Posts for January 3, 2013

2013 Restaurant Week Participants Revealed

Chicagoans' favorite dining time, Restaurant Week, is just around the corner. This year, it's taking place a tad earlier than usual, beginning Feb. 1 and running through Feb. 10. Over 250 restaurants will participate, serving lunch for $22 and dinner for either $33 or $44 (depends on the place), and they run the gamut from mega-fancy steakhouse (III Forks), to specialty store cafes (Fred's at Barneys New York) to beloved Chicago institutions (Le Colonial, Blackbird, The Gage).

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Foursquare Gives Restaurant Owners More Ways to Check-in on Customers

Foursquare overshares your ramen-eating habit.

It's unlikely to provoke the kind of outrage that followed Instagram's terms-of-service changes that gave the company more control of users' food porn, but Foursquare is now allowing participating merchants broader access to data revealing the eating, drinking, and spending habits of its users. Wired reports that Foursquare has amended its privacy policy, and starting January 28, the company will hand over more data to restaurant owners, for example, who will know the exact dates and times of any user's visit.

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Dale Levitski Latest Chef Offering up Charity Pitas

Levitski.

Speaking of former Top Chef contestants: Frog n Snail's Dale Levitski has teamed with Falafill restaurants for their January Chefs for Charity pita pocket. The beneficiary in this case is PAWS Chicago, and $1 from every pocket purchased between now and Jan. 31 goes to the organization. Appropriately named The Hibernator, the white pita pocket is filled with traditional and curry falafel, steak, a yogurt spread, as well as julienned pears, celery root tossed in a red verjus and frisee. That pocket can be picked up at any of the Chicagoland locations, and is only available until the end of the month. [Official Site]

Top Chef Seattle Recap: David Rees on Healthy Food and Sexy Knives

The judges are very amused.Photo: Bravo

Happy New Year, everyone! I hope some of you have made a resolution to treat the recappers in your life with more respect.

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Wretched Excess: More Writers Complaining About the ‘Tyranny’ of Fine Dining

Daniel Humm and Grant Achatz: not actual tyrants.Photo: Jed Egan

"The meal felt like a form of torture," writes Corby Kummer in the February issue of Vanity Fair. But he's not referring to Guy Fieri's Times Square restaurant; he's recounting his meal at the French Laundry. In “Tyranny — It’s What’s for Dinner,”, Kummer argues that the world's most celebrated restaurants are becoming increasingly rigid in how they treat customers, and Graydon Carter agrees. To these two, it's almost criminal that Per Se and Alinea serve multiple courses, cost hundreds of dollars, take hours to finish, and don't allow diners to ask for substitutions. (Carter’s restaurants, on the other hand, are so relaxed that you usually need a special phone number and at least a B-list celebrity on your arm to score a table — but hey, at least you can get your salad dressing on the side!) Kummer believes that Chicago's now-closed Charlie Trotter's is the root of the problem that's making a generation of young chefs "no longer willing to take orders" from the one percent.

The horror! »

Learn to Cook a Few Things With Tony Mantuano

On Tuesday, Tony Montuano will team up with MasterCard to teach a cooking class at Spiaggia. Montuano will demo a shrimp dish and a black-truffle ricotta dish, and then you'll be treated to dinner at the restaurant. Yes, it's a corporate credit-card promotion (and you can only buy the $175 tickets with an actual MasterCard), but it's also a chance to learn a few tricks from one of Chicago's best chefs — a fine trade-off. [MasterCard]

The Other Critics: Kramer, Sula and Nagrant Agree That Fat Rice Delivers Big Flavor

People love it!Photo: Huge Galdones

There were many highs and a lot of lows in the Chicago food scene in 2012, but one thing's for sure: We ended on a high note with the addition of Fat Rice. The Logan Square Portuguese and Chinese hybrid from the people behind the erstwhile X-Marx is a critical hit.

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Chicago Ranks High on List of Best ‘Top Chef’-helmed Restaurants

The Girl and the Goat is tops.

Even if a chef can create drama on a reality TV show and gain a little notoriety, it doesn't mean he or she can parlay that into a successful restaurant. But Zagat took a look at some of the Top Chef backed restos that are actually good, and Chicago claimed two of the ten spots on the list: Girl & The Goat took the top spot and Sable came in at number five. Check out the other winners over at the Zagat website. [Zagat]

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