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Book Tue Dec 08 2015

Foodie Fiction: David Baker's "Vintage"

vintage-david-baker.jpgAs of these past few weeks, window panes across the city of Chicago have begun to fog up and armchairs, left largely unoccupied during our lengthy summer, have begun to beckon once more. To me, winter months mean catching up on reading: more time spent on buses and trains (I'm quite the fair-weather bike commuter), less time going out as a form of entertainment.

Luckily, I can turn to David Baker's debut novel,
Vintage
, to satisfy my taste for adventure without the need to put on five additional layers of clothing. Sweepingly cinematic in scope, the story begins at a tucked-away restaurant in modern-day Chicago and whisks readers through French winemaking county, a rambling train through Alsace, musty German war archives and a Moscow prison. The objective: track down a long-lost war vintage, a wine lost to the Nazis during World War II that many had believed to be lost to history (or simply a myth).

Continue reading this entry »

Danielle Snow

Cookbook Tue Sep 08 2015

Review: Grandbaby Cakes

grandbabycakes.jpgJocelyn Delk Adams has been breathing new life into classic baking recipes since she started her popular recipe blog Grandbaby Cakes in 2012. Her debut cookbook, Grandbaby Cakes: Modern Recipes, Vintage Charm, Soulful Memories, out September 15, is a gorgeous collection of 50 cake recipes. If you're a fan of her blog, and you should be, you may recognize a few of her cakes along with many entirely new and inventive recipes.

Adams and her family took many trips from their Chicago home to Mississippi where she would watch her grandmother invent delicious desserts. These sweet creations became part of their family lore over the years and eventually became the inspiration of both Adams's blog and cookbook. The book was written to honor her grandmother's baked innovations, showcase her own pastry work in an accessible way, and thank those who came before by passing on these edible family traditions.

This book is for any baker looking to make gorgeous centerpiece cakes with new and interesting flare. Traditional family staples like yellow cake are available, as well as creative and new flavors such as a Red Velvet S'mores Cake and Arnold Palmer Cake among others. Grandbaby Cakes is a lovely tribute to Adams's grandmother that is filled with heart and recipes that are sure to become part of your family's traditions.

Jeremy Owens

Feature Tue Apr 21 2015

"Cookie Love" Uncovers Dessert's Best-Kept Secret

cookielove.jpgThe first line of the introduction to Mindy Segal's newest cookbook Cookie Love (Ten Speed, $25) is all you need to know for understanding why this is required reading for all bakers: "I am a cookie nerd."

Yes, the celebrated pastry chef, James Beard award recipient and owner of Bucktown's Hot Chocolate knows where the real thunder of desserts rumbles -- the cookie. Why? It's versatile in all ways, from a standard chocolate chip, a shortbread with a delicate layer of sugar, or a delicate macaron. The cookie's flexibility has puzzlingly made it an overlooked item when it comes to fine dining menus, banished to being the backup dancer for panna cotta. Segal clearly has a different perspective, taking cookies all over the sensory and flavor map--a cornmeal shortbread dotted with crushed Corn Nuts, a graham cracker and passionfruit whoopie pie cookie, a strawberry rhubarb rugelach with oatmeal streusel (recipe at the end of this article), even a recipe for pumpkin dog biscuits brushed with meat drippings. The ingredients used in Cookie Love span from the recognizable to the average baker (Folgers crystals, peppermint candies), to ones that require trips to specialty stores for things like an Ateco Pipe #826 or orange blossom water. Each recipe requires work and attention; even the batch of simple snickerdoodles I made last night had me making dough very differently (read: less carelessly) than normal as I followed the instructions to Segal's word. It was work, but the results were delicious. If we're going to heighten the food, we heighten the technique.

