30 Jul 2010 08:14 am

Goodbye ice cream, hello cupcakes! The ice cream man has some heavy competition this summer, as mobile cupcake bakeries begin to pop up on city streets all over the United States.

The Cupcake Stop
New York, NY

Last June, New York welcomed a brand new twist on street food. Claiming to be the first-ever cupcake truck in Manhattan, the Cupcake Stop has been so successful that it now has over five locations across the city and two retail outlets.
Find out where they are today: @CupcakeStop
Try this: Red velvet with sweet cream cheese frosting

Flirty Cupcakes
Chicago, IL

Tiffany Kurtz says she quit her corporate gig and decided to convert an old mail truck into Flirty Cupcakes after she had the idea to upgrade the ice cream truck for urban dwellers. Each cupcake is individually packaged in tiny gift boxes, so you’ll really feel like you’re treating yourself to something special!
Find out where they are today: @FlirtyCupcakes
Try this: CBFF, a chocolate cupcake with nutella ganache

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Sprinklesmobile
Los Angeles, CA

Sprinkles, the haute cupcakery in Los Angeles, has recently launched its own version of the dessert truck. And Sprinkles is keeping up their posh Beverly Hills image in the 22-foot customized Mercedes-Benz Sprinter. The van holds up to 1,500 of the bakery’s standard flavors daily.
Find out where they are today: @sprinklesmobile
Try this: Banana, fresh banana cake with creamy vanilla or bittersweet chocolate frosting

Don’t worry if you aren’t within reach of one these cupcake trucks, because there are plenty of others hitting the streets of Miami, Washington D.C., Seattle, Philadelphia, Boston and San Francisco.


29 Jul 2010 07:50 am

Sometimes the best dishes are those that put a modern twist on traditional foods. We’ve collected a list of some of our favorite made-over classics.

Strip House
13 E. 12 St.
New York, NY
212-328-0000

Hours:
5 p.m. - 11 p.m. (Monday - Thursday)
5 p.m. - 11:30 p.m. (Friday - Saturday)
5 p.m. - 10 p.m. (Sunday)

Chef John Schenk’s beef jerky is far from what you imagine when you think of this blue collar snack. Made from the trimmings of the same prime steak that the restaurant serves on its regular menu, the beef jerky is pounded and then marinated for 36 hours in a blend of spices and sauces. The meat is then dried in a 200-degree oven and deep-fried in goose fat to order. This spruced-up version of jerky is then served with grilled tomato, onion strings and the Strip House’s signature steak sauce 

 

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FIRST
The Palazzo Resort Hotel Casino
3327 Las Vegas Blvd. S., Ste. 2812
Las Vegas, NV
(702) 607-3478

Hours
11 a.m. - 4 a.m. (Monday - Thursday)
11 a.m. - 6 a.m. (Friday - Saturday)
9 a.m. - 12 a.m. (Sunday)

FIRST is overseen by Chef Sam Demarco, who brings flair to the ordinary with his own spin on popular dishes like croque monsieur pops, Philly cheesesteak dumplings and his NY Egg “Sam”wich served with tater tots, among other delights. Chef Sammy’s food is infused with creativity, making his dishes approachable, sophisticated and fun, all at the same time.

Society Café
Encore
3131 Las Vegas Blvd.
Las Vegas, NV
(702) 770-5300

Hours:
6:30 a.m. - 1 a.m. (Sunday - Thursday)
6:30 a.m. - 3 a.m. (Friday - Saturday)

It’s all about casual dining with a twist at Society Café. The menu has a creative flair that even includes a section called “Sticks, Picks & Finger Food” made expressly for sharing. That section, and others, is full of Chef Kim Canteenwalla’s spin on old favorites like “lollipop” chicken wings.

 

Simon
The Palms Casino Resort
4381 W. Flamingo Rd.
Las Vegas, NV
702-944-3292
Hours
6 p.m. - 11 p.m. (Monday - Thursday, Sunday)
6 p.m. - 12 a.m. (Friday - Saturday)
Chef Kerry Simon breathes new life into the desserts on his menu. He turns classic junk food like Hostess Cupcakes, Rice Krispy Treats and chocolate caramel popcorn into top notch desserts.  These simple, yet unique treats will surely make you feel like a kid again.


