Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Travelle Hosts Internationally Renowned Mixologist; Best Chicago Steakhouses For Cocktails

London-based bartender Alex Kratena (Photo courtesy of Wagstaff Worldwide)

He's best known for his beautiful drinks, and Chicago imbibers will get their first opportunity to meet the award-winning mixologist Alex Kratena when he conducts a two-day residence at the Langham Hotel's Travelle.

Kratena holds down the fort at Artesian Bar at The Langham in London, and March 27-28, we will get to find out why his accolades include “The World’s Best Cocktail Menu” at Tales of the Cocktail (2011), “World’s Best Hotel Bar” and “International Bartender of the Year” at Tales of the Cocktail (2012), and “The World’s Best Bar,” an award sponsored by Drinks International Magazine (2012).

Monday, March 24, 2014

Brendan Sodikoff Replaces Dillman's With 'Italian Steak Bar' Concept Named Cocello

Expect more delicate cuts like Bavette's filet mignon when Cocello opens in April. (Photo: Bavette's Bar & Boeuf )

Whatever you do, do not call Cocello a steakhouse concept. The latest dining-and-drinking project by Brendan Sodikoff and his group Hogsalt Hospitality, Cocello is described by the red-hot restaurateur as an "Italian steak bar."

On April 14, Cocello takes over the venue currently housing Dillman's, which specializes in classic Jewish deli fare. Sodikoff tells 312DD exclusively that he will close Dillman's on April 6 and reopen it as Dillman's Pastrami Shop in a next door space this summer.

But where did the name and concept for Cocello (pronounced "co-chell-o") come from?!

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Esquire Writer Pisses Off Chicago's Pastry Chefs In 'Pointless' Essay

A simple, yet sophisticated raspberry cake from Cafe des Architectes' pastry chef Leigh Omilinsky (Photo: Leigh Omilinsky)

Oh, boy. Controversial Esquire editor-at-large Josh Ozersky is at it again. This time his target is pastries—and the people behind them.

His latest essay is so venomous that it makes me wonder if he hates puppies and babies and ponies, too. Especially this gem: "Why would any restaurant have a second kitchen—with a second kitchen staff—in order to present abstract art at the end of meals? What need is there, really, for anything more complex than a scoop of sherbet?"

Metro Owner Joe Shanahan Battles Cancer


The Chicago Tribune reports that legendary music club owner Joe Shanahan is battling tongue cancer.

He shared the news with staffers at his venues such as Metro, Gingerman Tavern and Double Door on Tuesday, reassuring them it would be business as usual.

You Can Now Re-Create GT Fish & Oyster's Famed Mussels At Home


I've always gushed over GT Fish & Oyster's garlic-and-tomatoes infused mussels, so you can only imagine my glee when I learned I'd finally be able to re-create the dish at home.

GT chef/partner Giuseppe Tentori announced Tuesday that he contributed to the newly released cookbook, Lodge Cast Iron Nation: Great American Cooking from Coast to Coast. The book showcases a number of easy-to-make recipes using cast-iron skillets, pots and Dutch ovens.

Tentori says about his contribution: "I love this recipe because it is the way we used to eat mussels in Italy."

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Here's The Complete List For The 2014 James Beard Foundation Award Nominees

Grace owner/chef Curtis Duffy was nominated for JBF's "Best Chef Great Lakes." (Photo: Michael Muser)

Tuesday at Publican was a big day for Chicago's culinary community as a number of folks were recognized for their work in 2013 with nominations for the annual James Beard Foundation Awards.

The biggest honor is the induction of Paul Kahan (One Off Hospitality) in 2013 Who's Who of Food & Beverage In America (Alinea's Grant Achatz was inducted in 2012).

Highlighted Chicago nominations include:

Monday, March 17, 2014

One Chef's Hilarious Take On 'Chicago Chef Week'


Here's the funniest quote to date from a chef regarding Chicago Chef Week:

"Just walked in the door from work....god damn what a Sunday. One would think if something was called 'chefs week' it would also be known as vacation."

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

GrubHub Wants Restaurants To 'Pay Up' For Better Placement


Popular online takeout service GrubHub (which acquired takeout biz Seamless in 2013) filed to go public in February, which means a bunch of changes are on the way to make the company more profitable to investors.

According to a Chicago bar/restaurant owner, one of those changes includes "demanding money from restaurants to get better placement (on the website)."

That sounds a little Yelp-ish to me. I use GrubHub on the regular, and when I'm feeling especially lazy, I type in "burgers," "pizza," etc. to conduct a search to see what restaurants come up. Once all the results appear, you can organize choices by "the best (or highly rated)," "cheapest" or "closest." If you look closely, the restaurants are NOT listed in alphabetical order, so those paying for placement will always be prominently displayed.

Here is the note my contact received:

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

A Fried Chicken Pairing You'll Never Forget . . .

Cocktail and fried chicken pairing (Photo: Coppervine)

Lincoln Park's latest sensation flirts with your palate with perfect pairings.

We dig the Modern Man’s Manhattan teamed with a Maine lobster BLT or Port Wipeout IPA complemented by double-fried chicken with Sriracha mayo. Find out what else pleased our palates right here.