Tickets are on sale right now for From Cuts to Cult: Chicago Meat Past and Present, Chicago Detours' new tour through the Fulton Market Meatpacking District, giving the history of the neighborhood and a look at its future.
Tickets are on sale right now for From Cuts to Cult: Chicago Meat Past and Present, Chicago Detours' new tour through the Fulton Market Meatpacking District, giving the history of the neighborhood and a look at its future.
Chicago Craft Beer Week begins this Thursday, highlighting the city's vibrant beer culture. In 2003, Mark W. Anderson wrote about the decline of tap rooms, the bars attached to liquor stores, for Gapers Block. Half Acre's tap room aside, they're still a dying breed; visit one today.
Over in the United Kingdom, McDonald's is currently selling a "Chicago Supreme" hamburger that doesn't have much at all to do with Chicago. Then again, all of the "Great Tastes of America" burgers are somewhat arbitrary.
Apparently you can get a Chicago-style hot dog at Disneyland now for $7.19. From the looks of the photo, it comes sprinkled with green relish and chives.
If you think you got food poisoning from that last taco, pad thai or whatever, fill out a report at Foodborne Chicago or tweet at @foodbornechi. Your case will be logged into the 311 system for the City to check out.
The City has invited food trucks to participate in Taste of Chicago this year by selling food to concert ticketholders. But is charging them a higher commission on sales than pop-up restaurants, Food Truck Freak reports.
Over in Drive-Thru, we visit Spiaggia, a nominee in the Outstanding Restaurant category for this year's James Beard Awards. The winners will be announced Monday in New York; other local nominees include Grace, Purple Pig and Girl and the Goat.
Some fast food workers are staging a walkout today, led by Workers Organizing Committee of Chicago, to call for a $15 minimum wage and the right to unionize. Watch for picket lines in front of various Loop fast food joints.
Sure, it's snowing. Ignore that and focus on the days coming when we can hang out on patios and rooftop decks.
Got the munchies? Insomnia Cookies delivers cookies, brownies and ice cream until 3am -- provided you live near DePaul in Lincoln Park. The national chain caters to college students.
A 17-year-old burglar allegedly decided to take a break from robbing an ice cream shop to sample some of the merchandise.
The forthcoming Honey Butter Fried Chicken is joining forces with Half Acre for a newly added second evening of food and drink and OMG. Get your tickets before they disappear! UPDATE: Sold out.
Most Chicago-area Caribou Coffee locations will close this Sunday at noon, with some later reopening as Peet's Coffee. According to the Tribune, most of the shops in the city will remain open. UPDATE: Crain's reports that the shops at 2453 N. Clark St. and 500 W. Madison St. are scheduled to close this weekend.
Chicago magazine's Best New Restaurants list is out, and it ranges from high-end dining to kosher barbecue.
No, Frank Thomas isn't going on an all-Big Hurt Beer diet -- he's juicing (the veggies and fruit kind, not steroids) to lose weight. But speaking of beer, he's rolled out a low-calorie version of BHB.
I talked with Cleetus Friedman shortly after he closed City Provisions, his locavore deli. Now Guys Drinking Beer talk to him about landing at Fountainhead and becoming a finalist for "Check, Please!" host.
Gapers Block's Drive-Thru writers are among the soup makers at Soup & Bread this evening. The theme is "Chicago vs. Chicago," and we've got a couple of boozy doozies for you. Stop by the Hideout between 5:30 and 8pm for a bowl or two.
Two Wicker Park favorites are planning expansions. Big Star is moving its take-out window to a neighboring building, with more patio seating in between, and Emporium Arcade Bar is leveling up into an additional storefront.
The Chicago Beer Festival landed in hot water with some ticketholders after being informed by the state liquor commission that it couldn't offer unlimited beer. Rumor has it the competing American Beer Classic (previously) complained about the policy, which is against state law.
Twenty-five chefs dish on which greasy spoons, bars and other joints they hit when their shift is done.
McDonald's isn't popular among Millennials, so they're working on new menu items like the McWrap.
Britt Julious writes about The Perch, a Pilsen underground dining spot/indie press/arts collective that will be printing Todd Diederich's first book.
Lillie's Q reopened its Chicago French Market location today at 11am, a week after fire shut down the Bucktown restaurant. It will start with a limited menu, and will close when all food has been sold.
Tucked way back on the alley at 22 E. Jackson St. is Pickwick Stable, one of the few pre-Chicago Fire buildings left in the Loop. It will soon be visited far more often, as Asado Coffee plans to build a roaster and cafe there.
A fire broke out in the basement of Lillie's Q in Bucktown last night, destroying the restaurant. The fire means both the main location and the satellite shop in the Chicago French Market are closed indefinitely, but the owners vow to reopen ASAP.
Forget the NCAA. Chicagoist has been running a March Chicago beer bracket, and it's currently at the Sweet 16 level.
Your brief audio essay on the subject of "appetite" could result in several of the city's best chefs (among them Rick Bayless, Elizabeth's Iliana Regan, and Lula Cafe's Jason Hammel) making a dish in your honor, courtesy of the Third Coast International Audio Festival and the James Beard Foundation.
Baconfest wants your input on the best dish of their amateur cookoff contest; the winner gets free tickets to the (sold out) April 20th pork extravaganza.
Four of the 19 cocktail bars Time Out revisited this week didn't live up to their "iconic" status. Up to you to find out which ones -- and decide whether they were iconic in the first place.
SB Nation's "Spilly" makes a Chicago-style hot dog ...by way of Kansas City ...and hell.
While FLOTUS advocated for healthier living in the city's kids earlier today at McCormick Place, McDonalds announced that they are taking its low-selling (and reasonably healthy) fruit and walnut salad off its menu (along with chicken strips) later this year.
Michael Moss's Fresh Air interview about his new book, Salt Sugar Fat: How the Food Giants Hooked Us, references intriguing experiences with suburban Kraft's food science team.
If you've always wanted to go to Soup & Bread at the Hideout but live off in the western suburbs, Soup & Bread: Forest Park, tonight at Skrine Chops, might be up your alley. (The Hideout edition's still on, of course.)
This Here's Overrated, but I Love Your City Baby is a collection of Chicago's finest rap videos that are fully or partially filmed in or near restaurants.
What do Chicago's African-American culinary elite think of Black History Month? Audarshia Townsend gets a variety of answers at DiningChicago.com, along with some recipes.
The online auction for Charlie Trotter's restaurant is now open, with nearly everything starting at $10. Pick up anything from an "Viennese Secessionist" bar stool to Reidel wine glasses to a whole lot of steam pans. The auction closes Feb. 25. [via]
Several of the city's best pastry chefs discuss their biggest dessert flops (although with the right protective gear, I would have happily eaten most of these).
City Provisions may be gone, but Cleetus Friedman's beer collaborations live on. One will be tapped tonight at Haymarket Brewery; stop by from 6 to 7pm to sample Rosemary's Red Devil and grab one of the limited edition mini-growlers.
Pipeworks Brewing Company was named new brewery of the year in the 2013 RateBeer Best Awards. Goose Island's Bourbon County Stout won "top beer" in Illinois and placed eighth overall; three Three Floyds beers also made the top 50.
Fanny Go makes egg rolls. She's done it for decades, and in fact is part of the reason they're in every Chinese restaurant you've ever been to. Monica Eng tells her story, and shares Go's recipe with you. [via]
Time Out tracks its favorite L train-accessible restaurants, from Pulaski to Morgan to Noyes.
Marie's Riptide Lounge, a favorite old-school dive, may close this week due to legal wranglings after longtime owner 's death. Stop by today for a "Save the Bar" fundraiser. Meanwhile, Cocktail in Boystown has been seized by its landlord, alleging $85,000 in back rent.
Here's video from the 2010 competition.
Ald. Ed Burke has proposed banning the sale of energy drinks such as Red Bull and 5 Hour Energy, within city limits. Don't worry, coffee's not on Burke's hit list... yet.
The Fountainhead and the Old Town Pour House are among the new additions to Draft magazine's 100 Best Beer Bars in America, joining a nice list of Chicago honorees (among them Sheffield's and Local Option).
Chicago Beer Geeks have released an iPhone app to help you keep tabs on upcoming events -- this month alone includes a tour of Chicago's Argus Brewery and a special tasting with California favorites Stone Brewing Co.
Two U of I researchers conducted an aerial photography assessment of food gardens in Chicago and determined there may be as many as 4,500 of them. While those familiar with food gardening in Chicago can probably already see that the methodology is overly conservative, it's an interesting view of urban agriculture.
Reservations for Chicago Restaurant Week Feb. 1-10 are now on sale, and tickets for Chicago Theatre Week, Feb. 12-17, go on sale tomorrow, Jan. 9. Too bad they didn't coordinate so we could all enjoy some cheap dates.
Popular North side coffee shop Dollop is opening a second location downtown at 345 E. Ohio, being the first to sell Metropolis coffee in the area, and bringing with it Hoosier Mama pies, Fritz Pastry donuts and Southport Grocery cupcakes. [via]
Progress isn't always progress: not a single food truck has been granted a license for preparing food to order since the practice became legal in July.
Some jerk tried to subtract more than the tip from his bill at an Andersonville restaurant Christmas Day.
College dorm food is generally not that great. Unless you happen to live near Robert Lipman. The UofC first-year runs a monthly underground restaurant in various secret locations -- including dorm communal kitchens.
Chicago has finally willed it into existence: the second (and larger!) location of Kuma's Corner, Kuma's Too, will be opening at 666 W. Diversey in just a few months.
Over at WBEZ, Louisa Chu reminds us that German Kinder Uberraschung chocolate eggs are still illegal and heavily fined in the US, no matter what those pushers at Christkindlmarket might tell you. Achtung!
After months of uncertainty, Cal's Bar, the South Loop dive that's been a favorite of bike messengers and punk bands, will be closing at the end of the month. The bar's last day is New Year's Eve; a free concert is scheduled.
If you've been interested in homebrewing but wary of the process, a Chicagoland brewer has developed OneDerBrew, a streamlined one-container system you can both ferment in and serve from.
Co-op Sauce has expanded its line to include more varieties of hot sauce, as well as barbecue sauce, salsa, pasta sauce and more.
If you were hoping to get in on yesterday's release of Westvleteren XII, a highly regarded beer made by trappist monks in Belgium who are known for their brew, you're out of luck. Binny's Lincoln Park and Downers Grove locations, which were the only places in the Chicagoland area to sell the $85 limited edition six-pack, have sold out their stock.
Comedian and actor Aziz Ansari, who put an unsuccessful call out to his Twitter followers while at O'Hare this past weekend to bring him a torta from the airport Frontera at his gate in exchange for tickets to his next Chicago show (he made a mad dash to the restaurant instead), has a special love for Chicago's food. Tom Haverfood would be proud.
When asked if they'd be interested in the last shipment of Twinkies, Jewel Osco bought 100% of it, and is sending most of them to Chicago.
Got an aspiring pit master on your list? Rub BBQ offers barbecue 101 cooking classes covering everything from picking the meat to smoking procedures to side preparation -- and attendees chow down at the end of class.
Beer from Hawaii's Kona Brewing Company, the state's largest, will be available in Chicago as of January. Their Longboard Island lager, Big Wave golden ale, Fire Rock pale ale, and seasonal selections will be at Binny's and taps around town. [via]
If you love someone who loves bacon, this is the ultimate holiday gift: VIP tickets to April 20th's Baconfest at the UIC Forum, which go on sale this Monday at 9am. Your $200 ticket gets you a special hour-long early admission to the event, which is the equivalent of being in an amusement park with no lines -- and lots of pork. (FYI, $100 regular admission tickets go on sale in February.)
First Slice Pie Cafe, the brainchild of chef Mary Ellen Diaz, combines charitable giving with deliciousness. Sign up for a subscription for three meals a week, and you'll not only get mouthwatering, delicious meals that you don't have to shop for, cook, or clean up after, you'll also be helping to feed the same fantastic meals to people who would otherwise go hungry. An individual subscription costs $40.33 a week, and a family subscription goes for $78.36 per week. Purchase a subscription for a friend or for yourself! Your taste buds will be glad you did, and so will your conscience.
The Uncommon Green offers highball glasses etched with city maps, including Chicagoland. (There's a matching carafe, but you might want to wait till they correct "Evansboro" to Evanston before you buy it.)
Half Acre has teamed up with other like-minded companies to create a holiday gift basket filled with beer, coffee, hot sauce and other stuff.
Hostess Brands, which claimed union demands were to blame for closing their operations (while requesting hefty "liquidation bonuses" for their execs) has suspended closing and is currently in talk with the Bakers Union.
Tony Bourdain's Chicago episode of "The Layover" airs tonight at 8pm on the Travel Channel. RedEye has a review, and the Sun-Times' Lori Rackl notes that Bourdain drives a vintage Cadillac in it, an unexpected echo of his anger with Travel Channel for cutting him into an ad for the car company without his permission.
A showdown between Hostess Brands Inc. and striking workers at the company's Schiller Park plant may mean the death of Twinkies, HoHos, Honey Buns and other iconic American treats. Update: They're now the Hostess with the Leastess.
John Hall, who founded Goose Island, is leaving the CEO position. He's being replaced by a Anheuser-Busch veteran who will grow the Goose Island brand "the right way." Hall will be a founding member of the Anheuser-Busch Craft Advisory Board. (Cynics might note that the word "beer" does not appear in the board's name.)
The libertarian Institute for Justice, an anti-regulation voice in the Chicago food truck battle, and owners from Schnitzel King and Cupcakes for Courage filed a lawsuit against the city today. Read the Institute for Justice's press release or watch their video (below) for their pitch.
Well, so much for waiting. The list of restaurants receiving stars in the 2013 Michelin Guide was due to be announced tomorrow, but after some chefs began tweeting their wins today, the full list was released to the Tribune.
Order your holiday bird from a tasty local place: Publican Quality Meats, Paulina Meat Market, Gunthorp Farms turkeys (Green Grocer), TJ's Free Range Poultry, Mint Creek Farm, and Caveny Farm. Slow Food Chicago also has a nice list of resources.
Maybe technically it always is Chocolate Week everywhere, but this time it's more organized for Chicago. Huffington Post Chicago has the latest.
Logan Square's Real Tenochtitlan was forced to cover up the bare breasts in a painting hanging in the restaurant after a patron complained about "obsenity." Eater spoke to an employee, "Yes, it's art, but to some persons they are a kind of pornography and that's what they understand."
Save the date for Jan. 24, when Chicagoist will be hosting a star-studded soup kitchen in the "Ramova Room" at Benton House in Bridgeport.
Since 2011, 35 percent of Chicago's schools have failed at least one health inspection -- due to improper food storage, rodent droppings in the food, and in one case, a live snake caught in a glue trap. [via]
Chicago Chipotle shops will soon add 5 Rabbit beers to their adult beverage offerings.
Ada Street and Facets are teaming up to present Chicago-based documentaries alongside a five-course dinner and drinks. There are two evenings to choose from -- Documentary Shorts by Tom Palazzolo on Nov. 5, and Maxwell Street Blues on Nov. 12.
"I have a problem with a craft beer like Goose Island being treated like a mass-produced brand," says a bar owner deep in Bloomberg Businessweek's great profile of AB InBev and its spendthrift CEO.
New mothers often don't have time or are too tired to cook. Moment for Mom is there to help with that.
Lou Malnati's deep dish was voted the most life-changing pizza in America by readers of Esquire's Eat Like a Man blog. Gino's East came in at #5.
Yes, red-disgusting handed. Though not a new issue, some schools in Illinois, California and New Mexico are banning Flamin' Hot Cheetos specifically and completely. The Tribune considers whether or not the snack is addictive.
It's not news, but the noncompete clause that kept Logan Square's La Boulangerie from selling individual croissants so close to their neighbor New Wave Coffee is heating up an Everyblock thread today.
Chef Homaro Cantu's rumor mill is rumbling. There's the one about him taking over Charlie Trotter's old restaurant space, which has a built in TV studio. Meanwhile, he posted on Facebook that he has another TV show in the works, titled "CookiNG Under Pressure" -- then deleted it. Perhaps his claim of signing a multi-season deal was a little premature?
Chef and artist Eric May takes Time Out on a tour of unique South Side foods.
Starting next year, municipal buildings in Chicago and San Antonio will be the first in the county to get vending machines with calorie counters- as well as signage that will remind you to take the calorie counter seriously, eat healthy, and may even venture into previously unexplored areas of vending-machine induced guilt.
City Council passed an ordinance today that establishes 23 locations on the North Side where food trucks can legally park while selling their wares.
The Social Foodie got a sneak peek at the new Chicago Diner location in Logan Square.
Online grocery service Peapod will expand its virtual retail locations to nine CTA and eight Metra stations across Chicagoland. Customers can use a free app to select and pay for their items and schedule home deliveries.
Just email your name and phone number to firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line "Prost!" We'll draw one entry at random from those received by noon Tuesday, Oct. 2. Must be 21 or older to enter; one entry per person. UPDATE: We've got a winner! Congratulations to Dan W. There's a consolation prize for those who didn't win, though: enter the code GAPERS and get $10 off your ticket!
Work has stopped on a new Pete's Fresh Market being built in the food desert area of East Garfield Park, after the developers allegedly received threats of violence if they didn't hand out jobs or pay a bribe. Of course, Pete's doesn't have a stellar record in worker relations themselves.
People, your bacon obsession has gotten out of hand. First you basically killed the pork belly futures desk at the Merc, now it looks like there will be a worldwide shortage next year. When will the madness end?
Ald. Proco "Joe" Moreno acquiesced on his opposition to Chik-fil-A building a branch in Logan Square after the chain agreed to stop funding anti-gay organizations and issued a company mandate supporting equality regardless of sexual orientation.
Adel Daoud, an 18-year-old kid from Hillside, was arrested Friday night after allegedly trying to blow up a Loop bar with a car bomb. The FBI had been tracking him for months. The target was not released, but the owners of Cal's are pretty sure it was them.
The Promontory, a new restaurant planned for an early 2013 opening at 53rd Street in Hyde Park is being built by Longman & Eagle owners Bruce Finkelman and Craig Golden. No word yet on if there will be hotel rooms upstairs.
An avalanche of coverage followed the closing of Charlie Trotter's, which happens tonight. Mark Caro published a masterful three-part tribute to the chef and his restaurant, and Phil Vettel had one last dinner. Janet Rausa Fuller did a quick piece for the Sun-Times. Grub Street went inside for the big 25th anniversary dinner last weekend. The Toqueland ran a two-part interview with Trotter. Time Out's David Tamarkin reflects back on his cover story five years ago, and Chicagoist delved into the dark side regarding a lawsuit over pay.
During a rare glimpse of the origins of the fabled Chicago grown liqueur, RedEye staff sample the beverage on camera. They react exactly like anyone who has ever tried Malört for the first time.
Chicago Beer Geeks has a write-up and pictures from Zoo Brew, the Craft Beer Festival held at Brookfield Zoo, which, despite the rain, was a great time. Their next event is the Fugly Chandelier Contest, tomorrow at Sheffield's.
Today is the fourth annual Kronos Free Gyros Day! Fill out the coupon form, find the closest participating restaurant and collect your free gyros sandwich. (Consider putting a couple bucks in the Fisher House donation box while you're there.)
Stat of the Day: You are never more than 1.5 miles from a hot dog stand within Chicago city limits. (Cincinnati is the most hot dog hungry American city, however.)
Ice cream truck owners are claiming the city forgot about them in the mobile food and the food truck ordinance, and that it's going to make their business more difficult.
Object Design League have the perfect butter dish for your most political friend.
A Chicago man is suing Heinz for patent infringement for allegedly stealing his design for its Dip & Squeeze packets.
I stopped by the Illinois Wine pavilion at the Illinois State Fair last weekend and sampled some great local wines. One that blew me away, though, was Sweet Desire Mead from Wild Blossom Meadery, based in Beverly at 100th and Western. Aged in bourbon barrels for a year, it comes in traditional or somewhat racier bottles.
Is it a secret if an event is widely publicized and hundreds of people are expected to attend? Yes, if the event is Dîner en Blanc and the exact location of the "chic picnic" to which everyone wears white is unknown. Get on the waiting list to be notified about where to show up on Aug. 24.
If, at some point in the past 50 or so years, you stood in line for a hot dog and fries at the Parky's on Roosevelt Road, you know the unmatchable feeling of a real Chicago stand and the way that the best of them transcend the notion of a restaurant. Just when condemnation seemed inevitable for the building that housed the iconic spot, Chicago native Brendan O'Connor, a man with a dream and curious palate, set out to save it.
Thanks to his creative take on sausage, and the overall fast food experience, the Food Network show "3 Days to Open With Bobby Flay," chose to help O'Connor and Big Guys Sausage Stand become a reality. Bobby Flay himself showed up at the small, narrow-roofed building at 7021 W. Roosevelt Road in Berwyn and worked with O'Connor and his team to turn passion into crowd-pleasing originality. Ultimately, they stayed true to O'Connor's vision of creating a classic atmosphere, with a nod to the Chicago "Super Fans," while taking a truly unique and modern approach to traditional menu items. So far, Big Guys has been well-received, living up to its promises of big flavor, competitive prices and the quick-but-satisfying turnaround perfected by the best Chicago hot dog stands for decades. Check out the food, the vision and the Bobby Flay touch Mon-Thru 11am-2am; Fri-Sat 11am-3am; Sun 11am-6pm.
Got a Kindle? You can download a new book of collected Trib coverage of chef Grant Achatz for free.
The Chicago Honey Co-op's minivan, which was loaded with their booth gear and a couple of beekeeping smokers, was stolen over the weekend from their Ukrainian Vilage workspace.
Is it just wishful thinking on Woodfield Mall's part, or is Kuma's Corner opening a location in the Schaumburg mall?
In yet another chapter of the seemingly endless Bleeding Heart Bakery saga, questions have been raised about the bakery's recent garage-style liquidation sale. It seems that some of the items being sold may have belonged to the building's owner -- that is, a bank.
Tickets for the musical Kinky Boots go on sale this morning. To celebrate, Chi-Scream will be giving away free ice cream sandwiches throughout the city, starting at 10am at the Bank of America Theatre at 18 W. Monroe. Follow @BroadwayChicago on Twitter to get the scoop (ha ha) on the cart's whereabouts.
Head over to the Daley Plaza farmers market between 11am and 1pm to witness the Country Chef Challenge, an "Iron Chef" style cookoff pitting Spaggia's Sarah Grueneberg, Frog n Snail's Dale Levitski and Telegraph's Katie Wyer.
Former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee, who declared today "Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day" to show support for the restaurant's political and religious positions, has been posting pictures of lines forming outside of Chick-fil-As all over the country on his Facebook page; however, he mistook the suburban Wheaton branch for the Chicago one. Big difference there in clientele, pal.
Tomorrow is Chik-Fil-A Appreciation Day (also Chik-Fil-Gay Appreciation Day), and the Chicago Republican Party is celebrating by holding a press conference at City Hall announcing the filing of civil rights complaints over Ald. Moreno and Mayor Emanuel's comments about the chain's opposition gay marriage. (On that note, read Ramsin Canon's thoughts on the matter.)
The Chicago Department of Transportation recently contributed an unlikely product to the Lincoln Park Zoo: food, in the form of bamboo from a Chinatown roadside. [Thanks, Chris!]
Grub Street reports that Bleeding Heart Bakery has placed a Craigslist ad liquidating its Belmont store this weekend, likely spelling the end of the controversial bakery empire. (Food Network chef coats and other items are up on eBay.) The anonymous anti-BHB blog claims eviction notices have been received for both the bakery's current locations. Meanwhile, the former BHB West Town location reopens as the West Town Bakery & Diner this weekend. UPDATE: BHB posted on Facebook on Friday that they are closing August 5.
Time Out's annual "cheap eats" issue this week is all about tacos -- where they're from, who makes the best al pastor, and where to go on a taco crawl. Meanwhile, Grub Street Chicago has 25 recommendations of its own.
According to Eater, a "No Soup For You" Food Truck will be in Chicago on Friday, July 27. No word yet on planned stops or a route for the truck, which will feature "free iconic Seinfeld" treats and The Soup Nazi himself, Larry Thomas, so check this Facebook page for updates (and be careful when asking for bread).
Think you've got a killer cocktail recipe? Enter it in Public Hotel Chicago's contest and it could earn you $1,000.
Apparently Tony Bourdain's tweet about canceling his shoot for "The Layover" at Budacki's was just a trick to get rid of the fans who would have crowded the place on the promise of a $1 hot dog and a glimpse of a celebrity chef. He ended up there on Saturday after all.
Here's Michael Gebert's Beard-nominated documentary of the history of Chicago-style barbecue:
The French Pastry School is hosting an ice cream social at the Clybourn Treasure Island tonight from 5:30 to 7:30pm. The only hitch is, it's all raisin ice cream.
The food truck ordinance passed out of committee yesterday and will soon be voted on by the full City Council.
The Trib's Kevin Pang has created one-, two- and three-day dining itineraries for visitors wanting to eat their way through the city. You will no doubt disagree.
WBEZ's Louisa Chu and Food Truck Freak are live-tweeting today's City Council discussion about mobile food truck ordinances. UPDATE: the Ordinance, which places a lot of very unrealistic expectations on food trucks (fines for parking within 200 feet--or for more than two hours--in front of a restaurant, and requiring GPS monitoring) passed, and will go for full vote in front of City Council next week.
The Taco Bell at Clybourn and Wrightwood has 4.5 stars on Yelp, thanks to apparently the best customer service you'll ever find in a fast food joint.
Anthony Bourdain is in town filming an episode of "The Layover" for Travel Channel. He'll be at Budacki's in Ravenswood on Saturday from 1 to 3pm. Be there and enjoy $1 hot dogs in celebration, and keep an eye out for him elsewhere around town. [via] UPDATE: Or maybe not. Bourdain tweeted this morning, "How NOT to get your place on TV: #cancelthatshoot!"
Uber launched on-demand ice cream trucks today only. From noon to 6pm on Friday, downtowners* can make a truck request, and it'll show up with ice cream sandwiches, cookie sandwiches, push-ups and bomb pops -- as well as free swag. $12 will get you five cold treats.
*Sadly, the ice cream trucks will be serving the Loop, River North, West Loop, Gold Coast only.
You'll be able to try free samples of Asian carp at the Taste of Chicago. The Illinois Department of Natural Resources will serve carp sliders at a booth near the Congress Parkway entrance on a first come, first served basis.
Actually, there's no discount at all on this Groupon for the Greater Chicago Food Depository. Just $9 worth of helping others.