28 Jul 2010 07:35 am

This week, July 26-August 1, the European Union and Wines of Germany is sponsoring the sixth annual “Riesling Week,” a celebration of the diverse Rieslings from Germany, Austria and Alsace. Restaurants in New York, San Francisco, Las Vegas, Chicago and Miami will give diners the chance to sample a wide range of styles of European Riesling by the glass, by the bottle or with a special pairing menu. Wine shops will also host European Riesling tastings throughout the week.

 

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Las Vegas
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

MICHAEL MINA Bellagio
3600 Las Vegas Blvd. S.
Las Vegas, NV 89109
702.693.7233
MICHAEL MINA Bellagio is featuring a flight of 4 Rieslings for $34.

 

Aureole Restaurant
3950 Las Vegas Blvd. S.
Las Vegas, NV 89119
702.632.7401

Aureole is offering a German and Austrian Riesling flight for $14.

 

AMERICAN FISH
Aria Resort & Casino
3730 Las Vegas Blvd.
Las Vegas, NV 89158
877.230.2742

AMERICAN FISH is offering a flight of 3 Rieslings for $16.

 

Pinot Brasserie
3355 Las Vegas Blvd. S.
Las Vegas, NV 89109
702.414.8888Vintner Grill
10100 Charleston Blvd. #150
Las Vegas, NV 89135
702.214.5590

Nora’s Wine Bar & Osteria
1031 S. Rampart Blvd.
Las Vegas, NV 89145
702.940.6672

  Alizé
4321 W. Flamingo Road
Las Vegas, NV 89103
702.951.7000Hostile Grape at the M Resort
12300 South Las Vegas Blvd.�
Henderson, NV 89044�
702.797.1000

Rosemary’s Restaurant
8125 W. Sahara Avenue
Las Vegas, NV 89117
702.869.2251

 

 

New York
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

15 East
15 E. 15th Street�
New York, NY 10003�
212.647.0015Bar Veloce
175 2nd Ave.�
New York, NY 10003�
212.260.3200

Cavatappo Grill
1712 1st Avenue
New York, NY 10128
212.987.9260

Cavatappo Wine Bar, Gramercy
347 3rd Avenue
New York, NY 10010
212.448.1919

H2O Seafood Grill, Smithtown
215 W. Main St�
Smithtown, NY 11787�
631.361.6464 3

The Jakewalk
282 Smith St.
Brooklyn, NY 11231
347.599.0294

L’Ecole The Restaurant of the French Culinary Institute
462 Broadway�
New York, NY 10013
212.219.3300

Megu New York
62 Thomas Street
New York, NY 10013
212.964.7777

North Square Restaurant
103 Waverly Place
New York, NY 10011
212.254.1200

PUBLIC
210 Elizabeth Street
New York, NY 10012
212.343.7011

Savoy
70 Prince Street
New York, NY 10012
212.219.8570

Spice Market
403 W. 13th Street
New York, NY 10014
212.675.2322

The Tangled Vine Wine Bar & Kitchen
434 Amsterdam Ave.
New York, NY 10024
646.863.3896

Terroir EVil
413 E. 12th Street
New York, NY 10009
No phone

Thalassa
179 Franklin St.
New York, NY 10013
212.941.7661

Verace True Italian
599 Main Street
Islip, NY 11751
631.277.3800

  Aquavit
65 East 55th Street
New York, NY 10022
212.307.7311Café Boulud
20 East 76th Street�
New York, NY 10021�
212.772.2600

Cavatappo Wine Bar
1728 2nd Ave
New York, NY 10128
212.426.0919

Double Crown
316 Bowery
New York, NY 10012
212.254.0350

Hearth
403 E. 12th St.�
New York, NY 10009�
646.602.1300

Le Colonial
149 E. 57th St
New York, NY 10022
212.752.0808

Matsuri
369 West 16th Street
New York, NY 10011
212.243.6400

The Monday Room
210 Elizabeth Street
New York, NY 10012
212.343.7011

Oak Wine Bar
361 Graham Ave.
Brooklyn, NY 11211
718.387.1245

Prime an American Kitchen & Bar
117 New York Ave
Huntington, NY 11743
631.385.1515

Seäsonal Restaurant
132 W. 58th Street
New York, NY 10019
212.957.5550

Stone Park Cafe
324 5th Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11215
718.369.0082

