Food Blog

KIPlog cooks, eats (and drinks)

Entries from October 2006

Local Food News

October 27th, 2006 · Comments Off

“The Clean Plate Club Restaurant Group which operates Pete Miller’s Seafood & Prime Steak, Davis Street Fishmarket, and Merle’s #1 Barbecue has completely eliminated trans fats from all menu items.” From their press release : Director of Purchasing, Sarah Andrews says, “The bane of my existence for awhile was finding a replacement for one of our novelty items at the Davis Street Fishmarket: Tater Tots. I never knew how many people loved our tater tots until this process began so if we can serve a trans fat free tater tot that our customers love as much as the old one, anything can be done.” via the the Evanston Now news blog.

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Tags: Food News and Links

More themed food blogs

October 27th, 2006 · Comments Off

More food blogs with a theme

Cluck! “learning about and practicing sustainability in our lifestyle. We love fresh eggs and have wanted to have our own backyard chickens for several years. This blog is the story of our experience ordering baby chicks and raising them up.” Western North Carolina.

Cupcake Bakeshop San Francisco.

Food Cost Control “A small corner of the web universe developed to help food cost wizards improve their craft.” An interesting look into the profit-making side of the food business. I can name many restaurants ruined when they implemented tight food portion and cost controls, so it’s quite a tightrope between mantaining quality and quantity.

Mondo Fruitcake “… fruitcake RULES!!!”

Retro Recipe Challenge Blog “a celebration of retro food and retro recipes, both delicious, like Mom’s meatloaf, and disgusting, like benedictish frankwiches.”

Yogurtland Mostly Turkish recipes.

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Tags: Food Blogs

What to Drink with What you Eat

October 26th, 2006 · Comments Off

I’m glad to be the next one to step up to the plate and praise What to Drink with What you Eat, the newest book from Andrew Dornenburg and Karen Page. A book about beverage pairings is not unique, I’ve seen lots of them, but what makes this book worth its weight is that it’s not just an arbitrary list of what goes with what, it’s the collected and categorized knowledge of many of the greatest beverage experts. What to Drink with What you Eat

I certainly can’t add more praise than they’re receiving during their virtual book tour. I agree with everybody else who’s said it – this book will become the resource on beverage pairing, for both drinkers and those who serve them. Studded with quotes and an occassional recipe, it’s quite an education.

My only slanted opinion about the book is its concentration on wine. They’ve done a great job on beer and other beverages, and unlike most fine restaurants’ wine lists, they haven’t pushed beer to a half page at the back. Even with poor Karen’s hop allergy, they managed to cover most beer styles in their lists.

But as someone who’s ordered beer in places like Per Se, I would have liked to have seen more specific brews listed. But then I would have wanted the whole book to be about beer.

The last chapter of the book is titled “the Best on the Best”, desert island lists of the 12 bottles some of America’s leading beverage experts wouldn’t want to do without. A few of them threw in a beer among their Lafites and Gruner Vetliners and a couple of them did all-beer lists. I thought I’d add my own beer only list.

Desert island list – beers

1. Ayinger Celebrator Doppelbock with venison loin barded with guancale. Celebrator is my favorite beer. And not because each bottle comes with a little plastic goat. If you look it up on the interweb, they’ll tell you the first smell will bring visions of greaves lard, which is kind of a chunky animal fat. While the aroma is complex, foamy and massively malty, I’ll need to try it again to look for a lard smell. Nevertheless, this stuff will blow the socks of anything but a hearty dish. Garrett Oliver, the Brewmaster of Brooklyn Brewery has it on his Desert Island list with a pork with pipian (pumpkin seed sauce) dish but he’s also quoted in the book “Venison meets its closest [beverage] partner in Dopplebock”.

Karen recommended Garrett Oliver’s book The Brewmaster’s Table, so I’ll have to check it out.

2. Whitbread Mackeson Stout Milkshake. This dark stout has a real milky mouthfeel, and is probably great with anything that goes with milk – oreos, chocolate, brownies etc. Not cloyling sweet. Put a few scoops of vanilla ice cream and half a shot of Bailey’s into a pint of McKeson and you’ve made something very addictive.

3. Goose Island Pere Jacques with a honey braised wild boar. The strong Belgian-style Pere has massive caramel honey over-tones but still has enough of a clean finish (with 9% alcohol) to contrast any amount of fat. Its complexity comes from rare Belgian yeast. This is one of the greatest Belgian style beers made in America and is too often overlooked. Goose Island’s Matilda is a similar Belgian, but in a more Farmhouse style and is mellower and slightly less alcoholic, with banana notes. You can find that at Spring where it’s a good match for Shawn Mclain’s “Hot Pot, with market fish and shellfish, country sourdough and spiced aioli”

4. Guinness Stout, with raw oysters. Classic pairing. Although if you fried them or forced me to use cocktail sauce and horseradish I might move to a porter, like Fuller’s London Porter or Samuel Smith’s Taddy Porter.

