Collection of Recent Articles/Happenings

I apologize for the randomness of this post but in the past few weeks, I came across a lot of good articles, dinners, happenings, etc. and I wanted to share!

Really enjoyed my recent meal at Thurk and La Sirena Clandestina; drinks at Scofflaw and The Office

Excited about the new website for the Sup Club I helped start

You really should check out Mitsuwa Marketplace not only for groceries (Wagyu, Berkshire pork, Monkfish liver) and Ramen in the food court

Just signed up for this monthly box delivery for a good cause

Chinese food boxes unfold to become plates!!

10 dining trends you need to know

The truth about olive oil found here

This mug is NOT ok

The Taste of Chicago added Food trucks

Thought this list was 1) helpful and 2) cute

Instagramming stranger’s food video prank = hilarious

Food related skit on SNL had me rollin

Oh Magnus. Only chicken can be chicken

EL Ideas received 3 Stars from Phil Vettel. Well deserved!

So proud of Elizabeth restaurant making it on Chicago Magazine’s list of 2013 best new Chicago restaurants

There’s going to be a beer festival in Wicker Park and Bucktown


Super cool TV show in the works about a Food Revolution in Chicago


Cured Egg Yolk

I recently learned of another fun trick with eggs!  At a recent Thurk dinner, Chef Justin Behlke strolled past each diner shaving what he referred to as cured egg yolk while he explained the dish.  This definitely piqued my interest and I cached it away as something that would require further research!

The proof of concept seemed easy enough so I grabbed the last egg in the fridge and buried it in the curing mixture to see what would happen.  I decided to start with a basic 50/50 mix of sugar and salt and added a bit of Herbs de Provence to see if it would pick up much flavor.  The “biggest” challenge is making sure the yolk doesn’t break!

After a 1 day cure and a two-week aging, the flavor seemed comparable to parmesan cheese, adding a salty richness.  My first pairing was with bone marrow, daikon, and leek which didn’t look quite as pretty as I envisioned, but it added an extra depth of flavor to the already rich marrow.

I’m curious now how different aging times will impact the flavor.  Hmmmm, I think I have a fresh dozen in the refrigerator… stay tuned…


Place whole raw egg yolk into a 50/50 mixture of salt and sugar. I added herbs de provence for extra flavor.


Cure the egg yolk for 24 hours in this mixture


Remove salt from cured egg yolk, place in cheesecloth and hang in the back of your fridge for 1 week.


Use a microplane to shave the cured egg yolk onto your dish


One egg yolk produces a lot of shavings!


We shaved ours onto bone marrow with roasted daikon and leeks. Not the prettiest, but delicious!

Best Things We Consumed in 2012

2012 brought some of our best food experiences yet — thanks to awesome newfound foodie friends and restaurants that arrived in our lives.  Underground dining proved to be a great way to meet new people and try ground breaking food. Looking forward to what 2013 has to offer!  Next restaurant is on the books as well as Sous Rising Underground and Thurk Underground and a preview of TMIP (Brandon Baltzley’s new restaurant). I’ll be sure to share.

Below is a compendium of the tastiest dishes and beverages we were fortunate to consume in 2012:

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One Sister Underground (Now Elizabeth Restaurant):
Spring Menu (see my full blog post on this menu here):
Beet: Marshmallow and biscuit with whipped bacon fat
Carrots and Cashews: Blanched, dehydrated & shaved carrots, cashew milk, roasted cashews, carrot top pesto
*1 Pill Makes You Larger: Cocoa nib and chamomile in a dissolving capsule
Rice Crispy and Bear: Puffed wild rice, cured black bear, Wisconsin cheddar, pink peppercorn
Chicken liver mousse: Chicken liver mousse encapsulated in dark cocoa, fennel pollen, madiera gel