Tellers Chophouse, Islip
605 Main St
Islip, NY 11751
631.277.7070

Terroir | Tribecca
24 Harrison St.
New York, NY 10013
212.625.9463

Tocqueville
1 E. 15th Street
New York, NY 10003
212.647.1515

Vyne
82 West 3rd Street
New York, NY 10012
212.353.8963

 

Chicago
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

Ai Japanese Restaurant & Lounge
358 W. Ontario Street
Chicago, IL 60610
312.335.9888C-House Fish and Chops
166 East Superior Street
Chicago, IL 60611
312.523.0923

Frontera Grill & Topolobampo
445 N. Clark St.
Chicago, IL 60610
312.661.1434

KODA Bistro and Wine Bar
10352 South Western Ave.
Chicago, IL 60643
773.445.5632

Lockwood Restaurant
17 E. Monroe St.
Chicago, IL 60603
312.917.3404

NoMI
Park Hyatt Chicago
800 N Michigan Ave.
Chicago, IL 60611
312.239.4030

Shaw’s Crab House
21 East Hubbard Street
Chicago, IL 60611
312.527.2722

Vintage 338 Wine Bar
338 West Armitage Avenue
Chicago, IL 60614-4739
773.525.0521

  Blue 13
416 West Ontario Street
Chicago, IL 60654-5714
312.787.1400Custom House Tavern
500 South Dearborn
Chicago, IL 60605
312.523.0200

The Italian Village
71 W. Monroe
Chicago, IL 60603

La Cantina
71 W. Monroe Avenue
Chicago, IL 60603
312.332.7005

Mirabell Restaurant
3454 West Addison Street
Chicago, IL 60618
773.463.1962

Salpicón
1252 N. Wells Street
Chicago, IL 60610
312.988.7811

Tsuki
1441-45 W Fullerton Ave
Chicago, IL 60614
773.883.8722

Vivere
71 W. Monroe
Chicago, IL 60603
312.332.4040

 

Miami
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

AZUL (Mandarin Oriental Miami Hotel)
500 Brickell Key Drive
Miami, FL 33131
305.913.8254

café sambal (Mandarin Oriental Miami Hotel)
500 Brickell Key Drive
Miami, FL 33131
305.913.8254

Michael’s Genuine Food & Drink
130 NE 40th St.
Miami, FL 33137
305.573.5550

OLA Restaurant at the Sanctuary Hotel
1745 James Ave
South Beach, FL 33139
305.695.9125

Palme d’or Restaurant
1200 Anastasia Avenue
Coral Gables, FL 33134
305.913.3201

Wish Restaurant
801 Collins Ave.�
Miami Beach, FL 33139�
305.531.2222

  Bourbon Steak
19999 Country Club Drive
Aventura, FL 33180
786.279.6600

Emeril’s Miami Beach
1601 Collins Ave
Miami Beach, FL 33139
305.695.4550

Michy’s
6927 Biscayne Blvd.
Miami, FL 33138
305.759.2001

Ortanique on the Mile
278 Miracle Mile
Coral Gables, FL 33134
305.446.7710

W Wine Bistro
3622 NE 2nd Ave
Miami, FL 33137
305.576.7775


San Francisco
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

Ana Mandara
891 Beach Street
San Francisco, CA 94109
415.771.6800

Blanc Et Rouge
334 Grant Avenue
San Francisco, CA 94108
415.391.0758

Chez TJ Restaurant
938 Villa St.
Mountain View, CA 94041
650.964.7466

DOSA on Fillmore
1700 Fillmore St. (at Post)
San Francisco, CA 94115
415.441.3672

EOS Restaurant & Wine Bar
901 Cole Street
San Francisco, CA 94117
415.566.3063

Farallon
450 Post Street
San Francisco, CA 94102
415.956.6969

Gary Danko
800 North Point at Hyde�
San Francisco, CA 94109�
415.749.2060

Jardinière
300 Grove St.�
San Francisco, CA 94102�
415.861.5555

Martini House
1245 Spring Street
St. Helena, CA 94574
707.963.2233

Michael Mina San Francisco
Westin St Francis Hotel, 335 Powell Street
San Francisco, CA 94109
415.397.9222

