Tribune Dining: Beer, Disgruntled Waiters, Wacky Gelato, Hub Gets 51’d

Okay, first of all, the front page of the Tribune’s website is all “Source: Sarah Palin is John McCain’s pick for vice president” and we are all OH MY GOD WE NEED SOME CONFIRMATION OVER HERE. We’re sure you already know this, but Palin was the first runner-up in the 1984 Miss Alaska competition. That picture to the left there? That’s her.

But the food! Yesterday’s TOC double-header knocked the Tribune’s Thursday dining roundup to today. Forgive us? You do? Oh yay!

• This week’s special feature comes to us courtesy of Joe Gray, and it’s a roundup of brewpubs in the greater Chicagoland area (we love using that phrase, we feel so Your Local Lincoln-Mercury Dealership). He goes in a loop from Northwest Indiana up along the lake: new kid Crown Point and old hat Three Floyds, both in the Hoosier state; Flossmoor Station in the South suburbs (what is up, place we went to high school!); and city-proper favorite Moonshine. We realize it is breakfast time, but hot damn, the things we would do for a brat and a beer right now. [Tribune]

• Christopher Borrelli sits down with Steve Dubianca, a.k.a. The Waiter — the guy behind titillating website waiterrant, who’s now written a book. It’s standard “be nice to your waiter or he’ll spit in your food” fare, but with the added immediacy of being written by a guy who’s apparently done plenty of spitting (metaphorical, if not literal). Dubianca tells us to walk into a restaurant “smiling and laughing,” so our waiter won’t hate us. We are kind of bored by this, to be totally honest. [Tribune]

As for actual pass-judgment-on-food-service-emporia reviews!

• Trine Tsouderos (she has such an awesome name, doesn’t she?) is in Forest Park this week, checking out new gelato joint Paciugo (7510 Madison St., Forest Park, 708 366 6080). A roundup of hypergourmet, avant-garde flavors (Black Pepper Olive Oil, Strawberry Celery Sorbet, Mediterranean Sea Salt Caramel) pull in the headlines (and manage to pull off their unexpected flavors with aplomb, no less), but it’s the more classic fare that really earns the gelateria its stripes: Amarena Black Cherry Swirl is “aromatic, tart” and there’s a “sticky-sweet” S’mores. [Tsouderos, Tribune]

• And finally! Phil Vettel is at — have you heard of this place? — Hub 51, which is owned by these sons of some dude, or something. Vettel quickly dissects the restaurant’s clientele into two categories: (1) Friends of Rich Melman, who are supporting his son’s venture the same way your dad’s old golfing buddy offers you a summer internship with his accounting firm; and (2) young trendoids who follow the buzz, regardless of the quality of the food. Besides his judgment of the clientele, Vettel is markedly more generous to the lateste LEYE venture than have been those reviewers that came before. Maybe it’s because R.J. and Jerrod have read what Shouse et al have had to say (“serve better food, please” seems to be the refrain) and have instructed the kitchen accordingly, or maybe it’s because Vettel is more forgiving of “downright boring” pork, or is blinded by the glitter of clever dishes like “crackling peanuts,” (ground peanuts mixed with Pop Rocks, which we are totally making at home), but he hands the place two stars, seemingly without too much justification. [Vettel, Tribune]

[Photo: Sarah Palin, First Runner-Up Miss Alaska, 1984, via BeldarBlog]


Tribune Dining: Beer, Disgruntled Waiters, Wacky Gelato, Hub Gets 51’d