Elizabeth Restaurant:
Owl menu:
*Carrot tea with ginger
Hen & Egg
Pear & Chestnut dessert
Deer menu:
*Tartare and Sumac
Salmon Cannoli
Forest Float
Porcini mushroom dessert
Diamond menu (see my full blog post on this menu here):
Foraged matsutake mushrooms and juniper powder on top of cinnamon custard
Loup de mer with apple cider gelee and sunchoke puree.
Oyster and Nasturtium (kumamoto oyster)
**Hamachi with fermented leek and fish sauce caramel (WINNER)

EL Ideas:
February Menu:
*Anise Hyssop:  Brussels/pecans/root beer
Ideas in Food collaboration dinner:
Sunflower seed risotto, porcini, and kombu
December Menu:
Octopus: eggplant / cardoon / garam masala
*Secreto: parsnip / horseradish / old bay
Wagyu: royal trumpet / sunchoke / leek

Thurk Underground:
Mushroom, dandelion, ricotta, and chicken skin
Cauliflower, cress, and egg yolk

Christmas Menu:
Mille-fuille: Puff pastry, lemon ricotta, apples, goat cheese. honey nut cereal infused rum, honey, lemon, frangelico
Sweet Potato: Chain vanilla parsnip, balsamic, truffle, hazelnut
Easter menu:
April Showers capon, cauliflower, Tokyo turnip
Heavy Metal menu:
*Deep Purple Poutine: purple potatoes, aged cheddar, short rib
Back in Black: donut sauce, salted whipped cream, and espresso

City Provisions:
*Sasparilla stout
Jicama potato salad

S&M Underground:
July Menu:
Sai Gog (Laos) – pork sausages, papaya salad
August Menu:
Matzo-Pot-Au-Pho: matzo, broth, carrot, daikon, leek, asian herbs

Girl and the Goat:
*Arctic Char with capers, ruby grapefruit
*Kohlrabi: fennel, almonds, shiitakes, pears, and ginger dressing

Mezcal old-fashioned with notes of tomatillo and grapefruit and a coconut-dill ice cube — created by Michael Simon

Carriage House:
*Venison tartare
Collard Greens
*Crispy Pork shoulder with grits and smoked plums

*Octopus dish with grilled with Chickpeas, Pickled Green Onions, Radish, Black Soybean, Grapes, Ginger-Scallion Vinaigrette

El bulli menu (see my full blog post on this menu here):
Chicken Liquid Croquettes
Cauliflower cous-cous with solid aromatic herb sauce
Potato tortilla, trumpet carpaccio
Foie gras caramel custard
Mint pond
Kyoto menu:
*Corn Husk (broth)
Matsutake Chawanmushi, pine

Graham Elliot (with Andrew Brochu):

Owen & Engine:

Chicken liver takoyaki
Pig foot ramen

Lula Cafe:
Buccatini with brown butter and garlic
Chestnut, brie, and rosemary Strada

Chizakaya (RIP):
*Octopus beignets
Po Bao

Robuchon mashed potatoes

Publican Quality Meats:
(PB & L) Pork Belly and Lamb Sausage sandwich

Lobster pad thai

Tagliolini Nero, crab, sea urchin, chili
Amaro cocktails

Barrelhouse Flat:
Remember the Main
Mamie Taylor

*Deconstructed Baked Potato Soup
Truffle Ravioli

La Sze Chuan:
*Dry chili chicken
Lamb with dry cumin

Machu Picchu:
Cancha (Peruvian fried corn kernels)

Bouchon Bakery:
Vanilla and Pistachio flavored macarons

Do-Rite Donuts:
Old Fashioned donut

Pecking Order:
Banana ketchup
P.O. sauce

Premise (RIP):
*Lapsang Souchong cocktail
Foie Gras pretzel

Fumare Meats & Deli:
Montreal Smoked sandwich

Millenium Park Bean sandwich
BLTA sandwich

The Peasantry:
Chocolate chili fried chicken on a corn pancake

Pleasant House Bakery:
*Mushroom and Kale pie

Birchwood Kitchen:
Chickpea salad

Guapichosa (“Secret” pork sandwich)
*”Dealer’s Choice” drinks

Crispy pig ears with Habanero, maple, and cilantro

*Corn: Huitlacoche, sour cherry, silk
Chanterelle: ramps, asparagus, smoked date
Black Truffle explosion, romaine, parmesan

