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.
Talk & Eat is a round-up of memorable dining experiences, perfect meals, and new and good eats around town from our guest bloggers, Tweets and Facebook posts that take you behind-the-scenes of Check, Please!, and weekly tips about what’s on the show this week.
Not long ago, Chicago was home to more citizens of Polish descent than Warsaw, attracted here beginning in the mid-19th century by the city’s booming industries and opportunities for independence and growth. The Polish community is still one of Chicago’s largest and most prominent, at last count making up just over seven percent of the population. The number of Polish speakers in the area is second only to English and Spanish, and Poland’s cultural presence in the city is remarkably strong and vibrant, through its many festivals, churches, and museum.
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.
Are you a locavore? If you know what this term means without having to look it up (and consider yourself to be one), chances are you’re a fan of the “farm to table” movement. In honor of a Check, Please! featured eatery in this category, Evanston’s Boltwood, here’s a closer look at the what, when, and why.
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.
“In France, cooking is a serious art form and a national sport.”
— Julia Child
“The French approach to food is characteristic; they bring to the consideration of the table the same appreciation, respect, intelligence, and lively interest that they have for the other arts, for painting, for literature, and for the theatre.”
— Alice B. Toklas
You have surely heard the French phrase “joie de vivre,” which in English means “joy of living.” For the French, this applies to all aspects of everyday life, especially the cuisine.
In recent years, the popularity of Thai cuisine has burgeoned in the Chicago area, and it’s easy to see why. Even a cursory glance at a menu in a typical Thai eatery will tell you that there is something available for just about every taste, from sweet to salty, bitter to spicy, sour to soothing.
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.
Anyone who thinks of Spain only as the land of flamenco, bullfighting (olé!), and Antonio Banderas (or, if you prefer, Penélope Cruz) might be surprised to learn the place is surprisingly diverse in a variety of different ways. This largest country in southern Europe, located on the Iberian Peninsula, spans an area in size about halfway between Texas and California and across its 17 autonomous regions, the geography and cuisine vary greatly. (As far as climate goes, in case you were wondering, My Fair Lady’s “the rain in Spain stays mainly in the plain” is only a song title.) Spain borders France, Portugal, Andorra, Gibraltar, and notably, is the only European country to share a border with one in Africa (Morocco). All of these influences, and more, are present in the local cuisine.
To mark Inauguration Day (and our broadcast of the 2001 Check, Please! episode featuring then-State Senator Barack Obama), let’s take a whirlwind tour of some favorite foods and culinary quirks of some of our past presidents.