This week we said goodbye to Erin, had a steamed bun-filled birthday lunch, tasted potato chips, watched Hambone bond with Mr. Bear, and more.
Maggie: The ‘New Wave’ of California winemakers is getting a lot of attention, but many of those who are experimenting and pushing the boundaries rely on others for their fruit. This piece from John Trinidad of SF Wine Blog is a reminder that this exciting moment in California all depends on vineyard owners who are willing to take a risk on lesser-known grape varieties.
On Instagram, sonyayu takes gorgeous food shots (and the occasional dog-in-a-costume.) Warning: her frequent photos at San Francisco’s Plow will make you crave brunch.
Carrie: Just weeks after I bought a bamboo steamer to make chawanmushi, had my fun, then relegated it to the far corners of my kitchen, Heidi Swanson reminds me what I should really be doing with it: steaming vegetables. Simple. Delicious. Near perfect for spring.
Niki: I’m keeping a close eye on all that in vitro meat being whipped up in the Netherlands. Can’t wait to sink my teeth into a big, juicy, 100% guilt-free test tube burger!
In other news, a quick shout-out to Katie Shelly, a longtime friend and colleague who was just profiled on NPR’s The Salt for her new cookbook, Picture Cook. It’s a beautifully illustrated and inspiring collection of blueprint-style recipes, and I can’t wait to add a copy to my shelf.
Max: A brief but poignant piece on New York food critic Robert Sietsema, the newest casualty of American newspapers laying off their essential food writers.
Robyn: Ryan Gosling Won’t Eat His Cereal: This is over a week old already, which means it’s ancient in Internet years, but I’m still loving RyanWMcHenry‘s Vine clips of Ryan Gosling not eating cereal. Yeah. That’s what it is. It’s. It’s so good. Just. Yes. You can watch all the clips in this YouTube video.
Nick: I’m sucker for old school hot dog stands, especially ones that serve oddball creations found nowhere else. That partly explains why I found this 10 minute video from Grub Street Chicago’s Mike Gebert about Johnny O’s breaded steak and fried cheese sandwich so fascinating.
Pizza Compass wants to be your new best friend. The recently released iPhone app, tag-lined “No Frills, Just Pizza” is designed to perform one simple and essential task: Find all the pizza, all the time.
Introducing: Pizza Compass
If you have somehow missed the viral and utterly enthralling coverage (here or here, for instance) of the massive and extremely public meltdown of Amy’s Baking Company owners Samy and Amy Bouzaglo, you’re in for a real treat. The Kitchen Nightmares couple now claims their expletive-filled facebook freakout was the product of hackers. Then again, there is this video, in which a man
barely escapes with his life tries to leave without paying, after waiting over an hour to never get his pizza…So yeah, I’ll let you be the judge!
Kitchen Nightmares: Amy’s Baking Company
Domino’s has done it again. And by “it,” I mean yet another profoundly perplexing foreign marketing campaign. This time, Brazil’s the lucky recipient of the brand’s inventive tactic. Using thermal ink and what I can only imagine is fancified scratch and sniff technology, rental stores in Sao Paulo and Rio have joined up with the pizza chain to distribute DVDs that look and smell like pizza—but only after they’ve been played! You can watch the magic below, though Domino’s regretfully has yet to figure out a scent delivery method that will provide the full sensory experience.
Domino’s Stinky DVDs
- Beyond the Chicago Dog: 8 Haute Hot Dogs We Love in Chicago
- Shake Shack is Coming to Chicago
- Chicagoland: World’s Best Burgers at Fred’s in Burlington, WI
- Asparagus-palooza at the Green City Market in Chicago
- A Sandwich a Day: Croque Madame at Deca Restaurant + Bar
- Bar Eats: The Publican
- Deep Fried Chicago: The Point
- Serious Eats Neighborhood Guides: Jesse Divine’s Logan Square
- The Brunch Dish: Eggs With a Side of Pomp and Circumstance at Acadia
- A Sandwich a Day: Brisket Sandwich at Milt’s Barbecue for the Perplexed
Heady and sweet, Thai coffee is a glorious mix of a strongly brewed cup of joe and condensed milk. This bread pudding plays on those flavors, sweetening the base custard with condensed milk and adding a generous amount of espresso powder plus floral cardamom, spicy cinnamon, and almond extract. Chunks of buttery challah soak it all up. We like to go the extra mile and serve this with a homemade chilled orange whipped cream.
Get the Recipe
1. We Try the Cronut from Dominique Ansel Bakery
2. Video: Katz’s Only Jewish Waiter Really Hates His Job
3. Masaharu Morimoto’s 11 Tips for Tuna and Sushi at the New York Culinary Experience
4. Serious Eats Neighborhood Guides: Michael Anthony’s Midtown East
5. Local 92 Does Great Hummus if You Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff
6. Ask the Critic: Where to Eat in Downtown Brooklyn, Best NYC Pizza
7. Open Thread: What’s the Quintissential New York Sandwich Shop?
8. Market Tours: Dual Specialty Store, an Indian Spice Haven on Curry Row
9. Seven Months After Sandy, South Street Seaport Restaurants Still Struggling
10. Arepas Cafe: Quality Arepas in Astoria
This recipe from author and former Gramercy Tavern managing partner Nick Mautone combines several favorite flavors of summer: watermelon, fresh lemonade, rum, and blackberries.
The best comforts transcend seasons: a soft scarf, pie a la mode, a good Bloody Mary. At Mayahuel in New York’s East Village, the warm-spiced Black Star is one such year-round pleasure. “This became part of what I called my Indian Winter menu,” says Philip Ward, co-owner and bartender, who added the Black Star to the menu as spring started to creep in. “We’ve been selling the bejesus out of it.”