ORSON Restaurant, Bar + Lounge
508 4th Stret
San Francisco, CA 94107
415.777.1508

Salthouse
545 Mission St.�
San Francisco, CA 94105�
415.543.8900

Soif Wine Bar
105 Walnut Avenue�
Santa Cruz, CA 95060�
831.423.2020

The Village Pub
2967 Woodside Road�
Woodside, CA 94062�
415.939.4838

  Anchor & Hope
83 Minna St.
San Francisco, CA 94105
415.501.9100

Café Divine
1600 Stockton St. on Washington Square
San Francisco, CA 94133
415.986.3414

Coco 500
500 Brannan Street
San Francisco, CA 94107
415.543.2222

DOSA on Valencia
995 Valencia St. (at 21st)
San Francisco, CA 94110
415.642.3672

EPIC Roasthouse
369 The Embarcadero
San Francisco, CA 94105
415.369.9955

Fifth Floor Restaurant & Lounge
12 Fourth Street
San Francisco, CA 94103
415.348.1555

Georges
415 Sansome Street�
San Francisco, CA 94111�
415.956.6900

Le Colonial
20 Cosmo Place
San Francisco, CA 94109
415.931.3600

Mayfield Café
855 El Camino Real
Palo Alto, CA 94301
650.853.9200

Nopa
560 Divisadero
San Francisco, CA 94117
415.864.8643

RN74
301 Mission St. (at Beale)
San Francisco, CA 94105
415.543.7474

Silks at Mandarin Oriental, San Francisco 
222 Sansome Street
San Francisco, CA 94104
415.986.2020

Spruce
3640 Sacramento Street
San Francisco, CA 94118
415.931.5100

Zazu Restaurant + FARM
3535 Guerneville Road
Santa Rosa, CA 95401
707.523.4814


27 Jul 2010 08:27 am

In honor of national crème brulee day we thought we’d give you a little information about the delectable dessert and where to try it in honor of this special day.  The earliest known reference to the dessert is in François Massialot’s 1691 cookbook, but nearly half a century later the French name was changed to “crème anglaise.” The English, French and Spanish all take credit for the silky dessert and have a variety of names for it such as “crema catalane,” “burnt cream” and  the ever popular “crème brulee.”  Perhaps the most popular modern reference to crème brulee is in relation to its history with Le Cirque.  Credited with, but refusing to take credit for, the creation of Creme Brulee, Sirio Maccioni is a legendary restaurateur. He, his wife Egidiana, a legendary cook in her own right, and sons Mario, Marco and Mauro preside over the nightly culinary scene at Le Cirque where New York society has dined since 1974. But if you can’t celebrate National Crème Brulee day with “Crème Brulee Le Cirque” in New York City today - how about placing your bets on Crème Brulee - three ways - in Las Vegas at CityCenter’s ARIA Resort & Casino? Sage, Julian Serrano and Sirio Ristorante each offer their own rendition of the creamy dessert (or appetizer) whose origins are in as much hot contention as the salamander used to create the caramel topping! 

1305_295x225 

Sage delivers a combination of sweet and savory with its immensely popular Foie Gras Custard Brulee. Chef Shawn McClain infuses the custard with fresh foie gras and tops the dish with cocoa nibs, moro blood orange and salted brioche.

At Julian Serrano, Chef’s Crema Catalan is a tribute to Spain, which he believes is the true creator of the famous dessert. Julian Serrano’s Spanish version is served cold with a crisp, sugary ceiling and a touch of pineapple ice cream.

If you simply must have the Le Cirque connection, Sirio Ristorante’s Crema alla Catalana features a vanilla-infused custard garnished with fresh seasonal fruit, and an intoxicating vanilla aroma.


26 Jul 2010 08:36 am

When the early settlers came to the United States, the Native Americans taught them how to grown corn, pound corn into meal and how to cook with it. Since then, corn has grown to be the largest crop in the United States, in terms of acres planted. Not to mention, corn is the key ingredient in many great American meals such as corn chowder, creamed corn, cornbread and the timeless corn on the cob.

corn_295x225

What is corn?
Corn, also known as maize, is a cereal grass that has been cultivated for over 10,000 years. Corn is an annual crop that must be replanted each year and is grown all over the world.

