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Foodporn Fri Jul 31 2015

Friday Foodpic: Expat

20070829421_4af5bdaff3_z.jpgPicture by Adrienne Cragnotti from the Drive-Thru Flickr Pool.

Robyn Nisi / Comments (0)

Review Mon Jul 27 2015

Multi-Layered Modern Tacos in West Loop

rsz_img_0078.jpgMás is a modern Mexican restaurant in the West Loop, serving "upscale" tacos with lots of toppings. People are finicky about their tacos, and since its opening, the restaurant has reworked its menu quite a few times. Attracted by its sleek décor, I recently dined there to make my own judgments.

The guacamole at más is fresh and filled with jalapenos, and the accompanying root chips are an interesting (though brittle) twist on traditional tortilla chips. For the "ceviche", order the cola amarilla (yellowtail, sweet potato, chile de arbol ponzu sauce), an untraditional twist that looks and tastes more like spicy sashimi. Like many other items on the menu, the dish is Asian-influenced and quite delicious.

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Judy Wu / Comments (1)

Foodporn Fri Jul 24 2015

Friday Foodpic: Corn!

cornnnn.bmpPicture by Renee Rendler-Kaplan from the Drive Thru Flickr Pool.

Robyn Nisi / Comments (0)

Event Fri Jul 24 2015

The Ultimate Dinner Party


The appeal of most underground supper clubs is that they are secret-- sexy, slightly illicit dining for the in-the-know crowd. But the new pop up dinner series Filigree Suppers goes beyond the supper club model, elevating the best parts of an intimate dinner party without the exclusivity.

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Annie Conway / Comments (0)

Review Fri Jul 24 2015

Unconventional Disappointment at Bohemian House

rsz_img_0061.jpgI first dined at Bohemian House in River North last year, and my overwhelmingly positive experience with the food and service inspired me to return again. Which was unfortunate, since my recent experience showcased a water-downed menu with lackluster execution.

The appetizer knackwurst sausage was decent--nothing overwhelming exciting or memorable--but I wouldn't get it again. The salt and vinegar chips were surprisingly good--sour, salty, and just a whiff of bacon smoke all over. Hidden underneath kale, the Chicken Paprikash with yogaball-sized dumplings--or grilled chicken in thick paprika roux--tasted like muddled disappointment. Either the sauce or the chicken lacked salt and acid, though I really couldn't tell which one.

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Judy Wu / Comments (0)

Bar Thu Jul 23 2015

The "New" Villains Prevails

villains01.jpg"Where's Printers Row?" my friend--who works in the neighboring West Loop--asked me. I jumped to explain, throwing out some vague geographical tidbits and something about the annual Printers Row Lit Fest (which I love and have attended regularly ever since moving to Chicago about five years ago). However, I struggled to truly pin an identity to the area. I don't know, it's nice? There's a lot of student housing around there?

Villains, originally debuted in 2007 as a neighborhood bar on Clark Street across from its current "resurrected" incarnation, is doing the work for me by giving us out-of-neighborhooders something to remember Printers Row by. The updated Villains wants to stand out, and does so by pairing an out-of-the-box beer selection with beautifully executed food that excels far beyond the realm of typical "pub grub." There was some love put into this place, and it shows: the interior is spacious and plush, with thoughtful features such as a knob placed next to each booth by which guests can control the intensity of the lighting over their particular area (!!).

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Danielle Snow / Comments (0)

Event Thu Jul 23 2015

CoffeeCon Not Just for Coffee Pros

ccin.jpgCoffeeCon Chicago is coming to town this Saturday at Morgan Manufacturing (401 N. Morgan St.) from 9 am to 4 pm. This festival differs from other national coffee conventions in that it's largely designed for coffee consumers and home brewers, not coffee professionals. Whether you're simply looking to cut ties with your Keurig or you're a manual-method master, there will likely be something here for you.

General admission grants attendees access to unlimited coffee tastings from twenty different roasters, panel discussions led by top industry experts, prize giveaways, and interactive classes on topics ranging from how to use a Chemex or Areopress to latte art and grind technique.

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Jessica Easto / Comments (0)

Random Wed Jul 22 2015

Clean Up Your Menu, Freshii

Anthony Bourdain recently stated that Asian chefs are leading the evolution of American cuisine, a sentiment I believe is well founded given the recent food trends. And yet, I saw the exact opposite of that during my recent trek to Freshii. I was ordering a salad off their menu when I came across the "Ninja." I then proceeded to read the core ingredients:

Ninja: spinach and romaine, cabbage, edamame, carrots, cucumbers, cilantro, crispy wontons, asian sesame dressing

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Judy Wu / Comments (0)

Drink Wed Jul 22 2015

Five Places to Get Cold Brew in Chicago That Aren't Starbucks

Starbucks recently announced that it is expanding its cold brew menu item to participating stores across the country. Chicagoans have been able to purchase Starbucks cold brew since March, as the city was part of the company's soft introduction to stores in the Northeast, Mid-Atlantic, and Midwest.

I'm glad Starbucks has introduced cold brew--a far superior method of producing chilled coffee than pouring ice into a cup of hot, double-strength brew--to the masses, but specialty shops in Chicago have been serving cold brew for years. The next time you're craving the smooth, concentrated flavor of cold brew, consider trying one of these shops.

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Jessica Easto / Comments (5)

Beer Tue Jul 21 2015

Beer Briefs: Barrelhouses, Festivals & Home Brews

micro brew reviewUne Annee is building a barrelhouse and tap room, expected to be open in early 2016. Following in the footsteps of many other small breweries, including Begyle and Breakroom, Une Annee is implementing a membership program to help bootstrap the project. Join Le Grand Monde for $100 and you'll get a t-shirt, six 750ml bottles of the brewery's sour beers throughout the year, a bottle each of the special Quad and Airing of Grievances brews, and a 10 percent discount at the barrelhouse. A "platinum" option is available for $300 that includes quite a bit more swag, double the beer and an invitation to the soft opening.

