"This bottle alone costs approximately $600 retail," explained mixer Allie Kim as she handed over a bottle of Maotai. The Chinese government has given it out as a diplomatic gift, while newscaster Dan Rather famously once said it was like drinking "liquid razor blades." At newly opened River North Chinese spot Lao 18, they've incorporated it (in very small doses) into their cocktail program.
'tony hu' on Serious Eats
Back in January, I spent half of the month attempting to eat at every single one of Tony Hu's restaurants in Chicago's Chinatown. But he does not rest, and since then he's opened up two more projects. I figured it was time to update my Chinatown-focused post with more picks.
Purple Chinese eggplant is cut into wide batons, coated in a salty and spicy tempura-style batter, fried to a crisp, and tossed with dried red chilies and slivered green onions. The eggplant holds its shape surprisingly well, though each bite gives way to a smooth and creamy center.
Large, irregular chunks of breaded and fried chicken, barely charred green and red bell peppers, crunchy baby corn, a few dried red chilies for good measure, all swimming in a viscous pepper seed specked brick red sauce. Spooned over the accompanying steamed rice, the dish was comforting in it's familiarity, but self assured in its preparation. This was no ordinary carry-out General Tsao's Chicken.
Though most publications like to release their "best of" lists around December, Time Out Chicago hosts its annual Eat Out Awards in the middle of April, which explains why last night a collection of some of the best chefs in Chicago crowded into an event space in Ravenswood for this year's festivities. Check out all the winners.
It's no real surprise that Mayor Rahm Emanuel tops Chicago Magazine's list of the 100 Most Powerful Chicagoans, but we were surprised to see that so many people in the food world made the cut.
Choosing my favorite dishes from Tony Hu's restaurants was not an easy thing to do, especially since there were about a dozen dishes not featured here that almost made the cut. But the following dishes are the ones that I can't stop dreaming about.