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Sunday, April 20

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Event Fri Apr 18 2014

Baconfest Chicago 2014 Menus Revealed

BFC-Logo-Feat.jpgCan you ever have enough bacon?

Over 160 Chicago chefs will be cooking up nearly 8,000 pounds of bacon as they prepare signature dishes for Baconfest Chicago 2014 (April 25 & 26 at UIC Forum). Dishes range from savory to the sublime, including:

  • The Bad Apple's Baconnoli - Bacon, banana, and Bellwether Jersey Cow ricotta-filled canolli with bacon peanut caramel and powdered bacon sugar.
  • Untitled's The All In - Bacon dashi soup dumpling and bacon rabbit sausage with a spicy bacon mustard.
  • Glazed and Infused's Apple Bacon Pineapple Fritter
  • The Dawson's The Featherweight - Bacon maple donut bread pudding sandwich, with allspice confit face bacon and bourbon bacon sabayon.

Go to the Baconfest Chicago website for the entire menu.

The Saturday lunch and dinner sessions are sold out, but a limited number of VIP tickets for Friday's session are available via Eventbrite.

You can also enjoy some of these featured bacon dishes during Bacon Month's Charity Dine-Around; 34 restaurants are putting their bacon dishes on the menu and donating a portion of the proceeds to Baconfest's charity partner, the Greater Chicago Food Depository.

Harvey Morris / Comments (0)

Column Fri Apr 18 2014

Street-Food Brings Culture to Chicago

cr3.jpg"I think of [street food] as the antidote to fast food; it's the clear alternative to the king, the clown and the colonel. It's faster, and chances are it's healthier than something at a traditional fast food restaurant. I would much rather give my money to a neighbor or an individual than to a gigantic corporation that owns half the world. Maybe it's naïve of me, but I prefer food made by an identifiable human that's actually cooking." -Anthony Bourdain

Street food is pure food--no frills, no tipping, no chatting. A simple transaction of money and treasured sustenance, a cultural exchange rooted in the most basic of human commonalities. I grew up eating street food. Right at sunrise, my grandmother and I would meander through the markets of Shanghai, grabbing a box of shengjian before hustling to our favorite congee stall. The smoky and savory aroma of jianbing, chickens squawking, tea-boiled eggs, the grassiness of fresh produce wafted through the air as we ate on little plastic stools, watching people ride past on motorcycles and bikes.

Continue reading this entry »

Judy Wu / Comments (1)

Foodporn Fri Apr 18 2014

Friday Foodpic: Jello Slices

13176178864_9bc617b913_z.jpgPicture by Gary Eckstein from the Drive-Thru Flickr Pool.

Robyn Nisi / Comments (0)

Event Mon Apr 14 2014

Lovin' Gluten-Free at Last

dsc_0022.jpgAfter attending the Gluten and Allergen Free Expo (GAFE) in Schaumburg this weekend, I finally get it. I finally understand why people enjoy being gluten-free. As I strolled through the vendor aisles -- toting my environmentally friendly bag -- a peculiar but delightful emotion coursed through my wheat-intolerant veins. It was a feeling of self-gratifying sanctimony, of clannish indignation -- and boy, did I love it! There is no sensation more pleasant than knowing (and letting others know) that whilst I cannot partake in the joyous wonder that is bread, I do have flax crackers and chocolate-coated quinoa chunks! Who needs hot dogs and Doritos when I can happily indulge in vegan soy sausages and tamari-glazed rice crackers?

Continue reading this entry »

Judy Wu / Comments (0)

Foodporn Fri Apr 11 2014

Friday Foodpic: A-1 Donuts, Sheridan Red Line Station (Closed)

13723611964_bfb9dafe7f_z.jpgPicture by Bill Guerriero from the Drive-Thru Flickr Pool.

Robyn Nisi / Comments (1)

News Thu Apr 10 2014

Departures at Nightwood, Bang Bang Pie

After announcing the departure of executive chef Jason Vincent last week, Pilsen's Nightwood has another job opening, despite saying that no other staff is changing in Vincent's absence; their executive sous chef, Ben Lustbader, announced his resignation yesterday. Current sous chef Shae Daher will replace Vincent.

Dave and Megan Miller, the married couple and engine behind Logan Square's Bang Bang Pie (pictured), are parting ways with their business partner Michael Ciapciak and taking their pie and biscuit magic up north to a former flower shop on Western Avenue in Lincoln Square to open Baker Miller Pie, which will focus on locally sourced ingredients (think Little House on the Prairie). Bang Bang will continue on with Ciapciak.

