Food Blog

KIPlog cooks, eats (and drinks)

Entries from October 2007

Food news and links

October 31st, 2007 · Comments Off

The Becker-Posner blog discusses rising food prices

The taxman in Iowa is going after jack-o’-lanterns this Halloween. “pumpkins are used primarily for Halloween decorations, not food, and should be taxed”

The Search for the Cure The quest for the superlative American ham

Looking for a good toothpick — for 2 million years “According to anthropologists who have studied 2-million-year-old fossilized teeth, our hominid ancestors used prairie grass stalks to clean their teeth, making toothpicking the oldest known human habit”

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Tags: Food News and Links

Food Blogs

October 24th, 2007 · 5 Comments

As you might imagine, I get a lot of requests to get on my list, and I’m seriously delinquent in updating it. Eventually I’ll get to it, but here’s a few links I thought worthy of pointing out.

The Burrito Bracket pits Chicago’s (specifically Wicker Park and close by) cheap Mexican restaurants against each other in a college basketball style bracket competition. I’m pulling for Arturo’s, one of my long time favorites. It’s been awhile, but I recently went in there, and I gave the greatest praise a food blogger can give – I couldn’t stop to photograph my burrito.

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Another local – The Flossmoor Beer Blog keeps us updated on what’s brewing, as well as a few recent posts on the GABF and their trip to Left Hand Brewing. The guys will be at Map Room tonight with their beers.

Another local Beer Blog, Beer (and more) in Food is in on the fight to Save A Historic Chicago Brewery (or Two)!

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Tags: Food Blogs

Food news

October 20th, 2007 · 2 Comments

Now this is where I want to see my tax money go. Revolution with a foamy head Logan Square brewery to use half million in TIF

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Tags: Uncategorized

Summer Food P0rn

October 11th, 2007 · 13 Comments

Since I took the summer off, I have some food shots lying around unposted. Here’s some stuff about food that came out of the backyard.chopsgrill.jpgSome thick cut pork chops on the grill. I forgot where these are from, either Ditka brand chops or from Paulina Market. You don’t find these things in the case at Jewel or Dominick’s. These are cooked on a Weber Smoky Mountain, which allows pretty good fire control, since the meat is close to 2 feet away from the fire. The disadvantage is the grill needs to be left over a very hot fire to get hot enough for good grill marks. Note the grill marks here are reverse grill marks. A quarter turn would have made these prettier. Never the less, grilling like this (with the top on) creates an evenier heat, adds to the time of cooking, so the meat can absorb a nice smokiness, but without drying out.The Weber Smoky Mountain has such good fire/heat control that baking bread is easy too, again adding a smokiness.wsmbread.jpgwsmbread02.jpgA terra cotta dish works great as a baking pizza stone, keeping things from direct heat. A sheet of parchement paper is perfectly fine in there too, since there’s no roaring flame to ignite it.So pizza works too. Here’s my standard pizza dough recipe.smokedzabefore.jpgBeforesmokedzaafter.jpgAftersmokedza06.jpgYou get a great smoky cheese as a result.And if you have tomatoes, oregano and basil growing a few feet from the grill, there’s no way you can get fresher ingredients (sausage from Paulina Market).smokedza.jpgThe tomatoes, while not overly abundant, were awesome, and made the best BLT I’ve ever had. To be honest, I may never have had a BLT before, at least where I didn’t pull off the tomatoes. Most of my life I never liked uncooked tomatoes, plucking them off everything from burgers to club sandwiches, but I’ve been converted to them recently, although only in season.homegrowntom.jpgA homegrown beefsteak, posing in a pot of live oregano.blht.jpgA great BLT, with homegrown tomato and bacon from Paulina Market.Take a cheap peice of average farmed salmon from Dominick’s, put a moist sheet of cedar paper under it, put it over a wood fire, sprinkled with wood chips and smoke/grill it for awhile and you’ve elevated it to something truely sublime.smokesalmon07.jpgOther produce includes a grape vine, but I think it’s primary purpose is to treat the neighborhoods wildlife.grapetheif02.jpggrapethief.jpggrapetheif03.jpgWe’ve employed some security, but overindulgence in his payment has impaired the performance of his duties.catnip01.jpg

