Nick Kindelsperger has a piece on a cevapi-based pop up, Kiosk Street Food. Though cevapi have been on our scene for decades, we’re in a cevapi moment, he says:

Just holding the cevapi sandwich from Kiosk Balkan Street Food is a small marvel. Lured in by the aroma of freshly grilled sausages, one can’t help but be thrown by the somun, a traditional Balkan flatbread that proves simultaneously richly browned and potentially crunchy, yet incredibly soft to the touch.

This is the work of chef Nemanja Milunovic. He’s a Chicago restaurant industry veteran, having worked for years at places like Prime & Provisions and the now-closed Little Goat Bakery.

I have to point out, by the way, that although I am a paying Tribune subscriber, I spent 10 minutes logging out of my Tribune account and logging back in to try to read this piece, and every time I got the popup that says I’ve read all my free articles. I finally had to find a browser where I had not used the freebies up—even though, as stated, I am a paying subscriber. Nick deserves better! I feel the Alden-era Tribune is an example of Robert Conquest’s Third Law of Politics: The simplest way to explain the behavior of any bureaucratic organization is to assume that it is controlled by a cabal of its enemies.


With no announcement, Time Out is suddenly back in the restaurant review business again, even as others sit the return of restaurants out. (But no Maggie Hennessy, alas.) Zach Long gives four stars to Rob Shaner’s Robert Et Fils:

Sitting within eyeshot of the kitchen in the dimly lit dining room lined with potted plants, my date and I watched as food was plated and delivered to tables throughout the evening. It was exciting when one of the steaming bowls of mussels marinière arrived on our table, complete with a savory sauce of white wine, mustard and herbs for dipping the tender bivalves and an accompanying slice of toasted bread. It was less thrilling when the savoy cabbage landed in front of us… until I took one bite of it and remembered the deliciously transformative properties of roasting any vegetable in brown butter.

Glad to see it finally getting some critical attention. Another new reviewer, Emma Krupp, visits the vegan restaurant Bloom Plant Based Kitchen. Here she talks about a banana blossom based taco:

It also tasted a good deal like a fish taco, though I’m aware that might be a reductive comparison. Like its name suggests, Bloom Plant Based Kitchen is 100 percent vegan, and gluten-free to boot. Chef Rodolfo Cuadros, who heads the nearby pan-Latin restaurant Amaru, initially launched Bloom as a ghost kitchen last year before opening the airy brick-and-mortar location this summer with an express goal of bringing health-conscious, plant-based food to the Chicago dining scene. Its website takes a subtle jab at the dominance of fast food-style options within the vegan dining sphere: “With healthy vegetarian options not being the popular choice, we know we have stiff competition,” the About page reads. Don’t expect to find any Impossible Burgers or faux-bacon on the menu.


Everybody says that about fancy plating, but Esmé is really trying to make it happen on plate and in the surroundings. At NewCity, Rebecca Holland talks to chef Jenner Tomaska and spouse Katrina Bravo about their artistic ambitions:

Tomaska is looking to artists to inspire the menu. For example, Fischer crafted a brass and ceramic nature landscape with leaves and flowers that fit together like a puzzle. Tomaska loved it so much he created a block of canapés inspired by the tray.

“The conversation has always been led by artist-driven work that’s inspiring the food,” Tomaska says. “The food will be in the style of a tasting menu, but the art side of it comes first.”


Malaysian food has long been one of those rare things I can get in my hometown of Wichita, but not in Chicago. Penang has been in Arlington Heights for some years and now a chef from there has opened HD Cuisine as Titus Ruscitti explains:

HD Cuisine sat near the top of my ‘Chicagoland restaurants to try’ list for a while. I finally made it over about a month ago and had a very good first visit. They seemed to be in the groove with a steady flow of takeout and a few groups of people dining on site for lunch. It’s a small space with one large table inside and a couple smaller ones outside so keep that in mind. I talked a bit with Chef Tony who hails from Penang. Both the actual city and also the Malaysian restaurant in Arlington Heights where he worked before opening this place. One dish I can’t wait to try in its natural habitat is Char Kway Teow which is a Chinese in origin stir fried rice noodle dish that when done proper puts out a wonderful aroma of smoky wok hei. In the meantime I think I have a new favorite version of this dish found here in Chicagoland. Chef Tony definitely learned a trick or two back in his homeland.

Meanwhile high on my list of places to try is a new Spanish restaurant—not the Jose Andres one—Bocadillo Market, in Lincoln Park. (I was going to meet someone there for lunch, but they’re weren’t open that day.) Titus liked it:

Maybe trendy isn’t the right word for Bocadillo Market which is paying homage to Spain’s culinary traditions through a lunch program, dinner, and also a small cafe and market. It’s a passion project from a husband and wife team and you can feel the love put into it.


