN World Food Programme. Over the past three years, Menu for Hope has raised nearly a quarter of a million dollars to feed hungry people around the world.

Food bloggers come together and donate items or services as prizes. On December 14th, the raffle opens and those interested in bidding on prizes can purchase raffle tickets for $10 a piece. All of the money will be donated to the UN World Food Programme.

For more information on this fundraising event, including how to donate items to the raffle, visit Chez Pim.

Gemma Petrie

Blog Wed Oct 07 2009

Forkable Launch Party

Andrea, of local food blog Forkable, just launched a redesigned of her site. She is celebrating in style by throwing a launch party this Thursday, October 8 from 7 pm to 10 pm at Archie's Tavern (2600 W. Iowa). Sip a $2 whiskey or beer and enjoy some free, homemade Forkable favorites like jalapeno poppers, cheesy onion casserole and bbq seitan while you meet the author.

Gemma Petrie

Interview Wed Sep 16 2009

Windy City Blogger Wednesday: Marathon Val

I hope that you have enjoyed the weekly interviews of Chicagoland food bloggers.

Next up, Valerie of Marathon Val, who has recently decided to eat Vegan.

Picture 298.jpg

What brought you to Chicago?
I grew up in Valparaiso, IN, which is just across the border from Chicago. I have fond memories of taking Saturday trips into the city to celebrate special occasions and to go holiday shopping. When I met my husband, who is from the Chicago area, it was a given that I would move here to be closer to him since I was already in love with Chicago!

What do you do when you aren't blogging?

Continue reading this entry »

Whitney Merritt / Comments (1)

Interview Wed Sep 09 2009

Windy City Blogger Wednesday: Happy Jack Eats

You may have noticed last week that I introduced you to Food Loves Writing on Friday, but I have decided to move this weekly feature to the middle of the week when you might need a little inspiration or a new distraction in the work week.

This week I want to introduce another one of my favorite Chicagoland Bloggers, Jacqui of Happy Jack Eats.


What brought you to Chicago?
I've always lived in the Chicago suburbs. I grew up in the Waukegan, and after college I moved to Lisle. Now, I work in the Loop as an editor, and even though the commute can be hell, nothing beats strolling through the farmers market on my way to the office and having lunch in Millennium Park. Winters, on the other hand, I could live without. But I suppose you're not a true Chicagoan until you've survived one or two or twenty-five of those.

What do you do when you aren't blogging?
I'm an Internet junkie. When I'm not eating or cooking or writing about eating and cooking, I'm reading other food blogs, browsing Flickr, or loitering around Twitter. I'm one of those people who surfs the Internet while watching TV (hooked on Lost and Dexter). Blogging has also sparked an interest in photography, and I'm currently accepting donations for a new digital SLR camera.

Continue reading this entry »

Whitney Merritt

Interview Fri Sep 04 2009

Food Blog Friday: Food Loves Writing

As a food blogger myself, I have filled my google reader with blogs that I read and enjoy on a daily basis. Many of these bloggers live, write and eat right here in the Windy City. I decided that I wanted to introduce you to some of my favorites with a new weekly series: Food Blog Friday.

First up, Shannalee at Food Loves Writing

Photo by Rebecca Brogan

What brought you to Chicago?
The Chicago area is where I grew up and where my family is from, and, excluding four years of college, the only place I've ever lived. I'm a big believer that home is where you make it with people you love, but, at least for now, I'm glad that's here.

What do you do when you aren't blogging?
I love to explore new places, whether that means a weekend in Maine or a Saturday in Oak Park, and I've started really getting into antiquing---have you ever looked at vintage aprons or cake stands? It's like history you can use! Other stuff: Enjoying my first experience with a CSA, finding ways to stay outside and watching entire series of television shows online. Oh yeah, and I have a day job---as an editor/copy writer.

Continue reading this entry »

Whitney Merritt / Comments (1)

Business Fri Aug 28 2009

Out With the Old, In With the New

Dana Joy Altman, a local food writer and former co-manager of the Green City Market, knows there are lots of people who want to cook more, using fresh foods and seasonal ingredients (and not just the masses inspired by a brand-new interest in Julia Child). To help steer people toward the best ingredients and the best way to organize their newly-stocked refrigerators and pantries, she's offering a pantry rehab service. The rehab, which is available for only the next few months, costs $1,500--but before you blanch at the price, consider that it includes groceries and new containers to store them in (you decide whether they come from Goodwill, Target or some other kitchenware source), and eight hours of learning and shopping with Ms. Altman. She'll also make sure you have the cookware and utensils necessary to prepare your healthy meals.

Ms. Altman also knows that not everyone has $1,500 for her service.

Continue reading this entry »

Lori Barrett / Comments (2)

Drink Mon Aug 03 2009

Bike Smoothies

Blender Bike making Smoothies-2

Ever make a smoothie with a bicycle powered blender? Last Saturday many Chicagoans came out to enjoy Open Streets. The organizer, Active Transportation Alliance, handed out free smoothies with ingredients donated by Green Grocer on a blender bike from Uptown Bikes.

Chris Brunn

Blog Fri Jul 31 2009

Non-Preachy Meat

As one of my non-vegetarian friends put it, "finally, a well-written, non-preachy piece about meat," and its impact on the environment.

Chris Brunn

Blog Wed Jul 22 2009

Make It Right

The Paupered Chef explains how to properly make a Chicago-style hot dog.

The ratio of bun-to-dog in a normal hot dog is just about right: not too bready, not too meaty, just balanced. A tongful of sauerkraut or some minced onions, a smear of good mustard: isn't this all a hot dog needs?

Chicagoans laugh. They condescend. They throw away inhibitions like ratio and create a new set of rules. No, a hot dog needs much more. Not only mustard and chopped onion. It needs tomato slices. It needs relish. It needs hot peppers. It needs an entire dill pickle spear the size of the dog itself. It needs celery salt. The only thing it doesn't need is ketchup.

Andrew Huff

Blog Mon Jul 13 2009

MenuPages Chicago Becomes Grub Street

grubstreetchicago.pngHelen Rosner, the intrepid editor of MenuPages Chicago Blog, has been hinting at a massive redesign of the blog for a little while now, and it debuted today. More than just a redesign, it's a complete rebranding: the MPChicago blog is now Grub Street Chicago.

The change is fairly simple to explain: New York Media, the corporate parent of New York magazine and, bought MenuPages last July. While MenuPages' blogs were quite healthy on their own, nymag's Grub Street blog has the prestige -- it won a James Beard Foundation Journalism Award last year and was a finalist for a National Magazine Award in 2007. It only makes sense to apply that cache brand to a product that already meets the brand's standards for high quality writing and reporting.

It's a great move for a great blog -- though right now there are lots of broken bits and pieces, and Rosner's byline isn't on posts in the redesign yet. She assures me it's still just her, and all these little elements will be cleaned up over the next couple days.

Andrew Huff

Blog Tue Jun 30 2009

Minimalist Meals @ Chicago's Newest Restaurants

Today in a post on, David Tamarkin points out that new Chicago restaurants like The Publican and Nightwood are taking a "less is more" approach. He predicts that the end is near for molecular gastronomy and finds the more minimalist dishes he's been tasting to be a refreshing change.

Dana Currier / Comments (1)

Recipe Fri Jun 26 2009

Perfuming Garlic and Soft Pesto

Fiocchetti with creamy pesto and garlic

I smelled roasted garlic perfuming the air on my bicycle ride home today as I passed an Italian restaurant. Perhaps the hot and balmy weather intensified the aroma. I stopped of for some garlic and went to my kitchen.