Each entry is paired with a thoughtful story about its origins: a family recipe, a request from a bartender for a good oatmeal scotchie, a regular customer whose kids get walked back to the kitchen to pick out their own cookies from the cooling racks -- and is sometimes paired with technical shop talk on how to build on Segal's recipe, like how to chocolate-ify her take on a Fig Newton whose filling consists of figs cooked in port wine and honey. Segal clearly takes her subject matter seriously, and reading through Cookie Love, you'd forget that these cookies are baked daily and served at Hot Chocolate alongside an equally good full menu. Segal intends to release more cookbooks down the line of a single subject, so every item on her table will get their due.

Continue reading this entry »

Robyn Nisi

Book Tue Nov 25 2014

An Indian Thanksgiving?

93284100362000L.jpgThere aren't any statistics to back me up, but I'm going to grab part of a wishbone and declare this to be the most stressful week. Thursday's meal is arguably the most difficult that you'll plan this year. That's somewhat hilarious, since chances are you're organizing the exact same menu that you did last year and maybe even the year before. Isn't it time for a Thanksgiving shake-up? If you've been crying out for change, I have an answer for your Turkey Day woes.

Indian for Everyone by Anupy Singla is full of more than 100 classic and popular Indian recipes. The book really does what the title suggests. It offers Indian recipes for any home cook regardless of dietary restrictions, level of expertise or familiarity with Indian food. Singla includes a guide to Indian spices and how to use them as well as suggestions of how to make any of the recipes vegetarian, vegan or even gluten-free.

Continue reading this entry »

Jeremy Owens

Book Tue Nov 04 2014

Dorie Greenspan Takes Over Floriole this Sunday

dorie.jpgThe baking wizard (whose recipe for sables holds a special place in my heart) will be appearing this Sunday at Floriole (1220 W. Webster) to promote her newest book, Baking Chez Moi.

Greenspan and Middlewest's David Tamarkin will discuss her book and work, and attendees will also get champagne and treats from her book (which will be sold and signed by the master herself at the event). Tickets $25.

Robyn Nisi

Book Wed Oct 08 2014

A New Bible for Cooking Veggies

Vegetarian Flavor BibleGrowing up, the release of a new Beatles album was an event. We didn't know what it would contain but knew we were in for a treat. As an adult, a similar giddy excitement beckons when I hear of a new project by Karen Page, co-author of the James Beard Award winning culinary classics Becoming a Chef and The Flavor Bible. (See my interview with Page and Flavor Bible co-author Andrew Dornenburg here.)

So imagine my feelings when walking out of my apartment, I found an advance copy of The Vegetarian Flavor Bible, sent by Page's publicist, leaning on my door. Be still my heart. Only the best songs, books or movies become standards -- go-to's. The Flavor Bible was that for me, and this food-from-plant follow up is no doubt destined to sit at the same table -- as if Sgt. Pepper was a chef.

And as a chef for over 30 years, I'd rank The Flavor Bible and now its sequel, The Vegetarian Flavor Bible, in rarified air amongst my 400+ cookbook collection. As comprehensive as its predecessor, it's a must own A-to-Z reference book on plant-based cuisine for anyone who loves cooking with creativity and intuition. There are no recipes per se, but the harmonious flavor pairings found within will lead to numerous culinary money shots, guaranteed.

Alan Lake / Comments (1)

Drink Thu Aug 21 2014

Market-Fresh Mixology Puts Seasonality Behind the Bar

Market Fresh MixologyBridget Albert and Mary Barranco's Market-Fresh Mixology: Cocktails for Every Season, published by Agate's Surrey Books imprint, was revised and expanded earlier this summer. The Albert and Barranco show you how to use fresh, seasonal ingredients from your garden, the farmers market or produce department to make delicious cocktails year-round.

Summer, of course, offers the broadest options for cocktail ingredients -- fresh fruit, tomatoes, herbs. Unfortunately, the weather's been as suitable for hot drinks as cool cocktails, but this week we might actually see some 90-degree weather. Here's one of the new recipes book to help you beat the heat.