Just in time for Independence Day, the White Sox have introduced the Giant Slugger, a two-foot-long hot dog. It'll set you back $26; antacids sold separately.
Frustrated by the lack of restaurant kitchen-optimized disposable storage containers, The Southern's Chef Cary Taylor designed and produced ModPans, which are based on industry standard modular metal containers.
Sky Full of Bacon is back on the farm, this time visiting with Wisconsin farmer, dairy nutritionist and author Gary Zimmer.
Food critic Steve Dolinsky was spotted today at the newly opened g.e.b. taking pictures of his lunch. Word got to owner Graham Eliott Bowles, who ordered his staff to immediately stop serving Dolinsky. Eliott had his reasons; it was because Dolinsky had dissed Eliott's mentor Charlie Trotter over Twitter last fall. Dolinsky is baffled.
Last year we mentioned a high end beer pong table created by two DePaul alum; they've rebranded the table the Chippewa Five, and have managed to place the table locally, as well in the offices of big tech companies like Facebook and Mozilla.
Speaking of the Trib's business practices, its keyword based Google ads generated this recent gem in an article about potentially questionable chemical additives in foreign Coca-Cola formulations.
Want to open a restaurant? The City has made it a little easier with the Restaurant Start-Up Program.
Attendees of the National Association of Latino Elected Officials will be eating their meals today with limited cutlery as they listen to President Obama give a speech; Secret Service mandated the removal of forks as a security precaution, but as NY Mag points out, POTUS has been around plenty of forkful situations for a while.
Though a Taste of Chicago staple since their introduction in 1981, Tim McGivern, the man behind the barbecued turkey leg, will be taking the year off due to surgery.
The Fine Arts Building's Artist's Café is opening a second location just north of Roosevelt and Wabash. The new restaurant will have a replica of their famous sign and a slightly different menu to cater to "the kids."
Following its registration of a bunch of area codes to possibly create Goose Island 312 clones in other cities, Anheuser-Busch has filed for trademarks on 42 airport codes, including ORD and MDW. [via]
Jen Bacher experiments with sausage-making in Drive-Thru's newest feature, and the results are Too Blue--but very successful.
Are you a "real man"? Do you cook? Sign up for Real Men Cook this Father's Day -- or just head down and eat what the dads are cooking.
Will Allen, MacArthur "genius grant" recipient and CEO of Growing Power urban farming nonprofit that's active in Chicago, was on "The Colbert Report" Tuesday night to talk about the organization and his new book, The Good Food Revolution. [via]
The crew from Serious Eats Chicago invaded Hot Doug's on Saturday and ate everything on the menu. Everything.
FoGB Phineas X. Jones has created a poster that will soon hang in half the hot dog stands in town -- unless you buy them all first.
Rick Bayless is now a member of the Order of the Aztec Eagle, the highest honor in Mexico awarded to foreigners, for "his important work in the promotion and dissemination of cultural expressions of our country." [via]
Even though the term "food desert" has been the subject of some debate lately, the City Council's decision to allow mobile produce trucks has got to be good for folks who don't have easy access to grocery stores -- or who just want a really, really ripe peach.
The sixth annual Chicago Festiv-Ale, a beer bash benefiting the Chicago chapter of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, isn't until September, but tickets went on sale at noon today and they won't last long.
Lakeview's La Creperie continues their 40th birthday celebration with 1972-era prices (as expensive as $3.50! C'est cher!) on their menu today from 11:30am-6pm.
While passing through town, ChicagoNow challenged Kobayashi to an Al's Beef eat-off against several of their bloggers. I'd tell you who managed to eat five sandwiches in the time it took the rest to eat one, but I don't want to spoil the ending. [via]
Well, this Tuesday, anyway -- as in tonight. Nisei Lounge hosts the first-ever Malort Night, featuring malort cocktails, history and contests. You'll hate yourself if you miss it -- and your tongue will hate you if you don't.
Ribfest will be holding an amateur rib-eating competition next Thursday night at Black Rock Pub and Kitchen [PDF]. The winner advances to RibMania the next night to compete against the big guns of competitive eating. Have you got what it takes?
Smoque made LocalEats.com's list of the top 20 barbecue restaurants in America; Lem's and Uncle John's got honorable mentions.
Perhaps not surprisingly, the "OMG stay away from downtown!" hysteria during the NATO Summit hurt downtown restaurants -- as well as some far from the action.
The Chicago version was recently released, and it's pretty much what it sounds like -- an (iPhone only, as of now) app that allows you to hunt down BYOB-friendly joints by cuisine or neighborhood. [via]
So you're as excited to be able to officially stick your winter coat in the coat-closet as the next guy but you want to do something different this summer, for pete's sake? Well, for a reasonable fee, you and your sun-loving, beer-fan friends can take to the streets and pedal your way around with -- that's right, not to -- the pub. Chicago Pedal Pub has made this summer dream a reality! Helmets not required.
Today is your last chance to get early bird pricing on tickets to the Slow Food Pig Roast at Goose Island Clybourne on June 10.
McCormick Place's Director of Culinary Services dishes on the logistics of preparing food for approximately 20,000 NATO summiters.
Even if you've burned out on Maruchan, it's worth giving the real thing a chance -- Chicagoist has put together a list of their top 5 Chicago ramen destinations.
Alinea has a new dish, called "Lamb 86," that involves 86 ingredients in tiny portions. A new video gives a peek at how the cooks assemble it; it almost comes off as a parody of fussy modern cuisine. [via]
On May 20th in celebration of Chicago Craft Beer Week Goose Island and their merry band of Illinois Craft Brewers will conjure up a 9 hole minigolf course inside their Fulton's Barrel Warehouse. More info on how to enter a drawing to buy tickets to this zen event are on the Chicago Craft Beer Week website.
Two promising events hosted by the Chicago Beer Society: Big Brew Day on May 12 -- a day of brewing and BBQing, and the Blues & Brews Cruise on July 7, an evening of craft beer and live music off Navy Pier.
Robyn Nisi and Laura Sant check out deep dish in San Francisco and hot dogs in New York in Drive-Thru.
The A.V. Club ditches fancy dough and trendy toppings for old-fashioned, looking at Chicago's handful of 50-plus-year-old pizzerias.
The good news: tomorrow's Free Cone Day -- just walk into a Haagen-Dazs shop between 4 and 8pm, and get a free ice cream cone. The bad news: the only participating city location is at O'Hare.
The City Council's set to vote on a new ordinance that would collapse the separate "dog-friendly restaurant" license into the regular retail food license.
Despite the ordinance to let food trucks cook on board still being stalled in City Council (looking at you, Ald. Tunney), Chicago has 50-some trucks on the streets. Time Out Chicago has created a convenient guide to them all.
The Bleeding Heart Bakery, most recently open in West Town, is gearing up to welcome customers into their Lakeview spot, just down the street from the original Roscoe Village location. To celebrate, they're offering a deal on membership for a limited time. For $100, members get a handful of perks, including a discount on a monthly "Box of Curiosities" designed by Michelle and filled with handmade sweets and savories. Supporting local, sustainable practices never tasted so good.
Serious Eats Chicago compares the two side-by-side on every menu item they share, and comes away with a clear winner.
Two local beer fans are working with Argus Brewery to resurrect the once-beloved Chicago craft Pilsener discontinued in 1997.
Toodalu is a new service that gets you a discount at local restaurants, bars and a few shops -- with the added twist that every purchase also earns money for the charity of your choice.
Graham Elliot's iPod and Grant Achatz's plans for a live cellist at Alinea earn mention in a NYTimes story about music in the restaurant. Garin Pirnia explored the topic for us in Drive-Thru awhile back.
West Town Tavern is turning 10 and to celebrate, they're offering $10 glasses of Turley wines every Tuesday in April and May. The celebration includes Monday nights too, with $10 glasses of Grand Cuvée champagne. Stop in and pair your spirits with some delicious food from Drew and Susan, fixtures in the Chicago culinary and nonprofit worlds. Eat, drink and feel good about it!
Another year, another controversy strikes the Logan Square Farmers Market: there's a proposal to move the market from its current location, much to the surprise of the Logan Square Chamber of Commerce, who runs the market.
Chicagoist assesses the situation one year after Goose Island was bought by Anheuser-Busch InBev.
Rocky Wirtz is no doubt happy that his Blackhawks are in the playoffs, but Crain's reports that he's really excited about the state-of-the-art distribution center he's building for Wirtz Beverage Illinois.
Soup Next Door is a startup that handles ticketing for "unique food experiences" hosted by anyone from underground restaurants to budding chefs. There are only a couple listings for Chicago at the moment, but expect more soon.
Here's a convenient googlemap of all of LTH Forum's GNRs:
View LTHForum.com Great Neighborhood Restaurants in a larger map
Chicago magazine's Jeff Ruby: "In the Mount Rushmore of Chicago, his face would probably be up there: Michael Jordan, Al Capone, Charlie Trotter, Mayor Daley -- and they'd all be scowling."
Food truck fans may have trouble finding their favorite snacks, thanks to an apparent police crackdown.
Editor Andrew Huff pulled together more info on Storify:
Eater knows that the best way to learn the history of a place is to talk with the regulars. The new series leads off with Hopleaf.
Mari Gallagher's work on food deserts requires figuring out what really constitutes a grocery store.
You can see a day in the life of Stephanie Izard over at Hulu.
The A.V. Club looks at the classic establishment's past, and tries to figure out where it fits into the present.
Glazed and Infused, a new craft doughnut upstart, is about to open up shop near several CTA locations across the city, selling everything from old-fashioned staples to maple-bacon long johns. We have a preview in Drive-Thru.
McDonald's is facing two lawsuits over hot coffee spills, including a case involving a 4-year-old Chicagoland girl who received second-degree burns on her chest.
They may be called Julius Meinl North America, but they're just a three neighborhood coffeeshops, a smaller chain than Intelligentsia.
Trouble seems to be brewing between Bleeding Heart Bakery founders Michelle and Vinnie Garcia and their partners, Fifty/50 and Roots owners Greg Mohr and Scott Weiner. The Garcias want out of the relationship, saying it's killed the stores they own independently. Someone started a "Save Our Bakery" Facebook page, which then got taken down. Meanwhile, former BHB employees are dishing dirt on an anonymous blog.
Tomorrow, March 21, M Burger turns 2, and to celebrate, it's giving away burgers -- any of its burgers -- with a purchase. Any purchase. Be ready for a line, and be aware that the secret milkshake flavors are the Grasshopper (mint, espresso, chocolate and cookies) and the Minty Leprechaun (mint, with crushed Andes mints on top.)
Reality show network TruTV is airing a show about The Weiner's Circle, giving its notorious bad behavior (on both sides of the counter) more attention than it probably deserves. It debuts tonight at 9pm. Do312 and Chicagoist are teaming up for another viewing party at Liar's Club tonight; RSVP here.
If you don't have a ticket to WhiskyFest this Friday, there are still plenty of whiskey events you can attend all this week -- including nightly tastings at Delilah's and other bars and our own screening of Capone's Whiskey at Mayne Stage on Thursday.
In step with the weekend's holiday, the Reader provides a guide to neighborhood bars, from gastropubs to 4am joints.
Guy Fieri from the Food Network was spotted filming at Hopleaf earlier today--be on the lookout.
In what can only result in days of "No Soup for You" headlines, The State of Illinois is a vote away from banning all shark fin trade in the state. Between 26 and 73 million sharks are killed annually, and while most are consumed overseas, Illinois is one the the country's largest consumers.
The Ramova Grill is closing April 14, as its owners retire. You'll have only until then to enjoy one of the last old-school lunch counters -- and some of the best chili -- in the city.
Michael Altenberg, chef and owner of Bistro Campagne, passed away unexpectedly over the weekend. Altenberg is credited with pioneering the farm-to-table movement in Chicago; he was 48 years old. A memorial is scheduled for Wednesday; details have not yet been announced.
The first cupcake vending machine debuted at the original Sprinkles location in Beverly Hills, providing 24-hour access to, well, cupcakes. There should be one at the Chicago location by summer.
Help one of Chicago's most beloved bar owners: Susan Stursberg of Gold Star Bar (1735 W. Division) was recently diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. A GiveForward campaign has been launched on her behalf to help with medical bills.
The Chicago Architecture Foundation is going out to eat -- to examine how architecture and interior design influence our dining experience at restaurants with its new Appetite for Design series. Learn more in Drive-Thru.
* So, for example, if your order comes to $15.49, that's still what you pay, but GrubHub will donate 51 cents to Feeding America.
Gapers Block is premiering a documentary about Templeton Rye (both the one at the liquor store and the stuff Al Capone smuggled up to Chicago during Prohibition) at Mayne Stage on March 22. Details in Drive-Thru.
Lots of Chicagoans in Food & Wine's "Best New Chef: Great Lakes" nominations. Vote for your favorite.
Three Floyds topped RateBeer's list of the Best Brewers in the World this year, with Founders and Bells taking second and third. Goose Island came in 35th and Half Acre was 66th.
It's time once again to figure out from whom to get your weekly box of veggies (or maybe meat!). Luckily, The Local Beet published its 2012 CSA Guide this week.
Spiaggia's Sarah Gruenberg placed second in tonight's season finale of Top Chef. Boo.
While Chicago lags behind many cities in the amount of local brews available to its drinking public, a growing thirst for craft beverages is attracting quite a few new breweries to the area.
Check out this roundup of Chicago's oldest restaurants, still operating today. Included on the list are The Berghoff (1898), Daley's Restaurant (1892), and the oldest of them all: Schaller's Pump (1881).
If you're a fan of coffee, this guide to your options in Chicago is pretty comprehensive.
RedEye thinks so, but Baconfest (whose April 14 homage to pork quickly sold out) begs to differ.
Know that fishbowl of change you have? Forget going to Jewel to turn it in for a Starbucks card, put it to good use at the The Lodge's 55th anniversary celebration, where from 9pm to 4am all drinks are 55 cents! Check out Slowdown for details.
Next Restaurant held a fundraiser for the University of Chicago Cancer Center by asking people to bid on tables for two for the elBulli menu at the restaurant. The tables sold out in four days and raised $339,000.
Humboldt Park activists are protesting outside of Tipsy Cake's Humboldt Park location today in response to owner Naomi Levine's comments about the neighborhood in a video interview with City Soles TV. (UPDATE: Owner Naomi Levine has issued an apology.)
Levine said she opened a Bucktown store because "there were just too many gunshots in the cakes" at the Humboldt bakery, and named a pastry the "Humboldt crack bar" because police officers would knock on the bakery door late at night asking for "crack."
In addition to the protestors, Yelpers have been heaping scorn on Levine for her comments, leaving dozens of one-star reviews on the bakery's listing.
Restaurants have been lukewarm on this year's smaller Taste of Chicago; the City has had to extend the signup deadline.
Crain's reports that Ferrara Pan is in talks to be purchased by Farley's & Sathers Candy Co., with Salvatore Ferrara II becoming the CEO of the merged company. Ferrara's father and company chairman, Nello Ferrara, passed away earlier this month.
Chicago, and not for its rich foodie culture. Between laying claim to the world's largest food festival and the creation of Baconfest, Chicago seized the title over the seven other US cities with a higher rate of obesity.
Chicago Magazine has written up Rick Bayless' new, um, project- a musical theater/dinner service/circus at the Lookingglass Theater running March 21 to April 22. Tickets start at $200 and include beverages, a three course meal and the chance to watch the host of Mexico: One Plate at a Time woo a long-lost love in a 1940's boarding house.
Tickets are on sale now for the Good Food Festival & Conference in Chicago March 15-17. Unless you run a food-related business, you're probably going to be most interested in the activities on the 17th.
Until the 26th, bring in canned goods to Southport Grocery (to be donated to the Lakeview Pantry) and receive one of their super-famous cupcakes in return.
Baconfest 2012 tickets go on sale Monday at noon. The event is April 14 at the UIC Forum.
Alan Richman ranks Ruxbin and Next among his 10 best restaurants in America in GQ.
Goose Island's popular 312 Urban Wheat Ale will debut in cans March 12. (Get it? 3/12.)
Want to see a rundown of Restaurant Week menus? The annual event of prix-fixe menus at selected local restaurants starts this Friday and ends February 26.
Convenience stores are on the front line of the battle to end food deserts, little by little.
Former Whistler mixologist Paul McGee will be taking his talents south of Logan Square to open a tiki bar called Bub City in River North.
The third issue of SOILED zine is out, with the theme "Platescrapers" and articles about food and "comestible politics."
The crew over at Numero Group take on a giant Snickers bar straight from Mars--the company, that is.
Our first ever BBQ Bowl is tomorrow at noon, and tickets are going fast. Get yours in advance to guarantee your chance to judge delicious barbecue from Honey 1, Honky Tonk, Mrs. Murphy & Sons, The Piggery, Pork Shoppe, RUB and host Club Lucky!
This is what you would have eaten if you flew first class on United Airlines flight from San Francisco to Chicago in 1966. More airline menus in Northwestern University Library's transportation collection.
Lunchbreath has some unsolicited suggestions for new alcoholic beverages. It's cutting edge stuff.
McDonald's Shamrock Shake is already available at certain locations. Amazingly, there's a site that tracks sightings.
Grub Street reports that Sweets and Savories has closed, along with its sister restaurant Bluette. In more positive news, Time Out coincidentally rounds up a few sweet and savory brunch options in this week's issue.
At least one food cart in London has absolutely no idea what's on a Chicago-style hot dog. Warning: the evidence will shock you. [via]
Baby, it's cold outside -- might as well warm up with a drink. Chicago magazine's February issue contains a drinker's guide to Chicago.
If the headline didn't mean anything to you, neither will this: Left Hand Brewery is rolling out their most popular beer in nitrogen-charged bottles that will hit Chicago next week. Milk Stout nitro will be the first of its kind produced by an American craft brewery and aims to give the beer a mouthfeel closer to that of a draft pour. See link for details on tastings and launch parties.
The Zagat Smartbox is an "experiential gift card" that gets you a three-course dinner for two at one of 46 area restaurants for $99 -- which, depending on where you dine, might not be such a great deal after all.
Tickets for the Chicago Beer Festival happening March 31st at Union Station have gone on sale. The first batch of breweries in attendance are Hamburger Mary's, 5 Rabbit, Argus, Three Floyds, Half Acre, Lagunitas, Duvel St. Fullien, Crispin, Sierra Nevada, Stone, Sea Dog, Shipyard and, Pyramid.
Twinkies, which were invented in Chicago, face an unsure future as Hostess Brands enters bankruptcy. A former executive with Continental Baking Co., the original Twinkie maker, shares why the iconic treat was better back in the day.
This past Saturday at Edzo's Burger Shop a group of people tested the rule that you should only reserve a table after you've ordered. For the outcome of that experiment, please see Ed's version of what happened, corroborated by Grub Street Chicago. And of course, this led to the inevitable one-star Yelp review.
...could win you a historic bar tour of the city for you and your friends! Chicago Detours has the details.
If you're so drunk you fall asleep in the drive-thru at the Rock 'n' Roll McDonald's, a Big Mac isn't going to help you.
A new trend in restaurant delivery: scrutinizing mobile phone orders. The CPD recently warned restaurants to avoid mobile phone orders after a string of delivery robberies in Chinatown and Hyde Park.
Charlie Trotter's will be closing in August. The legendary chef plans to travel, earn a master's degree, and open another restaurant in the future.
Revolution Brewing has a virtual tour of their new facility available online. It's a bit on the CAD side, but a great feel for their new space.
From pink peppercorn and thyme soda to lemon and bitters with house-made tonic syrup, Chicago Magazine rounds up some local designated-driver specialties.
Taste of Chicago will be a five-day festival focused solely on food in 2012 -- and will be held July 11-15, instead of late June to early July.
Though a few days late for your holiday shopping pit-stops, Chicago Serious Eats put together a culinary survival guide for the Magnificent Mile and State Street shopping districts, as some of the best places to eat are "underground, way above ground, or slightly hidden behind storefronts."
If the gift you were really hoping for this year was learning to brew your own beer, you may be grateful that New Chicago Beer Company is promoting home-brew culture in Chicago. Thanks to them we know about Homebrewers Pride of the Southside and CHAOS (Chicago Homebrew Alchemists Of Sud). There is also the Chicago Beer Society, which has a wider focus. If you live in the burbs, there are nearby options for you as well.
It turns out those sandwiches found in vending machines are just as disgusting as you thought they might be.
Laura Park is back in Saveur's Recipe Comix, this time with a tasty-looking apple dessert.
In time for holiday libations, the spirits of Southwest Michigan upstart Journeyman Distillery have found a retail home in Chicago. Their Bilberry Black Hearts Gin and W.R. White Whiskey is available at City Provisions, Perman Wine, The Noble Grape, and In Fine Spirits, who will be hosting a tasting tonight from 6 to 8.
Still making New Year's Eve plans? Check the Chicago Reader's extensive guide to the best eating, drinking, and concert-going the big night has to offer.
"Punk rock pastry" purveyor Bleeding Heart Bakery recently announced that the Roscoe Village location is moving down Belmont to a new spot beside Schubas, but they can't quite take everything with them. Bid high on eBay and you can be the owner of the shop's 16-foot neon sign (local pickup only).
Looking for culinary gift? Ms. Mint's Holiday Bazaar has you covered, today and tomorrow, with a couple dozen food and beverage related artisans all in one place.
Citing, among other things, an "inability to operationally meet the seasonal needs of our customers," Rolf's Patisserie is closed. Effective immediately. (Maybe it's because, thanks to last year's food poisoning outbreak, the at-a-glance Google details are, um, less than appetizing.)
Hilarious blogger and GB staffer Jasmine Davila came up with names for restaurants she'd like to open. Table for one, please...
On Dec. 18 the Half Acre brewery located at 4257 N. Lincoln will be open from 11am until 6pm. Big Hugs will be sold at $12 per 22oz bottle or $21 for a half gallon growler fill. Half Acre would like you to know that if you come dressed as a cat you will get a prize.
If your torso can't wait for liquid hugs until the 18th, there will be a Big Hugs release party on the 16th atThe Blind Robin at 853 N. Western.
À la Card Chicago is 52 gifts in one -- each a $10 discount at a local restaurant.
Longtime Andersonville tavern, Simon's, had a theft from its basement over the weekend of an antique cash register that's as old as the bar itself (nearly 77 years). If you have any leads, they'd be very interested to recover it. [Update: Simon's has additional information describing the register, should you see it at your local pawn shop or flea market.]
First Slice is a unique organization that combines charitable giving with a delicious way to save time on grocery shopping and cooking. For $33 a week for an individual, or $75 a week for a family, you can purchase three home-cooked meals. All you have to do is reheat and presto -- delicious, nutritious, locally sourced dinners for you and yours. That includes side dishes, entrees, and their legendary pie for dessert. Profits are used to serve the same amazing high-quality meals to the hungry, so you'll feel doubly good.
The only time you'll get something with "Hot Doug's" on it, without waiting in the occasionally epic line outside the encased meats emporium, is when you buy one of these cute Hot Doug's shirts or hoodies online. There are no better words than "no line," my friend.
Escape to a World of Chocolate tonight; the event benefits the AIDS Foundation of Chicago, and will serve you right.
Serious Eats Chicago made a map of all the hot dog stands with natural casing dogs they could find.
The A.V. Club interviews a Chicagoan who camped out for 24 hours ahead of a Merrillville, IN Chick-Fil-A grand opening in order to get a years' worth of chicken nuggets.
Already known for their salted bourbon caramels, bacon bourbon caramel corn, and stout marshmallows, Salted Caramel is adding hot cocoa mix (and a bevy of gift baskets) to its repertoire just in time for the holidays. For those on your list who are a bit salty as well as sweet.
While discussing the One City, One Food Drive campaign, Emmanuel announced, "One in six Cook County residents is food insecure, or uncertain of where their next meal will come from." If the surplus on your table so moves you to donate, find out how with the Greater Chicago Food Depository.
Michael Nagrant has a short piece in Chicago mag online about local celebrity chefs and their "celebrity" behavior. Just posted and the comments are already getting heated. Stay tuned...
Tonight, the 65th annual Latke-Hamantash Debate takes place at UofC. Be there for history... and starchy Jewish foods.
The online database of city restaurant inspection reports has gotten a huge upgrade; read more on the experience of being inspected as well as being a curious consumer in this week's Drive-Thru feature.
A cook from L2O, which lost two stars in the new Michelin Guide, got into a fistfight with the kitchen staff from Boka last night at Old Town Social after they ribbed him about the demotion. Relax dude, it's a book for tourists.
Where will they stop? Between the new truck, and Secret Word Wednesdays (free bao with password), the latest coup for the "o" and "a" combo is Wow Bao's addition of ginger and scallion-studded quinoa as the base layer of its bowls (for an extra $0.50) in case "rice" just didn't have enough vowels for you.
If it's happened to you, you know the joy of a Hot Doug's experience is equal only to the misery endured by arriving and finding it closed. But no fear, this is Avondale, Serious Eats' Alternatives to Hot Doug's flowchart to the rescue!
Cheap Trick plans to open a new space on Motor Row with a restaurant, radio station, performance space and a museum.
The Michelin Guide announces Chicago's Bib Gourmand restaurants for 2012 -- eateries where, "for $40 or less, you can enjoy two courses and a glass of wine or dessert." See what's changed since last year in Drive-Thru.
Amid the worst recession in thirty years, Chicago's urban farms are hiring. But it takes more than a power tie and snappy resume to get the job. Read more over at Drive-Thru.
If you've ever driven north on Elston from Fullerton, you may have noticed the large brick factory building directly south of the Home Depot parking lot. Slow down the next time you cruise by this long-closed building. It may be the last time you see it.
The Reader's big feature this week is about The Arts of Life Band, a rock group made up of developmentally disabled people. Watch the band play and enjoy some tasty chili at the Half Acre Charitable Chili Cookoff this Saturday.
Pictures are up from Cafe Lula's annual Halloween costume -- this year, Taco Hell. And who better to sell your soul to for Mexican food than Rick Bayless, dressed as the Devil himself.
Now Happy Meals at Chicago McDonald's restaurants can be configured with a few fries, a few apple slices and milk. Most surveyed owners think it won't make any difference, which also seems to be the response in the health community.
How do you keep gang members from hanging out on your street corner? Try a cookout.
If you've ever wanted to eat in the, er, footsteps of Guy Fieri, here's a list of Chicago restaurants featured on "Diners, Drive-ins & Dives."
There are many ways to make it in the restaurant industry. For some, it's hard work and a hard-earned culinary education. For others, it's a tap on the shoulder. Chaya Babu explores who gets which in Drive-Thru.
