Posts for December 17, 2012

Game of Thrones Is Getting Its Own Craft Beer

Ale for what ails you.

Winter is coming, sure, but at the end of that, it'll thaw a bit and you'll be able to sip some cool, Belgian-style, Game of Thrones–branded beer. The Cooperstown, New York, brewery Ommegang will roll out its Westeros-inspired Iron Throne Blonde Ale, the New York Times reports, on March 31, to coincide with the HBO show's season-three premiere. And if you're not feeling King Joffrey in that actual Game of Thrones throne, don't worry: There are, em, three more official George R. R. Martin–approved brews in the pipeline. Now where is Tom Colicchio with some slow-roasted venison haunch when you need him the most? Best pairing ever. [NYT, Earlier]

What Does Local Food Mean on an Island in the Caribbean?

Last spring, as our alter ego Sky Full of Bacon, we were invited— along with Graham Elliot chef Merlin Verrier and a host of other chefs and press people— to the St. Croix Food and Wine Experience in the U.S. Virgin Islands. Often these kinds of upscale events held at resorts get about as close to the real places they're set in as a moon base does. That wasn't the case here, with chefs like Verrier and Puerto Rico's Roberto Trevino sourcing locally and even arranging for things to be grown in advance for them at ARTFarm, a local farm dedicated to increasing the amount of local produce used by the restaurants that serve the upscale tourists and retirees who come to the island. But that was only the beginning point for our examination of local food on St. Croix, which takes in everything from an organic farm devoted to both land and sea stewardship, to a cattle ranch, to a rainforest bar famous for beer-drinking pigs. (Don't worry, they drink non-alcoholic beer.) Watch our half-hour exploration of locavorism in paradise, "Little Green Island," below.

Previously: Congratulations to Graham Elliot Director of Operations Merlin Verrier...

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See the Food and What Goes Into It at Matt Kirkley's L2O

Last Friday we talked with L2O chef Matt Kirkley about the restaurant's tumultuous journey from three Michelin stars to one to two. Or, if you don't care about Michelin stars, about its tumultuous journey as opening chef Laurent Gras departed, Kirkley (who had been on the opening team) returned under Francis Brennan, and was ultimately promoted to the position where he could guide the restaurant back to its present state of excellence (and, he hopes, more of it in the future). Kirkley's L2O plainly ranks among the top fine dining experiences in town for the delicacy of his jewel-like seafood dishes, less Asian and more varied than under Gras, the artful and gorgeous presentation, which rarely gives away how inexpensively Kirkley has achieved his effects ("I'm a big customer at Michael's," he says), and the highly polished service in the relaxed and gracious dining room. Here's a look at what's on the menu, and a little of what's behind it in L2O's kitchen.

Sonic Is Coming To Uptown

Uptown Update has the story: Sonic, the vaguely nostalgic drive-in burger chain which was founded as Top Hat in the 1950s, was a minor regional chain through the 70s, but shot nationwide after a leveraged buyout in 1986, is coming to Chicago. (There are already locations scattered around the suburbs.) Usually the barrier for such chains— especially a drive-in— coming into the city is that they can't find the space to plop down their standard footprint, but Sonic is taking over a spot in Uptown at Kenmore and Wilson which has been an empty lot since 1980. According to Uptown Update, they were attracted by the development in the Truman Square area, notably the new Target and the L stop, and plan to hire between 60 and 100 employees, nearly all from the Uptown area. Ourselves, we're looking forward to finally having a Plains-states-style Cherry Limeade closer than Franklin Park. [Uptown Update]

Little Market Brasserie Soft Opens Today, Open Opens January 18

When we were chatting with Ryan Poli a couple of weeks ago we were told that mid-December, ie right about now, was the opening date for Little Market Brasserie, the new Mercadito Group brasserie-inspired place in the Talbott Hotel, 10 E. Delaware. Then we heard that it was pushed back to January 18. And now we hear that it's opening tonight! What gives? Well, January 18 remains the official opening. But they're opening tonight with limited reservations (312-640-8141). So you can be the first on your block, of course usual caveats for soft openings and brand new places apply, but we feel pretty sure these guys knows what they're doing. Watch for menus and more about this opening as it gets closer to, uh, opening opening.

