Why are Chicago chefs so obsessed with ramps? Well, they are our city's namesake, but they also make a tasty flavor accent for anything from risotto to lobster tacos.
'Sepia' on Serious Eats
With the proliferation of cocktail bars and cocktail-conscious restaurants in Chicago, there are dozens of rye cocktails to be had here, especially during this time of year, when meager temperatures demand that restorative sensation of heat rye drinks so generously provide. But around town, many rye drinks are darn good, while others are just ok. As a service to ourselves, I say, let's not waste a drop of precious rye on anything short of great.
With more than 200 restaurants participating in Chicago Restaurant Week 2013, the choices can be overwhelming. Though still a few weeks out, you better make your reservations now if you want to grab some of the most coveted tables. Here are seven lunch deals you'd be sorry to miss.
It's that time of year again, when we all develop that natural inclination to reach for something bubbly. Here are five sparkling cocktail recipes from two of our favorite places to toast in Chicago: Sepia, where Josh Pearson presides over the handsome marble bar, and Pops for Champagne, a longtime fixture of the city's bubbly scene. We promise you'll have no trouble replicating these drinks in all their fizzy finery.
For the second year in a row, the Green City Market Junior Board held a Halloween charity event. While all for a good cause, it was also an exceptional excuse to see some of Chicago's best chefs all dressed up.
Sepia's executive chef won the latest episode of the Food Network's Iron Chef America.
During my three years of covering Chicago for A Hamburger Today, I had the pleasure of eating an impressive array of the area's burgers. Some were good, some were not so good, and more than a few were simply outstanding. Here's a reminder of the 15 best.
Last night, some of the best chefs in Chicago set up shop in Lincoln Park for the Green City Market's Chefs' BBQ Benefit, which helps raise money for educational initiatives at the market. The original plan was to try and eat every single dish, but considering there were over 80 restaurants at the event, I had to make do with sampling as much as I could. I did pretty well.
A splendid plate of octopus takes some doing. Cook it too long, and it dries out; don't cook it long enough, and octopus can be as forgiving as the sole of a dress shoe. But restaurants are taking an array of thoughtful approaches right now to serving up the cephalopod. Some opt to cook it sous vide, then finish it on the grill to order, leaving the texture pleasantly pliant and the flavor slightly flamed-kissed; others grill it and chill it, allowing octopus's natural chewiness to come through on the plate. Check out the slideshow of eight octopus dishes we love in Chicago.
Take a blend of short rib, sirloin and skirt steak, grind it in-house, allow a thick crust to form without overcooking, top it with some excellent bacon from Gunthorp Farms, a robust cheddar from Wales, and some lightly fried onions, and you're going to understand what kind of quality justifies a Michelin star.
As cookie-cutter and generic as Valentine's Day may seem, it's important to remember that romance is a deeply personal experience. So, it makes sense that what constitutes as a "romantic" restaurant depends entirely on the couple. Each of our contributors picked out the one place they'd most like to spend time with their significant other.
Death & Taxes is an apt name, in more ways than one, for bartender Logan Lavachek's contribution to the current fall/winter cocktail menu at Sepia, one of Chicago's classiest places to down a drink.
The base spirit of this cocktail, Sheep Dip blended Scotch whisky, gets its name from an old term Scottish farmers used to disguise casks of homemade hooch. To avoid taxes (and the disapproval of their wives) they labeled barrels of bootleg Scotch as Sheep Dip, an insecticide used to delouse sheep.
This cocktail features a pair of wine-based ingredients, dry white port and barolo chinato. The latter is an Italian digestif made with a base of Italian barolo wine. Thanks to an infusion of cinchona bark, gentian and rhubarb roots, and other aromatics, it makes for a warming, full-bodied drink.
Sepia's interior. Photo from official website. Sepia restaurant in Chicago's West Loop is a testament to the success that can come from having a vision and sticking to it. While the idea of having one foot in the past and...
Sometimes you just want to give the clueless a beat down. Monday night, I'm sitting at the Sepia restaurant bar, sipping one of bartender Peter Vestinos's Fig and Almond Old Fashioneds (fig- and almond-infused Woodford Reserve bourbon, fig and cranberry bitters, muddled cherries, and oranges). Vestinos infuses the bourbon with figs for four days and adds the almonds in the last 24 hours to capture their essence without transforming the liquor into Amaretto. The cranberry bitters are homemade, too. As I sipped and perused a long list of amazing cocktails made with fresh ingredients and homemade concoctions, wave after wave of people order vodka. It might as well be a bathhouse in Moscow. You got guys trying to flash their...