Chicago's food deserts are shrinking, according to a new report by food desert expert Mari Gallagher. Michelle Obama will be in town tomorrow to highlight the issue of food deserts and, no doubt, laud this development.
Someone took pictures of every burger at Kuma's Corner, even immortalizing ones no longer on the menu.
Most travel recommendations from national publications are pretty uninspired, but the WSJ's weekend architectural blitz does a decent job of balancing architectural and culinary stalwarts with a few of atypical restaurants.
Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia called Chicago-style deep dish pizza "tomato pie" in a talk at Chicago-Kent Law School this week. He likes it, though.
Food Truck Freak has started an online video petition site, Let Them Cook, encouraging City Council to approve an ordinance allowing food trucks to cook onboard. They're running a Facebook contest to get the word out. [via]
Next's chef Dave Beran teased a menu for the restaurant's "Childhood" incarnation yesterday, and tickets went on sale last night at midnight. They're sold out, but same-day reservations will be announced on Facebook. Meanwhile, Eater has an interview with Beran about the menu.
Lula Cafe "dresses up" for Halloween every year; last year it was Kuma's Corner, the year before that it was Hot Doug's. According to Time Out, this year it'll go a bit lower-scale, masquerading as Taco Bell.
Sue the T-rex was a lot heavier than originally thought. About three tons heavier.
Michael Nagrant, foodblogger and restaurant reviewer about town, takes over as Pat Bruno's replacement in the Sun-Times today. Read his first column, and then read my interview with him over in Drive-Thru.
A Russian billionaire spent $100,000 on a very large bottle of Champagne (a 15-liter "Nebuchadnezzar" of Armand de Brignac) for Zac Efron and Heather Graham at Board Room this week. And now you know such things exists.
Only in California right now, but cross your orange-stained fingers some of that cheese dust makes it out East.
Jamie Oliver wants to know about your kid's school lunches. Fresh and healthy, chemical-laden, or somewhere in between, upload your photos and rate others' contributions here.
Sizzler, the steakhouse chain that is more likely to live in your childhood memories than in your usual restaurant list, is going to try to win your cash again by opening 18 restaurants in the region in as many months.
Tribune Broadcasting is bringing a little of the Food Network to WGN with "America's Best Bites," a new show touring the country looking for tasty food. It debuts this Saturday at 5:30pm.
The Southern Mac and Cheese truck's store at 60 E. Lake opens today. The line looks long, so bring a lunch. How meta!
The Greater Chicago Food Depository released a study mapping the city's hungry neighborhood by neighborhood. Riverdale had the highest rate of food insecurity at 40.8 percent, followed by Washington Park (34.0 percent), Englewood and North Lawndale (both at 31.2 percent), while Edison Park (7.4 percent), Forest Glen (7.8 percent) and Norwood Park (8.3 percent) had the lowest.
Chicagoans spend more money in coffee shops than any other city in America -- which probably says more about the cost of living here than our actual coffee consumption.
Imbibe's current issue has an outstanding piece on the local beer scene, charting its too-occasional successes over the past few decades, through the recent boom and the industry's future. All in all, an almost definitive to-drink list for the beverage nerd.
Chicago's World's Finest Chocolate created the world's biggest chocolate bar, which weighs 12,000lb. and is 3 feet high, 21 feet long. The purpose of the gigantic chocolate bar is to teach kids to think about eating smart.
The endearingly quaint Chicago Breweriana collects promotional products and ephemera from Chicago's bygone breweries.
Adobofest 2011 is looking for a few more contestants for their annual adobo (that wonderful Filipino dish of meat marinated in vinegar and garlic) contest, which is taking place this Saturday in LaBagh Woods. If you aim to compete or just eat, get the details in Slowdown.
The WSJ features a Midwest beer tour that starts in Milwaukee and loops around to Chicago among its "Heartland Drive-Through Vacations."
Cornell Creative Machines Lab has developed a 3-D food printer that will allow the creation of previously unheard of cuisine. And not just a hamburger with liquid layers of ketchup and mustard inside, either (though also that). Chicago's Moto Restaurant looks like it'll be one of the early adopters.
Lula Cafe, which has been undergoing expansion, will reopen tonight at 6pm. However, their bar isn't open yet, so it'll just be the drinking basics (i.e. beer and wine) until the dust finally settles.
Sarah Lee and suburban Kraft foods have called a truce in their epic hot dog court battle, so we'll never know who makes the best hot dog in the land.
It looks like Old Style is staying with Wrigley Field after all ... at least until the 2013 season, that is.
Chicago's soul food is disappearing as blacks move out of the city.
This year's Locavore Challenge from the Green City Market starts Thursday, Sept. 8. Are you up for the challenge?
Chicago Beer Geeks tour a too easy to miss Chicago craft brewer. They've only been around since 2009, but their current HQ was built in 1906 as a stable for Schlitz delivery horses, which is nothing if not several kinds of beer awesome.
The Chick-fil-A at 30 E. Chicago Ave. is offering unlimited free refills on orders of 12-piece nuggets from 3pm to 5pm today. There are, of course, a couple catches, not least of which being your health will suffer.
Next Restaurant will be releasing a cookbook based on its inaugural Paris 1906 menu -- and it will only be available for the iPad.
We're giving away a CSA box of organic produce to the writer of the best haiku! Details in Drive-Thru.
Michael Nagrant runs down the most influential people in the restaurant industry in this week's NewCity.
Over at Chicago magazine, Whet Moser charted key moments of his life in chain restaurants. Mine would surely include Perkins.
Last week the Chicago Artists Coalition held an event at which four artists and four chefs collaborated to create food and art inspired by each other. We interviewed the artists and the chefs about the experience.
Bridgeport favorite Maria's Packaged Goods and Community Bar announces a celebration of the one-year anniversary of its makeover on September 3 at both the bar and art space Co-Prosperity Sphere down the street.
Threadcakes, the super contest that pairs a love of Threadless shirts with cakes, is in the process of judging this year's submissions. Want to see them?
They've had 19 health inspections in two years and they're challenging their most recent fine. There's more information on their site than I can summarize here, but they make a pretty good case that they're being harassed by the Food Safety Division of the Chicago Health Department.
Want to have dessert for breakfast? A.V. Club explores your most decadent options.
I'm really happy for you, Sara Lee and Kraft Foods, and I'ma let you finish, but Vienna Beef makes some of the best hot dogs of all time!
Mobile Cuisine Magazine, the folks who've been organizing a food truck corral in the Clybourn shopping district on Tuesdays, is launching a new series on Fridays in Grant Park. At least two trucks will be at the inaugural event today at Columbus and Balbo starting at 5pm.
Two major trade shows have changed their annual show dates in order to accommodate next May's G8 summit and its security demands.
Kevin Pang flies in the face of Chicago prevailing wisdom and defends the practice of putting ketchup on a hot dog.
Surprisingly, I've never come across ItalianBeef.com before. Unsurprisingly, it's a site obsessively cataloging its namesake delicacy in Chicago.
Production of Goose Island's 312 Urban Wheat Ale is being outsourced to upstate New York. Goose Island CEO John Hall says it'll allow the brewer to devote more attention to Matilda and other smaller beers; it might also be the first step in Anheuser-Busch's area code diversification plan.
The housing boom led to a bunch of knockdowns -- and the crash left many of those lots empty. Robyn Nisi explores what happens when community gardens spring up on what is technically private property.
Here's a poster to remind your friends what's on it.
Designed by Betty Turbo.
The Chicago edition of Blackboard Eats launched on Friday; subscribe and get a secret code for a discount or other perks at local restaurants.
Grant Achatz talks with Gilt about switching from Escoffier to Thai at Next.
Bleeding Heart Bakery announced on Facebook that it is opening a new location in Elmhurst by the end of the summer. Afterwards, they "will be working with [their] partners and a team of other folks to figure out what to do next."
Michelle Obama held a joint press conference this week with reps from Supervalu and WalMart to announce that to be good, (cough) profit-earning guys, the retailers will open new stores in underserved neighborhoods in the next five years. Walgreens will also add more produce and healthy foods for sale at 1,000 more stores, as they've already done.
Chef Stephanie Izard will sing "Take Me Out to the Ball Game" during the seventh inning stretch at today's Cubs game.
If you've got a Pitchfork wristband, a lot of doors (and discounts) open up to you.
Food Genius is a new app for Android and iOS that helps you decide what to eat at Chicagoland restaurants.
If you're a Grant Achatz fan, you've probably heard that Next Restaurant is offering a Thai menu now that "Paris, 1906" has closed. However, due to having a reported 20,000 people logging in with 2,800 queries per second, the site crashed as the appointed reservation time arrived. And the foodie world? It went totally apes shitting bananas. Seriously, so many people have great, know-it-all, techie, entitled, hilarious and just plain offensive comments. They're due to launch again today -- good luck!
Margies Candies' "World's Largest Sundae" takes on several members of the A.V. Club's staff--and wins.
Caffeine fiend alert: Starbucks' 31oz. "Trenta" drink size debuts in Chicago next Tuesday.
Some recent trademark applications may tip Anheuser-Busch's hand in its plans for recently acquired Goose Island.
Chicago start-up SceneTap wants to bring facial recognition software into bars so owners can monitor the number, age, and gender of their customers. Because figuring that out without computers would be impossible, right?
Get free Pinkberry on Thursday from 5 to 9pm at the frozen yogurt chain's first Chicago store, at 635 N. State St. The store officially opens Friday.
If you're looking for someone to cheer for on July 4th, try Chicagoan Patrick "Deep Dish" Bertoletti, who is competing in Nathan's Famous International Hot Dog Eating Contest at New York's Coney Island.
Unless you've never used the Garfield Park Conservatory as a mid-winter in-city escape, you're probably upset by the damage the conservatory has undergone. Martha Bayne was upset and decided to revive her fabulous Soup'n'Bread event as a fundraiser for the park. She'll feature chilly souper dishes from Swim Cafe, Inspiration Cafe, Bonnie Tawse, Anastasia Davies Hinchsliff, and more on Wednesday, July 6. All donations will be donated to the rebuilding efforts.
Chicagoist's Rob Christopher notes the passing of the second coming of Trader Vic's in Chicago, and points to some other options to get your tiki drink on in the city (assuming you don't want to cab it to Hala Kahiki.)
Jonathan Gold compares Alinea and Noma, the best restaurant in North America versus the best restaurant in the world.
If you need a compelling reason to go to the Taste (and really, who doesn't), Grub Street has a nifty map showing where vendors are coming from, all over the city. You'd save gas money just by going to Grant Park -- especially if you're into dessert.
The western end of Logan Square's getting a new, spicy pizza place. Offering slices and BYOB, Dante's Pizzeria comes courtesy of Georg Simos (High Dive, The Rocking Horse) and a few people from Santullo's and Piece.
Making a Milwaukee expat pine for more northern shores is as easy as mentioning the beloved Comet Cafe. Now, Comet's owners bring their locally sourced, from-scratch comfort food south in the form of Lakeview's Northdown Cafe and Taproom.
OK, not really. But the magazine did get a call from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco & Firearms telling that due to licensing issues, they can't give away the beer they brewed with Pipeworks Brewery at their shindig tonight. However, there will still be free beer: startup brewery 5 Rabbit has stepped in with a keg.
Karl Klockars questions whether Ald. Tom Tunney is in violation of City Council ethics rules for not recusing himself from the food truck legislation, since he owns several restaurants and has catered events for the City.
Editor of local food website The Feast/Eat Carly Fisher's Class Photo series talks to the staff of Kuma's (most recently), The Girl and the Goat, Moto, and more. All interviews include a high school-style group picture.
Chicago's a pretty good wine town, according to the WSJ's Lettie Teague. In fact, she says it's "the second-most important wine city in the country right now."
One Pork Taco turned up a postcard of Adolph Luetgert's sausage factory. Mr. Luetgert killed his wife way back in the 19th century, and rumors persisted that he'd turned her into sausage. He didn't, but the real story is just as yucky.
Grub Street reports that the Grasstoots Collaborative is holding a bake sale in front of the Mercantile Exchange (20 South Wacker) today to benefit the CME Group, the parent company of the Merc who is threatening to leave the state unless Gov. Quinn gives them some special tax considerations.
John Apostolou, president of Giordano's (which is currently in bankruptcy proceedings), is accusing the government of committing "bank fraud, securities fraud and tax fraud" in its handling of the pizza chain case. Apostolou was forcibly removed from the chain's headquarters last month.
Remember a couple years ago some guys tried to crowdsource the purchase of Pabst Brewing Company? They got slapped with a cease-and-desist order by the SEC, some months after shutting down the attempt. [via]
We dish with Chicago Cooking Chicks in this week's Drive-Thru feature.
Vienna Beef is suing Red Hot Chicago, a rival that happens to be owned by the grandson of one of Vienna's founders.
If you too are skeptical of the food truck hype, you may want to head to the corner of North and Halsted on tomorrow night Food Truck Tuesdays. At least four trucks will be there every Tuesday in June.
Bad news for Bucktown coffee drinkers: Local favorite Ipsento (2035 N. Western) closed suddenly yesterday after an Illinois Department of Revenue official showed up to revoke its business license because of unpaid taxes. Store owners said today they're "working hard" to right the ship and reopen soon.
Here's the explanation they posted on their Facebook page:
Ipsento is temporarily closed. In 2010, we mistakenly overlooked the filing and paying of nine months of sales tax. We have been current with this years sales tax. However, to date, we have been unable to pay the lump some [sic] we fell behind. For this reason, the state revoked our business license yesterday. We are working hard to get the license back...and have been told by our tax expert lawyers that this shouldn't be a problem. We originally thought we could turn this around right away. But that's not how the Department of Revenue works. Our hope is to re-open next Monday afternoon. We'll keep you informed as we find out more. We REALLY appreciate how supportive you all have been!
Jeff Ruby channels the ghost of Auguste Escoffier for his review of Next's Escoffier-inspired menu.
You can find a lot of food trucks roaming around the city, but as this week's Drive-Thru feature shows, they aren't that convenient.
Apparently one of the Bulls went to Aviary after the game last night -- and asked for a vodka and seltzer. The bar denied the request, and the baller left.
He has a food blog in which he names a female fennel bulb "Latifa" and says things like, "How did people make soup before stick blenders? They are the absolute stone cold nuts."
Boystown restaurant Ping Pong is closed after a kitchen fire last week. Nearby Scarlet, which was closed by a fire itself in 2009, is holding a fundraiser for Ping Pong's employees tonight; $10 of your $15 drink wristband goes to them.[via]
Sepia's bartender Logan Lavachek came across her grandmother's "Bar Aid," a cocktail recipe gadget from the '60s. She's working her way through its recipes and updating the ingredients; you can follow along on her blog, or sample her experiments at the bar. [via]
Dishtip is meant to be a guide to the best food in a city, but some of the results are a little odd. Is the salad bar at Fogo de Chao really the second best dish in Chicago? And since when does Lou Malnatti's serve New York-style pizza? [via]
Stolen nacho cheese was at the center of a recent scuffle at a West Side 7-Eleven.
The weather may make it seem like summer will never come, but this year's Taste of Chicago food vendors have been announced.
Following the success of its Key Ingredient series, he Reader has added a new column, "Cocktail Challenge," to its arsenal. Each week a bartender takes on a new ingredient; first up is garlic mustard, a culinarily friendly invasive weed, taken on by Sable's Mike Ryan.
I suppose it falls along the lines of eating the souls of one's enemies.
Logan Square alderman Rey Colon will be at City Hall today to try to shut down the popular farmers market in the neighborhood--over a political feud. Find out more over at Drive-Thru.
Wear your Bulls gear and head into Sprinkles Cupcakes on Tuesday, May 3rd for a free cupcake! Fans sporting some swag get a red velvet treat that's sure to inspire some team spirit. The offer is good at the 50 E. Walton St. store from 9am-8pm tomorrow.
Why would we write about the long waits for foo-foo drinks at Aviary when there's a Red Lobster in Lincolnwood with immediate seating? Details of an annual pilgrimage are in this week's Drive-Thru feature.
An odd chapter in Chicago and New York's pizza rivalry: Supposedly you can't get a just a slice of pizza at certain NYC institutions because of Al Capone's strong-arm tactics regarding cheese distribution.[via]
The south end of Grant Park may get a farmers market this summer run by the same folks as the Ogilvie Station French Market.
Good news for low-income Illinois residents who use LINK cards — Chicago farmers markets doubled the number of sites where they now accept the card as payment for fresh produce. Especially important in an area hampered by food deserts, this expanding service hopefully will get healthy food into more homes. There are also participating markets around the state. Chicago farmers markets open on May 12, 2011.
Bring your own mug to Caribou Coffee tomorrow, and get a free coffee. Use the caffeine rush to walk or bike to work -- it is Earth Day, after all. (And BTW, Caribou's got one of the best, everyday, non-Earth-Day BYO mug discounts around: 50 cents off, all day, every day.)
Thomas Keller sings the praises of his protege, Grant Achatz, in this year's Time 100.
Pack your travel mug the night before (unless you're just naturally good at remembering such tasks in the morning, pre-caffeine) and bring it by Starbucks on Friday for a free coffee or tea in celebration of Earth Day.
Chicago magazine's Best New Restaurants list is now posted, but you'll have to pick up the magazine to find out why they picked Bistronomic as the best.
Time Out announced its 2011 Eat Out Award winners last night, with Girl and the Goat winning best new restaurant and Stephanie Izard landing Chef of the Year. No doubt she'll put that award next to her Best New Chef award from Food & Wine. Next up, the James Beard Awards.
In a move that clearly establishes that community garden initiatives have gone mainstream, Triscuit will be sponsoring new gardens in Chicago and Los Angeles.
Some CPS schools have banned lunches brought from home in an effort to promote healthier eating. Students and parents are, of course, not all happy about this.
You can still get fresh produce even if it's cold and dreary outside. We visit the indoors Green City Market in this week's Drive-Thru feature.
So, Baconfest is sold out, but it's put you in the mood. Steve Dolinsky has some suggestions, but at Paddy Long's you can schedule a bacon and beer tasting, pairing five seasonal beers with five cuts of bacon. Or dare to order the Bacon Bomb. Finish it and a mess of fries in 45 minutes and you'll win a t-shirt and your photo on the wall -- and get it free.
The Center for Book & Paper Arts' 12th annual Edible Books & Tea is this evening from 6pm to 8pm. Get there early -- the books aren't just for show, and you'd be surprised how many people are hungry for literature.
The vegan chain Native Foods Café is moving its headquarters to Chicago and opening three new restaurants before the end of the summer.
The New York Times ponders the peculiar predicament of Charlie Trotter: still excelling while the culinary world seems to pass him by.
Fame comes at a cost for some of Chicago's cult restaurants, as word spreads internationally.
Local brewery Goose Island has agreed to be purchased by Anheuser-Busch for $38.8 million. Despite the ownership change, the brewery will stay in the city, and their brew pubs are not part of the deal.
Speaking of Chicago foods in elsewhere in the country, a Missouri couple smitten by the flavors of Chicago hot dogs decided to open a Chicago-style hot dog restaurant in Holden, Missouri. So, you know, the next time you're in Holden, you're all set.[via]
Chicago loves student design contests. The latest one will feature a CPS high school student's design on 10,000 reusable bags to be handed out at farmers markets. Here's some info from one of the sponsors.
It seems New Yorkers are having a hard time finding ingredients to make a proper Chicago-style hot dog.
Pie deals all over the place in honor of Pie Day. Morton's and many others are offering slices of pie for $3.14, and Hoosier Mama is both staying open late and borrowing the Gaztro-Wagon to sell around the city (find'em via twitter).
Also, this Saturday, March 19, Hoosier Mama is teaming up with Drive-Thru to hold its second annual scavenger hunt. Get details here!
Bernardo Hees, CEO of Burger King, said during a recent visit to U of C, "The food is terrible and the women are not very attractive [in England]. Here in Chicago the food is good, and you are known for good-looking women." Not surprisingly, the Brits are pissed.
Today we release the second feature in GB's short film series The Grid. "Congress Conducts El at Cal's" explores the construction congestion at Congress Parkway through the music and activity at Cal's, a nearby hangout and liquor store.
...and get ready for the foods of spring. We'll show you how to prepare in this week's Drive-Thru feature.
According to their Facebook page, yes - under the guidance of former Landmark Grill chef Kurt Guzowski, and with a slightly retooled menu.
Burr Ridge-based designer Joseph Mollo has created a sleek, Poplar-finished beer pong table now available on Etsy.
In one corner, A.V. Club Chicago got Goose Island's Greg Hall and Jared Rouben to try out Big Flats lager, Walgreens' new house beer. In the other corner, Time Out put together a taster panel of its own.
A new grocery store chain that recently opened in several south side food desert communities gave away a bag of free groceries to residents and the assurance that fresh, affordable food is no longer miles away; we cover the neighborhood response in this week's Drive-Thru feature.
Scooter's Frozen Custard opens today at 2pm, which chocolate peanut butter as the daily special.
After transforming dinner at MOTO, Homaro Cantu's star has steadily risen. Now he believes he has made a stride in his most personal project, the modest task of combating world hunger, and it all comes down to a berry.
We're a little late to the news, but IHOP is offering a free "short stack" of pancakes to all diners today; now you have dinner plans.
Meet suburban-based Kraft's "Meal Planning Solution," a kiosk that will be able to recognize your face and give you shopping suggestions based on your shopping history. In the process, it'll also provide recipes, free samples ... and "anonymously" collect data.
The oatmeal McDonald's is promoting as a healthy breakfast option is a bit more complicated than it seems.
The Stew published the first post-election interview with Mayor Daley yesterday -- about his interest in food.
The release party for Heather Shouse's book, Food Trucks: Dispatches and Recipes from the Best Kitchens on Wheels, April 19 will double as the first-ever Food Truck Summit in the parking lot of Goose Island Clybourn.
Not every kid is sucked into the McDonald's vortex! We meet up with a local youth-centric food policy group in this week's Drive-Thru feature.
Giordano's filed for bankruptcy Thursday, but said it plans to keep its restaurants open.
Speaking of criminals, Mike Sula talks with some folks making moonshine over at the Reader.
Past, present and future blend together in Chris Borelli's profile of Grant Achatz.
As of this writing, This American Life's site is just barely reachable, thanks to the nearly one million people who've visited to read Coca-Cola's secret formula since it was mentioned on last weekend's episode. [via]
In this week's Drive-Thru feature, we visit a bakery that churns out sweet treats and even sweeter charity...just in time for your Valentine's Day treat shopping.
You have just a couple more days to get Hot Doug's latest special, a cherry-apple pork sausage (with a touch of cinnamon) topped with Sir William pear mustard and a crumbled Vosges bacon chocolate bar. he encased meat emporium closes Sunday and doesn't reopen until March 2.
The last Chicago Toddle House--a former chain of eat-in/take-out restaurants and a precursor to modern fast food eateries--will soon be razed. The location has been closed for eight years, and locals complain that the site is an eyesore.
BaconFest has announced its lineup of exhibiting restaurants and chefs. Tickets go on sale soon.
In this week's Drive-Thru feature, we plan for what we'll be making this Sunday--the fine, fine foods of Pittsburgh.
Yep, it's enough of a meme to start doing editions, like google maps a couple years ago. This time, Goose Island reps for Illinois on the United States of Beer, while Green River is ours on the United States of Soft Drinks.
Sammy's Taste of Chicago, a suburban Milwaukee hot dog stand, has renamed its Chicago style variety the "Packer Dog." Right back at you, buddy.
That's what 410,000 Chicago Public School students will be able to do now that Chicago Public Schools has agreed to offer free breakfasts in classrooms to students. As a former free-breakfast and -lunch kid, I can't say how surprised I am that this is a new thing.
You can now get a subscription to The Local Tourist's popular Chef's Table dining events.
DIY lifestyle mag ReadyMade recently gave props to (already beautiful) Pilsen bar Simone's for their accidental artistic venture: blank beer coasters. Patrons are enjoying the chance to draw their own designs and decorate it with a glass of their favorite bevvy.
In this week's Drive-Thru feature we meet up with two chefs who want to make an impact in their community through food trucks.
The NY Times visits the Brat Stop, the Kenosha restaurant that attracts the love of both Bears and Packers fans.
Not to be outdone, Eater has created The Eater Doomsday Map -- one place to eat in each state "before the Apocalypse."
The season of crock pot roast beef has returned! Details in this week's Drive-Thru feature.
Erlene Howard's burgeoning green business helps those who can't compost for themselves. For under $11 a week, she'll take northsiders' compostables and put them to good use (not a landfill).
Gulpon is a new deal-a-day site promising "up to 90% off" beverages of all sorts.
Whether you support her bid for mayor of the city or not, you might enjoy Carol Moseley Braun's Ambassador Organics line of teas, coffee and spices.
The Drive-Thru staff shares their favorite food experiences from 2010 in the first annual Eatacular. Share yours in the comments.
Thanks in part to the popularity of bacon, pork belly trading has all but ceased on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, the Wall Street Journal reports. [Google News link] Learn more about the history of futures in a new book.
In Drive-Thru, Alan Lake shares the story of his annual tradition of serving Christmas dinner, BBQ style, at the Salvation Army's Harbor Light Center on the near West Side.
Chicago-style pizza is surprisingly common in San Francisco. Ex-pat David Shamma recently set up a double-blind taste test, pitting three of the city's best up against FedExed pies from Gino's and Malnatti's to see which was the best.
Marina City News has an early look inside Public House, opening Jan. 13 at State and Kinzie, where a dozen of the tables will have not just their own beer taps but also liquor taps.
In this week's Drive-Thru feature, we introduce you to Cob Connection, an organization that teaches urban farming skills to ex-offenders in the most unlikely of places.
A Chicago man was arrested for stealing tip jars from at least three Starbucks and possibly several other coffee shops in the city and suburbs.
Things don't look good at Mado. After its original chefs, Rob and Allie Levitt, left to open a butcher shop, Brandon Baltzley took over. Now Eater reports Baltzley's quit, too, and took the whole kitchen staff. They'll be doing a "pop up dinner" at Delicious on Dec. 17.
Chef's hats have 100 pleats to signify the number of ways a chef knows how to cook an egg. One Hundred Eggs shares a few of those ways, along with sumptuous food photography.
Cultural weekly NewCity gives us their 2010 top picks in vintage TV shows filmed in Chicago, food trucks, indoor make-out spots, and many more.
The Stew makes some food trend predictions for 2011. While bacon may be getting a little old, chicken skin seems like an unlikely successor.