Sautéed, minced garlic goes brilliantly with pesto mixed into any kind of pasta. But I used fiocchetti - a type of pasta that, because of its small size, leaves more surface area to soak up sauce. I was fortunate that a few friends brought this pesto by for me last weekend. It was creamy and soft, with a rich oily basil flavor, which I'd been previously enjoying on bread. The pesto was, above all other ingredients, the star.

Chris Brunn

Blog Wed Jun 24 2009

A Forkable Wedding

Excited to tie the knot, but not to break the bank? Andrea, of the Chicago food blog Forkable, recently catered her own wedding. Ambitious? Yes. Impossible to do well? No, according to Andrea. She is kindly chronicling her experience in a series of blog posts that aim to help other couples follow her lead. Her wise advice, "When confronted with a $6,000 quote for catering, don't cut your guest list in half; cut your caterer!"

Post 1: Save Money: Cater Your Own Wedding
Post 2: The Basics
Post 3: A Disclaimer
Post 4: Begin Planning
Post 5: 3-6 Month Check List
Post 6: Full Bar vs. Wine and Beer
Post 7: 2 Month Check List

Check Forkable over the next few weeks for the remainder of the posts in this series.

Gemma Petrie / Comments (1)

Blog Thu May 28 2009

Edible Garden in Logan

Ben's Kale
I love going to my friend Ben's. His front yard is almost entirely an edible garden. And it's large. His small house is so far back on the lot that you can see his neighbor's back door while sitting, facing forward, on his front porch. Ben once joked that he ate his breakfast as he walked off through the front yard in the morning. Except I wasn't sure if he was really joking. I dropped in on Ben for a BBQ and took a peek at how this year's garden was developing.

Ben Prepping the Fire PitLast year there was so much growing that it seemed tricky to walk among the veggies. So this year, Ben constructed raised wooden containers with a floor of WeedBlock landscaping fabric. This is where he's moved the kale that had taken it upon itself to come back from last year. He's growing four types of beans under a pyramid-shaped trellis. (Ben directs NeighborSpace, a land trust for community gardens. The organization ran a fun campaign, One Seed Chicago, where it urged people across Chicago to vote for one seed to get excited about. This year, the bean won, and NeighborSpace is mailing out free packets of donated Blue Lake Pole green bean seeds for us to plant.) In Ben's other containers, markers helped me identify okra, radishes, squash and beets, which were all, at the very least, sprouting quite strong. Chives had flowered, and apples from two trees were making their small but forthcoming appearances.

Continue reading this entry »

Chris Brunn / Comments (5)

Blog Fri Apr 17 2009

Chicago Blog: Apple Pie, Patis, Pâté


Chicago-based Apple Pie, Patis, Pâté is one of those blogs that I always check first when it shows up in my RSS reader. Jude makes mouth-watering dishes like Asparagus Soup with Cream, Chicken in Red-Sesame Seed Sauce, and Steamed Peaches with Honey Dates. But, it's the bread-baking that makes this food site really stand apart.

Jude's approach is clear and methodical and the resulting loaves look incredible. I'm setting aside some time to bake this weekend and I've had my eye on these recipes: Rosemary Potato Bread, Cinnamon Raisin Walnut Bread (pictured), and Dark Onion Rye.

(Image from Apple Pie, Patis, Pâté.)

Gemma Petrie / Comments (1)

Business Thu Mar 26 2009

Korean Market: Chicago Food

Thumbnail image for chicagofoods.jpg

Forkable, a Chicago food blog, recently posted about her adoration for Chicago Food Corp., a local Korean market. Her photos are vibrant and her top ten list of Asian ingredients has me reconsidering my weekend plans.

Chicago Food Corp.
3333 N. Kimball
(773) 478-5566

(Photo credit: Forkable)

Gemma Petrie

Resource Wed Mar 25 2009

Lunch Boxes for Grown-Ups

Office workers around Chicago, and around the nation, who still have jobs to go to are giving up their daily $10 sandwich or salad deals and bringing lunches from home instead. And with the stylish new lunch-toting options available nowadays, they can carry their food with pride and panache. Whole Foods carries a bento-box lunch "system," on display right next to the overpriced salad bar, so you can fill the little compartments as soon as you've paid for them.

tiffin.jpgThe tiffin carrier, available from Design Within Reach or other online retailers, is an even sleeker vessel. It might look like the tin pail Laura Ingalls Wilder carried to school on the Little House on the Prairie TV show, but the stainless-steel carrier is inspired by the word "tiffin," which means light lunch or snack in parts of Britain and India.

If having a stylish lunch box makes you feel pressured to fill it with healthy, sophisticated foods, there is help available.

Continue reading this entry »

Lori Barrett / Comments (8)

Bar Fri Mar 20 2009

Belgium Through a Brewer's Eyes

Former Flossmoor Station Head Brewer Matt Vanwyk recently toured Belgium and posted about his experience on the Flossmoor Station Beer Blog.

Part I: Brugge
Part II: Kortrijk and Brussels
Part III: St. Niklaas and Brussels
Part IV: Beersel

Vanwyk is moving to Oregon to join Oakshire Brewing and Bryan Shimkos will be taking over as Flossmoor's Head Brewer. Flossmoor Station is throwing a party in their honor on Saturday, March 21 from 5 - 9 p.m. Details can be found on their website.

Gemma Petrie

Blog Wed Feb 25 2009

Grub Hacker: Meats

sausage box.jpgGrub Hacker, a new food website run by a member of the competition barbecue team The Porkcrastinators, takes meat home-cookery to a new level. Check out his posts on spit-roasted fireplace beef, making a budget sous vide machine at home, and building a sausage fermentation box (pictured).

Photo is from Grub Hacker. Full disclosure, the author is a friend of mine.

Gemma Petrie

Blog Fri Feb 13 2009

The Local Beet Drops the Beta

localbeetlogo.gifThe Local Beet, a website "dedicated to a
practical approach to eating locally-produced, sustainable and organic foods," made itself official today after a few months of soft launch. The site is an invaluable resource for local locavores -- and for those just trying to eat healthier.

"I'm really passionate about this project, and it's evolving all the time," says Local Beet Editor Michael Morowitz, a cofounder of LTHForum and fomer blogger at EatChicago. "I also really think we represent a fast-growing part of Chicago that cares more about where their food comes from. Non-foodies that I know are starting to use the fact that they avoid big supermarkets as a badge of honor."

The Local Beet already has an excellent roster of writers, and plans for 2009 include the launch of a section dedicated to food policy issues, "Our goal is to connect people who care about the source of their food directly with the people who are working for change in our local and national food policy," says Morowitz.

Andrew Huff

Blog Fri Feb 06 2009

Friday Pasta

My pal Bill and I made this pasta the other night and the leftovers were perfect for a quick supper when I came home later that week. I added another tomato, sautéing it in some olive oil before adding in the leftover pasta. For a little punch, I mixed in a sundried tomato and Kalamata olive tapenade leftover from another night, Candle Cafe's recipe. This would be a perfect recipe to reheat in a hot pan before going out with your friends for the evening.

Chris Brunn

Blog Tue Jan 20 2009

The Public Face of Pat Bruno

MenuPages Chicago Blog's Helen Rosner posted last week about Sun-Times food critic Pat Bruno appearing on the Food Network's "Throwdown with Bobby Flay." Today she posted a response from Bruno himself.

