Hello and Happy New Year! I hope everyone had wonderful holidays and that you are ready for some great new restaurants. This week we take you to Osteria Langhe in Logan Square, Shokolad in Ukranian Village, and New Star in Elmwood Park.
While there is an understandable reluctance to lump Hanukkah together with Christmas, the two events have one obvious parallel – each presents an annual opportunity to celebrate with family and friends while indulging in a variety of seasonal dishes that have special relevance to the occasion.
“The children were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of sugar plums danced in their heads.”
– "A Visit from St. Nicholas,” Clement Clarke Moore, 1823
What is a sugar plum, anyway?
As travel expert Rick Steves can tell you, each country the world over has its own special Christmas traditions, which includes what foods you find on the Christmas dinner table. Here in America, many of the holiday mainstays we enjoy were brought over by our ancestors when they emigrated, and standard fare can vary by U.S. region, and even by state. But whether you dine on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day, some are universal. Here are the origins of a few of them:
Say the word “fondue,” and most Americans are instantly transported back to an age of leisure suits, pet rocks, and disco. But today, as communal dining has become increasingly popular, it’s only natural that fondue has returned to the restaurant (and party) scene.
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?
“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.