Tickets are on sale now for the eighth annual Oak Park Micro Brew Review in downtown Oak Park on Aug. 15. More than 70 breweries will offer over 200 different beers, and there will also be food from local restaurants and live music on four stages. $50 gets you 40 beer samples and a souvenir tasting glass. Tickets for the Replicale Project, in which breweries create their own interpretations of a specific beer style (this year it's saison) are $60.

Mash Tun Journal has announced the call for entries for the 2015 Homebrewer's Ball, which will be held Aug. 23 at the Co-Prosperity Sphere. Only 25 beers will compete, and the grand prize will be brewed and distributed by Marz Community Brewing.

Andrew Huff / Comments (0)

Brunch Mon Jul 20 2015

Midwestern-Sized Brunch at Hash House a Go Go

kokomo.jpgHash House a Go Go is irreverent of portion size, and proud of it. Bacon, waffles, eggs, and fried chicken all stacked in one dish? Yes. Crispy or mashed potatoes with massive griddled French toast? Please.

Ironically, the original Hash House a Go Go was born in San Diego, city of vegan runners and beautiful surfers. Now in locations across the US, the restaurant's "twisted farm food" concept makes the most sense in Chicago, a city with that wholesome Midwestern appeal.

Specials include the Sage Fried Chicken (sage fried chicken breasts with hardwood smoked bacon waffle tower, hot maple reduction and fried leeks), Sausage gravy pot pie (with scrambled eggs & mashed potatoes), any of their famous one-pound stuffed burgers, and the Kokokmo (griddled meatloaf, griddled smoked mozzarella cheese on milk bread).

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Judy Wu / Comments (0)

Foodporn Thu Jul 16 2015

Friday Foodpic: Original Rainbow Cone

19043421914_2974b7402f_z.jpgPicture by Adrienne Cragnotti from the Drive-Thru Flickr Pool.

Robyn Nisi / Comments (0)

Drink Tue Jul 14 2015

How to Make Cascara

Are you a coffee lover? A tea lover? Somewhere in between? If your answer is "yes" to any of these questions, then cascara may be the drink for you. Cascara, which I only recently heard about, is the dried skins of coffee cherries, the fruit that surrounds coffee beans, which are actually seeds. Cascara (or "coffee-cherry tea") has been consumed for generations in coffee-growing countries, but the market for it is just starting to develop here in the States.

In Chicago, you can purchase cascara from some of the city's finest independent roasters. I found bags from PassionHouse and HalfWit--although there may be others. Some local shops are starting to use cascara in their seasonal signature drinks, so ask your neighborhood barista about this naturally sweet, refreshing nectar.

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Jessica Easto / Comments (0)

Openings Tue Jul 14 2015

Be Leaf, new salad concept, opens in the Loop

Hospitality runs in the family, especially for Becky Marks. Owner of Be Leaf, a new salad concept in the Loop, Marks joins brothers Danny and Doug (owners of Emporium Arcade Bar) in the restaurant industry. Similar to other health-conscious restaurants (Freshii, LYFE, Just Salad and Farmer's Fridge), Be Leaf focuses on sustainable, local produce and nutrient-dense ingredients. Environmental sustainability also plays a major role in the restaurant's philosophy, including a composting program and eco-friendly dishware.

Be Leaf salads and grain bowls are creatively named and crafted, including "All Hail Caesar" (kale & romaine, chicken, parmesan crisps), "Nom Nomaste" (chicken, soba noodles, edamame, shiitake mushrooms, roasted shishito peppers, grapefruit, broccoli, yuzu-miso dressing), and "Bravocado" (quinoa, avocado, queso fresco, kale chips). Diners can also customize their salads or grain bowls, selecting ingredients as they move down the assembly line. The salads and bowls are very small for the price point ($10+ for a salad bowl), so customization might be the best option for those who want a more substantial meal. Or, stick with your salad and impress all your colleagues with your portion control.

Be Leaf
29 N. Upper Wacker Dr.
Chicago, IL 60606
(312) 877-5399

Judy Wu / Comments (0)

Bar Mon Jul 13 2015

Farm-Fresh Food & '80s Fun at HQ Beercade

On a quiet street in River North, not too far from the bustle of Michigan Ave, emerges another sound--this one, nostalgic. The chime of pinball machines, the thumping of control panels, snippets from Back to the Future. Compared to its neighbors in River North, HQ Beercade is an eccentric bar, but a good one, with a lively atmosphere and fantastic drinks. This adult arcade is the perfect retro escape for '80s children wanting to relive their Reebok Pump and Paula Abdul childhoods.

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Judy Wu / Comments (0)

Feature Tue Apr 21 2015

"Cookie Love" Uncovers Dessert's Best-Kept Secret

By Robyn Nisi

The first line of the introduction to Mindy Segal's newest cookbook Cookie Love (Ten Speed, $25) is all you need to know for understanding why this is required reading for all bakers: "I am a cookie nerd." Yes, the celebrated...
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Sat Aug 1 2015
Old Irving Park Beer & BBQ Challenge

Sat Aug 1 2015
Gapers Block Hot Dog Cookoff @ Schubas

Sat Aug 1 2015
Taste of Latin America

Fri Aug 7 2015
Cuisine for Cancer @ Morgan Manufacturing

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Drive-Thru is the food and drink section of Gapers Block, covering the city's vibrant dining, drinking and cooking scene. More...
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