BYOB Chicago, Drink Deck and Not For Tourists have teamed up to create the Chicago Survival Guide, a good gift for friends who want a cheap drink with dinner in a neighborhood they're not that familiar with.
Need a bartender for an upcoming party? You could win the services of one of the city's best.
What would a chef do with an ingredient they've never used before? The Reader intends to find out with its new series, Key Ingredient. First up is, of course, Grant Achatz and kluwak kapas nuts. The online version includes a video by Sky Full of Bacon's Michael Gebert.
In Drive-Thru, meet Shebnem Ince, a Chicago-born sommelier who specializes in biodynamic and organic wines.
Eight Forty-Eight paid a visit to the farm at Altgeld Gardens on the far South Side.
American aquarium drinkers also now have the option to enjoy Intelligentsia's Wilco blend, selected unanimously by the band.
The Gaztro-Wagon is out there, plying the streets with its naanwiches and waiting for the City to change laws against food trucks.
Bon Appetit included Grant Achatz' Next on its list of great celebration restaurants. Only problem being, of course, Next isn't open yet. They've since removed it from the list, but The Stew has a screenshot. [via]
Laurent Gras left L2O for "a break" just three weeks before the restaurant received three stars from Michelin. Yesterday news broke that the departure is permanent, and Eater Chicago got an exclusive interview.
The makers of Four Loko are caving to pressure and reformulating the drink to eliminate the caffeine and energy drink ingredients. Meanwhile, bars everywhere continue selling vodka and Red Bulls and Jack and Cokes.
Tomorrow, Nov. 18, through Nov. 21, Startbucks will help you get through the afternoon with a buy-one-get-one-free deal on its holiday coffee drinks between 2 and 5pm.
Remember mixing all the soda flavors at the fountain when you were a kid? Coke's experimental "Freestyle" soda dispensers bring back the fun (and danger) of that experimentation, and are now at a couple restaurants around town.
The Michelin Guide announced its list of restaurants receiving stars a day earlier than planned after it leaked on Yelp.
In light of the Michelin guide's arrival in Chicago, the current issue of Newsweek is waxing poetic about some of Chicago's not-so-fancy (but still very loveable) foods.
Slice finally got around to Illinois (aka Chicago) on its tour of the United States of Pizza, courtesy of Daniel Zemans.
Flight Chicago is different from the usual restaurant deal: buy a flight and you get a three hour tour behind the scenes at three top restaurants, including Q&As with the chefs.
Speaking of free, Drive-Thru is co-hosting a pre-release cocktail party for the Michelin Guide Chicago at Violet Hour next week. Space is limited, so
sign up today! UPDATE: Sold out!
A la Card has announced its 2011 restaurant discount deck, and for a limited time you can get 20% off your pre-order and get the 2010 deck to use as fast as possible. This year's deck is discounted to $15, too. (Thanks, Caffrin!)
We look at a group of DIY coffee roasters with big plans in this week's Drive-Thru Feature.
Chances are you've been to at least one or two of Time Out's 50 unknown bars, or at least have heard of them.
Alinea was busted in 2006 for having a supply of the needlessly illegal tonka bean.
Rob and Allie Levitt have left Mado. But by the end of the month, they'll be opening a butcher shop in Noble Square that will feature custom-cut meats from animals raised on small Midwestern farms and handmade charcuterie. (For those jonesing for the Levitts' cooking, there'll also be a small lunch menu.)
Because they're still widely available, says a UIC researcher.
Vermillion's Maneet Chauhan was cut on this week's "Next Iron Chef," but you can still try her show-inspired lunch boxes for $24. Chef Ming Tsai, who won while Chauhan lost, is at The Chopping Block tonight for a book signing and cooking demo.
Halloween in Chicago: A completely reasonable sign on the door of a northwest side liquor store.
We head to Wisconsin for a trip full of dairy goodness in this week's Drive-Thru feature.
The seasoned local craft brewers behind Pipeworks Brewing Company have taken to Kickstarter in search of the funds to build their brewing facility in Garfield Park. If you're feeling particularly flush, they've got some very creative rewards for the big spenders, including a trip to Belgium and a chance to create a beer with them.
A 10-year-old boy in Buffalo Grove called 911 last week to complain that he hated the food his parents served him for dinner.
The Mag Mile Marriott and the Elysian Hotel get name-checked in a New York Times article about hotels committed to über-local food sourcing.
A multimedia artist takes a summer job as a paletero in this week's Drive-Thru feature.
Devon Seafood has a special dining deal for GB readers; learn more in Drive-Thru.
Time Out covers coming trends in food and drink in this week's feature package, which naturally includes an interview with chef Grant Achatz. David Tamarkin posted a longer version of the interview online.
Chicago magazine hosts 40 Bottles of Beer tonight at the Village Tap in Roscoe Village.
Soup's on at the Lincoln Park Zoo! What are your favorite ruminants, amphibians, and primates noshing on and how much does it cost per animal each year? Yum, krill!
Ever wish someone would just make you something to eat? Or maybe you'd really like to cook for someone. CookItFor.Us, a new site, er, cooked up at a hackathon last week, can help party A find party B.
Hoosier Mama Pie Company just made Bon Appetit's list of the country's Top 10 Best Places for Pie. Achatz Handmade Pie Company, from Armada, Michigan, also gets a shoutout -- as much for the pie as for being related to Grant Achatz and served at Alinea.
Today is International Sake Day! We've got some places for you to sip sake, hot or cold, in Drive-Thru.
Arlington Heights-based Restaurant.com tried their hands today at the group discount game today, offering 90% off restaurant gift certificates. It's proved so popular that it's crushing their servers -- so they're extending the deal through Friday to make up for it.
Octoberfeast returns to River North next week: spend Oct. 5 wandering from restaurant to gallery to bar, capping off with a party at the Hard Rock, all for $65.
Chicago-based glassware company By the Glass has been getting some attention lately for their tasteful lines of drinking glasses inspired by several cities around the world. Maybe I'm biased, but I like the Chicago line.
The Chicago Marathon's right around the corner. Put your feedbag over your race number for Frasca's half-price-pasta Carb Cram on marathon eve, then trade your Bibs for Beers at Dunlay's on Clark post-race.
Billed as a "gala celebration & tasting for friends, fans and foodists" the Chicago media-arts nonprofit, Beyondmedia, is celebrating 10 years of media justice, 10 top Chicago chefs and 10 honor awardees. Regrettably, another Chicago event dominates the 10-10-10 slot, so they bumped theirs to October 14th. Check Slowdown or the event site for tickets and details.
If you notice some new craft beers at the bar this weekend, keep in mind that they may not be as microbrewed as they seem.
Allan Nacapuy, a Harrington College of Design student, is a finalist for a nationwide contest to create a redesign of the Chiquita Banana logo; his artwork will appear on selected bananas from November to January.
Yet another good year for Goose Island. The brewery's 312 urban wheat ale won a gold medal in this year's Great American Beer Festival in the category of English-style Summer Ale. Goose Island's Bourbon County Brand Stout also won the bronze in the Wood- and Barrell- Aged Strong Stout category. Full results here.
Chicago's It Girl Stephanie Izard will host a Friends of the James Beard Foundation dinner at Girl & The Goat. If that's not enough capital letters for you, check out the lineup of guest chefs, breweries and producers she'll be featuring at the November 2 dinner.
Chef Art Smith -- of Table Fifty-Two, Oprah, and Top Chef Masters fame -- is being inducted into the Chefs Hall of Fame by the Chicago Culinary Museum. And Mayor Daley has proclaimed September 30, the same day as the induction ceremony, to be "Chef Art Smith Day In Chicago." Oh, and in other news, there's also a Chicago Culinary Museum.
Beer lovers, here's your calendar: On Sept. 24, the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation throws its Festiv-Ale, a beer-soaked fundraiser for cystic fibrosis research. And on Oct. 9, the beer podcast HopCast is organizing a bike crawl to 10 breweries and brewpubs. Then on Oct. 22, Alphabeer returns with 26 new selections to sample.
Not to be outdone by Groupon, YouSwoop, SocialBuy, and all the others, Open Table has launched its own discount coupon site.
I occasionally find myself putting together a gift basket of Chicago-based foods. I'm definitely not alone.
We look at some new developments in the ever-complex "food desert" problem in the city in this week's Drive-Thru feature.
Probably the best review of The Girl and the Goat you'll ever read.
The Waffleizer blog, written by former GB contributor Daniel Shumski, came to an end last week with a post about the one thing he promised never to make with his waffle iron: the thing it was intended for.
Chicago's nascent food trucks are in the running to be on the next season of Food Network's "Great Food Truck Race." Vote for Chicago's Fired Up, Flirty Cupcakes, Gaztro-Wagon and Happy Bodega by selecting Chicago on the map, because we can't link to specific trucks.
Chicago magazine's food critic spent the afternoon with Nutraloaf, food for misbehaving inmates, a.k.a. "a thick orange lump of spite with the density and taste of a dumbbell."
Tomorrow is the last day to vote in the VegNews 2010 Veggie Awards and give props to competing locals, including the Chicago Soy Dairy, The Chicago Diner, Karyn's on Green, Loving Hut and Karyn Calabrese. Oh, and you might win some prizes too.
Bon Appetit just crowned Chicago the nation's top spot for inexpensive eats. With Xoco, Big Star and Urban Belly -- and their infamous waits -- on the list, you should have plenty of time to scrounge up loose change. Takashi, Gene's Sausage Shop, Danny's, Franks 'n' Dawgs, Edzo's Burger Shop, and Floriole Cafe & Bakery also made the cut. Popularity, local/organic/seasonal ingredient sourcing, and general deliciousness notwithstanding, can we accurately call a $3 oatmeal cookie, a $13 bowl of ramen, or a $12 bowl of soup "cheap"? Discuss.
We head down to Bridgeport to celebrate a Croatian holiday and eat some delicious lamb in this week's Drive-Thru feature.
This Sunday, occasional GB contributor John Greenfield will be signing copies of his book, Bars Across America: Drinking and Biking from Coast to Coast, at Lush Wine and Spirits, 1257 S. Halsted St. -- conveniently close to the Boulevard Bike Tour start/finish line. And if you stop into the new Rapid Transit Cycle Shop at 1305 S. Halsted, you can get a free Rapid Transit pint glass, which Lush will fill with free Half Acre beer at the reading.
Visit a small block of mammoth edible potential in this week's Drive-Thru feature.
Did you know that Potbelly Sandwiches had never signed a franchise deal until this week? Apparently the Lincoln Park store has held out for more than a decade, despite expanding into 40 cities and receiving some 6,000 hopeful franchise inquiries.
The "meat-man parfait" is basically a giant plastic cup layered with scoops of barbecued pork or brisket, mashed potatoes and barbecue sauce. Ingest it for $7 at the Illinois State Fair -- I have a feeling there won't be much left once PETA finds out.
Grubwithus puts a social spin on dining deals: members buy seats at a group table, meaning you get to meet some new friends while you eat on the cheap. (Thanks, Lakshmi!)
Yes, oh, yesssss. We visit a delicious downtown Amish bakery store in this week's Drive-Thru feature.
What do you get when you combine 60,000 people, a carnival and 50 tons of sweet corn? The 2010 Mendota Sweet Corn Festival, of course! The weekend event begins tomorrow, and don't forget the free Del Monte sweet corn on Sunday afternoon.
We take you through a Guerrilla Dinner from snout to tail in this week's Drive-Thru feature.
A misunderstanding with a city inspector nearly led to all home-based CSA drop-off points becoming illegal.
We head north to Wisconsin to visit an environmentally conscious brewery in this week's Drive-Thru feature.
We all scream for the 2nd Annual Chicago Luxury Ice Cream Festival! That's right, there will be a glorious festival tomorrow and Saturday night where micro-creameries and local chocolatiers practically hose people down with hot fudge and caramel. Get tickets and details here.
No need to hit a 4am bar before your red-eye flight soon: Bars at O'Hare and Midway may never close if a change to Chicago's liquor granting airports exemptions passes the full City Council.
In other food news, ESPN tracked down health department reports about food service providers for major stadiums around the country. At first, the Chicago stadiums look pretty clean, but then an important distinction emerges: Unlike most locales, Chicago health inspections were conducted when the food vendors were closed.
Never have the wrong number of buns for your Chicago-style hot dog again! (Or, at least, it'll be your fault.)
Want to know why Chicago has very few fruit-bearing trees on public property?
Ever wonder where they neon green relish came from? Did you know that yellow mustard started here? Dining Chicago has your answers.
After six months of preparation, a cookbook will be released on Friday authored by none other than the Chicago Cubs. Chicago Cubs Cookbook features collected recipes and stories from players and coaches, and all proceeds will go to pitcher Ryan Dempster's foundation, dedicated to helping those with the rare DiGeorge syndrome.
This morning, Cafe Mustache opened its Logan Square doors with an impressive lineup: Bleeding Heart pastries, Bridgeport Company coffee, Nice Cream ice cream and free Wi-Fi. Check it out at TimeOut Chicago.
I hope you have some pink salt on hand for this week's Drive-Thru feature.
A couple of McDonald's alums are working on a new, healthier fast-casual chain.
Irv & Shelly's Fresh Picks, a local produce delivery service, just won more than $80,000 from a highly competitive national USDA grant program that funds innovative small businesses. Irv & Shelly's delivers boxes of fruits, veggies and locally made foods to customers' doors -- owners will use the cash to improve the company's distribution network of farmers and CSAs.
We've got recipes for your upcoming picnics and eat-offs in this week's Drive-Thru feature.
The very tasty Co-Op Hot Sauce is made with hot peppers and other ingredients grown on the West Side, and the proceeds benefit youth arts education.
Threadcakes, the competition to make the best cake version of a Threadless t-shirt design, is open and ready for your votes.
Suburban culinary megacompany Kraft Foods, Inc. is embarking on product and advertising realignment following its recent acquisition of Cadbury. The process provides some interesting insight into how multinational consumer product companies strategize global growth -- namely by selling sugary stuff to developing countries.
Obama toasted with a Goose Island 312 in a photo op with British Prime Minister David Cameron at the G-20 summit.
Some area residents are putting their money where there mouth is and investing in local organic farms in order to help sustain their own pantries.
Join me and writers from the Trib, Time Out Chicago, Sky Full of Bacon and other bosses of the trade for today's Lunchbox liveblog chat at noon on Vocalo--we'll be talking about food truck legislation, the noshes that will be available at Lollapalooza and Taste of Chicago, and whatever else tickles our fancy.
Chicago Storytelling has a story about Felony Franks, the new hot dog stand on Western Avenue that employs ex-convicts to dish out its "misdemeanor wieners" through bullet-proof glass. Owner Jim Andrews is fighting the alderman to let his stand serve time.
Wondering what you'll eat at Lollapalooza? Big Star, Kuma's, Rockit and Hoosier Mama are among the options.
Lincoln Park's Wiener's Circle, described as "a microcosm of segregation in Chicago" and ranked 56th in journalist Catherine Price's highly subjective (nothing's unpleasant in France, really?) but admittedly entertaining 101 Places Not to See Before You Die. At least it beat out New Jersey's Grover Cleveland Service Area?
If you've tried everything your local ice cream truck has to offer, you can move on to more exotic frozen fare--like xue hua bing, shaved ice from Taiwan now available at Cloud 9.
Phil Vettel considers other Chicago politics themed frozen treats, inspired by Bobtail Ice Cream's Blago's Blues flavor.
Inspiration Corporation's Cafe Too is a place where the homeless and unemployed learn a valuable trade while they start a new chapter in their lives. We take a closer look at the program in this week's Drive-Thru feature.
The cafeteria in the Dirksen Federal Building offered a special today: "The Innocent, aka Blago." Too bad we already had lunch.
Edna Stewart, owner of the legendary Edna's Restaurant on the West Side, passed away on Friday. For background about Stewart, her restaurant and her role in the civil rights movement, check out this interview from the Southern Foodways Alliance Oral History Project.
The City's much-awaited food truck ordinance is delayed yet again, but don't despair, 32nd Ward alderman Scott Waguespack says it's "the right plan." We think the right plan would have us buying tacos from a food truck right now.
The AV Club has a round-up of notable candy and snack food from the 2010 Sweets & Snacks Expo (formerly the All Candy Expo), which happened in May at McCormick Place.
Rogers Park's Glenwood Sunday Farmers Market debuts today, featuring all certified organic or transitioning vendors.
Learn more about an organic farming initiative that gets high school students away from the TV and into the fields in this week's Drive-Thru feature.
Wicker Park's Smoke Daddy wants you to name its new smoker, offering a free BBQ party for 20 people to whomever creates the winning moniker. Head to the restaurant, write down your favorite names, and you'll be entered to win, but make sure you pick a name to match its power -- the 5,000 lb. beast can smoke 432 ribs at once. The contest is open June 14 through the 30th, and BBQ lovers can suggest up to three names.
We learn that you can get a decent meal at Navy Pier in this week's Drive-Thru feature.
Food smells are a regular annoyance in office kitchens -- and everyone has their personal stinky pet peeves.
The Wall Street Journal reports that investor C. Dean Metropoulos has purchased Woodridge-based Pabst, makers of PBR, Schlitz, Old Style and plenty other "old man" beers. His sons, Evan (29) and Daren (26) are expected to have a role. Here's a bit of background on the Metropoulos boys.
If BaconFest didn't cure you of your bacon fetish, maybe this special deal will help.
Your home can taste a lot more like 1955 W. Belmont, thanks to the release of Bleeding Heart Bakery's first cupcake cookbook. Try your hand ahead of time with the recipe for Infamous Spinach and Apple Cupcakes shared with No One Puts Cupcake in a Corner.
Futuristic vending machines have been getting a lot of attention lately, and events at the (other) NRA show didn't buck the trend. One vending machine from the show will hit Chicago this summer with the ability to mix Coke with Fanta, lemonade or about a dozen other flavors to your specification.
Goose Island wants your help naming its latest brew, a hefeweizen. Bragging rights aren't all you'll win if they pick yours.
On June 9, Ald. Scott Waguespack plans to introduce an ordinance allowing food trucks of the sort that roam LA and New York. He made the announcement at a National Restaurant Association panel discussing food truck culture.
We're exploring Chicago's wealth of margaritas in Drive-Thru this summer. Suggestions welcome.
In other food news, Grant Achatz weighs in on the tensions between photographing and eating food as it's presented at the table.
Archeworks' most recent unveiling is the Mobile Food Collective "Urban Farm Tool," a hub for the creation and support of urban community farming.
Looking for some foamy action? Chicago Beer Week kicks off today and runs through the weekend.
Chicago's least favorite condiment is getting a makeover. Heinz is reportedly changing their ketchup recipe. The move comes as part of the company's efforts to be more health-conscious. Don't worry, though; your Chicago Dog's recipe remains unaltered.
Kevin Pang has created a "Chinese Guy's Guide to Eating in Chinatown." It's in tomorrow's print Trib, but you can preview it on Facebook. (Compare and contrast with Time Out Chicago's guide from two weeks ago.)
This Friday (the 14th) at 10am, within the Chopping Block, aspiring French chefs can receive a first hand introduction into the greatest of all culinary arts. The class will focus on some independent cook book titled "Mastering the Art of French Cooking" from an unknown author by the name of Julia Child. Registration for "Mastering the Art of Julia Child" is $85 and spots are filling up.
Join Northwestern PhD student Michaela DeSoucey and the Culinary Historians of Chicago tomorrow at 10am at Kendall College to discuss her dissertation comparing the foie gras debates in the States versus France.
We look at how restaurants create their playlists for your enjoyment in this week's Drive-Thru feature.
From the "Unnecessarily Large Food Department" comes the 3.5 pound chimichanga at Dos Diablos in River North. In case you had $25 and an didn't know where to go for your Day-After-Cinco-de-Mayo lunch. Enjoy the slide show.
It's a gorgeous day outside, which means that seasonal produce will be coming back soon. Learn more about how to eat and buy locally in this week's Drive-Thru feature.
If you don't have dinner plans yet, make them: Tonight you're Dining Out for Life.
The Reader's big story this week sums up the legislative situation for getting food trucks on the streets of Chicago. Meanwhile, Time Out reports that a new cupcake truck will be hitting the road this weekend.
Tequila drinking gets more refined in this week's Drive-Thru feature.
Time Out Chicago wrote about the only legal gourmet-style food truck in the city right now in last week's issue -- and the attention is getting All Fired Up hassled.
The musical lineup for Taste of Chicago has been announced. Highlights include Rob Thomas and Salt-n-Pepa.
It's theoretically illegal to have alcohol in the parks -- but Mayor Daley wants to make it easier to drink, if it'll increase city revenue.
Chicagoans have a delicious way to depart from traditional department store wedding registries with newly-launched Foodie Registry, which features gift certificates for local restaurants like BOKA and one sixtyblue. Here's a short profile of the site on Crain's.
Whether you're celebrating or trying to forget, make tacos a part of your April 15th. Taco Del Mar (3955 N. Broadway) is giving one away: head to the website to print out your coupon.
We have some ways to take advantage of the strawberry surplus in this week's Drive-Thru feature.
Ever watch the Amazing Race and think you could do it -- if it weren't for the jetlag? Take part in the River North Sleep Around Challenge, and you won't even need to leave the 312 area code. The Challenge Starts at the Holiday Inn Mart Plaza and ends up at Martini Park. Along the way, there are stops at seven hotels that will provide challenges and refreshments. Lots of prizes will be offered. Tickets available from the River North Business Association.
Local comic book artist Sarah Becan chronicles getting healthier in a sort of sequential weight loss diary. Good for anyone who likes beer and delicious food but is trying to slim down, and/or enjoys sweet, autobiographical, journal-style comics.
That's right, the Zombie Pub Crawl is back. Sign-up opens this Saturday for the April 24 invasion of Andersonville.
Whether you're a fan of Butler, Michigan State, Duke or West Virginia, there's a bar in Chicago for you. Here's where to drink among friends this weekend.
The upscale food truck trend is heating up across the country, and now chicagofoodtrucks.com is gathering opinions and support for an ordinance that would open the city to the mobile eateries. Time Out Chicago launches its own Street Food Now campaign this month.
Milwaukee-based grocery chain Roundy's plans to open a grocery store in the Loop next year. It'll be called Mariano's, after the company's CEO -- who used to run Dominick's before it was purchased by Safeway.
A new movement is afoot to bring gourmet food trucks like they have in many other cities to Chicago. Share your thoughts at ChicagoFoodTrucks.com.
A local food bank explains why you need to help now in this week's Drive-Thru feature.
Tonight from 6pm to 9pm, chef and Drive-Thru contributor Alan Lake will be doing a cooking demo at the Kenmore Live Studio, 678 N. Wells. Come be part of the studio audience (and maybe swing by the GB Get-Together nearby afterward!) or watch live on Facebook.
A Fresh Squeeze checks out which Chicago coffee shops give discounts to customers who provide their own mugs.
Is it OK for a blogger to review a restaurant based on one meal? Is anyone else surprised this question is still being asked?
Ever wonder what beer tasted like before Prohibition? You'll get your chance -- sort of -- when MillerCoors test-markets a new brew here later this spring.
As the owner of the Boston Blackies chain goes to jail, the owner of Blackies -- the original, in Printers Row -- hopes the confusion over their names fades away.
Street vendors band together for better working conditions in this week's Drive-Thru feature.
We find out that the Quad Cities have some good eats in this week's Drive-Thru feature.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture just released a new interactive dataset called the Food Environment Atlas, where one can look at county level data on everything from access to grocery stores to the price of savory snacks. If you're not interested in playing on the site, the Trib did a summary of Chicago area data with some pretty interesting results.
If you decide to spend a couple hours waiting for a table at Kuma's sometime in the future you may see some interesting artwork courtesy of the sous chef from another of Chicago's great restaurants, Mado. It's clear evidence of their "whole beast" philosophy.
Are you the master of flip cup? Form a team of four (or sign up solo and meet new friends) for Flip Madness — a flip cup tournament on 3/27 at Mad River benefiting Rock for Kids. Beer, food, entertainment provided. Details in Slowdown.
The popularity of a certain political movement is making those who are interested in tea a little frustrated.
Learn more about next weekend's Family Farmed Expo in this week's Drive-Thru feature.
Word has it that a new beer--a product of a collaboration between the glorious Half Acre and Three Floyds breweries--is fermenting somewhere in Chicago right now.
Chicago writers William Shunn, Marcus Leshock, and Kyra Kyles get their Irish up over the dilution of McDonald's shamrock shakes with whipped cream and cherries. And now I'm picturing myself explaining shamrock shakes to my ancestors arriving on Ellis Island.
You may not have missed Restaurant Week after all. Several of the participating venues are still offering their prix fixe menus. Check the A.V. Club's deal calculator to find the best (and avoid the worst) values.
...and other kitchen gadgets we can live without in this week's Drive-Thru feature.
The Fifty50 and CoachHouse are Chicago's entrants in Thrillist's "Bar Madness" contest to determine the best sports bar in America.
The Trib reviews recent research on the disparities in compensation, working conditions and demographic characteristics for those who work in the front of the restaurant compared to those who work in the back.
It may still be winter, but BBQ is always a good idea. Get your grub on and help raise funds to aid the return of Scotland Yard Gospel Choir to the stage at Darkroom tomorrow night. Food by Man-B-Que. Live music and DJs galore. Details in Transmission.
A stolen bike investigation leads to the discovery of some great street food in this week's Drive-Thru feature.
Drinks Over Dearborn is trying to raise money to stay open with an interesting proposal; if you're likely to spend $100 on booze or mixology classes in the next few months, why not pay it in advance? [via]
For the homemade egg rolls, silly! We've got the details in Drive-Thru.
The James Beard Foundation named Calumet Fisheries as one of its 2010 American Classics. It joins Tufano's Vernon Park Tap and The Berghoff (pre-closure) as Chicago's only restaurants to earn the title.
We've got a round-up of some of the best Valentine's Day events and offers in Drive-Thru.
Alvin Shubert, GB flickr pool contributor (and today's Rearview photographer), looked out his window last night to see Greektown restaurant Costa's in flames. Another contributor, Michelle Wotkun, headed down to get a closer view.
The Eat Shop Guide to Chicago came out recently; it's yet another guidebook to cool stuff in the city.
Speaking of the Green Line, Goose Island is set to debut a new environmentally friendly "Green Line Pale Ale" tomorrow.
Drive-Thru contributor Christian reports that beloved Wicker Park coffeehouse Filter officially opened this morning in its new home, 1373 N. Milwaukee Ave. Stay tuned for more info in Drive-Thru.
Looking for some different indoor fun as January slogs into February? Local brewery Half Acre Beer Company offers free tours every Saturday at 1pm. Contact info [at] halfacrebeer [dot] com to register.
