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Everything posted by ronnie_suburban

  1. I think I'll wait until we hit the market to decide exactly what I'm making. If inspiration comes before then, I'll update here accordingly. That said, like JAZ, I also plan on mixing up a libation or two (in between sipping gimlets, of course). I've got a few in mind that I think might be a lot of fun. =R=
  2. Whoops! We're in for Sunday brunch/lunch but will not be there for Sunday dinner. Thanks, =R=
  3. I think this is true as it pertains to other variables, too. As much as the folks who organize and attend this event each year do their best to plan everything out, invariably unforeseen twists and turns come up that are beyond anyone's control. I think that in order to really enjoy this weekend, you've got to be capable of going with the flow. Unless it is decided that children are not welcome, we'll definitely be bringing our 14-year-old son. He's been to many of these Gatherings and has always comported himself admirably -- and contributed mightily. Also, he enjoyed himself thoroughly at Pierre Gagnaire, Alain Ducasse au Plaza Athénée and Alinea (among others), so I'm sure he'll be just fine at any of the meals that are planned for this particular weekend . . . unless the food is bad, then he might explode with rage! Fwiw, the only person I remember throwing up at one of these events was a grown-up, so that can happen to anyone! =R=
  4. I attended the Distill America conference in Madison back in February and I can only remember seeing one regionally-made Aquavit there. It's from North Shore Distillers in Lake Bluff, IL. Here's a link to their product page: http://northshoredistillery.com/aquavit.htm and a link to where it can be found in the Madison area: http://www.northshoredistillery.com/buy.php I'm not an Aquavit guy so I cannot speak to its quality but my wife and I are both big fans of their gins. The #11 is my choice and the #6 is one of her faves. The distillery is owned and operated by a great couple -- Sonja and Derek Kassebaum -- who are very skilled, knowledgeable and enthusiastic. I'd definitely give their product a try. =R=
  5. We've always brought our son to the Heartland Gatherings and we'll be bringing him again this year (he's now 14). He was older than 5 when we started attending, though, and there were always 2 of us to watch him, which surely made it a bit easier for us. Honestly, he's comported himself better at these events than many of the "grown-ups," including myself. IMO, if minding your child won't be a burden for you, you should feel free to bring him or her. =R=
  6. Last week's release party for Life, on the Line, to which I received an invite, was really cool. The highlight of the evening was when Nick surprised Grant with the completely restored 1970 Pontiac GTO that Grant had once restored with his father back when he was a kid. The car eventually ended up with one of Grant's uncles. Nick tracked it down, bought it and had it entirely restored. A short video documenting the entire story was shown during the event, after which the car was delivered on a flatbed trailer to Grant right outside the gallery. It was fun seeing his reaction. The event was attended by a lot of Alinea alums, too. In the house were Curtis Duffy of Avenues (whose food was served at the event) and John Peters (now at The Chopping Block), both of whom left Trio with Grant to start Alinea. Also in the house were Jeff Pikus (now running the show at Maude's Liquor Bar), Nathan Klingbail (helping out in the kitchen at Schwa at the moment) and several other current and former Alinea cooks. I also have to give a shout out to my friend and eGullet member yellow truffle, who was also in attendance with his wife. Yellow received a few mentions in the book, which was very cool to see. The party took place at 8 pm CT on Thursday March 3 and by that time -- the day the book was released -- it had already made it into the Top 100 books at both Amazon and Barnes & Noble. =R=
