Posts for November 21, 2012

Listen To Your Favorite Chicago Food People Instead of Your Relatives This Weekend

WGN Radio likes food lately.

Lots of food people you know, from publications all over town, were on the radio recently. Curiously, it wasn't Thanksgiving or anything like that that's responsible for the fact— only Michelin seems to be a primary cause behind radio producers suddenly taking an interest in our local food folks. But whatever the reason, if you're looking for something to listen to while doing the dishes this weekend, check out some of these radio highlights from the last week or two.

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Think Thanksgiving is Fall's Only Feast? Meet the Wisconsin Lutefisk Supper.

Editor's Note: Thanksgiving is the time for a traditional meal... but it's not the only traditional meal that turns up in the fall in the midwest. In parts of Wisconsin with Nordic heritage, lutefisk suppers centered around that famously pungent form of air-dried, lye-cured fish are still common, and one of the most popular is at Vermont Lutheran Church in Black Earth, a half hour west of Madison. Chicago food historian Peter Engler invites us inside that alternative fall tradition, where volunteers prepare and serve over 1000 pounds of traditionally-cured cod to the sold-out crowd in the church basement. His photos and descriptions begin below.

Kramer: Bombs & Brickbats; Nagrant: Lula Still a Lulu

Baume & Brix.Photo: Sky Full of Bacon

Anybody read any good slams from food critics lately? Julia Kramer calls Baume & Brix "the unlikely marriage of the whimsical, modern cooking espoused at Moto (from whence chefs Thomas Elliott Bowman and Ben Roche came) to the thumping, clubby scene of nightlife-restaurants like Tavernita, Sunda, etc. I’m not saying this merger can’t be successful (see: José Andrés’s Bazaar in Beverly Hills), only that my two meals were not. In fact, they were haphazard, dissatisfying and, occasionally, comical." Besides service woes, she calls the food "a parade of dispiriting, ill-conceived courses, which ranged from palatable but dull (one-note “umami” mushroom soup with a poached egg, your basic burrata salad, a muted chicken-liver “parfait” layered with egg salad) to confounding and a little vile." What went wrong? For one, "Bowman and Roche (the latter of whom was the pastry chef at Moto) intend to create some sort of symbiosis between sweet and savory. This is occasionally charming... But more often, the sweetness in the savory food feels intrusive and overbearing, and their dishes don’t convey a clear or convincing concept." [TOC]

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Hostess Definitely Probably Still Dead

It looks like the Twinkie hoarding wasn't in vain as yesterday's eleventh-hour mediation talks went nowhere. Hostess is back in bankruptcy court as of this morning ironing out its liquidation plans. The company's 33 bakeries have already ceased operations, and 18,500 jobs are likely lost. A final official announcement is expected shortly. [Reuters, Earlier]

Watch The Final Table, Donkey and Stick Video! Vote On Which Chef They Should Hire! Win Dinner!

The moment has come. After six nights of pop-up dinners by the chefs eagerly competing for the job of chef at Table, Donkey and Stick, here's the final video showcasing the last two chefs, Evan DeVries and Brian Flach. See for yourself how they did in this exclusive series taking you behind the scenes. But watching it isn't all you can do: here's your chance to influence the decision— and maybe win dinner for two when Table, Donkey and Stick opens in the next couple of weeks. After you've watched the videos, you can vote for the chef you think should get the job. True, you probably didn't taste the food, but how it appeals to potential customers from the outside is an important factor too, so take a look and vote on which one seemed to make the best-looking food for the Alpine theme. And be sure to include your email address— one entrant will win dinner for two when the restaurant opens. Watch the new 9-minute video below, then cast your vote by Monday for the chef you think deserves the job.

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Trotter Auction Nears $1 Million Mark; Online Will Exceed Estimate

One milllllyun dollars, as Dr. Evil would say. That was the goal for the auction of Charlie Trotter's wine collection in both its traditional auction form (held last week at Christie's in New York) and the online auction running now. But as it turned out, the first half nearly got there on its own, even with some of the best wine having vanished along the way. 349 of 357 lots in the live auction were sold, bringing in $918,027. The highest prices were all from the highly-prized Romanée-Conti appellation in Burgundy, including a 4-bottle lot of 1986 Richebourg which realized $29,040, a methuselah (an oversize bottle holding the equivalent of eight standard bottles) of 1996 La Tache from Domaine de la Romanée-Conti which took in $22,990, and another 1997 case of Domaine de la Romanée-Conti which took in $20,570.

Previously: Legendary Sommelier Larry Stone on Charlie Trotter’s Wine Collection (Which He Built)

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