Review Revue: Sun-Times @ The Four Seasons & Coalfire

Today’s Sun-Times is a thoroughly enjoyable read. The lead article is on the Four Seasons executive chef Kevin Hickey, who oversees Seasons, The Cafe, and Seasons Lounge & Conservatory - not a occupation for the lazy or unambitious. We think the article strikes a good balance between profiling the man and profiling the job, using details from Hickey’s personal life to flesh out the minutiae of his schedule at the Four Seasons (chronicled chronologically, much to our enjoyment). Thank you, Sandy Thorn Clark, for your competent and engaging profile.

Moving right along, Dave Hoekstra has a piece on Coalfire that spends more time on the history and philosophy behind the place than on the pizza itself. Of particular interest is the coal (vs. wood or gas to cook the pizzas), which was traditionally used on the East Coast in the formative stages of American pizzery, and which gives the crust a unique (for Chicago) charred flavor. Co-owner James “J.” Spillane posits that “crust is 80 percent of the pizza,” a figure which we do not dispute.

The third feature this week is on rising food prices, which Janet Rausa Fuller attributes to rising transportation costs and the resulting increase in corn consumption for ethanol, which also raise feed prices. This one-two punch has had a less severe impact in Chicago, where prices have increased 2.2% in the last year, than in cities like New York (3.9%) or LA (5.7%).

Finally, the section highlights three food items with varying levels of appeal -

Hot: Tamarillos, a newly imported tomato-like nightshade that’s ambidextrously sweet and savory, more accessible than the tomatillo, and very high in nutrients like beta carotene and vitamin E, is hitting the shelves of Meijer and Fox & Obel

Warm: A cocktail called the Final Whack, to be paired with the finale of “The Sopranos,” contains bourbon, sambuca and creme de cacao. It sounds good at the outset, but we fear the consequences of mixing brown and milky liquor. Maybe just superstition?

Cold: The new Oscar Meyer microwavable turkey sandwich gets extremely high marks from Denise O’Neal, who we generally trust, but we cannot conceive of a microwaved sandwich that we’d enjoy. Just on principle.

Top chef [Sun-Times]

Seasons [MenuPages]
Seasons [Official Site]

The Cafe at Four Seasons Hotel [MenuPages]
The Cafe at Four Seasons Hotel [Official Site]

Seasons Lounge & Conservatory [MenuPages]
Seasons Lounge & Conservatory [Official Site]

Scorching the competition [Sun-Times]

Coalfire [MenuPages]

Blame your bill on corn, weather [Sun-Times]

Grocery chain bets tamarillo will tempt its shoppers [Sun-Times]

Tastings around town [Sun-Times]

Outta the box: Deli creations [Sun-Times]

[Photo: the artiest tamarillo ever, Blurred Vision/flickr]


Review Revue: Sun-Times @ The Four Seasons & Coalfire