Before the wind starts to blow cold off the lake and your eyeballs want to crack and fall out of your head from cold, Chicago has a lovely fall with temperate days and exciting, dramatic thunderstorms. Perfect weather, if you ask me, for drinking wine and eating great food (if only to store up some fat for the winter that will soon fall like a cinderblock on the fragile and unprepared). Just in time, then, arrives the Chicago Wine and Food Festival, a three day extravaganza of top chefs, excellent wines, and a nice mix of celebration and education.... continue reading09.11.2005
It's not often that In the middle of a meal I start planning my next visit to the restaurant with anticipation. Sometimes this happens in some of the world's best restaurants, and my plans involve tallying monthly expense budgets and looking sideways at my cash flow. Perhaps more frequently it happens in restaurants that sit somewhere between the finest haute cuisine and the more casual dining that might characterize a bite out after work during the week. More often than not, these are restaurants that aren't radically innovative in conception, but their dining experiences offer small details that hint at... continue reading03.22.2005
If you'll pardon a blatant and trite Beatles reference, I don't know whether anyone was waiting for this moment to arise, but as far as I'm concerned, a restaurant named Blackbird has certainly taken flight at the right time in the right place. Nestled along the West Randolph thoroughfare, a moderate walk or a five dollar cab ride from Wacker Drive and the Millennium Mile, Blackbird and its sister restaurant, Avec, establish a distinctly modern presence in the Loop. When I say modern, I really mean modern. Blackbird reminds me of a restaurant/bar in Amsterdam (whose name I mis-remember) that... continue reading03.07.2005
There are a bunch of food and dining related public forums out there on the Internet, and I don't have the time to participate in any of them. Besides, 90% of the discussions there are either uninteresting or just drivel. Occasionally though, a gem pops up, and I'm thankful to have people like Alaina over at A Full Belly to point them out. Last week she highlighted someone who had posted a behind the scenes look at the kitchen of Grant Achatz, whose soon to be opened Alinea is the talk of the Chicago restaurant scene. One of the reasons... continue reading12.20.2004
Smack dab in the middle of the meatpacking and grocery district of Chicago, it would be easy to miss Moto if you were not looking carefully, especially at night. On its block it is only one of two swanky modern designed fronts amidst a full lineup of brick-fronted produce purveyors that extend for blocks on either side. Alighting from your cab between all of the slumbering delivery trucks, you enter an airlock of sorts at the front of the restaurant and emerge into a narrow, but not cramped bar area and lounge at the front of the restaurant. The decor... continue reading
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Wine Will Never Smell the Same Again: Luca Turin and the Science of Scent Forlorn Hope: The Remarkable Wines of Matthew Rorick Debating Robert Parker At His Invitation Passopisciaro Winery, Etna, Sicily: Current Releases Should We Care What Winemakers Say? The Sweet Taste of Freedom: Austria's Ruster Ausbruch Wines 2009 Burgundy Vintage According to Domaine de la Romanée-Conti Charles Banks: The New Man Behind Mayacamas Wine from the Caldera: The Incredible Viticulture of Santorini Why Community Tasting Notes Sites Will Fail Chateau Rayas and the 2012 Vintage of Chateauneuf-du-Pape A Life Indomitable: The Wines of Casal Santa Maria, Portugal Bay Area Bordeaux: Tasting Santa Cruz Mountain Cabernets Forgotten Jewels: Reviving Chile's Old Vine Carignane The First-Timer's Guide to Les Trois Glorieuses of Hospices de Beaune