An Eater's Guide to Chicago

An Eater’s Guide to Chicago

An Eater’s Guide to Chicago Unofficial, highly opinionated information about the Windy City Flipboard Chicago is no longer a simple meat and potatoes town. Restaurants in the nation’s third-largest city have grown to a level of sophistication that rival any food scene in the country. Consider this your guide to the best food and drink the city has to offer. Welcome to the Land of Fine Dining Innovation and Glorious Greasebombs Yes, soul-warming hearty comfort food is how many outsiders and locals define Chicago’s food scene. In the meatpacking capital of the world, you can still get America’s best steaks and hot dogs , plus the destination-worthy local innovations: deep-dish pizza and Italian beef. But there are also Michelin-starred world-class fine-dining experiences, groundbreaking cocktail bars , line-inducing doughnut shops , and some of the best taquerias this side of Donald Trump’s proposed Mexican wall. Whether it’s the height of a muggy summer or the depth of a frigid winter, there are some Chicago food experiences you shouldn’t leave without trying. A quintessential Chicago day should begin with a wait in The Doughnut Vault ‘s line for a massive old fashioned doughnut — just get there a few minutes before opening to mitigate the wait. Then spend a few hours saving room for what many consider to be the best burger on the planet at Au Cheval . Next, soldier on to the South Side’s legendary smoked fish shack Calumet Fisheries for smoked salmon or shrimp. Follow it up with a Chicago-style “depression” hot dog at Gene & Jude’s or snag a seat at the bar for some pig face at Girl and the Goat . You can also have a churro and Mexican hot chocolate at XOCO . And take a dip into Chicago’s extensive Polish heritage and street food chops at the historic street-side stand Jim’s Original for a Polish sausage any time of day or night. Also: every first-time visitor needs to try an Italian beef ( Johnnie’s Beef preferably) and a deep-dish pizza at Lou Malnati’s . Where to Start on Eater Chicago’s Top Maps Eater publishes mass amounts of maps to guide you through all of Chicago’s can’t-miss foods, drinks, restaurants and bars; from classic to cutting edge. Below are the most important spots on these maps for those exploring the city with little time to take a deep dive. Buckingham Fountain Greg Wass/Flickr Hottest restaurant : Chicago’s restaurant scene has rarely been hotter than it is at this very moment, as the restaurants currently on the Eater Chicago Heatmap attest. Among the hottest restaurants, start with gorgeous upscale soul food at Virtue in Hyde Park. If you have time, head to perhaps Chicago’s best sushi omakase experience, Kyoten in Logan Square. Essential restaurant : Every visiting food enthusiast should try all of Eater Chicago’s Essential 38 Restaurants , updated quarterly, but if you’re short on time you shouldn’t miss Chicago hero Paul Kahan’s ode to pork and beer The Publican , Macanese trailblazer Fat Rice , or Rick Bayless’ original and most famous restaurant Frontera Grill . Essential bar : The quality and sheer number of bars in Chicago is arguably unparalleled. On the Essential Bar Map , go to The Violet Hour , widely credited with starting the craft cocktail movement in Chicago. Head to Big Star for honky tonk, whiskey, and tacos, or to Lost Lake for the most definitive local tiki experience. If you’re drinking cocktails and spirits only , experience The Aviary ‘s tasting menu. Try the best of the local beer scene at Revolution Brewing or Half Acre . Fine dining : The Michelin Guide has been giving Chicago upscale restaurants their proper due since 2011, and on the Michelin Map the top is the among-the-best-in-the-world Alinea , as Grace is sadly now closed. Just prepare to spend big bucks and make a reservation months in advance. A Lost Lake tiki cocktail Marc Much Pizza : Love it or hate it, Chicago-style pizza, including deep dish, is something that everyone should try once — or eat every day. The 11 spots on the Chicago-Style Pizza Map are all great representations, but if you have to narrow it down, do try Lou Malnati’ s deep dish and Pequod’s caramelized crust. Also check out the Iconic Pizzeria Map if Chicago-style isn’t your jam. Hot dogs : Chicago does hot dogs like no other city: Usually a Vienna Beef dog “dragged through the garden” with an array of vegetable-based toppings and condiments. Although Hot Doug’s is sadly gone and not on the Essential Hot Dog Map , icons Portillo’s and Superdawg Drive-In are still around—as is Gene & Jude ‘s variation, the “Depression Dog.” Italian beef : The juicy beef sandwich, masterminded by Italian immigrants, is a wholly Chicago innovation, rarely found outside the area. This guide , headlined by near-suburban favorite Johnnie’s Beef and iconic local chain Al’s Beef , shows the best places to find one. Just make sure to specify wet or dipped; and with hot or sweet peppers. Steakhouses : Yes, every major city has many steakhouses, often for business travelers and the expense-account crowd. But in the meatpacking capital of the world, steakhouses are ingrained in all of the city’s ranks. Gibson’s Bar and Steakhouse and Chicago Cut Steakhouse are not-to-be-missed on the Essential Steakhouse Map . There are also a crop of new-school steakhouses turning the genre on its head. Tacos : Underrated around the country, the tacos in Chicago often take a backseat to those in Southern California and Texas. Do yourself and favor and try many on the Essential Taco Map and Hottest Taco Map , including goat specialist Birrieria Zaragoza and the many carnitas specialists in the South Side neighborhood of Pilsen, notably Carnitas Uruapan. Burgers : You already know about Au Cheval. On the Essential Burger Map , you also need to try the thick and creative burgers at the original Northwest Side location of heavy metal-themed Kuma’s Corner and the thin, griddled goodness at Evanston’s Edzo’s Burger Shop . An Au Cheval Cheeseburger Marc Much Doughnuts : Get your fluffy, crunchy, sweet fried dough rings at Stan’s Donuts and Coffee and Firecakes — in addition to the previously-mentioned The Doughnut Vault — which are all on the Essential Doughnut Map . Beer : Drinking beer is an institution in Chicago, and a new wave of craft brewers are bubbling up to make the Essential Brewery Map stand up to any in the country. Goose Island Beer Co. wins the lifetime achievement award, while Revolution Brewing (Illinois’ largest craft brewer with a cult following) and Half Acre Beer Company (classic micro styles, barrel, and wyld beers) are the challengers. Coffee : Chicago is an exceptional place to get a caffeine buzz. For an Essential Coffee Shop experience, try expanding local icon Intelligentsia Coffee or Dark Matter Coffee and its Star Lounge Coffee Bar, a small artisan company with amazing fair-trade coffees from Central and South America. Brunch : The only thing that rivals dinner in Chicago is brunch and Lula Cafe (farm-to-table), The Publican (an essential restaurant that does everything right) and Jam (delicious brunch with a beautiful, creative, fine-dining sensibility) are the standouts. Ice Cream : With long cold winters, Chicagoans take their summers — and their ice cream shops — seriously. Narrow down the Essential Ice Cream Map to throwback destinations Margie’s Candies (North Side) and