Robyn Nisi / Comments (0)

Dish Wed Apr 09 2014

The Latest in Stunt Menu Items

zillion dollar grilled cheese
Not content with mere foie gras-topped burgers and truffle pizzas, deca at the Ritz Carlton, 160 E. Pearson St., has introduced the Zillion Dollar Grilled Cheese in honor of National Grilled Cheese Month.

The sandwich consists of sourdough bread grilled in extra-virgin olive oil, topped with shaved black Iberico ham, 40-year aged Wisconsin cheddar embedded with 24k gold flakes, heirloom tomatoes, 100-year-old balsamic vinegar, watercress and Oregon Perigord white truffle aioli. Then there's a slice of grilled foie gras and sunny-side up duck egg on top, grated truffle and a bit more gold, and a side of lobster mac-and-cheese.

The whole order sets you back $100. It's available now through April 30. Call 312-573-5160 for a reservation.

Andrew Huff / Comments (0)

Bar Mon Apr 07 2014

Home of Chicago's #1 Liquor License Celebrates End of Prohibition

Berghoff-Liquor Lic 1-1933.jpgOn April 7, 1933, Herman Berghoff, founder of The Berghoff Restaurant, secured the first two liquor licenses issued by the City of Chicago after the repeal of Prohibition. Liquor license #1 was obtained for the Berghoff Bar and license #2 for the Berghoff Restaurant. Those original licenses are still on display inside the Berghoff Bar and have become a popular photo opp for tourists and locals.

On any Monday during the month of April, Berghoff's is inviting customers to snap a photo with the #1 liquor license and post it to either Facebook or Twitter. The first 30 people will receive a stein of Berghoff Beer for a dime.

The Berghoff Restaurant
17 W. Adams St.

Harvey Morris / Comments (0)

Event Fri Apr 04 2014

Pour Over to Manual

manual coffeeshopDesigner Craighton Berman is in the midst of crowdfunding for his latest product, a beautiful glass and bamboo pour-over coffeemaker. To promote it, he's hosting a pop-up coffeebar today and Saturday at Rational Park Gallery, 2557 W. North Ave.

Today from 8am to 5pm, Berman will be on hand giving demonstrations of the coffeemaker; with complementary donuts and coffee will be provided. On Saturday from 11am to 3pm, Berman teams up with Good Beer Hunting for a studio event that includes samples of Solemn Oath's new coffee milk stout, more coffee and donuts, and the opportunity to get a free "Uppers & Downers" t-shirt if you're one of the first 100 new Kickstarter backers at the event. RSVP is requested, but not required.

Andrew Huff / Comments (0)

Foodporn Fri Apr 04 2014

Friday Foodpic: It's Gonna Happen

13534913665_356314f3ee_z.jpgPicture by Lucy Rendler-Kaplan from the Drive-Thru Flickr Pool.

Robyn Nisi / Comments (0)

Interview Thu Apr 03 2014

Low Key Top Chef: Heather Terhune of Sable Kitchen & Bar

Chef_Heather_7079.jpgChicago produces many contestants for Top Chef (tributes from the Windy City District, shall I say), and though everyone knows the Fabio and the Izard, a few chefs have remained relatively low key. Heather Terhune, executive chef at Sable Kitchen & Bar, competed in the Texas season and left the show with a reputation more rooted in her social interactions than her culinary abilities.

In any case, Terhune still currently serves as executive chef at Sable, part of the Kimpton hotel and restaurant franchise. Originally from Vermont ("the land of maple syrup, cheddar cheese, and Ben & Jerry's"), Terhune considers herself a Midwestern native despite having lived in multiple cities across the US (including New Orleans and Washington DC). Terhune is different from most executive chefs in that she's female, doesn't need a pastry chef, and runs Sable as if she owned the business. Her menu features farm-to-table small-plates, including all the bacon n' truffle catchphrase dishes you'd expect in a chic River North restaurant. Despite my reality TV biases, my conversation with Chef Terhune revealed a confident and assertive leader, perhaps easily prone to misunderstanding but pure of character.

Continue reading this entry »

Judy Wu / Comments (0)

Restaurant Tue Apr 01 2014

Rethink Sunday With mK's 'Sunday Suppers'

mK restaurant chicago.jpgWhile most of Chicago approaches Sunday thinking about brunch, mK wants you to consider thinking about the meal after that -- supper.

