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Thursday, January 14, 2016

Salute the Military Latte at Sawada Coffee

Posted By on 01.14.16 at 03:30 PM

Military Latte, beauty shot - GALDONES PHOTOGRAPHY
  • Galdones Photography
  • Military Latte, beauty shot
I quit drinking coffee last year in an unsuccessful attempt to silence the voices in my head. Apart from a few Starbucks-fueled road trips I'd been relatively caffeine free for months. So I was pretty out of shape when I drank—fairly inhaled—the Military Latte at Sawada Coffee. That's the signature drink of champion latte artist Hiroshi Sawada, the namesake of the newish coffee shop attached to the back of Hogsalt Hospitality's Green Street Smoked Meats. Sawada has five coffee shops back in Japan, but this, perched on an elevated platform facing Green Street in the back of GSSM, is his first stateside. You can get your pour-overs, your cortados, cappuccinos, and americanos, chai and green tea lattes, but what really seems to be fueling the spot is this double-barrel espresso-matcha convulsion in a cup.

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Thursday, November 5, 2015

Raise a glass to the cocktail recipe comic book Cocktails for Dingdongs

Posted By on 11.05.15 at 02:15 PM

Illustration for the Wooded Isle in Cocktails for Dingdongs - ALEXANDRA ENSIGN
  • Alexandra Ensign
  • Illustration for the Wooded Isle in Cocktails for Dingdongs
It's fall cookbook season again, and with that comes another round of local food books that I'll be cooking from. There are new books from Graham Elliot, kosher chef Laura Frankel, frequent Rick Bayless collaborator and Trib columnist JeanMarie Brownson, and Brooklyn chef Dale Talde, whose book on Filipino-American junk food fusion is heavily informed by his Chicago upbringing.

But first let's have a cocktail.

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Friday, August 7, 2015

Got camel milk? Devon Avenue does

Posted By on 08.07.15 at 01:00 PM

Got milk? - MIKE SULA
  • Mike Sula
  • Got milk?

Years back I was excited—and then crushed—to come across fermented mare and camel milk at Mundelein's great Russian Alef Sausage & Deli. The stuff turned out to be fake, and my dreams of drinking shubat like a proper Kazakh were deferred. But dreams never die, as I learned when Friend of the Food Chain Dr. Peter Engler reported that he'd found raw pastured camel milk for sale on Devon Avenue. That's right. There is a confederation of Amish-run camel dairies squeezing udders across the midwest and bottling it under the banner of Desert Farms, a Santa Monica concern founded by entrepreneur Walid Abdul-Wahab, inspired by a gift of fresh ungulate lactate while visiting Saudi Arabia.

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Thursday, July 23, 2015

A Reader intern drinks Bowser Beer for Dogs

Posted By on 07.23.15 at 01:00 PM

Pictured: an idiot - TYLER DASWICK
  • Tyler Daswick
  • Pictured: an idiot

As soon as I started reading a post that ran on this very blog last week, "A dog drinks Bowser Beer for dogs," a question burst into my mind. The mystery enveloped me—it wormed its way into my head and burrowed into my brain—I couldn't escape it: What did Bowser Beer, a drink made specifically for dogs, actually taste like? I read the article three times. No answer. As I sat there, unable to rid myself of this cursed query, fate settled itself onto my shoulders. I knew what I had to do.

I had to drink Bowser Beer myself.

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Tuesday, July 14, 2015

A dog drinks Bowser Beer for Dogs

Posted By on 07.14.15 at 08:00 AM

AIMEE LEVITT
  • Aimee Levitt

Beer for dogs seems like one of those ideas that sounds brilliant if you're alone with your dog and a can of Miller Lite, because who would make a better—and more nonjudgmental—drinking buddy than man's best friend? (And, maybe some of you actually have poured some beer into the dog's bowl, just to see what would happen.) It's also one of those ideas that quickly fades in the cold, harsh light of sobriety because even cheap beer is more expensive than tap water, and there's no sense in wasting it on a creature that will, in a pinch, nibble on kitty litter between meals.

But the people behind Bowser Beer clearly love their dogs more than you love yours because they've actually gone to the trouble to brew canine beer. My dog, Abby, and I first learned about it one day when we were strolling past our local bar, Rogers Park Social, and saw a sign on the sandwich board out front that said something like, "In celebration of the end of the dog flu, we are now serving Bowser Beer!"

My first thought was that the end of dog flu season was more worthy of champagne than mere beer. I read the sign to Abby. She was more interested in sniffing a nearby tree. Still, I was curious.

