Tribune & Time Out: Fries/Frites, Toast, Sommeliers

Chris Borrelli owned the Tribune today, with pieces on the subtle/non-existent qualitative differences between fries and frites and the pernicious disappearance of toast from brunch spots around Chicagoland. Why the double whammy on flash-heated starches, right as we’re heading into ramp-and-morel season? Timing aside, the articles are great, especially the one on fries vs frites.

Borrelli touches on how the supposed sophistication of frites allows restaurants to charge more for them, but basically, fries and frites are both subsets of the larger world of blanched-and-fried potato sticks, which vary widely from country to country, region to region, kitchen to kitchen. No one way is best, and Borrelli provides a number of options for you to run the gamut.

French fries are kosher for Passover, which sort of surprises even though it shouldn’t. Judy Hevrdejs rounds up some last-minute seder caterers for the Jew on the run.

On the TOC side, David Tamarkin tries to explain to us why you’d bother to get a Master Sommelier certification, and the answer is…mostly because it’s there. Next up: a similar certification for beer.

As for reviews, Tamarkin’s at Mercat a la Planxa, the Catalan tapas megaplex in the South Loop. The tapas are delicious, but the restaurant comes off as soulless. On the other hand, if Miss Asia is guilty of anything, it’s having too many souls. You don’t want to order from the Thai menu? How about Malaysian, Singaporean, Cambodian, Indian, Chinese, Filipino, Korean, Japanese, Laotian, Vietnamese, Indonesian, Nepalese or Mongolian instead? But surprisingly, it’s all pretty good.

Mercat a la Planxa [MenuPages]
Mercat a la Planxa [Official Site]
Miss Asia [MenuPages]
Miss Asia [Official Site]

[Photo: Pommes frites en gras de canard à Hot Doug’s, by Chuck T./flickr]


Tribune & Time Out: Fries/Frites, Toast, Sommeliers