Posts for February 14, 2013

Benefit Sketch Comedy Night at DMK Burger Bar February 18

DMK Burger, at the bar.

Open Heart Magic is a group that uses magicians to help sick kids in hospitals by entertaining them and teaching them tricks; the confidence and engagement the kids gain through magic helps them get through often scary medical situations. DMK Burger Bar will be holding a benefit this Sunday for the group called Grass-Fed Laughs, featuring sketch comedy from Kelly McGuigan and Mary Catherine Curran of Sweet Tired Kitten and #show. It's at 10 p.m.; $20 gets you in and your first drink, and 100% of proceeds will go to Open Heart Magic.

El Bulli Reopening for the Sake of Method Acting

Ferran finds his light.

El Bulli, the now-closed bull's-eye of modern food fetishists, is going to reopen for a full month in the near future. And no, you still won't be able to get in, as the restaurant is not exactly making itself available to the public. The Catalonia home to Ferran Adrià's endless culinary experimentation and avant-garde eccentricities closed in 2011 but will reportedly spring back to life to aid the production of a fictionalized film based on the restaurant's final year in business, adapted from Lisa Abend's book, A Season in the Kitchen at Ferran Adrià's El Bulli. According to the Daily Meal, the restaurant's reemergence is being staged specifically for the yet-to-be-cast actors to immerse themselves in Adrià's world, upping the odds that the speriphied olives may be juggled at some point by Javier Bardem (or whoever ultimately plays Adrià).

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Bar Toma Launches Dough Masters Dinner Series With Jim Lahey March 13

Bar Toma, which made a big deal when it opened about the Roman style of crust its pizzas follow, is taking its interest in dough to a new level: they're launching a series of Dough Masters dinners inviting great pizza makers to town. The first one is Jim Lahey, of Sullivan Street Bakery in New York and author of My Bread: The Revolutionary No-Work, No-Knead Method. He'll be here Wednesday, March 13; the dinner is $45 ($47.57 including fees, gratuity, etc.) and includes antipasti from Bar Toma, three of Lahey's pizzas and dolci and espresso; dinner will be paired with beer. Get tickets here.

What Happens If You Send the Dish Back?

Apparently there is a restaurant in Japan that will fine you if you order the salmon roe with rice and leave even a single bite of food. That fine is then donated to the fishermen who risked their lives to get the food. It seems the owner used to be a fisherman himself. [Gold Rush Japan via Gawker]

Valentine’s Day Essentials: Condoms, Lube, and a Side of Fried Chicken

Going to be a good night.Photo: Reddit

What is it about fried chicken that screams romance? The crunchy exterior? The supple skin? The juicy insides? The bones? Last week we sympathized with a lovelorn teen torn between choosing fried chicken and passion (he chose the chicken, naturally). And one grown-up has things similarly figured out: Check out this receipt from someone who's clearly preparing for a romantic night. The enterprising customer picked up some lubricant, condoms, toothpaste, a toothbrush, and then stopped over at the deli for that crucial deal-sealing purchase: eight pieces of fried chicken. Looks like someone got lucky. [Reddit, Earlier]

Monster Energy Drinks Changes Its Label to Seem Less Frightening

"Dietary supplement" no more!

Seemingly in an effort to increase transparency and rehabilitate its image following the news that its product was cited in reports of at least five deaths, Monster Beverage Corp. announced this week that it will change the ways its products are classified. They will be "beverages" going forward and no longer considered "dietary supplements." After the parents of the 14-year-old Maryland teen who had died after drinking two Monster Energy drinks filed a lawsuit against the manufacturer, it was revealed that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration had been monitoring the brand since 2004, logging 37 incidences of "adverse reactions" such as arrhythmia and dizziness. The shift means that the information printed on the side of Monster Energy drinks will now be presented as "Nutrition Facts" instead of "Supplement Facts," and since the caffeine- and taurine-loaded drinks are now considered "food," the company — its methods and its ingredients included — will be subject to increased scrutiny from the FDA. [AP, Earlier, Related]

Company, Permanent Pop-Up Space, Coming to Evanston

The first chefs to use the space will be Feast & Imbibe.

