Friday, February 18, 2011

This Week in Food & Drink: Moonshiners, West Town's New Belgian Bistro, Key Ingredient Jujubes, and More

Posted By on 02.18.11 at 03:30 PM

Manhattan and the Hemingway at Hubbard Inn

In Omnivorous Mike Sula tracks down a couple of modern-day moonshiners, one making aromatic runs of gin for the sheer DIY thrill of it, the other with hopes of crafting and eventually going legit with a Calvados-quality applejack made from Wisconsin cider. Distilling booze remains a felony; next week’s column on two upcoming licensed craft distilleries covers the path to making it legally.

Sula also reviews Leopold, the West Town Belgian-style bistro earlier profiled by contributor Michael Gebert. With standouts like steak tartare and a rabbit terrine fattened up with pork belly, chef Jeffrey Hedin's got a hit on his hands—now all we need is a Luxembourgian restaurant.

In Key Ingredient the Bristol’s chef-owner Chris Pandel tackles jujubes—the fruit not the candy—a drupe also known as the red date or Chinese date. Turning to North Africa for influence, he came up with a dish of lamb merguez sausage, smoked lamb, and a blood orange-endive salad served upon a swoop of jujube puree flavored with orange juice, coffee, and Aleppo pepper. Next up is Greg Biggers, Martial Noguier’s replacement at Cafe des Architectes, who’s been tasked with beef tendons, of which Pandel warns, "if you don’t know how to work with them, they’re not going to turn out so good."

Our news feature Morsels reports on the opening of "Continental tavern" Hubbard Inn in River North (lunch there begins on Monday) and the city’s latest mobile food purveyor, the Southern Mac Truck, which features four rotating varieties of mac ’n’ cheese from chef Cary Taylor; you can follow it on Twitter @thesouthernmac.

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