TOC, Digested: Drama, Drama, Dessert Fiesta

• With a week to go until the premiere of Top Chef, David Tamarkin kicks things into high gear with an interview with Chicago’s own Radhika Desai, chef at Between Boutique Cafe & Lounge and a favorite on the upcoming season of the Bravo show. As Tamarkin notes in the extended interview (on TOC’s blog), “we’re all Bravo’s bitches now” — even though the interview adheres strictly to PR-approved topics and reveals absolutely nothing juicy, we still lapped up every single word.

• Heather Shouse drops the very first official review of Farmerie 58 OKAY PEOPLE we are not going to finish this because this just happened. Suffice to say we think it would make an interesting article for Shouse to revisit in a month and re-review.

• David Tamarkin, meanwhile, delivers a review of Detroit’s famous Steve’s Deli, newly transplanted to Chicago, and give us a second here as we wait to see if we get an email informing us that Steve is quitting his job. … Okay. We’re good. Tamarkin doesn’t love the chicken broth, or the bagels, but they are mere vehicles for the conveyance of perfection in the form of perfect fluffy matzoh balls and ideally smoked fish, respectively, so who cares? Also, Martha Williams’s accompanying photograph is beautiful enough that we would hang it on our wall.

• The TOC team kicks off their special Dessert Issue section with a little wordplay: “They’re the sultans of sugar. The demigods of desserts. The overlords of…okay, you get the picture.” THAT IS NOT COOL, Julia, Heather, and David. You cannot leave us hanging like that. What is the O-word that you were going to fill that ellipsis with? We asked various folks via AIM and got suggestions like “i can literally only think of ‘oreo’ and ‘orgeat’” and “oatmeal raisin cookie?” and “orange sherbert?” and NONE OF THOSE ARE GOOD CHOICES. Is this an Obama reference?

Anyway, there is an intense and massive breakdown of various desserts — cannoli, gelato, cake, candy, pie, cookies, chocolate, nostalgic desserts, seasonal desserts, and nontraditional savory sweets — each with an extended profile of a local restaurant, bakery, or individual who does that dessert right. Like Lisa Alexander, cookie baker, whose Berry White (oatmeal-blueberry-cranberry-white chocolate) is both delicious, and named after Barry White. Or Tim Dahl, Blackbird’s pastry chef who somehow managed to turn pretzels, mustard, and beer into a palatable —nay, delicious — dessert.

[Photo: A dessert at Blackbird of veal sweetbreads, among other things, via stu spivack’s Flickr]


TOC, Digested: Drama, Drama, Dessert Fiesta