It was perhaps inevitable that the "permanent pop-up" would be the next thing— Los Angeles already has one, for instance. So wait, you ask, isn't the name for a permanent pop-up "restaurant"? Not exactly— it's a space designed as a kind of incubator for restaurant concepts, set up legally and practically for service already, but where different chefs can come in and try out their idea— or simply dabble for a few days. And Eric Singer, owner of Evanston's Lucky Platter, is turning a 500-square foot, 18-seat space at 1307 Chicago Avenue in Evanston into such a space, to be called Company. One hitch is that, being Evanston, there's no provision in the code for a BYO restaurant (the cost savings of BYO being a help in getting patrons to try an untried restaurant). But for now the space is operating with a temporary liquor license, beginning tonight with a series of Valentine's Day dinners by the underground dinner group Feast & Imbibe; Singer says the next chef lined up is Erwin Drechsler, longtime owner of Erwin's, who will partner with Stephanie Samuels of Angel Food Bakery to serve a five-course dinner next week. [Evanston Patch]

Top Chef Seattle Recap: Spiritual Rice Washing and Fatherhood

It's like a very fancy firing squad.Photo: Bravo

David Rees isn't here today. He says he had a cruise previously planned, but I suspect he just needed some time off given the Sisyphean task that is recapping a show, week after week, always having to invent new ways to say that Padma looks high. Whatever the reason, Rees will be back next week — provided his cruise doesn't break down and get stranded at sea so long that people have to wade through feces — but until then the job falls to me, so let's get to it.

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Watch Nigella Lawson Talk About Her Former Job As a Chambermaid

Last night on Jimmy Kimmel Live, The Taste's Nigella Lawson revealed that in a gap year before university, she wanted to do anything to earn a living except clean restrooms. Of course, she ended up getting a job as a chambermaid in Italy. But Nigella enjoyed snooping around, trying on everyone's clothes, and going through their drawers. See how her nosy behavior manifests itself today.

"You put their scent on." »

Fabio Viviani on Pizza: 'If You Have a Functioning Brain, You Love Deep Dish'

In the second of our two videos with Fabio Viviani, Top Chef fan favorite and chef of the new Siena Tavern, which opens Saturday in Chicago, he talks about pizza— how he feels about Chicago deep dish, why Neapolitan style pizza isn't the end of the subject in Italy, and how Siena Tavern's pizza oven is "the Ferrari of pizza ovens." Then watch him make us a margherita pizza... and you won't have any doubt from the way he flips the dough that this is someone who's made a few pizzas before. Watch the five-minute video below.

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Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie Will Start Selling ‘Miraval’ Wine

Everyone wants to know whether they'll use natural or synthetic corks.Photo: EPA/Corbis

Terroir! Just in time for Valentine's Day comes the news that the two swooniest movie stars to ever hold hands are going into the wine business: Bloomberg reports that Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt are putting their names on a line of rosé made from grapes grown on Chateau Miraval, their thousand-acre estate in Provence. The wine used to be called "Pink Floyd" but will now be known as Miraval, and while the label doesn't look like a Chanel ad, it does carry the names "Jolie-Pitt and Perrin"; the latter is that of a fifth-generation winemaker whose family owns the famous Chateau Beaucastel in Chateauneuf-du-Pape, and he tells Bloomberg he'll be overseeing the ferments and sharing the profits. Miraval rosé will be the first release, with a white coming in the summer and a red wine next year. The best news yet is that Pitt and Jolie are reportedly "in full agreement on style" on the taste of the fermented grapes. "If you knew Brad and Angelina, you would see they are in search of perfection in everything," says Perrin. "They’re thinking long term." [Bloomberg]

So Why Exactly Is Bubbling Fat The Music of Love, Again?

It's always mystified us that the Chicago restaurant most associated with romance is Geja's Cafe, the nearly 50-year-old fondue spot in Lincoln Park. Melted cheese and chocolate, pots of bubbling oil— what's the big link between fondue and friskiness? Part of it, of course, is that Geja's tells everyone there's a romantic aspect to fondue, and especially this time of year, they work it hard with imaginative promotions, as you saw in our Valentine's roundup the other day. But David Hammond in the Sun-Times went beyond idle musing and... took his wife there. And talked to Geja's manager, who explained the fondue-romance dynamic.

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Watch the Trailer for A Place at the Table, the Tom Colicchio-Produced Documentary About Hunger

It's an awful statistic: One out of every two kids in the United States at some point will be on food assistance. A Place at the Table aims to bring awareness to the hunger epidemic in America by showing how unhealthy, expensive food poses serious risks. Tom Colicchio's an executive producer and appears in the trailer, saying, "There's a lot of education that needs to happen around what is healthy food." Jeff Bridges also stars. On March 1, this documentary hits select theaters, iTunes, and OnDemand.

"One nation: Underfed." »

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