But what difference does it make should I be recognized? Will the restaurant in question suddenly, like magic, put out better quality food? Will inept service suddenly become "ept?" Nah.

He claims in his email that he used "a clever disguise" in his TV appearance -- presumably referring to his goatee -- and notes that plenty of chefs know what he looks like thanks to his years running a cooking school and small chain of cookware stores. He also points out that critics Phil Vettel, Penny Pollack and Dennis Wheaton have "been made" too. Of course, they haven't been made on national television. I have to agree with Helen that that's quite a bit higher profile than an occasional spotting in a restaurant.

Incidentally, MenuPages Chicago got a facelift today -- that unfortunately places The Bean on the South Side on the map.

Andrew Huff

Blog Fri Jan 16 2009

Online Farmers Market

Today, a New York Times blog talks about Foodzie. It's an online farmers market of artisan products. Sort of. "You get a similar experience to a farmers market," the post quotes a co-founder. Such a bold claim is a hard sell for me, as I like to physically interact with local merchants perhaps as much as I like to support them. Regardless of how well "video and other social networking features" may be implemented, I'll still be looking forward to my local farmers market so long as I remain lucky enough to live near one. And I won't have to wait for spring. Green City Market runs indoors into April for the first time this year, starting tomorrow, and continues every first and third Saturday at The Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum.

Chris Brunn / Comments (1)

Review Sun Jan 04 2009

Cupcakes and Board Games


Swings to sit on, a sign promising unattended children an espresso and a free puppy, and vegan and non-vegan cupcakes in a bright and playful storefront full of board game players is Molly's Cupcakes on a Saturday night. I took the vegan chocolate cupcake with chocolate frosting - slightly fudgy with a soft, velvety topping - and a cup of decaf Intelligentsia so I wouldn't zip about into the night. I sat at the marble or marble-like counter, snapped a photo through the mirror in front of me, and chatted with a friend, being excited about just having stopped in at Dutch Bike Co. Chicago and the Lincoln Park Conservatory. 2536 N. Clark St., (773) 883-7220. Bus: 22 Clark, 36 Broadway.

Chris Brunn / Comments (2)

Blog Wed Dec 17 2008

Menu for Hope

menuforhope.jpgMenu for Hope, now it its fifth year, is an annual campaign to raise money for the UN World Food Programme. This event, hosted by Chez Pim, encourages donations by rewarding each $10 increment with a raffle ticket to win some amazing food related prizes -- all generously donated by food bloggers.

Take a look at the list of raffle prizes for this year. Once you have decided which prizes you are interested in, follow the instructions on the donation page.

Gemma Petrie

Publication Wed Dec 10 2008

Bon Appetit: Chicago

bajan2009.jpg "The best of the year" issue of Bon Appetit (January 2009) recently arrived in my mailbox.

In the recurring "BA Foodist" column a reader from Naperville, IL asks, "What was the best restaurant dish you ate in 2008?" The reply includes one Chicago selection: #8 Sauteed Maine scallops with soba gnocchi at Takashi.

In a round-up of the best new American taverns, The Publican is listed at #9. "The long-awaited more casual follow-up to well-regarded Blackbird and Avec is finally here. The menu features lots of fish and sustainably raised heirloom pork. The restaurant also has one of the city's most diverse international beer lists."

And on the Bon Appetit website, the excellent Chicago blog Blue Kitchen is highlighted in the Blog Envy slideshow for his hazelnut rosemary jam cookies.

Gemma Petrie

Blog Mon Nov 03 2008

Foodbloggy Melodrama

It's been a wacky day in Chicago's foodblogosphere. First, the Reader's Food Chain broke the news that two LTH Forum Great Neighborhood Restaurant award winners had been leaked. Then, late this afternoon, Time Out Chicago broke that the long-anticipated Eater Chicago had been put on hold indefinitely, blaming economic conditions. What news will tomorrow hold?

Andrew Huff

Blog Thu Oct 30 2008

Creepy Cooking


Startle your Halloween party guests with these festive treats:

Melon brains from scoochmaroo at Instructables.

"Blood" oozing vampire cookies from Baking Bites.

Bleeding heart pie from Coo-Koo-Ri-Koo.

Vampire bat cake from My Own Sweat Thyme.

The stunning, not to mention ambitious, Halloween cake pops from Bakerella.

Finger cookies from Chicago's own Forkable (pictured). Adapted from Yeah, That Vegan's bloody finger cookies.

Photo from Forkable

Gemma Petrie

Blog Sat Oct 25 2008

Praise for Hotel Dining in Chicago

In a recent post, Raphael Kadushin, of Epicurious's food blog "the epi-log," first laments the decline of the hotel restaurant only to cite Chicago as the exception to the rule. He singles out the Ritz-Carlton Cafe, NoMI at the Park Hyatt, Shanghai Terrace at the Peninsula and Mercat at the Blackstone Hotel as hotel restaurants which will provide "a week's worth of stellar food."

Dana Currier

Blog Tue Oct 21 2008

Twittering Dinner

Tweating Out is a new food review blog promising "Culinary musing and restaurant micro-reviews, no filler!" True to form, the reviews are 140 characters or less, if you don't count the address info. And, of course, you can follow it on Twitter.

Andrew Huff

Blog Thu Oct 16 2008

Keeping Up With the Vegetarians

I've long been addicted to green gossip blog Ecorazzi. It's like Gawker or Jezebel, but with an agenda beyond snark and with crushes on charities rather than on rock stars. Last week, Ecorazzi launched a weekly roundup of news from vegetarian and vegan blogs (as part of Vegetarian Awareness Month). The first edition, from last week, includes a list of blogs Ecorazzi will pull stories from, and they're not all preachy and sober. Both the GirlieGirlArmy and the Discerning Brute are as interested in fashion as they are in animals. And the Postpunk Kitchen and Vegan Yum Yum are good sources for recipes. (Though, truth be told, I've been disappointed the recipes I've tried from PPK.) This week's update includes a recipe for stuffed shells and news that Disney has removed foie gras from its menus. Stay tuned: It just might be possible to be as green as Kermit without breaking the bank, starving or having to wash with Dr. Bronner's.

Lori Barrett

Blog Mon Sep 29 2008

Gourmet Raves for Urban Belly blogger David Tamarkin sings the praises of Urban Belly in a recent post. The only thing he seems unsure of is which he likes better, the dumplings or the noodles.

Dana Currier

Blog Mon Sep 29 2008

Chi.Eater's Editor Named

The Chicago branch of chain restaurant blog Eater will be opening in the next couple weeks, headed by former UR Chicago editor Ari Bendersky, Time Out reports. Bendersky is a print and online media veteran, so I'm confident the site will be in good hands. We're looking forward to see the paper come off the new site.

Andrew Huff

Event Tue Sep 23 2008

Going Whole Hog

If you've been following The Food Chain's "whole hog project" for the past year and a half, you've probably fantasized about joining Mike Sula et al for the final chapter, a mulefoot feast. And if you can afford it, your fantasy can come true.


On Sunday, Oct. 19, Blackbird will be the setting for a six-course, snout-to-tail dinner prepared by chefs Paul Kahan of Blackbird, Paul Virant of Vie, Jason Hammel and Amalea Tshilds of Lula, Mike Sheerin of Blackbird, Justin Large of Avec and Brian Huston of the still-not-open Publican. It's $125 per person, but when will you have the opportunity to sample heirloom pork prepared by this many top Chicago chefs all in one place? Plus, the proceeds benefit Slow Food Chicago, so you're practically doing a good deed by having a great meal.