Continue reading this entry »

Andrew Huff

Beer Mon Apr 28 2014

Craft Beer, Community and Creativity: An Interview with Locally Brewed Author Anna Blessing

rsz_locallybrewed.jpgIn the introduction to Locally Brewed: Portraits of Craft Breweries from America's Heartland, author and photographer Anna Blessing writes that she wants "to tell the story of the people behind the beer." She provides glimpses of 20 Midwestern craft breweries and their oft-tattooed brewers, their music, their humble beginnings and cult-like followings. These breweries make anything from lagers to sours, from beers inspired by Latin America to beers inspired by candy bars.

They represent a sliver of an industry that has continued to grow while the overall U.S. beer industry has declined. This is an exciting time for craft beer, especially in the Chicago-area where there is no shortage of something new and creative to try. Even the neighborhood grocery stores and Targets stock some of the beers noted in Locally Brewed. I spoke with Anna Blessing on the phone about what she discovered while writing and interviewing for Locally Brewed and of course, about what she likes to drink.

Continue reading this entry »

Christina Brandon

Book Wed Aug 14 2013

A Book on Garlic Wouldn't Stink

Drive-Thru contributor Alan Lake is an expert on garlic. He's won the Delray Beach Garlic Festival's Professional Chef's Competition three times and has gone on to become a judge. In his 30 years as a professional chef, Lake's done quite a bit of cooking with the stinking rose, and decided to write a book examining 10,000 years of historical facts, fiction, folklore, myths and legends, along with a considerable number of recipes and professional tips to taming this culinary beast.

Today he launched a crowdfunding campaign on Pubslush.com in an effort to make the book become a reality. In true crowdfunding fashion, the rewards for pledges run from a thank you card and recipe up to a home-cooked dinner for 10 people.

You can read excerpts from The Garlic Manifesto here.

Andrew Huff

Book Wed Aug 14 2013

The Truth, the Mystery, Hot Doug's: The Book

Hot Doug's: The BookYou may have heard that Hot Doug's: The Book is not a cookbook. This is not true. There are two recipes. One is the basic template of a hot dog (bun, dog, condiments). The other is for how to make the most celebrated encased meat emporium in the world.

It begins with an origin story. Hot Doug's the store, grew out of a conversation owner Doug Sohn had with Paul Kelly, a colleague in the publishing company he then worked at, about whether there was such a thing as a bad hot dog (verdict: yes) and what could cause such an abomination.

The conversation turned into a lunch club that scoured the area for the best hot dogs, which were graded and critiqued and served, unwittingly, as the market research for what would become Hot Doug's. Readers are introduced to the members of Hot Dog Club, who each tells his or her own part of the origin story.

Continue reading this entry »

Andrew Huff

Book Wed May 02 2012

Hot Doug's, the Book on its Way

hotdougsbook.jpgYes, a book about Hot Doug's is on its way. Doug Sohn (who used to work in the publishing industry) posted on Facebook that it will come out next year -- and in the meantime, he's looking for stories from you.

The day has come, my friends. I'm happy to report a book about the restaurant is in the works for a release date in Spring 2013. That said, the success of the restaurant to me is the community--the part of my job I enjoy more than anything else is the interaction with the customers, and I want this book to be a reflection of that. Plus it's less work for me.

So please, send us your stories, photos, memories, drawings, poems ... anything that can go in a book. We'd love to consider including your contribution. Post it on Facebook, or email us at: HotDougsTheBook@gmail.com.

I wonder if he'd like a story about Hot Doug Drop, the delivery service that briefly took orders to locations in the Loop. [via]

Andrew Huff

Book Fri Dec 02 2011

Gift the Girl and the Goat

girl in the kitchen.jpegMark your calendars. You can meet the Girl and the Goat herself, Stephanie Izard, at the Book Cellar on December 17th. (Oh right, it's December already folks. Crazy. I know.) Pop on in for this local stop on the goat tour where Stephanie will be on hand, signing copies of her new cookbook, Girl in the Kitchen! It makes the perfect holiday gift. Or, go ahead, treat yourself. You deserve it.
Signing starts at 12 noon. The Book Cellar is located at 4736-38 N. Lincoln Ave. 773.293.2665 for more details.

