• It’s The Cooking Issue this week at TOC, and the centerpiece story is a swoon-worthy smorgasbord of signature recipes from top Chicago chefs and restaurants. Admit it — you’ve been dying to makeUrban Belly’s lamb-and-brandy dumplings at home, or Smoque’s barbecue brisket, or the insane shortbread that Allison Levitt serves up at Mado. Now you can!
• Plus! Three writers get sent fully into the trenches: Rod O’Conner spends a day cooking at Mixteco Grill, where he learns that he is bad at filling corn husks. Heather Lalley rocks when it comes to making nonpareils at Bittersweet Pastry Shop & Cafe, but doesn’t do so well at the chocolate curls. Michael Austin spends hours picking parsley for the cooks at The Bristol. Facing the wall, no less.
• Kevin Aeh lists off eight essentials for any kitchen. We concur with food processor, silpat, paring knife, saute pan, cookie sheet, silicon spatula, wooden spoon — but seriously? A pressure cooker? Works for some, sure, but not remotely on the same plane of essentialness as a freaking wooden spoon.
Oh, but we’re not done — there are still restaurant reviews!
• Heather Shouse swings by MarketHouse, where the food is good (bordering on great), but there’s that unfortunate problem of being located in a dull place in a dull hotel with dull (okay, despicable) tourists.