Posts for December 11, 2012

Someone Finally Invents a Burrito-Dropping Drone

Time well spent: Some dudes put together a concept for a burrito-delivery drone. Just tell the aptly named Burrito Bomber where you are via your smartphone, then wait for hellfire your carnitas to rain down by parachute. Practical? No. Awesome? So awesome.

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It's a Magazine! It's a Recipe Box! It's Middlewest, Coming Next Year

Did you know that digital is the future? Did you know that all print is dying and everything will be digital soon? Did you know digital digital digital DIGITALLLLLL!!! Yeah, yeah, digital is the future for many things, but old media rarely go away entirely— they just find new ways to exploit their unique advantages, and that's certainly the case with a new, you might say artisanal-small-producer, magazine in the works for early next year called Middlewest, from a couple of Time Out Chicago veterans, food editor David Tamarkin and frequent photographer Erica Gannett, along with the design firm Sonnezimmer. The content will focus on food of the midwest, but because it's recipe-focused, it will come in a form that, as Tamarkin notes, is "easier to cook from than magazines (or your phone)"— it will be printed on 6x9 card stock, unbound, so you can simply lay a recipe out in front of you as you cook. Right now the probably-biannual publication is a Kickstarter project, where a pledge of at least $18 gets you the first issue. Tamarkin explains its origins and intentions in a video at Kickstarter; check it out here.

Japan’s Massive Tsukiji Fish Market to Close Next Year, Relocate in 2014

New York might be swimming in fake fish, but an iconic tourist destination for sushi lovers the world over, Tsukiji Fish Market, is growing. The 78-year-old bustling, chaotic, wholesale marketplace is the largest of its kind in the world, and Tokyo officials say it has outgrown its current digs (and the governor wants its centrally located real estate for other purposes). Recently they unveiled designs for a new fish market a mile and a half away in the Koto Ward that's 40 percent larger than Tsukiji at 408,000 square meters (more than 4 million square feet).

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What To Eat at Grace (And the Two Menus Explained)

The kitchen at Grace.Photo: Sky Full of Bacon

The opening menus for Grace were released today on the Grace website, but they still may seem more than a little enigmatic. There are two menus— indicated only by the presence of one or two leaves at the top— and while there are differences in the dishes, it's less clear what the theme is that would help you tell them apart. The one-leaf menu has more of a focus on vegetables but is not strictly vegetarian; the two-leaf menu includes more proteins... but it's still pretty vegetable-oriented, too. We turned to Curtis Duffy himself for clarification; he explains that in general, his cuisine is lighter and focused on the flavors of vegetables, and the two menus represent different degrees of that focus: "One is strictly focused on vegetables, though not necessarily vegetarian or vegan— although certainly if somebody has those dietary needs, we can go that route."

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Jim Gaffigan on Delicious-Looking Celebrities and Being ‘the Opposite of a Vegan’

"Halle Berry looks delicious."Photo: Jimi Celeste/Patrick McMullan

At last night's premiere for the third season of Portlandia, there was a lot of talk of veganism and restrictive diets (SNL's Taran Killam on the Master Cleanse: "I did it for three days and shat water like you wouldn't believe"), but Jim Gaffigan, upcoming Portlandia guest star and famous opponent of Hot Pockets, had the most to say on the subject.

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Iyanzé Food Truck Stolen; $1000 Reward Offered

Watch for this truck.Photo: courtesy Iyanze via Facebook

With all the food truck stories we've had, the one we haven't had until now has been someone stealing a food truck. But now it's happened, unfortunately, to Iyanzé, a West African restaurant in Uptown, who are offering a $1000 reward for information leading to its recovery (call 911 or 312-498-0779). Like the trucks of several African restaurants, it's the old school construction-site-sandwich type, not a big van type (which is probably too conspicuous to steal anyway), but while cupcake trucks and the like have gotten all the media attention in recent years, African trucks bringing native foods to workers downtown have been an important yet unsung aspect of our food scene (one rare example of coverage is here at Serious Eats Chicago) and, like all food trucks, an important point of entry into entrepreneurship for (in this case) West Africans in Chicago. [Facebook via Eater]

Suburbanites Terrorized By Giant Weiner Strongman From Sky

Photo: courtesy Superdawg via Twitter

UPDATE: It seems we misunderstood what the tweeting of these photos meant and they're actually from a couple of years ago and the Wheeling location has been open for a while. Oh well, still cool photos.... Possibly the greatest food photo in the history of Chicago was tweeted yesterday by the official account of Superdawg, the beloved northwest-side drive-in hot dog stand, which has been opening opened a Wheeling location for a couple of years now a couple of years ago. The photo shows the hoisting of Maurie, one half of the hot dog duo who stands atop the restaurant in Tarzan getup, beckoning passersby with glowing red eyes as well as the affections of Flaurie, his better half. At 18 feet, the new Superdawgs are 3 feet taller than the pair that have stood atop the Milwaukee and Devon location for half a century. See more pics of the Raising of the Superdawg at the Superdawg Twitter feed here (and if you're in the mood for more Superdawg-related media, check out Bob Sirott's remembrance of his career in Friday's Sun-Times, in which Superdawg and the Duchess of York appear in the same item). (h/t Michael Nagrant)

Hostess Drew on Pension Funds to Cover Operating Costs

Oh, Hostess. Apparently as the snack-cake maker skidded toward oblivion, the company scrapped pension contributions and used money previously earmarked for employees' retirement funds to cover operating expenses. Which, as we all now know, didn’t quite work out as far as keeping Twinkies rolling off the production line and workers working are concerned. (The Wall Street Journal says that the decision to end pension contributions was what set the stage for the standoff between the company and its unionized employees.) Rerouting pension contributions isn’t necessarily illegal, but it’s still pretty scummy. [WSJ]

Finding Grace: See the First Service at Curtis Duffy’s Restaurant, Opening Tonight

In the final installment of our video series Finding Grace: The Making of a Restaurant — chronicling the creation of Michelin-starred chef Curtis Duffy's much-anticipated Chicago restaurant Grace from gutted space to finished restaurant — we're in the kitchen on the first night of service. (Grace's official public opening is tonight, but last week's dinner for a small private party marked the first time they fed paying guests.) General manager Michael Muser admits to nerves and perfectionism, saying, "If it was up to Curtis and I, we wouldn't open for four months," but chef Duffy is confident about his team and his menu, and for the first time, he shows off one of Grace's dishes — a wagyu beef course with seasonal accompaniments including matsutake mushrooms and salsify. This is one of the country's most ambitious new restaurants, and it's your first glimpse of the food and the interior (which have been kept under wraps until now), as well as the conclusion of the story our video series has been telling since April. See it all in this seven-minute video, straight ahead.

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