Posts for February 8, 2013

Ruxbin Taking Over MC Bistro Spot For Casual Concept

Ruxbin.

The last thing we heard about Ruxbin, they were planning a wine shop upstairs. That was more than a year ago, and we don't know what ever became of it. But in the meantime... or possibly instead... Chicago magazine reports that the Ruxbin team (chef Edward Kim, his sister Vicki Kim, and non-sibling but, we are told, fiancee of Edward, Jennifer Kim) is about to expand with a new restaurant in the space of the closed MC Bistro at 1401 N. Ashland. The unnamed concept seems to be more casual Asian-tinged food (tested out at a recent event with Time Out Chicago), with something of a Filipino twist, though we're more mystified than clarified by Vicki's description of it as "guttural food" and Dish's response that Ruxbin is "the miniature golf of restaurants." [Dish]

Anthony Bourdain’s Going to Be on Archer, Too

Kevin Gillespie isn't the only food-world luminary getting the Archer treatment. The Taste co-host Anthony Bourdain, it turns out, will play "Bastard Chef" on an upcoming episode, and here's the screencap to prove it. "I hung around the Archer parking lot until they gave me some work," he wrote on Facebook earlier this month. [Helen Cho/Twitter, Earlier]

Our Ultra Mega Super Colossal Valentine's Day Roundup, Pt. 1

Roses are red, violets are blue, our inbox is full with things for you to do... on Valentine's Day. Of course, if you really cared, you'd have planned this weeks ago, but here at least are some last chances to salvage your relationship. Lots of them, though we will point out that we did screen them to only include places that are actually doing something for the holiday; sending out a press release that you're the perfect spot for romance with your standard menu did not actually qualify as news here. We have so many we're breaking it into multiple posts; here's part 1.

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Kevin Gillespie Was on Archer Last Night

Funner than a Quickfire Challenge.

Former Top Chef competitor Kevin Gillespie made a guest appearance in an episode of Archer last night called "Midnight Ron," which was otherwise chock-full of obscure pop-culture references. The Atlanta-based chef played a truck-driving "transvestite rapist," naturally. Vulture got the lowdown from executive producer Matt Thompson. [Vulture]

The Bedford Kicks Off Jazz Series February 20

First it was a restaurant in a bank vault. Now it's a jazz club. What is this world coming to? Decadence, that's what, and blame The Bedford, which is launching jazz nights on Wednesdays, beginning with various lineups led by drummer Makaya McCraven, whose "explosive drumming style blends world rhythms and jazz traditions with a hip hop and rock attitude." (Thank heavens Mr. Potter isn't alive to see that.) The first night is Wednesday, February 20, with two sets between 9 and 11 p.m. each Wednesday night from then on. Swing it, cats!

Watch an Opera Flash Mob Take Over a British Restaurant

On Sunday, a flash-mob opera troupe burst into Surrey's very staid-looking Bel & The Dragon restaurant, interrupting diners to break into a rousing rendition of "Dance of the Cachucha" and other favorites from The Pirates of Penzance. The Godalming Operatic Society reports that customers were "pleasantly surprised." Watch the video for yourself (things get started around the 26-second mark), and send good wishes to the poor little boy who looks like he wants to crawl under the table. Earbuds recommended.


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Slideshow: Spiaggia's New Tasting Menu Celebrating Pasta

When Spiaggia opened 29 years ago, it was noted for many things about the way it raised the bar for Italian food in a red sauce town, but perhaps the most notable of all was its pasta— made with a delicacy and regional authenticity that instantly set it above nearly every other Italian restaurant in town. Three decades and dozens of restaurants aiming for Italian authenticity later, we would say Spiaggia has rivals, but no superiors, in that regard— and that ongoing legacy of excellence is what a new degustation menu at Spiaggia celebrates. Or, rather, a series of menus, which will change with the seasons to highlight a different side of Spiaggia's skill with flour and egg. The first one up is devoted to filled pastas— six courses showing how pasta serves as a container for all the flavors of Italy. Beginning in April they'll look at Italian-American classics ("reinvented Spiaggia style"); July kicks off a celebration of Italian coastal pastas, focusing on seafood; and October launches "Edible Earth," an exploration of grains and other earthy flavors (including the Mieli Thun honey that's a favorite of chef Sarah Grueneberg). The dinners are $95, with wine pairings for $55. Our man Huge Galdones was invited to document this first menu devoted to filled pastas; see his slides below.

Vettel Basks in State of Grace; Kramer Checks Out of Boarding House

Bitter chocolate, raw chesnut, persimmon, lemon mint at Grace.Photo: Galdones Photography

"If this isn't the best new restaurant of the year (despite its mid-December debut), I'll be very surprised," Phil Vettel says near the start of his four-star review of Grace. What sort of dishes earn it this title? "From the vegetable menu, a study of parsnip puree and gelee, abetted by dried pineapple, raw fennel and tiny nibs of tarragon ice, is as delicate as the glass boomerang bowl that holds it. A root-to-sprout carrot composition offers slowly caramelized carrots, green carrot-top puree and paper-thin carrot chips that look like lace... On the meat menu, there's a terrific veal-cheek dish with wine-braised endive, black mint and tempura anchovies, and grilled wagyu beef and black trumpet mushrooms with wide ribbons of crispy salsify, mashua leaf and a cup containing a few sips of dashi broth... Desserts pingpong between the menus; sometimes a sweet from one menu will arrive as a bonus course for the other. They're all so delightful, it scarcely matters which ones ultimately appear." [Tribune]

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Oops! Frozen 'Beef' Lasagna Dinners Found to Contain Up to 100% Horsemeat in the U.K.

WHOA!Photo: Gabriela Herman

Following the news that six U.K. retailers were selling burgers that contained varying amounts of horse, then the revalation that Burger King's patty supply contained "very small trace levels" of equine DNA, it's now being reported that the U.K.-based food manufacturer Findus has been selling frozen lasagna dinners that purport to be beef but may actually be up to 100 percent ground horse chuck.

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