  7. Paulius, Paulius! I agree that it's a culinary treasure -- and a personal favorite -- and I'd feel a bit odd coming to Cleveland and not visiting it. But I like the idea of combining it with a farmers' market or two. No reason not to aim for the best of everything! I'd love to make such a visit but will happily do it on my own if it doesn't sound appealing to anyone else. See my comments directly above. I'm always up for a multi-stop culinary crawl but again, if that doesn't sound good to anyone else, I'll hit as many places as I can on my own. Sounds great but I'm sure I'll be happy with whatever decision gets made. Even though I'm not local, I'm happy to provide any assistance I can in setting up activities. So please, let me know how I can contribute. =R=
  8. Congrats! That's great news. At this point, the family Suburban (party of 3) is planning on attending. Either weekend is workable for us, though the later weekend is slightly preferable. I'm not at all current on Cleveland's dining scene but I'd very much like to hit a Michael Symon restaurant (preferably not Lola, since we went there last time). For me, the Velvet Tango Room is an absolute must (at least once, maybe more) but I'll get there on my own if no 'official' group activity gets planned in that direction. I also feel compelled to check out some of the places mentioned in this missive by my friend Rene G. If anyone else has any interest, we'd love some company. Looking forward to seeing everyone! =R=
  9. I've heard nothing yet about his current whereabouts but here's a link to a piece at Chicago Magazine from back in May, which reported his departure: Dish Flash: Liccioni Leaves Miramar =R=
  10. Unfortunately, Liccioni left Miramar a few months ago. =R=
  11. If it were me, it'd be Avenues. L20 has a lot to offer but Curtis Duffy has a voice that anyone who's serious about food really needs to hear. I'm sure you'll have a great experience, whichever you choose. =R=
  12. Sadly, we have to bow out for this year. I wish that we could work it out but the calendar simply won't allow it. We'll definitely miss catching up with everyone. Have a great time! =R=
  13. Village Creamery, 2 locations, neither particularly close to the city: 8000 North Waukegan Road Niles, IL 60714-3031 (847) 965-9805 4558 Oakton Street Skokie, IL 60076-3144 (847) 982-1720 Village Creamery =R=
  14. Regarding dessert at The Publican, there are generally 3 selections available. One of those 3 is their ethereal, buttery waffle, which is I think is consistently excellent. There are seasonal variations made to its accompaniments but I've never been served one that I didn't really dig. I've had other desserts there, as well, all of which have been enjoyable. My only issue with desserts at The Publican is that I'm usually too full to share more than one. =R=
  15. Agreed. This is a real 'golden ticket.' To have stumbled onto this is very good fortune, IMO. I'm guessing you'll have a wonderful meal and a great time. =R=
  16. My understanding is that the convention runs through the 14th, so it may not make a difference which weekend we choose. Also, we'd probably still be in but less of a lock for the later weekend. =R=
  17. At this point, it looks like the Suburban clan of 3 is in. Our plan is to drive in on Thursday morning and stay through Sunday afternoon. We're very much looking forward to this. A couple of phone calls informed me that our weekend is taking place during a relatively lengthy Plumbers and Pipefitters Convention. As such, rooms around town are a bit scarce, so I suggest booking one asap, just to be sure you've got something. Weber's Inn is completely booked during this time and the Marriott Courtyard on Boardwalk -- where we booked our room -- is near capacity. Tammy, if there are more conveniently-located hotels you'd recommend, please let us know asap. Thanks, =R= Marriott Courtyard Ann Arbor 3205 Boardwalk Ann Arbor, MI 48108 (734) 995-5900
  18. A few great options are Slagel Family Farm, Wettstein Organic Farm, Swan Creek Heirloom Farm and Becker Lane Organic Farm. They're all near enough to Chicago and offer stellar product, which is served at fine restaurants -- like Vie, Mado, The Bristol, Prairie Grass Cafe, The Publican, etc. -- throughout the area. Not sure they all sell retail but if you're looking for a whole hog, they'll probably be willing to work with you. Good luck, =R= Slagel Family Farm 23601 E 600 North Road Fairbury, IL 61739 815 848-9385 Wettstein Organic Farm 2100 US Highway 150 Carlock, IL 61725 309 376-7291 Swan Creek Heirloom Farm 10531 Wood Rd. North Adams, MI 49262 517 523-3308 Becker Lane Organic Farm 15346 Becker Lane Dyersville, IA 52040 563 875-2087‎
