Posts for November 20, 2012

Want To Be a Food Network Star? Step 1 is Next Wednesday, Nov. 28

You get to Carnegie Hall by practice, practice, practice, but you get to the Food Network by attending the Chicago casting call for Season 9 of Food Network Star. It will be Wednesday, November 28, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at The Westin Michigan Avenue (90 N. Michigan). Serious food chops, a captivating personality and the desire to inspire a Food Network audience are all part of it; if you've got 'em, take your shot, after all it already worked for one duo of Chicagoans. If you can't make the call, you can send a tape (people still use tape?) Get the details here.

Ruth Bourdain’s Flat Thanksgiving Jokes Are All Turkeys

It's almost Thanksgiving, and thus everyone's favorite Twitter mashup of 2010 is at it again. Ruth Bourdain unleashed a flurry of Turkey Day-related tweets today, and we'd have to concur with Anthony Bourdain who said six months ago that RuBo had "lost gas." Jokes like "Moistness should be your goal when cooking the turkey, but if it's too moist, consider calling a gynecologist," and "If you are buying a local, organic, heritage turkey, make sure it has a beard, tattoos, and is wearing skinny jeans," never would have made it out of the Onion writers' room, that's for sure. RuBo then finished up her morning's work with a brief moment of shilling her new book, Comfort Me With Offal. Because, you know, with humor like this we could sure use more! Thankfully the burning question of "who is Ruth Bourdain?" isn't burning so bad anymore, and it would seem most of us have given up caring. (Last we heard it was two people, but they've remained mum.) [RuthBourdain/Twitter]

Is Another BBQ Wave in the Works?

Remember 2010, when a new barbecue place seemed to be opening every other week? Most of those places are still around and still pretty good (or better than they were when they opened, as BBQ places tend to get), but we couldn't have named a new place that opened in the next year or so after that wave. Until now; earlier in the year we had Big Bricks open with its Oyler smokers, a common type down south but previously unknown here, which Mike Sula wrote about here. Then there was Dragon Ranch Moonshine & BBQ in River North. And now we've got two more spots in Wrigleyville, which, being adjacent to a sports venue as you may have heard, would seem overdue for Q.

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Cook Rushed to Hospital After Eating Ghost Chile Pepper Sauce

A spoonful ... of danger.

A 26-year-old cook in London was taste-testing his restaurant's "ultimate flaming hot chicken wings" in front of cheering customers when things went horribly wrong. Arif Ali started sweating while eating the wings, which were slicked with a sauce made from Naga Bhut Jolokia, or ghost chile peppers. He drank milk in an attempt quell the burn before gasping and ultimately collapsing on a dining room table. Ali was taken to a nearby hospital, treated and released, but reported severe stomach cramps and diarrhea for a week afterwards. The wings were prospective menu items at Jimmy's in London, and the restaurant intended to challenge customers to eat as many as they could withstand. "We have now decided in the interests of customer safety," Jimmy's manager tells the Mail, "not to put this particular item on our menu." [Daily Mail UK]

What to Eat at Tortoise Club, Open Now

Wild pheasant pie.Photo: courtesy Tortoise Club

Lavishly appointed in an old money private club look, but perhaps with a bit of tongue in cheek (as the name hints) about how old and crusty it really is, Tortoise Club in the Marina City Complex offers an alternative to steak houses with the full retinue of (comparably priced) old school dishes like Dover sole with champagne truffle sauce, lobster Thermidor, and the signature dish shown above, Wild Pheasant Pie. Chef Gray McNally is a Spiaggia and Boka vet, so it's not like he's someone dyed in the wool of this kind of dining, and he looks to bring some farm-to-table freshness to the execution of classic dishes that date back to the era of Jeeves and Wooster. And that mix of contemporary technique and masculine comfort might be just the ticket for business dinner success in this neighborhood. Check out what's on the menus below.

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Woman in Car Tries to Create Her Own Famous Dave's Grand Opening

An Evergreen Park Famous Dave's was celebrating its grand opening Monday when a driver driving through the parking lot apparently decided they needed an even grander opening, and plowed straight through the front windows. Luckily it was about 3 p.m. and no customers were in the path of the oncoming clueless-mobile, but it did put an end to the restaurant's alleged "record-breaking day of sales." They should reopen today. [NBC Chicago]

Is Rick Tramonto Planning Something in Chicago? Maybe Kinda Not Really Yet.

Crain's has a piece in which Rick Tramonto, celebrated chef back in the day of Tru, currently a New Orleans restaurateur, but still tied to the area (his kids are in high school in Vernon Hills), talks about new ventures in Chicago. Or talks about the idea of the possibility of new ventures in Chicago. What would it be? It won't be Cajun (“I would not do Creole or Cajun in Chicago"). It would be... less fancy than Tru ("Mr Tramonto... mentions Girl & the Goat and Nellcote as possible models for what he might try to accomplish here"). It might involve ex-wife and pastry chef extraordinaire Gale Gand and old Tru partner Rich Melman! Except that we read Melman as saying "not happening" in the nicest possible way ("I love Ricky. He and I have been close for a long time. Could we get back together again to run a restaurant? Stranger things have happened in this business"). So is there any there there just yet? We don't think so, but... stranger things have happened in this business. [Crain's]

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