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  1. I'm so sad to hear this. My thoughts and my family's thoughts are with you Chef. We know you'll recover from this one... Ryne
  2. Chef- I believe you are back at work today, so this is likely a little late to the discussion. Hope your vacation was relaxing though! I have to say that I'm glad to see the quote above because I think that even as early as 2002 (when I first became aware of your cuisine) you had a strong enough personal aesthetic and style to transcend being defined solely by traits such as era of technique, regional ingredients, nationalism, modernism, menu size, utensils, previous kitchen experience, cost of a meal, etc. that might overtake the identity of lesser chefs. Simply put, yours is sort of an "op
  3. The link you are thinking of was to Terra Spice Co. who are indeed in Indiana. I've never ordered from them because I'm a somewhat close to one of The Spice House shops, so I usually just stock up there when I am driving through Evanston. One note is that neither of these places list Thai long peppercorns in their stock on the websites, but that doesn't probably doesn't rule out the possibilty of them being able to source them for you. I'd email or call Terra and hopefully you'll get lucky. Edit: I didn't notice until just after I'd posted that the previous post from Judy covered all this
  4. Although I'm not completely sure about the herbacious tasting drink (it could have been a dry vermouth like Noilly Prat or Lillet, b/c I have seen Trio use these as aperitifs before, as they commonly do in France), I can definitely set you up with the peppercorn/port drink. Trio's been using it as one of their house drinks for at least the last year and calling it "Vya con Porto" Basically you take a bottle of white port (they use Dow) and add Vya sweet vermouth to taste and roasted Thai long-peppercorns. Vya is a high-end vermouth made by California-based Quady winery (www.vya.com will tell
  5. I ate at Charlie Trotter's last Monday night with the unactive (or wait...is it reactive?) Awbrig and had an excellent time. Everything was on...the food was done perfectly, service was great (Awbrig requested his favorite waiter, Christian, who was really cool), the upstairs dining room was comfortable and small, and Awbrig was fun as [word edited out to make this post suitable for young children] to dine with. We did a late seating at 8:30 and opted for a smaller menu (10 courses instead of 15), but got a lot of brand new dishes that were not on the regular menu and that the waiters hadn't
  6. Having lived near Chicago my whole life, I'm pretty doubtful that are any good places to get grits around here (or maybe this is a wrong assumption?) But either way, I think Anson Mills in South Carolina (link here) has a great product and always call them up when I get a craving.
  7. It's also true that several Native American tribes used various elements of evergreens in their cooking: needles, bark, boiled the sap down like maple syrup, etc. Also Cassia Bark Cinnamon comes from the small Evergreen Laurel Tree that originated in Burma, as well (got that one off Google.) But really, I don't think the issue here is actually about the using evergreens in cooking or about the food being done at Trio anymore, is it? When things like this... ...are being said, I start to interpret that opinion, in more general terms, as: "No other culture's food---whether it be Korean, Jap
  8. Jesus Spencer--you've been taking shots at this dish for over a week now, but you still haven't gone in and tried it!? That, to me, is a bit presumptuous, not to mention unsettling. I had lunch at Trio yesterday---ditched school with three friends and sat at a table next to Chef Achatz and Debera Pickett---and although this item wasn't on the lunch menu, it was sent out to our table as a compliment from the kitchen. Instead of Swan Creek rabbit we received sauteéd frog legs, but the rest of the dish was the same (wild mushrooms, wild asparagus, wild ramps, evergreen vapor...) It's a very e
  9. In my opinion, it takes a lot more skill as a chef to get diners to appreciate the use of pine as an ingredient, as opposed to say fresh caviar, foie, or truffles. The latter are all widely-accepted luxury foodstuffs, but whats to say the former is any less viable as an ingredient? Or duck blood for that matter (for blood soup)? It's fine that you may not enjoy something, but to completely dimiss it as a joke seems a bit presumptuous.
  10. I'll definitely second mike's recommendation of Sun Wah BBQ Restaurant. We took the purple/red line el there from evanston, an easy way to avoid the traffic, and had an excellent meal of roasted duck, bbq pork, spiced ('with a lot of ginger,' mike pointed out) beef tripe, won ton soup, and those awesome hard boiled eggs soaked in salt water. All the food was great, but the duck in particular was exceptional---so tender with a very crispy skin and still on the bone. i guess i see mike's point about how some people may be put off by the place itself or the distinctive smell -- of chinese food
  11. Yes, many congratulations to Chef Achatz! He deserved this award last year, so I'm thrilled to see him finally bring it home. We are really lucky to have him (and Trio) so close to Chicago! Here is a link that appeared in the Metro section of the Trib. yesterday (you may need to register, but it's free. maybe not worth the trouble though, as it is just a recap of the Beard Awards.) Also here is a link to a great in-depth article about Chef Achatz from NewCity Chicago---a free publication available around the city and suburbs (my friends picked up a copy for me at Kafien in Evanston). The e
  12. roast rack of lamb with ketchup!? oh god... i would be concerned even if the "ketchup" were in quotes, but the fact that it is not just scares the hell out of me. it does, however, bring up the point that even though surprise (relating to texture, temp, combinations, etc.), irony, reference, and humor can all play an equal part in "modern cuisine," it is TASTE that should be the final measure of a dish. and i am sure that Adrià, Achatz, or Keller would agree. so putting ketchup on lamb may be shocking, but not very smart---and lets all hope it's not actually the future.
  13. Two other sheep's milk cheeses from the Pyrenees that are definitely worth checking out are Bleu de Basque and Erhaki. Bleu de Basque is a strong blue with lots of veining. Erhaki is one of my favorites-- a really great cheese. I would imagine that along with sheep's milk cheeses you would be able to find some goat's milk as well. Both do really well up in the mountains, whereas the cows like it a bit lower.
  14. Went to the Pita Inn yesterday for lunch with a few friends. We all loved the food and had an excellent time. It was filled with people, but not overly crowded, and we easily found a place to sit. But now I can see why they don't need to raise the prices. Ordered the business lunch special (Shish Kabab, Kifta Kabab, Shawarma, Falafil served with rice, salad and Pita bread), and also got a yogurt salad and fresh squeezed lemonade. All for only $6.30 or something like that! The yogurt salad was fresh tasting (it's really just plain yogurt, chopped cucumber, and mint) and worked good as a sa
  15. I definitely agree with this. In my experiences the "middle" has always seemed a bit confused and because of it, a bit disappointing. This kinda makes sense though, as the "middle" is geared toward the masses, and the masses have always been a little confused about what they are going for, what is 'it' now, and what they really want. So you may have a chef who is genuinely passionate about what he is doing, but then end up sitting in a dining room with servers who care little about the food and are only there only to get a paycheck. Or you may get a super-trendy place in the city, with a b
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