Another week, another food truck. This time it’s the Happy Bodega truck and, like Simple Sandwiches, officially hits Chicago’s streets tomorrow to offer fresh-made sandwiches, Ineeka teas, Crop to Cup coffee, fresh-cut flowers, your morning newspaper, sweets and more.
Happy Bodega, started by Chicagoan Amanda Cavazos, will work toward sourcing local ingredients when possible for its French-style baguettes. The sandwiches on the current menu include ham and gruyere; roast beef, Parmesan and arugula; brie cheese, tomato and basil; and turkey, aged cheddar and mixed greens. Diners can grab a pickle, kettle chips, Eat Green Food granola bars and banana bread pudding. All items will range in price from $1.25 to $7.25 (tax included).
For updates on the truck’s whereabouts, follow it on Twitter.
Want to see a master chef create some incredible cocktails? He’s slowly revealing some of the secrets behind what will appear on the menu at his forthcoming restaurants, Next and Aviary, including a really cool bubble-tea-like take on a gin and tonic with about 100 cucumber balls in the glass. The Alinea chef clearly is having a good time and enjoying experimenting and wants to take us all along for the ride.
Want a free ticket to Chicago Gourmet? Starting today, just dine at five of 50-plus participating restaurants in the event’s Dine Around promotion to earn yourself a free one-day admission (a $150 value). The nice thing is that this allows you to get out and eat at some of the city’s best restaurants, many of which are offering prix-fixe menus during the next few weeks. Just save the receipts from the five restaurants and turn them in to the registration table at the event in Millennium Park on Sept 25 or 26. Sure, it might be easier to just buy the ticket, but if you plan to eat out in the city over the next few weeks anyway, why not save your stubs and go to the big event gratis?
Where can you dine? There are more than 50 spots participating but a sampling includes:
Well, well, well … if having one of the hottest new restaurant openings and an in-demand outdoor patio overlooking Michigan Avenue weren’t enough to stack wait times at the Purple Pig, Bon Appetit just named the pork-leaning, Mediterranean-inspired small plates spot one of America’s best new restaurants.
Saying the milk-braised pork shoulder, porchetta Panini and pig’s tail braised in balsamic and crispy chicken-thigh kebabs are “must-order” items, the gourmet food bible put its stamp of approval on the kitchen helmed by Jimmy Bannos, Jr., his dad (um, yes, that’d be Jimmy, Sr.) and partner Scott Harris (Nella, Mia Francesca) and we couldn’t agree more.
When we first hit Purple Pig just after it opened, we raved. We told our friends. We went back. We waited in line. We couldn’t get enough of the Pig. Now the rest of America will know what we’ve known for months now: that pigs do turn purple if they drink too much red wine. We bet they’re blushing now.
Other restaurants that made the list: Frances (SF), Bar La Grassa (Minneapolis), Anchovies & Olives (Seattle) and Marea (NY). Check out the full list here.
Is Lollapalooza really next weekend? That blows our minds that August is already here. What will we have to look forward to after Lolla? I’m sure we’ll figure it out, but we’re so psyched for the annual music—and now food—fest, that it’ll be hard to come down from that high. Who else will have a tough time? Matthew H. and James F, who both won a pair of 3-day passes this past week. We have FOUR sets of passes left and if you want your shot, be sure to either sign up for Foodie or refer your friends. It’s that easy to enter the giveaway and if your name is selected in a couple of days, you’ll be stoked come Friday. Don’t wait. Get moving … and you may just win.
The heavy rain that swept through Chicago last night caused excessive flooding at Logan Square restaurant Lula Cafe, forcing owners to temporarily close the popular spot. A post on their Facebook page today reads:
Dear Friends, Lula Cafe is under water today. We are sadly going to be closed and hoping the rain will stop so we can begin to work on all the damage.…We have never seen [it] like this and we will keep you posted as to when we will reopen for business.
We got in touch with owner Jason Hammel to find out just how bad things are and if they have an idea of how long it’ll take to clean up. He had his hands full with the cleanup, but said that it is pretty bad. We’ll keep you posted as we learn more information.
How many cupcake places does Chicago need? (To that end, how many FroYo spots do we need?) Sure, we’ll take all the BBQ joints starting to pop up all over town (let’s be honest, you can never get enough good BBQ), and sure, we like a good cupcake (we had some tasty ones from More tonight at the Lollapalooza Chow Town preview party at Graham Elliot), but does Chicago really need more national stores coming to town? We just read on Feast that Magnolia Bakery, the originator of the massive cupcake trend, has its sights set on the Windy City. We’ve walked by the original location in New York’s West Village and have seen ridiculous lines out the door. Will the hype translate to Chicago?
Earlier tonight Michelin Guide Chicago started following us on Twitter. When we went to their feed, they only had one thing posted, which was a re-tweet of something Team RIA, otherwise known as Ellen Malloy’s Restaurant Intelligence Agency posse offering some insight into the food world.
This particular blog post raised some interesting questions about whether the Michelin Guide will affect Chicago’s restaurants. Locally, not much will likely change. But on a national and global scale, it can truly make a difference in a restaurant’s business. It’s already near impossible to get a reservation at places like Alinea, so what could getting branded with three stars from Michelin do for Chef/owner Grant Achatz and his team. A helluva lot, especially for the others who work there.
Team RIA went to a number of their clients, including some Foodie spots like Big Jones, Wave and NAHA, to get their comments. Some pretty interesting thoughts here.
There’s something to be said for going into something—a movie, a concert, dinner—and not having any expectations because you know absolutely nothing about the flick, show or menu at any of the places. There’s an element of surprise that, when you’re generally in the dark about something, leaves the level of expectation low so that when you find yourself loving whatever it is you’re watching, hearing or eating, you like it that much more.
Well, we’re not letting that happen with Chow Town—because this year, the food is going to blow our minds and we want you to get excited for the food as much as the music. Foodie did a little scoping and we’ve obtained the menus for all the restaurants that Graham Elliot Bowles rounded up for Lollapalooza weekend.
In anticipation of Green City Market’s annual BBQ bash, Wirtz Beverage Co.’s master mixologist Peter Vestinos pulled together a book showcasing the drinks that will be offered in the beverage tent. Each BBQ guest will receive the book to help guide them through the drinks—and then let them re-create them at home. We had a sneak peek at what Vestinos, who made drinks with Bols Genever for a Foodie soiree at Perennial a few months ago, culled together to whet your whistle. Or more appropriately, get your buzz on.
Wirtz partnered with Green City Market to help showcase how local, sustainable and organic ingredients can be used to create some tasty libations. They worked with Death’s Door Spirits, Templeton Rye and Casa Noble Tequila, and the BBQ will also feature wine from Bonterra and Benziger wineries. Vestinos also enlisted some of Chicago’s top mixologists, including Benjamin Schiller (Boka Group), Josh Pearson (Sepia), Luke LeFiles (Hot Chocolate) and Lynn House (Blackbird), to concoct drinks for the event.
While there will be plenty to sip on, here are just a few of the featured cocktails to get you excited before Thursday’s big event. Not going to the party? Download a PDF of the cocktail book here.