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Tags: BBQ · Garden

Food news and links

October 10th, 2007 · Comments Off

It was a big week in food here in Chicago with some of the great chef’s of the world coming just to eat our tacos. Seriously, they were here for Trotter’s big dinner Poke around the Stew for more on where these guys hung out and why a famous French pastry chef has to smuggle our hot dog buns back home.

Miller and Molson Coors to Merge in U.S

A Knell for Lobsters On Long Island Sound “Something is killing the lobsters of Long Island Sound.”

Giant pumpkin smashes bus (YouTube).

This scary headline – Kids Digest Nanotechnology at Breakfast Time is actually a harmless press release – “Kid-friendly lessons on the impact of nanotechnology on society are now featured on the backs of Price Chopper’s store-brand Koo-Kies and Peanut Butter Cocoa Spheres cereals”

All the bloggers have the pumpkin links out this time of year, but here’s the best pumpkin carving I’ve seen so far.

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Tags: Food News and Links

Advice to ‘professionals’ from bloggers

October 9th, 2007 · 3 Comments

Megnut offer’s advice to Gourmet’s advertisers “My little pile of ads that I so carefully tore out of Gourmet for research purposes is now headed to the recycling bin. I’m moving on to websites that actually provide information about the products I’m interested in.”

Just Hungry’s Free Advice to PR people “Hi there, intrepid PR person who wants to get in on this new “blog marketing” and “viral marketing” thing. I have some free advice for you, especially if you are trying to sell some kind of packaged, manufactured thing that only vaguely resembles real food.”

Follow the link on the previous link to Elise’s The Do’s and Don’ts of Marketing to Bloggers Elise of course is the writer of the very food focused Simply Recipes. “Form letters result in promoting pork sausages to vegans or pitches for ready-to-eat cheesecake filling to gourmet scratch cooks, people who would sooner shoot themselves than use your product.”

Restaurants: fix your websites! Professional local blogger Andrew Huff lists every no-no that I’ve been trying to talk clients out of for years (food-related or otherwise). No contact info when the majority of visitors are looking for just that, Flash used just to show a few pictures, important info like menus buried in PDFs, and worst of all, music.

If I had a dime for each time I’ve had to explain this, I’d be retired. Imagine how many people do their evening out planning from work (or their shopping or even their home-buying). Now imagine that person reaching your site, and some blaring U2 (why is it always U2?) music starts up. That person, in some cubicle farm somewhere, scared for their job (or just plain embarassed for blaring U2 from their desk) closes the window to your website AND NEVER COMES BACK. If, after imagining that, you still want music on your site to ’set the mood’, you’ll want to reavaluate what your website is for.

Not really food related, but since we’re on the subject, Andrew also has some words On PR and blogs.

Almostvegetarian also has advice For all the food bloggers who have ever, or will ever, encounter a public relations person.

Addendum:
Found another on the subject: When Good Restaurants Do Bad Websites

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Tags: Food News and Links

Prairie Moon

October 9th, 2007 · Comments Off

Prairie Moon in Evanston has always been a favorite of mine. Opened 5 years ago by seasoned Evanston restaurant people, I’ve made it a regular destination more for their rotating tap or two of unusual beer.

The food’s always been good, I’ve always loved their ‘painted soup” – roasted tomato, poblano & squash but my favorite is their shrimp and crawfish po’boy, with garlic remoulade.

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And here’s the Kell’s Pub Garlic Shrimp. Loaded with garlic, basil and tomatoes.
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There’s always something good on tap, like Prankster from North Coast Brewing. The Arcadia Hopmouth, a super-hopped IPA from Battle Creek Mich. is available now too.

