Chef Jonathon Sawyer operates six diverse restaurants in Cleveland. Although he has a hectic schedule (we spoke to him in midst of an unexpected restaurant inspection), Sawyer makes a point of dining out and trying all sorts of different restaurants around town so he can give visiting friends and family the best food recommendations. "I think it's important to be an ambassador of the city," he says.
At Grace, chef Curtis Duffy makes food that's so pretty it could be an exhibit at the Museum of Contemporary Art. When he's not at work, he mostly prefers to eat lighter, healthier fare, though he won't deny his kids an occasional Dairy Queen fix.
The term "naked cake" has grown popular in recent years to describe un-iced wedding cakes. No more wondering what's under the thick layer of fondant; you can see the multiple layers of deliciousness that await. Check out how Toni Marie Cox creates her version of the cake.
Pastry chef Leigh Omilinsky recently spent several weeks staging at Pierre Hermé in Paris. She now makes the best pâte à choux in Chicago at Café des Architectes.
My waitress described the dish as a "cauliflower steak." The big chunk of vegetable is charred on the outside and tender on the inside, topped with toasted red quinoa with chopped pistachios mixed in.
This year, for the first time, Restaurant Week has been extended to two weeks. At this rate, next year we'll just have Restaurant Month for all of January to compensate for an otherwise slow time
For vegetarians, Lula has several appetizer and entrée options, and there is even a six-course vegetarian tasting menu ($45) offered nightly. The tasting menu comprises a selection of dishes from the regular menu—three appetizers, an entrée, a cheese course, and a dessert. In other words, every vegetarian item on the menu.
Pastry chef Hetty Arts at The Refinery might not be on everyone's radar (I certainly hadn't heard of her until recently), but this Dutch dessert whiz has an impressive pedigree, with stints at Eleven Madison Park and Seasons (the former Michelin-starred restaurant at Chicago's Four Seasons Hotel). Check out how she makes The Refinery's chocolate cassava cake.
Portions are very generous, and they are happy to box up anything you can't finish. This is one of the best value meals I've enjoyed in Chicago in quite some time.
While the food and ambiance are wonderful, it's the service that's most memorable. Even if I had been wearing my drab snow boots I bet they would have treated me just as warmly.
Mercat is a great place for vegetarians to dine because the expansive tapas menu has such a strong vegetable selection. Under "verduras," there are seven dishes that could easily comprise a filling and flavorful meal. Even the traditional tapas section of the menu has vegetarian bites sprinkles in.
Just for the holidays, Atwood Cafe is offering an afternoon tea menu, so stop by before year-end if you want to check it out.
[Photograph: Amber Gibson] Green Door Tavern has been around since 1921 and famously sold alcohol during Prohibition. The green door signified the presence of a speakeasy since money (green) was used to pay off the cops. I'd never really...
[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.
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.