Tonight is Burns Night, when Scots around the world (and particularly Scotland) enjoy scotch whisky and haggis in tribute to poet Robert Burns. Currently, your primary source for haggis in the States has been Stahly Quality Foods here in Chicago, but soon you may see true Scottish haggis here soon if the current ban is lifted. (Interested in celebrating Burns Night? Head to The Globe Pub tonight at 8pm.
Two U of C grads stick around the neighborhood to open up a produce market that goes the distance in this week's Drive-Thru feature.
This Saturday, several of Chicago's beloved bakeries and celebrated sweet shops will join forces for a charity bake sale, hosted by Medici on 57th. All proceeds will be donated to Doctors Without Borders and Oxfam for their ongoing relief efforts in Haiti.
Asian carp, the potential bane of the Great Lakes, will soon be marketed as "silverfin" at grocery stores.
Want to learn how to set up a home brewery? This week's Drive-Thru feature will help you (get drunk).
The African Sausage Tree (Kigelia africana) at the Lincoln Park Conservatory is bearing 20-pound fruits. Fun fact: the fresh "sausage" is poisonous, causes mouth blisters, and acts as a laxative. No sampling.
Restaurants and bars around the city are teaming up to make it easy for you to help relief efforts in Haiti simply by eating out (which also happens to help the local economy.) Grub Street Chicago has a list of restaurants doing their part, and in Drive-Thru, you'll find a list of restaurants collaborating with the Heartland Alliance in a fundraiser, as well as details about Monday night's concert and bake sale at the Hideout.
Learn more about the new Logan Square Co-op in this week's Drive-Thru feature.
Our fearless and refined staffers share their best eats of 2009 in this week's Drive-Thru feature.
Jim Mullen, a Chicago cop who was shot in the line of duty and left paralyzed, is finding a new life selling a family recipe apple sauce.
Looks like one of the city's most iconic burger joints is seeking a long-term line cook. If you can keep from salivating on your keyboard to apply, I'm sure there's tons of taste testing involved in training, you know, to make sure it's done right.
We delve deeper into the connection between food and togetherness in this week's Drive-Thru feature.
January tends to suffer from the cold-weather, post-holiday doldrums, so the Local Tourist has organized its first Restaurant Week, with more than a dozen restaurants offering three-course meals for only $25 at lunch or $35 at dinner. Ten percent of each meal benefits pediatric cancer foundation Endure To Cure.
The Sun-Times raises a glass to the glogg being served up at Simon's Tavern in Andersonville, as owner Scott Martin gives the inside scoop on the tradition. * "God Jul" is Swedish for "Merry Christmas."
Yes, you can even eat the lions at the Art Institute's Gingerseum.
Homemade candy, that is. This week's Drive-Thru feature will take you to a magical place where candy canes are plentiful and easily made in your own kitchen...
The USDA raided Frontera/Topolobampo/Xoco and plan to visit North Pond -- on the basis of sharing a meat supplier with two North Shore guys who make and sell their own bacon and sausage, as reported in a recent Reader story by Mike Sula. UDPATE: Or maybe it wasn't the USDA. Sula's updated the story.
Find out in the latest edition of The Dog Show, now in Drive-Thru.
Speaking of gift-giving, the 2010 edition of à la card Chicago is now available, giving you 52 $10 gift certificates to local restaurants for just $30.
The Chicago News Cooperative has a story on the only two "artisan distilleries" in Chicago -- both, coincidentally, are family ventures.
If you want to liven up your holiday dinners, forego the Settlers of Catan tournament and go with serving a Standing Ribeye Roast. We got the details in this week's Drive-Thru feature.
Chicago native Jose Garces brought the city even more culinary acclaim as he walked away with the title "The Next Iron Chef" in the Food Network reality series contest.
All this focus on dinner eclipses the most important meal of the day, as we point out in this week's Drive-Thru feature.
If you do, you should check out the videos GB reader Anna sent us documenting the Wicker Park coffeehouse's last weeks and the interesting folks who worked and hung out there.
L. Stolpman shows you how over at Chicagoist.
A nonprofit started by an award-winning chef is helping make fresh farmers market produce available in Chicago's low-income communities. Alan Lake has the story in Drive-Thru.
Culinary Culture is a new social network for "serious and aspiring foodies" launched today by Threadless cofounder Jakob DeHart and his wife, Mischa.
Want to keep up the locavore lifestyle this winter? The Local Beet has your guide to winter eating.
OK, food stamps aren't involved, but a variety of organizations in the Chicago area and elsewhere are providing assistance to families who are having a hard time buying food for their pets.
There are just five days left to donate to help make the beautiful Soup and Bread Cookbook happen. If you were (and/or are) a fan of this delicious and fun project at the Hideout last winter, help them out by making a donation to offset the printing costs.
Starting Monday, Chicago locations of Dunkin' Donuts will offer a new 99-cent menu. Keep an eye out for Dunkin' employees handing out $2 gift cards on your morning commute.
Check out this website devoted to pictures of Chicago-style food. It won't help your situation, but it sure is beautiful.
LTHForum's ronnie_suburban lost his bet that a coworker couldn't survive for a month eating nothing but sausage pizza. The Trib has a writeup, DiningChicago has a list of local pizzerias the victor sampled.
Elementary school students in Oak Park, Naperville and Villa Park are learning early about making "zero impact" on their environment. They're recycling, composting food scraps after lunch and sending far less trash to area landfills.
A trip to Argentina is a lesson in their many drinks in this week's Drive-Thru feature.
Organic in Chicago is a site devoted to organic eating and living in the city.
In Will County, you can get out of community service for $50 worth of jerk chicken.
Which Chicago bars would the characters from "Cheers" hang out at? AV Club Chicago has your answers.
The imminent closure of the 61st Street Community Garden is getting a lot of attention from the media, with the Trib and Sun-Times augmenting weeks of coverage in the Hyde Park Herald and the Invisible Institute's Garden Conversations.
Chicago-based crowd coupon site Groupon has started a fundraiser for the Greater Chicago Food Depository. A few clicks and a few bucks could bring someone in need a Thanksgiving meal.
If you live in Wicker Park, pay close attention to the ticket on your car -- it might get you free hot wings.
Grubstreet Chicago is (justifiably) wondering what the hell is going on in this advertisement for the Dana Hotel's Aja restaurant. Fans of sci-fi/horror B-movies know all too well what's coming next. Let's rock, before we blast that thing out of the sky!
Garrett's Popcorn is celebrating the reopening of its Mag Mile store, 625 N. Michigan Ave., tomorrow starting at 10am. They're giving away free bags of popcorn, so expect a long line -- just like old times.
Logan Square favorite Lula Cafe plans to "dress up" as another local gem this Halloween: Hot Doug's. I wonder if the menu of encased meats will be named after the dead, the undead or simply those whose careers have flatlined. (via)
That was the challenge LTH Forum's Ronnie Suburban gave one of his coworkers. So far, he's holding fast -- even on business trips. [via]
And if you're near Michigan Avenue, you can get some free candy from Mars today till 6pm.
The smell of popcorn wafting from Garrett's, so familiar to Loop workers, prompted someone (presumably a tourist) to call out the fire department this morning. Must've been a particularly dark batch of caramel corn.
Lori Barrett goes north to Wisconsin for some family fun, weird neighbors and great-tasting beer in this week's Drive-Thru feature.
The Oprah effect may go beyond books, products, musicians. The next episode on the continuing saga of "It's Oprah's world and we just live in it": Local restaurants and certain chefs are seeing an Oprah bump, according to 312 Dining Diva.
Don't plan on going to Hot Doug's on October 7: they'll be in New York showing them Yankees how it's done.
The Green City Market's Locavore Challenge starts today: to participate, simply commit to, as much as possible, eating food grown or produced in Illinois, Iowa, Indiana, Michigan or Wisconsin for the next two weeks.
Baconfest Chicago has decided to postpone their pork extravaganza until April 10, 2010 due to lack of funding. However, the Baconfest VIP Bacon Cookoff is still on and will take place on October 24th at the Publican.
Among all the other stuff going on this long weekend, you should try to make it to Taste of Polonia, which will open your mind to what Polish food can be -- and features the musical stylings of Poland's Sidney Polak among others.
Either way, Red Kiva Lounge sells the concoction in a 180 degree fahrenheit container for $10 a pop.
So, how well is enforcement of the "Twix clause" in the brand new candy tax going? Not so well, first day out. (Twix clause? Any candy containing flour is exempt from the increase. Here's a list of other surprising items landing on one side or the other.)
Speaking of Alinea, you can watch Grant Achatz and team planning the fall meeting live on JustinTV. Follow @Gachatz on Twitter for heads up on future broadcasts. UPDATE: Well, that was quick. They finished the meeting just after noon, but promise to be back Saturday night around 8:45pm for about an hour. Tune in!
Andie Thomalla heads out of the city for a decadent farm dinner (with some Shakespeare and microgreen gardening thrown in) in this week's Drive-Thru feature.
The Tribune's "Cheeseburger Bureau Chief," Kevin Pang, host of CLTV's The Cheeseburger Show--which launched new episodes today--beefs up Chicagoans on extraordinary burgers. This week takes Pang to the (gasp) burbs.
Coudal points us to a fantastic Budweiser commercial shot on the El (mostly the Brown Line), for the Irish beer drinking market if the URL attached to it is any indication. UPDATE: The Sun-Times gets the backstory on the ad.
We have a nice guide to good eats in Michigan and Indiana for your next trip in this week's Drive-Thru feature.
The New York Times Dining section reports on last year's banning of ice cream trucks from the 18th Ward and modern parents annoyed with ice-cream-demanding toddlers and chain-smoking, shirtless, and burping ice cream vendors.
Do you love both pugs and wine? You might want to check out Alpanah Singh's Pug Chug this Saturday at Juicy Wine Co. For $45, you get a wine tasting, tasty food and a silent auction, all to benefit pug rescue.
Researchers have found that eating Great Lakes fish is associated with the development of diabetes because of DDE, the metabolite of DDT.
For foodies and boozers around Chicago, Wait Watcher tweets wait times at key restaurants and bars. Developed by the Onion's AV Chicago section, local restaurant-goers can text or call in wait times to help their fellow diners.
Chicago Tomato Fest says, "This may be a 'Reduced Services Day' for the City, but it's an 'Increased BLT Day' for us." Make an old-school BLT and enter their contest, or just find a tasty one at participating restaurants. (More about the fest here.)
It's hot outside, but it's still a good time for a bowl of (chilled) soup in this week's Drive-Thru feature.
Scooter's Frozen Custard put some plastic chairs out on the sidewalk for patrons to sit. The City told them to stop. Patrons organized. The alderman is now intervening. (A much more interesting version of the tale.)
Apparently a humorless Market Days visitor was so upset about the labeling of the Chicago Diner's tip jar as "Sarah Palin Retirement Fund," they're calling for an investigation of the Diner for "impersonating a charitable fund" and not revealing the jar would go to tips...
The crazy-popular Hopleaf finally gets the green-light on adding
some much-needed space a sister restaurant next door. Now how long before THAT spot gets filled wall to wall? (via Edgewater Community Buzz)
Want to drink in some history? The Chicago Bar Project has a list of still-active bars that were once Prohibition era speakeasies.
VF Daily's Society & Style blog asked some of the country's top chefs to take on the recipes of the late, great Julia Child. Chicago's own Graham Elliot Bowles presents a terrine based on Child's vichyssoise.
An at-home science project yields delicious conclusions in this week's Drive-Thru feature.
Leave it to the NYTimes to remind us that the "Titans of the Gyro" are all Chicago-based!
One reason to return to Macy's: Frango mints are once again being produced in Chicago. The start of production will be announced today by Macy's and South Side candy company Cupid Candies.
How long is the line at Hot Doug's? What's the wait like at Kuma's? Are the lines crazy at Costco? Decider decided to help you find out without having to be there -- follow @WaitWatcher and get updates from people in line at popular places.
Although it's not hard to catch him smoking in front of the Tribune Tower or having a burger at Billy Goat, 100 lucky Tribune print subscribers will schmooze and make beer-can chicken with legendary columnist John Kass Aug. 1 at the Cantigny Golf Club in Wheaton.
If you're an all-or-nothing type when it comes to eating healthier, we have some tips on how to break the mold by incorporating a few new, smart foods into your diet in this week's Drive-Thru feature.
If your idea of summer sauce is Knob Creek, get ready for disappointment. The Deerfield-based distributor says massive demand for the nine-year-aged American whiskey could mean limited supplies until the next batch is ready in November.
July is National Hot Dog Month -- and why wouldn't it be especially significant in the Windy City? Nothing screams "National Pastime" quite like tube-stuffed, processed chicken, beef and/or pork trimmings. So, go out and celebrate.
A Chicago Reporter investigation found that even though the Taste of Chicago has been getting smaller, the amount of food thrown out by vendors has increased -- primarily due to temperature violations discovered by health inspectors.
In our current Fuel thread about Taste of Chicago, a couple people wished there was a high-end version of the food fest. In fact, there is: Chicago Gourmet, which returns to Millennium Park in September. The downside is, high-end comes with high prices -- early bird discounted tickets start at $120.
Andie Thomalla reviews a field guide to (safely) hunting mushrooms in this week's Drive-Thru feature.
Going to Taste of Chicago? Worried about more than the heat, sweaty tourists, and the cash you'll need? Chicago police have announced their security plans to ease your mind and prevent a rerun of last year's violence.
The best news I'm sure to hear all day: Original Rainbow Cone is opening a location in the Loop at State and Lake. Now we North Siders won't have to wait until the Taste every year to get our Rainbow Cones!
The Taste of Chicago begins on Friday, and the Sun-Times has a story on one of the new food items that's sure to be talked about: frozen popcorn on a stick, brought to you by Taste newcomers Garrett Popcorn.
Chicago Bites has the details on the next Iron Cupcake challenge.
To celebrate tomorrow's Puerto Rican Independence Day Parade (kicking off from Columbus & Balbo at noon), we are chowing down on traditional dish Mofongo over in Drive-Thru.
It's HarvesTime in this week's Drive-Thru feature. Grab your grocery list and learn about one of Chicago's finest supermarkets.
Longball Cellars has created wines named for Cubs and Sox stars Derrek Lee and Mark Buerhle, with proceeds benefiting the players' favorite charities. Keep in mind that CaberLee and Buerhlot might be more enjoyable to look at than to drink. (Oops, sorry for the Carlos Lee slip-up; you probably already guessed I'm a Sox fan. Thanks for the correction, Mark et al.)
Chris Brunn talks with chef, writer and author Linda Long about her recent cookbook, Great Chefs Cook Vegan (which includes contributions by kitchen heavyweights such as Charlie Trotter, Eric Ripert, and Thomas Keller), in this week's Drive-Thru feature.
Northcenter's Ribfest is this weekend -- and for the first time, there will be vegan ribs on hand. Drive-Thru writers Chris Brunn finds out exactly how one makes a such a thing in this interview on Vocalo.
The Taste of Chicago preview event used to be the dirty (greasy?) little secret of local VIPs and intrepid reporters looking for "the inside story" -- as well as a chance for free food. But now they're thrown the doors open to the public.
Speaking of pizza (see below), the Pizza Executive Summit '09 is currently taking place here in Chicago. With a name like that, it sounds ominous...ominously delicious.
Speaking of old news, Chicagoist went digging through LexisNexis and found a 100-year-old story about the controversy over pasteurizing milk.
Don't forget, this weekend will be the final days for the Dixie Kitchen in Hyde Park. Not even the fabled "Check Please" effect could save the restaurant from being closed by the U of C. For old time's sake the Reader has the fabled Obama "Check Please" endorsement.
Upload a picture that creatively displays your dedication to locally grown or organic produce to the Drive-Thru Flickr Group and you could win a pair of tickets to Growing Home's Annual Benefit (valued at $250), courtesy of the Drive-Thru Photo Contest, which ends Sunday at noon!
312 Dining Diva points us to the first cameras reaching the inner sanctum of Schwa: NBC Chicago's interview with Schwa chef Michael Carlson. The interview includes a mini-rant against celeb-chef culture, reveals why your reservation calls are never returned, and shows some mighty facial hair.
Check out a little cupcake pron at this wrap-up of the Iron Cupcake Challenge.
Got a date coming up? Date Nite Delivery can help make it special with gift baskets of wine, cookies and other treats.
Today's Reader cover story takes a look at pushcart vendors' legal plight -- licensable in the parks, but not in the rest of the city.
Got a good cupcake recipe? Then consider taking part in Chicago's first Iron Cupcake challenge, happening this Monday, June 1. Chicago Bites informs us that bakers are still needed for this event (apparently they already have plenty of judges), so if you can whip up something pretty fast in the kitchen, you should totally try out. See the links for details.
The growing season is at hand, so Chicago magazine spends some time with micro gardeners.
Top SECRET! Head over to Drive-Thru to learn how your lunch today can cost a measly dollar!
It's not just our restaurants getting the high-class recognition. Chicago represents in the newly released Food and Wine Cocktails 2009 guide. Of the 100 top bars named in the U.S., Chicago has five, including C-House, The Drawing Room, Green Mill, Nacional 27, and the Violet Hour.
Chicago earns four of the top spots on Travel + Leisure's recently released list of the "50 Best New U.S. Restaurants" with L2O, Urbanbelly, Perennial and The Publican. Peoria hot spot June also made the cut thanks to the unique "post-modern molecular gastronomy" of its Alinea-trained chef and owner, Josh Adams.
OrganicNation.TV is "an exploration of the American sustainable food landscape focusing on the people, places and products that are shaping a new green economy and lifestyle." Produced by Fresh Cut Media's Dorothee Royal-Hedinger, the video tour hits the road May 10.
In case you were wondering, "The combination of free food and Oprah is a tsunami."
Chinese nationals were arrested here and in Seattle on suspicion of running an international honey smuggling ring.
The NY Times included Laurent Gras's Chicago restaurant L2O [Caution: audio on website] in its "Outstanding Newcomers" series, which profiles exemplary restaurants that opened since the beginning of 2008. If you're feeling hungry, there's always more food discussion in Drive Thru.
Want to pick up some local produce but aren't sure where to go? Local Beat's Farmer's Market Locator helps find you the closest one to you.
With all the swine flu talk, you may not be feeling all Cinco de Mayo this year. Just in case you're looking for a good margarita though, USA Today claims Nacional 27's is one of the ten best in the country.
As if all the accolades for his, you know, cooking talent weren't enough, chef Paul Kahan of Blackbird gives us another reason to feel inadequate. He's named as one of People's 100 Most Beautiful 2009 ... or not. [Thanks for the update, Dan!]
Patty's Diner, winner of the Reader's pick for Best Diner 2009 and one of LTHForum's Great Neighborhood Restaurants, is closing up. The word on the Reader's Food Chain blog is that the rent's going up by a prohibitive amount, and Patty will have to close up shop as early as May 6. So... plan that trip to Skokie now.
Felony Franks, a new hot dog stand to be staffed by ex-prisoners, is causing a stir over its name despite its positive mission.
Trends in sandwiches, from the upscale to the not-so-upscale. Discussed in this week's Drive-Thru feature.
Michael Phillips, the Intelligenstia Coffee employee who won the Great Lakes regional championship just last year, goes to Atlanta this weekend to represent the US in the World Barista competition. Best of luck, Michael!
Natalie Slater of Bake and Destroy interviews former vegan and baker extraordinaire Michelle Garcia of Bleeding Heart Bakery on baking philosophy, butter alternatives, and making that perfect vegan chocolate cupcake.
GoBYO is a nifty little website that catalogs restaurants in the area where you can bring your own wine. Among other features, their database lets you know if a restaurant is solely BYO, if they serve wine but allow you to BYO, and the corkage fee. Chicago (including suburbs) is one of ten cities/regions covered by the site.
Hot Doug's has put a stop to unofficial delivery service, but it could blossom into something more. (Hot Doug's will remain the same, though.)
New City published its 100 Essential Restaurants list, and for the first time, Charlie Trotter's isn't one of them.
Hot Doug Drop is a new service that delivers Hot Doug's to drop-off locations at the Merc and CBOT twice daily for a small fee. But it's unaffiliated with the restaurant, and owner Doug Sohn says the service's days may be numbered.
Bravo has announced that its new show, "Top Chef Masters," which debuts June 10, will feature three Chicago chefs -- Rick Bayless, Graham Elliot Bowles and Art Smith.
On April 1, Carol Blymire, the author of the foodblog Alinea at Home, posted a video of herself with Chef Grant Achatz, claiming he'd hired her to work at the restaurant. It was an elaborate and successful April Fools joke, and she explained how it came to be over the weekend.
Just when you really crave some chocolate comfort food, Mars, Inc. is shutting down 5 of its 6 Illinois Ethel's Chocolate Lounge locations. Skokie's your last outpost in the state (or there's always Vegas).
The Four Seasons' executive chef Kevin Hickey is among a group of chefs who have devised their own diets -- he lost 90 pounds, and added many of his tricks to his restaurant's menu.
Pork, pork everywhere in this week's Drive-Thru feature.
Walid Elkhatib, the Muslim owner of a Westchester Dunkin' Donuts, is reluctantly converting his store to another donut business after a judgment that he could be denied a franchise renewal because he refused to sell pork products
Crain's reports that theTaste of Chicago will have 15% fewer food vendors this year.
That's right, an entire festival devoted to your favorite pork product, right here in Chicago. Follow @baconfestchi on Twitter or join the Facebook group.
Kaitlin Olson turns her day upside down in this week's Drive-Thru feature.
After being briefly closed by the Chicago Department Of Public Health, the Heartland Cafe reopened last night. Heartland owner Katy Hogan felt the inspection was fair, and gave the building an opportunity for an overdue renovation.
The Heartland Café was closed by the city Health Department on Thursday after inspectors found a variety of problems. Meanwhile, the restaurant's website says it's "closed for renovations," with a "reopening celebration" in the works.
Made from scratch pies by Paula Haney (Trio, 312 Chicago, One Sixtyblue) have been at the Green City Market for two years, but as of tomorrow the mama in Hoosier Mama Pie Company has her own three-table bakeshop. Located at 1618½ W. Chicago Avenue, it features an open kitchen, '40s decor, and a rotating menu from dozens of seasonal selections available by the six- or nine-inch pie, slice, or flight.
We revisit Depression-era recipes to liven up our current Depression in this week's Drive-Thru feature.
Did you know that setting a minimum on credit card tabs is against credit card company rules? Bars do it anyway.
Chef Grant Achatz appeared on Oprah this morning, talking about his cancer diagnosis and recovery. Chicago Celebrity Examiner has a couple quotes from the show; catch it again on ABC-7 tonight at 11:05.
Cooking becomes a party in your refrigerator in this week's Drive-Thru feature.
Come to The Hideout, 1354 W. Wabansia, tonight between 5 and 8pm for a bowl of tasty soup lovingly cooked by the Drive-Thru staff (along with Columbia film prof Dan Rybicky and dietitian Bettina Tahsin, and fresh-baked bread from Hugh Amano) as part of the bar's weekly Soup and Bread event, which is a fundraiser for the Greater Chicago Food Depository. Donations encouraged.
The excellence of beignets gets the spotlight in this week's Drive-Thru feature.
Table Fifty-Two has been swamped with reservation requests since word leaked about the Obamas' Valentine's Day dinner there. As of Monday afternoon, Saturdays were booked through the end of March. I wonder if they'd have the same effect at any restaurant they visited...
Here's an interesting Valentine's Day deal: Angels and Kings, 710 N. Clark, is offering a free bottle of Champagne to anyone with a tattoo of someone's name. Offer's good while supplies last, starting at 8pm.
Here's a dinner conversation topic for you and yours this weekend: tomorrow marks the eightieth anniversary of the Saint Valentine's Day Massacre, when seven members of George "Bugs" Moran's gang were shot down in a garage at 2122 North Clark (which is now a small park) by associates of Al Capone, several of whom were dressed as Chicago police (how interesting).
In this week's Drive-Thru feature, we discover that Twitter can be used for purposes other than broadcasting opinions about your cat.
MenuPages Chicago blog offers four restaurants at which to dump your significant other. (Share your best/worst/craziest break-up story in Fuel right now.)
The bill, that is. Separate checks are apparently on the rise as people feel the economic pinch in their wallets.
No, not about Cubs fans. Serious Eats has an interview with Top Chef winner Stephanie Izard about her upcoming restaurant, The Drunken Goat. She mentions she's on Twitter, and MenuPages Chicago cleverly tracked down her account.
The Chicago episode of Anthony Bourdain's television show No Reservations aired on Monday, and ever since I've been in withdrawl. But never fear! The Chicago photo journal is up on the show's site. [Vegetarians note: After the jump, there are serious photos of sausages.] Update: And note the episode's Google map of dining locations along with video of missing scenes/locations (Ramova Grill, a tour of the Tom Tom Tamales Factory) here.
As mentioned yesterday, we're running a contest in Drive-Thru -- if you caught last night's episode of "No Reservations," answer our trivia question for a chance to win!
Or maybe not, in the case of this gargantuan Frosted Mini-Wheats cluster found in a Chicagoan's cereal box.
Celebchef Anthony Bourdain will be spotlighting the foods of Chicago on his show "No Reservations"; the episode premieres tonight at 9pm on the Travel Channel. We will be liveblogging and giving away an awesome prize during the show, so stop by Drive-Thru later tonight for details on how to win.
The Drive-Thru staff lists their favorite cooking shortcuts in this week's feature.
GQ's Alan Richman profiles Schwa's Michael Carlson and gains new insight into the restaurant's abrupt closure and reopening.
Andie Thomalla cooks with venison in this week's Drive-Thru feature.
Thinking about Restaurant Week reservations? The Local Tourist has made a handy Googlemap of the participating restaurants, so you know which are closest to you.
Jill Jaracz goes on a hunt to find a replacement for her beloved Jay's Zestidos in this week's Drive-Thru feature.
Another Chicago product is heading to DC this week. Goose Island will soon feature in the district's public houses.
The venerable One Good Meal has new digs over at Drive-Thru, and she's making soup this week.
And you thought it was the relentless winter weather, skyrocketing cost-of-living and hit-or-miss public transportation that was putting you on edge here in Chicago. Nope. Turns out we're the third most caffeinated city in America. Step away from the Coca-Cola...
Kuma's Corner's January special is particularly topical: the "#@(*&%^ Blagojevich" consists of a 10 oz. hamburger patty, thick sliced bologna and yellow mustard between two grilled cheese sandwiches (made with American cheese and wonder bread), and a large dollar sign written in mustard.
