Posts for February 20, 2013

Michelle and Vinny Garcia Plan New Bakery in Pilsen

Time Out Chicago has the news that Bleeding Heart Bakery duo Michelle and Vinny Garcia are opening a Mexican-themed bakery, Lucha Dulce, in Pilsen. TOC bills it as their "return" to Chicago from San Francisco, though in fact (after a short stint for Michelle at the Four Seasons San Francisco) she had been working at E. Leaven in Chicago around the end of last year, as was widely reported at the time. Anyway, they tell Time Out this isn't the latest incarnation of Bleeding Heart Bakery but a break with their past of "punk rock pastry," offering instead an "American girl's take on Mexican pastry," including conchas, Mexican-flavored macarons, gingerbread pigs and candies. They hope to open late spring or early summer, but in the meantime, the mere mention of the controversial couple has lit up the comment board at Time Out. [TOC]

Here’s How Astronauts Make Peanut Butter Sandwiches in Space

Canadian astronaut extraordinaire Chris Hadfield gives us the lowdown on food in space. As we've learned to travel farther and farther away from Earth, we've also greatly improved our snacking capabilities. In Zero-G, it turns out, nothing quite hits the spot like a peanut butter and honey sandwich on a tortilla. Plus, dude uses space scissors! Check it out straight ahead, but please save room for astronaut ice cream.

"I noticed something cool about the honey." »

Does The Taste Have an Anthony Bourdain Problem?

Why aren't any of these people smiling? (Ludo's grin does not count.)Photo: Craig Sjodin/ABC

Andy Greenwald writes an essay for Grantland that basically tries to sink the unsinkable Anthony Bourdain and excoriate all of the benignly conspicuous conceits of ABC's show The Taste, described as a "a bland, underseasoned mess" that's overrun with "yoga-bowing amateurs" and "deluded Capoeira instructors who make 'food for awesomeness.'" (Greenwald also comes out here, it should be noted, against dessert as a legitimate dinner course.) The show is predictably awful, he writes, though Nigella Lawson is great, and, also, no one will ever dislike Nigella Lawson. Meanwhile, co-hosts Ludo Lefebvre and Brian Malarkey are nonstarters who don't do much to offer culinary expertise or entertain viewers, but worst of all is Bourdain, described here as a once-great "knight-errant of good taste," depicted "on a garishly lit soundstage, defanged like an aging circus lion" and a shadow of his former self up high atop a pyramid scheme of supreme boringness.

Hey, look, it worked. »

Grahamwich: The App

Graham Elliot, chef, TV star, sandwich... and now app. Grahamwich's free iPhone app makes it easy to order sandwiches how you want them for pickup or delivery to your home or office. You can pay on the app, avoid lines, and check past orders to remember what that thing that you really liked was. It's new, be the first on your row of cubicles, check it out here.

Morrissey Insists On a Vegetarian Concert

"Why do you come here? And why do you hang around?"

How's this for a high-maintenace rider? The British singer and animal-rights activist has requested that the Staples Center in Los Angeles not sell any meat during his concert. The arena will close McDonald's for the night, and offer special meatless food concessions such as vegan sushi and Sloppy Joes. Because that's exactly what people want to eat while swaying to songs about doomed relationships. "I don't look upon it as a victory for me, but a victory for the animals," says the artist behind the album Meat Is Murder. [Reuters]

Meet Tim Cottini, Chef of Fork, The Best Farm To Table Restaurant You Drive Right Past

We got an email from a chef simply asking us to check out what he was doing, because nobody was. We didn't know him, but we knew the restaurant on north Lincoln Avenue and had been there years before, when it had another name and concept. So we took the chance— and found exactly what we think makes Chicago's restaurant scene so strong, that there are neighborhood places like this doing food with a high level of integrity and skill all over the city, making dishes that you'd be happy to eat in any restaurant you could name. The chef is Tim Cottini, a veteran of places like North Pond, Ambria and Cafe Ba-Ba-Reeba. The restaurant is Fork, in Lincoln Square, formerly Fiddlehead, a gastropub which Cottini has moved toward, well, a farm to fork orientation. And the dish you want to go eat right now is his winter salad—┬ásome salad!— with roasted pork belly, maple roasted squash, and hunks of gingerbread tossed with kale and vinaigrette; it's ridiculously good. We spoke with Cottini about how a Lettuce corporate chef wound up in a neighborhood place on north Lincoln Avenue; our interview, a short slideshow of a few of his dishes, and the menus are all below.

Read more »

Senza Owners Launch Gluten-Free Bakery at... Senza

Gluten-free English muffins.

Senza, the culinarily ambitious gluten-free restaurant in Lakeview under former Schwa vet chef Noah Sandoval, seems to be escaping the ghetto of special-diet restaurants and successfully making it as, simply, a restaurant which serves the large universe of things besides gluten. It's gotten favorable reviews, and we have it on good authority that Chef Sandoval will be featured on an upcoming Key Ingredient segment at the Reader. Now owners Susan McMillian and Amelia Fonti, who developed the concept, have added a gluten-free bakery operating during Senza's morning hours, 9 am to noon Tuesday through Friday, with items ranging from blueberry and orange poppyseed muffins, to vegan dark chocolate muffins, to English muffins (shown here). They recommend calling ahead to order; call 773-944-0332.

Baconfest Tickets Go on Sale at Noon Today

And they go quick, like in 10 or 15 minutes, as you know from past years, so be at your desk ready to click like it's Paris 1906. Once again, the event is April 20, and there are two sessions, which you can see the times and chef lineups for here. Tickets are $100, and they are available here— at noon.

Watch Jon Stewart Take On the European Horse Scandal

The ever-growing horse meat crisis in Europe is no doubt disturbing for those involved, but it's also the kind of story that's given a lot of fodder to comedians. The latest: Jon Stewart, who points out that even though things in the U.S. seem bad, at least our meat supply (probably) isn't tainted with rogue horse DNA. Then again, as Stewart himself says, What kind of a world do we live in where we can no longer trust the product purity — the regulatory oversight — of Transylvanian meat slaughterhouses? Check out the full clip, straight ahead.

Read more »

Here’s the Greatest, Fakest Guy’s American Kitchen Parody Website Ever

Is the Hobo Lobo Bordello Slam Jam fresh tonight?Photo: Guy's American Kitchen and Bar

"Guy Fieri didn't register his restaurant's domain name," a Brooklyn-based programmer named Bryan Mytko tweeted yesterday, "so I picked it up. I think this new menu look great." Indeed. The fake menu that's now parked proudly at the spoof site Guy's American Kitchen and Bar now proudly offers "Panamania!," a boisterous entrée of deep-fried snake that comes with a "a printed out picture of David Lee Roth stapled on it and a sparkler sticking out of each eye," not to mention a "side of Bud Light you have to wring out of a Hawaiian shirt." It's sort of like the greatest thing ever. Also, it's a little more than depressing.

How fresh is that deep-fried snake? »

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