Full details here; make your reservations directly with Blackbird at 312-715-0708.

Andrew Huff

Blog Tue Sep 16 2008

Serious Eats' Chicago City Guide Debuts

cityguide-chicago.pngSerious Eats' City Guide to Chicago debuted last Friday, and stirred up a little controversy in the comments and elsewhere.

Written by Good Eats contributor and food-writer-about-town Michael Nagrant, it's a very solid overview of some of the best places to go in a variety of categories, from best Chicago-style pizza to best burger to best late-night eats. For the most part, I agree with Nagrant's choices -- in as much as one can choose one or two places for each of these categories in a city as large and diverse as Chicago. My disagreements were fairly small: I'm not a fan of Hot Doug's Chicago dog (his choice for city's best) -- it's average, and seems a little underweight to me. Put me down for U Lucky Dog (aka the original Fluky's). And Nagrant's pick of Aria Bar for sushi was puzzling. Katsu has to be the best for formal sushi, and if it's really about the chef, my money is on "Sushi Mike" Ham at Tanoshii.

On publication, the guide glaringly neglected to mention Italian beef. It's an iconic dish in Chicago, one that tourists and locals alike single out as one of the city's great culinary contributions. The omission has since been rectified, and I wholly endorse the choices of Al's #1, Chickie's and Johnnie's.

MenuPages Blog puts the Serious Eats guide up head to head against to the list created by Sky Full of Bacon's Michael Gebert a couple weeks ago, when Ed Levine announced the series. Plenty of overlap, and between the two and LTH Forum's Great Neighborhood Restaurant Awards (nominations for this year's awards just opened, by the way), you'll have enough places to try to keep you happy for months.

Andrew Huff / Comments (4)

Blog Wed Jul 30 2008

Miracle Fruit in Chicago

My Vegetable Blog has a detailed post of her recent "taste-tripping" party. I'm impressed by her spread and will definitely be using some of these ideas when I finally host my own Miraculin party (like, goat cheese, cranberries, hot peppers, vinegar and Guinness).

Joanna reports that she and her guests had varying responses to different flavors and that the taste shifts were not as extreme as they may have hoped --but, "What pretty much everyone agreed on was that lemons and limes tasted like candy."


Gemma Petrie / Comments (2)

News Fri Jul 25 2008

Hot Doug's Contest Winner: The New Chicago Dog

The winner in Time Out's contest to create a new hot dog for Hot Doug's has been announced: it's The New Chicago!

Mexican chorizo sausage, Asian pear chutney, Indian paneer cheese, chili mustard, served on a multi-grain roll. As the original Chicago dog reflected our immigrant heritage (Greek, Italian and Jewish immigrants), this encased meat reflects our new and future immigrant population. Latinos now account for 1 in 4 city residents, our Asian population is expected to grow over a third in a matter of a decade, and India presents the third largest group of new immigrants to Chicago. This new sausage celebrates this new Chicago.

The New Chicago Dog was created by open source programming consultant Kevin Haas; his masterpiece will appear on the Hot Doug's menu soon. All four finalists were pretty awesome, though, and "Hot" Doug Sohn has said we shouldn't be surprised if all of them — and others not chosen as finalists — made it to the menu at some point.

Andrew Huff

Blog Fri Jul 18 2008

Saving Bread

The Chicagoland Bicycle Federation's blog turned me on to someone whose experiment going car-free this summer has him saving money on bread. Yes, not just gas, but bread. George writes, "I'm finding that without a car I pick and choose a bit more carefully. That extra side trip to the bread store got nixed when my wife rightly pointed out we had plenty of bread right now."

Chris Brunn

Random Wed Jul 16 2008

Frozen Vegan Refreshment

When it's hot out like today, why not treat yourself to thick, cold vegan ice cream or smoothie? Below are some of my favorite sources.

• Karmers on Wabash in the Loop has Temptation vegan ice cream by the scoop, either on the sidewalk or inside available by asking at the counter. I hear that you can also find the locally made Temptation by the scoop at Brown Cow Ice Cream Parlor in Forest Park, and Heavenly Gelato & Ice Cream in Logan Square.

Fresh fruit smoothies at Soy Organic in Pilsen.

Seedling blends up smoothies with the fruit they grow at Green City Market.

• Ice cold and smooth vegan shakes are at Veggie Bite in Wicker Park and Beverly.

Chicago Diner makes some of the best vegan shakes, served in a tall glass.

• Vegan ice cream on cones at Just Indulge in Wicker Park.

Sorbet at Ruth & Phils Gourmet Ice Cream in Lincoln Square.

Temptation is available by the pint at the Green Grocer at Grand & Noble, W Crossings on North Avenue in Wicker Park, True Nature in Uptown, and Whole Foods in Lakeview, South Loop, and on Halsted.

And a few places I've been meaning to try:

• I've seen smoothies being made weekend days on a table out front Crespo's at North Avenue at Leavitt.

• I've heard about a new juice and smoothie shop at 2246 W. Armitage, apparently serving up wheatgrass shots and carrot apple ginger juice.

Chris Brunn / Comments (1)

Blog Mon Jun 30 2008

Liveblogging Taste

The staff of The Stew liveblogged a mad dash through the Taste of Chicago on Friday, documenting in a few words the food and drinks at every booth. They borrow a page from "Sound Opinions" and rate everything on a three-point "Get it!/Meh./Forget it." scale.

Check out photos of some of the new dishes this year here.

Andrew Huff

Blog Tue Jun 24 2008

Cantaloupe and Avocado Sorbet

I don't think it's often that the owner of a small ice cream company drops off a tub of sorbet at my apartment for a friend of hers, my roommate. Ruth & Phils Gourmet Ice Cream is one of the three companies that makes up one retail space - Sweet Collective. I pulled a container of their cantaloupe avocado cilantro sorbet from my freezer and didn't want to stop tasting spoonfuls. The soft and gentle flavor of cantaloupe led right into a creamy but covert avocado taste, with bits of cilantro adding style and color. If all of their sorbet offerings are this tasty, I could see dreaming of regular deliveries, especially in the summer.

Chris Brunn

Blog Mon Jun 16 2008

Chicago Chefs in Alaska

Chefs Carrie Nahabedian and Sarah Stegner and Prairie Grass Cafe manager/wine director Rohit Nambiar are spending some time on Kodiak Island in Alaska, and are blogging their experiences. (Thanks, Mary!)

Andrew Huff

Blog Mon Jun 16 2008

The Plaza, the Fountain and the Coffee

I'm a big fan of public spaces, especially when there's coffee available. At 1031 N. State Street, there's a small triangle of land wedged between Rush Street and Bellevue Place, paved with brick, covered with trees, and fitted with outdoor tables and a fountain that provides the soothing sound of flowing water. Such is a refreshing change from fancy restaurants and retailers across the street - a place where I call roll up, casually set my bicycle against the wall of the fountain, and order an iced soymilk with flavored syrup on a hot day. Whispers Cafe serves coffee refreshments from their small structure on the plaza, from which speakers played soft guitar music. I opened a vegan cookie that I had bought blocks south and relaxed.

Chris Brunn

Blog Fri Jun 06 2008

No Shame

John T. Edge takes on Leon Kass, head of President Bush’s Council on Bioethics, and his 555-page shame-fest, Human Dignity and Bioethics, in this recent post on Gourmet magazine's blog. His proof that eating in public is worth sacrificing one's dignity? Chicago's Italian beef.