The participants for this year's Chicago Restaurant Week have been announced; start making your reservations for Feb. 20-27 now.
The Drive-Thru staff reflects on the highs and lows of their year of Chicago eating in this week's Drive-Thru feature.
The New York Times takes a look at seven airports to see what kind of food awaits travelers hoping for a bit in between flights. O'Hare ranks at the bottom of the list of airport cuisine: "particularly disappointing since Chicago is one of America's great restaurant cities." [via]
The Trib's investigation of food mislabeling and hidden allergens found 117 products that violate federal law. While seeking the correct ingredient listings, it also conducted more food laboratory tests than the USDA and FDA have done -- combined -- over the last several years. How many tests did the Trib do? Fifty.
A Chicagoan recounts her ongoing journey for the perfect potica recipe in this week's Drive-Thru feature.
April Reed Cake Design is selling a gingerbread version of Mies van der Rohe's Farnsworth House. The original, located in Plano, Illinois, was sold to local preservationists in December 2003 for $7.5 million. This edible treat sells for $4,320 - 15% of proceeds pays for repairs to the real house. [via]
Where does Obama eat in Chicago? Anywhere he wants. Actually, Sky Full of Bacon has a more precise list.
It's Demon Dogs all over again: developers are planning on buying up the Showman's League of America Building at 300 W. Randolph for office building development. That building, as you may or may not know, houses Harry's Hot Dogs, which has been around for over 50 years yet (according to the Yelp reviews) still features the original Harry! Better get your hot dogs now before Harry's closes up...
Mandy Burrell Booth gives us the skinny on decadent turkey cooking in this week's Drive-Thru Feature.
This week, diners at The Café at The Ritz-Carlton Chicago will be treated to "Thanksgiving Dinner in One Bite", an amuse-bouche that combines all the tastes of a traditional Thanksgiving meal into a single forkful.
The Reader has a mouth watering piece on Cafecito, a new Cuban sandwich spot in the South Loop. I haven't tried it but it sounds like the owner definitely did his homework, even researching my neighborhood's favorite whole in the wall, El Cubanito.
Kaitlin Olson introduces us to the venerable Hot Dish in this week's Drive-Thru feature.
Wicker Park's Sweet Thang lost its lease and moved to Roscoe Village earlier this year. Now it's closed again -- embroiled in the same strange scandal that swirled around the closing of Sweet Occasions. Read more in Drive-Thru.
The owners of Italian Fiesta Pizzeria, one of Barack Obama's favorite restaurants, are being flown out to Washington for the Presidential Inauguration Expo, an event that will preview the food to be served come inauguration time.
Watch your pockets. A creepy guy in a mask might just stick something in them.
The weather is getting colder, the economy is getting weaker, and relief seems to be nowhere in sight...so why not cozy up to a meatball in this week's Drive-Thru feature?
The original Clybourn location of the Goose Island Beer Company will stay open, thanks to a renegotiated lease. "I could not be happier," said founder John Hall in a press release. "I felt terrible, like I was losing a part of my family. We would not have been able to reach an agreement with our landlord without the support of our loyal customers. I was overwhelmed by the outpouring of support with e-mails, letters, and petitions."
Sure, there will be a few important Cabinet positions to fill in the coming months, but what we really want to know is who will be cooking up the cuisine at the White House? The Obamas may be bringing a bit of local flavor with them to D.C., though it sounds like they are still partial to Spiaggia for special occasions.
Meet Chicagoan Nate Silver, the U Chicago grad and statistics whiz behind fivethirtyeight.com, the election data analysis site that has "helped make sense of some of the things that didn't seem sensible."
On Wednesday, November 12 Noodles & Co. (2813 N. Broadway) will donate 25% of all sales toward the Weisman Park renovation project. Donations accrue on sales between 4 PM and 10 PM, and you must have this flyer to have your sale count.
Many national chains are offering special free items if you vote (most, if not all, won't require you to show your "I Voted" sticker or slip as proof, either). Get in on some free coffee, donuts, chicken strips, or ice cream at participating businesses.
A change in administration...of the self in this week's Drive-Thru feature.
"The Squirrel," a blog by an anonymous Chicago restaurant worker, is one of the more entertaining reads I've come across in awhile.
GB Editor Andrew Huff sits down with Michael Nagrant to talk about his newest project, co-authoring the Alinea cookbook, in this week's Drive-Thru feature.
Popular Wicker Park eatery Earwax Café, 1561 N. Milwaukee Ave., was ordered to close after Chicago Department of Public Health inspectors found rat feces in a basement storage area, holes in walls that allowed insects and rodents to come in and a poorly maintained outside garbage container, the Tribune reports.
UIC News recently profiled reference librarian Lynn Westney, author of the ever-popular article "Dew Drop Inn and Lettuce Entertain You: Onomastic Sobriquets in the Food and Beverage Industry."
The Drive-Thru staff talks about our latest cooking and party adventure in this week's feature.
If the Fuel question for today has gotten you thinking about your lunchtime eating options, consider that Potbelly has unveiled a new sandwich to complete with the piled-high-with-meat options at Quizno's and Subway.
A Chinese restaurant in Urbana, IL (if you know which one, let me know) has started using a wireless remote to let customers summon their waiter for food, water, the check, or just regular old attention. Makes me want to roadtrip for some ma po tofu.
Showing faith in a White Sox win, the mayor has bet three Florida mayors that the White Sox will beat the Tampa Bay Rays. Apparently seeking intestinal vengeance, should he lose, Daley has wagered Vitner potato chips, Lemonheads from Ferrara Pan Candy, a "Pepsi for a Year" certificate, assorted peanuts, sunflower seeds, and trail mix from Fisher Nuts, and 100 Vienna Beef Polish sausages. Why, the headline just wrote itself, didn't it?
Competing in the next season of Bravo's "Top Chef" is Chicagoan Radhika Desai, executive chef of Between Boutique Café & Lounge. Let's hope she can bring home the title, just like Stephanie Izard did last spring.
Well, while Wrigleyville bar owners have agreed to stop alcohol sales after the seventh inning during the playoffs, Joe Fournier has an amusing take on Da Mayor's plan for good, clean fun in Lakeview.
A nude painting of vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin (or is it Second City alum Tina Fey?) now graces the wall at the Old Town Ale House.
This week's Drive-Thru feature takes us on a trip to eat the foods of Denmark and India through a Chicagoan's eyes.
The City is asking Wrigleyville bars to stop serving after the 7th inning during Cubs playoff games to avoid mayhem in the streets. Share your opinion in Tailgate.
This week's Drive-Thru feature explores some of the newest trends in delicious, memorable wedding reception eats.
The Sun-Times has an update on Trader Vic's return to Chicago. The restaurant is scheduled to return in late November at Newberry Plaza (1030 N. State). In anticipation of the grand re-opening, they've put out the giant tiki head that used to sit in front of the original Chicago location, so you can't miss the new restaurant.
GQ's food critic, Alan Richman, who has previously deemed Chicago "the best restaurant city in America," recently attempted his own version of a hot dog crawl to see how our dogs compare to those in NYC. [via]
Thinking about going to Chicago Gourmet, the new high-end food and wine festival in Millennium Park next week? Use the code CG2008TEN when you buy your tickets and you'll get 10 percent off.
In 2007, Carol Blymire decided she would try cooking every recipe in the French Laundry Cookbook and blog the experience. The project proved wildly popular, and now she's set her sites* on Grant Achatz's forthcoming cookbook. (You can preorder Alinea from Amazon for just $31.50.) Chicago MenuPages Blog interviews Blymire about Alinea at Home. *Pun intended.
We catch up with Food Network celebrity and cookbook author Sandra Lee in this week's Drive-Thru feature.
Chicago native Scott Johnson barbecues for a cause: to fight cancer. He donates his winnings in national competitions to a cancer research foundation. That's nice, but his reasons for getting into barbecuing might tick a few people off: he points to "the lack of quality barbecue cuisine in his native Chicago." Ahem...
If you're setting your Tivo for the weekend, don't neglect to catch the Chicago chef Michelle Garcia of Bleeding Heart Bakery compete in the Food Network Challenge: Tag Team Cakes on Sunday at 8pm. The chefs didn't know who they'd be paired with for the competition, but if this snapshot of the final product is any indicator, I say it was a productive (and likely, delicious) pairing.
You don't need to struggle to chow down the last of the season's produce. This week's Drive-Thru feature is all about what you can do to enjoy fresh vegetables and fruits far into winter...from a jar.
Michelle Obama will be a guest at "Paula's Party" on the Food Network. Besides sharing details about life on the campaign trail, Michelle will learn how to make host Paula Deen's Fried Shrimp and Creole French Fries. Put on your eating pants and tune in on Saturday, September 20 at 7:00 pm ET/CT.
Restaurant empire Lettuce Entertain You is branching out beyond food with a two-hour internet radio show featuring Mike North, who left WSCR in June. The show debuts Monday, Sept. 8, from 9 to 11am on WildfireRestaurant.com, and will be available as a podcast on iTunes and North's website later in the day.
Drunken Service Announcement: The Chicago Bar Project has had some trouble with their hosting company, and are now at ChiBarProject.com.
This week's Drive-Thru feature takes a train trip and has a dining experience that ought to be in pictures. And is.
Thinking of opening a restaurant? Unless you're able to luck out like Smoque, think again.
Can't stand politics? Then while the time away with the absolutely unfunny entertainment of "Taste Of Melrose Park" broadcasting on Channel 19's "Star Performers". (And in other news, the Taste Of Melrose Park is this weekend. Samples under $2, city's Web site is down, and LTHForum makes it sound awesome.)
A group called The Cancer Project is going to run ads in our neck of the woods in September critiquing hot dogs and school lunches. Among those who are mad are the National Hot Dog & Sausage Council. Yes, there is a National Hot Dog & Sausage Council.
Olympian Michael Phelps can eat 12,000 calories' worth of pasta, pizza and fried egg sandwiches each day. Wouldn't he enjoy spending his mealtimes gorging on Chicago foods instead? Our Drive-Thru feature for this week investigates.
In our continuing coverage of the arrival of Sonic burgers in the Chicago area (actually Aurora), the fast food chain with the omnipresent commercials finally opens today. And apparently not a moment too soon.
It's time for the Chicago Bar Olympics, a tournament of bar games being held at 15 bars across the city. If you're not up for the travel, maybe just the Beer Olympics at either Mahoney's or Cortland's Garage would suffice.
GB staffer Dana Currier recaps a weekend spent visiting three Madison-area breweries in this week's Drive-Thru feature. You may want to scrap your weekend plans and brave I-90 for the trip to Sconnie's capitol (only three hours away!).
If you were a mega-bazillionaire and the fast food joint you loved didn't exist in your home town, what would you do? Well, buy a franchise license and start picking spots of course. Get ready for Fatburger Chicagoans.
According to their website, Bike The Dog is "Chicago's Premier Gastronomic Cycling Challenge." They're inviting bikers of any skill level to join them on September 13th for an almost-eighteen-mile trek through the north and northwest sides, sampling the wares at nine quintessential Chicago hot dog locations. It's a pledge-based event, with raised funds benefiting the family of Stella Ackerman, a two-and-a-half-year-old living with a rare blood disorder. More info.
A visit to Wicker Park's new Dairy Queen/Orange Julius store is a sentimental trip down memory lane amidst a sea of stores that sell $200 t-shirts in this week's Drive-Thru feature.
Singer Chris Brown's hit single "Forever" is also a paid ad placement for Wrigley's Doublemint gum; Wrigley has two more song-commercials in the works.
To combat the oppressive heat, Lori Barrett is cooking up chilled soups in this week's Drive-Thru feature.
If you're in the restaurant or hospitality industry, check out FohBoh, a new social network.
I've seen a lot of Obama products in the last few months, but none of them compare to the Obama lollipop.
The GB Drive-Thru staff reviews some of the city's best (and meh) hot dogs in this week's Feature story.
Obviously interested in Whole Foods' market segment, Jewel's going to open a new concept store called "Urban Fresh, by Jewel" in Lincoln Park in the fall.
This week's Drive-Thru feature takes a look at the glories (and widespread availability) of the mulberry.
For those of you of that have graduated from Miller Lite and Bud (and no, Icehouse doesn't count) Chicago Mag's events editor is keeping a great blog, Get to the Pint, on drinking good suds in the city.
Attention urban food snobs: according to an email alert that’s not yet available online, the Chicago Department of Public Health has ordered the Whole Foods on North Ave. closed “after CDPH inspectors found mouse feces throughout the premises, including more than 100 droppings in one walk-in cooler alone. Also found was a dead mouse on a glueboard trap.” Resisting urge to make sarcastic “organic” jab...
GB Staffer Lori Barrett takes on the world of homemade molecular gastronomy in this week's Drive-Thru feature.
Time Out Chicago have got a killer contest running right now: create your own Hot Doug's hot dog. Readers can submit their ideas for new encased meats or toppings, and Hot Doug himself will select finalists that readers will vote on. The winning entry will actually be made and featured at the restaurant for a week. Check out Hot Doug's menu to get some idea of their regular fare. You'd better think quickly, though, because entries are due in one week!
Professional curmudgeon and columnist Thomas Roeser absolutely trashes the Taste of Chicago experience as "a sad trampling of civility" and says that it reduces the dining experience to "ashes and banal barbarism." But other than that, Mrs. Lincoln, how was the play?
The Sun-Times uncovers that Jimbo's Lounge's landlord wants the 22-year-old bar out so he can bring in an outpost of John Barleycorn.
GB staffer Mandy Burrell updates us on her culinary adventures while on a European honeymoon in this week's Drive-Thru feature.
Because one fat lady is never enough, the Lyric Opera has announced plans to open a restaurant and bar.
This week's Drive-Thru feature gives you some very tasty Japanese-influenced suggestions for your grilling endeavors.
Got family visiting from out of town? Centerstage suggests some alternatives to the standard tourist traps.
...you might want to make a note of one particular restaurant chain in Chicago, which has been pinpointed by the Chicago Department of Public Health as one of the major sources of the local tomato-based salmonella outbreak.
Chicago's own Chef Stephanie Izard is a finalist on "Top Chef," and she's going to be answering reader questions on the Tribune's website starting at 1pm tomorrow. Here's an interview with her to get your interrogation juices flowing.
Wednesday night marks the end of a very special season of Top Chef; Drive-Thru will be covering the spectacle, play by play. The show starts locally at 9pm, allowing you plenty of time for So You Think You Can Dance. I watch a lot of television.
The NY Times has a story and interactive map (written by a native Chicagoan) detailing the culinary hits (ha ha) and misses at some of the nation's ballparks. Wrigley Field ranked a good dog and a bad dog, and the Cell, well, has a lot of room for improvement.
In a less popularized form of urban foraging, Nance Klehm seeks food and medicine from plants along railroad tracks and other urban oases.
Congratulations to Grant Achatz of Alinea, who was named Outstanding Chef by the James Beard Foundation.
Reunitings, separations, and new encounters with restaurants in this week's Drive-Thru feature.
Time Out focuses on cheap eats this week, following seven chefs, from Rick Bayless to Le Lan's Bill Kim, to their ethnic food faves.
After a dizzying display of plantain usage in Puerto Rico, the finalists are chosen in this week's Top Chef recap over in Drive-Thru.
Looking for a unique activity for an upcoming summer weekend? How 'bout a tour of Michigan wineries?
It looks as though the rumors are true: Starbucks will be making its wifi "free" tomorrow. Of course, there's a catch on that free part: you have to have a Starbucks card, and you only get two hours a day.
The cheftestants throw on the chainmail to get their carve on, Padma shows off her high, high waist (eat your heart out, Rushdie) and the contest prepares to leave Chicago in this week's Top Chef recap over in Drive-Thru.
Speaking of opinions on food, Chi-Town Daily News' two Italian interns take stock of Chicago's pizza, and declare Pizza D.O.C. the best.
The food of wedding receptions is both fondly and not fondly remembered in this week's Drive-Thru feature.
Now that the permafrost has broken, head out into the hinterlands for some delicious produce.
The celebchefs shop at Pier One and sniff around Lou Mitchell's, and a rising star goes sous vide in this week's Top Chef recap over in Drive-Thru.
If you're trying to get to work today via the I-80, you're already well aware that a semi carrying 10 tons of Oreo cookies crashed near Morris, IL early this morning. Although crews had successfully brushed the last of the crumbs to the side of the road by 6 am, the morning commute for those going eastbound is still totally dunked.
Looks like the magic behind Superdawg will be coming to Wheeling soon when they take their drive-in with the best hot dogs in the universe to Restaurant Row. Favorite quote: "The 12-foot hot dog statues on top of the building -- representing Maurie and Flaurie -- will be 14 feet in Wheeling."
Details are still murky, but the Illinois Restaurant Association and the city are planning a gourmet version of the Taste.
Chris Brunn, our resident guru of all things vegan, hits up Austin's eateries in this week's Drive Thru feature.
In this week's Drive-Thru feature, Gemma makes a beer run--to Indiana.
In this week's Top Chef episode recap over at Drive-Thru: corporate rice product placements, cute child labor in the kitchen, and a Hobbit gets schooled.
The makers of Red Bull have won a six-figure settlement in a lawsuit against the local nightclub Wet for passing off a generic energy drink as their more famous product in their cocktails. The nightclub's website is strangely unavailable.
What a different creature Taste of Chicago would be if Rick Bayless, Shawn McClain, Art Smith and other top chefs had booths here and not just in DC.
Bowl licking, a trip to Second City, and asparagus doesn't keep it up in this week's Top Chef recap over at Drive-Thru.
This week marks the beginning of the annual 2nd Story Festival, wherein writer/performers regale you with tales, accompanied by a DJ. Organizers predict that over the course of the festival, they'll serve 5,000 glasses of wine. Place bets now on how many will be yours.
The last neighborhood tavern in Wrigleyville is on the verge of closure. Farewell to the Nisei Lounge.
Did your wallet take a hit this past Tuesday? Soothe your post-Tax Day woes with recipes from this week's Drive-Thru feature, where we eat well at little expense.
Tasty tailgate parties, cooking with beer, and cocky losers in this week's Top Chef recap over in Drive-Thru.
Revolution Brewing, a new brewpub that is working on opening in Logan Square, has a neat description of how to move a brewpub from Michigan to Chicago in three days or less.
Legendary Southern California-based food franchise Roscoe's Chicken and Waffles has, um, persuaded the Bronzeville-based Rosscoe's Chicken and Waffles (note the extra "s") to change their name after a court battle.
Visits from Ming Tsai, earthy carpaccio and free trips to Italy courtesy of bacon in this week's Drive-Thru recap of "Top Chef."
Reviews of new contenders in the ice cream, yogurt, custard and everything like it business in this week's Drive-Thru feature.
Movies, intact digits and tapioca caviar...all in this week's Top Chef recap in Drive-Thru.
Spatulatta, an award-winning webcast by Channel 2 reporter Vince Gerasole's daughters, features a couple April Fools recipes in case you want to have fun with dinner tonight. How about cake for dinner, with grilled cheese for dessert?
On the local beverage front, Business Week profiles North Shore Distillery, an area company making high-end vodka and gin (they were previously featured in Drive-Thru), while Intelligentsia's Michael Phillips just captured the Great Lakes Regional Barista Competition behind his speciality drink, an espresso version of a Mai Tai.
Just in time for Earth Day and Arbor Day, local sustainability company Live It Green, LLC has gotten Gerber Bars to offer the Treetini -- a martini for the environmentally conscious -- during the month of April at Whiskey Blue, Whiskey Sky bars and Mexx Kitchen at the Whiskey. Every Treetini sold results in a tree planted in India.
Starting on April 22, Earth Day, one will be able to purchase organic Frango mints at 70 Macy's locations, as well as online. Bonus: the Trib apparently believes the news to be so big it printed the last paragraph twice.
Padma Lakshmi, host of everyone's favorite reality television chef competition, apparently has a dangerous job. Also, "out of principle," she won't say "pack your knives and go" to people on the street. So, um, don't ask her to say that when you see her walking around town.
Easter memories and Polish traditions are remembered in this week's Drive-Thru feature.
So, as soon as I grew anxious about beloved Burt's Place being closed due to illness (turns out Burt was undergoing triple bypass surgery!), the word is out at LTH Forum that the pizza destination in Morton Grove will re-open to the public on April 2 (with a special LTH Forum/Roadfood.com RSVP-only night on April 1). (Thanks, Dan!)
Those ubiquitous Sonic hamburger commericals may finally have some relevance to the Chicago area when the company opens their first regional outlet in Aurora. All of which mean the two guys in the commercials, Chicago improv giants TJ Jagodowski and Peter Grosz, may finally be able to purchase some of the food they've been shilling.
Driving up to Chicagoland pizza favorite Burt's Place last night, my heart nearly stopped when I noticed that the lights were out. Turns out that Burt is getting a "routine medical procedure" and has locked up the place until he's feeling better, probably for a few more weeks. LTH Forum has the skinny, and I'm lighting a candle for Burt.
How well do you know Chicago's top chefs? Thrillist has put together an excellent quiz, and the prizes aren't half bad either.
Just last night, I was wishing for someone to run to the store for me, and now, conveniently enough, there might just be a new addition to my speed dial. If it's late, and you've got a case of the lazies, or maybe you're just in no condition to travel, try NightOwl Deliveries. They'll deliver, for a small fee, from their growing list of participating restaurants and convenience stores. [via Daily Candy]
Drive-Thru Lori Barrett explores the art of cooking for large groups in this week's Drive-Thru feature.
Chris Brunn tackles the art of eating while vacationing in Tahoe in this week's Drive-Thru feature.
Calories, schmalories. Oak Brook-based McDonald's is dishing out free McSkillet burritos this Thursday and Friday morning (The catch: You have to buy a drink.). Yeah, it has 610 calories and 36 grams of fat, but...what the heck, it's free!
When you head to Devon Avenue to partake in their delicious eats, take Cinnamon Cooper's wonderful guide to understanding Indian cuisine with you; it's this week's Drive-Thru feature.
If you like beer, especially ales that have aged in wood, then you might want to buy your tickets now for the Chicago Beer Society's "Night Of The Living Ales IV." Forty casks of the stuff will be on hand, as well as lots of things to eat.
This week's feature in our Drive-Thru section takes a look at the weird holidays designated for eating random foods, and how to get your celebrations going using the city's restaurants and bakeries.
Time Out Chicago's annual Eat Out Awards come out in about a month, and the Readers' Choice nominees are now up. Vote early and... well, you know.
Decidedly far-from-the-center Forest Park won the "best dining neighborhood" contest in the Tribune today, beating out endlessly Yelped-about neighborhoods that need no further ink.
It's Friday! We've got our weekly feature up over on Drive Thru! This week: Chris Brunn writes about a very special birthday dinner for his lady friend at May Street Market. With Valentine's Day coming up, this one's well worth a read. A lesson in romance, indeed.
If you're in New York and looking for a taste of home, head to the Upper East Side and look for a bar called Wicker Park. Its seasonal draught beer this winter is Goose Island's Honker's Ale. The waitress tonight didn't seem to find that as amusing as I did.
Business POV interviewed "Check Please!" executive producer David Manilow about CheckPlease.tv and his hopes for investment to bring the site to a national audience.
There's a whopping array of things to do this Valentine's Day, making a decision difficult. If you're a food addict who needs your fix, however, you're in luck. Dinotto's Italian Ristorante is once again serving ravioli d'amore -- dark chocolate ravioli stuffed with sweet ricotta and Nutella, from February 14-17.
Other aphrodisiacal pleasures from the Valentine's Day menu include ostriche con Pernod (Chesapeake Bay oysters baked with spinach, Pernod and lemon cream sauce) and ravioli arragosta (lobster-filled ravioli topped with tiger shrimp, roasted red peppers and green peas in saffron cream sauce with caviar). Call the restaurant to make reservations for Valentine's Day (and V-Day weekend) or check the website for more info.
This week's Drive-Thru feature opens the culinary time capsule that is the Chicago Daily News cookbook for your reading pleasure. Published in 1930, the book offers many surprising (as in surprisingly edible) recipes and other advice. And finally, a good recipe for Mock Possum for those times that you don't have a real possum to cook.
Get ready to loosen that belt a few more notches. Not only will Chicago get its first official Restaurant Week, (as noted in Gapers Block's Drive Thru section) but it may even get another, courtesy of a group of local restaurants known as Chicago Originals. Three-course meals will be priced as low as $20.08 (2008, get it?).
What does it take to become a versatile eater in Chicago? Take a look at our newest Drive-Thru feature for answers.
Fiery food fans will be flocking to Jake Melnick's Corner Tap to take on their new hot wings tossed in Red Savina pepper sauce, the second hottest pepper in the world.
Your buddies at Drive Thru reviewed several new and classic cookbooks just in time for last-minute holiday shopping recommendations.
Following up on the news that Alinea chef Grant Achatz was diagnosed with lymph cancer earlier in the year: Achatz has released a statement saying he has successfully completed his treatment. And according to Achatz, the doctors at the University of Chicago Medical Center were able to "achieve a full remission while ensuring that the use of invasive surgery on my tongue was not needed."
Looking for some ways to pay tribute to the Windy City when doing your holiday baking? Head over to Drive-Thru for some clever decorating tips in our newest Feature story, Sweet Home Chicago.
Grab a brewski, sit on Santa's lap and tell him what you REALLY want for Christmas at the Avenue Tavern's "Slam One Back With Santa" party tonight (Thursday), 8pm to midnight. You can even get your picture taken, if you think that's a wise idea.
The place has been going downhill for years. We were not surprised to hear officials have closed Daavat, one of the first great Indian-Pakistani cabbie restaurants in River North. There are still several good ones along Orleans, including a relatively new one at Chicago Avenue.
Today is Repeal Day, the anniversary of the repeal of the 18th amendment (the one that prohibited the sale and transportation of "intoxicating liquors"). Drive Thru encourages you to celebrate with a mid-week drink (or more).
Local restaurant Apart Pizza is devoting a chunk of the company's resources to supporting the arts in Chicago. Tonight the pizza company hosts a record release party at Schubas for musician/Chicago Trib writer Lou Carlozo, and in December, Apart will host a benefit for Cabrini Green Legal Aid by buying out tickets to a production of the House Theatre's Nutcracker. Bonus fun: Watch Apart make pizza, on YouTube.
Got a hankering for an Egg McMuffin at 7pm? Forget about it. Oak Brook-based McDonald's is putting plans for serving breakfast all day on hold. Of course if you can't shake that craving, you can always try to make your own.
