The countdown is here. But if you don’t feel like cooking for that crazy aunt or that gluten-free cousin, and spending all day in the kitchen isn’t your forte, multiple Chicago restaurants are offering Thanksgiving dinners – both in their dining rooms or as meals to go:
Shaw’s Crab House (21 E. Hubbard Street, 312-517-2722) is offering a to-go Thanksgiving dinner including all-white herb roasted turkey, traditional sides, pumpkin, apple, or pecan pie, and a leftovers preparation kit for $35 per person. Each order comes with one pound of turkey, four sides, one slice of pie, and all leftover fixings. Read More
New Orleans has always held a unique place in my heart. From late nights in the Quarter as a college kid, to lazy rides on the St. Charles streetcar as a tourist, in search of an oyster po’boy or a strong Sazerac. I proposed marriage in Audubon Park after an epic jazz brunch at Commander’s Palace nearly 20 years ago, so yes, you could say NOLA has always been special to me. Few cities in America are so resolute in their distinctiveness. The birthplace of jazz and the American cocktail only add to its allure. Cajun, Creole, African, Spanish and French accents fill The Big Easy with a gumbo of sorts that’s impossible to fully understand unless you’ve actually been. Here’s your chance . . . Read More
Evanston is known for many things: Northwestern, Edzo’s and the rocky lakeshore come to mind. But beer? Not until recently. The Hopleaf’s Michael Roper says get ready to hear about Temperance – the first and only brewery from Evanston that has some wonderful citrus hops, low alcohol and just a touch of rye. Here’s to yet another Chicago area brewery, doing things the old fashioned (small batch) way. Cheers.
So you can probably figure out where we’re headed next, based on this picture, but if you can’t, be sure to save the dates of March 8 – 11 for a one-of-a-kind trip unlike anything you’ve ever experienced. I’ve spent the past three weeks lining up mixologists, chefs and artists; a plantation owner and a few restaurateurs I know, with the sole purpose of creating a once-in-a-lifetime eating and drinking tour to one of my favorite cities. This trip has something for everyone, and the accommodations are pretty swank as well. I’ll release all of the information and detailed itinerary later this week, but for now, just think oysters. Lots and lots of oysters…
Much has been made over the past year, regarding the restaurant’s final auction, the high school art show, etc., but I think one of Charlie Trotter’s greatest legacies – at least in terms of his contribution to Chicago’s culinary scene – is all of the great talent he molded, scolded, shaped, sharpened and ultimately sent off into the world. Many of his former employees stayed right here in Chicago, realizing that due to their former boss, the city had suddenly become more welcoming and willing to embrace new talent. You have to remember, Trotter was self-taught. After graduating from UW – Madison (Go Badgers) he traveled around the world, ate in the best restaurants for inspiration, then came home, and after a brief stint working for Gordon Sinclair on the North Shore, opened his eponymous restaurant with help from his father in 1987 – seven years before anyone was talking about the Food Network. He was the first to establish the Chef’s Table, put a premium on wine service (with a vast cellar to boot) and pushed his staff to be the best; that meant better than anything in New York City. I remember covering a dinner at the restaurant when Alain Ducasse was in town, and you would have thought the brigade was cooking for Francois Mitterand. Ducasse didn’t lift a finger the entire night (well, just to apply some gold leaf to the dessert). Everyone else was working so methodically, with such purpose, and yet there was this gentle buzz without anyone screaming. Trotter would “shush” the kitchen if it got too loud. Read More
Time again to plan another epic eating and drinking tour. This time, we’re heading in a very different direction. The goal is the same – we need about 20 people to make the trip happen – but this time around, we’ll have a lot more private, exclusive events, featuring some of the city’s best bartenders, chefs and tour guides. We’ll eat and drink more in four days than you’re probably accustomed to, but that’s what separates the boys from the men, so to speak.
So here’s a clue: that women in the picture will play a significant role in our tour – which occurs March 8 – 11 by the way. We’re going to have a private cocktail session with her, before heading off to the countryside, for a once-in-a-lifetime dining experience. I can’t wait to tell you all about in a week or so. For now, you’ll have to just guess (and mark your calendars).