Posts for January 25, 2013

California Bakery Makes ‘Kaepernicking’ Into a Cake

Now kiss it.Photo: TannerScholtes/Twitter

Niners quarterback Colin Kaepernick's tattooed bicep provides the inspiration for a Super Bowl cake that's being made by Modesto-based Village Baking Company. Their phone is likely ringing off the hook with orders after the thing appeared on SB Nation, but anyway, fun! This dude's flexed bicep is, of course, the stuff of memes now, and trademarks. [TannerScholtes/Twitter via SB Nation]

Uncle John Moving; See Frog n Snail's New Menu; Mortadella at Green City; Sean Brock at Barcito; More Stuff

Mack Sevier of Uncle John's BBQ.

A little end of weekend roundup of the news, beginning with big news in the world of barbecue— remember our story a couple of days ago talking about Uncle John's BBQ taking over the BBQ spot of the new Dat Donut complex on 83rd? Steve Dolinsky tweets that Uncle John's is actually moving entirely from 69th street to the 83rd and Cottage Grove complex, though not quickly, he suggests. You're gonna want to keep an eye out in the next few days for whatever Dolinsky does with whatever he just shot down at Dat Donut and Uncle John's.

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Mario Batali Would Like You to Quit It, Please

"I just wish people would be nicer to me. Sometimes I feel like there's a big target on my back. I put a lot of love into the world and I really, truly mean well. I know scrutiny is part of the job, but we all have feelings. For some people, the more well known you are, the more vulnerable you feel. I'm a very sensitive person, what can I say?" —Alyssa Shelasky gets Mario Batali to talk about what makes him sad. [Table&Travel]

There’s a Sriracha Chocolate Bar! Here Are Fifteen Other Things We Must Add Sriracha To

Listen up, Taco Bell.

Now that you can get Creamy Sriracha Sauce at Subway, and now that there's a whole cookbook and blog devoted to the stuff, and the secret is out that this esteemed hot sauce is the best thing to spice up eggs, pizza, or whathaveyou, people are putting sriracha in/on everything. Chocolate, for instance. Someone has even made some sriracha stiletto heels (sauce not included). Allow us to suggest a few more things that would definitely benefit from a dose of rooster sauce.

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Hot Doug’s Owner Doug Sohn on His New Book and What He Could Teach the Harvard Business School

Hot Doug's book, coming July 16.

You've got your Baylesses and your Achatzes, but if you want to talk Chicago culinary ambassadors to the world, you need to stop at a little storefront on an industrial side street that calls itself "the Sausage Superstore." "Hot Doug" Sohn's hot-dog joint stands at the nexus of everything in Chicago food — reverence for meat; the gleeful mix of high and low food culture (it was Doug, after all, who got the only ticket for serving foie gras during the mid-aughts ban); streetwise smartassery as the cornerstone of one's brand identity; and, not least, a serious commitment to doing one of Chicago's staples better than a million other guys. Now the stop on every tourist's and food-TV host's itinerary is coming to book form in July (appropriately titled Hot Doug's: The Book), combining Doug's own story, as told to Kate DeVivo, with stories from his customers about how his encased meats have changed their lives. We spoke with the great man himself about how he came to write a book, and what he thinks Hot Doug's has to tell the Harvard Business School.

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Chicago's Shawn McClain Opening Five50 Pizza Bar in Vegas

Five50 Pizza BarPhoto: Aria/Rockwell Group

Chicago chef Shawn McClain, the 2006 winner of a James Beard for "Best Chef in the Midwest," Esquire's 2001 "Chef of the Year," and one of the only Windy City chefs to claim victory on Iron Chef, is opening his second Las Vegas restaurant this spring. Though the San Diego native still holds down a vegetarian fine-dining restaurant named Green Zebra in Chicago, his career is increasingly focused on Sin City as of late, where he operates Sage at The Aria Resort. McClain's next project is Five50 Pizza Bar, a Rockwell Group-designed Italian concept combining small plates, charcuterie, and handmade pastas with his take on wood-fired Sicilian and New York-style pizza, along with a showcase of craft beer.

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Pepsi Removes Brominated Vegetable Oil From Gatorade, Keeps It in Mountain Dew

You've probably been up at night, worried sick about all the brominated vegetable oil you've consumed in your lifetime. No? Really? It's one of the yuckier ingredients in soft drinks, and studies have linked it to brain, fertility, and thyroid problems, as well as early onset puberty (kids are horny enough!). We'll hit you with the good news first: PepsiCo is taking the shady ingredient out of its Gatorade formula. But since soda companies are senseless, Pepsi is still using it in Mountain Dew and other soft drinks. Brominated vegetable oil is banned in Japan and the European Union, and it's actually a patented flame retardant. There's no putting out the fire on this growing war against soda. [Earlier, AP]

Monica Eng Dives Into Family History To Find The Origin of Egg Rolls

Classic egg roll at Kow Kow.

