The Netherlands

By Julia Maish |

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Stroopwafel

Each year during the final week of April, the citizens of the Netherlands observe a festive national holiday: Koningsdag (King's Day), in which they pay tribute to their reigning monarch – currently, King Willem-Alexander.

The Sandwich

By Julia Maish |

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BLT

“A man's social rank is determined by the amount of bread he eats in a sandwich.”
– F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Beautiful and Damned

 

April, in case you didn’t know, is National Grilled Cheese Month. In light of that, it seems as good a time as any to reflect on the history, popularity, and seemingly infinite possibilities of the sandwich (including the grilled cheese).

Easter

By Julia Maish |

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Hot cross buns

Just the name conjures up images of brightly colored eggs being hunted on green lawns by children in their Sunday best; decorated baskets of jelly beans, chocolate rabbits, and marshmallow chicks.

India

By Julia Maish |

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Chicken biryani

If it were possible to sum up the cuisine of India in one word, that word would probably be diversity. This vast country boasts so many variations in vegetation, climate, culture, religion, ethnicity, and influence that it’s difficult to classify its food in a specific way.

Greece

By Julia Maish |

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Baklava

"Standing there an hour alone I dreamt that Greece might once be free."

– Lord Byron

 

The people of Greece, along with their beautiful scenery and pleasantly temperate climate, enjoy one more distinction: each year in March, they mark a unique dual holiday that is celebrated by both the deeply religious and the happily patriotic.

Ireland

By Julia Maish |

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Irish stew and Guinness

May your blessings outnumber
The shamrocks that grow,
And may trouble avoid you
Wherever you go.

– Traditional Irish toast

Coffee

By Julia Maish |

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A Bloomberg study conducted in mid-2016 estimated that before the year ended, Americans would consume, on average, 6.8 pounds (yes, pounds!) of hot coffee per person.

Mardi Gras

By Julia Maish |

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Beignets

The thousands of revelers who take part in Mardi Gras celebrations no doubt enjoy many of the traditional Creole and Cajun dishes that go with it, either as diners in some of New Orleans’s justly famous eateries, or here in Chicago. To those of us who are not native to Louisiana, Creole and Cajun foods are often lumped together as they share a number of commonalities. But how do these two cuisines differ? How and where did they originate?

Cat’s Corner: BYO Pairing Guide for Every Cuisine with Liz Mendez from Vera

By 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.

Poland

By Julia Maish |

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Paczki

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.

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