  19. We used Homegrown/Simply WI in 2009 but are going with Genesis Growers in 2010. Admittedly, it was a tough year weather-wise, but I wasn't thrilled with our '09 CSA experience. Otoh, what I had from Genesis in restaurants, friends' houses and other venues in 2009 was consistently the best of the year. That said, I'll miss the cheese share from Homegrown WI, which Genesis doesn't offer. I'm not sure if they offer a drop point near Wicker Park/Bucktown. This guide at The Local Beet.com, while from 2009, is filled with great information and links that should still be quite useful. I checked around their site but don't know if a 2010 guide has been posted yet. I couldn't find it. I hope that helps, though, =R=
  20. I think the best way to assess bitters for the first time is to splash a few drops into some club soda and sip it. You'll get a fairly clear sense of the flavor, aroma and aftertaste that way. Of course, making a cocktail doesn't usually have steep barriers to entry, either. =R=
  21. A couple of my Chicago friends were also at this event and I'm sorry I couldn't be there. I do plan to be at the flipside, though, at Bar DeVille in Chicago on 11/9 and 11/10 and I'm really looking forward to it! I think about the VTR all the time, especially when I use those house bitters Paulius gave us at the eG Heartland Gathering back in 2007. I've been nursing them and still have a few drops left. =R= Bar DeVille 701 N. Damen Chicago, IL
  22. Hi all, I wanted to give everyone a heads up about this upcoming event in Chicago. It's taking place next week and it promises to be a fantastic time. This is the 3rd annnual symposium held by the Greater Midwest Foodways Alliance, and the previous 2 (2007 (sausage), 2008(confections)) were nothing short of spectacular. The focus this year will be on all aspects of beef, as seen through the lens of Midwestern living. I definitely plan to attend at least a few of this year's events, including the centerpiece event on Saturday 10/24 at Kendall College . . . Greater Midwest Foodways Alliance Beef: From Plains to Plate Follow the Cattlemen’s Trail to Savory Midwest Beef Traditions October 23-25, 2009 Image courtesy of Hammond, Indiana Public Library Kendall College 900 North Branch Street, Chicago – FREE PARKING (West of Halsted Street, North of Chicago Avenue) Celebrate Midwestern beef foodways, from the desolate plains to meat processors who packed, wrapped and shipped their meat provisioning the global market. Registration Information Founder's Dinner Navy Culinary "A" School Tour Maxwell Street Tour Culinary Curiosities Recommended: $75 for Friday's beef cutting demonstration and Saturday’s symposium. Save $10! Friday, October 23rd: $10 for tour and luncheon at Great Lakes Naval Culinary "A" School in Great Lakes, IL $35 for beef cutting demonstration at Kendall College $100 for Founder's Dinner fundraiser at Kendall College (business attire) Saturday, October 24th from 9 AM to 4 PM $50 for symposium including lunch and refreshments. Sunday, October 25th at 10 AM $5 for Culinary Curiosities tour at Kendall College (Limit 20) $5 for Maxwell Street tour. Food purchased separately. Payment by BrownPaperTickets or check. There are a limited number of student discount passes, please contact greatermidwestfoodways@gmail.com. Planned Events (small changes may occur) Presenter biographies Friday, October 23rd, from 11 AM to 1 PM at Great Lakes, IL (Limit 20) Early arrivals may consider taking A Tour of the Naval Culinary "A" School, then dine as a sailor. Transportation to Great Lakes, Illinois is not included. There is convenient transportation by Metra North Line to Great Lakes station. Detailed information here. Friday, October 23rd, from 4 PM until 6:30 PM at Kendall College. Beef cutting demonstration of a side of beef donated by the National Cattlemen's Association. All those primals pieced together, picked apart and discussed by Kari Underly. Friday, October 23rd, 6:30 PM cocktails, 7:00 PM dinner at Kendall College Founder's Dinner fundraiser (business attire) Saturday, October 24th, from 9 AM to 4 PM at Kendall College 8 AM - Registration 8:15 AM - Tour of Kendall's Culinary School 9:00 AM Conference commences - Welcome - Bruce Kraig - The beef industry yesterday, today and tomorrow. Keynote Speaker: Dell Allen, PhD in Animal Science, Michigan State University This presentation takes a