Original Rainbow Cone (South Side) and hit whichever is closest to you. Pierogi : Chicago’s Polish and Eastern European heritage plays a major part in the city’s present. Polish restaurants have dwindled some, but check out the Pierogi Map and head to Smak-Tak for more modern cuisine or the throwback time-capsule Podhalanka for some comforting dumplings straight out of a Polish grandmother’s kitchen. Furious Spoon ramen Marc Much Fried Chicken : Fried chicken in this city is no joke, and neither is the Essential Fried Chicken Map . Head to one of the many OG Harold Fried Chicken Shacks or newer spot Honey Butter Fried Chicken for some juicy birds with exceptionally crispy skin. Ramen : Chicago isn’t the first city to jump on the Japanese noodle soup phenomenon. But it’s certainly one of the best, with standouts such as Japanese imports Santouka (in the northwest suburbs), Ramen Misoya (city downtown location in Streeterville), as well as burgeoning local chain with hip-hop and house-made noodles Furious Spoon filling the Essential Ramen Map . Pick one that’s closest to you. Gangster haunts : No trip to Chicago would be complete without visiting — and eating and drinking inside — one of the historic spots where legendary gangsters such as Al Capone used to hang out (and possibly operate). Check out the Gangster Map and head to Green Mill Cocktail Lounge — where Capone used to run booze barrels in subterranean passageways and had a booth in the main room — or Green Door Tavern , a former speakeasy known as Chicago’s oldest bar that still has secret compartments and passageways as well as a newer speakeasy-style cocktail bar downstairs. Classics : For more tastes of old Chicago, head to The Berghoff in the Loop for old-school German dishes and beer, Daley’s Restaurant for South Side soul food, and Billy Goat Tavern for no-frills burgers and drinks in the subterranean spot that cursed the Cubs in the 1940s and was immortalized on “Saturday Night Live” in the 1970s. Check out the Classics Map for 22 more options. Chicago Food ‘Hoods to Know Chicago is known as a “city of neighborhoods,” which is mostly true, as many areas outside of downtown are distinctive strips separated by residential areas. If you’re a visitor, don’t be afraid to stray from your downtown hotel or off the lake, as a bounty of culinary treasures await — whether you’re driving or using the well-connected Chicago Transit Authority train and bus system. Below, find the top areas every self-proclaimed food obsessive needs to know. Randolph Street Restaurant Row Seth Anderson/Flickr West Loop/Fulton Market The area immediately west of the Loop and the Chicago River has earned its nickname as Chicago’s “Restaurant Row” — it’s quite simply one of the hottest dining districts on Earth. Here, some of the country’s best chefs are taking over rows and rows of abandoned old meatpacking plants and factories on West Randolph Street, Fulton Market, and the areas in between — transforming them into crowd-drawing restaurants such as Grant Achatz’s Next , The Aviary and Roister ; Paul Kahan’s The Publican, Avec and Blackbird ; Stephanie Izard’s Girl and the Goat, Little Goat and Duck Duck Goat ; and a bevy of other attention-grabbers from the likes of Brendan Sodikoff (Au Cheval; Maude’s Liquor Bar ), the Boka Restaurant Group ( Momotaro ; Swift & Sons ), and Sarah Grueneberg of “Top Chef” fame ( Monteverde ). Nearly every storefront is a hot restaurant or bar. Logan Square mural Wiredforlego/Flickr Logan Square The other restaurant neighborhood to rival the West Loop, this fast-gentrifying creative enclave on the Northwest Side of town still offers low enough rents that Chicago’s top culinary talent can open here with some financial wiggle room for creativity. You’ll find farm-to-table trailblazer and neighborhood anchor Lula Cafe, Macanese fusion powerhouse Fat Rice, and cocktail masterpieces Lost Lake, Billy Sunday , and Scofflaw . There are also new hotspots such as Giant and Asian stalwart Parachute (just to the north of Logan Square) mixed in with dive bars, hole-in-the-wall late-night Mexican joints, and artsy coffee shops. River North The Legendary Tamale Guy If you’re at a neighborhood bar in Chicago—one that doesn’t serve food—never fear, the Tamale Guy may show up. Beloved and legendary for many years in Chicago nightlife, these saviors (there are actually at least two of them) wander town with a red or blue cooler full of tamales bunched in bags, walk into bars, and announce their presence and wares with one word: “Tamales!” You never know when or where he’ll show up , you can only follow @tamaletracker on Twitter or peruse his past visits and hope he’ll return. But when it feels you need him most — when your tamale craving is at its highest — he often shows up. Not everything downtown is an office, government building, hotel, or chain restaurant. And not everything shuts down after happy hour. In this neighborhood just north across the river from the Loop, what was once a skid row has morphed into a hospitality row and is now home to the trendiest nightlife and see-and-be-seen spots in Chicago. Some acclaimed restaurants are holding it down — including Rick Bayless’ Frontera Grill, Topolobampo , and XOCO — as well as morning magnet The Doughnut Vault and evening French steakhouse spin Bavette’s Bar and Boeuf . There’s also hot dog, Italian beef, and milkshake icon Portillo’s; seafood stalwart GT Fish & Oyster , and celeb-magnet Asian fusion spot Sunda . For nightlife, head to nightclubs Studio Paris Nightclub and The Underground , sophisticated spots Gilt Bar and Celeste , the dive bar Rossi’s Liquors , and casual bar Clark Street Ale House . Wicker Park From Polish cultural center to artist enclave to hipster magnet and yuppie draw, the evolution of what many consider to be Chicago’s coolest neighborhood has flooded the area built around the Milwaukee Avenue/Damen Avenue/North Avenue nexus with starry-eyed restaurant and bar owners. A few spots have managed to turn the abundant foot traffic and swarming twenty-somethings into staying power and long-term success: the perpetually-packed honky tonk whiskey taqueria Big Star and iconic cocktail spot The Violet Hour across the street, and the Anglo-Indian beer pub Pub Royale . Also, head to Piece Brewery and Pizzeria for award-winning beer brewed on site that’s paired with standout New Haven-style pizza. For nightlife, check out Emporium Arcade Bar for video games and craft beer, Bangers & Lace for craft beer and sausages, and for everything head to the live music/event space/butcher shop/restaurant/bar Chop Shop . There’s also plentiful ramen — Furious Spoon, Oiistar , Kizuki , and Urban Belly — and coffee shops — Caffe Streets , La Colombe Torrefaction , The Wormhole Coffee , and an Intelligentsia. Wicker Park’s main intersection Pilsen While neighborhoods such as Wicker Park and Logan Square are succumbing to gentrification, this near-South Side hood is trying to hold on. Head down to this Mexican and art-driven neck of the woods for taquerias straight from Mexico — the best being Carnitas Uruapan , Don Pedro Carnitas , and Tortilleria El Milagro . The neighborhood is anchored by Thalia Hall , a building built in 1892 that now houses the Michelin-rated restaurant Dusek’s , the subterranean bar Punch House , the honky tonk piano bar Tack Room , and a live music venue upstairs. Other