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ronnie_suburban

eGullet Society staff emeritus
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Posts posted by ronnie_suburban


  1. . . . if your weekend will be ruined by the possibility of having children in attendance, then I think you should just stay home.

    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! :raz:

    Fwiw, the only person I remember throwing up at one of these events was a grown-up, so that can happen to anyone! :wink:

    =R=


  2. 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=


  3. 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=


  4. 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=


  5. Shame on me for not suggesting VTR! It will be included.

    Paulius, Paulius! :biggrin:

    @Ronnie - as far are Rene's tips go - last time we shopped only at West Side Market and some were (rightfully) not pleased by produce; I'm thinking simultaneous excursions to WSM and a farmer's market if folks prefer that for produce. But I personally think WSM is a culinary treasure not to be missed.

    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!

    For a short weekend- honestly, none of the Jewish Deli/Corned beef places are worthy of displacing other food choices. Would folks be interested in visiting an old world sausage/charcuterie shop? We have several that are EG worthy and I'm sure that could be arranged. Perhaps the one Tony Bourdain visited when he was here - when the owners retire or pass, it will be gone, as it has been out-zoned with no grandfathering possible.

    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.

    Farkas Pastry is most excellent and there are others that are EG worthy if we want to work such a stop into the weekend.

    See my comments directly above.

    The Polish Boy concept is intriguing - I will work on that (maybe a tour of several places?)

    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.

    Sterle's Slovenian is actually a great place - that might be a great choice for an "ethnic" meal if we choose one, and give a break from the Asian choices.

    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=


  6. I won't be able to join you all this year :sad:

    BUT, it is for a very good reason: I'm pregnant! Due June 30. :biggrin:

    Congrats! That's great news. :smile:

    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=


  7. Where did he go?-Dick

    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

    Roland Liccioni, whose resumé reads like a history of French fine dining in Chicago (Le Français, Les Nomades, Carlos’, Le Lan, Old Town Brasserie), is leaving his current gig at Miramar (301 Waukegan Ave., Highwood; 847-433-1078) after tonight. “I’m going to take some time off. I’m going to Europe for three or four weeks. See friends, chefs, people I know,” he says. Liccioni doesn't know who will replace him, and Miramar's owner, Gabe Viti, is unreachable on a mountain-climbing trip. When Liccioni returns from Europe, he’ll embark on a project in the city, but he won’t tell us any more than that. “I want to say when I come back,” he says.

    =R=


  8. "Michael is also reasonable in price for such high quality food. It's $48 if you order three courses and $55 if you order four courses (the foie gras dish had a $6 supplement, the only supplement I recall seeing on the menu)."

    The original Poster set a limit of $25.

    Miramar http://www.miramarbistro.com/ in Highwood fits the bill and is one of Gabriels restaurants and Roland Liccioni is in the kitchen.-Dick

    Unfortunately, Liccioni left Miramar a few months ago.

    =R=


  9. Terrific, little-known place in Skokie (1/2 hr north of Loop) owned by Filipinos that make great ice cream with conventional and Philippine flavors, such as halo-halo, yams, various indiginous fruits. On Oakton St about 2 blocks east of Skokie Blvd.

    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=


  10. 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=


  11. Congrats on getting into Schwa. It's one of my favorite places and I'm sure you'll have a great time.

    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=


  12. 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


  13. 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


  14. 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=


  15. 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. :smile:

    =R=


  16. Fun times last night at the Velvet Tango Room.

    Paulius of VTR and Brad of Bar Deville came up with the great idea to do a bartender swap. Last night Brad and Eric from Bar Deville were mixing up their sublime drinks at VTR here in the CLE and will be doing so again tonight. Carol and Julie from the VTR will be in Chicago mixing up VTR specialties at Bar Deville 9 & 10 November.

    Fun times and GREAT cocktails!

    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. :smile:

    =R=

    Bar DeVille

    701 N. Damen

    Chicago, IL


  17. 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 . . .

    amp_080405_GMW_Food_Alliance_Fin_small_chubby.png

    Greater Midwest Foodways Alliance

    Beef: From Plains to Plate

    Follow the Cattlemen’s Trail to Savory Midwest Beef Traditions

    October 23-25, 2009

    meatballclub%20web.jpg

    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.

    Kari%20Underly2web.jpg

    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=


  18. When I bumped this thread I should have known that I was just throwing a match on a dormant pile of kindling! :biggrin:

    However, my intention was just to point out that what some people think (and/or say) about what chefs do in life is largely irrelvant (unless you're name is Rocco DiSpirito). We all make mistakes and we all get criticized for them but as they say, the best revenge is living a successful life. In that sense, Bayless can probably look back on the the BK episode with a certain sense of satisfaction. Nothing anyone said (or thought) about it appears to have made a lick of difference, nor is it ever likely to at this point. The guy's a force and an unequivocable success. He's a great chef, a benefactor and a fine entrepreneur, as well. I suppose he could say he was wrong but even if he truly feels that way, he doesn't need to.

    =R=


  19. Rick Bayless just opened his Xoco Restaurant in Chicago this week and for whatever reason, it reminded me of this old thread. Since this discussion was last posted upon, he's continued to chug along. Frontera Grill was the winner of the 2007 James Beard Foundation award for Outstanding Restaurant. Chef Bayless won the recent Top Chef Masters competition and his Frontera Farmer Foundation has provided tens of thousands of dollars in capital grants to many small, sustainable farms in the Chicago area.

    Wait times at Frontera Grill, which hasn't wavered one bit in its mission of serving authentic regional Mexican cuisine, are currently running at nearly 4 hours on weekends.

    Many of us wondered while this debate was taking place, what negative effect the Burger King ads might eventually have on his career and his credibility. I guess he survived them. :wink:

    =R=

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