Dana Currier

Blog Fri May 16 2008

Dissent on Foie Gras

Framing the ban on foie gras as one of choice distorts the issue. Laws codify society's beliefs. Do we believe in mistreating animals or not? I'd like to say, the answer is that we reluctantly accept it only when we know no other way. We accept cruelties involved in food production because we want to feed our people. Foie gras is a delicacy. So, do we believe in mistreatment when we don't need it? The real embarrassment is that we seem to have said yes when we repealed the ban.

Chris Brunn / Comments (2)

Blog Thu May 08 2008

More Grumbling about the Check Please Effect

The Check Please Effect gets national attention today at David Tamarkin laments the fact that the Chicago public television show drains business away from lesser known restaurants and funnels it into the spots featured on the show. He concludes it's not so bad, though, to discover one's own favorites.

Dana Currier / Comments (1)

Blog Wed Mar 12 2008

Bacon Blogs


There are two new bacon blogs in Chicago (full disclosure: both are run by friends of mine): Sic Semper Porcus and Theories of Bacon.

Photo from not martha's fabulous post on bacon curls. Also check out her post on bacon cups. (For the vegetarians, here is a veggie bacon bowl from Annaramma.)

Gemma Petrie

Blog Tue Mar 04 2008

Food in Your Inbox

For those of us who were disappointed that Daily Candy wasn't edible, there are a couple of culinary e-newsletters of the email kind have popped up recently.

Tastybeat "sifts through the abundant world of food in Chicagoland to serve you with the very best information." The newsletter launched last September and has covered a wide variety of restaurants, bakeries and groceries in the city and suburbs (mostly North Side) in a peppy, attractive style.

Meanwhile, Eatier, which launches today, promises foodporn and cooking tips in your inbox. Judging by the "leftovers" on the site, it should be worth a try.

It's not in your inbox, but SavoryCities has relauched with a slicker design and plenty of video interviews with top Chicago chefs. Set up an account and you can post reviews of your own.

Andrew Huff

Blog Wed Feb 27 2008

CB&J on Sourdough

My friend asked me what I was going to order. There's nothing vegan on the menu, he told me. The CB&J on sourdough drew my eye: "house-made" cashew butter and fig jam on sourdough, pan-fried. But it's got cheese, he said. So I order without. What about the macaroni and cheese it comes with? I ask for fries.

I'd been craving Hopleaf's fries, their greasy softness and crispy ends, ever since I found that I'd be going there, and even though they would certainly seem excessive on a plate next to the house-made, wafer thin and crispy potato chips, which the sandwich comes with. My friend reflected that there weren't many vegetarian options - you might as well be vegan. Our server nodded her head with certainty after I asked for the changes, as she took to her notepad.

The bread was perfectly crispy in certain places, yet soft, and reassuringly warm and oily. Its holes emitted fig jam. I think I felt the tiny, gentle seeds of the fig, adding more texture to the viscous jam. Cashew butter made the sandwich, giving a needed gooeyness and richness, yet subtle enough to nod to the figs and sourdough.

Chris Brunn / Comments (1)

Blog Wed Feb 27 2008

Got a craving for burek?

Evidently, David Tamarkin does, and when he gets the urge, he heads to Deta's Cafe at 7555 N. Ridge. Not that he would ever sit down at a table inside, though. He prefers his burek to go.

Dana Currier / Comments (1)

News Sat Feb 23 2008

Golden Clog Awards: Chicago Wins!

Tony Bourdain and Michael Ruhlman's "Golden Clog Award" winners have been announced, and both Chicago nominees have walked away with the shoes!

Paul Kahan of Blackbird and Avec won The Chef's Chef, for "the chef who continues to make the kind of food other chefs like, while flying largely under the national radar," beating out Scott Bryan of Veritas in New York and Mark Vetri of Osteria and Vetri in Philadelphia.

Mike Nagrant of Hungry Mag won The Steingarten, for "the writer or blogger who actually gets it." He beat out Bill Buford, author of the best-seller Heat, and Pim of popular foodblog Chez Pim. Not even Nagrant expected it.

Andrew Huff

Blog Wed Feb 20 2008

Is This Anthropology?

For the past few days, I've been seeing links to this blog/web site called Stuff White People Like. It's funny, and also obnoxious. The food entries are hilarious--and, for some white people, like those portrayed in Amy Sedaris's book about whipped-topping huffers and cheese-ball makers, spot on. Among the foodie stuff white people dig: expensive sandwiches (In most cities, if you need to find a cache of white people, get yourself to a sandwich shop); kitchen gadgets (everything in their culture tells them that they need to have a nice kitchen and that they need to cook with organic, fresh ingredients to make delicious, complicated food); and being the only white people in an ethnic restaurant (if there is a table occupied entirely by white people, it is deemed unacceptable). Could this blogger be the new Claude Levi-Strauss?

Lori Barrett / Comments (1)

News Wed Feb 20 2008

Who Will Win the Golden Clog?

goldenclog.jpgAuthor Michael Ruhlman and chef/author/TV guy Tony Bourdain have created the Golden Clog Awards, a goofy but fun series of awards named mostly for various TV celebrity chefs. The nominees have been announced, and two Chicagoans are among them: Paul Kahan (Blackbird, Avec) for "Chef's Chef" and Hungry Mag's Michael Nagrant for The Steingarten ("for the writer or blogger who actually GETS it").

Bourdain handicaps the nominees on Eater [part one, part two]

The awards will be presented at the South Beach Wine & Food Festival this weekend -- cross your fingers for the home team!

Andrew Huff

Blog Thu Feb 14 2008

When Incorrect is Fun: Trying Faluda

If we draw a line between the correct foods and the wrong foods, faluda is going to be on the wrong side. And it'll stand there proudly.


Faluda is a Pakistani dessert/refreshment resembling a sundae. At Sabri Nehari, a Pakistani restaurant on Devon where I encountered the dessert, it's served in tall, fluted glasses. On the bottom are a few dumpling-like things that I couldn't figure out what, and a handful of bright green and orange jello cubes. A scoop of vanilla ice cream, strands of thin rice noodles (which give the dessert its name) and basil seeds sit atop, and the whole thing is swimming in sweet, pink rose syrup. The disco-like colors are obviously unnatural, yet oddly captivating: In this age of all-natural eating, it's almost novel to see so much food coloring in a single dessert. The colors, though, aren't the only stamp of evil; faluda is unabashedly sweet, too.

Continue reading this entry »

Yu Kizawa

Blog Thu Feb 14 2008

The Dark Side to Valentine's Day

We might be thinking that Valentine's Day is an excuse to go whole hog and get some of the good stuff, but there's a seedy underbelly to this holiday's culinary symbols, a world that doesn't understand truffles infused with curry or rolled in imported cashews. This world will be waiting for you tomorrow in the 50% discount aisle at Target. It will be low-grade chocolate, bad uses of stuffed animals with food, strange lollipops and more, more, more gummi products (that's so 1980s). Serious Eats reports.

Robyn Nisi

Blog Mon Feb 11 2008

Peer Pressure: Close the Door

If you frequent the type of busy fast food spot that draws long lines, particularly at lunch in the Loop, you may notice a bit of a draft on frigid days. A line extends out the door, which someone holds open to keep the line intact. Let the door shut, even if it means breaking the continuity of the line, and even if it's only one door of a double-door vestibule. Your previously cold neighbor will thank you, even if they don't say so. If you agree that this is a sensible thing to do, tap your knowledge of peer pressure from grammar school, put on a smile, and kindly ask the person next to you to close that door, also. Say you helped make Chicago a little greener, too.