Raw-Milk Enthusiasts Sue FDA for Ignoring Requests to Legalize It


Food Safety News reports that Organic Pastures, the nation’s largest raw-milk dairy, is suing the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for ignoring its request to change the 1987 law banning the sale of raw milk across state lines. The raw-milk cult sure is feisty: It's endured armed raids, paranoia, jail time, and diarrhea. Raw milk is legal in 30 states that include California, Arizona, Maine, New Hampshire, Nevada, Pennsylvania, and Utah, and it's explicitly banned in twenty states. Organic Pastures farmer Mark McAfee, who’s basically the food world’s L. Ron Hubbard, wants to legalize interstate commerce of raw milk between states in which the FDA already allows it to be produced and sold. It boils down to this problem: Demand is high for raw milk in Arizona, but the state only has two raw-milk dairies. McAfee wants to send a shipment of raw milk from California, where it’s so ubiquitous that it’s sold in retail chains.

But raw milk could be fatal. »

Lunch Lady Who Fed Hungry Kid Gets Her Job Back

Dianne Brame, the Missouri elementary-school lunch lady who was allegedly fired from her job last week because she gave a fourth-grade boy two months' worth of free lunches, is now back on the job, KSDK reports. Brame told the television news station she had been confronted by Chartwells, the food-service company that has a cafeteria contract with the school district, after her co-worker reported that she had been giving away free food. Brame acknowledged breaking the rules but said she was just trying to prevent other students from bullying the unnamed boy, whose enrollment in the school's program had lapsed. Chartwells tells the TV station that Brame hadn't been fired and she was back on the job at Hudson Elementary School, adding in a statement that the company was "pleased to have resolved this misunderstanding." [KSDK, Earlier]

Dollop Coffee & Tea To Open in Streeterville

Popular Buena Park coffee shop Dollop Coffee & Tea will open its second location (which is the third for owner Dan Weiss, who also has Kickstand in Lakeview) this week at 345 W. E. Ohio. But if you don't know Dollop, there will be plenty of familiar names on site— from Metropolis Coffee (it will be the first Metropolis vendor downtown) to Hoosier Mama for pies, Southport Grocery for cupcakes and croissants, Fritz Pastry for vegan doughnuts, and bread from La Farine for sandwiches. Coffeewise, they'll offer a Woodneck Pourover brew system, AeroPress coffees and more. The unique interior, which includes antique sofas and communal tables, is by Paul Leisen, former in-house designer for Intelligentsia; it will be open from 6:00 a.m. to 10 p.m. seven days a week.

Domino’s Founder Sues Government Over Mandatory Contraceptive Rule

MonaghanPhoto: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Tom Monaghan, the 75-year-old Domino's founder who supplemented his pizza empire by establishing a number of conservative and Catholic-affiliated organizations, is now suing the federal government for requiring his company to provide mandatory contraceptive coverage for employees at Domino's Farms Corporation, an office space complex in Michigan. Lawyers from the Thomas More Law Center, a nonprofit that "defends and promotes America’s Judeo-Christian heritage and moral values, including the religious freedom of Christians, time-honored family values, and the sanctity of human life," filed the 40-page lawsuit in Michigan Federal District Court on Friday.

"The Government forces Christians to choose between violating their religious beliefs and violating the law." »

What To Eat at Table, Donkey and Stick, Officially Opening Thursday

Table, Donkey and Stick officially opens Thursday, and we're supposed to get a big snowstorm that day, so when it comes to an Alpine theme, these guys don't do it halfway, apparently. Otherwise they're going light on the Das Glockenspiel, aiming more to evoke simply the welcome and easygoing feel of a place high in the mountains. Below we have chef Scott Manley's opening menu (attendees of the competition pop-up dinners will notice at least one dish that's a carry-over from Manley's menu); seating will be walk-in. The restaurant is at 2728 W. Armitage.

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