El Milagro workers are on strike, and the Little Village tortilla factory isn’t playing beanbag:

The employees at El Milagro tortilla factory partnered with Arise Chicago to stage a two-hour walkout at 2140 S. Western Ave. as they call for safer working conditions and higher wages. But they were locked out with their belongings inside, and they were only allowed to collect their personal items after hours of negotiations with the factory’s leaders.

Titus Ruscitti had a pretty good observation on this, sympathetic to labor but mainly rooted in food:

El Milagro might be a Chicago icon but imo their tortillas are just ok (the flour are truly terrible). Enjoy what you want but maybe give El Popocatepetl (personal favorite) your business while the workers at El Milagro get what they deserve.


Long time Chatham vegan restaurant Soul Vegetarian East got a new name with its new look: it’s now Soul Veg City. Steve Dolinsky shows what’s new.

Buzz 2


Don Young of Venteux puts foie gras on a hot dog. Who does he think he is, Hot Doug Sohn? Yes:

The Toulouse Sausage was at least partially influenced by a dog that Young used to enjoy at Hot Doug’s, an encased-meat institution that would commonly have lines out the door prior to closing a few years ago.

“My favorite dog from there was the duck sausage that came with Dijon mustard, truffle aioli and little cubes of foie gras. It was absolutely fantastic,” the 31-year-old chef tells InsideHook. “So, I planned to go down the road incorporating foie gras into the sausage with the mustard. I think it’s unique because it’s unusual to see foie gras on sausages like that in general, but I think it’s the most complimentary thing on it. You don’t even need a whole lot of it on the dog itself to tie everything together. It connects really well with the garlickyness of the actual sausage.”


It’s mooncake season—if you’re Chinese-American, as statistically you are likely to be if you are a Tribune food writer. It’s Grace Wong’s turn to introduce non-Chinese-Americans to the fall pastry:

There’s no food more ubiquitous to the Mid-Autumn Festival than the mooncake, an ultrarich pastry traditionally filled with a dense lotus seed paste and a salted egg yolk at its center. Packaged in boxes with auspicious designs, these treats are given to friends, families and colleagues every year as a way to bless the receiver with longevity or harmony, and are often enjoyed together, cut into smaller pieces to eat alongside tea.


Sandwich Tribunal looks into what’s served at Asia’s night markets, and takes a stab at a Taiwanese specialty: the Nutritious Sandwich.

The sandwich consists of such nutritious elements as ham, tomato, cucumber, boiled eggs marinated in soy sauce, tea, and spices, and sweet eggy Taiwanese mayonnaise. Naturally, this healthful assembly of ingredients is presented in a long, narrow roll much like a hot dog bun. If, that is, hot dog buns were routinely dipped in egg wash and panko bread crumbs then deep-fried like a donut. For additional nutrition.


Not enough Godfather references, that’s the trouble with food media today. Anyway, Pepe Barajas was the subject of this Fooditor piece for his West Loop restaurant La Josie. But his original restaurant was El Solazo, on the southwest side, till a 2019 fire shut it down. Now it’s coming back, with a liquor license and some West Loop sophistication, as Solazo, says Eater.


Share Our Strength’s podcast, Add Passion and Stir, invites Rick Bayless on to talk how public policy solutions are essential for getting the restaurant industry, which employs millions, through the COVID crisis as it stands now.


Superhai With Friends is of course how the Superfriends greet each other; it’s also a popup on Saturday, October 2 at Revival Food Hall, put on by 16 On Center (the proprietor of said food hall and other things), featuring Yōshoku-style Japanese food, Filipino items from Boonie Food, and Indonesian dishes from Minahasa, and benefiting AFIRE Chicago (Alliance of Filipinos for immigrant rights and empowerment). $60 gets you a family style menu with drink pairings, go here for tix.


Might be a good week to show support for Jeff and Jude: the signage showing the eponymous parents of owner Ursula Siker was defaced by some spraycan-wielding cretin. (Block Club)


17th Street BBQ’s first Praise the Lard competition after the death of founder and BBQ legend Mike Mills had good news for one Chicago-area BBQ spot—Steamboat BBQ in Wheaton took first in the ribs category.

If you don’t know what Praise the Lard is, I suggest a certain video.


I ate at Oriole; full review here.

As this week’s photo suggests, I’ve now eaten from Lardon three times, and regard it as one of the year’s most important and satisfying openings. The first time I felt that the Italian sub was an off choice, simply because the meat was too good to be buried in lettuce and tomato and Italian dressing. The second time I had the perfect sandwich: the Frenchie, house-cured ham on a crusty baguette with brie and mustard. Minimalist, but everything on it was right. The third time I made a platter of cheese and charcuterie (a pork pate and the finocchiona), maybe the best way to go here. Or maybe the best way is to keep going back and trying new things.

Buzz List will be off for two weeks, and return on October 18.