Katie Johnson

Book Mon Oct 10 2011

Going Once, Going Twice

ruhlmanstwenty.jpegThis Wednesday, the Chopping Block at the Merchandise Mart will host chef Michael Ruhlman for a book signing. The acclaimed chef, known for his efforts to make the techniques of the professional chef accessible and easily translatable to the home kitchen, will be available to sign his newest cookbook, Ruhlman's Twenty. Tickets are $40 and include the price of the cookbook. Better hurry - this is actually the second opportunity for a chance to meet Ruhlman as the first event (which includes a live cooking demo and light lunch featuring recipes from the book) sold out after just one day. Signing takes place from 1:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. The Chopping Block is located at the Merchandise Mart Plaza, Suite 107 Chicago, IL 60654. See site for registration details, or call (312) 644-6360.

Katie Johnson

Book Wed Oct 05 2011

Girl On the Road

goattour1a.pngStephanie Izard seems to be popping up everywhere these days. Today marked the hometown commencement of her "Goat Tour" book tour here in Chicago, with a launch party at Salvage One. Did you miss out on the fun tonight? No worries. Gourmet retail cookware king, Williams-Sonoma has got you covered. Their Michigan Avenue store location will be hosting a book signing and cooking demo on Friday afternoon. Izard's first cookbook, Girl in the Kitchen, will be certain to inspire your own inner chef.

Signing begins at 2pm. Williams-Sonoma is located at 900 N. Michigan Ave.

Katie Johnson

Book Tue Aug 02 2011

Farm Together Now Book Discussion Tonight

Amy Franceschini and Daniel Tucker, the authors of the marvelous book Farm Together Now, host a potluck and book discussion tonight at Logan Square Kitchen, 2333 N. Milwaukee Ave., at 7pm.


Robyn Nisi

Book Wed Jun 15 2011

Tell Me Where To Go

So I just read my daily Tasting Table email, and apparently there's a new Chicago food guide out by Jennifer Olvera. It's titled Food Lovers Guide to Chicago.

Before you roll your eyes, I don't think this is Zagat-like. Of course, there's nothing wrong with that, but from what I can tell, this is just different. It sounds like it's something that won't make you look like a tourist. It even lists specialty shops like butchers and fishmongers and recipes.

Order your copy here today. You may find a place right around the corner that you didn't know about.

Ryan Frieson

Review Thu Apr 21 2011

Touring the Nation's Food Trucks & Bringing it Back to Chicago

Heather Shouse traveled the country eating street food, all so you could know where to go next time you're in the mood for street meat or Korean tacos or trailer-fried doughnuts. Her book, Food Trucks: Dispatches & Recipes from the Best Kitchens on Wheels, surveys the food truck culture in LA, Portland, Austin, New York, DC and other hot spots both well known and less so. Chicago is in there too, of course, with the acknowledgment that current regulations mean that most of our local trucks violate her own rule that all the trucks included in the book make their food on the truck. "Hopefully by the time you read this you can add these to that list," she optimistically writes.

The book saw its official release Tuesday, and the regulations still stand. But the turnout for Shouse's book signing and "food truck summit" at Goose Island's Clybourn brewpub was strong despite the rain, and the enthusiasm for the clutch of trucks crowded into the parking lot showed that Chicago is ready whenever the City gets around to making it easier to eat curbside.

Continue reading this entry »

Andrew Huff

Book Tue Apr 19 2011

Truckin,' Foodin'

9781580083515.jpgCome celebrate the release of Food Trucks: Dispatches and Recipes From the Best Kitchens on Wheels, a guide to the nation's many food truck outlets, penned by TimeOut Chicago's Heather Shouse, tonight from 7-10pm at Goose Island (1800 N. Clybourn). The event will double as a food truck summit, with many of the city's finest grub on wheels in attendance (among them The Southern's Mac and Cheese Truck, Sweet Miss Giving's and gaztro-wagon), each selling a special signature item.

