Okay, surely the single most useful thing that the Tribune food section has done in the recent past is Phil Vettel’s annual Save The Table feature - 100 open reservations at 100 name-brand restaurants in Chicagoland that would otherwise be booked solid by this time. Whereas our New Year’s plans unfortunately consist of invite-only hipster bars and raucous house parties, yours now has the potential to be so civilized as to include dinner at Aigre Doux, Boka, Custom House, David Burke’s Primehouse, and on down the alphabet. Any of these places will end up costing over a $100 a person, but it only turns 2008 once; since it’s going to be a ghastly year, you might as well get your kicks in now.
Phil also has a roundup of extremes in this year’s restaurant scene, like gutsiest entree (tripe Florentine at Riccardo Trattoria, which is literally, but not figuratively, gutsy), and trendiest entree (things involving Berkshire pork belly, and it’s probably true. Hello, not only is it the Year of the Pig through early February, but it’s the year of the freakin’ fire pig. Beware, however, because next year is the year of the earth rat. Mmm, gamy.
But that’s not all! At Play has their own Best Of list, which covers all sorts of topics and is most notable for the brief return of Kevin Pang, who has a list of his favorite fast foods.
Next issue: predictions for 2008?