When I first stumbled upon The Dairy Star, after a long jag down Devon Avenue, gobbling up boti kebabs and tearing into a round of crispy dosas, it looked like just another little ice cream stand. What I didn’t realize is that this little icon has been a beacon of sweet, creamy soft serve for kids of all ages for nearly 30 years. It reminded me right away of the famous Dairy Ripple near Lake Geneva. While the kids might go right for the chocolate cones (dipped, of course), I prefer the Buddy Bar, which looks an awful lot like a Buster Bar from DQ, just not as elegant; that’s perfectly fine with me. The fact that it’s a tad misshapen and a little crooked proves that they’re made by hand. Arriving in either chocolate or vanilla flavors, they’re all stuffed with Spanish peanuts and a ribbon or two of fudge, before being coated in an icy, chocolate shell. It can be enjoyed in one’s car, or on the small patio out front.
This week, The Hopleaf’s Michael Roper looks to Belgium (the guy should know, his bar has more than 100 Belgians on offer) for his Beer of the Week. The Vicar Quinto comes from the Dilewyns Brewery; it’s a golden, high fermentation beer with secondary fermentation in both the bottle and the cask. It’s brand new in Chicago, so go pick one up this weekend. Cheers.
Nothing says summer like a sizzling grill. Roscoe Village is turning up the heat once again this weekend, bringing us its 5th annual Burger Fest featuring fourteen different vendors. Head to Belmont and Damen between 11 a.m. and 10 p.m. both Saturday and Sunday. The chefs will compete for both the critic and crowd favorites, so visitors get to take part in the action. This year’s vendors include: Butcher & The Burger, Cortland’s Garage (last year’s crowd favorite and winner of the Critic’s Choice Honor), DMK Burger Bar, Goose Island, John’s Place, Leader Bar Drafthouse & Eatery, McGee’s Tavern & Grille, Mrs. Murphy & Sons Irish Bistro, Reggie’s Music Joint, Rockit Burger Bar, Select Cut Steakhouse, The Slide Ride Food Truck, Stanley’s Kitchen & Tap, and Square Bar & Grill. The festival also features live music, with artists Better Than Ezra, Treaty of Paris, Fort Frances, This Must Be the Band, and Trippin Billies. Kids can have fun too at the Kid’s Zone Activity Area. Gate donation is $8.
I found this talk – by the owner of Alinea, Next and The Aviary – to be geeky yet fascinating. Kokonas doesn’t bother assembling a Power Point deck, he simply shares internal documents and the results of his own company’s research, in determining how they take, accept and chart reservations. It’s from the recent Welcome Conference in New York City.
So many summertime beers to sip, so little time. This week, The Hopleaf’s Michael Roper suggests a pair of craft beers – both less than 5% abv – from the pride of Paso Robles, CA: Firestone Walker (yes, the same family who made the tires). He says they’re limited to the season, so you don’t have a lot of time to try them. Go out and get one (or both) this weekend. Cheers.
Chicago fans of the cultish Outstanding in the Field national tour – where a local chef connects with a local farm(er) and cooks a multi-course meal in the field for guests who sit at one long table – may have been upset to see that both the Aug. 6th and 7th dinners at City Farm were sold out. Clearly, having Jared Wentworth (Longman & Eagle) cook on the 6th, and Abraham Conlon (Fat Rice) on the 7th proved to be too popular, even at $240 a head. The setting, at the corner of Division and Clybourn (pictured) is a rare chance to see how produce can grow (and thrive) in the midst of an urban environment, and the views of the city from there are breathtaking. But local fans will have three more chances to take in an OitF dinner here in Chicago this summer. Sources tell me that there will be dinners held each night during Lollapalooza, on the grounds at Grant Park, cooked by the chefs from Lula Cafe, La Sirena Clandestina and Hot Chocolate.