It rarely comes up in her writing, which is more focused on contemporary food issues and politics, but Monica Eng of the Tribune got into food via her family's heritage— her grandfather had a dozen Chinese restaurants around the Chicago area from the 1930s to the 1980s. One of his cooks was his nephew, Tom Go, and Tom's widow Fanny, now in her eighties, is the subject of a piece on egg rolls— which she adeptly cranks out by the dozens according to the classic recipe developed for Grandpa Eng's restaurants. The egg roll, as it turns out, isn't a Chinese dish per se:

Though dim sum chefs in Hong Kong produce a similar snack called a spring roll, the egg roll, as we know it, is a creation of early Chinese-American restaurateurs who used local ingredients to create Chinese-ish foods that would appeal to American diners.

And by appeal to American diners, she means it added meat, but also what many know is the secret ingredient to a great egg roll:

Next comes her secret ingredient: a jar of creamy peanut butter, heated in a pan with some vegetable oil until it was liquid enough to be poured into the mixture.

Read it all and enjoy a few eggrolls from Aunt Fanny. [Tribune]

What Ever Happened to Michael McDonald? Luxbar, It Turns Out

Michael McDonald was a low-key guy with a high profile position— chef at One Sixty Blue, the Michael Jordan-backed popular business dining spot, to which the Nobu/Trotter's/Everest vet brought herb gardens in the parking lot and other innovations and received good reviews for his well-crafted food. (You can see the restaurant in his heyday in this Key Ingredient from 2011.) But when One Sixty Blue closed to become, ultimately, Bill Kim's BellyQ, McDonald disappeared from sight. Until 312DiningDiva ran into him at Luxbar. He's been at the popular, glitzy Gold Coast spot for about the last eight months, apparently, working on bringing a little more farm-to-tableness to the comfort food menu, but keeping his presence quiet as he evolved the menu. So now you know, and probably have more of a reason to go to Luxbar than you did yesterday. [312DD]

Questlove Dreams of Jiro

"Hit me!"

"I was like Popeye to spinach. Member when Michael Jackson tried that tonic in the "Say Say Say" video and it made him dance? You don't? Google it. I didn't dance, but damn if I wasn't in my head doing TAMI show James Brown splits singing "Nightrain" (Sting fans feel me ... yes even my referenced references have footnote references, which makes ME not Dennis Miller the king of references Mr David Cross)." —Questlove is the latest celebrity to dream of Jiro Ono and make a pilgrimage to his ten-seat restaurant, Sukiyabashi Jiro. During his intense, Instagram-chronicled meal, the four-hour-massaged octopus sent Questlove into a referential tailspin and made him feel just as fly as the Godfather of Soul. [Questlove/Instagram, Earlier, Earlier, Earlier]

Nagrant Goes Full Ooh-La-La For Bavette's; Tamarkin Says Grace Is Where To Drop Your Wad

Bavette's Bar & Boeuf, "a debaucherous period piece, something vaguely ’20s or ’30s, of the era where the gramophone gave way to the phonograph."Photo: courtesy Bavette's Bar & Boeuf via Facebook.

Michael Nagrant drops four big ones at Bavette's Bar & Boeuf— stars, we mean, not bills— and calls it "exquisite, one of the very best restaurants to open in Chicago in a while. In what is now a restaurant world of casual dress and shared plates, Bavette’s is the capital." The reason, as with his love for Brendan Sodikoff's Au Cheval, begins with well-modulated excess— "The foie gras terrine is encased in a half-inch of glorious fat. Breach this golden blanket of butter, and the duck liver wafts honeyed tones of cognac and a wave of cinnamon and ginger. The accompanying raspberry jam is sticky, intensely sweet and syrupy, like the very best pie filling. The terrine is served with Bavette’s huge boules of mahogany-crusted sourdough, which feature the chewiest crumb... Bavette’s is more than just ruddy cuts of cow. The Au Cheval hashbrowns and their lacy crunch also make an appearance here. Creamed spinach is elevated with the tang of blue cheese. Roast tomatoes are intensely fruity. Fried chicken is juicy to the bone, although the crust is slightly over-breaded. Bits of skin flake over the table when you take a bite, but this is no problem. Really if there’s any disappointment with the chicken, it’s because I’ve had the good fortune to sample the natural cracklin’ crust of the fried chicken served at Au Cheval." [Sun-Times]

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Chef Michael Lomonaco Taste-Tests Macarons at Home, Eats Pig-Brain Croquettes at Atera

Lomonaco at Resto, where he had an escarole and pear salad.Photo: Melissa Hom

Though Porter House's Michael Lomonaco runs one of the city's most popular steak houses, he's no carnivore. Aside from the obligatory meat tasting, he actually eats super healthily. "My wife is a pescatarian, so I tend to mirror what she eats," he says. This week, that included quinoa risotto and beet juice. Of course, it's not all vegan this, gluten-free that for a man who spends the bulk of his time in a kitchen that serves up Cowboy Rib Steaks and Lamb T-Bone chops. "January and February are restaurant catchup months for me," he says. "I go to see what new openings I missed during the later fall and December months, when I'm too busy." 2012 was particularly hectic for him with the opening of Center Bar, his small-plates-centric restaurant, but Lomonaco makes up for lost time by hitting Resto, Cascabel Taqueria, and Atera. Read all about his admiration for Matthew Lightner's vegetable dishes and what it's like to dine at your own restaurant in this week's New York Diet.

“Clean, lean, and green.” »

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