This week at the Reader, NewCity, and the Sun-Times: obscure Italian herbs, Ethiopian gluttony, and the triumphant return of Thomas Witom!
• Let’s start with the guy we’ve missed the most. Thomas Witom, the S-T’s intrepid suburban restaurant critic, is up in Highland Park checking out the fare at Trattoria Valle D’Itria. His journalistic menu rundown is punctuated by a few things he actually did eat: calamari, minestrone, and lasagna, all great. [S-T]
• Bruno’s a happy camper at Bull & Bear, where he gets his pub grub on. He orders the $18 “Bull & Bear Burger” and finds it worth every penny, but is disappointed by a poorly executed lobster roll. [S-T]
• Chris Chandler swings by Ethiopian Diamond, where chef/owner Almaz Yigizaw explains how she imports her butter and spices from Ethiopia. Her goal with the restaurant is twofold: to serve delicious food, and to be an ambassador of Ethiopia’s history and culture. [NewCity]
• Mike Sula looks into the origins of mentuccia, an obscure Italian herb that chef Tony Priolo of Piccolo Sogno wanted to track down to use in some of his Roman dishes. The herb, related to mint, is “very sexual, very mysterious,” and will be harvested for use on Piccolo Sogno’s menu some time in June. [Reader]
[Photo via gennarino]