No matter what “Food Wars” says on the Travel Channel, this Chicagoan still says the best beef is at Johnnie’s in Elmwood Park. Paired with their signature lemon ice (“Italian lemonade”) it ranks among the all-time greatest combos of Mantle & Maris, Batman & Robin, even Ben & Jerry. I say this after having eaten beefs at Jay’s, Pop’s, Chickie’s, Al’s, Bob-O’s and Mr. Beef all multiple times.
ASPEN, CO – There is always so much to see, taste and experience at the Food & Wine Magazine Classic at Aspen, it’s hard to know where to begin. There are always two, distinctive programs – one for consumers, the other for the restaurant trade. It’s the latter I tend to focus on, since those are the programs and panels I moderate. But there is always usually a pretty good Chicago contingent here as well. Each year, the magazine also names its Best New Chefs in the country, and one of this year’s crop includes Jason Vincent, of Nightwood. There is also the annual pork-fueled bacchanal known as Cochon 555, which pits 10 chefs and 10 pigs against each other; this year, Publican Quality Meats‘ Cosmo Goss represented Chicago, as he sought the title of “King of Porc.” Did he win? Gotta watch the video to find out.
Ever wonder how some restaurants last a lifetime, and others can’t seem to make it past their 2nd birthday? As part of DePaul University’s continuing Lincoln Park Community Research Initiative, I’m going to try to find out for myself tonight. I’ll be leading a roundtable with the restaurateurs that somehow continue to make places like R.J. Grunts, John Barleycorn and Twin Anchors not only survive, but thrive. Despite the printed address on the flyer pictured above, the event has been moved, due to overwhelming demand, to the DePaul Student Center at 2250 N. Sheffield. There’s a reception at 6:30 p.m. followed by the program at 7. Hope to see some of you there tonight!
Greg Hall hasn’t really taken that much of a break since leaving Goose Island as its Brewmaster. The Chicago native is keeping things close to home, with his new company, Virtue Brands, having built an impressive headquarters just around the bend, in SW Michigan. He’s now got three ciders out on the market: Lapinette, a French-stye cider; a winter cider called The Mitten, and my favorite – RedStreak – a proper English-style draft cider. There are several places around town where you can find it; I highly recommend you seek a pint out (or two).
I rarely get to go back to restaurants for a second or third time, due mostly to my schedule and constant – some would say frenetic – task of filing four stories per week for ABC 7. But every now and then I get to make a return visit, and it was with great pleasure I found myself near southwest suburban Bridgeview yesterday, allowing me to dive headfirst into the spreads, dips and kebabs at Al Bawadi Grill. Read More
Despite its name, there are no teen vampires involved in the brewing or marketing of this breezy summer ale from Bend, Oregon’s Deschutes Brewery, which has only been available in Chicago the past few months. The Hopleaf’s Michael Roper says it’s easy to drink this time of year, especially at softball games and the occasional Ravinia outing, but it’s very temporary. So get it while you can. Cheers.