Pancetta:Picture Perfect

Ace photographer Judy Landesman is one of the few people I know who likes to browse veggies as much as I do. Better yet, she’s agreed to work with me, and we’ll be doing a lot of posts built around pictures and recipes, along with some interesting commentary. Consider this the first of many. Pancetta:... Read more »

Green Beans Take Center Stage

Green beans aren’t a top tier veggie like tomatoes or corn. They’re not even a composite stand-out like peas, which- provided you don’t overcook them- are always a colorful plus. But as it turns out, I really like green beans, and I’m in charge around here. Elizabeth Schneider’s “The Essential Reference: Vegetables from Amaranth to... Read more »

Dining in a Hurry-Up World

The welcome mat is always out and the house made croissants are always fresh and flaky at Cupitol in downtown Evanston and Cupitol in Streeterville. Both neighborhoods are in growth mode, with residential housing options multiplying rapidly. And while neither area is suffering from a restaurant drought, owner Sellia Georges says Cupitol occupies a niche... Read more »

Eataly: A Tale of Four Crusts

Pizza is all about the crust. You can change the sauce, swap out the cheese, and vary the toppings. It’s all a matter of taste. But if the crust is a failure, so is the pizza. And in the end, thick or thin isn’t as important as taste and crumb, the latter being the term... Read more »

A Toast to Charlie

A gifted and knowledgable chef, Charlie Trotter delivered what he promised: elegant food, beautifully served. On Monday, April 3 at 6:30 pm, his fans, friends, and family will gather at Galleria Marchetti (825 W. Erie) to toast a life well lived. During the course of the evening, guests will get a first peek at the... Read more »

Bring It Back

Scratch worrying about the state of the nation.It’s bad, and tomorrow will probably make today look good.Devote yourself, instead, to worrying about something important-like which ice cream flavor Turkey Hill, an ice cream company based in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, should resurrect. The 86-year old company has dropped dozens of flavors in the last few years,... Read more »

Bargains: Round One

Everyone loves a bargain, but you have to know about them to take advantage of them. So listen up. Mario’s Table is a neighborhood restaurant in the Gold Coast, and most customers live close enough to walk. The menu concentrates on Italian cuisine, and while the ambiance is sleek and sophisticated, the prices are moderate... Read more »

Floriole's Baguettes

French bakers begin their workday at 4 am, in accordance with a law passed in 1920 forbidding an earlier start time. Given the French preference for freshly baked bread for breakfast, the law turned prep time into crunch time. Yeast-raised breads rise twice- the first time as a ball of dough, the second as shaped... Read more »

Big Jones: The Champagne of Southern Breads

When a restaurant charges for bread, it had better be good. And at Big Jones in Andersonville, it is. Bread was complimentary when the restaurant first opened. But as the price of the bread’s artisanal ingredients rose, it was obvious that the restaurant had to either charge for bread or use cheaper ingredients. Unwilling to... Read more »

Sunshine on a Plate

Provence is where sunshine goes for the winter. It’s also where Laurent Halasz, founder of the Fig & Olive restaurants grew up, nurtured by the food his mother cooked. Her cooking was the foundation for both the dishes served at his Fig & Olive restaurants and for the recipes in the cookbook they wrote together.... Read more »