Posts for January 22, 2013

Are You Ready For Untitled's "Entitled" VIP Program?

Here's the private entrance you'll never see again.Photo: courtesy Untitled

Here's an idea straight from the Don Draper and Playboy Club days, but it might be just the thing for the Era of Bling, too. The nightspot so secret it has no name, Untitled, has launched a new VIP program called (cleverly) Entitled, full of perks like a private, no-wait-in-line entrance, advanced ticket sales for shows, members-only events ("such as tastings, dinners, maybe a burlesque show or two"), private liquor lockers and more. And this is no gas station rewards card program, either— it's a genuine private club, with a $300 initiation fee, $100 a month dues, and you have to be accepted by a membership committee (recommendation from an existing member helps). Exclusivity at this price point is pretty new for River North nightclubs and the like (though still a fraction of membership in the old-line private clubs the movers and shakers belong to in this city), so we'll be interested to see if there really is a market for this— and if the Landan twins are there to greet you when you join.

Uncle John's BBQ Moves Into The Dat Donut That Was a Leon's

What this all used to look like.

It's a complicated story of South Side donuts and BBQ, but bear with us. As we reported back in October, Dat Donut owner Darryl Townson, who got his start as a teenager working at one of the Leon's BBQ locations on the south side, took over his old employer's location to open a combination Dat Donut and BBQ joint at 8249 S. Cottage Grove. But our friend the indefatigable South Side food explorer Peter Engler reports that there's been a change in plans— which brings another legendary South Side name into the picture.

Read more »

Here Are Five Videos of Mutant Eggs-Within-Eggs

Speaking of things that are both creepy and chicken-related, a YouTube phenomenon was born recently when a guy named Sean Wilson cracked open a very big chicken egg only to reveal it contained another entire chicken egg, shell and all. But Wilson's hardly the first lucky fellow to stumble upon the mythical, elusive egg-within-an-egg. Check out Wilson's moment, straight ahead, then see four other bewildering videos of overstuffed ouefs.

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Can Fan Art Save Twinkies?

Day of the Dead Twinkies by Nancy Peppin.

The fate of Hostess is still in limbo, but one artist is bringing attention to the nationwide outcry for more Twinkies. Nancy Peppin makes Twinkie-inspired art, using mediums such as watercolor, mixed media, and creative writing to express her love for the "ultimate American food icon." It gets stranger; her "Twinkies in history series" shows how she thinks Charles Darwin and Leonardo da Vinci would have portrayed Twinkies in journals and books. One of her pieces includes the prolific passage, "Twinkies radiate out from the spring St. Louis breeding area to the summer nesting habitats throughout the world. Populations are heaviest in the North American 7-11 meridian." So is her beloved, possibly extinct Twinkie now just a cultural artifact?

She did title a painting 'The Last Snack.' »

What To Eat From The Trenchermen's New TrenchBar Menu

We'll never forget our first TrenchBar; it was the spring of '17, near the Somme, and out of nowhere Captain McVicker, deuced resourceful chap, pops up with a full bar straight out of the Savoy! Made a ruddy good pink gin, drove the Jerries mad to see us enjoying them... meanwhile, at The Trenchermen in Wicker Park, the Sheerin Brothers and their partners have made a few alterations since you last were there, removing the booths in the bar area and replacing them with high-tops to gain a little space (and make it a little more, you know, bar-like) while adding a new bar beverage and food menu which debuted last night. The former was easy for mixologist Tona Palomino, the latter was a bit more of a challenge for the Brothers Sheerin because everything had to be, well a Trenchermen take on the thing. Like chicken soup. They thought about chicken soup for winter. But it had to be a Trenchermen version of chicken soup. So they played with it, and fiddled with its concept, and their version of chicken soup turns out to be... pastrami ramen. Ramen noodles in a peppery porky broth that tastes like a pastrami sandwich. Anyway, there are similar feats with everything from a burger to chicken rillettes (which are, somehow, fried chicken rillettes) to a croque madame with housemade mortadella in it. Check out the menu for both beverages and food below.

