David Hammond, a corporate communications consultant and food journalist living in Oak Park, Illinois, is a founder and moderator of LTHForum.com, the 8,500 member Chicago-based culinary chat site. David is a regular contributor of restaurant reviews and food-related articles for Chicago Tribune, Chicago Sun-Times, TimeOut Chicago, Local Beet, and Chicago Reader, which published his seven-part guide to regional Mexican food in the city. He has also contributed food writing to blogs such as the Local Beet and Grubstreet Chicago. With his friend Michael Gebert (creator of Sky Full of Bacon video podcasts), he hosted a cable documentary on Hispanic chow at Chicago's Maxwell Street Market,and has just completed working on a video about Taste of Melrose Park. A returning guest on WLS and WGN AM radio, David produces the "Soundbites" series on the James Beard-nominated Eight Forty-Eight (Chicago Public Radio, WBEZ, 91.5FM); these radio pieces examine how Chicago chefs use sound in their kitchens; listen here: http://tiny.cc/QpCTA. David was featured on "Good Morning, America," "Chicago, Tonight," and Nippon TV when he developed recipes for preparing seasonal cicadas, which invaded Chicagoland during the spring of 2007. More information, including writing samples and bug-cooking videos, can be found at www.dchammond.com.
Carnivore opened late last summer, and we've been there a few times to pick up meat and fish. The boys at Carnivore now also offer lunch. Stopping in for a sandwich is a good way to sample their hand-crafted wurst.
Visiting Oakland, California, I was surprised to find that my daughter Abigail Grimes, who recently gave birth to my second grandchild, was offered the child's placenta, prepared by a placenta processor/doula in several formats: a tincture (alcohol with a hunk of placenta floating in it), pills containing dried/powdered placenta, and cubes of frozen placenta broth. As an added bonus, Abigail was also given a print of the placenta that was created by flopping the organ on a piece of paper right after the birth. All of these post-childbirth gift bag items are in the picture above.
At Berwyn's Pulqueria, this ancient Mexican beverage is not, of course, produced on site. It is, however, served in big frosty mugs, flavored with a variety of sometimes surprising juices and other condiments.
You can't even say "Beans AND Franks" without sounding pretentious: it's Beans n Franks. Simple, straightforward and about as basic as a food can get. I've no doubt this one-pot-two-ingredient meal has been enjoyed around campfires, by boy scouts and hoboes, for a long time.
Wicker Park's Animale is a new fast-casual restaurant from Aldo Zaninotto, whose much fancier Osteria Langhe offers higher-end Italian dishes that come in around $18 for apps and $30 for entrées. It isn't like that at Animale, but neither is Animale anything like Oak Park's fast-casual places, Five Guys and Chipotle, both of which we like but both of which are strictly counter-service with much less chef-y options.