A Seafood TowerNext Level Chef : Season 1 Episo...
The chefs were tasked with creating next level dishes using seafood, a protein that can be impossibly hard to deal with. With seafood, you either cook it right or wrong. There is little to no room for error. So making sure you grabbed the right elements off the Ingredient Platform would be key.
A Seafood TowerNext Level Chef : Season 1 Episo...
King's County Tap hugs the Purple and Brown Line, sits near Apollo Theater, and has that Lincoln Park vibe--the 9-inch shorts, doggies-abound, al-fresco dining sort of feel. King's County Tap (KCT) is an industrial-designed space with open walls, all sorts of cocktails and beers on tap, and a menu rivaling its Loop counterparts. A quick glance at the menu, and you can tell the chef likes his Asian and Mediterranean flavors: charred octopus with merguez and white bean ragout, labneh with curried apricot compote and spiced peanuts, and seared scallops with braised lentils and lemongrass. The appetizers, or "small" plates, lean heavily towards seafood and vegetables, the highlight (surprisingly) being the KCT Green Salad, laced with a perfumed cumin vinaigrette that melded perfectly with the crunchy greens and pistachios. Appetizer options also include a pick-and-choose charcuterie plate, with options such as gamey elk salumi and soft spunky cheeses. The large-plate entrees are all fairly standard and reflect the season--risotto with butternut squash and pepitas, pork chop with spaetzle and apple mostarda, and salmon with fresh cheese gnocchi. The dishes are diverse, all tasty, and well-portioned for sauntering through Lincoln Park.
Nonetheless, I found myself dining at this Wicker Park joint, nestled within a long stretch of restaurants along Milwaukee Ave. The menu geography at Max's Wine Dive is somewhat scattered, with small and large plates alongside "for-sharing" and "main" seasonal dishes crafted by executive chef Jessica Brumleve. The food is marketed as "upscale comfort," which is fairly accurate in the sense that much of the menu is deep-fried but gilded with "heirloom tomato confit" or "black truffle aioli".
Without a reservation, we are led to a booth, taking note of the decor as both modern and rustic, kitschy but clean -- chunky wood, right angles and chenille-upholstered seating my brother in law -- to my surprise -- swoons over for near 10 minutes. Their decor and "environment" are a vision of the wife of owner and chef Matthias Merges' (respected and seasoned chef, formerly executive chef at Charlie Trotter's), Rachel Crowl, and Julie Fisher, her partner and co-owner of FCStudio.
The movie opens with chef Ferran Adrià testing out an unusual product that perfectly sums up the magical whimsy through innovation that Adrià and his team attempt to capture with all their work. Numerous books (and bloggers) have captured the experience of eating at El Bulli, and many a famous chef have recounted their stagiaires time in El Bulli, including Chicago wunderkind Grant Achatz. But with El Bulli: Cooking in Progress, the audience gets to witness the exploratory science and almost manic obsession that Adrià and his chefs de cuisine exude during the six months working in their lab in Barcelona while the restaurant is closed for their off season. The chefs spend each day exploring new taste, textures, and generally ripping apart each item of food. At one point there are notes detailing how one type of fruit behaves when deconstructed every way possible: boiled, roasted, frozen, pureed, etc.
Seeing as how one competing chef is from our fair city (Dale Levistki of Sprout) and several competitors are from the rad season that was filmed in our fair city (Richard Blais, Spike, Antonia), it seems worth spending a few moments to reflect on this week's Top Chef All Stars episode and apologize for missing the first episode until remembering I'd DVRd it this past weekend. Whoops. Assuming it takes you one second to read a long, rambling sentence or two, here are five seconds on Episode 2:Dale Levitski is...kind of a jerk! Referring to a natural history museum cavewoman as a stuffed analogue to a fellow-cheftestant, trash-talking hyper kids (who he just gave sugar to! What do you expect to happen?!), and generally being surly and bitchy -- all of which does, however, make for some fine television.
Dale Talde thought Joe Jonas was a maybe a trendy pastry chef. Win.
The return of Top Chef means the return of Bourdain's Blog! Win!
Episode 1 featured liquid nitrogen-aided mustard ice cream (on the quickfire winning Chicago-style deconstructed hot dog, natch), and this week featured an entire vat of the stuff being used to solidify marshmallows, or...something. Ten bucks says by season's end a cheftestant accidentally immerses a limb in liquid nitrogen and sees it shatter when they're pushed to the floor in the mad rush to the fridge after the fateful words, "Your time starts...now!" (like this!).
And *spoiler alert* of course Jen, one of the consensus favorites to go far this season, went down in weird, fidgety, defensive flames -- channeling Spike, showing her true crazy-ass colors, or just the effects of a 24-hour run with way too much sugar and way too little sleep. You be the judge.
Jonathan Beatty, who helped open Purple Pig is overseeing the menu as executive chef. And weekly Saturday night specials means he can play with seasonality and ingredients of his choice. The back of the restaurant doubles as a wine boutique. Rather than a traditional wine menu, Davanti allows patrons to buy wine at the boutique at commercial prices and then charges a $7 corking fee. To be honest, I can't tell you how nice it was to drink a glass of wine from a $30 bottle of wine and actually have it cost $30, rather than the standard 2-3 times as much.
With a grey and drizzly Memorial Day in our rearview mirrors, the official backyard -- or back deck alley, sidewalk, whathaveyou -- barbecue season is upon us. And sure, you could simply pull out the Weber and grill up some hotdogs and hamburgers. But if you really want to impress your friends, take it to the next level and start smoking -- meats, that is.
Located in the Affinia hotel, C-House specializes in imaginative seafood and features a nicely tiered menu of bites from the bar, appetizers, entrees, and sides -- all of which work in endless combinations to appease big and little hungers, sushi-enthusiasts and anti-raw stalwarts alike. And many of which work really nicely with the sweetness of their featured Riesling flight. Our server noted that rather than pairing each wine with a course, the chef rather intended all three to be tasted with everything we ate to see how the different flavors played off each other with each individual sip. It certainly took the concern out of ordering. We tried various combinations of bites and apps, standouts being the crab salad (wrapped up in paper thin slices of apple to create something resembling more of a candy than a summer salad), lobster club sandwich, and the seemingly grilled and freeze-dried corn kernels that accompany the very popular yellowtail fish tacos. 041b061a72