Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Simple Math: All Beard Awards Should Move to Chicago

Filed Under: Blog , news
NYC's Gotham Hall, site of JBF's Book, Broadcast & Journalism Awards

NYC’s Gotham Hall, site of the JBF’s Book, Broadcast & Journalism Awards

Much has been made of the fact Rahm Emanuel, the Illinois Restaurant Association and the city of Chicago have lured the 2015 James Beard Foundation Awards to the Civic Opera House next year. Sponsors have been committed, venues reserved. When I posed the obvious questions in my post that broke the news, I wondered aloud where and how they would host the Book, Broadcast & Journalism Awards, which are usually held on the Friday night before the Chef & Restaurant Awards on Monday. In Kevin Pang’s story in the Chicago Tribune that day, JBF President Susan Ungaro said that the lesser-known awards gala would be staying in New York, because “60 percent of those who attend the journalism, broadcast and book awards reside in New York, New Jersey or Connecticut. For the chefs gala, two-thirds of attendees come from outside the New York tri-state area.” Well, we did a little research, and the numbers show otherwise.

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Friday, May 23, 2014

Get Your Falafill

Filed Under: Blog , news , Restaurants
Ana Sortun's chickpea falafel wrap, to be featured on the menu in June.

Ana Sortun’s chickpea falafel wrap, to be featured on the menu in June.

It looks like it’s a wrap for Mediterranean restaurant Falafill. Starting this month, the establishment will be offering special, limited-time-only wraps as part of a “Guest Chef Series” to benefit Alzheimer’s disease research. Collaborating chefs like Chef Farid Zadi (of Los Angeles) and Chef Ana Sortun (of Oleana in Cambridge, Mass.), will craft original creations that will each be featured on the menu for one month. One dollar from every wrap sold will benefit the Mediterranean Feast Fundraisers (which supports cookbook author and Alzheimer’s spokeswoman, Paula Wolfert) and the Alzheimer’s Association.


The wrap for May is The Berber, a chickpea falafel with radish, orange and onion salad, spicy green harissa and yogurt cucumber sauce.  June’s will be the Harra Falafel, which will include spicy walnut tahini sauce,  carrot labneh yogurt and brown butter. The series will continue through the summer, with July’s wrap to be announced soon.


The special creations can be enjoyed at either of Falafill’s two locations: 3202 N. Broadway or 1053 W. Lake St.

Friday, May 23, 2014

La Brea Bakery Celebrates 25 Years With Free Bread

Filed Under: Blog , news



Free bread from La Brea will be in abundance.
Photo courtesy Dave Estep

This year, La Brea Bakery will celebrate 25 years of business by – what else? – inviting patrons to break bread with them. On Thursday, May 29th, the bakery – originally founded by recent James Beard Outstanding Chef Award winner Nancy Silverton – will kick off a “bread tour” in Chicago, where it will be giving away free, fresh-baked samples at local spots.  You can expect to see them feeding the Windy City May 29th through June 1st, and June 4th to June 7th, before they continue on their tour through four more cities. Participants have the chance to win prizes from La Brea by uploading photos from the sampling spots on Twitter or Instagram with the hashtag #BreakingBread.


Some of the sampling locations include: Near North Side (Mariano Park) on May 29th at 8:30 am, Logan Square (Damen-O’Hare Station) on May 30th at 8:30 am, The Loop (W. Wacker Dr & N. State St) on June 4th at 8:30 am and Wrigleyville (N. Clark St & W. Eddy St) on June 6th at 8:30 am. For updates, you can follow La Brea Bakery on Twitter or Instagram, @labreabakery.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Beer of the Week: Class of ’88

Filed Under: Blog , news

Beer brewers love to collaborate. Sometimes it’s with chefs, working on a recipe that will go with a specific style of food, other times, they will get together with other breweries, to come up with something really special. That’s the case this week, as The Hopleaf’s Michael Roper looks to the Class of ’88 – a collaboration between Goose Island and Deschutes. This Belgian style is full of hoppy character, and it’s a tad on the strong side (10.9% abv), so maybe share this large format bottle with a friend. Or don’t. It’s aged in 10 year old Muscat barrels. Either way, you have plenty of fine sipping ahead of you. Cheers.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

James Beard Awards Coming to Chicago

Filed Under: Blog , news


My Kind of Town...

My Kind of Town…

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel isn’t one to hide his emotions. So when he takes the stage at the Pritzker Pavilion in Millennium Park this morning, don’t be surprised if you see him kvelling like a mother who’s just learned her son, the lawyer, is going to Harvard. That’s because there, flanked by Chicago’s past James Beard Award winners (present company excluded), our foodie mayor is expected to announce the “Academy Awards of the food world” are moving to Chicago next year.


According to several sources, all of whom requested anonymity due to the highly secretive nature of the negotiations, The New York City-based James Beard Foundation will fête the U.S. culinary world’s elite not at Lincoln Center – where it has done so for the past several years – but rather, at Chicago’s Civic Opera House. Read More

Monday, May 19, 2014

Terroir, Tamago and Tijuana Tacos

Filed Under: Blog , news
Nathan Thornburgh presenting at Terroir.

Nathan Thornburgh presenting at Terroir.

Just a couple of thoughts from the past week:


I attended the annual Terroir Symposium in Toronto last week, and was once again blown away with the quality of talent there, from several corners of the world. True, there was a significant contingent from Scandinavia – not to mention Ontario – but the quality of the lecturers and the one-day lineup makes for an engaging, enlightening day in one of my favorite cities. It’s also a great excuse to go do some serious eating, and the meals I had at Bar Isabel and Momofuku Daishō were remarkable. No, remarkable doesn’t do them justice. They were friggin’ delicious actually, and I’m still haunted by a dish of sweetbreads resting over albacore tuna topped with a shallot-caper-brown butter sauce that I can’t get out of my head: Read More