chicgail's Profile

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Food storage Russian roulette: what's your riskiest food safety gamble that went okay?

I like to use proteins that have been vacuum packed and sealed so I can immerse the whole thing in a bowl under water. I've never tried it with a hard plastic container. With a ziplock bag, I don't trust that water won't get in and I try to keep the zipper part above the waterline. Usually - for chicken parts or steaks - it takes about 30 minutes. I suppose a whole chicken would take longer.

about 11 hours ago
chicgail in General Topics

Food storage Russian roulette: what's your riskiest food safety gamble that went okay?

I used to do that (as did my mother). Now what I do is make sure it is sealed tightly in a waterproof plastic container and run it under slightly cooler than room temperature water for about a half-hour. Works perfectly. I read that that FDA is experimenting with changing its recommendations to include this method.

1 day ago
chicgail in General Topics

How long will you stand in line for food?

Hot Doug's in Chicago (may it rest in peace) was a famous emporium for "encased meats" with sausages made from fois gras, crayfish, wild boar, escargot and guanciale - you name it. The line for this hole-in-the wall joint often went down the block, past the alley and into the next block.

It could easily be an hour wait made up of locals and tourists. But people chatted and got to know each other. It was not worth the wait for an ordinary Chicago dog for sure.

Hot Dougs just closed recently. It will be missed.

1 day ago
chicgail in General Topics

Do you test-run a preparation before making it later for guests?

Almost never do a test run. I'm at a point where I know what works and what doesn't. I look for what the people who are coming will enjoy. I rarely follow recipes to the letter anyway.

I consider parties an opportunity to experiment and go out on the skinny branches. Makes it more of an adventure.

Besides, I often find that the first time I make something I am a bit more careful and it comes out better than it does the second or third time and I would hate to be disappointed with guests.

Sometimes I combine a dish that I've done before that people have loved with something new.

1 day ago
chicgail in General Topics

Top Chef Boston – Ep. #14 – Pre-Finale - 02/04/15 (spoilers)

Y'all don't think you're reading a little bit into this that may - or may not - have been there. Maybe Gregory was smug. Or maybe he was just pleased that he got the ingredients he wanted.

Feb 06, 2015
chicgail in Food Media & News

Top Chef Boston – Ep. #14 – Pre-Finale - 02/04/15 (spoilers)

Agreed. When they threw in that bit, I was sure that it was the pre-shadowing that Gregory was going to overseason.

I think that Gregory and Mai are the right two finalists. As was discussed in this episode one has technical strength and the other is creative heart.

While I would love to see another woman win, and I know she is a great technical chef, I can't quite get behind Mai. I haven't tasted anything (obviously), but maybe her food is just a little too perfect.

Gregory does some very interesting work and seems to put more heart in it. I'm rooting for him.

Feb 05, 2015
chicgail in Food Media & News

The New Open Table website

What alternatives do you recommend?

Feb 02, 2015
chicgail in Food Media & News

Coppervine Report

That was quick.

Feb 02, 2015
chicgail in Chicago Area

Latest Salt Lake City Recommendations

Thank you. Chicagoans stranded by the blizzard. What a great dinner: 2 mushroom with vegetables, salt-baked ribs, bbq duck.

Feb 02, 2015
chicgail in Mountain States

Top Chef Boston – Ep. #13 – 01/28/15 (spoilers)

That town is indeed beautiful. It is a refuge for many American expats. Some Candadians, also. Those artists are well known. The quick fire was held right out in the main public square. The town must have enjoyed it. The elimination challenge was in Fabriqua, a former factory that has been converted into a large gallery for many artists and artisans. I got very nostalgic watching it - and jealous of those who were there.

The New Open Table website

Is it the assumption that we can't read and need to look at pictures? - like the menus at IHOP? I find I avoid it lately

Jan 28, 2015
chicgail in Food Media & News
1

Worst Cooks in America

Given that it's a "Reality" show, reality is the last thing you would expect.

Jan 22, 2015
chicgail in Food Media & News

Be Careful Who You Invite to Your Party....Or Accept Your Invitations From...