Tonight on Channel 11: Foods of Chicago: A Delicious History, a documentary on the culinary history of Chicago, from Tootsie Rolls to Chicken Vesuvio. The doc airs at 7:30, with an instant repeat at 9:50. (via Chicago Foodies)
Yes Virginia, there is a Santa Claus. Bell's beer may finally be returning to Illinois.
Do they come for the sights of the city? Navy Pier? Sears Tower? The Mag Mile? Nope, it's Binny's...
Some night not far from now its 3am, you're feeling pekish and craving vindaloo for some reason and you thank your stars and garters the Reader has a guide on late night dining in Chicago.
While you won't be able to read the reviews online, in the November issue of Condé Nast Traveler, critic Alan Richman picks 20 of the best dishes to eat in the country in a feature called The Great American Food Odyssey. Two Chicago dishes made the cut, including the ceviche fronterizo at Rick Bayless' Frontera Grill and the goat cheese, asparagus and balsamic vinegar terrine at Charlie Trotter's. There are beautiful pictures of both the ceviche and terrine in the slideshow feature on the site, but you'll have to buy (or peruse) the print edition to get all the details.
Chicago magazine lists its favorite 124 dishes in Chicagoland, from the common (tempura green beans) to the unusual (pineapple rum soup).
Wondering what to do with all that leftover Halloween candy? We've got some ideas for you in Drive-Thru.
Sri Chinmoy -- spiritual leader, extreme weightlifting enthusiast and inspiration for Roscoe Village breakfast joint Victory's Banner -- died last Thursday. The restaurant will be closed for a week while his followers pay their respects in New York.
The Sox tanked, the Cubs are done and the Bears are shaky. Well here you go sports fans: the new chicken wing eating champion of the world is Chicago's own Patrick "Deep Dish" Bertoletti! Congrats man.
You may still like steak-and-potatoes, but the world doesn't see us that way anymore; Time's take on Trotter's 20th anniversary dinner and how it highlights Chicago's foodie transformation.
Whiting, Indiana, just over the border, is in a competition for the title of pierogy capital of America. Go vote!
Kevin Pang over at the Tribune has a tasty crusade for you to join. It comes with a wrist band and a side of pico de gallo.
Like beer? Like beer enough to fight or even kill for it? Richard English at Modern Drunkard Magazine and Gregg Smith at BeerHistory.com provide brief, hop-filled histories of the Chicago Lager Beer Riot of 1855.
One year after the Chicago foie gras ban went into effect, NPR finds plenty of restaurants still serving the forbidden food. See also: stories on the ban at Chicago Public Radio and the Tribune.
Growing a coffee can tomato plant this summer on your sill? Bring in your best tomatoes to Cafe Ba-Ba-Reeba for their "Show Me Your Tomatoes Festival" Saturday 8/25 and compete for a trip to Vegas. Details.
If you're going to see Beyonce tonight at the United Center, don't forget the canned carrots! The Greater Chicago Food Depository is holding a pre-show food drive at the United Center, and the first 1,000 fans who drop off a minimum of three nonperishable food items before the 7:30 p.m. show will receive an autographed photo of Beyonce and a raffle ticket for a chance to win a seat upgrade.
Quick, what was the bar in "Three's Company" called? That's right, the Reagle Beagle. And now you can visit it and the rest of the Seventies and Eighties, right at Michigan and Grand.
The national movement against bottled water is making further inroads here, where it looks like Mayor Daley will support a 10¢ to 25¢ tax on bottled water sales.
I hope this doesn't provoke a batch of psychosomatic scratching amongst Gapers Block's readership, but the Illinois Department of Public Health reports on a hundred or so cases of folks with tiny, itchy red bites. It might be an outbreak of tree-dwelling Pyemotes herfsi, better known as the itch mite, but officials won't know for sure until after they set up and inspect sticky traps in area parks.
Time Out Chicago enlisted Steve Zavesky, two-time pierogi eating champion, to check out the best pierogi in town. Gridskipper nicely repackaged a good portion of the article with a map. As always, other food deliciousness can be found in Drive-Thru.
The Tribune reports that Navy Pier's Grand Ballroom has been temporarily closed for sanitation problems, the same kind their buddy to the west experienced this week as well; however, the Ballroom is expected to reopen as soon as those pesky fruit flies and mice are removed. Hmmm, that sounds nice.
A new Whole Foods store is scheduled to open today at the corner of Addison and Halsted, in the Center on Halsted building, which is a community center for GLBT persons. According to an article in the Tribune, the Center is happy to have Whole Foods as a tenant, as it will not only act as a grocery store, but will also serve as a vehicle for promoting the Center's activities. Sounds warm and fuzzy, right?
The article went creepy on me, however, when it started talking about how "mainstream corporate America is increasing its efforts to woo gay and lesbian consumers," and cited heaps of statistics and anecdotes about how placing a business in the GLBT community can be a gold mine. Positive attention for the new store also comes at a good time for Whole Foods, given their (anti-Union) CEO's internet adventures, which have gotten the attention of the Securities and Exchange Commission.
Grant Achatz, the 33-year-old wunderkind chef and proprietor of Alinea, the nation's best restaurant, has been diagnosed with Stage 4 squamous cell carcinoma of the mouth. While doctors say that Achatz's cancer has not spread beyond his lymph nodes and is still curable, the treatments he will need to endure may rob the chef of his ability to taste. We extend our sympathies to Achatz and wish him the best in his fight.
Neo-Futurist playwright Sean Benjamin recently received 21 packets of taco sauce for two tacos from the Taco Bell drive-thru. Then he wrote a play about it. Now he wants your help collecting one million condiment packets for his Condimentometer project. Because why the hell not? You have more condiment packets than you could ever possibly use, right? Bring (or mail) your packets to the Neo-Futurarium at 5153 N. Ashland, 60640, and be a part of something big and meaningless.
Hai Yen, the Uptown restaurant reviewed favorably on "Check, Please!", was closed yesterday after city inspectors found live roaches and rat droppings. Perhaps WTTW should invite a few inspectors to pick some eateries for the show...
Well it's been a great run. Every year millions eat food prepared under the July sun, but it took 20 years for the first confirmed case of food-borne illness to come out of the Taste of Chicago.
Over in Drive-Thru, we've got some companion coverage geared toward the Taste of Chicago: Christine Blumer provides tent-to-tent recommendations on the drinks of Taste to go with Tribune reporter Monica Eng's ratings of all the food choices. (No really, she tried them all; it cost $1100.) And David Hammond offers up an alternative Taste of his own -- a guide to eating cuts not usually found on American plates.
The 91st annual Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest takes place this Wednesday, July 4th at 12PM EST on ESPN. Watch Chicago local Pat Bertoletti (ranked third in the world) go up against 6-time champ Takeru Kobayashi, who won last year by consuming 53.75 hot dogs in 12 minutes. This year's winner receives a cash prize of $10,000. Nap time is rumored to begin at 12:30.
The Reader now offers its restaurant, film, music and event listings in a mobile version for your phone. Could come in handy the next time you're planning with friends who "dunno, whadda you wanna do?"
Crain's reports the closing of the popular Old Town restaurant for, among other things, the vulgar-sounding violation of "failing to maintain a sanitary grease box". If you're wondering about your own favorite food haunt, don't forget about the City's imponderable food inspection lookup tool. Note to geeks with a Google Maps API key: please mashup this data, today. Thank you.
A U.S. District Court judge ruled that Chicago's ban on the sale of foie gras is not unconstitutional Tuesday. You can almost hear the quacks of relief.
If you haven't clicked over to Drive Thru, our GB food blog, here's what you're missing: rhapsodic talk about the booze tasting cards at Whole Foods; updates on Dining Out for Hunger; and more incredible food photos. Gobble, gobble!
In today's Sun-Times, the food section features a lengthy article about the rising cost of Chicago's food. Rising costs for fuel and ethanol demands mean we're paying 2.2% more for food than we did a year ago. Michael Swanson, an economist for Wells-Fargo, keeps in in perspective with this quote: "If people are willing to pay $4 for a Starbucks latte, then $7.50 for a good pound of sirloin shouldn't be that much of a stretch." And remember, you can always try the farmers' market.
Can't keep track of the farmer's market day? The crew at Chicago Localvores is making it easier with this Google Calendar of all the markets in the Chicagoland area. BTW, ramps and morels so are hot right now.
The Reader takes a look at Chicago Public School's lunch program and efforts to improve it. You might also be interested in Lori Barrett's in-person take on the same, awhile back in Drive-Thru.
Two people in the Chicago area became ill after eating what was labelled as frozen monkfish, but which authorities suspect may have contained tetrodotoxin. Tetrodotoxin is found in the pufferfish—infamous gilled source of the dangerous Japanese delicacy fugu.
...And head up to Devon Avenue: the first shipment of Indian mangoes has arrived.
That red snapper you got at the sushi joint? Possibly not the real thing, the Sun-Times reports. Tilapia and sea bream are nice, but that's not what we ordered. (D'oh! Link fixed.)
And for all you adventure eaters out there let's not forget LTH Forum's topic with tips on how to cook your cicada feast.
Tonight is a great opportunity to treat yourself to a good meal and also donate to a worthy cause--at the same time! Dining out for Life, held at numerous restaurants around the city and suburbs (click here for a list of this year's participants), is an event where a portion of your meal cost will be donated to AIDSCare Chicago, a local service organization.
This is the last weekend for brunch and breadbaskets at Brett's Cafe Americain, a Roscoe Village standby for more than a decade. Owner Brett Knobel sold the place and is moving to Mexico, where she plans to open an Indian-style hotel. Rumor has it Orange will be opening its third location in the spot.
The fine folks at Hungry Mag are ga-ga for wild leeks, a.k.a. ramps, calling them "kind of like the agricultural version of crystal meth." Find out all about 'em, how to get 'em, and what to do with 'em.
Those wondering what will fill the java void left by Filter's eminent demise (you know, besides the several other coffeeshops in Wicker Park) can rest easy: Blend is ready to be your new fix-provider. YoChicago sheds some light on the "faith, hope and love" idealism on the shop's website -- safe to say you won't be meeting many one-night-stands there. (Thanks, Trish!)
Now that Easter and Passover are almost here, the New York Times offers two features on Chiappetti Lamb and Veal. NOTE: The first link is a TimesSelect article, so if you aren't enrolled in the program, you can either sign up or start a free trial. If you are a student or faculty member with a .edu email address, you can get a full account for free right now.
Including a discussion with roasters from Metropolis and Intelligentsia, a perfect moniker for Starbucks and a list of quality coffee shops around town, the article about coffee in this week's Reader is required material for us go juice addicts.
Ever get the jones for school lunch? If you're hankering for childhood delicacies such as mini corn dogs, crappy pizza and ham and cheese pinwheels, compare and contrast these school lunch menus from the Francis Parker School, Arlington Heights school district, Morgan Park Academy, and Saukview Elementary.
Hey, did you hear? Oakland's Ghetto Gourmet is in town for a couple underground dining dates over the next couple days. More details -- and later this weekend, a report from the first dinner -- in Drive-Thru.
I know it's caught your eye while waiting for the bus...those ridiculous pictures of a hot chick eating a giant greasy gyros, usually in a tank top. Would you like one of those posters for your very own? Yes, Kronos is selling them.
Check out First Slice, Chef Mary Ellen Diaz's project to help feed Chicago families in need. A subscription brings home-cooked meals to your door, and sends healthy and delicious meals to a Chicago family who would otherwise go without. Or, volunteer at the community kitchen. Either way, it's a tasty way to help others.
Oak Brook's very own McDonald's seems to be having some trouble on one of its British websites. (Unfortunately, the item on the original website is in Flash, so we can't link to it.)
There are many reasons not to go to the newly opened Whole Foods at Peterson and Cicero: it's hard to get to, the parking lot is a pain, it's crowded because it's a new grocery store in place that had few options. But there is one fabulous reason to go there: YOU CAN DRINK BEER WHILE GROCERY SHOPPING. Sorry to shout, but this is one idea whose time has come. Seriously. Saunter up to the "Sauganash Grill", order a pint, and enjoy shopping and drinking. (For the budget inclined, you can get low-priced tastings of wine too.)
While other French chefs are undecided on moving to Chicago, the Reader's food blog notes that the Persian restaurant Noon-O-Kebab, experiencing huge popularity since its appearance on WTTW's "Check, Please", has hired a French chef to handle a second kitchen in the restaurant for take-out, delivery and catering. Look for the new kitchen to open up in a couple of months.
If you're looking for a class or three to get you through the winter doldrums, our friends at The Chopping Block can oblige. Check out their March schedule, which includes cheesemaking, Philipino cooking, and stout pairings.
Today is the Tuesday before Lent begins, so you know what that means -- it's Paczki Day in Chicago! Stop by an old-school bakery -- like Dinkel's, Ann Sather, Alliance or anything in the Polish parts of town -- and get some deep-fried jelly donut goodness. Because starting tomorrow, it's all about the deprivation, my friend.
The Sun-Times reports that French chef Alain Ducasse, the only chef to hold the top Michelin rating for three restaurants in three different countries, was in Chicago last December at Avenues in the Peninsula Hotel. Does this mean that Ducasse was scouting for a Chicago location? No plans have been made public by Ducasse, although another acclaimed French chef, Joel Robuchon, recently confirmed that he will open a Chicago restaurant by the end of next year.
We're pleased to announce the launch of Gapers Block's newest section, Drive-Thru, devoted to the city's vibrant food scene. We'll be covering everything from restaurants and bars to businesses like Kraft and McDonald's to recipes to where to find some random ingredient. Oh, and foodporn, lots of foodporn. Be sure to check out this week's Detour feature, too, by one of the Drive-Thru contributors.
If that weren't enough, we've also redesigned the Gapers Block Book Club page, which has been quietly morphing into a blog on the Chicago literary scene.
Feeling not-so down with Cupid? Chicagoist and Apartment Therapy point us to a pop-up store from Altoids in Lincoln Park aiming to provide "the lovesick, lovelorn and Cupid-wary of Chicago ... a sanctuary from all the romantic overtures." Stop in between now and Valentine's Day and get free chocolate-dipped Altoids, coffee and cupcakes from Angel Food Bakery, anti-Valentine's cards and more. Yes, all for free. Open noon to 10pm at 912 W. Armitage Ave.
As of January 1, it became legal in Illinois to take home your leftover wine from a restaurant, provided the bottle is inside a clear, tamper-proof bag. Unfortunately, a Chicago ordinance contradicted the new law, keeping it illegal in the city. As of today, however, that ordinance's days are numbered, reports the Winediva.
Finally! The new Hannah's Bretzel in the Illinois Center opened today. So if you're near Mich and Wacker and you have a jones for a big sammitch, Vosges chocolates and biodegradable utensils, then hit 'em up.
This week is National Take-Out & Delivery Week, and GrubHub has teamed up with Meals on Wheels to make it an extra-special nonholiday: for every meal ordered through the site through Feb. 4, GrubHub will donate one meal to Meals on Wheels.
Over on Ask.MetaFilter, someone has posted about O'Donovan's canceling his friend's contract for a Super Bowl party without notice, even though it's been on the books for over a month. Keep that in mind next time you're looking for a place to host a party.
LTHForum.com has put together a great collection of Chicago food photos from 2006. Everything from Alinea to Mr. Shrimp. (link spotted at EatChicago)
The Bleeding Heart Bakery located in the latest hotbed of development and hipness (Damen/Chicago) has just re-opened following remodeling. They say, "We want to show the city how we've grown since opening last year- we've transformed everyone's favorite organic bakery into a full café, featuring a new line of sandwiches, a full espresso bar, and a wider selection of ready-to-buy produce and dry goods." Yum.
Increasingly needed in this day and age, A Fresh Squeeze is a site dedicated to green living in Chicago. Primarily a bi-weekly email, the site also offers articles in their archives for a taste of things past.
The Bears won yesterday, which means we all win: report to Bobtail on Broadway between 5pm and 7pm today and receive a free ice cream cone or hot cocoa! (I'm going with the cocoa.)
This time it's the Four Stars Restaurant in the West Loop, which has been open for 80 years. The building on the corner of Madison and Racine has been sold, and the restaurant will close at the end of the month to make way for -- what else? -- condos.
The Reader's cover story is a profile of Mark Mavrantonis, executive chef at Fulton's on the River and an oyster afficianado. He's writing a Kitchen Confidential-style "manifesto" about oysters; read some excerpts here.
Adequate. That was the first word that came to mind when I visited Petra Cafe. The hummos is good, the falafil sandwich is Chicago-big and dependable. It's quiet there, and you can usually find a place to sit. This is exactly what you expect, and that is certainly a huge part of its appeal. If you're a vegetarian looking for lunch in the Loop, you could certainly do worse. Petra Cafe, 331 S. Franklin, (312) 913-9660.
While the great unwashed savor their 5-ounce soda pours and $7 sandwiches, first-class and business-class passengers on United Airlines can rejoice in the return of Charlie Trotter as a co-executive chef.
Looking for a new lunch spot in the loop? Well, soon enough the new Hannah's Bretzel will open up at the Illinois Center this month. Quick reconn shows that progres is coming along -- and purports to be green construction. Check the HB site for more updates.
Garrett Popcorn recently opened its first store outside of Chicago. The Sun-Times reports that the new location, in Manhattan's Penn Plaza, has not yet experienced the long lines of customers that Chicago shops typically have. But the new location has only been open for less than a month, so they're working on it. So if you find yourself in Manhattan and need some Garrett's popcorn, remember this address: 242 W. 34th Street.
What are you doing Thursday the 28th? Spending it with your other fave GB crew, Gurlesque Burlesque. These sexy performers will start the night at Sidetrack at 9 p.m. then head to up to Crew for shots, specials and a DJ set from our own Kris Vire. Show up for a chance to win tix to Gurlesque Burlesque January sextravaganza featuring Margaret Cho!
The Sun-Times reports that despite the citywide ban on foie gras, a number of restaurants are intent on serving up the delicacy for New Year's Eve patrons. One chef even comes up with a good word to describe the restaurants flouting the law: "duckeasies".
Kitchen Chicago has gracefully opened its cafe for a chance for customers to sample some of the incredibly tasty treats that come from its kitchen: pie from the Hoosier Mama Pie Company, scones from SconeWild, and truffles too! Can't choose? Try the "Taste Of Kitchen Chicago" with a bit of all of the above. Plus free coffee with any purchase -- it's open Friday and Saturday from 11am-5pm at 4664 N Manor, just steps from Lawrence Ave. and the Brown Line.
Chef Homaro Cantu, founder of the adventurous Fulton Market restaurant Moto (you can eat the menu!) and Ben Roche, Moto's pastry chef, will be on Iron Chef America at the end of January (via Hungry Magazine).
Over at the Chicago Reader food blog, there's news of an interesting culinary arrival in Chicago: The Ghetto Gourmet, an "underground dining experience" that's been going on in California for the last few years (SF Chronicle article on the Ghet). Unfortunately, the two Chicago dates are already sold out, but if you want to get alerts for any upcoming dates you'll probably want to sign up for the Ghet's mailing list on their Website.
In the spirit of the season, fRedhots, the other specialty-sausage-store-punning-on-the-owner's-name, is serving reindeer sausages.
Looking for something to do tonight? Head over to Pops for Champagne tonight after 9pm -- they're celebrating their 25th anniversary and the grand opening of their new location, 601 N. State in the Tree Studios building. Jazz Conspiracy performs, and lots of champagne will be served (duh).
Chicagoist did some investigating into the Channel 5's LeeAnn Trotter
departure from the station "Good Eats" segments and ethical concerns regarding her restaurant "reviews." [Correction/Update: Trotter's not leaving the station, and Chicagoist has a follow-up story up now.]
On the Chicago Reader's food blog, they report that on the night before he died, New York Times writer R.W. Apple, Jr. sent an email to colleague Jill Santopietro in response to her request for examples of great American pancakes. Apple recommended the pancakes at the Bongo Room. Santopietro tried them and reported in the Sunday Times: "As was often the case with food, Apple was right."
In this week's Reader, you will find the last part of a 6-part series by local writer David Hammond on authentic regional Mexican food in Chicago. EatChicago.net has links to all 6 parts, along with a rousing essay on how our Mexican cuisine always seems to get overlooked by food critics (and even Chicago residents!) looking for eating options.
Praytell where one might find this bizarre confection? It's in the Chicago Cuisine flickr pool, so it must be local. Shoot an email to inbox @ gapersblock if you can enlighten us. UPDATE: It's available somewhere in the Christkindlmarket at the Daley Center. (Thanks, Mary and Laura!)
Do you like sake? I mean, do you really like sake? Andersonville wine eporium In Fine Spirits is having a sake tasting on Wednesday at their store. In addition to tasting sake, you'll learn about how it is made, as well as its history. The class requires a $25 deposit, which is good towards sake purchased after the event. This happens on Wednesday, call 773-506-WINE to reserve a spot.
If you're scrambling for Thanksgiving dinner options and ideas, allow us to point you to last week's Detour feature, "Taking Care of Turkey Day," as well as One Good Meal this week and last -- and, for that matter, last year and the year before too! Good luck, and happy Thanksgiving!
Super friendly owner, good food, over 10 different beers on tap at reasonable prices, Wheel Of Fortune, Christmas lights above the bar--in a word, Stocks And Blondes is after-work bar perfection. Still not enough? Take a trip to the bathroom, find a card for the other Stocks and Blondes business, The Stocks And Blondes Shoppe. Highly recommended. Stocks And Blondes, 36 N Wells.
Since a new Cereality opened a block from where I work in Evanston (although you wouldn't know it online, since their site hasn't been updated *ahem*) I decided to snag a coupla co-workers to eat with me. The verdict? It's better than we thought. $4 will get you two scoops of either hot or cold cereal (real oatmeal, people!), and your choice of milk (although soy milk does cost 50 cents extra), along with one topping of your choice. And even though it's a slick chain, and even though it's gimmicky, and even though you can buy a box of cereal for a little more than you get in one of their bowls, it was fun and I'm likely going back. And they use decent cinnamon on the oatmeal. I oughta know, you know.
The Sun-Times gives you a list of the 12 Chicago restaurants with the most health code violations. If you're interested in finding out if your favorite hangout has any major health code violations on record, you can find violations of Chicago restaurants posted online at the Department of Public Health Website.
The Wall Street Journal reports that Chicago has more than its fair share of college alumni bars, and hypothesizes that it's because (sorry, Northwestern) we lack a local football powerhouse to root for.
Foie gras-wise, anyway. Activists are beseeching a state judge to shut down farms that produce the fattened duck liver, with a new angle: the conditions in which they live have made the birds "diseased" and unfit for consumption.
The Hoosier Mama Pie Company, in addition to offering very tempting pies for order online, is having a benefit. Stop by Kitchen Chicago at 4664 N Manor on Saturday--$5 gets you a slice of pie and a cup of joe from Metropolis. All of the proceeds will go to the Greater Chicagoland Food Depository and the pie goes to your belly -- it's good practice for Thanksgiving.
Beerdorks.com has some more detail about the Bell's beer situation (and general lack thereof in Illinois) and a sensible explanation of the whole brewer-distributor-retail legal situation. Also, like the lovely beer dorks they are, they offer a way to get it shipped from a liquor store in Iowa.
Vegans (and the people who feed them): miss the pumpkin pie of the Thanksgivings of your youth? Not to worry, the Chicago Soy Dairy has you covered! Submit an order for their dairy-free version now, and pick one up just in time for the holiday. (And, for more ideas about local options for Thanksgiving -- vegan or otherwise -- check next week's Detour.)
Sadly, downtown is losing a lovely place for draught beer and generally a great place to hang out. The Sea Of Happiness closes next week because the lease is ending. Time-Out Chicago has a quick interview with the owner, Captain George, that highlights the warmth of the place. Go check it out for yourself before it's finally gone: 640 N Wabash before Nov 7th.
Oprah may do for pizza what she's done for so many novels, with a little help from Chicago Magazine food writers Penny Pollack and Jeff Ruby: on yesterday's show, her friend Gayle King began a quest for the best pies in the country, based on Pollack and Ruby's book, Everybody Loves Pizza. (Read our review and interview with the authors here.)
Cereality, the cafe specializing in serving up breakfast cereals in new and novel combinations, is apparently opening up a second Chicago-area location in Evanston's Sherman Plaza this month. There will be a job fair for the new location this weekend; see the details at the Cereality site if you're interested in working for the Chicago-based chain.
I had a chance to go downtown and sample some of the much hyped and much awaited Patty Burger offerings last night, and my feelings are rather lukewarm about the whole place. Much smaller than I imagined, there were no promised milkshake samples, or fries, and I was not blown away by these wunderburgers at all.
The burgers are fine, really. The meat seems to be of slightly better quality than other fast food offerings, but "The Sauce" seems to be only a slightly tangy thousand island dressing, and the cheese was rather blah. The burgers without cheese, in fact, tasted better. You can pay an extra buck (on top of your $3.29 single burger) and get bacon or avocado as a topping, and McD doesn't do that, but is that the key to a successful hamburger establishment?
All the rumors of Patty Burger being the closest thing to the beloved In-N-Out Burgers just don't seem to be true. It's a good burger, but it ain't all that. I imagine the spot will do fine, since it's right in front of the Art Institute, and it'll make its money on delivery (with a $.49 per item delivery charge), but expect crowds even when it's not lunch time since the place is tiny and C-shaped which leads me to think it'll bottleneck fast. Check out some pictures of the space, the menu prices and the burgers at our flickr.
Menuism is a new website that invites diners to review restaurants -- not just overall, but menu item by item. Yum.
The aptly named Illinois Pancakes blog has a simple goal: eat and review the pancakes of Illinois.
A follow-up to the earlier Bell's beer story: The Logan Square Draught Beer Preservation Society has written a draft (draught?) letter to send to Blago to help prevent the elimination of Bell's (along with other smaller brews) from Chicago. (This American Life has an excellent background on it in the prologue to their "The Fix Is In" episode if you want to hear more about how this came to be.)
Bell's is one of my favorite microbreweries (mmm, Oberon), so I was dismayed to find out their delicious beers would no longer be available in Chicago because of a distribution dispute. In response, members of the Logan Square Draught Beer Preservation Society will be meeting at Weegee's Lounge, 3659 W. Armitage, Tuesday night at 9pm to develop a plan of action. If you're mad as hell and can't take it anymore, join in!
The owners of Pizano's must be feeling pretty good these days. They represent Chicago in USA Today's top 10 list of great pizza restaurants in the US, and according to the Sun-Times they'll be featured on an upcoming episode of Oprah as the makers of the best thin-pizza crust in Chicago. Pizano's got a mention in a Fuel pizza discussion a couple years ago; check that archive for some more pizza recommendations.