noteworthy spots include great barbecue and live music at Honky Tonk BBQ , creative tamales at Dia De Los Tamales , standout burgers and beer at Skylark , and the relocated meat pie stalwart Pleasant House Pub . Uptown/Argyle Street Argyle Street, which runs through the ethnic neighborhood of Uptown, is home to one of Chicago’s most destination-worthy dining strips of Vietnamese restaurants. Anchored by Tank Noodle , which serves perhaps Chicago’s most popular pho and other delicacies, the neighborhood also includes your pick of Vietnamese cuisine and longtime Peking duck destination Sun Wah Bar-B-Que . A Chinatown street festival Clifton/Flickr Chinatown Still home to a large percentage of Chicago’s Chinese immigrants, the Near South Side neighborhood also holds the vast majority of the best Chinese restaurants in town. Get dim sum at MingHin Cuisine or Cai , hot pot at Little Lamb , and spicy Szechuan dishes at Chicago’s most celebrated Chinese restaurant, Lao Sze Chuan . Check out this map for more . Devon Chicago’s South Asian population has huddled around this stretch in the city’s Rogers Park neighborhood — about 10 miles north of downtown — for decades. While fine dining options are in short supply, South Indian vegetarian cuisine shines at Uru-Swati , Udupi Palace , and Mysore Woodlands . There’s also Sukhadia’s and Annapurna , the quintessential spots for a snack and chai. Many South Asian restaurants have a guilty relationship with meat, but one spot that has no such qualms is Khan B.B.Q. , a spicy casual spot that’s carnivore friendly. And FYI: Locals and their immigrant families simply call this area Devon, so don’t try to call it Little India. Chicago Glossary of Terms Chicago-Style Hot Dog Hot dogs in Chicago are their own entity that aren’t to be confused with New York hot dogs or Detroit-style Coney dogs. Here, they’re “dragged through the garden,” i.e. covered with multiple vegetable-based toppings and condiments: sliced tomatoes, a pickle spear, diced onion, green relish (often neon-green), sport peppers, yellow mustard and celery salt, and served on a poppy seed hot dog bun. NEVER ask for ketchup on your hot dog in Chicago. Portillo’s hot dog I-Ta Si/Flickr Deep-Dish Pizza Many pizza places around the country serve what they call deep-dish pizza, but in Chicago this style of pie is a local innovation (some say novelty food) that can only be experienced in its pure form here. Set on a tall, almost pie-like crust that’s flaky on the outside and dense and doughy on the inside, the “pizza” is a massive item with a thick layer of mozzarella cheese on the bottom, then the toppings, followed by chunky tomato sauce on top. It’s extremely gooey and eaten with a fork and knife. Italian Beef The Italian beef is another true Chicago original that is rarely experienced outside the Chicagoland area. Originally a budget sandwich for Italian immigrants that has similarities to a French dip, it consists of long-roasted beef in Italian spices that’s served dripping wet, sliced very thin and piled onto a long Italian roll and topped with either hot peppers (spicy giardineira) or sweet peppers (roasted bell peppers). If you ask for it “wet,” your entire sandwich will be dunked into the vat of jus and should be eaten at an angle over your plate or wrapper in order to not make a mess of yourself. Malort Another Chicago original that’s beginning to spread to other cities, Malort is an extremely bitter Swedish wormwood liquor that is often a right of passage for newbies ( Google the “Malort face”) and a favorite of many local bartenders. For years it was nearly always served in shots, but bartenders in recent times have started to make cocktails with it, some which are surprisingly delicious. Jeppson’s is the original brand, but other companies have started making their own, such as Letherbee’s Besk. Jibarito A Puerto Rican sandwich, mostly served at taquerias, that uses sliced and fried plantains in lieu of bread or buns. Fillings include carne asada (steak), roast pork, and chicken. The sandwich is often topped with cheese, lettuce, tomato, and mayonnaise. Slashie Chicago historically has been littered with these dive bar/liquor store combos, where you can shop for booze to go as well as walk through a side door or hallway into an attached full-service bar. These neighborhood spots, which often are adorned with an Old Style or other local beer sign, aren’t as common as in the past, but some ingenious bar owners are attempting to revive and update the concept for the present. Beware, however, for “slashie” can be a controversial term . Hot Dog Stand Hot dog stands in Chicago are not like hot dog carts in New York or other outdoor food sellers in other cities that are literally carts or stands on the street. What Chicagoans call hot dog stands are brick-and-mortar buildings with counter-service, counter seating, and sometimes limited tables that serve very similar menus: hot dogs, burgers, Italian beef, Polish sausage, pizza puffs, and sometimes other greasy and meaty foods, which often come with free French fries. Pan Pizza with Caramelized Crust This pizza has a thick crust with cheese on the bottom, sauce on top, and is cooked in a pan. It differs from deep-dish pizza in that the dough is thicker and rises more. The outside of the raw crust is also sprinkled with cheese, which becomes caramelized and black when baked. Pequod’s Pizza and Burt’s Place are its most acclaimed purveyors. Thin-Crust Pizza Chicago-style thin-crust pizza is not the same as New York-style, Neapolitan, or other thin, foldable pizzas in other areas. These pizzas — which are actually more widespread in Chicagoland than deep dish — are denser and crunchier than those other thin crusts, and are often square-cut (called “tavern style”), with very little crust, and with more char on top. Vito & Nick’s Pizza on the South Side is the most iconic example. Rib Tips The flavorful cartilage ends of spare ribs are common at South Side barbecue shacks, as well as other Midwestern cities. Click here for a primer on Chicago barbecue . Rib tips getting sauced at Lem’s Bar-B-Q Nick Murway Giardiniera An Italian condiment consisting of pickled peppers, celery, carrots, cauliflower, and other vegetables packed in oil, in spicy or mild versions. It’s not totally unique to Chicago but is ubiquitous here due to its prevalent use on Italian beef. Fans of giardiniera from other American cities should note the local version often includes sport peppers. Rick Bayless Perhaps Chicago’s most famous chef and television personality, Rick Bayless is beloved for popularizing regional Mexican cuisine in America, beginning with the arrival of his Frontera Grill restaurant in 1987. Bayless went on to open the Michelin-starred tasting-menu restaurant Topolobampo next door a few years later, followed by street-food haven XOCO. He also has newer local restaurants, Lena Brava and Cruz Blanca, and spots around the country in California, Florida, and O’Hare International Airport. His salsas, sauces, marinades, and other foodstuffs are available in grocery stores around the country. Paul Kahan A Chicagoan through and through and the co-James Beard Award winner for Outstanding Chef in 2013, Paul Kahan and his One Off Hospitality Group run perhaps the best restaurants in town: Blackbird, Avec, The Publican, Big Star, The Violet Hour, Publican Quality Meats , Nico Osteria , Dove’s Luncheonette , Publican Tavern at O’Hare, and Publican Anker . Stephanie Izard This celebrity chef, buoyed by her victory on season four of “Top Chef,” runs three of the most successful (and hardest to get into) restaurants in Chicago: Girl and the Goat, Little Goat, and — her newest — Duck Duck Goat. Brendan Sodikoff A polarizing restaurateur with the Midas touch, Sodikoff and his Hogsalt Hospitality group operate a dizzying array of very successful Chicago spots, including Au Cheval, The Doughnut Vault, Bavette’s Bar and Boeuf, Gilt Bar, Green Street Smoked Meats , Maude’s Liquor Bar, Small Cheval , Three Greens Market, California Clipper , High Five Ramen , and C.C. Ferns . He also now owns restaurants in New York City and Las Vegas. Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises Chicago’s most successful and widespread restaurant group, Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises (LEYE), founded by patriarch Rich Melman, has opened more than 130 restaurants since it was founded in 1971. Known for extremely well-run, often fun spots that run the gamut, its most noteworthy concepts include R.J. Grunts (the original LEYE restaurant), Michelin-starred Everest , Joe’s Seafood Prime Steak and Stone Crab, Three Dots and a Dash , RPM Italian and RPM Steak , Cafe Ba-Ba-Reeba !, Bub City , Studio Paris, and many more. Boka Restaurant Group Another highly-acclaimed and extremely-successful Chicago restaurant group, the duo of Kevin Boehm and Rob Katz that was a James Beard finalist in 2016, 2017 and 2018, own or are partners on all of Stephanie Izard’s restaurants, GT Fish & Oyster and GT Prime , Boka (their original Chicago restaurant), Momotaro, Swift & Sons, Balena , newer spots Bellemore and Somerset , and more. Graham Elliot A world-famous chef and TV personality, Graham Elliot is widely known for his long stint as a judge on “MasterChef.” His trademark charismatic personality backs up his signature style: creative dishes that are often spins on comfort foods. Most recently, Elliot has garnered some ink for his dramatic weight loss. His last remaining restaurant, West Loop’s Gideon Sweet, is now closed. Reservations to Make in Advance Most Chicago restaurants aren’t as difficult to book as many in New York or San Francisco, but there are a few you’ll absolutely need to prepare for in advance if you want a table: Alinea , Frontera Grill , Topolobampo , Girl and the Goat , Fat Rice , Parachute , Next , Schwa , Lena Brava , Duck Duck Goat , Roister , Goosefoot , Giant , Bavette’s Bar and Boeuf , Maple & Ash , and EL Ideas . Also be aware that some restaurants you’ll want to visit, such as Au Cheval and Avec (at dinner), don’t take reservations. Follow the News Eater Chicago is updated multiple times every weekday with breaking news stories (restaurant openings, closings, etc.), features, guides, and more. Here are a few ways to stay in the loop: Keep an eye on the Eater Chicago homepage. New stories will always show up near the top and flow down toward the bottom of the page as they get older, while important recent stories will stay pinned right at the top. Also, check out our big sister, Eater.com , for national and international food news. Subscribe to our newsletter , which goes out every weekday evening and includes links to the day’s top stories. Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter for updates on new stories and more throughout the day, and follow us on Instagram for some of the best food photos in Chicago. Interested in upcoming restaurant openings? Here’s our winter openings guide and all openings are tracked here . Get in Touch Have questions not answered here? Want to send in a tip or a complaint or just say hello? Here are some ways to get in touch with the Eater Chicago staff: Email us at chicago@eater.com. Send us a tip, which can be anonymous if you choose, at our tipline . Interact with us on Facebook or Twitter . Post publicly in the Eater Chicago forum . You can respond to existing threads or start your own. Feel free to ask questions, share rants and raves about the Chicago dining scene, show us your food photos, and more. We’ll promote interesting threads to our homepage and social media channels.

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Indulgent Vegan

Select Page Indulgent Vegan Vegan fare is moving from functional to decadent, enticing a wider range of consumers The Slutty Vegan in Atlanta proudly uses the tagline “vegan junk food” to describe its menu of indulgent burgers. PHOTO CREDIT: The Slutty Vegan by Katie Ayoub | February 17, 2019
No Bones Beach Club is a modern vegan restaurant and bar geared toward younger consumers in Seattle and Portland, Ore., and now the Chicago market as well. Its vibe is hip, with a laid-back motto that brags: “Just cuz it’s vegan doesn’t mean it sucks!” Menu items tout fan-favorite formats, like wings and nachos.
No Bones’ Buffalo Cauliflower Wings are tossed in a coconut-Buffalo sauce, served with a side of ranch. Its Northwest Nachos star cashew-poblano queso, black bean and corn salsa, tomato, cilantro, grilled jalapeño and cilantro crema, with an add-on of spiced jackfruit carnitas.
Meanwhile, in Atlanta, the newly opened plant-based burger joint The Slutty Vegan proudly brands itself as “vegan junk food,” serving modern builds like the Heaux Boy, vegan shrimp made crispy in a New Orleans-style batter, served on a Hawaiian bun with pickles, lettuce and drizzled with secret sauce.
And in New York, Cienfuegos is transforming from a rum bar and Latin American restaurant into Honeybee’s, a vegan barbecue-style eatery with a focus on whiskey.
Something fascinating is happening with vegan food in this country. Its positioning is shifting from niche to mainstream. From straight-laced to cool. These new concepts aren’t hanging their hat on healthfulness and righteousness; they’re touting indulgent, craveable menus. They’re leading with a vibe that’s in step with most modern restaurants that are trying to appeal to younger consumers—original, social, flavor-forward food.
“Creating dishes that are appealing, engaging, and craveworthy—that is the holy grail of vegan dishes,” says Maeve Webster, president of Menu Matters consultancy.
“Yes, there is a hard-core group of vegans who want vegan food appreciated for its ethical, moral and environmental implications, but the reality is that most consumers do not order based on those issues. The vast majority of consumers want to order something that looks delicious, and indulgence is one of the primary pathways to deliciousness.”
Barilla Foodservice This comforting vegan mac and cheese, made by chef Scott Perry of Burtons Grill, based in Andover, Mass., stars a rich roasted-cauliflower sauce. Vegan food is now cool. How did that happen?
First, modern food-product development has yielded an impressive array of items that are finally making vegan fare not just palatable, but delicious.
Second, chefs are reaching further into plant-based recipe development, thanks to the astounding success of the veg-centric movement. “This trend is part and parcel with the focus on plant-based eating,” says Brian Darr, managing director at Datassential . “Product categories are growing, from milk alternatives like nut milks and nut-derived cheeses to meat analogues that mimic the experience of meat—including the indulgent side of it.”
