Posts for January 10, 2013

Watch These Amazing Tim Hortons Customers Sing ‘Can You Feel the Love Tonight’

This adorable group of senior-citizen doughnut-shop crooners are better known as the Entertainers, CBS reports. They are members of the Oakville Chapter of the Barbershop Harmony Society, and they convene at their local Tim Hortons after practice on Monday nights to share doughnuts and coffee. Sometimes, awesomely, they burst into song. Prepare to feel happy, and perhaps crave a cinnamon-sugar doughnut or two.

It's enough to make kings and vagabonds shed a tear or two. »

Slideshow: How John des Rosiers' Moderno Was Reborn as Royce, Opening Today

Less than a year ago we were chronicling the opening of John des Rosiers' Moderno at 1850 2nd St. in Highland Park, under chef Phil Rubino. Many wondered if conservative Highland Park diners would respond to an Italian restaurant which compared to city spots like Balena and NellcĂ´te in terms of a modern take on Italian food. And to some extent they were right— Moderno drew an audience, but not enough of one for its space, especially during the week. So as of today the Moderno space is reborn as Royce, an art deco-themed comfort food restaurant devoted to classics like burgers and chopped salad. But if des Rosiers is following his audience's tastes, he's not compromising on the things that matter to him most, like making dishes in a painstakingly old-fashioned manner, or buying from local farmers for better meats, vegetables and cheeses. We visited Royce yesterday as the finishing touches were put on the space, to see how he'd changed the look, to try the new menu— and to talk to John about what you do when your concept doesn't make it in reality. Check out our slideshow and interview below; we've got the menus to download as well.

Read more »

Top Chef Seattle Recap: David Rees on Mojo Sauce and Thai-German Fusion Lollipops

"You need to wear a great hat if you want to cook in this kitchen."Photo: Courtesy of Bravo

Thanks to Hugh Acheson and Chef Josie for writing nice things about these recaps on their twitter feeds! On to the show ...

Lobster bisque with Thai spices and Bavarian cream lollipop garnish. »

Chicago's Hidden World of Locally Grown Food

Google Earth imagery annotated with local gardens.

NPR's The Salt blog calls our attention to an interesting sidelight on how food is produced in Chicago. Although different organizations maintained lists of community gardens, no one had a real sense of how much locally grown food there really was. Enter Google Earth, with its satellite photos of every block in Chicago, and a grad student named John Taylor, a researcher in the lab of crop scientist Sarah Lovell at Champaign-Urbana. He found that the lists were not only inaccurate— most of what was on them was ornamental plantings, not food gardens— but they missed a vast world of serious backyard food production. (There's a screen capture of one block on the northwest side where every single house has a good-sized plot.) In all, Taylor found 4,648 sites covering a total of more than 65 acres— almost three Millennium Parks' worth of farmland parceled all over the city. And it seems to be growing— Taylor's initial study was based off satellite imagery taken in 2010, but a review of newer photography shows a 50 percent increase. [The Salt]

The Beer Temple Is Serious About Beer, and Video Podcasting

A number of people have written about The Beer Temple, the new beer store in Logan Square or Avondale or whatever the corner of Elston, California and Belmont would be, run by owner Chris Quinn and his wife Margery. For instance, Julia Thiel at the Reader, and Thrillist here. Quinn may have set a new record for seriousness in the retailing of malt beverages, at least locally, by going to the Siebel Institute and become a certified cicerone. But the other thing we learned from Thiel's piece that blew us away is that Quinn does video podcasts about beer. As in the most recent one is #158. And these are not short podcasts, either; the current one is over 20 minutes of Quinn sitting there discussing the various qualities of the brews before him. We have something new to listen to while doing the dishes, clearly; below you can check out the latest one, the first one actually shot in the store, as he talks about new entry into the Chicago market Deschutes Brewery.

Read more »

Woman Named Beautiful Existence to Live Off Only Starbucks Food for a Year

Name to change to Painful Existence.

