Posts for November 30, 2012

End Your Week With the Grossest Key Ingredient Ever

The Reader's chef's challenge Key Ingredient series (for which we are videographer) has faced down many icky ingredients which are, nonetheless, eaten by humans somewhere, from bull testicles to bamboo worms to eels. Still, on a purely visual and visceral level, we're not sure anything has ever been as instantly repulsive as sea cucumbers, which are nonetheless not only a delicacy in Japan but eaten around the world, from Spain to South America. They have a weird talent, which is, yes, when active (or parboiled) they resemble a cucumber with gooey insides, but when inactive or frightened, they are pretty much all gooey insides, a plate of flat mucusy yuck that is, all the same, strangely beautiful... as long as it's not going in your mouth. But chef Matthias Merges of Yusho was familiar with them from his study of Asian cuisine, so see how he made them— barely— palatable below. [Reader]

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Heather Terhune Does December Wrap at Falafill to Benefit Purple Asparagus

The chef-designed wraps at Falafill return in December with Heather Terhune of Sable creating a signature wrap featuring curry falafel, julienned Granny Smith apples, celery, toasted cumin-lime aioli, golden raisins and roasted and salted cashews in a whole wheat wrap. For every wrap purchased during December, $1 will go to Purple Asparagus, a Chicago-founded organization which helps educate kids about healthier eating habits, including in Chicago public schools. Falafill has three locations, in Lakeview, Oak Park and the Loop.

Beverly Kim and Johnny Clark Team With Kitchit to Aid Brooklyn's Governor

Brooklyn's Governor, before a 4-foot wave came for dinner.Photo: courtesy Governor

Governor was a contemporary restaurant on Brooklyn's waterfront. We say was because it was flooded by Hurricane Sandy and has been closed since the end of October. But Kitchit Chicago, the cool food events outfit who put on the midnight ramen at EL Ideas, and chefs Beverly Kim and Johnny Clark (late of BonsoirĂ©e) will team up with the Governor team Monday for a multi course dinner whose proceeds will go to helping the Governor team clean up and get up and running again. It's at a very cool historical location— the residents' dining hall at the Jane Addams Hull House Museum— and it starts at 7 with cocktails and 8 for dinner, plus an after party after. You can attend any chunk of that you want for different prices, up to $100 for the full night; see more details including the menu and get tickets here.

Psy Gives His Blessing to Rogue ‘Gangnam Style’ Restaurant

Psy: Increasing the peacePhoto: Patrick McMullan

Soju Town, a stop for Korean bar food in Los Angeles, recently swapped its generic title for one that is so fleeting, it already feels dated. Of course, the restaurant recently renamed itself after Psy's "Gangnam Style," but never actually cleared the idea with Psy himself. Oops. Naturally, TMZ had to consult the singer on the matter, learning that he originally considered suing the place, but soon gave it up, most likely as he's confident his next song is going to be a much bigger hit. Or maybe, like a bow-tied Billy Elliot, he just wants to dance. In any case, "Gangnam Style" the Restaurant officially now exists. [TMZ]

Hey Abe Frohman, Does Chicago Have a New Sausage King?

All you need to know about our life is that we actually shlepped over from some other part of the South Side once to see if the original est. 1945 location of Polka Sausage & Deli at 115th and Whatever still operated (it looks like, if it still exists at all, it's a Mexican lunch counter now). Yet somehow we've never managed to get to the next generation's version which opened earlier this year, ten minutes from our house at Fullerton and Clybourn. Nick Kindelsperger at Serious Eats Chicago makes us feel like that much more of a schmuck with his report on this rare thing, a new Polish food business not located on Milwaukee near Belmont. A big focus is sausage making, and another focus is serving the deli products at lunchtime, and the result is:

the smoked Polish sausage ($4.45), which just might be one of the best versions of Chicago classic I've ever eaten. No joke. Grilled to order, the casing is crisp, while the insides are tender and smokey, with just enough garlic flavor peeking through. It's topped with only some strong mustard and sauerkraut—which the deli also makes from scratch. The final masterstroke is a soft onion-studded roll that tenderly cradles the sausage while adding a hint of sweetness.

That's just for starters. Read it all, there's time to get there for lunch.

People Are On The Move! Hayes to Sirena, Harootunian to Carlucci, New Bar Manager at Vie

Erin Hayes

People who are good at something are getting jobs doing it in new places! It's a hot trend because we have three of them! Example #1: Erin Hayes, Perennial Virant beverage director who also designed the regional and seasonal beverage programs for the rooftop lounge in the Hotel Lincoln, the J. Parker, has left to join La Sirena Clandestina. Since South America was one of the regions she focused on for the J. Parker, it seems like working with La Sirena's beverage director Justin Anderson will be a natural. [312 Dining Diva]

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