Posts for December 5, 2012

Watch Grant Achatz's Sold Out Talk at the Chicago Humanities Festival

Here's one to put on while you're making something that takes a long time to prepare in the kitchen: Grant Achatz's appearance at the most recent Chicago Humanities Festival last month. Which took place at 10 a.m., which as Achatz notes, is earlier than he usually gets up. Despite his dissheveled and undercaffeinated appearance, he's quickly into interesting topics in this conversation with Museum of Contemporary Art director Madeleine Grynsztein: what it took to feel good about trading restaurants with Eleven Madison Park, why just because something is boring and familiar to chefs, it isn't necessarily to diners, and his ongoing experiments to bring more theater into the dining experience. It's an hour long; watch it below.

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Watch a Charming Little Video About the International Banana Museum

We'll be honest: Until about four minutes ago, we were not aware that the world's largest collection of banana paraphernalia was in Southern California, but it turns out that it is. Cool Hunting stopped by the International Banana Museum and talked to owner (and apparent savior of the museum) Fred Garbutt about why in the hell someone would have a banana museum in the first place. It's ridiculous, of course, but gosh this guy's enthusiasm is just so darn agreeable.

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Things Change. Here's What Changing at Favorite Restaurants Like EL, Vera, Sepia and Leopold

Smart chefs are always trying to make things different and better. Here's some news from smart chefs we've gotten lately. Is any of it big enough to rate a whole item at Grub Street? Hmm... maybe not. Is it big enough to impact your meal for the better? That we think it is, not least because, it shows that your chef cares enough to keep thinking. Item #1: Phillip Foss tweeted a picture of the often-amusing blackboard at EL Ideas... smashed to pieces. What's up? He's breaking through the walls to add a few more seats to his tiny, 16-seat or so restaurant. (If we recall correctly, that's his office that's biting the dust.) But as he told someone who asked if the expanded EL Ideas would still have the intimate-quirky vibe, "The vibe is non-negotiable."

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West Town Bakery & Diner To Celebrate Switching to Passion House Coffee Thursday

Remember Passion House Roasters, the startup coffee roaster we wrote about a few months back? They just landed a good new account— West Town Bakery & Diner, which will be serving a West Town Blend made just for them by Passion House owner/head roaster Joshua Millman. And to celebrate the switch to a local roaster, West Town Bakery will host an event from 6 to 8 p.m. Millman will be there doing home brewing demos of everything from getting the best drip machine results to Chemex pour overs, while Passion House barista Shannon Steele will serve up free coffee drinks using the West Town Blend... and everyone who shows up gets a free Cake Ball. Yes, a free Cake Ball.

Improbable Combinations We Can't Wait For: Andrew Brochu and Uberstein

If you had to guess where Andrew Brochu, celebrated chef of long-closed Kith and Kin turned unceremoniously dumped chef of Graham Elliot, would turn up, it seems safe to say that Wicker Park's Uberstein, a German-themed sports bar, would not have made the top 100. And well, Uberstein proper is probably not where he's ending up. But local food writer and onetime Grub Sub Carly Fisher tweeted the news this morning after running into Brochu last night: Uberstein has a new owner and will close in its present incarnation January 1, to reopen January 9 with Brochu at the helm.

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Sloshed: How to Drink Your Way Through the Christmas Season

Your actual Christmas might look a little different.Photo: Fox Photos/Getty Images

Christmas is not a drinking holiday, per se (we have Saint Patrick's Day and the Super Bowl for that), but it is the holiday that presents the strongest reasons to drink: family time, shopping madness, end-of-year ennui, sweater parties, cookie swaps, hearing "The Little Drummer Boy" for the fourteenth goddamn time in one day. The only sensible way to navigate the Yuletide gauntlet is with drink in hand.

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More Gift-Giving Ideas From Chefs! It's Holiday Gift Guide: The Outtakes Edition

Yesterday's national holiday gift guide collected the best ideas from Grub Street cities and their chefs around the country, and is essential reading for anyone tasked with choosing gifts for a food-driven individual. But while a number of Chicago (and one Cleveland) chefs had great suggestions on the list, we talked to many others whose suggestions didn't make the national cut but still offer good ideas for holiday gift-giving. So here are some of your favorite Chicago chefs and their ideas for the holidays.

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