Buzz List for July 11, 2016
Parachute visits Korea as a family, Ruby is a little creeped out by Roister, and the controversial figure behind Bowtruss.
WHAT COLOR IS YOUR PARACHUTE
Vice’s food site Munchies has an excellent video accompanying Parachute’s Beverly Kim and John Clark to Korea last January—along with their entire staff, their five-year-old son Daewon and John’s parents. It’s a great primer on Korean food with the expected shots of fish markets and sizzling street food, but it also leads to a moving and fascinating reunion between John and his Korean chef mentor, an obsessive chef named Im Ji Ho who cooks and paints near the North Korean border. Highly recommended.
You’ve heard the name Phil Tadros, you’ve seen Bowtruss Coffee pop up all over… and maybe you’ve sensed a little controversy, as when the Pilsen Bowtruss, uniquely in that neighborhood, was protested, supposedly because it was gentrifying the hood (yet nobody else who did was getting the same grief). In Crain’s Peter Frost digs into why the guy elicits such reactions, and what his “serial entrepreneur” track record really amounts to.
Jeff Ruby has a complaint that’s of the moment about The Roister with its open kitchen and, allegedly, more relaxed and good time vibe for the Alinea group: “I’ve never seen a grimmer bunch of tweezer-wielding worrywarts than [chef Andrew] Brochu’s kitchen crew, nor felt guiltier that they were on display for my amusement. No one wants to watch an earnest chef get quietly but forcefully berated for some unseen transgression.” Still, he praises the food, saying “The imagination that propels the dishes never feels ego driven or forced. Napa cabbage kimchi is given a tart-sweet dimension with the simple but inspired addition of sweet chili sauce and thin wedges of fire-roasted pineapple. And if I’ve developed a case of scallop crudo fatigue of late, Roister’s bold rendition lifted me from my funk.” (Chicago Magazine)
Like Nick Kindelsperger last week, Aimee Levitt finds Saint Lou’s Assembly in transition, some of it working and some not: “While I did enjoy most of my meat and some of my threes—especially the fried catfish that managed to be both crisp and flaky and the tender sweet-and-sour pork belly that melted in my mouth like pig candy—the very best things I ate at Saint Lou’s came from the salads and appetizer menus, which didn’t hold to the meat-and-three concept at all and instead skewed more southern. This may have had something to do with the fact that both times I visited, the temperature was above 90 degrees, better weather for eating watermelon salad than meat loaf Wellington.” (Reader)
Fooditor previewed the morning treats coming to Fat Rice last week, and now Redeye gives you the lowdown on the night life coming to their cocktail bar, The Ladies’ Room: “According to [co-owner Abe] Conlon, Macanese casino lifestyle is about prestige and garishness. ‘They’ll buy a bottle of Louis XIII [a $3,000 cognac] and dump it into a bucket of Sprite,’ he said. It’s about showing off what you can afford, and while most cocktails at The Ladies’ Room range from $13–$18, Conlon is also keeping a heavy stock of high-end sipping spirits on hand—scotches, cognacs, Japanese whiskies and bottles of Bordeaux.”
TOTALLY MANILA SUBURBS
Did you know that Dale Talde—New York chef and Top Chef contestant the year Stephanie Izard won—was from Niles? I didn’t, or if I ever did I didn’t remember, but Saveur has a nice piece going with him back to Niles to shop in the Filipino markets in that area with his mom. I’ve been to a couple of the places he mentions, but many more I haven’t, and… now I will.
Julia Thiel looks at the cocktails-around-the-world approach of Arbella, from the Tanta parent company: “The focus is on classic cocktails, and the menu provides brief histories of ones that patrons might be unfamiliar with: the recipe for the Airmail, for example, was apparently first printed in a Bacardi pamphlet in 1930s Cuba, celebrating the ‘modern achievement’ of plane-delivered letters and packages. Other drinks, though, are more contemporary, playful, or just puzzling, as is the case with the Bridge and Tunnel, a concoction of vodka, rosé, and celery bitters. The Old School is peanut butter-infused bourbon with jelly ice.”
TOFU OR NOT TOFU
I’ve seen Phoenix Bean Tofu at Andersonville’s farmer’s market, but Greg Trotter has the story behind the 35-year-old Edgewater business and owner Jenny Yang, as it prepares to enter mainstream grocery chains and produce 2.5 million pounds of tofu a year. (Tribune)
You hear about restaurant marriage proposals, but I’ve never read an article about them before, so Janet Rausa Fuller’s article on the do’s and don’ts of popping the question between courses is a fun read. Not that I expect to use any of the advice here, dear!
Anthony Todd makes some good arguments for why cash-only restaurants should go away, but the real fun comes when a zillion Chicagoist commenters come on to tell him why he’s evil and entitled for… telling restaurants and bar how they can get him to spend more at their place, basically. You monster!
RELISH THE THOUGHT
Beginning with a fond remembrance of Elmwood Park Outfit joint Horwath’s (“This throwback restaurant, with a huge neon martini glass on its outside signage, was a respite, a totally non-challenging environment, a comforting, completely unpretentious place to unwind, relax and feel at home with tables of my fellow Italian-American goombahs”), David Hammond takes a road trip to three Milwaukee supper clubs. You should too! (New City)
WHAT MIKE ATE
A really good goat cheese-red pepper tamale from Dia de los Tamales at the Taste of Chicago while recording Fooditor Radio. The popups and food trucks have hugely improved your prospects of having decent food at the Taste.
And I went to Thurk, an underground dining thing (held at Elizabeth, where chef Justin Behlke works on special projects). The most strongly vegetable focused tasting menu I’ve ever had—and, not coincidentally, very different from the usual tasting menu progression as a result. A real eye opener for someone like me, who tends to see vegetables as something to fill in odd spaces on the plate not occupied by pork. (I exaggerate slightly.)