Theo Gilbert has certainly paid his dues in the eyes of Italian nonnas and sous chefs everywhere. He’s logged time at nearly every station inside Spiaggia, launched (then buried) two Terragustos, and even helped out über-Italian (via Milwaukee) chef Paul Bartolotta with his Ristorante di Mare in Vegas. But for his latest effort – the casual and homey Ripasso in Bucktown – Gilbert is going back to the basics. One of the best examples is the meatball dish, which arrives with little fanfare and even less bragging. With food this honest, the only ones bragging should be the customers, after they’ve had a chance to drive their forks through them and guide the flavorful orbs into their mouths.
Are you a pork fan interested in going whole hog?
Back after popular demand, Chef Nathan Sears and Chef Amber Blatt of Vie Restaurant will be dishing on all details of preparing a hog, from butchering to making sausage, bacon, pâté and more. The three-hour afternoon classes include lunch and and lots of take-home treats. I’ve included this video from a class I attended last spring, to show you some of the highlights.
Classes cost $150 per person and are held at Vie, 4471 Lawn Ave., Western Springs, Ill. Reserve your place by calling Vie at (708) 246-2082.
Sunday, Feb. 12, 2012, with Chef Amber Blatt
Sunday, March 25, 2012, with Chef Amber Blatt
Sunday, May 20, 2012, with Chef Nathan Sears
Sunday, June 3, 2012, with Chef Nathan Sears
By Benita Zepeda
I’ve found it’s sometimes difficult to justify traveling out of my way to get something I could walk a few blocks for, but some food shops are worthy of making a special trip. In this case, it’s to Allegretti’s Bakery in Norridge.
Last night, Jews around the world lit candles, spun dreidels and ate a boatload of potato pancakes, commemorating the miracle of oil that lasted eight days, after the destruction of their temple. Latkes, as they’re called, are one of my favorite memories as a child, because it was a time when my mom could cook and not really mess things up in the kitchen. What I mean is, they’re practically foolproof. The key is squeezing out all of the liquid before you fry, in order to keep them crispy. You don’t need a reason to make them of course, which is why I’m giving you a little recipe here in case you want to make them on your own. If not, then just head over to one of the two Bagel locations in Chicago, and have them do all of the heavy frying for you. Don’t forget the sour cream and applesauce. Happy Hannukah (or is it Chanukah)?
Incidentally, this is my final post of 2011. I’m taking the next week off, and will be back here with some delicious, crave-worthy posts on January 2nd. Happy New Year everyone.
- 4 large potatoes
- 1 yellow onion
- 1 egg, beaten
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- ground black pepper to taste
- 2 cups vegetable oil for frying
- Finely grate potatoes with onion into a large bowl. Drain off any excess liquid.
- Mix in egg, salt, and black pepper. Add enough flour to make mixture thick, about 2 to 4 tablespoons all together.
- Turn oven to low, about 200 degrees F
- Heat 1/4 inch oil in the bottom of a heavy skillet over medium high heat. Drop two or three 1/4 cup mounds into hot oil, and flatten to make 1/2 inch thick pancakes. Fry, turning once, until golden brown.
- Transfer to paper towel lined plates to drain, and keep warm in low oven until serving time. Repeat until all potato mixture is used.
I had never heard of Roncesvalles, but apparently, it is to Toronto what Logan Square is to Chicago: a bohemian ‘hood on the verge of gentrification. My friends were planning to take me and Max with their kids to a relatively new barbecue joint there called Barque Smokehouse on Sunday night, which, appropriately enough, was family night at the restaurant. They only have seatings at 5 and 6:45 p.m. on Sundays, but the menu is set, with a pretty large assortment included in the tasting.
Not that long ago, Hannukah presents for my kids included Fisher Price games and Lego Star Wars. It’s funny how the older they get, the more elaborate the gifting becomes. But let’s be frank: Hannukah is not about the gifts, and never really was. It’s a Jewish guilt response to Christmas. Certainly, growing up in small town Minnesota, I can see how my parents wanted me to have a little something while my gentile friends hauled in the motherlode on the 25th. Since our holiday was always within a week or two, why not dish out a small gift each of the eight nights? We stopped giving the kids a nightly present years ago, but the things they do get seem to be more elaborate – and in the case of this year, they also happen to be presents that I wouldn’t mind getting myself.
With my son, Max, now 11 – and a huge hockey fan – we usually make one road trip per season, watching a Hawks game on the road and indulging our appetites. Last year, we drove to Detroit and stopped at Zingerman’s Roadhouse on the way, then had dinner at Michael Symon’s Roast pre-game; two weeks ago, we took the train to St. Louis and hit a few tasty places before and after the game. But for Hannukah this year, I decided to make it a hockey/eating weekend in Toronto, with or without the Hawks. Read More