Robyn Nisi

Book Mon Feb 28 2011

Put Your Forks in the Air

wiggum.jpgI caught this post on a visit to Second City Cop about The Beat Cop's Guide to Chicago Eats (which we've mentioned before) and really enjoyed the comments, as cops certainly know their stuff when it comes to finding dependable and affordable places to eat while at work. A few months before I heard of the book, I spent some time talking to cops about their favorite places to eat, some of which are discussed in the SCC post:

One cop called Pompeii (1531 West Taylor) the "West Side Cafeteria" for being an accessible spot for cops working in the area. I'm in that neighborhood almost daily, and it's rare to not see cops in Pompei at all times in the day. While the service can be slow and their pizza is a little bready, Pompei's salads and meatball subs are tasty stuff.

Another popular place for cops is Feed (2803 West Chicago), and I can't blame them: their corn bread pudding is the stuff of gods, and their chicken is not too shabby, either. I also like a place that lets me pour my own Arnold Palmer from the pitchers of lemonade and iced tea next to the counter. I've overheard a lot of interesting shop talk in my visits from the large crowds of cops who eat there throughout the day.

The Mexicoan Steak House (2983 South Archer) in Bridgeport gets huge marks for its food, as does El Milagro (3050 West 26th). My source talked animatedly about the finely shredded cabbage in El Milagro's tacos instead of lettuce (a remnant of Cesar Chavez's lettuce boycott efforts).

The Beat Cop's Guide is available for pre-order online; you can still visit their site for commentary on the restaurants visited to date on the horrible "Chicago Code," among other cop- and food-related stories.

Robyn Nisi / Comments (1)

Chef Fri Feb 25 2011

Achatz Everywhere

achatz_bw.jpgWith his new Next and Aviary opening soon and a memoir out next week, Grant Achatz and his partner, Nick Kokonas, have been very visible lately. The pair appeared onstage at the Tribune's Chicago Live! at the Chicago Theater for a conversation with Rick Kogan and Chris Borelli last night, which you can hear here, and next Thursday, March 3, they'll be doing a book signing and discussion of Life, On the Line: A Chef's Story of Chasing Greatness, Facing Death, and Redefining the Way We Eat at 6pm in the Pritzker Auditorium at the Harold Washington Library.

If you're really lucky, you could get into an exclusive event after the talk at the library: Achatz announced on Facebook that 100 lucky people will get the chance to buy $75 tickets to an afterparty at Thomas Masters Gallery, where guests will receive a signed copy of the book, Laurent Perrier champagne, small bites by Curtis Duffy of Avenues "and a few surprises." Proceeds will benefit the University of Chicago Medical Center, where Achatz received treatment for his tongue cancer.

Andrew Huff

Book Tue Jan 25 2011

Preorder Life, On the Line

achatzmemoir.jpgGrant Achatz' new memoir, Life, On the Line, is now available for pre-order from Amazon, Indiebound and others; its official release date is March 3.

The book's subtitle, "A Chef's Story of Chasing Greatness, Facing Death, and Redefining the Way We Eat," should tell you a great deal about what you're getting into.

Andrew Huff

Interview Mon Nov 22 2010

One Last Word with Jean-Luc Naret

As of last Thursday, the Michelin Guide Chicago is officially out in bookstores everywhere. The soirees, the pranks, the dramas, the joys, and the critiques will all be quieting down soon, leaving Chicago with nothing left to focus on but the merits of the food under review itself.

Jean-Luc Naret, director of the Michelin Guide, sat down and spoke with GB before heading off for one last fete around the world, as he has plans to step down from the organization at year's end.

How has the excitement and anticipation been in Chicago leading up to the launch?