And the cult of scary Starbucks fanatics gets a new leader: Ms. Beautiful Existence (legal name) has taken a vow to only eat food from Starbucks for an entire year. Apparently, this act is somehow driven by feminism: "Where are the WOMEN challenging themselves in the world? Where are the effects being shown on a woman’s culture? A woman’s family & children? ... Where is HER VOICE on how an international company is directly or indirectly impacting everything from her waistline to her bottom line and every other woman’s, man’s, child’s, societies and planets world with their presence?" she writes on her blog. This isn't the first time Existence has attempted a stunt like this: Last year, she lived her life according to Parents magazine, and in 2011, she only shopped at Goodwill. Definitely not as painful as subsisting off "artisan" breakfast sandwiches and processed protein lunch boxes. Good thing Existence lives in Seattle; at least there's booze at her local Starbucks. [Earlier, Earlier, HuffPo]

It's Apparently Dog Eat Dog at 5 Rabbit

Well, this is a bummer that leaves the future of a fast-rising brewery in doubt. Since its launch less than two years ago, 5 Rabbit Cerveceria, the Latino-flavored brewery, has been on a fast track, moving into sales at Chipotle and with plans for a southwest side brewery and taproom. But something else seems to have been brewing— a clash of egos between co-founders Andres Araya (who is CEO) and Isaac Showaki (CFO) that has now resulted in a lawsuit. We only have Araya's side of the story from his filing, but he claims that Showaki "became increasingly obsessed with his perceived lack of power and influence at the company and began a campaign to tarnish and besmirch Araya's reputation in an effort to acquire control of the company," spreading stories about an affair and misappropriation of company funds which Araya denies. Neither party would comment to Crain's. [Crain's]

Nebraska Man Crashes His Car Into Pizzeria, Orders Pizza Anyhow

An elderly man in Nebraska crashed his Honda Fit through the facade of a Valentino's Pizza in Lincoln, Nebraska, yesterday, shearing off the chain store's front doors and launching glass into its dining room before he came to a full stop inside the restaurant and placed an order. "The gentleman said his foot had stuck on the gas," a witness says, "and that he was going to go ahead and order some pizza." It's almost as if he was trying to do one better than the Seattle man who decided to go for coffee right after he was hit by a bus earlier this week. No one was injured, and it seems as though the man did not get his large pie — instead, he was taken to the hospital, where the pizza isn't as good.

He said his foot got stuck on the accelerator. »

‘Knife Guys’ Will Ferrell and Ryan Gosling Cut Into Jimmy Kimmel’s New Time Slot

If you've ever wondered what a knife-selling show on QVC hosted by Ryan Gosling and Will Ferrell would look like, well, it happened last night on Jimmy Kimmel Live. Apparently Kimmel didn't realize his new time slot was already taken by the Ginsu-wielding duo. "What the hell are you doing here, Jimmy?" Gosling asks. "We sell knives at eleven-thirty. Everyone knows that." Click through for the best chocolate-milk-slicing demo you'll probably see all day. [Vulture]

Todd Stein Leaving Piccolo Sogno Due, Returning to Atlanta Firm

After Cibo Matto's premature closing, chef Todd Stein has been on the move rather a lot for a chef at his level, trying to find the perfect venue for his well-crafted Italian food. First he was at The Florentine, then he launched Piccolo Sogno Due for Tony Priolo. But at least as far as Chicago is concerned, it sounds like his quest is over. Dish reports that he's leaving Piccolo Sogno Due and Chicago to move to Atlanta and join Concentrics Restaurants, the company that operated Cibo Matto, to enjoy a "slower-paced lifestyle." His immediate responsibility will be an Atlanta food and music venue called Two Urban Licks, along with input into other projects. Tony Priolo is promoting Gabriel Hernandez, Piccolo Sogno Due's current sous chef, to chef de cuisine, while taking on primary oversight over both restaurants. [Dish]

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