Are there different kinds of corn?
Sweet corn is typically grown for consumption and comes in white, yellow and extra sweet varieties. Field corn, which comes in white and yellow varieties, is typically grown for livestock feed and for making cornmeal. The third variety of corn, ornamental, is usually grown is usually used as decorations during the fall.

Where can I buy the freshest corn?
Corn is at its peak in late summer. Although corn is available year-round, you can typically find locally grown varieties at farmer’s markets during the summer. Local corn not only tastes better, but also tends to be less expensive. The sugar in corn begins to convert to starch as soon as it is picked, which reduces its natural sweetness. For this reason, corn is best the sooner it is served after being picked. At the market, choose sweet corn that has bright green, moist husks and silk that is stiff, dark and moist. If you press gently on the husk, you should be able to feel the kernels.

How should I store corn?
Before cooking, keep corn moist and cool. For maximum freshness, store corn in a freezer bag or cooler on the way home from the market and then refrigerate immediately. If you do not plan to use corn immediately or has are buying from the grocery store, add a bit of sugar to your recipe. Always try to use corn within two to three days.

How should I cook corn?
Corn can be cooked a variety of ways and makes a great complement to many dishes. However, good ole’ fashion corn on the cob is typically boiled or grilled.

Boil: In a pot large enough to submerge corn, bring water to a boil. Add husked corn ears and continue to cook on high heat for three to four minutes or until kernels are piping hot.

Grill: To grill corn, peel away the husk and silk, drizzle with olive oil and place the corn directly on the grill over medium heat. Occasionally rotate the corn to prevent excessive charring. The corn should be ready in about 10 minutes. After grilling, season with salt and paper and a bit of butter for a vegetable that anyone will eat.


22 Jul 2010 03:21 am

A chef’s kitchen likely differs from our own in some obvious ways, but most of us can probably imagine what might be inside of a top notch kitchen. Their appliances are bigger and better, plus they must have some ingredients and tools a bit off of the beaten path. To feed our curiosity, we asked a few of our favorite chefs what the most unusual item in their kitchen is and compiled a very unique list.

 4877_295x225_web

1. Pig’s Head
Wolfgang Puck Pizzeria & Cucina
3720 Las Vegas Boulevard
Las Vegas, NV
(702) 238-1000

“There’s a pig’s head in my walk-in right now,” Chef Dustin Lewandowski answered, straight faced, then laughed. “That’s kind of unusual to some.” Just what does Chef Lewandowski use a giant pig’s head for? He makes his own head cheese, Fromage de Tete. The pig’s head is rinsed, soaked and then brined and slow cooked until all the meat falls off. “Then we pull it and make a terrine out of it,” he says.

 

2. Bamboo
Bar Masa
3730 Las Vegas Boulevard
Las Vegas, NV
(877) 230-2742

At Bar Masa, Chef Drew Terp considers an 8-foot stalk of bamboo to be the most unusual item in his kitchen. “We import bamboo that we use as decorations. Whenever there is any sort of downtime, we take that and — to keep each other busy — carve it down into functional utensils.” But bamboo carving is not just fun and games. “Whenever we run out, we chop it down into chop sticks or spoons.”

 

3. Celebrity Signed Door
N9NE Vegas
4321 West Flamingo Road
Las Vegas, NV
(702) 933-9900

Chef Barry Dakake’s has a top-of-the-line kitchen, but his favorite thing? The door to his office. And that door happens to be a pretty special door. “It started two years ago,” Chef Dakake explained. “Carmelo Anthony, a basketball player for the Denver Nuggets, used to eat here all the time. I’m a big sports fan, so I used to tell him, ‘When are you bringing me my basketball? You’re always shaking me down — I want a basketball jersey or something.’ So one day Carmelo said, ‘Let’s go in the back; come on.’ So he’s walking in my kitchen and says, ‘Take me to your office,’ then, ‘Give me a marker.’ And he signs my door — the people’s champ.” Since Anthony left his John Hancock on his door, Chef Dakake has invited a host of celebrity guests to do the same. Among those who’ve signed his door, for instance, are Joe Montana, Dan Marino, Gary Sheffield, Johnny Bench, Ernie Banks, Jerry West, President Bill Clinton and Derek Jeter.