Well, wonderful. I saw a lot of articles, a lot of speculation of food critics, journalists, and bloggers to try and find out who was going to be including in the Michelin Guide. It's always an interesting thing in a new city -- there's always a lot of speculation from chefs, a lot of anticipation from everyone to see who's going to get the stars, but not only that, but who's going to be included in the guide as well. And when we released the information, and I personally called the chefs -- it was interesting because some of them were recording the call, some of them were waiting for the call and put on the speakerphone with the team in the kitchen, which was a brilliant idea I thought. And all the responses have been the same somewhat -- very honored, very happy -- and of course, in the case of Grant (Achatz), very emotional, because it is something that happens just once in a lifetime.

Continue reading this entry »

Ben Schulman

Michelin Guide Sat Nov 20 2010

Reflections on the Michelin Guide Chicago: Omissions & Geographical Oddities

Now that the Michelin Guide Chicago has made it into people's hands, probably one of the biggest surprises to those familiar with Chicago's dining scene is what's not in it. Hot Doug's, one of the city's most celebrated restaurants, is not in the book as a full listing -- it's relegated to a mention as a "Chicago Classic" in the introduction for the "Lakeview & Wrigleyville" section. Among other prominent absentees are Morton's, Katsu and Spoon Thai. While everyone will be disappointed to see one of their favorites overlooked (my beloved Tanoshii also didn't get a mention), these are restaurants that regularly appear on lists of the best in their genre -- in Hot Doug's case, even transcending genre -- and their absence is glaring.

Regarding the omission of Hot Doug's, Michelin Director Jean-Luc Naret said, "Well, hot dog stands are really stands. We only really do restaurants where you can sit down and enjoy food." So clearly, neither he nor the guide's inspectors have ever been to Hot Doug's, where you can quite easily sit and savor your meal. Considering the outcry from readers and journalists alike, you can bet it will be in the next edition.

Continue reading this entry »

Andrew Huff

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)

News Tue Nov 16 2010

The Stars Come Out Early for the Michelin Guide Chicago

michelinguidechicago.jpgThe Michelin Guide decided to announce the list of restaurants receiving stars in the premier Chicago guide this morning, a day earlier than expected, after a purported leaked list popped up on Yelp Monday. According to a Michelin spokesperson, the restaurants on that list were fielding dozens of calls from journalists and diners asking about the star awards. Rather than wait until Wednesday, Michelin Guide Director Jean-Luc Naret decided to move up the announcement by a day so that the chefs and restaurants wouldn't be hassled for an additional day without actually knowing whether the awards were true.

And as it turns out, the official list, below, is identical (except for more more accurate spellings) to the list leaked on Yelp by David "Primo" R. Here is the official list of Michelin star-rated restaurants in Chicago:

Continue reading this entry »

Andrew Huff / Comments (1)

News Wed Nov 10 2010

Bib Gourmand Hungers for More

In just one week, Chicago will officially be entered into the elite group of Michelin Guide-crowned cities. As we here at GB HQ get ready to celebrate the guide's release, the famously discreet Michelin inspectors have graciously let some of their secrets slip by revealing their "Bib Gourmand" picks.

As the Michelin Man says himself, "The Bib Gourmand designation denotes good cuisine at a reasonable price in a variety of comfort categories. Defined as "Inspectors' Favorites for Good Value," Bib Gourmand restaurants offer two courses and a glass of wine or dessert for $40 or less (tax and gratuity not included), and are often of most value to a city's residents, who regularly dine in neighborhood restaurants." They also cause the Michelin Man to adorably lick his chops in anticipation of a good meal.

Continue reading this entry »

Ben Schulman

Book Fri Apr 23 2010

Welcome Home, Beloved Recipes

recipe-journal.jpgI, like most people, am constantly in search of new recipes and I find them in a variety of places - books, friends, magazines, blogs. There's a corner in my kitchen where all of these random recipes live and I cringe every time I see it. Paper is everywhere, magazine clippings haphazardly stuck in between pages of one of my many recipe books. I simply don't have the room to store all of these in my kitchen without it looking like a tornado swept through. And I honestly don't have the memory to remember what I've tried, what I love, what I hate. I have been in search for one place to store all of my favorite recipes for longer than I care to admit.

