Posts for November 7, 2012

Make Pasta With Chris Macchia at The Florentine Tomorrow!

Imagine leaving the office and walking right into something that is completely unlike work in an office... as in, it's physical, it's an actual skill that you can see the value of, and it leads to almost immediate gratification. Hey, that can be yours tomorrow— if you sign up for Chris Macchia's pasta-making class, which starts at 5:30 at The Florentine tomorrow, followed by (this is the immediate gratification part) a four-course pasta dinner. It's $40, exclusive of tax and gratuity; make reservations (required) at 312-660-8866.

Do Food Trivia, Benefit Red Cross Hurricane Relief Monday November 12

What are you doing on Monday? Oh right, nothing, it's Monday. Well, remember the food writers' taste testing event at Sono Woodfired Pizza a few weeks back? That was so much fun it led two of the participants, Heather Sperling of Tasting Table and Chandra Ram of Plate magazine, to launch food trivia nights on similarly underutilized Mondays. You can compete on teams of up to four for prizes of gift certificates to Sono and its neighbor, Burger Bar Chicago, and you'll be battling experts including Chef Jared Van Camp. Oh, and there will be a spread of tasty snacks (which we can vouch for personally, but no one's going to make you taste Sriracha from a cup). Get your tickets ($30) here or call Sono at 312-255-1122; 100% of proceeds will go to Red Cross Hurricane Relief.

Cooking Modernist Cuisine at Home, at Home

Let me just get the sous-vide machine warmed up...Photo: Tyson Stole/Modernist Cuisine

When I think about "home cooking," I picture the same things you probably do: meatloaf, spaghetti, maybe some mac & cheese with carrot sticks. As far back as I can remember, neither mom nor dad ever made short ribs that had been cooked sous-vide for 72 hours or salmon that was crisped with a blowtorch. Yet as its name implies, Modernist Cuisine at Home — the $140 diffusion brand to Modernist Cuisine's six-volume, $625 tome — has different ideas about home cooking, ones that involve whipping siphons and 56˚(centigrade) water baths.

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What To Eat at Pranzo Moderno, Open Now

Photo: courtesy Pranzo Moderno

John DesRosiers is the type who sees an opportunity and seizes it to make a difference. Highland Park has lots of daytime traffic, what's there is mostly fast food (and one of them, a Corner Bakery, just closed)... so the next thing you know, he and chef Phil Rubino worked up a menu of lunchtime specials built on the quality ingredients that they use for the nighttime menu at Moderno, and turned the more casual front part of Moderno into a lunchtime cafe called Pranzo Moderno. It's sandwiches, soups, salads and panini, not exactly unknown things in these parts but clearly a cut or two above the fast food that decorates so many suburban downtown strips these days. If you find yourself in that area, you'll be glad to know about it (as you should be glad to know about Moderno's nighttime offerings, which we showed off here). Check out the menu below.

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Bib Gourmands Released: Up 8, 19 New, 11 Out, Maybe 1 or 2 To Be Promoted?

The Bib Gourmand list, that strange dual-pupose list from Michelin that simultaneously honors modestly-priced gems and serves as a consolation prize-slash-subtle diss to places that don't measure up to Michelin's standards for a star, has been released. It has a total of 64 restaurants on it, an increase of eight. But the shift beyond that is that 19 new places have been named and 11 have been booted off the list— though one or two of those might get promoted next week to a star. (It seems likely for Perennial Virant, a dimmer chance for Hopleaf, Mexique or Lula Cafe.) The dichotomy between the two parts of the list remains strange; the ethnic and neighborhood restaurants on the list plainly meet the good value part of the criteria (less than $40 for two courses plus dessert), and we're happy to applaud the likes of Chilam Balam, Jam, or instant sushi fave Kai Zan as new choices on that side of the list.

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Can You Launch a Restaurant On Kickstarter? Dyne Hopes So

Jake Bickelhaupt has worked at Alinea, Charlie Trotter's and Schwa. He does the Sous Rising underground dinners. And he wants to open a restaurant called Dyne, which sounds about Schwa-sized and looks, from the pictures, very much like the kind of creative semi-abstract food you see at such places. But how he hopes to get there is something a bit different— he's not looking for rich guys who think it might be cool to have a restaurant; he's looking for you. Bickelhaupt hopes to raise $125,000 via Kickstarter to launch a storefront restaurant; while you can support him with as little as $25, the higher amounts entitle you to things like taking over the eventual restaurant for a night or a 12 course dinner in your home. (He's got about 3 weeks to go, but not so many people have pledged yet— he needs to work that email list harder, we suggest.) Anyway, find out more about it, including in a video slideshow, here.

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