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david coonce

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Everything posted by david coonce

  1. Locally I can get meat (Chicken, Beef, Elk, Bison, Pork, Lamb, Turkey) from at least a dozen sources. Between my garden and the farmer's market, I can get lots and lots of vegetables (in season, which for Indiana is May-November - after that it's just squashes) .So I do the best I can. I only buy local meat, I try to just buy vegetables in season, and the rest I have to go down to the grocery store. It's not perfect, I acknowledge, but it's certainly better than nothing; there are people who buy all their food, including meat and fresh vegetables, at Wal-Mart. Any little bit that I can do to not buy into the mass-food production culture is a personal triumph.
  2. If you go to CD, two words: bring salt. There is some obsessiveness among veg. restaurants to not season their food, and Chicago Diner is the worst. Frankly, I think their menu is stuck in some time-warp, also. Portabella caesar wrap? Tempeh Shepard's Pie? That stuff is so '70s. There's great, innovative vegan cuisine. CD isn't it.
  3. Don't know how I missed Lula. Great choice. No reservations accepted, so during prime dinner hours the wait can stretch quite a bit. Green Zebra is a great higher-end place, but you may want to call ahead with a vegan joining you; most of their menu is pretty rich for vegetarian fare, and I would guess there's a fair amount of dairy coming out of that kitchen. I'm an omnivore and loved every meal I've had there, so no real worries about the lack of meat on the menu (they offer a chicken and fish dish, generally)
  4. I watched Paula Deen once, and she was making some dish, and she said this, for real: "I'm just gonna throw some butter in there, not because the recipe calls for it, but just because I had some out here on the counter and just thought I'd throw some in" Seriously. And this is, pretty much, what her entire show is like. Bad food that's bad for you.
  5. Oh, the Indian restaurant is called Arya Bhavan (I was way wrong on the spelling) and I should mention it's strictly vegetarian and also no BYOB - they forbid alcohol, unlike most places on Devon that are BYO. But the food is outstanding, really authentic Indian vegetarian cuisine.
  6. Lots of great choices up on Devon - Hema's Kitchen, Arvya Bhajan (I know I'm spelling it wrong), Semiramis, some people like India Palace. Not sure if Sabra Nehari ever rebuilt after the fire but that was a good place. Indian/middle eastern is probably the way to go, since you don't want to have anything to do with Chicago's "vegetarian" restaurants - they're all relatively lame. Irazu, over in Wicker park/Humboldt square area - it's not fancy at all, super cheap, but really tasty costa rican food, lots of veggie/vegan options, as well as good meat stuff, too. In chinatown there's Lao Sze Chuan which has a vast menu and plenty of options. I've never had a bad dish there. The atmosphere is pretty cool, too, lots of multi-generational chinese families having dinner together. I've heard good things about little 3 Happiness, also in Chinatown, but I never had good food there. People also rave about Ed's Potsticker House, but the service there is terrible. There's plenty of great inexpensive thai - my favorite would have to be kitchenette, on Ashland, formerly called Mr. Thai. Best green curry I've had, and great meat dishes too - the marinated skewered pork and Crying Tiger Beef are really good. Thai Pastry is really good, too. I've always brought my vegan friends to these places in Chicago and skipped the Chicago Diner/Karyn's/Soul Veg/Handlebar axis of vegetarian blandness. They never complain. Good luck.
  7. Like any position on the line, be way, way prepared and work efficient and clean. Working clean is probably the most underrated and important part of working the line in any restaurant.
  8. again, not to beat a dead horse, but all our costs are spiralling. Fuel costs, mostly, but basic commodity stuff is through the roof. I use organic cucumbers. Thre months ago they were 25 bucks a case; now they're 67 dollars a case. That's something I have to pass on to my customers; same with grains and flours. An increase of 25-50 percent is not uncommon. And if you're a fan of mid-eastern cuisine, beware - tahini has increased about 400 percent just this year....
  9. Forgive me if I'm wrong, but hasn't Koren been head chef at Avec for 4 years?
  10. I was making a mental list in my head the other day of significant wine regions in the world, and realized that I had never had nor heard of any wine made/grown in the UK. Googling it didn't give me any more information, so now I'm curious. Is there any sort of significant wine industry in the UK? If not, why not, and if so, why are they not exported/available. I'm curious, since there seems to be so much great food coming out of the UK restaurant scene these days, it seems odd that there is apparently not any kind of wine culture also evolving there.
  11. I was in Philly last September, and have to say that Tinto was as good as advertised. Not sure if locals agree, but I loved it and can't wait for Jose Andres' Chicago restaurant to open.