Third—and this cannot be overstated— younger consumers are driving the demand for great-tasting vegan food.
“When you talk about Gen X and Boomers, except for the most food-forward or throwback hippies, vegan doesn’t work well,” says Darr. “But plant-forward? They get that. There’s not a need for education, it’s simply about word choice. When you talk to C&U [college and university] directors, it’s amazing what’s in their consideration set for product.”
Veganism Rising – Competition is intensifying fast in the vegan space .
It’s worth noting that demand for vegan food is also rising because of the makeup of younger generations. “Gen Z is ethnically diverse, with a higher number of Asians, Indians and Middle Easterners,” says Darr. “Eating like this is built into their lifestyle.” That tie to culture and lifestyle makes the desire for vegan food less about calorie count and more about flavor.
A similar phenomenon is mirrored in the veg-centric trend. “The plant-based trend has helped make vegetarian and vegan options better,” says Ian Ramirez, director of culinary innovation and operations for Creative Dining Services . “Chefs are becoming so much more intentional with their design, their flavor building. We used to have vegan options on the menu because we had to have them for the few customers who might order them. Now, we want to have them for a larger consumer base.”
Underpinning all of this opportunity is the fact that no matter how indulgent the vegan fare is, it holds onto its better-for-you status. “You feel good about eating it,” says Darr. “You still feel good even though it’s indulgent. There’s such a halo around plant-based food that it makes up for the calorie count.” The Broad Appeal Factor
Ordering a vegan dish is no longer a trade-down of experience. If done well, menu development in this category entices all types of diners—flexitarians, vegans, vegetarians and omnivores alike. That’s a big shift from the days of begrudgingly adding a veggie burger to placate the roughly 1 percent of guests who may request it. Today, vegan dishes are starting to stand toe-to-toe with the most craveable menu items, including loaded fries, hot dogs and deli sandwiches. The Moonlighter What’s more indulgent than chili cheese fries? The Moonlighter in Chicago serves a loaded vegan version.
Just look at the Vegan Chili Cheese Fries at The Moonlighter , a neighborhood bar in Chicago. The fries are topped with housemade vegan chili and a vegan cheese blend, then baked in the oven until the cheese is melted and gooey. The dish is finished with scallions, red onions and vegan sour cream. The build, with layers of indulgent flavor, darn near duplicates the original.
San Francisco-based Curry Up Now , a family of restaurants and food trucks that serves up modern Indian cuisine, offers Hella Vegan Sexy Fries, which are sweet-potato waffle fries topped with signature handmade samosas and chutneys. In addition to serving as a vegan offering, this dish carries an important marker in this trend—its menu name plays up bravado, helping position vegan fare as a hip option.
Of course, exploiting a familiar and well-loved format like loaded fries is a smart way to introduce the glory side of vegan. At Tony’s Darts Away , an eco-minded pub in Burbank, Calif., the Disco Fries are topped with gravy and vegan cheddar shreds, offering a plant-based decadent item that mirrors the poutine experience. Lazy Dog Restaurants Demonstrating the craveable side of vegan items – Lazy Dog Restaurants’ Spaghetti Squash & Beetballs
That familiarity is important when moving into vegan territory—especially when developing dishes that tout indulgence. Gabriel Caliendo, VP of food and beverage at Lazy Dog Restaurants , says craveable, flavor-forward vegan fare is a crucial part of modern menu strategy. “I’m excited about this trend. This is absolutely the way to go. It’s really become so widespread—people want to eat meatless on occasion, but they don’t want to sacrifice flavor,” he says. “We’ve been doing fun stuff that you might not even notice has no meat in it.”
Lazy Dog’s Spaghetti and Beetballs are a good example. Spaghetti squash is roasted then shredded and tossed to order with marinara that has been slow cooked. It is topped with crispy beetballs (ancient grains, roasted beets, flaxseed, brown rice, black beans, onion, garlic, herbs). The dish is finished with zucchini ribbons, a housemade walnut pesto and a sprinkle of toasted pumpkin seeds. “It’s a super savory marinara that’s really rich and coats your tongue in a satisfying, meaty way,” says Caliendo.
He recognizes that many dining consumers are still unsure about vegan dishes. “You’re building trust with dishes like this,” he says. “The photography can help get you there. You can almost see the savoriness in the photo.”
Insights on the Vegan Trend – insights into the vegan trend from our panel of experts. Vegan Comfort Food
Comfort food is another great platform for a foray into indulgent vegan, calling up familiarity, nostalgia and emotional connection to help bridge the experience. “The vegan twist on nostalgic comfort foods, like mac and cheese, burgers, tacos, milkshakes and desserts, are making plant-forward items more approachable to mainstream consumers,” says Rosalyn Darling, culinary R&D manager at CSSI .
The Fiction Kitchen , a Southern comfort-food vegan and vegetarian restaurant in Raleigh, N.C., menus comfort classics like Crispy Fried “Chicken” and Waffles—marinated, herb-seasoned, dredged and fried mock chicken served on a Belgian-style waffle, garnished with dressed arugula and agave.
The Slutty Vegan in Atlanta touts its soul-food status, with plant-based burgers like the One Night Stand, starring a vegan patty, vegan bacon, American “cheeze,” grilled onions, lettuce, tomato, and special sauce on a Hawaiian bun. “Vegan junk food is the new food for the soul,” says owner Pinky Cole. “Simply put, the future is plant-based, and I’m happy to be on this journey.”
The rise of indulgent vegan stems from the broad appeal of plant-based foods. “Plant-centric proliferation has helped propel an appreciation for vegetarian and vegan options,” says Rob Corliss, chef/founder of the consulting firm All Things Epicurean (ATE). “While vegan, in and of itself, is more of a lifestyle choice as opposed to a cuisine, it has started to entice non-vegans with its ingredient combinations.” Vegan Dogs
Vegan dogs are in the game, too, unleashing the same level of decadence that we see in baseball parks and street carts across the country.
At Anthem , a Tex-Asian restaurant in Austin, Texas, the Vdog is a house-smoked vegan curry hot dog topped with Korean kraut, scallion, sesame seeds and spicy vegan aïoli on a pretzel bun.
Blatt Beer & Table in Dallas and Omaha, Neb., menus a Vegan Currywurst with all of the traditional currywurst flavors, like smoked paprika, cumin and curry, topped with caraway kraut and German rosemary mustard, served on a pretzel bun. Blatt Beer & Table A vegan currywurst is classic pub fare at Blatt Beer & Table.