Bloody ridiculous. (and I never say "bloody")

If you are really having a children's party that costs $24/person don't be that a big a jerk. Or include in the invite the "small print" that if you don't show, you'll get charged. Would she have invoiced for a child who got sick and didn't make it? Methinks the host mom might expect some unpleasant comments or sideways looks when she shows up at the next PTA event

Jan 22, 2015
chicgail in Food Media & News

Worst Cooks in America

It's not even really about cooking as much as it is about how eccentric and weird you can show up on camera.

Jan 22, 2015
chicgail in Food Media & News

Top Chef Boston – Ep. #12 – 01/21/15 (spoilers)

Neither George nor Gregory seemed to step up to the challenge. This could well be the all-girl championship that Michelle keeps predicting. Which raises the question of what happened to Gregory. He was a star for most of the early challenges and then seemed to just quietly step aside. I wonder if the pressure is getting to him or if he used up all the good stuff early and hasn't got much left.

Jan 22, 2015
chicgail in Food Media & News

Ramen

Dying to go for good ramen. What's your favorite ramen in Chicago?

Jan 20, 2015
chicgail in Chicago Area

Party platters north side of Chicago

I've always done well (for both personal and business parties) at Michael's A Tray to Remember. Reasonably priced, good food, excellent service.http://www.atraytoremember.com/

Jan 19, 2015
chicgail in Chicago Area

What happened to Top Chef?

What's Knife Fight?

Jan 17, 2015
chicgail in Food Media & News

What happened to Top Chef?

It's called "jumping the shark."

According to Wikipoedia, "Jumping the shark is an idiom created by Jon Hein that was used to describe the moment in the evolution of a television show when it begins a decline in quality, signaled by a particular scene, episode, or aspect of a show in which the writers use some type of gimmick in an attempt to keep viewers' interest, and which is taken as a sign of desperation. The phrase is based on a scene from a fifth-season episode of the sitcom Happy Days when the character Fonzie jumps over a shark while on water-skis."

Texas was the worst offender, but I think they've dialed back. I love watching talented people do what they do well. I just think the producers feel obligated to keep putting new twists on it and it gets harder and harder to do that without a total loss of dignity and the original intent.

It may also be that really great relatively unknown chefs are less inclined to want to play if it includes PeeWee Herman or ice picking food out of an ice block. They have to balance the silliness against the exposure. I just can't imagine chefs of the talent of the Voltagio Brothers doing that nonsense.

Jan 16, 2015
chicgail in Food Media & News
1

Lulu's and Taco Diablo will return to Evanston -

That is great news. They've been missed.

Jan 16, 2015
chicgail in Chicago Area

Top Chef Boston – Ep. #11 – 01/14/15 (spoilers)

Random Thoughts:
I'm so jealous that they're going to San Miguel d'Allende. One of my favorite places on the planet. I have many friends there. Do we know if that's been shot yet?

Mai's brother may have been clueless in the kitchen, but she was pretty unpleasant with him. Notably so and in contrast with everyone else and their families. She may be a good chef but my estimation of her went down a bit.

Good for Melissa. She showed up. Maybe it was removing the pressure of not worrying about elimination. And that same factor made it ok that Gregory's blew it with his entree.

Nice dynamic between George ad his dad. Of course he had a Greek diner, Love it.

I loved Melissa's mother. She was warm and funny and I'd love to hang out with her.

Anyone else notice that Mai was the only one who wore a life jacket on the boat? I wondered if she is afraid of the water or can't swim. It was a pretty small boat.

Anyone Tried Momotaro?

Momotaro is the new Japanese restaurant from the Boka Group. We have reservations for late February.

Who has been there?
What did you think?

Jan 14, 2015
chicgail in Chicago Area

Coppervine Report

As much as I love to taste <<everything!>> I'm growing a bit bored of the "small plates" concept as well. That's why I mentioned it.

I did think that every dish we tasted was both creative and beautifully presented - and much of it was very good. I also liked the pairings of wine, beer and cocktails of various sizes.

Rock on.

Jan 13, 2015
chicgail in Chicago Area

Coppervine Report

Posting per Masha's request:

We have season's tix to Steppenwolf and we almost always wind up at Boka or Balenia or Vinci. We wanted to try something different. And I'm glad we did.

Coppervine is about a block and half north of the theater. It was a cold walk, but I had Mr. CG get the car after the theater and come by to pick me up.