5. Bell’s Oberon with soft shell crabs. Two things as seasonal as you can get. I haven’t actually tried this pairing, but I’m guessing the wheaty citrusness of the Oberon goes nicely with lightly sauteed, paper cripsy, yet melt-in-your-mouth crabs.

6. Duchesse de Bourgogne – Flemish Red Ale with a grilled cheese sandwich made with toasted sourdough, stilton and cognac infused prunes. This is the aged balsamic vinegar of beers – quite literally, tart yet fruity and complex. It’s a blend of old ales matured even longer in oak casks. Credit for the sandwich goes to Debbie at the Knot.

7. New Belgium’s Fat Tire with fried chicken. Fat Tire is often described as ‘biscuity’ so it’s an obvious choice with fried chicken. This beer has gained a lot of hype as it becomes available across the country, and many feel it’s undeserved. It’s not intensely complex and I could probably come up with 3 or 4 better American ambers, but it is a great drinking beer, and an excellent food beer. There must be something to Fat Tire, since it’s listed by two of the experts in the book.

8. Trappistes Rochefort with crown roast. Serious complexity with raisin and black currant, a huge dark red Bordeuax of beer.

9. New Glarus Belgian Red with Cherried pork loin. The subtle fine points of this unique beer might get lost with a heavy dish, but a light pork dish might work. Almost more champagne than beer, it finishes dry and slightly sour, even though it has a pound of cherries in it.

10. Two Brother’s Domaine DuPage. My first though was with a Provencal roasted chicken, to go with the French country theme (Domaine DuPage is a French country style ale) but the toasty, sweet maltiness goes perfectly with bread and shellfish, coincidentally both found in the shrimp and crawfish po-boy at Prairie Moon

11. Dogfish Head 90 minute IPA or Bell’s Two Hearted Ale or Three Floyds Alpha King with a blisteringly hot Thai red curry. Get one of these serious hop overloaded ales near a spicy sweet curry and the contrast is so intense that they marry.

12. Samichlaus with a dark chocolate molten mousse. Thomas Hardy as an after dinner cognac or maybe Gulden Draak, or Goose Island DunkelWeizenBock or Chimay Grande Reserve or…

I don’t think I have to convince anyone that beers are great with food, and it works the other way around too – we all know that’s it’s pizza, pretzels or brats that turn bland, ricey, Budweiser into the King of beers.

Andrew and Karen’s book, like Culinary Artistry before it, does more than educate, it inspires. One quick read through the lists and I feel confident enough to delve into the farther, previously unknown depths of the wine list, and inspired to try.

But right now I’m inspired to go down to Goose Island and keep trying until I figure out the best pair for their brat on a pretzel roll.

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Tags: Drink

KIPlog exclusive!

October 24th, 2006 · Comments Off

Okay, it’s not exclusive when a fire across the street from Columbia College brings out every art and journalism student with a camera.

George Diamond Steaks has been closed for a couple of years, so we Chicago foodies are much more concerned about Thai Spoon and Harold’s Chicken Shack next door. I was actually on my way to try Spoon for lunch, when I saw next door was burning. I knew it was in real trouble when all of the firefighters came pouring out of the building.

UPDATE: here’s the Tribune story on the fire, with some more history of the restaurant.

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Tags: Food News and Links

Themed Food Blogs

October 23rd, 2006 · Comments Off

Here are some food blogs with themes.

Crazy for Cheesecake

Fresh Loaf Baker blogs

Illinois Pancakes “We have a mission and we’re sticking to it. And that mission is simple: hit up as many pancake restaurants in our nation’s 21st state as we can.”

Naturally! Macrobiotic Living, Honolulu.

Pacific Northwest Cheese Project “All about Pacific Northwest cheese, cheesemakers and other cheese related notions.”

UK Wines online “UKWinesOnline – your guide to online independent wine and drink merchants in the UK. Brought to you by Spittoon and FrenchDuck.”

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Tags: Food Blogs

Food blogs

October 20th, 2006 · Comments Off

I’m slowly catching up on two months worth of requests to get on my list of food blogs. Here are my recent top picks. Stay tuned for many more.

Dumneazu “Ethnomusicological Eating East of Everywhere.” Budapest, Hungary

James Oseland, editor-in-chief of Saveur has an interesting food site. Not really a full blown blog, with only one entry per month, but it’s still worth checking out with pretty photos and an archive of his writings.

Geeky Gourmet “Thoughts about food and technology by computer geeks who love to cook.”

Raw Food, Right Now! “The Raw Food Blog for People Who Live in the Real World”

Ruhlman Food author Michael Ruhlman, Cleveland, Ohio. We enjoyed Ruhlman’s guest blogging at Megnut, and apparently he enjoyed it enough to start his own.