To celebrate their 15th year in business, mK recently launched a new Sunday Supper Series, a three-course casual yet fine dining meal for $30/person or $60/couple crafted around seasonal ingredients and set in their updated lounge.

Upon invite, I skipped the regular Bloody Mary and made plans for their Sunday Supper.

The atmosphere at mK is chic, classy and calm and even on a busy night for Chicago Chef Week, I didn't feel overwhelmed. The waiter took notice of my dinner companion cozied up in a black leather lounge chair.

"You see this gentleman, here," he said, "see how relaxed he is? He sums up everything we're trying to do with Sunday Supper. You sit back and relax, we bring the food. The only thing you need to stress about is what wine to pair with it."

Continue reading this entry »

Brandy Gonsoulin / Comments (0)

Foodporn Thu Mar 27 2014

Friday Foodporn: Bubble and Squeak

bandso9k0.jpgPicture by Drew Baker from the Drive-Thru Flickr Pool.

Robyn Nisi / Comments (0)

Beer Tue Mar 25 2014

When Brewers and Chefs Meet: A Love Story

Jesse Valenciana knew what he wanted his mole-inspired stout to taste like, but he was a cook and home brewer, not a professional brewmaster. The co-founder of ManBQue, the local men's grilling and social club, and recent author needed a brewer with the same depth of skills for manipulating flavors in beer as he could in the kitchen. To create his first craft beer collaboration, Valenciana called upon Clint Bautz, co-founder of the Northwest side Lake Effect Brewing Company.

Lake Effect Unholy Mole Beer Collage.jpg

An avid fan of Bautz's work, Valenciana was unsatisfied with the mole stouts on the market, as they were not "authentic enough." Bautz, equally as passionate about food and someone familiar with working with chefs in beer making, jumped on board to create the Unholy Mole, a seasonal milk stout inspired by one of ManBQue's recipes, and infused with various roasted chilies. The beer made its debut at Dimo's Pizza in Bucktown and select taps around the city late last year and was so popular that the two men recently met again in the brewery to revive the recipe and bottle it for distribution.

Little did Valenciana know, however, that he and Bautz were contributing to the vanguard of one of the curious partnerships coming out of Chicago's exploding craft beer scene - the intersection where chefs and brewers meet. This time, however, it's more than just beer and food pairings.

Continue reading this entry »

Brandy Gonsoulin / Comments (0)

Brunch Mon Mar 24 2014

Prairie Grass Cafe Hosts Brunch with The Breakfast Queen, Ina Pinkney

If you're among those who miss having breakfast at Ina's in the West Loop, you have a one-day reprieve. Prairie Grass Cafe in Northbrook will be hosting a special brunch with Ina Pinkney (aka The Breakfast Queen) on Sunday, March 30 from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm.

Taste Memories Cover.jpgDiners are invited to come and meet "The Breakfast Queen;" Ina will be signing copies of her new book, Taste Memories.

Prairie Grass Cafe's Chef Sarah Stegner will make some of her favorite Ina recipes, including Heavenly Hots pancakes, that will be added to a featured brunch menu. Reservations are recommended.

Prairie Grass Cafe
601 Skokie Boulevard
Northbrook, IL 60062
1-847-205-4433 for reservations

Harvey Morris / Comments (0)

Beer Tue Mar 25 2014

When Brewers and Chefs Meet: A Love Story

By Brandy Gonsoulin

Jesse Valenciana knew what he wanted his mole-inspired stout to taste like, but he was a cook and home brewer, not a professional brewmaster. The co-founder of ManBQue, the local men's grilling and social club, and recent author needed a...
Read this feature »



Wed Apr 23 2014
Rioja Wine Dinner @ Senza

Wed Apr 23 2014
Taste of Vietnam @ Banh Mi & Co.

Thu Apr 24 2014
"Whiskies of the World" Dinner @ Schubas

Thu Apr 24 2014
Not Another Beer Dinner @ The Dawson

Thu Apr 24 2014
Dining Out for Life

Fri Apr 25 2014
Baconfest @ UIC Forum

Sat Apr 26 2014
Baconfest @ UIC Forum

Sat Apr 26 2014
Biting through the Skin: An Indian Kitchen in America's Heartland @ Kendall College

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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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Editor: Robyn Nisi,
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