The World of Food: Afternoon Tea

By Julia Maish |

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You certainly don’t have to be British to like the idea of afternoon tea. What’s not to like about an afternoon snack of finger sandwiches, scones with jam or lemon curd and Devonshire cream, small cakes and cookies, and a pot of freshly brewed tea? Perhaps enjoyed with gossipy friends in an elegant hotel lobby or upscale restaurant? Just the sight of that three-tiered display of mouthwatering goodies makes it easy to imagine yourself trading witty bon mots in the library on Downton Abbey, or as a character in a Jane Austen novel or a Merchant-Ivory film.

The World of Food: Thanksgiving

By Julia Maish |

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“Grateful for each hand we hold
Gathered round this table.
From far and near we travel home,
Blessed that we are able.”

— “Thanksgiving Song” (Mary Chapin Carpenter)

 

Anyone who has ever prepared or partaken of a Thanksgiving dinner probably has a funny story about the experience – thigh-slapping tales of leaving the plastic bag of innards inside the turkey while it roasted, the family dog stealing the bird from the kitchen counter, the oven catching on fire, a crucial ingredient forgotten, etc. Perhaps you frantically dialed the Butterball Turkey Talk-Line so the dinner could be salvaged, or maybe you avoided the trauma altogether and gratefully decamped to a restaurant to let someone else do the cooking.

This week's Episode: Arami, Valois, Chicago Curry House

By David Manilow |

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Check, Please! host Catherine De Orio welcomes guest reviewers Steve Wilhusen, Henry Boyd, and Megha Hamal who weigh in on Chicago area eateries Arami, Valois, and Chicago Curry House.

Cat’s Corner: Q&A with Arami Owner Ty Fujimura

By Catherine De Orio |

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Japanese whiskey at Arami

 

Hello! This week on the show we take you to sample Japanese and Nepalese cuisine and even stop by one of POTUS’s favorite spots (Valois) when he’s in town! Our stops are Arami in West Town, Chicago Curry House in South Loop, and Valois in Hyde Park. I spoke with Ty Fujimura who is the owner of Arami, as well as a certified sake professional. He gives some guidance on how to have a fantastic dining experience at Arami, choose sake for you meal, and gives his advice on sake bombs. 

The World of Food: Smorgasbord

By Julia Maish |

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A traditional Swedish smörgåsbord

 

A fair is a veritable schmorgasbord, orgasbord, orgasbord” – Charlotte’s Web (E.B. White)

 

Merriam-Webster defines smorgasbord as “an often large heterogeneous mixture.”
 

The term, as it relates to food, comes from the Swedish smörgås (open sandwich) + bord (table). Its origins, as described by Kitchn, “are found in the upper class of 14th century Sweden where a small spread of bread, butter, and cheese was offered before mealtime. The smorgasbord grew to include meats, both hot and cold, and at the 1912 Olympic Games in Stockholm it officially became the main meal instead of an appetizer. Its components generally include “herring, salmon, sliced meats, cheeses, boiled vegetables, and breads, while sweets range from fresh berries to pastries to porridge and jams.”

Season 16, Episode 5: Pub Royale, Ampersand, Thithi's

By David Manilow |

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Check, Please! host Catherine De Orio welcomes guest reviewers Pooja Koongar, Joe JaQuay, and Suzanne Witt who weigh in on Chicago area eateries Pub RoyaleAmpersand, and Thithi's.

Cat’s Corner: Q&A with Pub Royale’s Chef Nate Tano & Beverage Director Michael McAvena

By Catherine De Orio |

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Buttered chicken at Wicker Park's Pub Royale

 

Hello! I’m just back from London, and pub and Indian food are still fresh on my mind! So this week I spoke with chef Nate Tano and beverage director Michael McAvena of Pub Royale, the anglo-indian pub in Wicker Park that was named one of Bon Appetit’s 50 best new restaurants across the country.

The World of Food: Fusion

By Julia Maish |

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Mi Vit Tiem noodle soup from Thithi's in Evergreen Park

 

Merriam-Webster defines “fusion” as “a merging of diverse, distinct, or separate elements into a unified whole.” There’s nuclear fusion, spinal fusion, jazz fusion, and this: “food prepared using techniques and ingredients of two or more ethnic or regional cuisines.” Two of the restaurants reviewed on Check, Please! – Wicker Park’s Pub Royale (Anglo-Indian) and Thithi’s in Evergreen Park (Vietnamese-French-Thai), are prime examples of this trend, along with the previously featured de Quay in Lincoln Park (Dutch-Indonesian).

Catherine De Orio

On hosting Check, Please!.

Bars Mix Things Up

By Matt Kirouac |

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Nothing like a little camaraderie to make cocktails taste better. Chicago’s restaurant scene is famously community-oriented, filled with chefs throughout the city eager to support one another. The bar department is no different, with mixologists happy to shake drinks alongside their brethren. Two spots jumping on board the guest bartender bandwagon of late, The Winchester and Bordel, are mixing things up by featuring drinks from various mixologists around the city and the country.

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