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Monday, May 14, 2012

The best tomato sauce recipe ever—with canned tomatoes?

Posted By on 05.14.12 at 11:23 AM

Delicious canned tomatoes
I'm not much for recipes—or at least not for actually following them. While I’m always excited to come across a new one, I’m also usually convinced that a few variations will improve whatever I’m making. I am, however, a sucker for the "best ______ ever" articles that crop up approximately every two days. I should know better, but it gets me every time.

How can you not want to make the "most talked-about buttery tomato pasta recipe ever," especially when the eminently reputable Francis Lam has recommended it? He’s got a list of credentials a mile long. When he says the recipe is "one of my favorite things on earth to make, because it never fails to blow minds,” it sounds pretty convincing to me. He goes on: "It’s a sauce that some people describe as being 'sweet and summery,' and others 'velvety and lush,' and the reason you can have such opposing descriptions is because the flavors are so beautifully balanced."

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Thursday, May 3, 2012

One Bite: the most painfully sweet thing you'll ever eat

Posted By on 05.03.12 at 04:02 PM

pour some sugar on me

Just when you think there's no culinary frontier to cross—that nothing in this burg will surprise or challenge your jaded palate—you're knocked to your knees by something so extreme you almost fear to utter its name.

For you, foodlum, I present the Malort of melliferousness, the bhut jolokia of dulcitude, the Santorum of sweetness: I give you Doraji ka mashoor gola ganda.

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Monday, April 30, 2012

Updated: Chief Keef going big, signing to Cash Money

Posted By on 04.30.12 at 05:39 PM


I just got an email saying that the Cash Money deal I mention below is actually not happening, and that the Chief Keef Twitter account it was sent from is a fake, which is something I didn't even consider. I guess impersonating established celebrities on Twitter has gotten old and now people are impersonating unsigned rappers? I don't get it but it's the Internet and a lot about the Internet makes no sense at all.

It's a very exciting time for local rapper Chief Keef right now. In just the past few weeks his fan base has exploded—it now includes not only the kids on the south side who've idolized him since his song "Bang" became a hyperlocal smash last year but also rap heavyweights like Kanye West and Baby, who've been gushing over him. All of this attention (along with the clothes-shopping spree that Keef's been live tweeting) has bred speculation that labels looking to tap into his massive buzz had started a bidding war. Yesterday he announced on Twitter that he's signed to Baby's Cash Money Records, home to Drake, Nicki Minaj, and Lil Wayne. This is only the latest in a recent flurry of big deals signed by young Chicago hip-hop artists, including producer Young Chop, who made the beat for Keef's "I Don't Like" (which Kanye has remixed with a cast of A-list rappers but hasn't yet made public). Chop recently inked a production deal with Warner Brothers.

Over the weekend Keef stoked the chatter surrounding him a little more by releasing a new video with equally buzzed-about rapper Riff Raff, whose increasingly bizarre lyrics have me loving him way more now than when I first heard him. Check out "Cuz My Gear" after the jump, along with a mix of new Chicago hip-hop from local DJ Meaghan Garvey, aka Moneyworth, in case you were wondering what it is that all of these labels are fighting over.

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The meditative free jazz of Tomas Fujiwara

Posted By on 04.30.12 at 03:52 PM

Tomas Fujiwara
  • Tomas Fujiwara
On Tuesday night at the Whistler, great local cellist Tomeka Reid will premiere a promising new trio with Nick Butcher (electronics) and New York drummer Tomas Fujiwara, who was just in town with Indian brass band Red Baraat. (The gig comes in the middle of a recording session for the band.) Earlier this spring, another Reid trio called Hear in Now released its debut, and her cohorts in this new group both drop new albums this month. Butcher celebrates the release of Free Jazz Bitmaps Vol. 1 (Hometapes) with a performance and art exhibition at Saki Records on Fri 5/4 from 6-9 PM, and Fujiwara's excellent New York band the Hook Up releases its second album tomorrow.

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One Bite: soup dumplings at Hing Kee

Posted By on 04.30.12 at 03:32 PM

pleated for your pleasure
  • Mike Sula
  • pleated for your pleasure

Nearly a year and a half ago the omnibus restaurant Hing Kee surprised everyone by stationing a dedicated noodle-puller in its front window. This is a place whose menu was, and continues to be, worryingly all over the map: Vietnamese, Chinese, Thai, and a sushi menu that included things like "sushi pizza" and "double punk rock & roll." And yet it hired Chef Liu Chang Ming, a specialized craftsman whose mesmerizing noodle dough cat's-cradle act was put prominently on display for all to see, an investment that surely pulls in aimless wanderers of the Chinatown Mall every day.

And as of a month and a half ago, they've got another draw: a dedicated soup-dumpling ringer.

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Updated again: CPD shutting down L.E.P. Bogus Boys?

Posted By on 04.30.12 at 02:54 PM


I just got off the phone with a spokesman from House of Blues Entertainment, which operates the national chain, who gave me this statement: "The House of Blues made an autonomous decision, one not influenced by the Chicago Police Department, to remove L.E.P. Bogus boys from the May 3rd A$AP Rocky concert. Unfortunately, the decision was initially represented to the artists by an email that inaccurately cited the reasons and source of the cancellation. We apologize for any misunderstanding surrounding this decision."