Corn risotto

Revolution Brewing:
Mad Cow Milk Stout

*Matsutake tea
*Eel Chawanmushi
*Chef’s Choice Omakase

The Publican (Faviken Dinner):
*Arctic Char with matsutake mushrooms, apples, and fermented cucumbers

Peanut Butter and Jelly custard

Urban Belly:
Lamb and brandy ravioli

*Celery gin and tonic cocktail
Pickle tots

The Savoy:
Truffle cocktail

Pork Ramen

Longman & Eagle:
Chicago style Pig Face

Au Cheval:
Foie gras terrine with cherry sauce

In Montreal, Canada:
Jean Talon Market:
Ground cherries
Morcilla (Spanish blood sausage)
*Jerky Jack Lab cocktail (Cane sugar, bitter BBQ craft, Curacao Pierre Ferrand, Tennessee Whiskey Jack Daniels and sweet and spicy beef jerky)
Flaming S’More shot
Le Couteau (The Knife):
Joe Beef:
Oeufs en Pot: Chanterelle mushrooms, bacon, chicken skin jus, soft egg
Bone Marrow with pickled vegetables and mustard
*Filet de Cheval a Cheval (Horse entrée)
*Au Pied de Cochon: Foie Gras Apple Tart

*Best of the best

Egg Bao with Pork Belly and Pickled Ramp Sauce

Awhile back, my friend Tom introduced me to the idea of pressure cooking eggs. After months of staring at a brand new pressure cooker, trying to figure out how to break it in and not blow up the kitchen in the process (there is really little risk of blowing anything up these days), I happened to be flush with eggs from my farmer Paul. I figured it would be a good time to toss ’em in the pressure cooker and see what happens.

Nerd Side Bar:  A pressure cooker @15 psi will boil water at ~120C/248F (depending on elevation and a few other factors). This, coupled with the alkalinity of egg whites, causes both the whites and yolk to undergo Maillard Reactions (aka the reason browned meat tastes so darn good!).  This results in a hard boiled egg that has the flavor of roast chicken (seriously).

Prior to embarking on this journey, I decided I should at least do some research. I came across this interview with Dave Arnold where he described how he (and his intern Ed) stumbled into something they called egg bread while trying to pressure cook just the yolks.  So, of course, I had to attempt some egg bread of my own.  I did have plenty of eggs after all. Did I mention I was roasting some pork belly?  I don’t quite remember what I had in mind at the time, but when someone (Paul) shows up bearing 5 pounds of pork belly, you find ways to use it!

Egg Bread Recipe:

  1. 6 large egg yolks
  2. 4.5g baking powder

Mix yolks and baking powder together until it starts to get a little thick.  Pour mixture into a ramekin (or any other suitably shaped dish) and place the dish into a steamer for 30 min.

The mix rises nicely and the texture reminded me of bao.  So quite naturally I cut my bread into vaguely bao shaped buns, topped them with a slice of the pork belly and made a pickled ramp dressing that I recalled from the Momofuku book (chopped pickled ramps + mayonnaise = delicious ). This recipe is also gluten free which was nicely noted by our friend Melissa McEwen!

*The more astute among you may have noticed the pressure cooked eggs didn’t quite make an appearance in the final product, but rest assured they did turn out quite tasty and make a rockin egg salad mixed with a little mayo and sriracha. Fill pressure cooker with just enough water to cover eggs, then follow your pressure cooker’s instructions to cook at 15psi for about an hour.

** I used this Pork Belly Egg Bao below to ‘cheat’ at an Iron Chef Sardine dinner party I attended.  This time I used a sous vide pork belly with a homemade sardine ‘katsuobushi’ shaved on top.

