Profile

cheftastic

I love food and everything about food.

  • Location: Chicago
  • Last bite on earth: A sip of champagne.

Win a Copy of 'Ceviche: Peruvian Kitchen'

Behold French Fry-Stuffed Fat Sandwiches From RU Hungry in New Brunswick, NJ

Er, veggie has 2 "g"s and "since I graduated". I swear I went to college.

Behold French Fry-Stuffed Fat Sandwiches From RU Hungry in New Brunswick, NJ

RU rah rah! I crushed an unholy number of Fat Vegggie Indians between 98-02. This time coincided with my vegetarian days, which were helped along by working at Brower. Not that Brower was bad by any means, but just being around so much cooking meat all at once sent me to the salad bar on a daily basis. And then to the Grease Trucks like that made any sense, I don't know. How has it been nearly 12 years since I graduate? Sigh.

Cheap Eats We Love in Humboldt Park

Great list. Once we start thawing out more I can't wait to hit up a few of these places... the La Bomba truck will be something I look forward to on a warm sunny day!

Super Bowl Party Giveaway: Pat LaFrieda Sliders

It is also my friend's 30th birthday so we are making a cake shaped like a stadium, a "snack stadium", two kinds of wings, a brisket, and two cocktails (one for each of the teams). Its gonna be a big party. Sliders would be great.

Staff Picks: What's the Best Delivery Option in Chicago?

Irazu and Cemitas Puebla are the to-go places here. In Logan Square, you can also get Dante's Pizza delivered. Its a good east-coast style pizza. But options can be limited and they only come in one size. I'm still trying to find the best late-night pizza delivery.

Seriously Delicious Holiday Giveaway: Thermapen Thermometer

Beef tenderloin roast

Check Out the 'Utilitarian Simplicity' of Joe Boston's Italian Beef

My buddy says this is his favorite Italian beef in Chicago. I can't wait to try for myself.

Seriously Delicious Holiday Giveaway: Thermapen Thermometer

Beef tenderloin roast

A Day in the Life: Nick Kindelsperger, Chicago Editor

Howdy, neighbor! Thank you for all the great Logan Square reviews and recommendations. I've enjoyed discovering my new-ish neighborhood all year. I got lunch with the mister at Punta Cana this week; amazing! Merry Christmas and looking forward to more reviews next year.

Worlds Collide with the Gyros Jibarito at Punta Cana

Finally went here today - and it is amazing. Gyros jibarito = delicious, and the goat stew + pigeon peas was tender, flavorful, and exciting. Thank you for prodding me to go here as I live literally around the corner and just never ventured in!

Seriously Delicious Holiday Giveaway: The Perfect Steak Set from Double R Ranch Co.

Bone-in, medium rare and salty, fatty, perfect.

Seriously Delicious Holiday Giveaway: Thermapen Thermometer

A beef tenderloin. I once overcooked a gorgeous D'artagnan beef tenderloin at Christmas and ruined it, we're talking a $350 piece of meat, and I've never been able to live it down. I am reminded every year of the time I "ruined Christmas dinner". I need to avenge my mistake.

Cook the Book: 'Japanese Soul Cooking'

Seriously Delicious Holiday Giveaway: La Quercia's Secret Weapons Pork Kit

Seriously Delicious Holiday Giveaway: Thermapen Thermometer

A porchetta roast

Taste Test: The Best Hot Giardiniera

Tony's Finer Foods has a brand called "Antonio's" and it is great. Crunchy vegetables (serranos, celery, carrots, the occasional olive) and its very spicy and pickled. Love it!

The Chicago Food Glossary: A Guide to the Unique Dishes of the Windy City

I moved here 3 years ago and I have officially become hooked on giardiniera. I put that sh*t on everything. EVERYTHING. If I ever move out I will pack an entire box of hot giardiniara and take it with me. It's more precious than gold in my house.

Wild Side: (Duck) Chin Up at Ken Kee in Chicago's Chinatown

i've tried fried intestines at another restaurant (at Tango Sur) and even with a liberal amount of lemon and salt, you could still taste what it was. I'm an adventurous eater myself and that was too much. I also tried duck balls at Longman & Eagle a while back, and while the plating was excellent (paired with pickled cherries and big, sweet green peas - visually, very clever) the little duck nards weren't my favorite thing. Oh well. Always get points for trying right?

Smalls' Barbecue Ambition is Anything But

I had their fried chicken (light and dark) the other day. The chicken was juicy and the coating was well-seasoned but slightly burnt-tasting on my order. I just need to try it again to see if it was a fluke. I wasn't a fan of the fries though. Mine tasted too much like 5-spice, which isn't bad, but with the banana-ketchup I wasn't a fan of the combo. The brisket was tasty and I neeeed to try the pulled pork. Love the not-slaw of the day too.

Staff Picks: Where Do You Pig Out in Chicago?

San Soo Gab San (247 North Western Ave. Chicago, IL 60625) is one of our favorite pig-out spots. The insane amount of banchan, the kalbi and other meats grilled in front of you, plus any appetizer... plus they give you soup and rice as well. Its a ridiculous amount of Korean food.

'Food & Wine' Readers' Picks: Best Burgers in the US

I'll second the Chicago comments; you could argue that Kuma's really started the burger trend in Chicago but so many other places have taken that torch and ran with it. Owen & Engine, Bad Apple, Cobra Lounge, Longman & Eagle, DMK, etc. I guess I should just consider myself lucky that I live in a city with so many burger options and maybe its better to keep my favorites out of a "best of" list so I can continue to get a table there :)

Steakcraft: BLT Steak's Strip and American Wagyu Top Cap

That is a LOT of butter to add to a dry-aged steak. Does it taste like funky, beefy steak, or buttery meat?

Open Thread: Best Places to Eat Outside in Chicago?

Besides my own awesome deck, I love getting a sandwich from Half Italian or Brown Sack and enjoying it in Palmer Square Park in Logan Square, or near the Eagle statue in the center of Logan Square. Palmer is quiet, and a great place to toss around a frisbee or play with all the neighborhood dogs. The square is awesome for people watching and choosing which awesome restaurant or bar to visit later when you want a cocktail.

Father's Day Giveaway: Win a Jumbo Cowboy Chop Steak

Flour and baking

I am a recreational baker. I bake MAYBE once a month at most, and usually just for fun or out of boredom. I attempt bread most often (and usually fail - its too dense, too tough and dry) though sometimes I see a great cake recipe on SE or elsewhere and try it, and usually fail. My last cake was so dense it was more like a mochi texture. It is frustrating. The only things that come out well are cookies.

I follow recipes to the letter. I guess it could be my oven, or my Chicago humid climate, or just being born under a bad sign. I believe it is my flour, but I am confused with all the different kinds...quick-rise, all purpose, bread, pastry, etc. I don't have the shelf space for giant bags of all these different flours. I keep a bag of all-purpose flour in my pantry (store brand, if it matters) and I have tried some substitutions that I read about online to make it more suitable for what I'm baking (adding baking powder, etc).

I just want to bake a firm, crusty bread with a soft interior and a fluffy, cake-like cake. What should I be changing, and what flour should I switch to or always make sure to have around? Is there hope or am I just a bake-wreck?

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