News & Features

Publican Quality Meats to Open Next Week, Minus the Meat at First

January 31 2012 - 10:15 AM

If you've dined at The Publican, you can begin to imagine what Paul Kahan and crew could do with a butcher shop. The much-awaited store, located just across from The Publican on Fulton Market, will open February 6, but won't begin selling prime cuts of meat, housemade sausage and charcuterie until mid-February. Though it's a priarily butcher shop, Publican Quality Meats has been relatively silent on what types of meat they'll be serving: Yes, it will be prime, but they haven't announced which farmers they'll source from, or whether they'll be using whole or quarter animals like Rob and Allie Leavitt do at The Butcher & Larder. (**See Editor's Update below.)

In the meantime, the shelves will be stocked with bread and groceries like eggs, olive oil, and milk. The bread will be made on premise by baker Ehsan Ganji, who has owned a company called Ahwahnee Bread since last year. As for what you'll find once the meat counter opens, Publican Quality Meats has released a teaser video of some butchery, but it's really only worth watching for the soundtrack:

Publican Quality Meats teaser #1 by Biz 3 Media from Biz3 Media on Vimeo.

 **Editor's Update: Paul Kahan tells Chicago Foodies that Publican Quality Meats plans to break down whole pigs, quarter steers and whole lambs, both grass- and grain-fed, including off-cuts of meat.

–Kate Bernot


Northdown Cafe's Half Acre Brewery Night Tuesday 1/31, 6:00 p.m.

January 30 2012 - 11:29 PM

Always an inviting spot for a beer event, Northdown Cafe and Taproom is having Half Acre Brewery Night Tuesday the 31st at 6:00pm.

Before getting to that, note that I saw an outstanding film tonight, Maxwell Street Blues.   It screened at Transistor book and record shop on Lincoln Ave. as part of their free movie screening series (BYOB!).  Maxwell Street is a 1981 documentary about the dying Chicago blues scene on legendary Maxwell Street, a transient home to some of the all-time blues greats.  The focus is on the street bluesmen that time forgot, the ones not named Muddy Waters or Buddy Guy. 

This is a Land of Misfit Toys where the discards are weathered black bluesmen playing their last act, with withered fingers, leathery faces, and turquoise eyes blinded by glaucoma and cataracts.  It's vividly alive with brilliant music that in the span of a few strums will make you sad and make you laugh out loud.  Filmmakers Linda Williams and Rual Zaritsky deliver you a Chicago that's as real and tangible as that post-snow gunk you've been cleaning off your shoes.



Three Floyds Brewing – Cimmerian Sabertooth Berzerker

January 30 2012 - 12:30 PM

Why that name, I have no clue.  That's Three Floyds for you.  And thanks to Northdown Cafe, which continues to deliver the freshest selection of unusual, unique, rare, and interesting craft brews in town, I got to try some "CSB", a pub-only imperial IPA from Three Floyds.  Northdown tapped their small barrel of this Saturday night, which surely disappeared in a few hours.

As for stats, it's described as being about a 9% monster with 100 IBU's.  That's not unusual imperial IPA territory.  What sets this apart is how much it replicates the West Coast tropical IPA experience.  The color is a light amber.  It hits your nose with a decent amount of floral notes and a citrus perfume.  Its body is the lighter side of medium and it easily slides along the palate with maybe a touch of oiliness.


Home Cooking

Decoding Your Egg Carton

January 27 2012 - 12:00 PM

BrowneggsOrganic, free-range, cage-free, brown – there are an endless number of options for eggs at your local grocery store. How do you know which one is healthiest or safest to buy? For all other foods, it’s pretty cut and dry what it means to be organic vs. conventional. Eggs are not so simple. Until I did some extensive research, I personally had no idea what the difference was.

Like wheat bread, brown seemed like it had to be better for me in some way. All in all, there is no 100% for sure answer. If there were, they wouldn’t be selling 10 types of eggs at the supermarket. I’ve done some research on what studies have shown, how to decode the egg carton and what organic food guru Michael Pollan believes, and this is what I’ve gathered.