Egg yolk and baking soda mixture

Ready for steaming

Egg mixture steaming

Steamed egg bread ready for cutting

Pork belly from Paulie’s Pastures (not sure why this picture came out so yellow…)

Pork belly egg bao with pickled ramp aioli


Written and photographed by: Nicholas A. Hruza

Roasted pasta

Always looking for new inspiration and techniques to further our cooking, we usually take our search to the Ideas in Food book or blog. This simple, yet extremely affective roasting technique brings the pasta flavor to a nutty, toasty level that is surprisingly not on grocery shelves yet.

Pasta roasting in the oven at 350 degrees for 20 minutes

Aerial glamour shot of the roasted pasta.

Roasted pasta soaking for 2.5 hours in water to re-hydrate. This cuts down cooking time. You can also further infuse flavor by using flavored liquid.

Finished dish: Roasted pasta with roasted pasta water reduction (Finished with some acidulated butter and thyme)

Close up

Childhood Dinner Party

After hearing about Next restaurant’s Childhood Menu, Nick had the brilliant idea of hosting a childhood dinner party at our house. Each guest brought a dish that represented a food memory from their childhood. The night brought about tasty, inventive food and discussions of past memories!

The Menu:

First Course by Nick: Ode to Wax Sticks — Red Cabbage Gazpacho w/Mustard Ice Cream, Green Pea Soup w/Ham + mint oil, Orange Pumpkin Soup w/ Hazelnuts + Rosemary + Pumpkin Seeds. Served in tubes from Wax Candy:

2nd Course by Christine Case Labno: Peanut butter and Figs wrapped in bacon — her twisted take on Peanut butter and Jelly. Everything is better with bacon!
3rd Course by Blair Hannah: Lobster Mac n’ cheese. Seriously the best mac n’ cheese I’ve had to date:
4th Course by Jordan Bartle: Homemade goldfish with juice boxes. His Dad made the cookie cutter molds for the goldfish!
5th Course by Josh Hoen: “Fish Stick” Pizza. Josh’s family grew up Catholic and his brother wouldn’t eat fish so his Dad made up a concoction of fish sticks on pizza to get him to eat it. On this pizza was cod, chorizo, tomato, mushrooms, arugula, and garlic. It was outstanding!
6th Course by Keith Trice: Chinese style pork loin with blue cheese mashed potatoes on dinner rolls. A compilation of a few favorites from his childhood. The dinner rolls were his mom’s recipe. Delicious!
7th Course by Nick: Mac n’ Cheese pasta with Kraft Cheese sauce sphere, brandy poached pear, and pecans. Nick still likes Kraft Mac n’ Cheese above all other mac n’ cheeses.
8th Course by Nick: Grapefruit slices topped with Nerds Candy. A bit of tart, tangy, and sweetness. For the “nerd” in all of us…
9th Course by Chris Labno: Pot Roast with Homemade Dumplings. Inspired by his mom’s cooking when he was a kid!
10th Course by Jeff Meador: French Toast BLT open face sandwich with Maple Bacon shake and maple mayo on the side.
11th Course by Me: Homemade vanilla bean ice cream on top of homemade potato chips. My mom would take my sister and I through the McDonald’s drive through and order a vanilla cone with french fries. We would dip the fries in the ice cream and the salty versus sweet combination was a memory that remains.
12th Course by Joline and Kevin Hegi: Giant Peanut butter and Jelly sandwich cake!
13th Course by Me: Apple juice gelatin with buttered popcorn water gelatin. I love the combination of popcorn with a swig of apple
juice. Yum:
14th Course by Kevin and Joline Hegi: Homemade Cinnamon Toast Crunch Cereal Ice Cream. Combining Kevin’s love for Cinnamon Toast Crunch Cereal, Joline’s obsession with cereal, and Kevin and Joline’s love of ice cream.
Nothing says a party like Dixie cups, beer bottles, juice boxes, and Twizzlers in a vase.