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Friday, November 28, 2014

Drinking the Kool-Aid at Owen + Alchemy in Logan Square

Posted By on 11.28.14 at 04:16 PM

Drink your juice. Owen + Alchemy

Assuming you're not running with the bulls today at Target or Walmart, your priority might be to do something to offset yesterday's hours of holiday excess. And to that end maybe you're considering a $10 bottle of cold-pressed juice at Owen + Alchemy, Logan Square's "modern juice apothecary," a self-description that seems dangerously close to medical chicanery if you subscribe to the dictionary definition of apothecary as "a pharmacy or drugstore." But you can go to its website and click through the images of vibrantly colored liquids in clear glass bottles on sleek black backgrounds and read their ingredients and their vague curative powers ("rehydrating," "skin clarifying," "mood boosting")—plus nutritional stats—all numbered like elements on the periodic table.

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Thursday, September 4, 2014

Bee & Tea bets big on the popularity of boba tea

Posted By on 09.04.14 at 08:30 AM

All of the bao.
When it comes to franchising, frozen yogurt has proven to be a pretty safe bet. It's cold, it's delicious, and you can top it with shit like gummy bears and crushed-up Heath bars and still not feel like you're doing something as bad as eating ice cream. And it contains probiotics, which Jamie Lee Curtis says are good for our butts. Forever Yogurt, the brightly colored, serve-yourself yogurt franchise started in 2010 by young entrepreneur (and former professional poker player) Mandy Calara, has been a runaway success. In fact, it's run all the way from Chicago to Panama and China. Now Calara has another vision he wants people—investors and customers alike—to buy into: boba tea and bao shops. Enter Bee & Tea, which opened in Wicker Park in July and already has three more locations "coming soon" to Chicago.

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Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Butter coffee, the world's latest wonder beverage, arrives in Chicago

Posted By on 07.01.14 at 04:29 PM

Oh, life! Oh, coffee!
I am a firm believer in the magical restorative powers of coffee. I am not quite right until I have my morning cup, preferably made from recently roasted beans, brewed in a French press, and consumed at my kitchen table, but even the preground, slightly burned stuff at the office will do. Without it, my mind is blurry. I feel headachy. It's quite possible that this has nothing to do with coffee itself but the fact that I am hopelessly addicted. Nonetheless, I continue to measure my days in coffee spoons—or, now that it is iced-coffee season, in ice-cube-tray refills.

The great thing about coffee is that people are always tinkering with it, promising new methods that will taste better and make your mind sharper, so there is always something new to drink. Pour overs, cold brews, slow drips: whenever I've had a few extra dollars to spend on a cup of coffee, I've tried them all (though, aside from the cold brew, which I can make at home, I can't afford to commit to any of them). When I heard a few months ago about butter coffee (aka Bulletproof coffee), a wondrous creation that caused its inventor, Dave Asprey, to lose 100 pounds and gain several IQ points, I was intrigued (though not enough to buy Asprey's proprietary beans online), and when I heard last week that it had finally arrived in Chicago, I knew I had to try it.

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Tuesday, June 24, 2014

One Sip: House-made horchata at El Habanero

Posted By on 06.24.14 at 10:30 AM

Horchata, El Habanero

Given the ubiquity of horchata, the cooling, milky, rice-based agua fresca that has no peer when it comes to extinguishing capsaicin-ignited fires, you'd think that you'd see more variation from the frequently chalky, oversweetened concentrates that circulate through JetSprays in taquerias all over the city. There are plenty of ways to make it—with Spanish tiger nuts or cantaloupe seeds, ground almonds or sesame—but I'd settle for one made from scratch. When I took my first pull from the tall icy glass served at Logan Square's sorta new El Habanero, I knew something was different. Thick, creamy, and only lightly sweetened, it's something altogether distinct from the muddy, gritty sugar waters slung at most other places. So I wasn't surprised when I was told they make it in-house from toasted ground rice, milk, cinnamon, sugar, and a just a bit of Mexican chocolate. It's an excellent foil for the blazing-hot table salsa.

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Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Hey, who put avocado in my hot chocolate?

Posted By on 03.05.14 at 04:11 PM

Ina Pinkneys avocado hot chocolate

Ina did, that's who. This week I wrote about a bunch of local chefs and their surprising relationships with Big Food—consulting and developing recipes for giant corporations like Nestle and Kraft, or trade groups like the National Pork Board. Ina Pinkney has worked for a bunch of them, but perhaps her most interesting creation has been this simple avocado hot chocolate, which she created for the Avocados From Mexico growers' association. The result is a thick, almost puddinglike drink with barely a hint of the fruit's flavor but loads of its fatty richness.

Quoth Ina: "I garnish it with whipped cream . . . but that's just me, when something is too healthy."

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