Scotchblog Recently had an excellent post on ras al hanout, including several recipes for the king of spice blends.

Check out the World Bread day Roundup found at Morsels & Musings Sydney.

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Tags: Food Blogs

Sad Beer News

October 18th, 2006 · Comments Off

A few years ago I had the sad duty to report the loss in Illinois of New Glarus beer. Now the sad news is that Bell’s will be leaving us. In a protest move against a distribution rights sale to Chicago Beverage, part of the largest beer distributor in the United States.

I’ll have to see if the Clark St. Ale House still has the Two Hearted Ale on their hand-pull – the absolute best way to get it. If they do, I’m sure I’ll be one of those that will help say goodbye for however long it’s gone. Hopefully they’ll work this out by Oberon season next year.

I was lucky enough to get up to New Glarus a few weeks ago. As soon as I have a few minutes I’ll post about it.

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Tags: Drink

Food News and links

October 5th, 2006 · Comments Off

Ruhlman interviews Bourdain about the potential NJ Foie Gras Ban

TV Dinners Bill Buford on the rise of food television.

October 16 is World Bread Day What should you do on World Bread Day?

4 percent of U.S. hops crop burns

The bootleg latte “by creating such faux grande lattes, these customers are saving $1.45 ($1.75 versus $3.20 before tax).”

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Tags: Food News and Links


October 4th, 2006 · Comments Off

It’s been awhile since I’ve done a recipe around here, but don’t worry, I am still eating. Here’s a calzone I made the other day.


I had made a batch of pizza dough that turned into some outstanding pizzas. They did not survive long enough for photography. This will be my standard pizza dough recipe from now on, so I record it here.

1 1/2 cups of 108F water
2 tsp sugar
1-2 tsp honey
2 1/4 tsp rapid rise yeast

2 cups unbleached flour
1 cup wheat flour
1/4 cup semolina
1-2 tsp salt

Olive Oil

The sugar and honey goes into the water, then the yeast. Let stand for 5 minutes until good and frothy. Add to the dry ingredients and stir with wooden spoon until incorporated enough to get your hands into it. Knead on a floured surface for 10 minutes until it’s a fairly smooth ball. Roll it around in an oiled ball and let it sit there for at least a half hour, but perferably an hour. Punch it down once and wait some more if you’ve got longer than that. It will make three 10-12 inch pizzas, so you may want to divide the dough in thirds and ‘proof’ the seperate balls by flattening them and letting them rise again all alone. Flatten by hand on a floured surface. Don’t use a rolling pin.

Pizza sauce

1lb ground beef
7 or 8 big mushroooms
7-8 sundried tomatoes
a medium size onion garlic
1/2 can of tomato paste

As a replacement or addition to your own spices, I’d suggest Chicago Deep Dish Pizza spice from the Spice House

Cheese, I perfer a mix of mostly mozzarella with some Parmigiano-Reggiano, but the half of the pizza I put Wisconsin cheddar (with a light layer of Parmagiano) on was great too, if not authentic.

You’ll find people who think oil in a pizza dough is grounds for a lawsuit, but I think it’s essential for the taste. Rolling it around in oil coats it for it’s long wait and makes it just oily enough. The other night I got away with about 8 minutes of kneading, and 45 minutes of rising, with one wimpy punch down. After making 2 pizzas, I had one more ball, which sat in the frig, in an oiled zip lock bag until the next day’s lunch. On a pan scattered with cornmeal and flour, I piled the leftover sauce into the middle of the flattened dough, added a layer of cheese, folded it over and crimped the edges. It went into a hot (450F) oven for close to 20 minutes. (Pizzas take half that time, in 500F or more).

Oh, and the fork in this picture is slightly ironic, you pick this thing up and eat it.

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Tags: Meat Recipes

Tiki bars

October 3rd, 2006 · Comments Off

Amercian Heritage Places, Tiki. “How sex, rum, World War II, and the brand-new state of Hawaii ignited a fad that has never quite ended” Hala Kahiki, in River Grove, Illinois gets a mention in their top ten Tiki bars.

Some fuzzy memories of the last time I was there.

Sites like, and critiki will help keep you up on the world of the Tiki Bar.

Some other Tiki liks:

Ooga Mooga, a site about Tiki mugs.

The Evil Jungle Prince gives us a food blog with a Tiki feel, but with a bit more of an authentic exploration of exotic and Asian food.

Tikitalk and Swankpad are both tiki blogs not quite of the food blog variety.

For those of you looking for ‘real’ Tiki food, check out the Trader Vic’s Cookbook. Where else can you find a recipe for Hawaiian suckling pig.

Of course any discussion of Tiki would be incomplete without a mention of Tiki Bar TV

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Tags: Food News and Links