This place was a find. They do something interesting with wine, beer and cocktail pairings for every course. I loved having a teeny weenie little cocktail with my hors d'oeurve course and then wine with the rest.

Their menu follows what has become pretty standard around town: small plates, medium plates and large plates. I had had a late lunch (and this was an early dinner) so we shared one item from each category.

For our small plate, we ordered a "root to stalk" beet salad. Both red and golden beets, but also beet greens, smoked beet stalks (called beet bacon), and blue cheese. We enjoyed it. They recommended it with a sauvignon blanc, a sidekkick pale ale or gin drink with St. Germain, lemon and egg white, which I had. Very good.

Our medium plate was the star of the meal. It was a salmon sashimi with a ridiculously soft and sexy coconut rice pudding, shaved pineapple curls and a Thai basil oil. Perfect.
By now we had moved on to a pinot noir which was also one of the recommended pairings.

Our last course was a little disappointing. It was a duck breast with duck pate served with (and here's the disappointing part) a cranberry marshmallow fluff (way too sweet for either of us) Even the tart cranberries barely cut through it.

They brought us the "wrong" dessert (although delicious) and comped us because we didn't have time to get what we wanted.

It was early Sunday night and the place was relatively empty. I hope they're doing better later or other nights because they're doing a lot of things right.

Jan 12, 2015
chicgail in Chicago Area

Board Consensus on Sable?

I assert that it's precisely what you are referring to as the echo chamber concern that keeps other people from posting. I used to be a regular poster, but the overwhelming tide of the same handful of posters with the same recommendations day after day (along the unpleasant push back at anyone who has a different opinion) - has kept me from reading, much less contributing to this board on a regular basis.

And Chowhound Chicago is no longer a go-to place for me to find places I want to try. Recently, I have discovered some really notable restaurants that no one has ever suggested (e.g. Embeya - and Coppervine just last night). It's really too bad.

Do the mods have any control over this? Surely they are aware of it.

Anyway, hooray for this thread. It's nice to hear someone say that the Emperor isn't wearing any clothes.

Board Consensus on Sable?

I think the reason there is so much "controversy" over Sable is that there is a poster who really, really loves it and mentions it often.

In my very humble opinion, Sable is fine. It's a great bar with amazing drinks. The drink menu has chapters. It's a pleasant place to hang out with friends. It has better than the average bar food. It is conveniently located for visitors. The chef was a Top Chef contestant.

It doesn't come close to the great restaurants in Chicago.

The likelihood, however, given some people's undying passion for Sable, is that this thread will turn into something of a cat fight - perhaps an interesting read, but not terribly productive. Expect serious push-back (it has already begun).

Jan 12, 2015
chicgail in Chicago Area

The Taste 1-8-2015 spoilers

Am I the only one who found it weird the Ludo stormed off, abandoning his team? Where did he go: for a smoke? The editing mad it impossible to figure out how long he was gone or where he went or really why.

Jan 09, 2015
chicgail in Food Media & News

Top Chef Boston – Ep. #10 – 01/07/15 (spoilers)

Melissa and Doug -- don't they make cute children's toys? Never mind.

Top Chef Boston – Ep. #10 – 01/07/15 (spoilers)

So glad to be back and able to see episodes as they are broadcast and so very grateful to you, Linda, for keeping me up to speed on what is happening during my move and while I waited to get TV up.

Like many of you, I was surprised and disappointed to see Doug go. I expected it to be Melissa. At this point she is a bit out of her element.

I loved the Andy Cohen camping and joking around in the Quickfire. He was funny and fun and the chefestants seemed to appreciate him. And now I am inspired to try something interesting with ramen.

Jan 08, 2015
chicgail in Food Media & News

You can’t detox your body. It’s a myth. So how do you get healthy?

I'm shocked. What about all those people who are "master-clensing" on cayenne and maple syrup and lemon? What about all those "super foods" like kale and blueberries and quinoa? Surely it has to be true if so many people are doing it! It has to! Right?

Just another one of those silly food fads like fruit only before noon or gluten-free or something like that. We are so gullible. Nice to see another bit of nonsense bite the dust.

Jan 02, 2015
chicgail in Food Media & News