The oddest story about the Brexit vote has to be that David Cameron at least supposedly decided on the step of holding the Brexit vote while dining on Chicago pizza somewhere at O’Hare. The story originated in the Financial Times, though since it (ironically) has a Trump-level paywall, you’re better off reading the Trib’s recap. Cameron was coming back from the 2012 NATO summit here, and had a snack with a couple of members of his team when they decided on the move. Weirdly, the Chicago Aviation Department then denied the story, saying he traveled directly from downtown to his private jet with no stops for pizza, an Auntie Anne’s pretzel or even a travel pillow at Brookstone, but someone found tweets which indeed confirmed that he had been sighted there.

But the question is, did he eat pizza at Wolfgang Puck’s Cafe, or at Pizzeria Uno, the two main choices then available in that terminal? (We refuse to consider that he could have gone to low-rent Reggio’s.) No one seems to know, but it seems obvious to me. Cameron came out for Remain, of course, and a Remain supporter would have eaten internationalist pizza from Wolfgang Puck. Someone determined to eat local pizza with strong Chicago roots (even if the franchised Unos aren’t actually good at all) would have voted to Leave.


Nick Kindelsperger finds Saint Lou’s Assembly, the meat-and-threes place from the 16″ On Center guys, oddly empty when he visits, and theorizes why: “They nailed the decor. In fact, the designers might have done too good of a job, because the dining room looks eerily like it’s been around since the mid-20th century. Besides the bright yellow sign out front, everything inside is brown, from the rust-colored tile floors to the sandy-hued brick walls and the dark wood panels. While there are a few cheeky touches, like a case full of bowling trophies, the restaurant feels like you walked onto a set from ‘Mad Men’ — albeit when Don Draper was slumming it.”  Before he can turn in his review, they change things around to be more of a menu-driven place. (Tribune)


Meanwhile, unlike Saint Lou’s Assembly, Millie’s Supper Club gets praise from Anthony Todd for being the real deal: “Here’s the thing that sets Millie’s apart from all of the other themed restaurants I’ve been to lately: it’s not ironic at all. When I posted a photo from my visit on social media, I got some flak from cynical friends making fun of hipsters faking traditions, and I get where that comes from, but they are totally wrong. When I visited, almost everyone at Millie’s was over 40, probably from the upper Midwest, and enjoying themselves thoroughly. Millie’s has accomplished the unusual, and actually created exactly the thing they set out to replicate.”


Louisa Chu has a nice story on Stock, the cafe inside Local Foods (and makers of really really good vegetable pasties, one of my favorite veggie things in town), in which chef Abra Berens explains how it fits into the economy and ecology of the local food distributor and market: “A secondary mission of the cafe is to ‘absorb or mitigate any waste in the wholesale warehouse or grocery store,’ Berens said. ‘The best example I have is kale. We go through a ton of kale in the warehouse where they’ll get a shipment of 10 cases and then two days later they get another shipment of 10 more because they’ve contracted with that grower and they’ve committed to buying it,’ she said. ‘So what happens to any extra kale? They may not be the most perfect, but I don’t want that kale to just get thrown out, because it’s perfectly fine. So we absorb it and turn it into pasty fillings or pestos or soups.’”


Phil Vettel breaks sharply with the praise for Oriole, giving it one star and… just kidding. Four stars and the usual nearly awed praise: “I tend to take a cautious approach before hanging four stars on a chef. I’ve overcome my hesitation, awarding out-of-the-gate four-star ratings, to exactly five restaurants… Today, I add a sixth restaurant to that list: Oriole, which opened in mid-March in an obscure area west of the Loop.” (Tribune)


Julia Thiel hits Pork & Mindy’s and finds it a better concept than execution: “The ‘French toast’ bun for a smoked chicken sandwich didn’t taste anything like the vanilla, maple, and bourbon listed on the menu—but at least it wasn’t too sweet, and the chicken made an excellent vehicle for the barbecue sauces… The smoked lamb, though, had the texture of a wet towel and only slightly more flavor; it’s served on pita bread with an equally tasteless tzatziki sauce. As for the milk shake . . . just because you can put bacon on something doesn’t mean that you should.” (Reader)


Heather Schroering quotes Marcel Proust on her way to introducing Arbella, the bar from the Tanta people: “Arbella, a River North cocktail lounge from the folks behind nearby Tanta, is not unlike your favorite story in that it can take you on a global voyage.” But the drinks and the food don’t always make the same journey: “My date’s choice of the short rib bao ($5), with Thai sate sauce, squash puree and pickled vegetables, didn’t pair well with the La Coqueta (mezcal, ginger syrup, yuzu juice and grenadine, $16). While both were individually tasty, the peanut and acidic pickled flavors of the bao conflicted with the intense lemonade characteristics from the yuzu in the cocktail.” (Redeye)


Nick Kindelsperger says the reason to seek out Ugo’s, a Logan Square spot overshadowed by nearby competition that includes Osteria Langhe and Dos Urban Cantina, is for the appetizers: “Salty bar food turns out to be [chef Stephen] Hasson’s specialty. The aforementioned chicken liver mousse ($9), spiked with brandy and garnished with a sweet bourbon-cherry gel, is luxuriously smooth. The spreadable pork rillettes ($7) exude pure meatiness, which is nicely balanced with a slather of nose-clearing house mustard. Build a meal out of these appetizers, and you’ll wonder if Ugo’s is an under-the-radar gem.”


The Fairmont’s posh Aria has morphed into something called Columbus Tap and Crain’s Graham Meyer says “If you still had any doubt that casual has overrun restaurant dining, you couldn’t ask for clearer confirmation than this.” But apparently it has the subtlety of an over the hill diva: “loud tastes get old fast. The porchetta sandwich, even with the side of Peppadew peppers to perk up the palate, moves from wonderful to wearying like a summer heat wave. The chicken and biscuits ($16)—where a pond of buttery gravy hides submerged pulled chicken and a split biscuit conceals another knuckle of butter—triggers full feelings after only a few bites.”


I use it a couple times a month but I can’t say I’ve ever read Open Table’s blog… at least till I saw on Facebook this nice piece by Maggie Hennessy about how Oriole works up new dishes communally.


Not long ago I was driving by Bismillah, a South Asian restaurant on Ridge, and saw a sign offering “meal plans.” DNAInfo has the story on how Indian students eat what they know from home in Chicago for a set price.


Fooditor thanks the readers of the Reader for voting us #2. We try harder!


I went to Honey’s, which is mainly known for being operated by an associate of our next next president Kanye West, but is a swank, sexy new place in shades of white and brown. The chef is Charles Welch, formerly of Sepia and the Miel popups with Jonathan Zaragoza, and as you’d expect from a Sepia alum, everything is executed with great skill—a fine smoked pork chop, excellent oysters served with a chimmichurri-like kick, etc. My only hesitation is that I didn’t feel like the restaurant quite had its own identity, yet, that made me say I have to go there for that—even when it has a middle eastern tinge to it that’s a little unusual. The challenge now is to find a couple of dishes that everyone has to go have, and let them put Honey’s on the map.

Speaking of middle eastern, I also had the middle-eastern standards, nothing revolutionary but well rendered renditions of them, at Falafel & Grill in Wicker Park.