At Hamburger Hop, the kickoff event for Chicago Gourmet, Oak Park-based television chef and food celebrity Jeff Mauro won the People's Choice award for the best burger. This award is given based on a popular vote by people who attended the Hamburger Hop event on Friday, September 27th, 2013.
The curanto I had at Raices de Chiloe included a kind of potato-flour fritter, mussels, clams, sausage, a hot dog-type wiener, pork chop, chicken leg, and potato. There was also a sheet of cooked dough (seen in picture) that was kind of a mystery to me, but it added to variety. Broth was on the side.
About half way through the meal, our server let us know it was guanaco…and I was thrilled, not by the taste, but by the opportunity to sample what had been for dinner for thousands of years in this neighborhood. Guanaco, once rigorously protected and thus unavailable to schmos like me, is making a comeback.
Reflecting the evolution of Chicago into a true culinary capital, Chicago Gourmet is a gathering of some of the finest kitchen talent in the city. Starting tonight with a competitive hamburger event, the event goes through this Saturday and Sunday, September 28-29, in Millennium Park with about 100 Chicagoland chefs and dozens of winemakers doing their best to impress the thousands that show up expecting nothing but.
Recently, a company called CJK emailed to ask if they could send me some samples of their home-delivered breakfast and dinner offerings. They do prepared food deliveries in the South Loop, as well as Oak Park, and a few points in between.
The food that's most reflective of a culture is street food, eaten by locals every day on their way to and from work, frequently prepared outside their homes or offices with products sometimes growing (or caught) in the neighborhood. I just received my copy of Street Food around the World, edited by Colleen Sen and former Wednesday Journalcontributor Bruce Kraig. For this encyclopedia, I wrote chapters on street food I enjoyed last year in Hong Kong, Singapore, Taiwan, and Thailand.
Last month, DeOrio and I met up at Johnnie's Beef, the legendary Italian beef stand in Elmwood Park, to talk about the show and Italian beef. De Orio grew up down the street from Johnnie's, so it's been a part of her life since she was little.