Chris Brunn

Event Tue Feb 05 2008

Paczki Day

Today's the last day to get your paczki from Dinkel's on Lincoln. The fried pillows of sugar, fat and fruit are the traditional Polish food consumed in the few days before the beginning of Lent. Still sticking to the New Year's diet? Check out Joelen's Paczki Palooza and live vicariously through her.

Meghan Murphy Gill / Comments (1)

Blog Thu Jan 17 2008

Food Blog Survey

An Australian graduate student is researching the impact that food blogs are having on established food related print media. Shuna Fish Lydon has posted more information on her website, eggbeater.

If you are a U. S. food blog writer or reader, you can share your input here.

Gemma Petrie

Blog Mon Jan 14 2008

Get in the The Kitchn

Apartment Therapy's food blog, The Kitchn, is taking advantage of the cold temperatures and turning the oven on. This week is "Baking Week" and features posts on kitchen the best baking gadgets, a Q and A with John Baricelli from Everyday Baking (a la the Martha Stewart empire), recipes and a bittersweet baking contest.

The blog is like a crash course for those of us who received a Kitchen Aid stand mixer as a gift over the holidays.

Meghan Murphy Gill

Blog Mon Dec 10 2007

A Menu for Hope

Drive-Thru is proud to participate in this year's Menu for Hope foodblog fundraiser. Organized by Chez Pim originally to help raise money for victims of the 2002 tsunami, last year Menu for Hope raised more than $62,000 for the UN World Food Programme. WFP is the world’s largest food aid agency, working with over 1,000 other organizations in over 75 countries. In addition to providing food, the World Food Program helps hungry people to become self-reliant so that they escape hunger for good. Money raised by this year's fundraiser will be earmarked for a school lunch program in Lesotho, Africa.

Foodbloggers across the country have donated prizes ranging from cooking classes to specialty foods to gift certificates at restaurants. The staff of Gapers Block: Drive-Thru is donating luxury chocolate and coffee from Chicago: a pound of Costa Rica Tres Rios whole bean coffee from Metropolis Coffee Roasters and a Vosges Chocolates exotic truffle collection. You can see what other Midwest region foodbloggers have donated at Kalyn's Kitchen.

Here's How to Participate in A Menu for Hope
1. Choose a prize or prizes of your choice from our Menu for Hope at Chez Pim.

2. Go to the donation site at First Giving and make a donation.

3. Please specify which prize you'd like in the 'Personal Message' section in the donation form. You must write in how many tickets per prize, and use the prize code. (Each $10 you donate will buy one raffle ticket toward any prize.For example, a donation of $50 can be 2 tickets for EU01 and 3 tickets for EU02. Please write 2xEU01, 3xEU02.)

4. If your company matches your charity donation, please check the box and fill in the information so we could claim the corporate match.

5. Please check the box to allow us to see your email address so that we could contact you in case you win.Your email address will not be shared with anyone. Check back on Chez Pim on Wednesday, Jan. 9 for the results of the raffle.

The more you donate, the more chances you have to win -- so donate early and often!

Andrew Huff / Comments (1)

Blog Wed Dec 05 2007

Manor Gardens Allotments: Veggies in London's East End

Today, Heidi Swanson's takes us to the Manor Gardens Allotments on the East End of London. There, potatoes, garlic, tomatoes, broad beans, chard, chilies, wild plums and even figs grow in abundance. In the gardens, two restaurateurs, at least until recently, had a simple structure from which they cared for their garden. The recipe Heidi posted today comes from their book, Moro East, in which they take us through their year-long experiences in Manor Gardens. I’ve already put in my order for a copy. It sounds romantic, especially remembering the NY Times’ answer to their own question, Why are British cookbooks from around 2007 so much better than American ones? "They’re the products of a vision one is tempted to call novelistic," Dwight Garner wrote in last Sunday's article on holiday books. As if cozying up with your sweetie in fields of veggies isn't cute enough, each in the couple has the same name. The book is by "Sam & Sam Clark," or Samantha Clark and Samuel Clark. Sadly, the 2012 Olympics in London is expected not to leave much left of Manor Gardens. I'm glad I have my book coming.

Chris Brunn

Blog Wed Dec 05 2007

A Blog for the Season

Apropos for this time of year: Mondo Fruitcake, a local blog dedicated to the holiday sweet everyone loves to hate. [via]

Andrew Huff

Restaurant Thu Nov 29 2007

Hound Dogs Burgers & Teriyaki: Wholesome Diner Food Available

Korean mixed vegetables with rice, or bi bim bop, seems incongruent with my notion of a typical greasy Chicago diner. I imagine the type of place where I could order bacon and eggs, cheese dogs, meat on toast, and pizza puffs at a walk-up counter. Hound Dogs Burgers & Teriyaki has all that, plus teriyaki sandwiches and bi bim bop. I ordered the rice dish without the typical egg and beef. At a place where meat seems to take priority on the menu, anyone wanting to order vegan should assume the responsibility for ensuring their dietary guidelines are met. I stick to the basics. I asked for a vegetarian bi bim bop, no egg. They told me, sure, one bi bim bop, no egg. Hmm, I thought, I better make sure about the meat. No meat, I said, and more notes went on the kitchen's ticket.

Continue reading this entry »

Chris Brunn

Blog Mon Nov 19 2007

The Worst-Case Scenario Thanksgiving Guide

Okay, maybe worst case would be toasting some stale almost-forgotten marshmallows over the flames that consumed your garage and most of the backyard after a disastrous deep-fry turkey grease spill. (Safety first, especially in service of this degree of deliciousness.) But maybe if you're plum out of marshmallows and happen to have some unsigned cash lying around, you'd prefer to eat out, and maybe eat some real Thanksgiving fare at that. Should these misfortunes assail you, or you just don't feel like putting on an apron this year, the good folks at Centerstage have compiled a list of local spots open and ready to ply you with turkey and cranberry jelly come Thursday. Prices and deviations from your Joy-of-Cooking approved menu range wide, and it's enough to almost make you want to stay home and avoid the traffic...

Andie Cavedo

Blog Wed Nov 07 2007

I Didn't Want to Cook. But I did Heart the Sunchokes.

On nights when it's my turn to cook for my roomie but I'd rather grab take out and veg with a book, I force myself into it. For a second, I would wish I had just picked us both up falafel at Sultan's, plated it, and brought out our deep fryer to pretend like I made it. It's too bad she wouldn't believe that unless the whole apartment smelled like oil. And if it really did, I might as well be making my own falafel. I usually love to cook. My weeks have been hectic (sometimes too much time wasted away on tedious tasks like searching for the perfect day bag) and it's been maybe two weeks since it's been my turn to cook. So here's a memory of a cooking love fest from a few weeks back.

Continue reading this entry »

Chris Brunn / Comments (1)

Ingredient Mon Nov 05 2007

Won't Get Fooled Again

One of my favorite ongoing LTH Forum threads is about the misrepresentation of food labels and language, e.g. "krab" meat, or suspicious signs that read "Voted #1 [Food] in Chicago" with no qualification of who awarded such a title. I thought about this thread tonight as I ate a bowl of green beans that I bought in frozen form, but the package artwork claimed they were fresh. Ah! The wonders of science and advertising!

