Cafes Take Baked Goods Into Their Own Hands

By Matt Kirouac |

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                            Duran European Cafe

Duran European Cafe

For sandwich shops, coffee shops, and cafes, it makes sense to outsource baked goods and desserts from stalwart local sources. After all, the day-to-day focus is elsewhere. That’s what makes it all the more admirable when a sandwich shop or coffee shop takes the baking process into its own hands, going the extra mile to create breads, pastries, and desserts in-house. Such is the case with Duran European Cafe and Dollop Coffee Company.


 

Pig Out at These Charcuterie Temples

By Matt Kirouac |

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                            River Roast, Galdones Photography

River Roast, Galdones Photography

House-cured meats and housemade sausages are all the rage in restaurants nowadays. Snout-to-tail cookery has come a long way from taboo to trendy, and chefs across the city are maximizing meat by grinding them, stuffing them, curing them, and more. With no shortage of charcuterie destinations in Chicago, the task at hand can be a bit daunting for sure. But beyond the familiar charcuterie temples like The Publican, TETE Charcuterie, and The Bristol, there are other spots worth seeking out for their wholly intrinsic take on cured meat.


 

Best Bets for Mother’s Day Brunch

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                            Nana

Nana

Mother’s Day marks the biggest brunch day of the year, a day for bottomless mimosas, omelets, and waffles. And there’s no better way to celebrate mom than with an elegant, befitting brunch filled with all the best. The throes of holiday brunches out there can be more than a little overwhelming, though, so here are some surefire bets for brunch this Mother’s Day, May 10.


 

Beer- and Baseball-inspired Burgers

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                            Graham Elliot Bistro

Graham Elliot Bistro

Not that there’s ever a bad time for a burger, but spring and summer seem particularly apt, given the burger’s natural proclivity for cookouts and grilled food. As the weather warms and the sun shines, let’s turn our attention to a couple notable burgers popping up around town.


 

30 Days of Classic Cocktails

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                            The Promontory

The Promontory

Refined cocktail classics are all the rage these days, as more and more mixologists look back for menu inspiration. Upping the ante on said inspiration is The Promontory, which is serving up a month-long spree of classic cocktails this month, featuring 30 timeworn drinks every day of April.


 

There’s a New Bottled Amaro in Town

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                            BALSAM

BALSAM

When a trifecta of beverage industry titans join forces, you take notice. BALSAM American Amaro is the new masterwork of three heavy-hitters in the beverage and specialty goods sphere, including Rodrick Markus of Chicago’s Rare Tea Cellar, Adam Seger of Chicago-based HUM Spirits (not to mention a renowned mixologist), and Barry Young, Master Distiller of Pennsylvania Pure Distillers. Individually, they pack a wallop of talent and innovation. Together, they form a super group unified by Amaro.


 

Sneak Peek at Patio Season 2015

By Matt Kirouac |

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                            The Dawson

The Dawson

At the risk of jinxing us into seven more months of winter, it seems that patio season is upon us in Chicago. Across the city, restaurants, bars, and cafes are thawing out and opening their al fresco dining spaces to take advantage of the sunshine and warmth.


 

Shout Out to Gourmet Pop Tarts

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                            Bake

Bake

If a pastry consisting of pie dough, frosting, and fruity filling is wrong, then there’s really no need to be right. Elevating the toaster pastry template of our childhood, bakeries and cafes across the city are popping out novel new takes on “pop tarts.” The nostalgia factor coupled with the dough factor equals unparalleled deliciousness.


 

It’s Girl Scout Cookies at Sepia

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                            Sepia, photo by Paul Strabbing

Sepia, photo by Paul Strabbing

In case the legions of girls hawking cookies at every street corner hasn’t given it away yet, we are in the delicious throes of Girl Scout Cookie season. Temptation is a Thin Mint cookie. And if you’re going to cede to temptation, you may as well raise the bar a little bit by indulging in some of the illustrious Girl Scout Cookie-inspired desserts at Sepia. They’re a lot classier than bingeing on boxes.


 

The Very Best in Bacon

By Matt Kirouac |

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                            Glazed & Infused

Glazed & Infused

Each year, madly popular Baconfest Chicago brings out the best in carnivorous cravings, proving that bacon fanfare has transcended trend to become a permanent obsession. With the grand event taking place April 17 and 18, and with April being “Bacon Month,” it’s apropos to round up some of the best bacon creations in Chicago. Think of it as “research” and “warm up” for the big event.


 

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