 

4. Celebrity Signed Door
Nove
4321 West Flamingo Road
Las Vegas, NV
(702) 942-6800

In Vegas, one is never enough. Chef Geno Bernardo has got his own celebrity signed door to brag about. In fact, they have a long running competition to see who can get the most signatures on them. “I love it,” Chef Bernardo said. “I love to get them on the door. Barry is serious about it. I have it; it’s fun. “Who’s signed Chef Bernardo’s door, we wondered?”I have Joe Montana,” he told us. “My favorite one is Eva Mendez. Barry is jealous about Eva Mendez. He doesn’t have Eva Mendez. I have Miss Rhode Island. I have all of them!”

 

5. Eucalyptus
South Gate
154 Central Park South
New York, NY
212 484 5120

Chef Kerry Heffernan was wandering through the market after buying some fresh albacore in the Hudson Canyons when it dawned on him to pair the fish with eucalyptus. “The eucalyptus smells good, but I didn’t know anyone using it in cooking,” he said. “I figured it was probably most soluble in oil, so we would warm the oil up with the leaves inside. Obviously it’s very strong, so you need to grace it just a touch. Learning about that relationship was an exciting moment.”


21 Jul 2010 03:44 am

Why garnish a cocktail with fresh fruit when you can have exquisite jewelry adorning your drink?

Some mixologists around the country are dressing up the average cocktail with silver, diamonds and pearls. While the jewels won’t add to the taste, it will certainly add to the sparkle. And even though your drink won’t last long, you’ll walk away with a beautiful new addition to your jewelry collection that is sure to last a lifetime-and just might justify that hefty price tag.

 

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Martini on the Rock, $10,000
Blue Bar
Algonquin Hotel
59 West 44th Street
New York, NY
(212) 840-6800

Hours: 11:30 a.m. - 1:30 a.m. (Daily)

 

This extra-special martini is served by a white-gloved waiter in a crystal glass sitting atop a silver platter-and that’s not all. The cocktail also features one very special rock. At the bottom of the drink, sits a 1.5 carat diamond from the hotel’s jeweler. If you want to treat your lady to this special cocktail, be sure to make arrangements at least three days in advance.

Gotham Martini, $1,000
High Roller Martini, $1,000
Capital Grille
3200 Las Vegas Boulevard
Las Vegas, NV
(702) 932-6631

Hours:
Lunch: 11:30 a.m. - 4 p.m. (Mon - Fri)
12:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m. (Sat)
Dinner: 4 p.m.- 10:30 p.m. (Mon - Sat)
4 p.m. - 10 p.m. (Sun)

At $1,000 a pop, these drinks truly are just for high rollers. Both of these martinis come with a fine piece of Lagos jewelry. The Gotham Martini is paired with a strand of pearls, while the High Roller comes with a shiny diamond ring. An added bonus, for each cocktail sold, the restaurant donates $500 to Share Our Strength, a charity battling worldwide hunger.

 

Cloudgate, $175

Tavern at the Park

130 East Randolph Street
Chicago, IL
(312) 552-0070

Hours: 11 a.m. - 10 p.m. (Mon - Thurs)
11 a.m. - 10:30 p.m. (Fri)
12 p.m. - 10:30 p.m. (Sat)

Peter de Castro created the Cloudgate after being inspired by Millennium Park’s infamous bean in downtown Chicago. The martini is a mixture of Grey Goose La Poire, homemade sour mix, pineapple juice and a splash of champagne. The drink is then draped with a sterling silver Elsa Peretti bean necklace.


20 Jul 2010 03:39 am

If you feel like you’ve frequented the same restaurant one too many times, it might be time to check out an underground supper club in your area.

You may ask, what exactly is that?

 

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An underground supper club is essentially a dinner party that occurs between strangers in a mystery location-usually headed by some of the city’s top chefs. This unique trend is growing in popularity and is becoming somewhat of a “have to” for foodies in cities like Chicago.

Chef Iliana Regan of One Sister Inc, created a supper club that has quickly turned into one of the Windy City’s most talked about summer hot spots. At her home in Chicago’s north side, Regan’s communal dinner table can accommodate up to 10 guests and it is always full, so be prepared to share your dining experience with a few strangers.

After personally greeting her guests at the door, diners mingle while Regan retreats to the kitchen to finish cooking the elaborate 12-course meal.