Ward breaks down the method to his mixing into three steps. First, he called on the template of a buck—ginger, lemon and booze—subbing in ginger syrup for the usual ginger ale or beer.
“Another thing I like to do is split hairs,” Ward explains, referring to the practice of using, say, one ounce each of two types of liquor instead of the two ounces of one liquor a recipe calls for. Here, Ward uses one ounce of reposado tequila and one ounce of bourbon.
Much like Mos def and Talib Kweli, Buffalo Trace Bourbon and Pueblo Viejo Reposado have a natural chemistry. “Pueblo Viejo is aged, with hints of wood,” notes Ward, “So I knew it would go well with bourbon.” And just in case the two needed a bridge, Ward drew on the notes of cinnamon in both spirits with a homemade cinnamon bark syrup.
Ward sticks to the classic addition of lemon, but—the third trusty trick up his sleeve—adds something to the “naked template:” apple butter. A little goes a long way, adding both texture and a deeper, sweet and lightly autumnal flavor to the cocktail.
Garnished with an apple slice for subtle aroma, the Black Star is complex yet soft and approachable. Those first few sips bring a lot of cinnamon and spicy sweetness up front, booze on the exhale. And while it’s almost dangerously drinkable, that bit of apple butter adds a sumptuous, savorable heft you won’t find in your average buck.
Indian Winter or early summer, I’d drink the bejesus out of this one.
Get the Recipe
Editor’s note: In “Food for Change,” we’ll profile groups out there connecting people to better food access. In this series we want to applaud the passionate people and organizations doing meaningful work with food in their communities. Please share tips for others to include in this column in the comments below.
- If you’re interested in learning about sustainable agriculture through a hands-on experience, check out Farm Stay U.S. The agritourism site lists working farms that accept visitors for paid stays. In order to be listed, they must have a demonstrable commitment to sustainable practices. As a guest, you have an opportunity to learn directly from farmers, acquiring new skills while assisting with daily tasks. There are locations across the country, from ranches to vegetable farms, that welcome visitors. Farm stays can be a great way to experience an agricultural lifestyle while also supplementing the income of a farming family.
- Since 1981, the Southside Community Land Trust has been supporting the farmers and gardeners of Providence, Rhode Island. SCLT runs a 3/4-acre farm in the heart of Providence, facilitates agricultural education programs for city residents, and manages 16 community gardens across the city. The organization also hosts workshops on planting, composting, beekeeping, preserving, and more, serving as a hub for food activists, farmers, and students alike.
- In 2011, the Fit Kids Foundation was established to improve access to physical education for children. Fit Kids provides an 8-week fitness program that meets for an hour each week. By taking a fun and engaging approach to exercise and offering helpful nutritional tips, they hope to encourage participants to adopt and promote healthy living. The group is expanding to new schools and is currently accepting applications to become a Fit Kids coach.
- Genetically modified foods are a hot topic these days. The Genetic Engineering Action Network provides a space for knowledge sharing and collaboration between groups advocating increased government transparency and the disbandment of corporate monopolies over commercial food production. GEAN is dedicated to providing individuals with the tools to make informed decisions about their consumption and diets.
- The Healthy Farms, Healthy People Coalition works to organize policy initiatives in the food and agriculture sectors. Their priorities this year include increasing access to local food and promoting sustainable agricultural systems that are fair to farmers and laborers. On their website, you can find ways to get involved by contacting state or local representatives and engaging with any of their dozen member organizations.
About the Author: A student in Providence, Rhode Island, Leah Douglas loves learning about, talking about, reading about, and consuming food. Her other work can be found at her website.
Saturday (May 18)
Zoo-ologie at Lincoln Park Zoo
Saturday, May 18, 8:00 p.m. to midnight
Featuring an ancient Roman theme, this annual fundraiser for the Lincoln Park Zoo includes cocktails, dancing, and gourmet food stations. Katherine Anne Confections, Sunda, Frontier, and Wow Bao, among others, are on the culinary line-up.
$115. 2001 N. Clark Street; event website
Marcus Samuelsson Book Reception at the Merchandise Mart
Saturday, May 18, 4:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.
To celebrate the release of his new memoir, YES, CHEF, Marcus Samuelsson will visit the Snaidero Showroom for discussion and a reception. Event tickets include a copy of the book. $50. 222 Merchandise Mart Plaza; event website
Saturday, May 18, 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. and Sunday, May 19, 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Navy Pier hosts this celebration of sustainability, which includes an organic, vegetarian, and vegan food court and organic beer and wine garden. The event also includes featured speakers, yoga sessions, kids entertainment, and a marketplace.
$10-$32. 600 E. Grand Avenue; event website
Sunday (May 19)
25 Years of Craft Brewing Block Party at Goose Island
Sunday, May 19, 12:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.
Part of Chicago Craft Beer Week, Goose Island is celebrating a quarter-century of craft brewing at this afternoon event. Ticketholders receive 25 beer tasting vouchers for Goose Island classics, along with new releases and guest beers. Check out the complete Craft Beer Week schedule for more events. $25. 1800 W. Fulton Street; event website
Beyond (Saturday, June 8)
Bon Appétit Grub Crawl-Chicago
Tickets are on sale now for this new event, which allows diners to choose from one of two sessions. The afternoon event focuses on the West Loop, with a kick-off at Nellcote followed by stops at Little Goat, Avec, Blackbird, and Embeya. The evening sessions takes place in Logan Square, beginning with live music at Logan Auditorium and then food and drinks at Billy Sunday, Telegraph, Reno, and Jam. $149. Locations Vary; event website