Other local pubs like Nevin’s and Bar Louie now have a decent tap selections, Nevins includes König Ludwig Weiss, a really good Hefe-Weizen and Dogfish 90, Bar Louie has a good 16-18 or so taps, but Prarie Moon still rules Evanston by rotating a few taps with some great selections.

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Tags: Beers on tap · Restaurants

Paramount Room

October 6th, 2007 · 2 Comments

The guys who brought you Volo and Kitsch’n have put together an outstanding beer geek and foodie destination, The Paramount Room on Milwaukee (415 N. Milwaukee Ave) just south of Hubbard and the train viaduct in an old speakeasy. I guess you could define it as a gastropub if that definition is above average pub drinks and food. And they’ve conveniently put it between work and the train for me.

When they first opened, just a few weeks ago, they were serving the Paramount Burger, with a ‘complimentary, optional’ slab of foie gras. It’s no longer on the menu, and I fear I’ll never have such a decadent meat and fat combination for 16 bucks again.

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Chef Stephen Dunne’s foie is bourbon cured and now appears as a ‘Brioche French Toast’ with maple walnut syrup, again, the menu stressing that the locally illegal foie is optional and complimentary.

I’ve been in there several times when locals chefs and restaurant people are there, and when I hear them raving about the food, you know it’s got to be good.

When a guy like John Manion from Mas is sitting next to you raving about the steak tartare, you order it.

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This is no ground beef tartare, it’s the perfect size cut, with the traditional capers and onions already mixed in.

I tried the Scotch Egg on another visit, prompted when I heard another group of visiting chefs demanding it.

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The Scotch Egg, for the uninitiated, is a hard boiled egg wrapped in sausage and deep fried. The 4 spears of asparagus under it do little to make such a combination look or sound healthy.

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The sausage is perfect, towards the pink side.

arcadiasm.jpgAs for the beer, a worthy selection of 11 taps (NOT counting the bud light) – Goose Island Matilda, Spaten (lager), Delirium Tremens, Left Hand Milk Stout, Great Lakes Holy Moses, Strongbow Cider, Smithwicks, Guinness, Einbecker Pilsner, Arcadia IPA, and Konings Hoeven Quad. Delirium, while more and more popular, is great to find on tap, the Arcadia Hopmouth will satisfy the hop-lover, the Quad (Quadrupel from the former La Trappe Trappists) is a real treat, but the Left hand Milk stout is just plain delicious. Lighter than you’d expect from a beer as black as night, sweet, like a chocolate-coffee milk shake, without the darker, burnt roasted flavors you find in a typical stout.

The bottle list is also well-rounded, but I’m always more impressed by taps. One interesting bottle is Unibroue’s Ephemere a white (”Blanche”) beer with the crisp flavor of green apples.

My main caution is ‘above average’ goes for the price as well. The sandwiches and most entrees are served without sides, so if paying for a 9 dollar hamburger without fries (an extra 6) or paying 7 bucks for 4 fried pickle spears scares you, be forewarned.

PostScript – A review would be incomplete without mentioning that they have the coolest bathroom hand dryers you’ll ever see. Made by Dyson, it’s called an Airblade.

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Tags: Beers on tap · Drink · Restaurants

Some recipes links

October 6th, 2007 · 3 Comments

I get tons of requests to be added to the list, but it’s been awhile since I’ve been able to look at each one and get them listed, but a quick glance at my request folder shows me there’s some interesting ones out there. Here’s a few recipes.

Ricotta stuffed squash blossoms

Raw chocolate cupcakes with coconut icing

Lahmajoun Sfiha Meat Pies

Concord grape bruschetta with ricotta

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Tags: Food News and Links

Pumpkins

October 3rd, 2007 · 2 Comments

Pumpkins will be dear this year. “Illinois pumpkin-growers like Todd Statzer say a hot, dry summer and late-season torrential rains have made this year’s crop one of the worst in recent memory”

Pumpkin
Here’s one of the giant pumpkins at the Botanic Garden.

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Tags: Food News and Links

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