News & Features

A Mile in their Clogs: Chefs' Favorite Footwear (Part One)

January 26 2012 - 12:19 PM

BirkenstocksYou may think you have it bad when you come home from a day at the office and sink into your recliner, rubbing your tired feet. Chefs, who can spend 12-14 hours a day standing in a hot, cramped kitchen, understand foot fatigue better than anyone, and therefore swear unshakable loyalty to their preferred brand of footwear. These shoes have unique challenges: They must be supportive, comfortable, easily cleaned, and able to stand up to months of tough, hot, constant use. We checked in with a few of the hardest working chefs around the city to find out their favorite shoes, as well as tips for soothing tired tootsies. Ahead, our first three chefs weigh in.


News & Features

Having Trouble Keeping Up with Food Trucks?

January 26 2012 - 11:40 AM

We're not! We've been following the food truck scene for quite some time. Here's your reminder to follow our Chicago Foodies Twitter feed. We actually have a Food Truck Editor – the obsessive Jonathan Taylor who, for nearly the past year, has been doing a masterful job wrangling our friendly neighborhood food trucks as well as keep up with new ones! You can usually expect a full course of location tweets and re-tweets before noon. If you're driving a truck and we're missing you, send us an email and JT will rope you into the corral.

In addition to food truck news, we also tweet giveaways, special events and of course new posts.

Home Cooking

Chickpea and Spinach Stew Recipe

January 26 2012 - 11:25 AM

Chickpea_stewOne of my favorite things about cooking is that certain ingredients can transcend seasons, cuisines and price barriers. They don't follow a strict recipe, yet they always taste delicious.

This chickpea and spinach "stew" is exactly one of those flexible recipes. I've actually never made it before, but I imagine that you could add in any number of ingredients and it would still taste great. 

I did an Italian take on this dish by adding basil and garlic. Just by altering the spices and seasonings, you can change it up to have a more Mediterranean or Indian flair. Serve it with herbed chicken skewers and a side of hummus in the summer, or add some coriander or cumin and pair with basmati rice. Here's my version. 


Home Cooking

Harvard Science & Cooking Lectures #1: Historical Context Food & Science

January 26 2012 - 10:16 AM

Harold McGee and Dave Arnold join David Weitz in this first of a series of Harvard lectures from their School of Engineering and Applied Sciences. It's a monster series which Harvard has archived online and which we will be sharing in full right here. It's really a prerequisite for high-adventure in the kitchen.


News & Features

Alpana Singh Announces Restaurant Venture, The Boarding House

January 25 2012 - 5:09 PM

And so begins Chapter Three of the Alpana Singh story: After leaving Lettuce Entertain You in December (where she had served as director of wine since 2005), then announcing that a wine bar was in the works, Check Please! host Singh has now put forth a few more details about the upcoming project, which will be called The Boarding House.

The restaurant will, predictably, be "sommelier-driven," and will take its inspiration from the historic building in which it is located. The space at 720 North Wells previously housed a nightclub, a cheese company, a tobacconist, and yes, a boarding house. Singh says the late nineteenth century will be the inspiration for the decor and menu. Beyond that, she's not releasing many details, telling Chicago Magazine that she hasn't yet hired a chef and so can't speak to the menu just yet. Stay tuned for Chapter Four once a chef is appointed.

Kitchen & Gadgets

Must Have Kitchen Appliances for 2012

January 25 2012 - 10:31 AM

Screen-shot-2011-10-11-at-10.08.20-AM-300x270Every morning, after I shuffle my kids out the door to school, I zip back in the kitchen and whip up my daily secret weapon in my Vitmix blender. Greens, fruit and water combine to give me a sweet and nutritious treat that motors me through the morning and on to lunchtime. We all have our kitchen heroes—the appliances we just can’t live without, so today, I dedicate this post to all my personal favorites, the modern day wonders that make my food-loving life so much easier.

So without further ado I present, my kitchen heroes: each one doing its part to make cooking a whine-free experience in this Real Mom’s home: