Cat's Corner

Catherine De Orio

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Hey there! A question I get all the time is what to bring to various BYO places so I enlisted the help of my friend and award-winning sommelier Liz Mendez, co-owner of Vera (not BYO) in the West Loop which serves up sophisticated Spanish cuisine by her husband and chef/co-owner Mark Mendez complemented by her well-curated wine list with an impressive sherry selection. Liz shares pairings with everything from Japanese to pizza as well as giving a wonderfully informative, yet succinct, guide to sherry. Here’s what she had to say.

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Catherine De Orio

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Hi all! We’re nearing the end of the season and beginning to prepare for the next. If you’re interested in sitting at the table and sharing your favorite restaurant next season, here’s how you can apply! This week we take you to 5 Rabanitos in Pilsen; Boltwood in Evanston, and then we head to The Elephant Thai on Devon in Forest Glen. I spoke with Mexican restaurant 5 Rabanitos Chef/Owner Alfonso Sotelo with his translator Miguel Salgado about his first solo venture. Here’s what he had to say.

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Catherine De Orio

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Greetings! We are nearing the end of the season, and it’s packed with some gems! This week we take you to Café Marie-Jeanne in the rapidly developing area of California and Augusta in Humboldt Park; celebrity-swamped Chicago Cut in River North; and Katy’s Dumpling House in Oak Park. Cafe Marie-Jeanne Proprietor/Chef Mike Simmons and Proprietor/Wine Director Jamie McLennan chatted with me about their new venture. Here’s what they had to say.

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Catherine De Orio

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Hello! This week, we had some great guests and three unique restaurant selections that will have you traveling all over town. We take you to Salero in the West Loop, Izakaya Sankyu in Mount Prospect, and Tiztal Cafe in Ravenswood. This week I spoke with executive chef Ashlee Aubin about Salero and Basque cuisine. And since I love watching new episodes of Check, Please! with a cocktail in hand, Salero bar manager Suzie Whitacre shared a recipe for a Spanish-style gin tonic. Here’s what they had to say.

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Catherine De Orio

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Hey there! It seems that winter has officially arrived and the restaurants on this week’s episode are perfect places for warm-your-belly, comforting food. Our stops are River Roast in River North, La Largartija in West Loop and Fat Rice in Logan Square.

Fat Rice is unique in that it is the only restaurant serving Macanese food in Chicago. This week, I spoke with chef/co-owner Abraham Conlon and co-owner/director of operations Adrienne Lo of Fat Rice to get the lowdown on Macanese cuisine. Here’s what they had to say.

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