Posts for January 11, 2013

News Clearance Sale! Bub City, La Pasadita, BellyQ & Fish Bar Must Go!

Lots of news that maybe isn't quite big enough for a standalone item, but is worth a peek... Item number one: Bub City is now doing lunch. As of a few hours ago. File that for next week when you're bored at work and barbecue or shellfish might be just the thing.

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Study: Half the World’s Food Gets Thrown Away

That pear looks perfectly edible.Photo: iStock Photo

Here's your depressing statistic of the week: 30 to 50 percent of the world's food is wasted each year, amounting to some 2 billion metric tons of grain, vegetables, and meat thrown in the garbage. These numbers come from a new study by the British Institution of Mechanical Engineers, reported on this week in the Guardian. In the First World, the primary reason for food waste is consumers' tastes for unblemished produce and retail guidelines that enforce overly conservative sell-by dates. In the developing world, food is thrown out mainly owing to spoilage, which could be helped by improved infrastructure and distribution systems. But basically, people wouldn't be going hungry if more were being done to keep good food out of the trash bin, and the world is dumb. The end. [Guardian UK, CNN]

Nagrant, Serious Eats Duel with L'Patron; Vettel Picks Embeya Over Jellyfish

Embeya, which Phil Vettel liked a lot.Photo: Galdones Photography

Taco joints open up all over town all the time, so how did one in particular rate reviews from two outlets this week (plus numerous other mentions in the past few weeks)? We're not sure; we didn't get any publicity materials from them, certainly. Maybe they just got noticed because they're on the way to some other recent hot openings, notably Fat Rice. In any case, Logan Square's L'Patron does come with a pedigree of a sort by way of co-owner Ernesto Gonzalez's tenure in the kitchen at Topolobampo, and Michael Nagrant— whose last review was, incidentally, Fat Rice— sees Baylessian care at work: "The brothers Gonzalez don’t wait around for orders by pushing around mountains of gray lifeless meat moldering in the corner of a flat-top grill like most taquerias. Befitting of Ernesto’s time with Bayless, they cut and grill marinated meat to order. They wash and chop fresh lettuces and toast and griddle the buns for the tortas at the last second." But it doesn't pay off: "The tortas are over-marinated, the thin ribbons of ribeye weep grease, and the airy torta bread sogs and crumbles under this deluge... The lengua, or tongue taco, is braised well and tender, but tastes and looks like gray flavorless meat floss. Salt is nowhere to be found." [Sun-Times]

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Restaurant Owner Gives an Anti-Gay Letter to Lesbian Customers

McGovern's letter.Photo: WCTI NewsChannel 12

As Ariel and Shawnee McPhail, an openly lesbian couple, strolled out of North Carolina's the Stingray Café, the restaurant's owner rushed toward them and handed them a letter. Ed McGovern's note, signed by "The Love of Christ," said that God opposed homosexuality and that the women's "unnatural" affection hurt everyone around them. In the letter, McGovern also revealed that his own daughter's lesbianism destroyed her life.

"I will NEVER step foot in your cafe again." »

McDonald’s in Australia Sprays Thieves With DNA Cocktail


Macca's, which is what people call the fast-food chain Down Under, announced it will expand the use of the crime deterrent SelectaDNA spray in stores around the country in 2013, the Morning Herald reports. The company does not disclose how their crime-fighting, ceramic-based "synthetic" DNA cocktail is made, but no matter! Here's how it works.

Shwoosh! Shwoosh! That's the sound of synthetic DNA. »

Speaking of Delis... Is Sodikoff's Headed For Steve's Space?

There was no mention of a possible space in the announcement of Brendan Sodikoff's planned deli Dillman's a couple of weeks ago. Time Out's piece mentioned River North, but that was as much as we half-knew. But the sudden closing of Steve's Deli, the Chicago outpost of a Bloomfield Hills, Michigan deli, on Hubbard near the East Bank Club, certainly raises the question of whether that's the space which Sodikoff plans to take over. 312 Dining Diva makes the case:

The timing of the Steve's Deli closing is just too coincidental! Time Out says Dillman's will be a 120-seater and will offer a "Lower East Side, old-world-mafia feel," with wood panels, floor tiles and a long bar with a diner-style kitchen. The concept will totally fit into that space.

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Peanut Allergies Defeated With ‘Peanut Therapy’

It may be possible to reverse the potentially deadly effects of peanut allergies, a new study backed by the National Institutes of Health suggests — that is, if you're willing to take an enormous risk and put in the time. Forty subjects at five hospitals were given trace amounts of peanut protein under the tongue — an initial "1:20,000,000 weight/volume dilution," notes the Atlantic — which was then increased incrementally over a period of 68 weeks. Most participants just developed "itchy mouth" as the dose got nuttier; pretty much none of them went into anaphylactic shock. Weirdly, three of twenty patients treated with the placebo went on to "spontaneous tolerance development," which means those folks may be well on their way to reuniting with their old friend Mr. Peanut. Fascinating stuff, this is, but don't try it at home. [Atlantic]

Eleven City Diner To Take Over Storied Belden Deli Location

Photo: courtesy Eleven City Diner

Many years ago, one of the very first places we ate in Chicago... and knew we weren't in Kansas any more... was the Belden Deli, the old one at the corner of Clark and Belden. Deli, even more than deep dish pizza or Italian beef, told us we had made it to the big city. The Belden Deli was eventually torn down for the building that would, for a while, hold Tower Records, other delis occupied the space below the record store over the years, and most recently an attempt was made to start a new place called Belden Deli which sadly ended prematurely with the death of one of its founders. But the dream of deli at Clark and Belden persists— and one of the few guys to successfully launch a fairly traditional deli in recent times in Chicago is about to make it happen again. The guy is Brad Rubin, who's had Eleven City Diner in the South Loop for half a dozen years, and he's opening his second location in the very same spot sometime this spring. We spoke with Rubin about his plans and why the dream of deli won't die— and is even making a comeback.

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Explore Sake and Japanese Cuisine Via Regional Omakase Dinners at SushiSamba Rio

Opening the cask to start dinner.Photo: Galdones Photography

SushiSamba Rio is a brightly-colored carnival of a place, but if you think it doesn't have room to get quieter and more contemplative about Japanese cuisine, you should check out the series of omakase dinners they're planning beginning January 18. Inspired by the trip of their culinary team to Japan, it's a series of dinners focused around rare and outstanding sakes produced in different regions of Japan, with a multi-course menu tailored to reflect the region of that night's highlighted sushi. (As Hayes Swope, the restaurant's regional director of operations and, incidentally, a certified sake sommelier, admits, "You don't necessarily want a complete menu from some of these regions— it will be 12 kinds of root vegetables." But some dishes, at least, will reflect the area from which the sake comes.)

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