Anthem The house-smoked vegan hot dog at Anthem in Austin, Texas, is loaded with Korean kraut and spicy vegan aïoli. Vegan flavor complexity, craveability and craftsmanship
Flavor complexity, craveability and craftsmanship are the three factors that spell vegan menu development success. “The use of plant-based meat alternatives and healthy fats from produce, such as avocados, are giving plant-forward menu items the taste and texture of the foods that consumers grew up loving, without sacrificing enjoyment,” says CSSI’s Darling. Butterleaf Demonstrating the craveable side of vegan items are the deep-fried Avocado Bombs at Butterleaf
Butterleaf , a restaurant in Irvine, Calif., that invites guests to “indulge in plant-based cuisine,” menus a mix of healthy and indulgent. Its appetizer of Avocado Bombs plays off the nutrient-rich components of the avocado, then builds up their shareability and craveability by frying them, topping with pepitas, guacamole, kimchi aïoli and vegan mayonnaise.
SAJJ Mediterranean , a family of food trucks and fast-casual restaurants with nine locations in California, offers a chocolate hummus that nicely bridges the gap between indulgence and healthfulness. It’s made with chickpeas, tahini, cocoa powder, chocolate-hazelnut spread, maple syrup and vanilla, and paired with housemade cinnamon sugar-dusted chips.
“Craveable vegan fare has wider appeal to consumers looking for bold-flavored menu options—especially Millennials and Gen Z,” says Corliss. “Restaurants that offer innovative and delicious plant-based menu items will win the valuable dollars of these consumers.” SAJJ Mediterranean The success of a vegan chocolate hummus with cinnamon chips, served at SAJJ Mediterranean, signals an embrace of vegan fare in unexpected places.
From the Jan/Feb 2019 Top 10 Trends issue of Flavor & the Menu magazine. Read the full issue online or check if you qualify for a free print subscription .

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Recipe for Delicious Cauliflower with Coconut Milk | Cauliflower Malai Curry

Delicious Cauliflower Malai curry
Home > Recipe for delicious Cauliflower with Coconut Milk | Cauliflower Malai curry
On Monday’s we eat vegetarian food at home. There is no strict rule but just to maintain the custom of at-least going one day a week without animal protein the rule is prevalent. This Monday was no different, however, there was a demand for something new. Some brainstorming, some ingredients here and there lead me to this recipe. T said it tasted just like Prawn Malai curry, a vegetarian version of-course.
Health Facts:
Cauliflower is an excellent source of fibres, anti oxidants, vitamins and minerals. It is rich in vitamin C, vitamin B6, vitamin K, folate, potassium and manganese.It also helps in boosting HDL (good) cholesterol and reduces high blood pressure. Cauliflower helps fight off infection and improves gastrointestinal health.
Coconut milk is a good source of HDL and also improves the balance of gut microbiota.
Recipes from A Delicacy Journal by SuchiB
Cuisine Category: Vegetarian | Cuisine Type: Indian
Prep time: 10 minutes | Cook time: 15 minutes | Total time: 25 minutes
Calories per serving: 200 | Serving Size: 4 Keywords: Cauliflower, curry, coconut milk, delicious, blanch
Count of ratings: 1 | Number of reviews: 1 | Average value of ratings: 5
Ingredients Cauliflower : 1 medium size (diced) Potato : 2 medium size (diced) Onion paste : 4 tbsp Poppy seed paste : 2 tbsp Cashew nut paste : 3 tbsp Coconut Milk : 3 cups Green Chili : 4 (Split open) Oil : As required Salt : As required Sugar : 2 tbsp
Watch the full video for Delicious Cauliflower Malai Curry Cauliflower Malai curry is a vegetarian take on a very popular bengali dish Prawn Malai Curry
Instructions ✓ Dice the vegetables (cauliflower and potatoes) and blanch them. ✓ Heat 2 tbsp of oil in a pan. Saute the blanched vegetables for few minutes. Once they start cooking take them off the flame, pour into a plate and put aside. ✓ Add another 2 tbsp of oil. Once the oil warms up add the green chilies and the onion paste to it. ✓ Once the onion paste starts to change color(pink to brownish) add the poppy seeds paste and cashew nut paste to it. Mix well. ✓ Add the sauteed potatoes and cauliflower to it and mix well. Cover cook for 5 minutes. ✓ Now add the coconut milk, add salt and bring to boil. ✓ Shimmer till the dish reaches the desired consistency (neither too runny nor too thick). ✓ Add sugar and mix well. Keep on the flame for couple of minute and serve hot with white rice or chapati (a form of Indian bread).
Please check out my other recipes:
Muri Ghonto

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Dan Ippolito – Top 10 casino openings and expansions

Top 10 casino openings and expansions 18 February 2019 By Dan Ippolito <a href='http://as1.casinocity.com/www/delivery/ck.php?n=aae8c64d&cb=0.392814436568' //as1.casinocity.com/www/delivery/avw.php?zoneid=4&cb=0.392814436568&n=aae8c64d' With so much attention on legalized sports gambling, coverage has been heavy on sportsbook openings. However, in the last couple of months there have been several other key openings and expansions at casinos that do not involve sportsbooks. Here we take a look at 10 new additions or upgrades that casinos have unveiled since our last edition . 10. Mott 32 opens at The Palazzo On 28 December, Mott 32, one of Hong Kong’s most award-winning restaurants, officially opened its first U.S. location with a star-studded reception and gala at The Palazzo at The Venetian Las Vegas .During the grand opening celebration, guests sipped cocktails and sampled dishes from Mott 32’s acclaimed menu, including barbecue Pluma Iberico pork, minced duck in a lettuce cup and crispy sugar-coated barbecue pork buns. How sweet it is at Mott 32. pic.twitter.com/Kt6NntNz7R As part of its plan to expand its brands and loyalty network through its licensing strategy, Caesars Entertainment announced plans to open Caesars Republic Scottsdale. This will be the company’s first nongaming hotel in the U.S.The Arizona hotel will be a four-star hotel developed by HCW Development and operated by Aimbridge Hospitality."We look forward to partnering with HCW Development and Aimbridge Hospitality to create a world-class experience in one of the nation's most desirable communities," said Caesars Entertainment President and Chief Executive Officer, Mark Frissora.This modern 11-story glass structure with 266 rooms will be developed at the intersection of North Goldwater and East Highland Avenue. The location will allow Caesars Republic Scottsdale guests the ability to walk to the state's most elegant mall.Caesars Republic Scottsdale will house a 7,000-square foot column-free ballroom with 34-foot sliding glass doors that open out onto the adjacent lawn, suitable for outdoor events for up to 600 people Caesars Entertainment Presents: Caesars Republic Scottsdale! Our 1st non-gaming hotel in the U.S. breaking ground in late 2019.Disrupting the traditional hotel market, Caesars Republic will be immersed in the local scene amplifying cities they reside in. https://t.co/IQxSfy5MRF pic.twitter.com/1r1Z39941R Lakeside Casino & RV Park , located in Pahrump, Nevada, unveiled its new Lakeside bingo room on 18 December, followed by a week-long celebration of bingo offerings.The grand opening celebration featured Vegas pays all day and a $500 bonus on any cash ball.Lakeside Bingo offers a selection of ongoing gold, silver and bronze electronic packages. The gold package includes three small rainbows and two level-ones when you purchase three small rainbows and one super coverall, priced at $41 for handheld and $42 for stationary; the silver package includes two small rainbows and two level-ones when you purchase two small rainbows and one super coverall, priced at $29 for handheld and $30 for stationary; and the bronze package includes three level-ones when you purchase two level-ones and one super coverall, priced at $16 for handheld and $17 for stationary.The 2,626 square foot bingo room offers seating for more than 100 guests.On Super Bowl Sunday , the Stratosphere, Casino, Hotel & Tower began its transition to The STRAT Hotel, Casino and SkyPod .