“How can you tell which pop-ups will be awesome and which will be a total mess? The answer: Just go to Claudia,” writes Anthony Todd about the pop-up series (which Fooditor wrote about here). “In many cases, dishes at pop-ups are interesting, even progressive, but somewhat unfinished —which makes sense, since usually they are the product of a younger chef experimenting and finding his technique. Not at Claudia, where Teich’s dishes are just as developed as those at any fine dining spot in the city.”


The most promising thing in Eater’s interview with Rick Bayless about his seafood-tinged brewery project, opening in two months, is when he talks about his chefs Fred and Lisa Despres. Lisa worked for him, but Fred worked at Arami, and Rick says, “Last year we decided to do a crazy one-night thing over at Arami and we cooked Mexican dishes with Japanese ingredients and Japanese dishes with Mexican ingredients and I thought we made some of the very best food we’ve ever made.”

You know who else thought that? Me; I put that one-night event on my ten best list that year. So if a whole restaurant is growing out of it, I couldn’t be happier. Here’s the whole interview, which has a lot of detail on the long-awaited brewery.


Heather Schroering raves about the beer at Forbidden Root’s new brewpub, but she also finally finds reason to believe in the pairings of beer and food in Redeye: “It was Forbidden Root’s Prima Limone (which is no longer available) with Meyer lemons and black pepper that won me over. At first, it was just a lemony blonde ale, but after a few bites of mushroom pot pie ($16), the next sip brought forth peppery notes that changed the entire beer.”


Ari Bendersky has a nice inspirational story at Crain’s about one of our favorite chefs to listen to as he tells stories, Erick Williams of MK. Here, he talks about why, having made it up from a street kid in Lawndale to chef at a downtown restaurant, he still lives in and tries to support his neighborhood.


Mindy Segal’s line of pot baked goods makes the New York Times. We are so proud of Chicago’s food scene. Or at least now we know why Chicagoans got excited about us having a pizza squirrel. (Okay, Eater’s account is pretty funny.)


How better to judge how a Chinese restaurant is than by outsourcing part of your review to China? Well, at least Anthony Todd brought along a friend who’d studied in China to help evaluate the food at Imperial Lamian, and they were both impressed: “Lamian is the Chinese version of ramen, and Imperial Lamian is trying to jump on board this trend as hard as it can (it debuted with the hashtag #lamianisthenewramen). I don’t care if it’s the new ramen or not; it’s incredibly tasty. The noodles are pulled right in front of you (my friend slightly criticized their pulling technique, but whatever) and options range from beef brisket to mixed mushroom. We went for the minced pork with wood ear mushroom, black garlic and shiitake, and it was a splendiferous savory delight.” (Chicagoist)


“I have to move closer to this bakery,” Elizabeth Atkinson begins her review of Iliana Regan’s Bunny, the Micro Bakery, and the indulgent food seems designed for exactly that reaction: ” One highlight was the foie gras toast, which features an adorable foie gras owl tempered by tart raspberry jam and pillowy house-made brioche. Another was the seeded rye with tart and salty pickled fish tartine, topped with crunchy radishes, onions and greens.” (TOC)


“Take the nyonya curry chicken, served on a pedestaled plate with hunks of soft potato swimming in a slightly sweet and nutty curry sauce alongside a plate of rice and vegetables. The sensation of eating it is like wrapping your taste buds in a warm blanket, at once delightful and soothing,” Elizabeth Atkinson says of a high point at Malaysian restaurant Serai, though another dish leaves her “just wishing for a better bowl of ramen.”


What it’s like traveling with Grant Achatz in Spain? You get really good service at restaurants, what the biz calls “getting sorted,” says Joel Stein at Bloomberg.


Word has been good enough about Imperial Lamian that I will give it another shot, but I at least learned not to go there Monday night at almost 10 pm. I was pretty happy stumbling into new meat-and-threes joint Saint Lou’s Assembly, fried chicken was very authentic to the cafeteria experience but I loved the farmer-named vegetables that make up your “and three.”