Last week, the Hungry Hound battled winter with a barrage of flavors. Check out how chefs are creatively using seasonal, winter citrus in pastry dishes; then celebrate the Chinese New Year with traditional Shanghai favorites in Chinatown; take a peek at Bub City’s warming combination of barbecue and bourbon and, for a special Mardi Gras treat, check out the fresh beignets from Jimmy’s Pizza Cafe.
By Ivan Yeh
Former Hapless Intern
“What defines deliciousness? Taste is tough to explain, isn’t it?”
These were the words that stuck with me after watching “Jiro Dreams of Sushi,” a David Gelb documentary depicting the life of sushi master Jiro Ono, the 86-year-old head chef at the Michelin three-star restaurant Sukiyabashi Jiro.
Despite his fame, Ono still runs his renowned sushi counter from the basement of an office building in the Ginza district of Tokyo, and prides himself on only serving perfection to each of his guests. There are no theatrics here; Ono lets his ingredients speak for themselves. As I watched the film’s many montages of exquisitely crafted, minimalist pieces of nigiri, I knew that in order to truly understand deliciousness, I had to first experience how quality ingredients can elevate a dish from good to great. Problem is, a seat in his 10-seat restaurant is almost impossible to come by, as bookings have to be made one month in advance and the call must come from within Japan. Despite these challenges, I was determined to have what many believe is the best sushi in the world, and after months of trying, my dream came true. Read More
What an incredibly delicious week in Chicago. Check out my latest videos for the inside look at Little Goat Bread and Diner, as well as fine-dining resurrected at Grace in the West Loop; also, some of the best Korean fried chicken in town at Dak Wings.
Tickets for the first bites bash sold out quickly, so that’s a sign there’s high demand for Chicago’s annual Restaurant Week, beginning tomorrow. From the 1st until the 10th, you can score a prix fixe deal ($22 for lunch/$33 or $44 for dinner) on that special place you’ve always wanted to go, like Allium, inside the Four Seasons Hotel, for instance.
It was a delicious week in Chicago… from homemade ramen at the brand new Oiistar in Wicker Park, to cooking classes for people of all ages in a Glen Ellyn cookware store; Balkan dishes are the focus at Kiko’s Market and Restaurant in Lincoln Square, while the chicken pot pie gets a makeover (in the form of pheasant and foie) at Tortoise Club in River North. Here’s a link to my four most recent “Hungry Hound” stories on ABC 7.
Check out last week’s videos on creative curries, made from scratch in both the Indian and Thai traditions; Southern-style BBQ in Forest Park and MLK’s favorite dish: pecan pie (in this case, from Hoosier Mama Pie Co.).