Posts for December 19, 2012

Seeking a Drink For the End of the World

Lots of bars are celebrating the imminent Mayan apocalypse as another excuse to drink— laugh while you can, monkey boy!— but here are a few that caught our eye as doing something more imaginative with this once-in-a-universe holiday. For starters, Longman & Eagle will be celebrating Friday night with a special cocktail called Out With a Bang!, based on a Black Thorn with Thomas H. Handy Barrel Proof Rye Whisky. It's $20.12— hey, it's not like money's going to be any good anyway when the world ends. More follows below.

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Big Star Salsas Go On Sale at Publican Quality Meats Tomorrow

Take it from us, for a taco joint Big Star ranks surprisingly highly on the list of Chicago restaurants people from out of town know about and want to check out. All that leads to a high Stocking Stuffer Desirability Factor, or SSDF, and so it's good news that starting tomorrow, Big Star-made salsas and hot sauce will be on sale at Publican Quality Meats. There's verde and chipotle salsa as well as a serrano hot sauce and an al pastor marinade. [Paul Kahan via Twitter]

Watch a Guy Make the Downton Abbey House in Gingerbread Form

A guy with a lot of time on his hands has erected a gingerbread replica of the Yorkshire country estate in Downton Abbey. The time-lapse video shows how he meticulously cuts and bakes the dough, frosts it, hooks up lighting, and, oh God, it's exhausting just typing this (does he have a day job?). The finished product is impressive — a period piece, really. Now, where's the edible Lady Mary?

To hold you over until new episodes air in January. »

Just in Time for Christmas: A Bacon Yule Log Video

Applegate Farms made a video of bacon crackling over a picturesque fireplace — an emotionally manipulative, if effective, marketing move. No matter how you feel about bacon, firing up the 31-minute video on Christmas morning is a nice way to ensure everyone unwrapping presents also gets a case of the meat sweats.

Festive food porn, right this way. »

Congrats to Blackbird's Dana Cree...

...who won the second annual Buche de Noel competition at Cafe des Architectes in the Sofitel on Monday, benefiting Share Our Strength. Her yule log-shaped cake, which she said was based on an Austrian dessert she made to impress Wolfgang Puck, won top honors from both the judges and attendees, over entries from Amanda Rockman (Balena), Meg Galus (NoMI), Thomas Raquel (Acadia), Elissa Narow (Perennial Virant), Nate Meads (RM Champagne Salon) and Cindy Schuman (Sepia). Steve Dolinsky emceed. [312DiningDiva]

Inside the World of Gallerybrewing

Another piece of art from Life, in some form.

Back when we were last seen at art gallery openings in River North, white wine was the drink du jour. But times have apparently changed, according to a piece at Chicago magazine— gallerybrewing is the latest thing. SMaB, or Small Ass Brewing, is a group of artists who brew themed beers especially for openings at Slow Gallery, which also happens to be the Pilsen apartment of one of the artists. Their operation is decidedly homebrew scaled— the 50 bottles they make is the standard amount most homebrew recipes aim for— so is this is more than just some guys calling their hobby art? Author Jason Fournberg tries to make that case. Meanwhile, at the Chicago Artists' Coalition gallery at 217 N. Carpenter, as part of a larger exhibit on life processes called Life, in some form, the brew is the art— Marissa Lee Benedict's installation The universe is formed by a series of feedbacks is, simply, a meadmaking setup. "It's a way 'to get rid of the art object,'" we are told. Last door at the end of the hallway for that. [Chicago]

A Little Hint of Upcoming Next Menus in Dave Beran Key Ingredient Video

Dave Beran of Next is this week's Key Ingredient subject at the Reader, working with cashew apples, and by coincidence the video was shot the same day the announcement of the upcoming season for Next went out. What he told us about it that day was posted here, but the video offers a few more glimpses of what guests will be experiencing next year— starting with some of the new tableware that has been commissioned for The Hunt; the dish is plated on handmade, rustically-unfinished-looking porcelain plates which were coming in even as we interviewed him. He also uses some of the new ingredients they've been experimenting with, including purple sweet potatoes (which had previously been used in the "campfire" dish in the Childhood menu; Beran likes their more solid texture than conventional orange sweet potatoes) and herbs such as micro sorrel. But he's also thinking about adding something else you'll see in the challenge.

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