Best Things We Consumed in 2011

Oysters and Pearls at The French Laundry

2011 proved to be a great year for eating and drinking around the city of Chicago. Below are some of our top picks for the best food and drink we consumed (with a few thrown in from our San Francisco and Vegas trips). These are in no particular order and I’m sure I forgot a few!

Revolution Brewing— House-Cured Jowl Bacon Ragout, Barrel Aged Black Power Beer

iNG — Tuna poke; Short rib

Leopold — Smoked rabbit spaetzle

Kith & Kin (R.I.P.) — Fried chicken thighs, Smoked oysters
Chizakaya — Hamachi with bone marrow and garlic
Pastoral — Millenium Park bean sandwich
Sable Kitchen & Bar — Corn brulee
Saigon Sisters — Classic Bahn Mi
Spacca Napoli — Funghi wood oven pizza
Baconfest — Bacon rillette lollipop with maple bacon cotton candy lollipop (From Longman & Eagle); Bacon and foie gras moon pie topped with cayenne peanuts (From Big Jones); Cherrywood smoked bacon and black currant fruit roll up with bacon “cannoli” filled with maple bacon mascarpone (From Atwood Cafe)
Nightwood Restaurant — Wood oven smoked duck, Fried meyer lemon slices with caper aioli
Brown Trout — Wagyu with ramps and morels
City Provisions Deli — Ham sandwich on pretzel bread; Red pepper and humboldt fog quiche
Avenues (R.I.P.) — Alaskan king crab, Wagyu beef ribeye with ramps
Bouchon Bakery (Vegas) — Vanilla macaron; Pistachio macaron
Amy’s Candy Bar — Concord grape gummy bears
Next — Fillet de Sole Daumont, Supremes de Poussin (Escoffier Menu)
The Aviary — Blueberry
North Pond — Rabbit 3-ways (Spring menu)
Black Sheep (R.I.P.) — Mushroom Explosion
Sprout — Lamb medallions with pea puree (brunch menu)
El Ideas — Agnolotti: chicken/cornichon/brioche; Eggs: uni/char/scrambled/shrimp; Spanner crab: gnocchi/eggplant; Broccoli: Cauliflower/curry/cheese curd; Bourbon: pecan/coffee/tobacco — inspired by aunts drinking coffee and bourbon while smoking
Meaty Balls Mobile (R.I.P.) — Original Meatball sandwich
Wisconsin State Fair — Cream Puffs
Comstock Saloon (San Francisco) — Cheddar crackers with pepper jelly and cream cheese
Atelier Crenn (San Francisco) — Butter poached oysters with St. Germaine
Humphry Slocombe — Bourbon Coke Float: Bourbon caramel sauce/Secret Breakfast ice cream/coke
Slanted Door — Corn with chanterelle mushrooms
French Laundry — Oysters and Pearls; Poulard
The Butcher & Larder — Italian Sausage
GT Fish and Oyster — Shrimp and foie gras terrine
Koval Distillery — Spelt whiskey
Moto — Summer Breeze; Kentucky fried pasta/red wine puree; Cigars (Cuban, Philly Blunt, Monte Cristo)
Franks ‘N’ Dawgs — Seared swine pork sausage topped with white wine pickled pumpkin, grape & smoked onion relish, candied ginger & sage aioli & dijon mustard (Creation by Nathan Sears of Vie)
Fumare Meats — Montreal smoked pastrami sandwich
Festival of Wood and Barrel aged beer fest — Goose Island Manhattan Bourbon County Stout
Pleasant House Bakery — Mushroom and kale pie
One Sister Underground Dinner — Bubble Tea: Apple Pie/Bourbon; Pierogi: White Truffle/Cheese, Grilled Cheese Soup; 1 Pill makes you Larger and 1 pill makes you smaller (Chamomile and Mushroom); Ice Cream Cone: Bacon/Koval whiskey
Barrelhouse Flat — Old Fashioned
The Bristol
— Crispy pig tail with peanuts and coconut broth
2 Sparrows
 — Mushroom, leek, and kale quiche