Posts for February 21, 2013

Watch Jimmy Fallon Make His Writer Eat a Pickle for the First Time

One of Jimmy Fallon's Late Night writers had never tried a pickle in his life. Apparently, he didn't eat a lot of green stuff as a kid. So Fallon put him up to the test for our amusement. The man took a big bite like a champ, but then proceeded to gag and choke "a little bit." Let's hope Fallon provides good health insurance.

You never forget your first time. »

Video Shows What's Up at The Whistler These Days

Some months back we mentioned the video series started by a man named Paul Leddy, in which he visited different bars and filmed the bartenders talking about (and making) their signature drinks. Eventually the series was picked up by Chicagoist under the title "Behind the Stick," and it continues to get better with experience— and to serve as a great way to check out the state of mixology in Chicago from the comfort of your own couch and fridge full of Bud. The latest visits The Whistler, which is better known for the mixologist who departed (Paul McGee, now of Bub City and the soon-to-open Three Dots and a Dash) than for the ones still carrying on its program; in the video below Leddy talks with Eric Henry as he makes a drink using verdita. What's verdita? Find out in the video, and check out other videos in the series here. [Chicagoist]

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Watch This Vegetable Genius Play Massive Attack’s ‘Teardrop’ With Produce

Brooklyn-based artist, musician, producer, and tinkerer Jonathan Dagan, who is also known as j.viewz, enlists about $10 worth of supermarket produce to help perform a cover of Massive Attack's "Teardrop." The veggies complete a circuit relayed to a keyboard, he explains, in a situation that's probably similar to the one that allows people to use mushrooms to operate iPhones. Put your headphones on and watch j.viewz use mushrooms, kiwis, grapes, and eggplants to make music. Beautiful, vegetal music.

Except for the hoarse radish, it's all great. »

Brasserie 54 To Launch Wine Bar On Second Floor

Hey, here's an idea for the former In Fine Spirits space in Andersonville... a wine bar. It ceased being one when it became Premise, though the second floor became a very sleek cocktail lounge (which, unfortunately, no one seemed to know about). Now the second floor of the space, in its latest incarnation as Brasserie 54 by LM, will become L'étage. The beverage program will include a small list of wines by the glass, 10 red and 10 white, along with wine and sparkling wine flights and an extensive cocktail list. In addition, there will be a bar menu with cheese, charcuterie and small desserts.

Top Chef Seattle Recap: David Rees on Unclean Sweetbreads and Kristen’s Baroque Euro-Esoterica

You know it's the finale because the lighting is dramatic.Photo: Bravo

I’m back from my cruise. No, not that cruise; this cruise. I know you guys are interested in food, so I tried to eat lots of it at every meal. After a few nights of heavy American meats and sauces, somebody told me the ship’s cooks were Indian and the smart thing to do was order Indian food off-menu. Friends, let me say: It was some of the best Indian food I’ve ever eaten! The curries were spicy, but the spices were deep down in the dish, not floating on top, if that makes sense. It was amazing. I also ate bananas for breakfast and salad bars for lunch.

"Kristen admits to peeing in her pants." »

Jeremy Lin Sure Knows His Dollar Menu Exchange Rates

"Got my first ever technical last night and lost $2000 ... makes me angry when i realize thats 2000 mcchickens or 4000 jack in the box tacos." — Yes, Jeremy Lin, getting your first technical is really sad news, for lots of reasons. For a frame of reference, BuzzFeed shows you exactly what 2,000 McChicken sandwiches look like. [Buzzfeed, Jeremy Lin/Twitter]

Your Fish Is Not Who You Think He Is

Hey, you know how we seem to have sushi restaurants on every corner? How can they all be serving impressively sourced fish of the most in-demand species? It's easy... they're not. According to a study released by the conservancy group Oceana, a third of the sushi slices sold in Chicago are not the fish they claim to be. Red snapper is often something else, yellowtail was never really yellowtail in their sample, and so on. Unhelpfully, they didn't actually name the restaurants, because they claim it's hard to know where in the supply chain the deception occurs, but they also say one of the reasons Americans are especially susceptible to fish fraud is because we mainly eat bland white fish... and thus are more easily fooled than people who eat, say, mackerel. At least all of the salmon was salmon— but you can pretty much tell that for yourself. [Tribune]

Viennese Sandwich Cafe Coming to River West

At Crain's, Anne Spiselman reports on the arrival of an unexpected and unusual franchise on Chicago's shores: Duran European Sandwiches Cafe, which will get its first U.S. outpost here to add to its other outlets in... Vienna, Budapest, and Istanbul. How did this happen? U.S. franchisee licensee Tracy Miller first tried the open-faced European sandwiches because her husband, Stanislav Grezdo, curator at the Ukrainian Institute of Modern Art, was such a fan of them. She acquired the U.S. rights and spent a month in Vienna learning to make the spreads and toppings for the sandwiches, which are about three to four bites-sized and will sell for around $2.50 to $3.50; the bread will come from La Fournette. The cafe is already open serving coffee, tea and pastries at 529 N. Milwaukee, and will launch the sandwiches in mid-March, with delivery to the Loop and corporate catering later in the spring. [Crain's]

Glass Fragments Found in Special K, Kellogg’s Recalls

When you quickly throw together a Cereal Killer costume next Halloween, make sure to grab a box of Special K Red Berries. Kellogg’s is recalling the cereal after finding glass in 36,000 packages. Fortunately, there have been no consumer injuries, and since the glass made its way into a single batch, it's a small recall. The company's clearly having production issues: In October, it recalled 2.8 million boxes of Mini-Wheats after finding fragments of metal mesh. Yikes. [Reuters]

It's Poutine's World, We Just Live In It

Sunday will be the sold out Poutine Fest, which marks some kind of high water mark for the French fries-cheese curds and gravy dish from Quebec, which somehow popped up everywhere in Chicago starting about two years ago. There's an entire poutine-devoted restaurant (BadHappy Poutine Shop, whose owner we interviewed here), but more than that, you just see it everywhere, often in extravagant forms (we sampled lobster poutine at The Boarding House recently). How did this odd construction, which nearly always comes accompanied by the words "drunk food," take off as haute-low cuisine?

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More ‘Impostor’ Fish Found in America’s Restaurants and Sushi Counters

This guy has less to hide, and is least likely to steer you wrong.Photo: MARK RALSTON/AFP/Getty Images

It's still happening: A new study published by the nonprofit group Oceana found that approximately a third of fish samples retrieved from restaurants and markets were not actually the fish they were claimed to be. DNA tests of 120 samples purporting to be red snapper at sushi bars and full-service restaurants, for example, returned a staggering 28 distinct species, including 17 "that were not even in the snapper family," the Times reports. Probably the worst finding? In New York, the article says, "fish that was not really tuna was being passed off as tuna in 94 percent of the samples taken." That's a lot of fake tuna.

Grouper? I hardly know her. »

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