Posts for December 20, 2012

How The Christmas Stollen Stole Toni Patisserie & Cafe's December

Photo: courtesy Toni Patisserie & Cafe

Sweet bread with candied fruit in it. Italians call it panettone, but Germans call it stollen, leading to bad puns throughout the holiday season. You can find it at German-tinged shops like Paulina Meat Market or Gene's Sausage Shop, but if you want to know what it's really about, we suggest checking out the version made by Toni's Patisserie & Cafe downtown. Chef Toni Cox learned to make it from Austrian pastry chef Albert Kumin while he was teaching in New York, and sold it to fans in her original Hinsdale shop for years before she came downtown; between the two shops, last year she cranked out nearly 500 loaves. As Cox describes it, "The bread is full of dried and candied fruits, nuts, rum and almond paste, covered in cinnamon sugar. We discovered once we started sampling that people couldn't get enough of it." Call 312-726-2020 to special order yours, or just stop by at 65 E. Washington.

What To Eat and Drink at The Boarding House, Opening Tonight

Tourtiere ravioli.Photo: Galdones Photography

It's the department store of 2012 openings, with different culinary and oenophilic offerings on every floor. It's Alpana Singh's The Boarding House, and after a week of soft opening for the bar and cellar, the whole place opens tonight, including the top floor dining floor with its two-story view of River North. (The bar opens at 4:30, dining at 5:00 p.m.) We've got Chef Christian Gosselin's menu below, as well as details on New Year's Eve, which will have two seatings: 5 p.m. for a four-course tasting menu at $85, and 8 p.m. for a five-course menu at $105. (No pairings, but we're pretty sure there will be someone who can help you with the 450-bottle wine list.) For reservations, call 312-280-0720.

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Top Chef Seattle Recap: David Rees on Beautiful Berries and Shredded Jeans

Padma doesn't do pink.Photo: Bravo

On the last Top Chef before the Feast of St. Christmas, we find Josh moaning about his shattered reputation as a pork expert. He vows to never cook pork again. Pigs across the country breathe an oink of relief, then go back to rolling around in their own fecal matter.

"Beautiful, beautiful berries ... " »

Watch These Adorable Old People Try to Get Through Their Lines in This Truck Stop Commercial

This older man and lady having lunch at Dysart's Restaurant in Bangor, Maine, are having a bit of a hard time saying their chicken potpie is "baked in a buttery, flaky crust" during the filming of a commercial for the place. They keep trying anyhow, though, which really just makes them the best.

"Flaky!" »

And Yet Even More Additional Supplementary New Year's Eve Listings, Part 4

This is our fourth installment and we have nothing left to say. There is so much New Year's going on we can barely see straight. For God's sake go to one of these, would you? All these nice servers and chefs and bartenders trying to make something nice for you, what are you going to do, stay home? Unthinkable. Here's why.

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Sloshed: The Pro-Am Guide to New Year’s Eve Drinking

Don't be this guy.Photo: Bettmann/CORBIS

New Year's Eve is our one mandatory holiday — you must celebrate. Try telling people you're staying in on December 31 and you will see them go through stages of confusion, disbelief, moral outrage, and activism that will end with them making plans for you. But while the idea of everyone being out is fun in theory, it's sloppy in practice. Seasoned party veterans mingle with nightlife n00bs, and nobody can get a drink because every bartender in America is in the weeds. This has to stop.

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Highland Park's Moderno To Close, Reconcept as American Farm To Table

Phil Rubino and John Des Rosiers at Moderno.Photo: Sky Full of Bacon

John Des Rosiers has brought innovative upscale dining successfully to the north shore with Lake Bluff's Inovasi, but his eight-month effort to bring contemporary, handcrafted Italian food at Moderno (under chef Phil Rubino) will end with Saturday night's service. Moderno's quality deserved mention in the same ranks of major Italian openings in the city like Balena or Piccolo Sogno Due, a claim bolstered by the fact that Des Rosiers and Rubino were invited to cook at James Beard House in October. But the reality in Highland Park was that Moderno took over the space of a former Rosebud restaurant, and seems to have had trouble taking over the headspace of that style of redsauce Italian-American for local diners.

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Kuma's To Open Kuma's Too at 666 W. Diversey

Not the new Kuma's Too.

It was going to open in Las Vegas. It was rumored for Woodfield Mall (that seems to have been a joke, or possibly confusion with this place). For years the possibility of another Kuma's Corner, the insanely popular heavy-metal themed burger bar in Avondale, has been out there. And now it's coming to about the closest the city offers to Woodfield Mall— a strip mall-esque stretch of Diversey near Clark, where it will take over the abruptly shuttered location of California burger chain The Counter... a location with the all-too-perfect address of 666 Diversey Ave. To be called Kuma's Too, this location currently resembles the old time pub original less than it does a TMobile or Foot Locker store, but maybe they can capture some of that heavy metal spirit in a vanilla box on Diversey. With 73 seats, it's bigger than the original, and it instantly joins The Peasantry at the top of the not-all-that-impressive list of places to eat around that stretch of Lincoln Park/Lakeview. [Dish]

Watch the Real-Life Fruit Ninja Slice Melons, Spare Kittens

The best fruit-slicing video game you've maybe played on your phone comes to life in stunning detail in the short made by Scott Winn, who makes a lot of wonderful things. This ninja bisects pineapples, watermelons, and lemons (sort of) with the greatest of ease. He would never hurt a flying kitten, and, at the 1:02 mark, he pummels a Twinkie. This really ought to be a feature film.

Watch out, tiny kitten! »

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