Robyn Nisi

Recipe Sun Oct 28 2007

Roommates Rotating Dinner feels like Family

My roomie Liz, our friend Andy and I used to alternate cooking dinner for each other a few times a week. Those nights, I felt like I was eating with family until the dinners faded months ago. A few days after Andy suggested a revival, Liz was searing slices of leftover neatloaf in a small cast iron pan.

I'm vegan, which pretty much makes our dinners vegan. Our dining room table was full of analogues to traditional American comfort food in sturdy baking dishes. A square glass dish held baked mac (rotini instead of macaroni this time) and not-cheese. Pan seared neatloaf lined a deep white oval baking dish. A small wavy white pitcher was full of gravy Liz had just made from scratch. A slender white candle completed a metaphor of comfort food purity. A clear glass bowl held pureed cauliflower. It looked like mashed potato, but tasted clearly not - much lighter.

After dinner, I asked Liz to explain what she made. Below are my notes with Liz's quotes mixed in. Amounts weren't measured, but in many cases I asked Liz to tell how she knew when she had added the correct amount of an ingredient. Improvising based on what's going on is key. Any stated quantities have been guessed after the fact.

Continue reading this entry »

Chris Brunn / Comments (1)

Blog Mon Oct 15 2007

LTH Forum Names Great Neighborhood Restaurants 2007

stlclg-lg.jpgWhen I'm trying to see if a restaurant is worth the travel and expense, I head to LTH Forum to see if any of their dedicated posters has written about the place in question. If you aren't familiar, this website forum is a great resource for finding (and posting) restaurant reviews in and outside of the city, as well as a place to talk about recipes and, well, food. Their annual "Great Neighborhood Restaurants" award recipient list was released today, with over 20 new additions to the elite group, (predictably) among them Smoque and Kuma's Corner, as well as some little-known places that are sure to become highly sought after as a result of LTH Forum's recommendation (similar to the "Check Please! Effect").

Robyn Nisi / Comments (1)

Blog Fri Sep 14 2007

Localvore Challenge, Days 3 and 4

Things got a little hairy by day three. Our supply of local bread had run out, and our supply of local granola was gone before noon. My son tried his best to eat another serving of the granola for breakfast, but he couldn’t face it for a third time (he’d supplemented his dinner with it the night before); my daughter didn’t even look at it. She had her usual frozen waffles—from Canada—and ate them with a scowl because we didn’t have any bananas. I managed to fill the lunchboxes with mostly local foods: Sandwiches (on supermarket bread from somewhere far out of shouting distance) with the pesto our friend made and reasonably local cheese, some corn chips from Chicago’s own El Ranchero food products, and an apple. With that, the bulk of my local-food supply was wiped out.

Continue reading this entry »

Lori Barrett

Restaurant Fri Sep 14 2007

Pork Belly Caesar, now in Chicagoland

Celebrated food writer, cookbook co-author and Bourdain partner-in-crime, Michael Ruhlman wrote a while ago about how the classic Caesar salad was no longer really a Caesar salad in the modern American restaurant (or rather, chain).

A call to arms was made and Ruhlman proposed the Chicken Fried Pork Belly Caesar Salad, urging chefs across the country to introduce it to their menus. While chef Chris Cosentino of Incanto in San Francisco brought his version to the dish and answered the call, Mike Mavrantonis, chef of (all places), Mike Ditka's in Oakbrook has brought it to the Chicagoland area.

Kevin Pang, writer of the Trib's Stew, reviews the dish.

Naz Hamid

Blog Wed Sep 12 2007

Localvore Challenge, Day 2

Today I was much more local. For breakfast I had the local granola, blueberries from Michigan and Kefir, which I buy fairly regularly and comes from Lifeway Foods in Morton Grove. I even filled the lunchboxes with (mostly) local fare: spinach-and-cheese scones from Red Hen Bread, snap-pea sprouts from the green market and some grapes that were on the verge of turning into raisins, so they needed to be eaten. I ate the same lunch myself, minus the grapes.
I don’t think my daughter ate much of her lunch. She doesn’t seem to be enjoying the challenge. Last night at dinner she asked what kind of candy a person might eat when they’re eating local. Whole Foods was promoting Vosges Haut-Chocolat as a local source. It's made by a company keen on green, but I don't think cocoa beans are grown in the Chicago area. Wrigley’s is in the business of making gum, also from ingredients that probably aren’t from here. But for the sake of my 7-year-old, we'll consider them local.

Continue reading this entry »

Lori Barrett / Comments (1)

Blog Tue Sep 11 2007

Localvore Challenge: Day 1

The Green City Market’s Localvore Challenge started today. Last year at Thanksgiving I made a lot of noise around my house about having a 100-mile Thanksgiving, and my son thought we actually had, but I never fully committed to it. Once I realized I’d have to make my own pie crust, I gave up on the idea. So I’ve decided to try a week of preparing and eating only local food. My first day has been a bit bumpy

Continue reading this entry »

Lori Barrett

Blog Fri Aug 10 2007

Cold Leftover Dinner for a Very Warm Day

Cold Leftovers. Inari. Soba Noodles. Sushi Rice. Chinese Broccoli. Green Curry Eggplant.jpg

I like to read while I'm eating, but I don't do it enough. I also enjoy a cold dinner on a warm night - the kind of night perfect for the leftovers I had in my fridge. I picked up artichoke-spinach hummus from Olivia's walking home from the Blue Line at Damen. A few heaping spoonfuls went on my plate. I sat eating while getting inspired reading Change Design, Conversations About Architecture as the Ultimate Business Tool. Two sweet and tender pieces of inari - sushi (brown) rice in a fried tofu pouch - which my sweetie put together at a dinner gathering two nights back, made appearances as well. Rice fell out of the pocket and gently touched my fingers. It reminded me of the sweeping way in which Uncle in India would gather up rice on his plate using his fingertips. Cold soba noodles refreshed and filled just as did a scoop of sushi rice. Thai eggplant from Green City Market sautéed in green curry hit with a bit of spicy heat. (You can find the inari wrappers and green curry in cans at Golden Pacific Market in Edgewater on Broadway, just north of Foster.) Chinese broccoli gave a nice crunch. It was a bit savory, too, sautéed in sesame oil - both leaves and chopped stalks - with well cooked-until-tender soybean sprouts and shitake mushrooms from Mitsuwa Marketplace.

Chris Brunn

Blog Sun Aug 05 2007

Blogging Out

As noted in Merge, EatChicago, one of the first local foodblogs, has signed off. It will be missed, but author Michael continues to post and moderate over at LTH Forum. We're sad to see it go.

Andrew Huff

Blog Thu Jun 21 2007

Midweek Veggies

New Milk & Honey Coming to Damen.jpg

Milk & Honey is set to open a bake shop this month at 1543 N. Damen, just across from the Damen and Milwaukee Blue Line station.

Handlebar currently has a magnificent buffalo seitan wrap on special. The tangy hot and vinegary sauce that you might know from your favorite wings makes this fried seitan incredible.

Atomix, as always, rocks grilled sandwiches the size of one's head (photo). Order your bagel, sandwich, chili or tasty vegan mushroom burger with whatever fixings you want by checking add-ons with a crayon stick on a plastic ordering card (photo). I chose artichoke hearts, spinach, jardiniere, tomatoes, onions, fake turkey, and vegan cheese on a hot focaccia sandwich.

