Posts for April 24, 2012

What to Eat at Frog n Snail For Cafe Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner

Who says there's no such thing as a soft opening any more? It may seem as if there's only big openings and bigger ones, mad crushes and reviews tweeted after the first course, but here's a restaurant opened by a guy who almost won Top Chef that has successfully managed to take a couple of weeks ramping up to full service without the world going farblunget over the fact. The restaurant is Frog n Snail, the chef is Dale Levitski, and it's now serving three different menus— the cafe menu, lunch and dinner. Check them all out below.

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Moo: A Brief History of Mad Cow Disease in the U.S.

You won't like us when we're angry.Photo: Joel Saget/AFP/Getty Images

Today, USDA officials confirmed the country's latest instance of mad cow disease. The cow in question was discovered at a rendering facility in central California, and its meat didn't enter into the food chain, and the USDA says we're safe — which is good news for people who buy Steak-umms. So we're probably okay for the time being, since of course this isn't even the first time an infected cow's been found on U.S. soil. Let's take a look back ...

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New Lawsuit Reveals the World’s Grossest Meat Product Is Probably Steak-umms

Um...

And here we thought pink slime was bad. Turns out that stuff pales (heh) in comparison to Steak-umms, which the name alone should tell you is bad news. For the uninitiated, Steak-umms are not dog food, but are instead kind of like a frozen DIY Philly cheesesteak. But in a trademark-infringement suit this week that pitted Steak-umms owners against a South Philly cheesesteak and pizza shop named Steak 'Em Up, the ugly truth of the mass-produced sandwich steak was revealed. And the details are pretty bleak.

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Heart Attack Grill Owner Delighted That Diners Keep Heading to the Hospital

Doing America proud.

Up until now, it's been difficult to believe all that garbage from the self-helpy The Secret claiming that whatever you put out into the universe comes back to you. But strangely, it rings true in Las Vegas, of all places. The local Heart Attack Grill outpost watched another customer go down this weekend from health issues that hit in the middle of their meal, necessitating a trip to the hospital. The trauma follows fast on the thick calves of an incident here in February, where paramedics had to come between a customer and his "Triple Bypass Burger" after he had a heart attack at the restaurant, which promotes pure lard-cooked "flatliner fries" and "Quadruple Bypass Burgers" packing 10,000 calories. Today, the L.A. Times shares a few words from the owner, Joe Basso, who couldn't sound more thrilled about another customer falling unconscious while drinking a margarita and smoking this past Saturday.

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Meet the Multidimensional Drive-Thru of Tomorrow

Not actually the drive-thru of tomorrow.Photo: Christopher Tompkins/iStockphoto

What are the best minds in fast food thinking about? "The drive-thru as an incredible opportunity to innovate," that's what. That's according to a report from Big Red Rooster, which is not itself a fast-food chain, but is a "multidimensional brand experience firm" (rough translation: consultants) that helps fast-food chains, er, we mean "quick-service restaurants," get their act together better. In the scary/fascinating world they conjure up, what is now an "impersonal, drive-around-back experience" could become a multimedia phantasmagoria of sensation and delight guaranteed to increase your loyalty to Scream-a-Burger or Taco Wowzo. Here's how.

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Troy Graves To Return To City— And 2118 N. Damen Ave.— With Red Door

Red Door replacing this one soon.

Years ago chef Troy Graves worked with Christopher Peckat at Meritage in Bucktown. Graves went on to a promising career at Tallulah in Lincoln Square and his restaurant Eve in the Gold Coast, but seemed to stall out when his partners closed Eve (and eventually opened Bistronomic in the space); he did some time at a restaurant in Algonquin called Montarra, and Cantina 46 downtown. But now Eater reports that he's coming back not just to the city... but to the exact location where he made his name: Graves, Peckat and Fei Tang are the ones who took over the Duchamp space at 2118 N. Damen a couple of months back, which before that, had been Meritage. And on May 3 they'll be opening Red Door, an internationally-focused small plates dinner and lunch spot with brunch and a seasonal beverage program. Though the menu is new, they say they've changed Duchamp/Meritage relatively little physically— especially its best feature, the large outdoor garden, where they'll occasionally host special events like a pig roast. [Eater]

Chef Chris Nugent of Goosefoot On Being Named Best New Restaurant in Chicago

A year ago Chris Nugent was hidden in plain sight as the chef of the acclaimed, but forbiddingly French restaurant Les Nomades, a legendary name more admired than actually visited by Chicago's fooderati. A couple of weeks ago, a steady drumbeat of positive reviews for his intimate new Lincoln Square restaurant Goosefoot climaxed with Goosefoot beating out Next and 18 other spots for the top position on Chicago magazine's list of the 20 best new restaurants in town. Chicago's judgements aren't necessarily picked up on by other publications— who remembers that Bistronomic topped the list over Girl & the Goat and Ruxbin last year?— but in this case the Cinderella story of Chris Nugent's little BYO triumphing over the world-famous Next has undoubtedly given Goosefoot a big boost among 2011-12's diverse crowd of hot openings. And in an age of big, glitzy joints, a cozily romantic 34-seat neighborhood spot like this, with the chef's Brazilian-born wife Nina (a former hotel finance director) warmly working the front of the house, has an almost nostalgic charm, reminding you of iconic neighborhood spots that helped establish our modern cuisine scene in the 80s and 90s like Erwin, Cafe Provençal or Jimmy's Place.

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Publican Quality Meats. Burger Night. Next Tuesday, May 1.

We know nothing more about this than what the man himself just tweeted, but we can picture it all in our head, and it involves Paul Kahan himself standing outside Publican Quality Meats with a spatula in one hand and a beer in the other:


Publican quality meats open Tuesday may 1st for our first burger night! Great burgers, beer. I think ur gonna love our burgers..

Oh, and it also involves a big crowd and insanely delicious meat. More details to come.

Congratulations to Graham Elliot Director of Operations Merlin Verrier...

Merlin Verrier and Kira Crafton on the beach at St. Croix.Photo: Sky Full of Bacon

and his newly-minted fiancée Kira Crafton (of Whiskey Bar & Grill), who got engaged in St. Croix last week while attending the St. Croix Food & Wine Experience. Here Crafton shows off her rock on the beach shortly before the Food Fight, a Top Chef-like challenge in which Verrier went head to head against Puerto Rico-based chef Roberto Trevino, making a pot of a traditional Crucian soup on the beach as onlookers gathered around (and offered suggestions).

Pinkberry Heads to India

Pinkberry, the frozen-yogurt chain that has proven surprisingly resilient, will soon be opening its first location in India, a country that many people say could soon become the world's largest growth market for restaurants. (That honor currently belongs to China.) Nation's Restaurant News says India is the eighteenth country that will house a Pinkberry, which currently has spots in far-flung places like Kuwait and Peru. And would it surprise you to learn that Starbucks is eying India, too? No, we bet it would not. [NRN]

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