“The Stratosphere is a Las Vegas icon, so in acquiring the property we chose to preserve that quality while also reimagining the resort through a comprehensive remodel that spans from the tower to the main casino floor,” said Steve Arcana, executive vice president and chief operating officer of Golden Entertainment.The STRAT will continue its evolution of the property in 2019 with the introduction of BLVD & Main Taphouse; View Lounge, offering a full bar and signature cocktails with views of the casino floor; and the Race and Sports Book, a fully remodeled sportsbook equipped with an immersive LED wraparound wall and the highest level of wagering technology, operated by William Hill.BLVD & Main, View Lounge and the Race and Sports Book will open this spring at the northwest corner of the main casino floor, with convenient access from the main entrance.On top of all of that, The STRAT will be the first of Golden Entertainment’s properties to introduce the True Rewards program. Some have fallen, we will rise. Tonight, we share what’s next for The STRAT. pic.twitter.com/2xFjnM1R3f 6. Downtown Grand announces expansion In conjunction with the property’s five-year anniversary, Downtown Grand Las Vegas announced expanding the footprint of its hospitality space by over 250,000 square feet in mid-2020 with the addition of a new tower.Anchored by seven guest-room floors and adding 495 new rooms to the property’s existing inventory of 629, the Downtown Grand’s third tower will redefine the intersection of 4th and Ogden.Guests will also experience a significant increase in the suite life, with a premier room list that includes 67 studio units, 20 one-bedroom suites, and three Presidential Suites each boasting nearly 1,500 square feet of living space. A grand expansion! Today, we're beginning construction on our third tower – an eight-story, 495 room project. Learn more: https://t.co/cTiB2w0YKF pic.twitter.com/9ajxbPHDp6 5. New poker room at Jamul Casino On Friday, Jamul Casino , located in San Diego county, united hundreds of local poker players with celebrities and professional players for a chance at the $50,000 prize pool in the inaugural Golden Cap poker tournament. Included in the celebrity line-up were poker pro Tiffany Michelle and ESPN poker commentator Norman Chad, as well as numerous others.Adjacent to the High Limit Room at Jamul Casino, the new Poker Room features 10 high-action tables, table-side dining and full bar service."We are constantly listening to our guests and are thrilled to accommodate the growing market for a high-stakes Poker Room. The Jamul Casino Poker Room will be a popular addition to the casino," said Erica M. Pinto, Chairwoman of the Jamul Indian Village of California. Thanks for joining us today @TiffnyMichelle ! pic.twitter.com/OJ1EFgOLAu 4. Binion’s Gambling Hall opened hotel and revolving bar Binion's Gambling Hall in Las Vegas is proud to announce the addition of two major new attractions Whiskey Licker Up and Hotel Apache.Whiskey Licker Up is a full-service saloon with a huge rotating bar as its centerpiece. The 6,500-square-foot facility will be located directly above the original Whiskey Licker Bar overlooking the First Street Stage. Whiskey Licker Up will offer drinks, dining, dancing, live entertainment and even a mechanical bull.Hotel Apache will feature 81 rooms with vintage-style furnishings reminiscent of the original Hotel Apache that opened in 1932. The property also has a long history of eerie occurrences that will appeal to many people. We're proud to announce the addition Whiskey Licker Up! It will be the first of its kind in Las Vegas ? a full-service saloon with a huge rotating bar as its centerpiece. #whiskeylickerup #anddown pic.twitter.com/atz2PhgY7M — Binion's (@BinionsLV) February 5, 2019 3. Corona Casino opens in Vietnam The Corona Resort and Casino in Phu Quoc became the first casino to allow Vietnamese to gambling after it opened in mid-January.The resort features 2,000 hotel rooms, 10 villas, a convention center, a theater, a shopping mall, a water park, a spa, restaurants, bars, Vinpearl amusement park, a safari park and an 18-hole golf course.To gain access to the casino, guests must pay $43 for a ticket that gives them 24 hours. 2. Rivers Casino unveils new Harbor Suite at The Landing Hotel Available now for public use, the nearly 1,700-square-foot Harbor Suite overlooks the majestic Mohawk Harbor and is located above Druthers in Schenectady near Rivers Casino & Resort Schenectady .“Every guest at the Harbor Suite will get a feel for Schenectady’s history just by walking through the space,” said Julie Maleski-Putzel of JMP Interiors.The Harbor Suite features two bedrooms with king-sized beds, walk-in closets, full-size vanities and 55’ TVs; two full bathrooms; a complete kitchen with full-sized refrigerator, oven, microwave and dishwasher; an expansive living area with plenty of seating and 65-inchTV; and a 300-square-foot balcony with views of the Mohawk River.The suite sleeps six comfortably and, with room for as many as 30 guests, is available to the public for corporate functions, wedding events, chef’s tables and long-term stay. Check out the newest addition to @LandingHotelNY ; our apartment-style Harbor Suite pic.twitter.com/vzQ94gP6yQ 1. $260 million expansion at Sycuan Casino Sycuan Casino Resort and Clique Hospitality announced a partnership as a part of Sycuan's $260 million expansion. Clique is set to open and operate a steakhouse, a luxury cocktail lounge and an "idyllic" pool experience."Bull & Bourbon will bring an innovative approach to classic steakhouse cuisine," said Aldo Negrete, executive chef at Bull & Bourbon. "We will feature steaks cut from our in-house butcher program along with select cuts from our on-site aging room.”Elicit Bar & Lounge is a high-end cocktail lounge serving artisanal cocktails, craft beers, wines and Asian-inspired appetizers. Guests can listen to soundtracks from DJs while enjoying food and drinks.Retreat Pool and Cabanas is an outdoor venue featuring two pools, a lazy river and an expansive pool deck furnished with oversized daybeds and cabanas. The poolside menu features seasonal bites and a full bar serving fresh mojitos, margaritas and champagne-infused cocktails. Sycuan and @clique_group are excited to introduce @elicitlounge coming March 2019! https://t.co/ZMavzP9ebQ pic.twitter.com/gCCqCfMW37

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A taste of home: Readers share stories of dishes from their cultural or ethnic backgrounds that can’t be found in GTA restaurants

By Karon Liu Food Writer Tues., Feb. 19, 2019
My favourite dish of all time is a braised pork belly and lotus root stew that my grandmother made. Like most grandmothers, she never wrote down the recipe. After she died I kept a lookout for it at Chinese restaurants, hoping it would pop up on a menu. So far no luck. With the GTA rife with restaurants reflecting our diverse population, I had to believe I’m not the only one in this situation. There have to be other people like me, with favourite lesser known culinary gems that haven’t found their way on to menus, yet. So I sent a shout out to readers asking for dishes they enjoy at home and haven’t yet seen on a restaurant menu.