I contemplated storing all of my recipes online, but after a couple of near-disasters with my computer dangerously close to the war zone my kitchen becomes when I cook, I decided to leave my computer out of it. I also know that I could just buy a recipe book and fill out recipe cards when I find a recipe I like, but here's the problem. I tried it and I ended up having blank recipe cards lying all over the place and for some reason, I really hate writing on recipe cards. My handwriting is neither small or neat enough.

So, imagine my delight when I stumbled across this lovely recipe journal today. I'm going to get one in the hopes that it will help me become organized, for once.

Do you have any genius ideas for storing your favorite recipes?

Kaitlin Olson / Comments (2)

Book Mon Dec 28 2009

Book Review: Architecture Now! Restaurants and Bars

bookcoverFood- and restaurant-related coffee table books make up an expanding genre. Last winter, Alinea, the much-anticipated cookbook by Chicago's Chef Grant Achatz, at 416 pages and almost 7 pounds, was one of the most popular holiday gifts given and received by my food-obsessed friends. Architecture Now! Restaurants and Bars contains scant reference to food or chefs, yet it may be my favorite gastronomic book of the year.

Continue reading this entry »

Sharon Bautista

Book Mon Dec 14 2009

Even More for Cupcake Lovers

It's a banner day for those of you who love cupcakes--Tammy Green of Chicago Bites released an e-book today that gives you the inside scoop on Chicago's best cupcake places. Called Chicago Cupcake Crawl, it's the result of some in-depth study that Green undertook, sampling cupcakes and talking to bakers from over 30 locations around the city.

The e-book contains all you'll need to create your own cupcake tour, including maps and transportation suggestions. The $9.95 price tag includes several pre-mapped routes based on different themes, a year's worth of updates, plus coupons sent to you throughout the year. Its accompanying website is also chock-full of interactive fun, allowing you to rate the cupcakes you've sampled and read what other cupcake lovers think of the various cupcake hotspots in Chicago.

Having participated in Chicago Bites Cupcake Crawl that took place about three years ago, I'm betting that this e-book will be the ultimate guide when it comes to creating the path to a sugar high. I think I consumed a good seven or eight cupcakes in that one day and had a blast doing it. Having the scoop on more bakeries will make the quest for the perfect cupcake even more fun.

Jill Jaracz

Book Wed Dec 09 2009

Soup and Bread (in Book Form)

Remember the wildly successful and very tasty Soup and Bread series at the Hideout this past winter? All of the recipes (including ours from when we were guest chefs back in February) used last year were put into a nifty, pretty cookbook for you to buy (only $20!) and enjoy in your own home! Head to the Hideout tonight from 5-8pm for the book release party. There will be spiked cider (soup is on vacay, sorry), copies of the book (and some very nice prints) for sale, and the opportunity to participate in the 2010 SnB season.

Robyn Nisi

Drink Thu Dec 03 2009

What's This Organic Doing In My Drink?

organicsands_lo-res_large-178x300.jpgMy work as a chef has incorporated the latest industry buzzwords -- i.e. local, sustainable, organic -- for many years. On a project in Dublin we tried to not use any food product sourced from more than 100km away, quite a task for a 15 million Euro-a-year five-star hotel food program.

Sometimes our demands far outstripped the supply. The amount needed just wasn't available locally, but we at least tried.

It's with some interest then that I view the same values being embraced on the other side of the kitchen -- at the bar.

It's only been within the last few years that my bar managers have asked to join me on my frequent farmer's market pilgrimages, or wanted some quality one on one time with my turbo Vita-mix blender or candy stove.

Continue reading this entry »

Alan Lake / Comments (1)

Book Tue Dec 01 2009

ad hoc in Oakbrook

ad-hoc-at-home-cookbook-cover.jpgLooking for the perfect holiday gift for the home cook with everything? How about a signed copy of Thomas Keller's new book "ad hoc at home". Thomas Keller will be on hand to signed copies of "ad hoc" at the Williams-Sonoma in Oakbrook at 6PM tonight.

