Unless you've spent a lot of time in Chicago, you've probably never tried Jeppson's Malört, an intensely bitter spirit that's only available in the city and surrounding suburbs. And if you have, you probably know it as "that drink that tastes like burnt carpet."
When I started poking around in Chicago, I found a surprising array of corn dogs, from Texas hot links in Anson Mills polenta batter to foie gras corn dogs to a pair of dogs topped with chili and cheese.
As an avid baker, I constantly have a glass jar of flour sitting on my kitchen counter. But I never really thought much about what goes into producing that flour until a recent trip to Columbia, South Carolina, home to the Adluh Flour Mill.
While my focus was on Belgian-style waffles, I wanted to make sure that I tried a wide range of toppings and included both sweet and savory styles. I tried everything from basic butter and maple syrup-topped waffles to a fish and quail egg-topped version.
In Chicago, cheese fries are more than a dish you consume after a night out. Whether this is related to Chicago's hot dog stand culture or that chefs here like to elevate simple dishes, I don't know. But I do know that you can find a very wide range of cheese fries here.
Sandra Holl, who trained in San Francisco at the California Culinary Academy and worked as a baker at Tartine Bakery, started Floriole as a stand at Green City Market. After selling pastries there for five years, she and her husband Mathieu opened Floriole in Lincoln Park in 2010.
On a recent trip to Montreal, I visited the Maple Museum which chronicles the history and science of maple syrup and the shop sells a range of maple-related food products, such as maple salad dressings, maple salts, and maple butter. Here are five things to know about maple.
When you visit the Spanish Basque Country, walk into any pintxo bar in San Sebastián or Bilbao and you'll see an entire wall of green bottles. What's in them? A bright, slightly fizzy wine called txakoli. There are three regions that make this wine, and I recent visited them all to learn about the differences in the wines they produce.
You know Sarah Grueneberg as the executive chef at Spiaggia, where she turns out elegant Italian plates, and as the bubbly runner-up on Top Chef Texas. When not at Spiaggia, you can find her studying Italian cuisine in Italy or eating her way through her Lakeview neighborhood.
Though her bulgogi is made with seared tofu instead of beef, Jill Barron isn't a vegetarian. She's lived in Logan Square for 12 years, and she recently shared her favorite spots in the neighborhood.
At Big Jones, chef and co-owner Paul Fehribach cooks up Southern dishes rooted in history. But when it comes time to eat in his East Lakeview neighborhood, where he's lived for about seven years, Fehribach favors a mix of old and new.
Giuseppe Scurato was born in Sicily and serves contemporary American food with an Italian slant at his Uptown restaurant Ceres' Table. He walked us through his picks for where he likes to eat in Edgewater and Uptown.
This past week was Craft Spirits Week in Chicago, and included in the lineup of tastings and dinners was a class entitled "Everything You've Ever Wanted to Know about Whiskey." Michael Veach, a whiskey historian from Louisville, usually teaches the class over four weeks at the Filson Historical Society, but he crammed it into an eight-hour session that covered the history of American whiskey from the whiskey rebellion to the present day.
With an exhibitor list that neared 100 and each exhibitor showcasing at least a few bottles, I tasked myself with trying as wide a range of spirits as possible, and sampled whiskeys, gins, vodkas, rums, and liqueurs. Though I'm a huge whiskey fan, only four made my top 10 list. The surprise? Gin. I found several delicious new gins that really excited me—gins I would love to have in my home bar.
Carrie Nahabedian has been turning out graceful plates at Naha since 2000, but when she's not serving up Mediterranean-influenced American dishes, you'll find her in Streeterville and the Gold Coast, where she's made her home for the past 12 years
My knowledge of alcohol from India has so far been limited to Kingfisher beer, which quells the spice from Vindaloo at my local Indian restaurant, and Amrut Fusion, a tasty whiskey made with Indian and Scottish barley. But my lack of knowledge isn't because I don't venture out from sips I'm already familiar with. As I learned from the seminar on Indian spirits at last week's Tales of the Cocktail in New Orleans, it's because only half of local Indian spirits find their way out of the states they're produced, let alone to the United States.
The daiquiri is a classic three-ingredient cocktail (made from just rum, lime juice, and sugar) that's a favorite among cocktail drinkers for its beautiful simplicity. At Tales of the Cocktail on Friday night, the Hand-Shaken Daiquiri Competition challenged 12 bartenders from across the country to create their own spin on the classic formula. Here are 5 take-home tips from the competition.
Every few weeks, we love to check in with chefs or food personalities in Chicago to see where they are eating in the neighborhoods they actually live in. Last time, Heather Terhune showed us around Lincoln Square. Now it's time for Justin Large to select his favorite spots around the West Loop.
Every few weeks, we love to check in with chefs or food personalities in Chicago to see where they are eating in the neighborhoods they actually live in. This week, Heather Terhune from Sable selects some of her favorite places to eat in and around Lincoln Square.
Recently, a summer cold and the need for matzo ball soup brought me to The Bagel, a Lakeview Jewish deli where I took one look at the patrons eating thick corned beef sandwiches and added one to my to-go order.
On my inaugural visit to Cafecito, I went with the Cubano sandwich ($5.49), figuring I should start with the classic. But after diving into this utterly delicious sandwich, I'm not sure I could ever go there and not get it. The ingredients work together beautifully—there's subtly spiced roast pork, two layers of ham, acidic pickle slices, piquant mustard, and Swiss cheese that melts into every crevice.
Cheesie's Pub & Grub in Lakeview just recently doubled in size and includes a full bar and a menu of grilled cheeses, pizzas, and other bar food. I ordered The Popper ($6.95), which features sturdy sourdough with a perfect bronzing on top.
Chef Paul Virant's wrap at Falafill is one messy sandwich, but it's a mess of the best kind.
Nhu Lan Bakery's new Lakeview outpost Nhu Lan's Saigon Subs offers the same spot-on bánh mì.
When I spotted the Chicago-style tofu sandwich ($8.75) on the menu at vegan-friendly Handlebar in Wicker Park, I was eager to see how the classic combination of toppings could translate into a tofu sandwich.
What is it about Nutella that spurs such excitement? Perhaps its power lays with the fact that it goes so well with so many different kinds of dishes, a fact we found out clearly exposed as we hunted for examples.
There are few foods that rival the versatility of the biscuit. You can douse them in thick sausage gravy or break them open (preferably while still warm) and slather them with butter. You can turn them into a sandwich, gild them with jam, or eat them as a side dish with fried chicken. Here are some of our favorites in Chicago.
Since we ate every single menu item at Hot Doug's, we've been asked what it was like. "Absolutely crazy and insane" is the simple answer. But to get a real sense of what it was like, we decided to put together a behind the scenes view of the process.
This past Saturday at 10 a.m. sharp, the Serious Eats Chicago crew met up in Avondale to accomplish one of the most glorious eating projects in Chicago history: to eat every single item at Hot Doug's.
We boarded the Trans-Siberian Railway in Moscow on a foggy, freezing February night. When we disembarked in Beijing, it was a bright March afternoon, and we had traveled more than 4,800 miles. Here's what we ate along the way.