While some higher-end restaurants in Chicago focus things like the limitless possibilities of agar agar or modern takes on charcuterie, there’s a reason why places like Spiaggia, which has been around for 20+ years, still rightfully own a place in the canon of fine dining.
Read more: (Re)visiting Spiaggia
It was halfway into my first Wobble Stopper, the official bloody mary of Baconfest 2013 (official maybe because it had a strip of bacon as a garnish in it??), when the proverbial Eddie Murphy Delirious “Ice Cream” moment happened — a bacon lover, a faulty toothpick, the plummet of fried pork to UIC Pavilion floor death. Somehow I was the only witness to the party foul. He saw me watching, I saw the hesitation. We both looked down at the casualty, feeling his bacon pain. “You were debating that moment, weren’t you?” He was, he admitted. In the five-second rule world, he would’ve been fine. “But all these people,” he lamented.
Lesson Number 1: The bacon lover, as defined in the official published Bacon Manifesto, treasures bacon in all of its forms. Even on the floor.
Read the rest of Brandy Gonsoulin’s seven lessons from Baconfest Chicago: A Pesco-Vegetarian Goes to Baconfest
We just launched a new series, by Elisha Marshall, on Chicago’s ketchup culture. (Don’t worry, it won’t go on any hot dogs.)
Read more: Bad Apple’s Got Good Ketchup
How To Celebrate National Pizza Week
Did you know that it is national pizza week? I didn’t either. In fact, I wonder if this is an officially sanctioned holiday at all, or if it is more like the Milkshake Mondays and Champagne Thursdays that I like to celebrate.
In any case, most of us don’t need any encouragement to eat more pizza, official or not. But if you do, consider it your patriotic duty to partake in one of America’s favorite foods this week. To make it easy to participate in this delicious holiday, we’ve gathered some options for you and arranged them in order of effort required.
There seemed be an unspoken “battle” going on between Chef John Besh and Bon Appetit Editor-in-Chief Adam Rapoport during Besh’s demonstration. Maybe it’s all the beef Besh had from the previous day’s Hamburger Hop or that he doesn’t like getting photographed while stuffing his face, but you could almost cut the tension with a “Bon Appetit knife” — which Besh didn’t hesitate to mockingly point out throughout his demo.
Neon Green Relish: A Taste Test
What makes a Chicago-style hot dog so unique? It’s the melding of all the ingredients, the balance of flavors tested over time and eventually made canon: hot dog, yellow mustard, relish, chopped onion, tomato slice, dill pickle spear, sport peppers, celery salt, poppy seed bun. All together, they create a delicious harmony.
Nonetheless, one ingredient stands out, especially to visitors to Chicago: the neon green relish. Its artificial hue can’t help but draw attention, and it’s the most talked-about element among tourists and insult comedians.
We tell you which ones are good — and find a “relish” that isn’t worthy of the term — in our Drive-Thru taste test.
The actual stuffing of the sausage into the casings is by far the most painstaking part. Not only do you have to soak the salt-packed casings in water, but you also have to run the water through the casings to rinse them out. I’ve spared you a photograph of this step, but suffice it to say it looks as gross as you’d think (that is, if you’re thinking of a full bladder like I am. Oops. Sorry.)
Jen Bacher tells you how to make sausage and influence people in Drive-Thru.
“Label submitted to the state of Wisconsin for trademark registration. “Chicken Hot Dog, Chicken Redhot Company, W.M. Neill, proprietor.” On the label is an image of a hotdog with a chicken head and chicken feet.” (1928)
Get your mind out of the gutter.