Good guy and co-owner of both Autre Monde Café and Spirits and Horrorbles, John Aranza is no doubt the dark force behind the Zombie Walk that takes place every year along Roosevelt Road. Horrorbles, which used to be located right next door to Autre Monde, has since relocated, and the shop is sponsoring the walk; you can convene at Horrorbles at 4:30PM today, October 26, for make-up and costume staging.

If livelier pursuits appeal to you more, on November 14th Autre Monde welcomes Sicilian winemaker Frank Cornelissen. Autre Monde chefs Dan Pancake and Beth Partridge will host a welcome reception followed by a four-course meal matched with Cornelissen’s wines. Dubbed “natural wines,” Cornelissen’s vino is described on his site as the result of “learning the movements of Mother Earth in her various energetic and cosmic passages.” This natural wine is grown without the use of chemical inputs or even the application of very gentle biodynamic methodologies.

There is a mystical philosophy behind these natural wines, which would matter little if the wines were not exceptional. I’ve yet to taste any of Cornelissen’s wines, but Cellar Tracker awards a 90/100 to the NV Frank Cornelissen MunJebel Rosso 7 and in Wine Spectator, Matt Kramer wrote:

Winegrowers like Mr. Cornelissen are now stretching our understanding of “greatness.” Mr. Cornelissen’s best red wine, Magma, is like no other version of Nerello Mascalese, nor any other red wine of my experience. It does deliver the complexity and characterfulness conventionally understood as a prerequisite to the acclamation “great.”

But the element of intellectualism cannot be ignored. Is a wine like Magma “great” not only because of its sensorily pleasurable qualities, but also because of the winemaker’s own revisionist notion of the possibilities of wine beauty, brought to life by an extreme non-interventionism?

I’m on record for believing Autre Monde is a great place to eat; about the greatness of Mr. Cornelissen’s wines, you can decide for yourself on November 14th.

Happy Halloween! 

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David Hammond

David Hammond, a corporate communications consultant and food journalist living in Oak Park, Illinois, is a founder and moderator of, the 8,500 member Chicago-based culinary chat site. David...