[Photographs: Amber Gibson] Holiday season is upon us and that means it's time for afternoon tea. It's cold outside, so wouldn't you rather be inside listening to live music, sipping tea, and eating a beautiful assortment of sweet and savory...
At Mercat a la Planxa, Iron Chef Jose Garces may be the executive chef, but it's chef Cory Morris who is in charge of the kitchen on a day-to-day basis. Garces is only in town intermittently, but he makes sure to stop by Mercat for a full menu tasting at least once a quarter, when Morris presents him with a series of new dishes he'd like to add to the menu.
The new fall menu at State & Lake has several hearty menu options perfect for the chilly weather now upon us.
Chris Gawronski, the executive chef at Henri, says he moved to Humboldt Park on a whim, after visiting colleague Clint Rogers. "I went on Craigslist, found a spot, and I moved a week later," Gawronski explains. "I like how quiet the neighborhood. It was a total relaxation from Wrigleyville."
I caught up with the Sofitel and Café des Architectes' pastry chef, Leigh Omilinsky, right before she jetted off to Paris to learn the art of macaron-making with Pierre Hermé.
Although our waitress extolled the chicken & biscuit at the top of the menu as Carriage House's signature brunch dish, I made sure to order the hearty vegetarian option and had to guard the skillet from meat-eating friends.
To kick-off the celebrations for the upcoming Chicago Fine Chocolate & Dessert Show, Storefront Company hosted a collaborative dinner with six of the best pastry chefs in town.
The menu at Roti Mediterranean Grill is short and sweet, although it can be a bit intimidating to order in the rapid-fire line for the first time.
This sandwich merits ordering based on flavor alone, but if that's not enough to convince you to deviate from your diet, there is also a charitable component.
Similar to restaurants like Next and Sixteen, iNG changes its entire menu concept every few months. The playful restaurant known for its flavor-tripping Miracle Berry is currently showcasing street food, the first menu by new executive chef, Tim Havidic.
"The food scene has been blowing up in Ukrainian Village," says Lee Kuebler, the chef de cuisine at Ada St. "There's a lot of Eastern European families and it's a nice quiet neighborhood, but it's close enough to West Town or Wicker Park that you can access those neighborhoods but stay away from it too."
More than 70 of Chicago's top chefs and restaurants come together in Navy Pier's Grand Ballroom to help support Share Our Strength's mission to end childhood hunger.
Jonas Falk, the CEO of OrganicLife, has lived in the Gold Coast for the past 10 years, but just moved to River North. "We have our offices spread out all over the city and suburbs, so River North/Gold Coast is the perfect epicenter," Falk says.
The farro at TWO was some of the best-cooked I've had, tender but still firm in the middle, so it had the chewy texture I adore from this nutty grain.
After 13 years in Lincoln Park, TWO's executive chef, Tom Van Lente, recently moved to Logan Square with his wife. But he has nothing but good things to say about his old 'hood though. "We were sad to leave," Van Lente says. "I love Lincoln Park."
The fish is flaky and juicy, and the spices used in searing lend great flavor to the skin.
I stopped in Toni Patisserie & Café for lunch on a hot and humid summer day, which also happened to be Bastille Day. That explains why I tried a red, white, and blue soup.
As the new Check, Please! host, Catherine De Orio can't play favorites by naming restaurants that might appear on the show, but she shared several of her favorite places for food that aren't sit-down restaurants.
It's been almost two years since Matthias Merges opened Yusho, but they are still going strong. I can understand why friends in the restaurant industry rave about this place.
I think Table, Donkey and Stick is doing great things with traditional German and Austrian flavors and dishes, adding their own flair to create a type of cuisine that is unlike anything else I've had in Chicago.
lad and spring rolls) are tasty if predictable, this foraged dish is an unexpected addition. Daikon used as a centerpiece rather than a garnish is something I haven't seen with other vegetarian dishes around town, but the white radish can surely hold its own on the plate.
Bobby Schaffer, the pastry chef at Grace, has lived in West Lakeview for around four years now. "I like that it's quiet and family-oriented," he says. "There's not a ton of madness going on."
Based on my visit, I think Nellcôte may be the most underrated restaurant on Randolph Street.
Raw food and salads go hand in hand. But at Karyn's on Halsted there is everything from raw empanadas and tamales to raw pasta and pizza. Next time, I'll be a little more adventurous and report back, but for my introduction to Karyn's I played it safe with her famous house salad ($12).
Spring means asparagus, radish, spring peas and a tasty new salad for The Lobby.
Most sandwich places now offer vegetarian options, whether that be a simple grilled cheese or a slightly more exotic Caprese or portobello filling. However, never have I had as tasty and hearty a vegetarian sandwich as the squash and mushroom with kale tofu pesto ($9) at Amy Morton's new restaurant, Found, in Evanston.
Soulwich in Evanston specializes in Southeast Asian-inspired sandwiches—think bánh mì with a twist. All sauces are made in-house, and there are eight different sandwiches ranging from wasabi teriyaki to sesame chili tuna.
"Bad" is sort of the last word you'd ever expect to be associated with Floriole Cafe and Bakery—a place much more known for sugar, spice and everything nice in Lincoln Park. That it all combines to make this satisfying sandwich isn't so surprising (this is Floriole, after all), but what makes the sandwich so bewildering is just how unexpected it all is.