Meanwhile the L.E.P. camp has released the e-mail—written by a House of Blues talent buyer and forwarded to them by Don C., the Kanye associate who was putting the show together—where the inaccurate reason for their removal was first communicated. You can read it at Fake Shore Drive.

Unfortunately, though the House of Blues was at fault here, it's the CPD and L.E.P. Bogus Boys who've been catching the most flak, stoking some reasonably well-founded anxiety in the local rap scene that the city is coming after it as well as accusations that the whole thing was a publicity stunt at the cops' expense.


The Chicago Police Department has released a statement denying any influence L.E.P.'s removal from the bill and declaring that the only involvement the police department has in live music performances in the city is allocating manpower for large concerts. L.E.P.'s camp claims to have evidence to the contrary. I'm continuing to look into it.

The other day I wrote a preview of the upcoming A$AP Rocky show at the House of Blues that was supposed to feature ascendant local rap duo L.E.P. Bogus Boys. I praised not only the group's musical talents but also the gritty portrayal of the violence plaguing Chicago's poorest, blackest neighborhoods on their recent mix tape Now or Neva. Then this morning, E from L.E.P. visited WGCI's Morning Riot show to break the news that the group was off the A$AP Rocky show, apparently at the behest of the Chicago Police Department.

I'm currently looking into the situation and putting in calls to the CPD and L.E.P. both, so right now I can neither confirm nor deny E's take on things, but it's a fact that for all the lip service the city pays to the "vibrant local music scene" in its promotional materials, in real life it frequently takes an antagonistic stance toward it: Mayor Daley's hugely misguided attempt to extort license fees out of independent promoters, for instance, or Mayor Emanuel's recent cutbacks to the city's infrastructure support for the bustling local music-festival scene. It's also true that the CPD and Chicago hip-hop recently scuffled at a Congress Theater show featuring upstart local rapper Chief Keef, which might explain CPD hostility toward L.E.P.'s spot on the HOB bill. Another possible explanation? Now or Neva's unflinchingly grim portrayal of endemic violence on the south side doesn't side with the people causing the violence, but it doesn't exactly make the police out to be heroes.

Check out a snippet from the Morning Riot after the jump. (Shout to Fake Shore Drive for being on top of this.)

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Did you read the Bleader last week?

Posted By on 04.30.12 at 02:54 PM

The Old Guitarist, Pablo Picasso, 1903-04. This is what I looked like after Derrick Rose tore his ACL.
  • The Old Guitarist, Pablo Picasso, 1903-04. This is what I looked like after Derrick Rose tore his ACL.
If not, here's what you missed:

For last week's Variations on a Theme, inspired by the suburban dining guide we recently published, we went to the suburbs.

Ted Cox chipped in with his reaction to White Sox pitcher Philip Humber's perfect game. Michael Miner had a more philosophical take on it—and Steve Bogira had some answers to Miner's philosophical questions.

Kevin Warwick dug deep into Pizza Hut's crust and discovered a hot dog.

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Portoluz and Northwest Chicago Film Society: two for the Road

Posted By on 04.30.12 at 02:15 PM

The heroes of Wellmans Wild Boys of the Road, primed for anything
  • The heroes of Wellman's Wild Boys of the Road, primed for anything
William A. Wellman was something like the Takashi Miike of the 1930s, a remarkably prolific genre filmmaker (he directed 20 films in the first four years of that decade) who made no bones about being inconsistent but was never predictable or boring. His best work of the period—like Night Nurse, Other Men’s Women, or Wild Boys of the Road, which screens Wednesday night at 7:30 PM at the Portage Theater—has a unique, barroom-style confidence, executing sudden turns from comedy to tragedy like handstands attempted on a dare.

Though Wellman probably didn’t intend his tonal shifts as such, they succeed in conveying the utter instability of American life during the Depression. So it’s fitting that this week’s revival of Wild Boys of the Road should be copresented by the progressive arts organization Portoluz as part of their Project WPA 2.0, an ongoing series of film screenings, concerts, lectures, and exhibitions that address the culture of the Great Depression or the current economic downturn.

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Summer jazz returns to the MCA terrace

Posted By on 04.30.12 at 01:43 PM

Dee Alexander
  • Dee Alexander
One of the more pleasant ways to end a summer workday in Chicago is to catch a free Tuesday-evening jazz set on the terrace of the Museum of Contemporary Art. It's a great informal way to see some of the city's best jazz players, and when the weather's nice the scene is terrific. The programming has always cast a pretty wide net stylistically, and this year's lineup, announced today, is no exception. As usual, patrons can purchase pricey snacks from the museum's Puck Cafe or take in the music from the nearby sculpture garden. Feel free to bring a blanket to sit on in the garden, but don't even think about sneaking in food or you'll face the wrath of museum security. The complete lineup is after the jump; all concerts begin at 5:30 PM.

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How fast would you drive to get it on?

Posted By on 04.30.12 at 12:35 PM

  • Mike Licht
The measure of this guy's love is 111 miles per hour:

"Zachary Ramirez, 21, of the 1400 block of Fairway Drive, was caught driving 111 mph in a 45 mph zone on the city’s south side and told police he had amorous intentions, according to a report filed with Naperville police.

"'He stated he was going fast because he was trying to go have sex with a girl he likes,' Sgt. Gregg Bell said."

Via TribLocal.

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