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.
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.
The Urban Dictionary defines comfort food as follows: “Food that gives emotional comfort to the one eating it, [such as] favorite foods of childhood, or linked to a person, place, or time with which the food has a positive association.” In other words, food that warms you and makes you forget your troubles. These might include your mother’s meatloaf, your grandmother’s chicken soup, and baked goods made from scratch. The kind of food you might find at a retro diner, pub, social house, or communal kitchen, like two Check, Please! restaurants, River Roast and Fat Rice.
This diverse Eastern European country gained its independence when the Soviet Union broke up in 1991, and by area, it is Europe’s largest, if you don’t count Russia (France comes in second, followed by Spain). Ukraine’s people are known for their friendliness and hospitality, and in honor of one of this week’s featured restaurants, Shokolad, here are some mouthwatering Ukrainian culinary mainstays. You will notice that most of them incorporate a readily available common ingredient.