The late R.W. Apple, legendary New York Times food critic, recommended the pancakes at Bongo Room in his last email message, Gawker notes. [Thanks, Jeb!]
The Sun-Times reports that the Zephyr Cafe, the Ravenswood restaurant/ice cream parlor, is closing its doors on October 22 after 30 years at that location. That gives you less than 2 weeks to enjoy the Treasure Island milkshake, the King Kong burger, and the War of the Worlds 10-scoop sundae.
New Jersey would follow the lead of Chicago and California if a recently proposed ban on the sale of foie gras becomes law. What does Anthony Bourdain really think about this apparent trend? "It's a win for the forces of darkness, willful ignorance and intolerance," not to mention "kicking Julia Child in the teeth." After all, he says, "these ducks aren't doing anything that a porn star doesn't do on a regular basis."
Saturday night, in search of good Ethiopian food, I headed to a locale smaller than my regular haunts. What I found was a splendid, low-key alternative to the often long weekend lines up Broadway. Sheba Cafe (or Queen of Sheba Cafe as it is also known) is a fine little spot just north of Balmoral on Broadway in Edgewater.
The menu is filled with yummy and cheap meat and veggie dishes ($6-$12), along with some quite good deals on combination platters ($13 for 4 items). We chowed down on deliciously flavorful beg tibs (lamb) and misir wat (red lentils), yellow split-peas, tikil gomen (cabbage with potatoes and carrots) and a dish of shimbera fitfit (mashed chickpeas with garlic). Everything was lovingly prepared by our cook/hostess who disappeared in the back while delicious smells arose from the kitchen. It's BYOB, so that cut our bill down, but in comparison to other Ethiopian restaurants on the strip, this one cost us half as much for a similar table full of food.
Speaking of "green thumb" options, newly launched blog Vegan Dinner is going the Julie Meets Julia route. Kinda: local couple Ian ("straight edge") and Kit ("strong, silent") are on a quest to try 365 new meals (vegan) in 365 days (one year). The recipes are accompanied by photos and organized by preparation time (20, 40, 60 minutes). I smell a book deal.
We mentioned this last year, but a little reminder never hurt anybody: Tired of bickering about where to go, or having a long series of conversations about "Maybe Thai. Or Italian. Or Chipotle."? Friends, help takes the form of Lunch In the Loop, which has a lunch roulette wheel that'll just tell you where to go. If you have a short list of places you like, it can use that for places to choose from. (Not to mention that they also have categories if you want to choose that way, too.)
Need something for breakfast, but tired of the bagel or doughnut routine? Pop over to Hannah's Bretzel, the little nest of German goodness in the Loop at Washington And Well's. All organic, and the bretzels are just like I remember in Germany. (The coffee is not, and that's fine by me--it's really good too.) Highly recommended, for breakfast, lunch, or a mid-day snack sometime in the middle.
Diners who don't recognize food as being Mexican unless it's pressed into a tortilla discus, rejoice: California's Del Taco chain is expanding into the Chicago region. (Hey, want to work there?) It's not In-N-Out, but the place does seem to have something of a following, and, really, how bad can fish tacos available 'round-the-clock be?
If you've ever wondered about the proper way to eat foods like thali, bo nuong and injera, a Tribune video story has you covered. Watch the video and then check out the restaurants they recommend.
Improv Kitchen's new season starts today; reviews have been mixed in the past, but hopefully the new show irons out some of the kinks. UPDATE: The new "flagship" show, "The Unfinishe... Project," doesn't premier until Oct. 4.
Alinea is the number one restaurant in the country, according to Gourmet magazine, while Charlie Trotter's has dropped to 13th. Expect reservation waits to expand and contract accordingly.
Interested in the wide variety of ethnic foods available in the city, but not sure where to go to get the best? You might be interested in the Ethnic Grocery Tours offered by Evelyn Thompson.
This is an idea I'd had for awhile but didn't have the time to implement: a Little Village pub crawl. If you're tired of pub crawls that traverse the same North Side haunts, this one is certainly off the beaten path. The fun gets started at Trevino's (31st and Karlov) at 4pm on Friday. Be sure to bring lots of cash and shoes, especially if you'd like to pick up a t-shirt. For more info, check the mailing list archives at the Logan Square Draught Beer Preservation Society.
The route was described roughly as follows: Trevinos (31st & Karlov) to M&Ms (30th & Karlov) to Encanto Michoacano (26th & Kildare) to Miska's Bar (26th & Kedvale) to La Justicia (26th & Springfield) to El Rayo (26th & Avers) to La Jacaranda (31st & Central Park).
According to this Associated Press article -- which, for some reason, is full of fashion references -- the answer is Chicago. The "hip new food trend" of choosing a meaty entree based on its diet or its lineage is gaining popularity in our steakhouse-lovin' city. And, as Executive Chef Jason Miller of David Burke's Primehouse said, "There aren't very many small people walking around Chicago." Er...
Ostensibly, at least, Fran Spielman is a reporter. But sometimes, by golly, she sounds like she's got a point of view to get across. Check today's lead, for example: "Five months ago, the City Council opened itself up to ridicule by banning foie gras, a controversial delicacy that most Chicagoans have never tasted and cannot afford." Never mind that the entire state of California has taken such a step, so far as I can tell by reading the article, the only people still focused on this "ridicule" are those folk who didn't get their way the first time around. Compared to the Trib's 'just-the-facts' approach, the framing of this piece sure sounds like Foie Gras Follies to me.
I never really had the constitution for pub crawls. Mixing drinks has always been a personal cocktail for disaster. But a cupcake crawl? Holy buttercream frosting! And in case you are arriving late, you can get location updates for the crawl on your cell phone. Chicago Bites asks you to RSVP for a map. More info Slowdown, of course.
Workers at the Logan Square Starbucks have announced they're unionizing, demanding a living wage, guaranteed hours and reinstatement of baristas fired for organizing activity. The store is the first outside New York to join the IWW Starbucks Workers Union. (Thanks, Patrick!)
The foie gras ban has sort of claimed its first victim: Block 44 in Lincoln Square. Chef Rick Spiros served some duck liver as a special over the weekend -- to finish off his stock rather than throw it out, he says -- and someone bothered to call 311. Spiros has gotten a warning from the City not to "finish off" any more.
Today's your last day to eat foie gras legally in the city of Chicago. (Although the law goes into effect today, enforcement begins tomorrow.) Term it protest or publicity-hungry pandering, some restaurants that don't usually serve foie have added it to their menus tonight. Mayor Daley, for his part, thinks the ban is "silly," but when asked if he'd be having a nosh of the stuff today, responded, "No, I'll have soup."
As I post this, it's 12:47am. If I were hungry, I'd be glad to have GopherNow at the ready: It shows which places are still open and whether they're delivering. (Then again, I'll be even happier when it's not dominated by Domino's Pizza and Burger King.)
Ever wonder who eats the chili at the Golden Angel? Or has dared the Italian Beef at every place I know of that offers it? Greasefreak.com is a nifty site that takes photos of greasy food and rates the experience for all to see. And I love his comment on the lost art of the gyro: "With the Spit's demise, homemade gyros are virtually extinct in the town that invented them. Since taste differences are minor, most variables come down to presentation and garnish. Sexy, yes. Spiritually rewarding, no."
Michael Nagrant parlayed his awesome Hungry Magazine food blog/podcast into a podcasting series for Chicago Magazine -- check out his first "Chefs on the Grill" interview with del Toro's Andrew Zimmerman, who used to be a musician.
Indian restaurant Marigold recently sprouted in Uptown, and like the flower from which it takes its name, it has loveliness somewhat marred by ostentatiousness. The restaurant calls itself "modern," which translates roughly as "not Devon." That's both good and bad. The attention to ambience and presentation is welcome, and the drinks menu is extensive. However, service, while apparently good-intentioned, is stiff; given the cuisine, vegetarian options are limited; and prices are steep, especially for the neighborhood. As for the food, it was lackluster, with only one dish of several my friend and I tried standing out. These may be growing pains, but if modernity means burnt naan, maybe tradition isn't such a bad thing.
The Toronto Star's food critic, Jessica Bain, takes a look at two sides of Mexican food in Chicago: a visit to Rick Bayless' Topolobampo/Frontera Grill and a tour of neighborhood restaurants with LTHForum's David Hammond. She also gives us a recipe for birria -- goat stew.
Looking for more Polish food than you can get at the ballpark? Not to worry: you can cheat off Gridskipper's homework. We won't tell. (Mind you, they did omit a GB favorite, Staropolska, so that's another option. And, if you're looking for extra credit after eating, head south on Milwaukee and pay a visit to the Polish Museum of America.)
Not only is Chicago becoming noted for its restaurants, but its restaurant review program "Check, Please!" is also a hot property. The Sun-Times reports that "Check, Please! Bay Area" has already started (sample show at Google Video), and versions are also in the works for LA, Seattle/Vancouver, New York, and even Hawaii. Back in Chicago, "Check, Please" junkies will have to wait a few more weeks to get new programs, as the 6th season of the program is currently being taped for broadcast in October.
This summer, Kafka Wine and Wendella Boats have been getting together for a series of Wine Tasting Cruises, which pair vino with architectural tour on Wednesdays each month. The next one is August 23 at 5:45pm. Tickets are $50 and reservations are required. [via]
I'm not entirely convinced that there's anyone writing better restaurant reviews than Dominic Armato of Skilletdoux. His treatment of dinner at Alinea was dead-on; a perfect mix of sophistication and accessiblity. Dominic's latest post, running down a meal at Wicker Park's Schwa, is pure gastroporn.
Baed on the enthusiastic response to his first Outlaw Dinner, 676 Restaurant's executive chef Robert Gadsby is holding another one on Monday, August 21, the day before the foie gras ban goes into effect. Chicagoans will yet again be treated to another menu featuring several barely legal foods at the center of controversies across the nation, including the aforementioned foie, absinthe, hemp seed, imported raw milk cheeses, morels and sous vide preparation. The seven course, prix fixe meal is $95 per person, with seatings between 7pm and 10pm; call 312-944-7676 for a reservation.
For the duration of the current heat wave, the CTA is now officially allowing passengers to carry and drink cold beverages on its buses and trains. (Not that the law was stopping people from drinking on the CTA, of course, but at least now it's permissible.) The heat wave is expected to end this evening, so do your drinking sometime today!
In such hot weather, tea's not really been on my mind, but come winter these recommendations of tea-oriented cafes will be quite useful.
Just another day in the nanny state: alderman Ed Burke is on the warpath against trans fats, and he's invited the CEOs of McDonald's, Burger King, and Taco Bell to the table to answer why "their promise to the American public (to make their food healthier) has gone unfulfilled." Consumerist questions his motives, observing a physical resemblance to Colonel Sanders. Stay tuned.
KIPlog's Food blog points us to the Tribune's article on the trend of foodies taking pictures of their meals, accompanied by photography tips and a short list of food-porny blogs.
Hey man, you look like you need a guy's night out. Lucky for you the newly relaunched aria bar at the Fairmont Hotel has you covered: at 7:30pm next Saturday, July 29, it's hosting a men-only "MAN-cation," featuring cocktails in the bar, a three-course steak dinner, and a Woodford Reserve whiskey and cigar tasting . It's not cheap at $150 per person, but short of strippers and drag races, it couldn't get much manlier. Reservations can be made by calling 312-444-9494.
The foie gras farewell continues: in honor of the dish's final days in the city, chef Robert Gadsby of 676 Restaurant & Bar in the Chicago Omni put together a one-night menu full of ingredients of which the Nanny State would not approve. The $95 prix fixe menu for tomorrow night's "Outlaw Dinner," as it's being called, features absinthe, hemp seed, morels, unpasteurized cheeses, sous vide preparation, and of course foie gras; Gadsby's planning similar nights at his Noé restaurants in LA and Houston.
Los Nopales (4544 N. Western Ave) is a small Mexican joint near the Western Brown Line stop in Lincoln Square. With tables and a small bar (despite having no alcohol), Nopales is quaint, but can match dishes with some of the big boys, especially when it comes to steak. On a recent trip, I ordered the steak fajitas and wasn't dissapointed. The thinly cut steak is some of the better steak out there, especially for the price. The other excitement is the two salsas provided to each table, red and green. Los Nopales was featured in a recent Sun-Times article discussing that very strip of Western Ave.
Since we're all bored with the pristine surface of eggs, a Deerfield company is teaming up with CBS to put advertisements and expiration dates on 35 million of them. Look (out) for them in your local grocery store.
McDonald's put up a pretty interesting new billboard in Wrigleyville. (Thanks, VinceJose!)
There are only a couple more weeks of foie gras sales in local restaurants, and, tonight, Chicago Chefs for Choice celebrate the swan song of this controversial ingredient. They're holding a festival at Allen's Cafe, where "guests will have the opportunity to enjoy a variety of foie gras preparations, beverages included." It won't come cheap, of course: admission is $150 a person. Still, they've cloaked themselves in the First Amendment -- proceeds benefit the "Freedom of Choice Fund" -- and who can say no to that?
Not in a position to plan a year ahead and drop a couple of Franklins on dinner? LTHForum user Dmnkly has posted an incredibly detailed chronicle of his meal at Grant Achatz's brainchild, complete with photographs.
The Red Sox haven't made the past few games at the Cell very fun (maybe this afternoon'll be different?), but PETA says those looking for healthy stadium fare have reason to be happy: the animal rights organization listed US Cellular Field among this year's Top 10 Vegetarian-Friendly Ballparks.
These days, you can't go near a restaurant without it adding chipotle to something or other. While this usually comes across as a feeble attempt at au courant zest, when Spa Cafe (112 W. Monroe) combines it with pureed Okinawa sweet potato to make soup, it's a wonderful thing. So long as you can get past the fact that it looks like you'll be dipping into a raspberry vinaigrette -- the dish is, well, purple -- you're in for a treat. (As for the cucumber water, I know it has its devotees, but I could have done with more water, less cucumber. I'll be sticking with the lemons next time.)
Ever notice two similar restaurants so close together that they must be feeding off each other's patrons? So has Phil Vettel, who just introduced a new series in the Trib: Cage Match, pitting neighboring joints against each other.
Sad but true: the cafe at Kitchen Chicago is closing, at least for now. There's no official mention of it on the website, but a letter on the door confirms the sad news. The owners wish to concentrate more on their original business--running a kitchen for hire--and the cafe was taking time away from that. While some grand traditions will continue, such as Sunday Brunch and lots of goodies from the great companies that start there, the cafe is officially on hiatus.
On the northern tip of the Southport Corridor, at Irving Park, sits Deleece, a stunningly low-priced quality American contemporary restaurant. While they were in the news a few months back when one of the chefs left to start Sola (also very, very good), their fare hasn't suffered one bit. In fact, they've done the opposite and ramped things up a bit, with new dishes that work really well. One of my favorite things about Deleece is their Monday and Tuesday $20 for three-course prix fixe special, which is one of the best values for food in this city. A recent meal included a ham avocado bruschetta, a carmelized on the outside and tender and pink on the inside flank steak prepared with a mole sauce and for dessert, a chocolate mousse that was divine. I'd have easily paid $50-60 for a meal like that. Go!
Alderman Edward Burke doesn't think the recent ban on foie gras is enough legislation of food for one year. He has now brought to the table a proposal to ban all trans fats in Chicago. The proposal has been ridiculed by Mayor Daley and the President of Illinois Restaurant Association. While the proposal would be difficult to implement, Burke noted that he just wants to start up a conversation and get expert opinion on the matter.
The Devil Wears Prada is sponsoring some sort of National Coffee Break Day today, and it must just be a coincidence that the film opens this weekend. Anyway, there are four spots in Chicago where you can snag a free "coffee beverage" from 2-4pm, all in and around the Loop. Gawker has the details.
The city has blocked off the streets near Grant Park in preparation for the 2006 Taste of Chicago, which starts this Friday and runs through Sunday, July 9. Check out the Taste Website for a list of participating restaurants that'll be selling food during the event, a map of the vendors (PDF link), and a roundup of the performers that you'll be able to see during the Taste's 10-day run. And if you know you'll be checking out loads of vendors, you might want to get your food tickets in advance at your local Dominick's because you'll get a discount if you have a Dominick's Fresh Values card.
If you haven't yet tried Goose Island's version of Belgian abbey-style beer, Matilda, you should. It's the refreshing, feel-good hit of the summer: full-bodied and fruity, with flavors of apples and apricots, with a nice long finish. Don't just take my word for it -- it's got a 93/100 rating on RateBeer.com. Just one quibble: Goose Island used the wrong six-pointed stars on the label.
If you like music with your sandwiches or wish to play MTV's crappiest hits for those indulging in their lunchtime subs, you might be surprised to hear (or play) a tune or two the next time you're at a Potbellys. The Beachwood Reporter has a piece about the local Potbellys and how they stack up musically. And on a side note: local musician Jef Sarver will attempt to break the world record for the longest guitar marathon ever at a Potbellys on June 21-23.
Another downtown steakhouse? Well, yes, but damn, is this place ever good. With a menu dedicated to seafood and dry-aged steaks (Chef Burke commissioned a salt cave for aging underneath the restaurant), Primehouse lends some substance to the stylish new James Hotel. Shellfish from the raw bar, served on a lazy susan of lemons and crushed ice, was impeccibly fresh, although the lobster was perhaps a touch limp. Gazpacho with crab was spicy, refreshing, wonderful. The steaks? Par excellence, and they will rival the best you'll eat in your life. (Forget the syrupy bottled sauces that arrive with your steaks; what is this, Ponderosa?) Cocktails are innovative, maybe gimmicky (leather-infused Maker's Manhattan?), but they work. Not cheap.
Tomorrow night at Webster's Wine Bar, friend of GB Christine Blumer is throwing her WineDiva Summer Splash, a "celebration of women in wine" benefitting Appetite Theatre. Tickets are still available, and are cheaper in advance; details in Slowdown.
Incredible. This is not Arturo's, it's a delightful mix of Mexican and French cuisine located in a very neighborhood location. We are still remembering the great great meal we had three weeks ago--the corn chowder soup and nachos were absolutely amazing. Great place for a good meal with friends. BYOB, veg-friendly, and great service, if perhaps a little loud when crowded. Dorado Restaurant. 2301 W. Foster. (773) 561-3780.
If you work downtown and like wine, then sign up for a riverboat wine tasting/architecture tour with Wendella Boats. All the wine will be provided by local shop Kafka Wine. Tasting, tour and hors d' oeuvres for two hours are included in the $50 price tag. Check out Wendella's site for details.
Mon Ami Gabi, the Lettuce Entertain You "French steakhouse" is holding a weather-permitting event in their outdoor cafe at the Chicago location called "25 for $25 — A Tour de France Through Wine at Mon Ami Gabi". What do diners and drinkers get? 25 wines to taste and a sampling of the restaurant's bistro fare (hors d' oeuvres). Sounds like a good deal. The event happens July 11 from 6-8pm and reservations can be made by calling 773-348-8886.
Let's say you're riding east on Granville toward the lake, and you're ready for a break. Park your bike outside Cafe du Monde, at the corner of N. Broadway. No beignets (yet), but the coffee and tea are excellent and the sweets behind the glass case are tempting. Bonus 1: classical music is piped outdoors, which helps turn the charming patio into a refuge, in spite of proximity to traffic. Bonus 2: if you happen to be traveling with your laptop, Cafe du Monde offers free wireless.
Because Friday is drinky Friday to some, why not get in on some really good scotch? Andrew has posted a very interesting idea and plan that may intrigue some of you. Have a look, oh scotch connoisseur.
Nope, we're not talking about Bruce Willis' die-hard cop John McClane but Shawn McClain, one of Chicago's most exciting chefs (yes, aside from Grant Achatz). He recently was awarded the James Beard for best chef in the Midwest and after showing off the sophistication of seafood and vegetarian at his restaurants, Spring and Green Zebra, he's expanded his repertoire with a more meaty menu in the form of Custom House.
Monday afternoon, many of us who work in downtown Evanston noticed black plumes of smoke coming from Davis Street. The fire, it turns out, was coming from the kitchen of Cozy Noodles & Rice at 1018 Davis Street. The fire damaged the restaurant, a nearby store and the apartments above. The dining room, with its walls of vintage toys, looks good, sans smoke and water damage, but for now, we'll all have to get our Cozy noodles at the Wrigleyville location.
If you've ever been to Butch McGuire's bar down at Clark & Division, you probably have fond memories of its owner and namesake. Butch passed away recently, and to mourn him, Division Street between Dearborn and State will be closed from 10am to 8pm for his wake. Stop on down and have a drink in the street.
It's drinking time again! A group of Neo-Futurist alumni is presenting the third version of the play Drinking and Writing, subtitled "To Cure A Hangover." Along with the play, which will be performed at bars around Chicago for the next few weeks, the Drinking and Writing team is putting together a pub crawl on Memorial Day to find a cure for the common hangover, and their second annual Drinking and Writing Festival on June 10, which will include readings, a two-drink-minimum writing contest, and lots of beer tasting. See Slowdown for all these events, and the Drinking and Writing Website for tickets.
GQ's food critic Alan Richman jumps on the Chicago bandwagon with an article in the June issue naming us "the best restaurant city in America." The story's focus, unsurprisingly, is on culinary wunderkinds Homaro Cantu of Moto, Grant Achatz of Alinea, and Graham Elliot Bowles of Avenues.
Tomorrow marks the launch date for the first of the Chicagoland Farmer's Markets, and boy, I'm ready. Saturday markets are my favorite, and the ones in Evanston and Lincoln Park open on May 20 (most others open in early June). There are markets every single day of the week, as always, throughout neighborhoods in Chicago and surrounding suburbs. If you're planning a Market tour, try checking out this nice (work in progress) Google Map of some of the Farmer's Markets done by Ben at InqBlot. It's quite handy and dandy.
We told you awhile back that Goose Island was in negotiations with Anheuser Busch; Crain's has an update on the story. Looks like Busch could own 35 percent of Goose Island and would take over distribution.
If you've picked up the latest issue of Esquire you've seen their feature on the "Best Bars in America." Chicago gets a few on those list, including the Red Lion Pub, Bungalow and the Matchbox. Also on the list is GB fave, the Hideout, which, if you've never been, next Friday presents a golden opportunity. I can vouch for Bungalow's vanilla martini, but would I call them the best? Put in your dissensions and suggestions on the website and they may get published.
Thankfully, the latest restaurant to open in Andersonville is not a Thai place (we've got enough, really!). Ole Ole is a sumptuously decorated space on two floors of 5413 N. Clark Street. It was the site of my very first (not my last) mojito, and of some delicious dishes and quite helpful wait staff. The empanada appetizers were tasty and perfectly fried (not burned), my Chicken Adobo was a blend of cinnamon and spices without overpowering the senses and my dining companion's dinner salad with chicken (substituted for duck) was enough for a very full meal. I'd love to see more dishes with a mole in the future, and can't wait for their pending cafe con leche service to begin!
Something I'd advocated in The Party Line previously is fortunately coming to pass: Metra is building a fresh-foods marketplace in the Ogilve Train Station. No, this isn't a Dominick's in the station--the idea is to get local vendors of meat,vegetables, and wine under one roof. Won't be ready for a year, but I'm excited.
If you'd like to get an idea of something to expect, Toronto's St.Lawrence Marketplace is a good idea.
Did you know they're printing Guinness World Records on Pringles now? Matt Maldre of Spudart got a tube, and among the world records was an odd looking print-out that included the phrase "printed fun on every one." He realized it was a diagnostic display intended to show the density of ink being sprayed by the chip printer.
Bulls guard Ben Gordon is the first NBA player with his own energy drink. Gordon signed with start-up H3Enterprises to create BG7, a white tea-based concoction expected to be on store shelves later this year.
The heavily anticipated Wicker Park branch of Harold's Chicken Shack finally opened yesterday and, as of 7pm, were doing an admirable — if slightly slow — job of meeting demand (although the rumored wheat bread was nowhere to be seen). The chicken? Damn good. If the Chicago Reader's Mike Sula ever updates his rundown of every Harold's in the city (pdf), I wouldn't be surprised to see #36 high on the list.
Chicago Magazine's Dish column (click "Welcome Back Foley" under "Recent Dish News") notes that some Chicago chefs aren't taking the City Council's recent foie gras ban sitting down. "Copperblue's Michael Tsonton and Cyrano's Bistrot's Didier Durand are starting an organization called Chicago Chefs for Choice.... [Tsonton said,] 'The foie gras people are tired of being pushed around.'" Is serving foie gras a Constitutional right? They're gonna find out.
This Wired profile of Alinea's Grant Achatz is particularly useful in that, after all this time reading his name, I now know how to say it. (If you didn't know either, apparently it rhymes with rackets.)
According to Chicago Magazine's latest Dish bulletin, today, in honor of France's Labor Day (who knew?), Brasserie Jo is serving "free hot dogs on a crusty baguette with Dijon mustard." Now, if that doesn't improve your Monday, nothing will.
Today, the third Intelligentsia coffee house opens at 53 and 55 E. Randolph, just down the street from Cloud Gate. If you go today, you might even get your espresso from this year's best barista in America, Matthew Riddle.
Somehow we've managed not to write about it, but Yelp. Founded in 2004 in San Francisco, Yelp has been helping Chicagoans find good places to eat and drink for quite a while now. It now covers dentists, hairstylists and other professions, too — all reviewed and rated by regular people.
If you're a connoisseur of foie gras, you've got 90 days to get your fill: City Council banned it from Chicago today. Mayor Daley was duly annoyed: "We have children getting killed by gang leaders and dope dealers. We have real issues here in this city. And we're dealing with foie gras? Let's get some priorities." (Thanks, Dave!)
The Sun-Times has a profile today of Intelligentsia Coffee & Tea employee Matthew Riddle, who won the US Barista Championships last week. Riddle had to serve up 12 drinks in 15 minutes to claim the title. His winning the title means that Chicago will represent in the World Barista Championships in Berne, Switzerland next month. Riddle isn't working as a coffee server right now (he's working as a graphic artist for Intelligentsia), but he will be serving up coffee for the grand opening on April 28 of a new Intelligentsia store at 53 E. Randolph. So if you're looking for a fast cup of coffee, remember to stop by and congratulate Matthew.
Eleven City Diner, the Viper Room of Jewish Chicago, has the building blocks of a great restaurant, but is currently lacking the haroset to put it all together. The pastrami and corned beef are as good as any I've had outside New York, and the matzo ball rivals my mother's recipe (highest praise possible), but who allowed owner Bradley Rubin to think that a pastrami on rye