  12. Thanks so much. That answered all of my questions! Can't wait to eat there.
  13. I have a question or three about the wine pairings - there is no discernible info on the alinea website about wine at all. 1) How much are the pairings? 2) How much wine do the pairings consist of? Obviously with the tour I am assuming there are not 24 different wines, so are the courses/wines matched in a way that one glass of wine complements three or four courses? Or are some courses unpaired? Or are there actually 24 wines? 3) Is there an extensive wine list (bottles/glasses) outside of pairings to choose from? And are these wines listed anywhere online? We will be visiting Alinea this summer and I just want to know what I'm getting into. Thanks!
  14. Thanks, all again. In response to the question about my preferred cuisine, I am a chef and pretty much like any and all food. I prefer stuff that is either inventive or else very authentic. For example, one place a friend of mine mentioned was Chino Latino, but their menu looks dull and super-dated. Fusion is generally not what I'm into. I prefer slow-foods type places but am not wedded to them. Of the recommendations, 112 looks pretty great, as does the Vietnamese place xochi mentions. Since the conference I'll be in town attending is food-related, I'm sure some of the locals will know some hole-in-the-wall type of spots. Also, are there any hmong restaurants? I know there's a big population there, but is there a distinct cuisine? As far as Al's, I remember eating there years ago, as a young traveling punk rocker with too much time on my hands and a proclivity for cheap greasy spoons. I'm gla it's still around.
  15. I'm staying in a hotel near the airport, but will have a car and my wife lived in Mpls. for a year and knows her way around fairly well. So no location is too remote. Thanks, all.
  16. I'll be in Minneapolis on business for three days in early April - the middle of the week. Any recommendations for a good, moderately priced type of place? Can't find anything on here for Minneapolis. I'm thinking Tapas or slow food or bistro types of spots, although I'd be fine with an awesome african place (I've heard there a large Somalian population there) or anything else. Also, I ate at Al's diner in Dinkytown about 15 years ago. Is it still there? It was a little lunch counter, barstool seating only. I suppose I could look it up... Thanks!
  17. I found this same book at the library! I decided to use an Iroquois recipe from the southwest and a Miami recipe from the midwest. One is the traditional 3 sisters stew, the other is an anasazi bean/juniper stew.
  18. Thanks all. I found some great stuff to work with, although sourcing ingredients can be a little tricky, especially in january. Not so much corn around right now. Thanks, though.
  19. I can't find a thread on here dealing with authentic Native american recipes. I've found several online references but wonder about their "authenticity." I'm helping cater a multicultural festival next week and the organizers wanted "authentic" recipes from a number of cuisines, most of which I am familiar - asian, african, south american, etc. But native american, not so much. And fry bread is out of the question- this is a huge, several-hour event and the food has to sit in chafers. Anybody have any ideas?
  20. occasionally veal sweetbreads (what I assume you're talking about when you mention "beef sweetbreads) need to be cleaned, not by soaking, but by removing a thin membrane around them. Often smaller butchers or meat processors are unfamiliar enough with them that they don't remove this membrane. The "muddy" taste you describe could be the membrane or veins or gristle. It could also be poor-quality meat, or indifferently handled. The easiest way is to soak the sweetbreads, which is necessary to degorge them, then blanch and immediately remove to ice water. Then peel off any membrane, veins, etc. Some chefs then press them overnight to achieve a more uniform thickness, so they can slice them and saute like foie, but you don't really have to do this. I like them sliced and sauteed with sherry vinegar and clarified butter.
  21. Each time you thaw the meat you lose some of its moisture. Do it more than once, especially to a relatively lean cut, and you'll end up with horrid, dry meat that no sauce can cover up. Freezing meat should be done as infrequently as possible, period. (I say this as a person with 30 pounds of local pork in my freezer right now - I understand that sometimes it's necessary) From a safety perspective, bacteria on the meat will not be killed by freezing - it will simply slow their growth, and then when the meat is thawed again the bacteria will multiply more rapidly. Not a concern if you're cooking your meat to 165 degrees, but who eats burgers well done? Why not just stick a piece of charcoal in there? Seriously, though, don't re-freeze. It's just not good for the meat at all. And if we're going to be eating part of a once-living animal, I think we should treat that part reverently and with the utmost care and prepare it properly.
  22. Mas has closed anybody else eat there? Good restaurant and a seemingly great location, right in Wicker Park. Anybody else have any info?
  23. Timo (formerly Thyme) In Chicago will close after a final seating on New Year's Eve. Great restaurant - I staged there several years ago. Any thoughts? It seemed like the kind of slow-food-driven place that would survive a long time.
  24. huck them (or get really fresh shucked oysters), dredge them in buttermilk and blue cornmeal, pan fry, serve with peppercorn aioli and a wedge of lemon.
  25. Restaurant kitchens, including mine, use convection ovens all the time - for huge batches of food. Never any problem with the transfer of aroma. I guess you're fine.
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