Posts for January 14, 2013

Want to Know More About Radler and D.A.S.? Ask Baconfest.

Nathan Sears at Vie.

We still don't know where German beer hall Radler, and its tasting-menu sibling D.A.S., will be located. But we do know the most important thing— Nathan Sears will be at Baconfest Chicago. Sears, a Baconfest participant all five years and a two-time Baconfest Golden Rasher Award winner, wouldn't miss it, and we learn a little more about the Vie veteran's upcoming German concept in a piece at the Baconfest site highlighting his new spot:

The concept of Radler and D.A.S. was a collaborative effort inspired by [partner Adam] Hebert’s travels to Germany, chef Sears' own German heritage and the pair’s appreciation for German culture and cuisine. Guests can expect to see a variety of dishes with strong German, Austrian and Czech Republic influences on the menus including an array of pickles, preserves and house-made sausages.

The restaurant is set to open this spring. [Baconfest]

Shin Thompson's New Place Will Be... Kabocha

Having blasted through the two names and an ampersand barrier with Table, Donkey and Stick, it was hard to say where Shin Thompson's West Loop spot might go. In the end, it goes with a single word ending with an A (like Embeya or Vera), nostalgia, color... and squash. It's going to be Kabocha, reports Time Out Chicago, who say the name comes from a favorite food Thompson's mother used to make for him, a color which will be used in the design, and a flavor that's emblematic of the Asian fusion cuisine Thompson has become known for. Other things the piece reveals— the origin of Thompson and partner Ryan O'Donnell's friendship in a bucket of goose fat, why they both see the West Loop as Chicago restauranting's manifest destiny, and a few menu and cocktail items to be featured in the restaurant, due this spring. [TOC]

Video Feed: Get Ready For the Carnivorous Pleasures of The Hunt

You don't actually see Next chef Dave Beran bag a pheasant in the new video for The Hunt menu, running now, but you see plenty of other things in the latest, beautifully-put together work from resident filmmaker Christian Seel that leave you in no doubt that The Hunt is about the carnal pleasures of carnivorousness. Heads are cut off, bones are sanded down for eating marrow out of, red meat is trimmed and even pureed... all these things happen in fine dining, but this meal isn't about keeping them behind the kitchen door. Check out two minutes and forty-four seconds of red-blooded meat below, and speaking of red, according to Twitter, this is the first Next video shot on their latest toy— a Red Scarlet 4K digital video camera. So be sure to watch it in 1080p as large as you can— and apparently it even comes in a 3D version (we haven't actually tested that out, especially on these vivid images).

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Dirk Flanigan Departs The Gage and Henri For New Venture of His Own

Dirk Flanigan has kicked around the Chicago scene for a number of years— as Phil Vettel tweeted last weekend, he was one of the candidates for the job at a new little place some guys were opening a decade or so ago, called Blackbird. But if his main gig (Meritage) was well-liked for a number of years, he only entered the ranks of local name chefs personally with The Gage, which introduced aspects of the charcuterie and farm to table movements to staid Michigan Avenue dining when The Purple Pig was only a gleam in Jimmy Bannos' eye, and then with its fine dining sibling Henri. From there he rose in prominence quickly, making the James Beard shortlist, playing a lead role in launching the Chicago Gourmet Festival and serving as a culinary ambassador during the NATO summit last year. Now he's about to take on another lead role: restaurant owner. He's leaving The Gage and Henri for an otherwise unspecified "restaurant for my family."

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Dragon Ranch Breathes Fire, Bub City Escapes

Name your place Dragon Ranch Moonshine & BBQ, you gotta expect some fire, and an electrical fire broke out at the new barbecue-moonshine-whatever spot in River North late Friday night, affecting both it and fellow honky-tonk-tinged neighbor Bub City. The fire, which took place under Dragon Ranch's floors, has left it closed for repairs, while Bub City suffered minor damage but was able to reopen by Saturday evening. No one was injured; there is no estimate yet on when Dragon Ranch will reopen. [Rockit Ranch via 312 Dining Diva]

Tastykakes-Maker Is Buying Hostess Bread Brands: Will Twinkies Be Saved?

It's a miracle!

If you've been living in a nuclear fallout shelter packed with Ho Hos and Ding Dongs since news broke of Hostess filing for bankruptcy, it's time to come out and see the light. Flower Foods Inc., a company in Georgia that produces Tastykakes, Nature's Own, and Cobblestone Mill, is buying six of Hostess's bread brands for $390 million. The deal isn't finalized yet because the bankruptcy court must approve it, but it looks like Wonder Bread will be back in your bodega soon (did it ever really expire, though?). Maybe consider starting a prayer group for Twinkies. [Earlier, AP]

Wahlburgers Reality Show Begins Filming

Mark Wahlberg, reality star.Photo: Getty Images

That reality show we told you about featuring Wahlburgers' chef Paul Wahlberg and his celebrity siblings Mark and Donnie begins taping tomorrow, according to the Boston Globe. The show is all about what it takes to run a successful restaurant — despite recent woes. Wahlburgers has been in the news lately thanks to a lawsuit alleging that ex-manager Ed St. Croix did an "abysmal" job and the arrest of CEO Rick Vanzura for midday drunk-driving. This series could be juicy!

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