look at the history of the beef industry in the U.S. from the time the Spanish Conquistadors brought the first cattle into North America up to today. This presentation highlights important events and times in the industry, including some of the influential people who made important contributions in moving it forward. - Ranch to Feedlot to Packing House Midwestern State Beef Councils. A panel of beef producers speaking on the evolution of beef production in the Midwest. Cow-Calf Dave Hamilton, Thedford, Nebraska Feedlots Steve Foglesong, President-elect, National Cattlemen's Beef Association "Animal Husbandry" Practices Dr. Ben Wileman, Beef Cattle Institute, Kansas State University - Grass-fed beef (Re-)discovering traditional farming for todays consumers, Klaus Weber, PhD of Northwestern University Only 20 years ago, the term "grass-fed beef" was known only to cattle ranchers and livestock commodity analysts. It was a technical term used primarily to describe meat of inferior quality and lower price that had not followed the standard process of production in the United States. Under the conventional system, cattle are taken from smaller family farms across the Mid-West and fattened or "finished" in centralized feedlots on a diet of corn. Today, however, grass-fed meat and dairy products sell at a premium and are served in high-end restaurants. Food writers like Michael Pollan praise its virtues. Historically, the movement for purely grass-fed meat arose in opposition to a system of industrial agriculture that had become dominant after World War II and almost eliminated regional variety in farming and meat products due to breeds, forage and ranching knowledge. It also cut the connection between local meat producers and customers. The presentation will address a) the history of meat production and cattle ranching, b) the differences between grass-fed and conventional beef and their deeper foundations in cultural understanding of the meaning of food, and finally c) how the modern market for grass-fed beef as a specialty product became possible through the work of pioneering ranchers and consumer activists. - Certified Angus Beef: "The Angus Confusion," Mark McCully, Assistant Vice-President for supply development for Certified Angus Beef LLC The word "Angus" simply refers to a breed of cattle. But there’s more to great beef than just being Angus. While others may say Angus, do not confuse the type of cattle with the proven brand name. The world’s first and premium brand of Angus beef is the Certified Angus Beef® brand with 10 strict specifications that provide the Science Behind the Sizzle™. - Chicago Stockyard's History Russell Lewis, Chicago History Museum - Halal (and Kosher) in the Heartland, Larry Jacoby, Shepherd Song Farm Lunch - Beef dishes made from primal and subprimal cuts. - From Beef Producer to the Consumer, John Huston, Executive Vice President Emeritus, National Cattlemen’s Beef Association - Weeknight - Ground or chopped beef - "How Ground Beef on a Bun Conquered the World," Andy Smith Ground beef was not a important part of the American diet until the late nineteenth century, when it captured the attention of Midwestern street vendors and restaurateurs. Within a decade, a Midwestern street vendor put ground beef in a bun and the hamburger was born. It quickly became America's most popular sandwich, but it even soared to greater heights when a Midwestern short order cook launched White Castle and a multimixer salesman globalized McDonald's. - Dining Out: Steakhouses Chef Hans Aeschbacher Steakhouse Purveyor - Allen Brothers Culinary Historian: Barbara Kuck Sunday, October 25th, from 10 AM to Noon You may choose from either: - A Tour of "Culinary Curiosities" exhibit at Kendall College (Limit: 20) Guided by Curator Victoria Matranga. Review a collection of antique food production equipment. Link to more detailed information for "Culinary Curiosities". - Maxwell Street Market Tour Guided by David Hammond & Bruce Kraig. This is an open air market. Dress appropriately for conditions. This tour will be conducted whether in rain or shine. Link to more detailed Maxwell Street Market Tour www.GreaterMidwestFoodways.com If you have any questions or need any additional information please contact Cathy Lambrecht, whose eGullet handle is Cathy2. Thanks, =R=
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