Chicago has always been the Candy Capital of the U.S., touting its Mars, Jelly Belly and Tootsie Roll roots, but the sweets industry – including some top talent from the pastry chef ranks – is coming together in two weeks, for the Chicago Fine Chocolate & Dessert Show, Oct. 18 – 20. Among the highlights at this year’s show:
You may have seen Bruce Cost’s name gracing a bottle or two of ginger ale over at Wow Bao, but long before he was bottling soda, he was helping Lettuce Entertain You figure out how to make Chinese and Thai-inspired street food for the masses by launching Big Bowl. I have to say, their chicken coconut curry is still one of my favorites at the Cedar location, and whenever I’m back in Minneapolis visiting my mom, we usually sneak in a lunch or dinner at Ridgedale. But I digress. The Big Bowl Noodles & Rice cookbook can be yours, if you tell me in a unique poem, haiku or song, why you deserve it. Deadline for entries (in the COMMENTS section here) is 5 p.m. Friday. I’ll announce the winner over the weekend. Good luck!
I have to admit, of the creative projects inspired by Julia Child, TO MASTER THE ART, currently playing at the Broadway Playhouse at Water Tower Place (175 E. Chestnut) is among the best I’ve seen. The play recalls the adventure and romance of Julia and Paul Child’s journey of discovery to Paris during the 1950s. I’ve read stories about Julia’s “first time” she fell in love with food and about how she took cooking classes in Paris in the 50s and began work on her seminal book, “Mastering the Art of French Cooking.” But this play – led by the spot-on performance of Karen Jane Woditsch as the lanky, somewhat awkward Pasadena native – is a remarkable accomplishment, capturing not only her mannerisms, but also the love story and formative years of our nation’s most endearing culinary icon. Julia isn’t the only star here; her husband, Paul (Craig Spidel) was, in essence, the reason she was even in France in the first place. The touching play captures their struggle to find themselves as Americans abroad during McCarthy’s Red Scare, while Paul worked for the U.S. government.
This week’s beer, from Germany, comes in a super cool bottle and has a bit of sea salt; it’s extremely refreshing, but a tad hard to find. Naturally, they do carry it at The Hopleaf, as well as a few other bars in town, but you’ll have to ask. Leipziger is the producer, and the correct pronunciation is GO-zuh, as in “rose” plus “uh.” Cheers, or should I say, prost!
Not all PB & Js are created equal. In fact, sometimes, that “PB” doesn’t even mean peanut butter. In the case of this week’s SYSE, the folks at Elaine’s Coffee Call – the tiny cafe inside the Hotel Lincoln – have substituted pecan butter, and are combining it with seasonal preserves, then pressing it in a panini press, to give the outer edge of the La Fournette bread a bit of crunch. It’s devastatingly simple, and yet, somehow taps into everyone’s inner kid. (As always, thanks to Todd Rosenberg Photography – @toddrphoto – for the fine videography).
Elaine’s Coffee Call
1816 N. Lincoln Ave.
Images of rain-soaked, plywood-covered sod and cloudy skies seem like a distant memory. The Illinois Restaurant Association and Bon Appetit Magazine dialed up another stunning weekend for Chicago Gourmet, the two-day event held at Millennium Park that brings together the city’s top food, wine and spirits talent. After a Friday night Hamburger Hop competition, Saturday and Sunday proved to be warmer than normal, which may or may not have contributed to the large crowds, which, ultimately, meant some long lines. Read More