Tribune & TOC: Eating Outside, Eating Like The Chefs Do

Today’s food media roundup is extra-packed today, because Time Out Chicago has a food feature; namely, insights on cheap ethnic eats from local chefs. Let’s start there and work backwards toward the Tribune, which is less sparkly.

The cuisines covered in the Cheap Eats feature are: Mexican, Chinese, Italian, Indo-Pak, Vietnamese, Middle Eastern and Korean. Some of the pieces are better than others; David Tamarkin’s writeup of Rick Bayless’ favorite Mexican spots and Lisa Shames’ tour of Chinatown stood out for us, while Tamarkin’s exploration of the food folkways on Middle Eastern Kedzie Avenue has a fascinating ethnographic quality to it.

And then, Tamarkin uncovers a strawberry/balsamic vinegar cocktail at Vermilion. Busy week!

Also, we’re kind of blown away by Sepia mixologist Peter Vestinos’ instruction to put honeycomb in a jar of tequila with aromatics for two weeks, and then drink the results. Yes please!

On the Tribune side, a series of discourses on outdoor dining. Like, it’s unpleasant when it’s next to the El! Phil Vettel presents his al fresco favorites, and Glenn Jeffers finds out under what circumstances you can smoke at a restaurant’s outdoor tables (15 feet minimum from any doors or windows).

The best article in the issue is another Jeffers piece on dog-friendly outdoor licenses, of which only twenty-eight have been issued. And restaurants can only provide water for the dogs! In the age of organic, artisanal dog food, that’s very limiting.

Finally, the reviews:

• Phil Vettel finds happiness at a DL New American in a strip mall on the Naperville-Aurora border called Chef Amaury, where a five course tasting is $60 and is served with a smile [Tribune]

• David Tamarkin has been following mole expert Raul Arreola all over town for years. Mixteco Grill, Arreola’s latest perch, does a decent job at the staples, but truely excels with its moles [TOC]

• Now that Graham Elliot Bowles has moved on from Avenues, is former Alinea sous chef Curtis Duffy adequately carrying the mantle? According to Heather Shouse, not really. The ultramodern cuisine isn’t hitting all the notes it used to, and it doesn’t feel like a good value [TOC]

[Photo: nothing wrong with a dog in a restaurant, via ardorius/flickr]


Tribune & TOC: Eating Outside, Eating Like The Chefs Do