Having worked at Alinea and Trio, Regan’s experience in the kitchen is impressive. She serves up unique dishes made with local ingredients, including some from her very own garden.  Although her menu changes often, a recent menu included octopus, foie gras and honeydew sorbet. 

Regan says her dinner parties are temporary, as she plans to open a restaurant called Mermaid Café in the near future. For now guests can reserve their spot at her private table by calling 773-598-0602 or e-mailing onesisterinc@gmail.com. A $90 donation, plus tip, is suggested.


19 Jul 2010 09:02 am

The tomato is the world’s most popular fruit and many flock to farmer’s markets around the country to find the freshest, ripest tomatoes. Here are some tips to pick the best of these summer gems.


What is a tomato?

Although tomatoes are commonly referred to as vegetables, they are actually fruit. It is a member of the nightshade family and a cousin of the eggplant, pepper, potato and tomatillo. Tomatoes were once called “wolf peaches,” because, in the early days, they were erroneously considered to be poisonous.

tomatoes_295x225

Are there different kinds of tomatoes?

Tomatoes come in a variety of sizes, colors and textures. In fact, there are countless different kinds of tomatoes available worldwide. Some of the most popular include currant tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, plum tomatoes and slicing tomatoes. Red and yellow currant tomatoes are best eaten right off the vine or used as a garnish. Cherry tomatoes are typically eaten raw and are often used in salads and salsas. Plum tomatoes tend to be grilled or used in sauces, soups, stews, jams, and chutneys. Slicing tomatoes, which include the beefsteak and the oxheart tomatoes, are ideal for slicing fresh, but can also be used in salsas, sauces and soups.

Where can I buy the freshest tomatoes?

The best tomatoes are dry-farmed, meaning the tomato plants aren’t watered after their flowers bloom. This leads to a better, deeper flavor. Once the tomato plant produces fruit, the most experienced farmers will allow the fruit to ripen on the vine before picking any. As a result, the tomato is a very delicate fruit and consumers can find the freshest tomatoes at farmer’s markets, when they are sure that the plant has been grown locally.

When shopping for tomatoes, choose the ones that are heavy and have an earthy smell.

How should I store tomatoes?

The tomato is a delicate fruit that needs to be handled gently. Tomatoes shouldn’t be crammed into one bag, as they are heavy and can bruise each other.

Always hand pick tomatoes at the store, wash and store at room temperature. Tomatoes should never be stored in the refrigerator-temperatures under 50 degrees Fahrenheit will make tomatoes wrinkled and mushy much more quickly.


16 Jul 2010 06:27 am

July is national hot dog month and, although a Chicago-style hot dog is not your average dog, no city is more famous for their hot dogs than Chicago is. So what exactly is a Chicago dog?

By most accounts, the Chicago dog originated during the Great Depression when the owner of a vegetable cart created the “Depression Sandwich,” a hot dog topped with a variety of vegetables that was sold for a nickel. The “sandwich” caught on and the Chicago-style hot dog was born.

 chicago_hot_dog-295x225

Today’s dog features an all beef hot dog that is steamed-never boiled-in a poppy seed bun and topped with yellow mustard, sweet pickle relish, chopped onions, two tomato wedges, a pickle spear, two sport peppers and a sprinkle of celery salt. And, yes, the order in which the ingredients are placed does matter. A perfectly assembled Chicago-style hot dog ensures that the diner will taste each ingredient in every bite.

With over 1,800 hot dog stands in the city of Chicago, the hot dog is, arguably, the Windy City’s most famous signature food. So, next time you’re in town, indulge yourself at one of these local favorites. Just remember-a Chicago dog will never come with ketchup!

Hot Doug’s
 3324 N. California Ave.
Chicago, IL
773-279-9550

With a selection of up to 18 different sausages, Hot Doug’s offers more than just a typical Chicago hot dog stand. In addition to the Chicago dog, options may include rabbit, boar, pheasant, duck and even kangaroo. Hot Doug’s also offers a variety of mustards, tomatillo, caramelized onions, chili and cheese.

 

Superdawg
6363 N Milwaukee Ave
Chicago, IL
(773) 763-0660

Superdawg is a throwback to the old 50s drive ins. In fact, diners order from their car and their Chicago dogs are brought right to their window by a traditional car-hop.


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