Note: Only copies purchased in the store will be valid for signing.

Whitney Merritt

Book Sat Nov 21 2009

A Homemade Life

I recently stumbled upon a great food blog, Orangette, and I quickly noticed that the author, Molly Wizenberg, recently had a book published. A Homemade Life is unlike any book I've ever read and makes me want to spend all of my time in the kitchen cooking, eating and drinking.

Each chapter is based on a recipe and Wizenburg's stories leading up to the recipes are incredibly well written - entertaining, reflective and full of personality. I haven't tried any of the recipes yet (they all sound great) but I'll be sure to let you know when I do. Right now, I'm almost half way through the book and can't wait to try the Banana Bread with Chocolate and Crystallized Ginger.

If you're looking for a good read and you like to cook (or even just eat), definitely pick up A Homemade Life.

Kaitlin Olson / Comments (2)

Book Tue Nov 17 2009

Pioneer Woman Book Tour

Ree, the Pioneer Woman, has become a household name in the food blogging community. A city girl that fell in love with an Oklahoma cowboy and now tells the story about living on a cattle ranch in the middle of nowhere, raising her 4 punks. I started reading her blog 2 years ago and fell in love with her humor, her pictures and her recipes. Ironically, Ree was planning to move to Chicago, with an apartment rented on Goethe in the Gold Coast to attend law school. Then she met the man who is now her husband and stayed in Oklahoma. I'm telling you this story because Ree will be in town (at the Barnes & Noble at Old Orchard in Skokie, to be exact) at 7:30pm Thursday to sign copies of her new New York Times best-selling cookbookThe Pioneer Woman Cooks.

Whitney Merritt / Comments (1)

Book Sun Sep 20 2009

Soup and Bread: The Book

I know that none of us are ready to think about winter. But if you liked last year's Soup and Bread events at The Hideout then you'll be happy to know that Martha Bayne is planning on organizing Great Chicago Food Depository fundraisers again for this upcoming winter. But if you remember any of the soups from last year, you may be happy to know that you have the ability to get the recipe for every soup created in a cookbook. To help make sure this project happens, and that it even raises money they've started a Kickstarter program to cover printing costs. Make a donation and get a copy of the book designed by Sheila Sachs, former art director for the Chicago Reader, and illustrated by Paul Dolan with a custom letterpress cover. You won't be sorry, or hungry.

Cinnamon Cooper

Feature Thu Jun 25 2009

Eating Out in the Backyard

It's economical, ecological, and environmentally-friendly. In many cases, it's downright delicious. And there is a chance that you could die. This seems to be the main thesis of the new "field-to-kitchen guide," Edible Wild Mushrooms of Illinois and Surrounding States, by Joe McFarland and Gregory M. Mueller.

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Andie Cavedo / Comments (2)

Feature Fri May 29 2009

Smoking and Drinking

With a grey and drizzly Memorial Day in our rearview mirrors, the official backyard -- or back deck alley, sidewalk, whathaveyou -- barbecue season is upon us. And sure, you could simply pull out the Weber and grill up some hotdogs and hamburgers. But if you really want to impress your friends, take it to the next level and start smoking -- meats, that is.

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Andrew Huff / Comments (6)

Book Wed May 20 2009

Baylesses Plan Fiesta Book

Speaking at a panel on bringing restaurant foods to the retail market at the National Restaurant Association Show this week, Deann Bayless, of Frontera Grill and Topolobampo, confirmed that she and husband Rick are at work on their seventh book currently titled Fiesta at Rick's.

The book will discuss five different styles of parties and how to throw them. Along with recipes, they will also discuss practical matters such as setting a timeline, creating a menu, and sourcing your ingredients.

Fiesta at Rick's
is currently scheduled to launch spring 2010.

Jill Jaracz

GB store

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...
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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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