The wholesome Indian breakfast made of semolina that I wrote about earlier, called upma, makes a good veggie burger (photo) when pan-fried in a little oil. It reminds me of the Trader Joe's masala burger that's made from a potato base.

Chris Brunn

Restaurant Tue Jun 19 2007

The Coffee Studio

Andersonville is getting a new coffee shop, The Coffee Studio, and they’ve been keeping a blog about the trials and tribulations of opening one, from the conception, the build-out of a space and choosing just about everything else. If you have ever wondered just how much work goes into opening an independent shop, you should take a peak at this blog. The Coffee Studio plans on opening sometime in July. Stay tuned for more information regarding just when.

The Coffee Studio is located at 5628 N. Clark St.

Christian Scheuer

Blog Thu May 31 2007

How Sweet They Are

Close up of chicken and sweet potatoes Inspired by a One Good Meal column from a few weeks back, I barbecued sweet potatoes this past weekend. The sauce I used was of my own invention (it included brown sugar, honey, apricot jam, and cider vinegar in whatever amount seemed good at the time) but the technique was straight from the column. I highly recommend grilling your own sweet potatoes and serving them as a side to almost anything from fish to pork to chicken. The boneless chicken breasts shown here were marinated in yogurt, spices (mostly garam masala), and fresh cilantro for a few hours before grilling.
I also heartily endorse the charcoal chimney starter. It eliminates the need for lighter fluid and creates a much more even fire under whatever you choose to grill up this summer.

Dana Currier

Blog Wed May 30 2007

Happy Third, LTH!

LTHForum turned three this past Sunday. To celebrate, forum member and food writer about town Michael Nagrant interviewed five of the cofounders on Hungry Mag. It's a long but very worthwhile look into the genesis of the site and the Chicago food scene in general.

Andrew Huff

Blog Sun May 06 2007

Two for One

Occasional Rearview contributors Yu Kizawa and Patrick Spence have collaborated to create not one but two new food blogs -- one in English and the other in Japanese.

Nibble & Kibble follows Yu's food excursions in and around the city in English, while Gochiso Sama serves as a guide to Chicago dining for Japanese readers.

Andrew Huff

Drink Sat May 05 2007

Savvy Advice for Cinco de Mayo Margaritas


Anyone even thinking about preparing a margarita today in honor of Cinco de Mayo (or any other occasion, for that matter) should definitely check out todays blog from The Thirsty Celt. Chicago's favorite Spirits Curmudgeon at Large, has indispensable spirits information and a pleasantly acerbic wit that makes him a joy to read, sober or otherwise. He is also the creator of, a terrific resource for all kinds of booze related questions. His simple but classic margarita recipe is available here.

Christine Blumer

Blog Sun Apr 08 2007

Same game, different player?

A recent post in the Stew, the Tribune's food blog, boasted the joy of Aldi's Mystik brand jelly beans, which are apparently a less expensive (and equally as tasty) cousin of Jelly Bellys. I personally love nothing more than finding a generic counterpart to the "branded" things I buy at the grocery store. But there are some things that I feel are never worth the risk; for example, the grainy and inedible taste of generic Mac'n'Cheese mix is proof that Kraft still has the market cornered, but I can easily handle Sweet Valley Cola over Pepsi any day. What corners do you cut at the grocery store? Your suggestions for acceptable (or superior) generic brand items are much needed...

Robyn Nisi

Blog Fri Mar 30 2007

"One Good Meal" on SeriousEats

Cinnamon Cooper, GB's resident cooking columnist, is profiled in SeriousEats's "Meet & Eat" feature today.

Andrew Huff

Blog Fri Mar 16 2007

Bruni's Bemused by Baby Bites

In a post today on his Diner's Journal blog, New York Times food critic Frank Bruni considers Custom Houses's adaptation of the small plates concept to the dessert menu. In his recent visit there, he noticed that in addition to their list of $10 substantial desserts, there was also a side menu of less costly and smaller-portioned sweets -- presumably for the almost-full-but-not-quite diner who just can't end his or her meal without that last dash of sugar. I admit I'm often that diner.

Frank gets cynical by the end and suggests it's possibly just another ploy to get the customers to pad their bill. That may be, but I can think of plenty of dinners out when the mere prospect of eating a full slice of cake or creme brulee threatened to make my belt buckle burst. In situations like that, the option of a simple piece of homemade brittle or candy bar would be just the thing.

Sandy Weisz

Blog Thu Mar 08 2007

The Best and The Local

Ira Glass brings us a review of Lula Cafe, one of "the best restaurants in town according to Reader Restaurant Raters," in "The Food Issue" (this week's Chicago Reader). The issue also includes a nice list of "subscription farms," some being regulars at our farmers markets, such as Green City Market which opens May 16. I can't wait.

If you want to help produce the food you eat, non-profit Growing Power - the organization behind the vegetable garden in Grant Park - is offering a "commercial urban agriculture training program" for those serious to farm commercially within the city. It sounds pretty incredible, but I'm going to stay on the cooking and eating side.

Chris Brunn

Blog Tue Mar 06 2007

Sugar, Sugar

On a gray day like this, when spring should be on the horizon but instead there are only large chunks of ice, a shot of sugar and color from a cupcake can be very healing. Don't know where to go for a cupcake fix? There's a debate going on on Chowhound's Chicago food board about the best cupcakes in Chicago.
If cookies are more your thing, particularly the bracing flavor of Thin Mints, Eric Zorn's column in the Tribune offers an alternative to the Girl Scout cookies that, for some, can be hard to find: Keebler Grasshoppers. Zorn's column links to an earlier posting about Thin Mints, and how to find them in the off-season. From there, you can link to a collection of recipes to make your own minty cookies, as well as some other Thin Mint trivia that ought to take your mind off the cold and the gray outside.

Lori Barrett

Blog Tue Mar 06 2007

Eating through Pictures

I used to subscribe to Martha Stewart Living, but not because I needed recipe and home decorating suggestions; I bought the magazine for the lush photography. The images of crawfish boils in the Bayou, cookie decorating parties with well-dressed children, and planning your next Moroccan-themed dinner party transported me to a glorious world where forty-course meals are made in under three hours, and no one uses boxed cake mix. Ever.

Thankfully for me, I can now reach through to the other side with the Traveler's Lunchbox, a recipe blog created by Melissa Kronenthal, an American grad student living in Scotland who combines her love of travel and cooking into a charming, well-organized site.

Continue reading this entry »

Robyn Nisi

Blog Wed Feb 28 2007

Everyone has a MySpace Page

While The Muffin Lady has reached the heights of her own internet fame, another late night snack bar staple of a legal food kind, has his own presence — oh yes, the Tamale Man has his own MySpace page (beware the music!).

Naz Hamid

Blog Wed Feb 21 2007

Talkin' About Pie

In 2004, we asked in Fuel, where does one go for pie? There wasn't much in the way of a definitive answer inside the city. Lots of options outside of Chicago but none too many here.

As Andrew and I sat at the Lincoln Lodge for lunch a few days ago and as I requested pie for dessert and was subsequently disappointed, I recalled the Fuel thread. I also recalled a few months ago when we had dropped in at Fat Willy's for lunch and I just had a slice of some very good coconut cream pie. I had found really good pie in a BBQ joint. But I have yet to find a go-to place for pie.

Let's revisit it. So tell me, dear reader, where do you get your pie in the city?

P.S. I hear Humboldt Pie has pies. I have not yet been. If you have, how is it?

Naz Hamid / Comments (8)

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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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