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Watch This Creepy Chicken Licken Fast-Food Ad From South Africa

Hey, don't worry, that creepy white guy in the Rayon tie and sweater vest who watches you from the street every time you enjoy some fried chicken on the privacy of your balcony — who happens to also haunt your family picnics and is the same guy who ogles you while you wait for your laundry to finish drying — isn't coming to come murder you later on, he just wants you to save him a thigh. This drab new ad for South African fast-food chain Chicken Licken's new "Soul Fire" line shows that even fast-food stalkers need a little bit of new flavor every now and then.

Creepy people get hungry, too. »

Homaro Cantu on Miracle Berries, Chewing Tin Foil, and the Best Peanut-Butter Cookies Ever

Homaro Cantu uses his noodle.Photo: JEFF HAYNES/AFP/Getty Images

Eight years ago, the Chicago chef Homaro Cantu, who regularly serves guests edible menus and "prints" flavors like broccoli and Cheddar using rapid prototyping machines, was contacted by a friend on behalf of a chemotherapy patient who could no longer taste food. "She said everything she chewed tasted like metal and rubber," he says. Because the 36-year-old chef develops flavors and invents techniques for corporations in his spare time, Cantu approached the problem of the chemo patient's lost appetite like any other fully funded research project, synchronizing his innovative and do-gooder impulses. He ordered thousands of spices and industrial flavor compounds, and back in the restaurant kitchen, he and his team set out plates of rubber bands and aluminum in at the top, like some demented food pyramid. "My pastry chef and I got to work," says Cantu, "chewing on tin foil and rubber for weeks at a time in different combinations with other ingredients just trying to figure out how to change the taste."

"Our product will be cheaper than sugar." »

Takashi To Take Slurping Turtle To Ann Arbor

He's been a well-liked and highly visible Chicago chef for years now, but once Takashi Yagihashi (Takashi, Slurping Turtle) was a Detroit chef at Tribute in Farmington Hills, and now he's getting ready to take a step back into his old state, if not his former hometown. A second Slurping Turtle is planned for Ann Arbor sometime later this year, Takashi tells the Detroit Free Press. The basic concept would be the same, but there would be some differences— requests for sushi in Chicago, which the layout of the Chicago restaurant can't really accommodate on more than a very modest level, mean that the Ann Arbor Turtle would have a sushi bar built in. A location is not fixed yet, but that he'll be somewhere in Ann Arbor is: “I love the city of Ann Arbor. It’s a beautiful town and it has interesting people and I would love to do a restaurant there... I think the communities and the cultures there are fascinating," he told the paper. [Detroit Free Press, h/t ChiTribFood/Culinary Woman]

Previously: Watch Takashi Make Authentic Japanese Shoyu Ramen

Watch As The Miracle Berry Flash Mob Storms Water Tower

We noticed that Homaro Cantu was looking for dancers on Facebook a couple of weeks ago. So we wouldn't exactly call this a surprise to us, but to people walking on Michigan Avenue near Water Tower Saturday morning, yes, surprise would be the word for it— the Miracle Berry Flash Mob, doing a musical number and then giving out copies of The Miracle Berry Diet Book. Check it out below... or just keep an eye out: Cantu just said on Facebook, "I feel like a flash mob today..."

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McDonald’s Lied About Selling Halal Food

How do you slaughter your animals?

For food products to be billed as halal, they have to be prepared according to strict Islamic dietary laws. The criteria specifies which foods are allowed (pork, for example, is forbidden) as well as how the food must be prepared. If God's name isn't invoked before an animal is slaughtered, no dice. McDonald's has two franchises in the country that sell halal products, and both are in Dearborn, Michigan, home to one of the nation's largest Arab and Muslim communities. But Ahmed Ahmed, a special McChicken sandwich detective, discovered that one of the Dearborn locations wasn't complying with Islamic dietary laws.

Lawsuit time. »

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Here’s That Tim Hortons–Ryan Gosling Coffee Mug You’ve Been Waiting For

Good morning! Canadian chain Tim Hortons is introducing a very, very limited-edition movie tie-in: an official Ryan Gosling Gangster Squad coffee cup. The Ontario-born actor gave an interview to movie site Tribute.ca in which he professed an admiration for the movie tie-ins of his youth, specifically Burger King's Dick Tracy soda cups. “I thought I might get a cup out of this deal,” said Gosling. The interviewer suggested the coffee-and-doughnuts chain would be a good fit.

Gosling agreed. »

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