chicgail's Profile

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Lone Chef/Food Addict Exploring Chicago

There are lots of good hot dog joints around, but Portillos does it as well as most. You'll get the real deal. BTW, I vastly prefer their Vienna Polish sausage (not a traditional Polish sausage) to their hot dogs. Bigger, juicier, a bit spicier and with a terrific crunch when you bite into it.

Mar 24, 2015
chicgail in Chicago Area

Lone Chef/Food Addict Exploring Chicago

Good choices. I agree with ferret about losing Harold's - its decent chicken, but nothing remarkable.

L&E is an option for brunch, lunch or dinner.
Portillos is a good stop for either a Chicago hot dog or an Italian Beef - perhaps not the absolutely best in town but will give you a good sense of it.
Malnati's is as good a deep dish pizza option as you'll find, but I remain partial to the original Uno and Due who started it all in the 1940s. And then there are the other variations around town like Pizanos - all were based on the same family recipe..

Have a great time and let us know how it goes.

Mar 24, 2015
chicgail in Chicago Area

another spoilage question

<< who keeps leftover oatmeal, anyway?>>

I do. If I have leftovers, I like to form it into patties the next day, fry it up in a little butter and top it with maple syrup.

Mar 20, 2015
chicgail in General Topics

Is it safe to let my chicken stock simmer on the stove overnight while I sleep?

Are we talking about a nap or overnight. I wouldn't try it over night, but for an hour or so? Sure.

Mar 20, 2015
chicgail in General Topics

Is it safe to let my chicken stock simmer on the stove overnight while I sleep?

Stock can explode? How does that happen?

Mar 20, 2015
chicgail in General Topics

How long will my freshly shucked oysters stay good in fridge?

Sorry but chuck 'em. It's the only safe thing to do.

Mar 19, 2015
chicgail in General Topics
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What it's like to compete on Chopped

Mar 02, 2015
chicgail in Food Media & News
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Overnight in Chicago

I've never been to Little Goat as the diner, but have been to their Sunday Night Suppers which are ticketed affairs with lots of food and drink served family style (on the website as "goat happenings". It doesn't look like anything is scheduled at the moment (http://www.littlegoatchicago.com/goat...). I highly recommend them Both times it was fun, the food was amazing and way too plentiful and we met some people who have become good "eating buddies."

Mar 02, 2015
chicgail in Chicago Area

Looks like "The Taste" is bland and won't be back

I haven't seen it yet, but the new Sunday evening Food Network show - something Academy - looks at least in the promos a lot like the Taste (Iron Chefs mentoring home cooks). Has anyone seen it who can comment?

Mar 02, 2015
chicgail in Food Media & News

"The War on Wheat", CBC doc

Sadly, I think both sides of this controversy are dubious. Both have something to gain and/or axes to grind. I have no faith in Monsanto or the quack docs who rail against wheat, gluten, GMOs, etc. I don't know if the science is really in and I am not on either side as the moderator so dramatically notes. So much junk science and so many people and corporations that stand to benefit from you and I coming down on their side.

Looks like "The Taste" is bland and won't be back

The whole show was way too long with much too much time give to both the judges and the contestants discussing the challenges. Booorring. If not for being able to ff through the recorded show, I wouldn't have watched it at all.

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.

Feb 26, 2015
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.

Feb 25, 2015
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.

Feb 25, 2015
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.

Feb 25, 2015
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
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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
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