The responses were overwhelming. Readers had me salivating at descriptions of Bajan flying fish and coucou (cornmeal and okra), Portuguese tripe and pig ear salad, Scottish clootie dumpling (dessert pudding), Thai yen ta fo (noodle soup in a tangy and spicy broth), Greek pastitsio (baked pasta with ground beef and bechamel), Norwegian pinnekjott (salted and smoked lamb or mutton), and Austrian Zwetschgenknödel (potato dumplings stuffed with plums). Italians chimed in with specific regional specialties from pizzoccheri, a short tagliatelle made with buckwheat flour in northern Italy, to pasta e ceci, ditalini pasta cooked with chickpeas in Rome. Here’s a snapshot of well-loved dishes we hope to see on restaurant menus someday. The Occhipinti family get together in the family home to makie scaccia, a Sicilian stuffed bread. ( Richard Lautens / Toronto Star ) Chinese Three Eggs uses regular eggs as a base then it’s topped with salted duck eggs and thousand-year eggs — eggs preserved in an alkaline mixture. ( Karon Liu/Toronto Star ) Rajma is a red kidney bean curry with roots in northern India. ( Karon Liu/Toronto Star ) Matriarch and chef, Assunta Gintoli prepares the different types as the Occhipinti family get together in the family home to make scaccia, a Sicilian stuffed bread. ( Richard Lautens / Toronto Star ) Assunta Gintoli uses a key folding technique to makie scaccia, a Sicilian stuffed bread. ( Richard Lautens / Toronto Star )
Scaccia Modicana (Stuffed flatbread from Modica, Sicily)
Italian fare is too broad of a term to describe the cooking of her people, says Jo-Anne Assenza, 74. People in neighbouring towns can make the same dish and have vastly different results due to varying techniques passed down from families. Assenza is from a proud Sicilian family from the city of Modica, famous for its scaccia. This savoury hand-held stuffed flatbread consists of a thin hand-rolled dough repeatedly folded on top of assorted fillings, then baked to a delicate crispness. Assenza comes from a long line of cooks carrying on old culinary traditions. Her mother Grace Occhipinti was featured in a 1976 Star article about how to roll out pasta by hand.
“Our grandmother lived with us and whenever there was a school dance she’d ask us to stay home and make cookies, so I learned how to cook early on from my mother and grandmother. The key to our scaccia is folding the dough three times, rather than sandwiching two layers like a sandwich. The secret is also in the dough, it’s delicate like a very thin pizza crust. It’s a very comforting food that’s made at Christmas Eve and at Easter after church. My cousin Assunta Gintoli is 81 and she’s the queen of making scaccia. She makes her own tomato sauce in September and goes through 30 bushels of tomatoes, makes her own ricotta and sausages for the stuffing, and bakes them on the same pan she’s been using for the last 50, 60 years. In Modica there are scaccia places everywhere like McDonald’s here. You can make them different ways and fill them with cheeses, herbs, vegetables and tomato sauce but historically not often meat because it was expensive. It’s definitely a regional dish.” Article Continued Below
Sephardi Dolmades De Tomatoes E Biber (Sephardi-style Tomatoes stuffed with Rice)
Most diners know about dolmades, grape leaves stuffed with rice popularized through Greek cuisine in Toronto but the dolmades from Regina Callaghan’s family are different — tomatoes are the vessel of choice for the rice stuffing. The 65-year-old Scarborough resident originally from Istanbul and raised in a Jewish household says her family’s cooking is a mix of Turkish, Jewish and Spanish, partly due to the Spanish Inquisition in which thousands were prosecuted for not following Catholicism in Europe and the reason her family fled to Turkey.
“My parents and myself were born in Istanbul while my brother was born here after we immigrated in 1958. When the Spanish Inquisition was happening, the eastern countries were offering asylum and that’s how our ancestors arrived in Istanbul in the 1400s. Our recipes are influenced by what was available in Turkey but they had a Spanish-Jewish spin on it. It’s very weird but very delicious. Dolmades refer to anything that’s stuffed and if it’s made with rice, they’re served at room temperature. If it’s with meat, they’re served hot. My mom cooked them by feel and taste but my sister-in-law sat down with her 10 years ago and measured everything out to make a recipe. We’re not practising Jews but when my parents passed we reconnected with the Sephardi community (Jewish people with ancestral roots in Spain) but I don’t know anyone who really makes that dish. My girls are going to make it, and that’s how it’s going to live on.”
Caribbean Chicken Souse (Citrusy chicken soup)
Torontonian Janelle Hinds still remembers her first bite of chicken feet while visiting family in Trinidad nearly 20 years ago. She immediately fell in love with the chicken souse, a refreshing soup of chicken feet (also commonly prepared with other parts of the bird) simmered in a light broth loaded with vegetables, allspice, plenty of lime juice and chilies. With roots in the Bahamas, the dish is often prepared on weekends as a hangover cure, but it’s something the entire family enjoys nonetheless.
“Chicken souse was always that one dish that I couldn’t find in the GTA. My mother is from Trinidad and I remember being down there as a kid for Carnival. We were in a small town having a pre-celebration and someone handed me this cup with a chicken foot in it. I was hesitant but I tried it and it was so good I had seconds and thirds. It’s a soup that’s cooling because there’s cucumber and there’s also a bit of pepper in it because Trini people can’t live without peppers. I’m 26 now and I’m still trying to recreate what I had when I was 7, but I just can’t make it like they do it down there so I’m looking on Yelp, restaurant menu sites, anything that would help me find a restaurant in the GTA that serves it. I don’t know why I just didn’t ask one of my family members in Trinidad to send me a recipe, but for now I think I’ll just ask someone to make it for me cause it’s hard to recreate something I had that long ago.”
Quebecois Macaroni and Tomato Juice Article Continued Below
When it comes to French-Canadian cooking most think of tourtière or poutine, but one dish that’s popular in Quebecois households is macaroni tossed with tomato juice (Google macaroni au jus de tomate to find recipes on Quebecois food sites). Some add ground beef while most versions add cheese, onion, garlic and herbs. For the most part it’s cooked pasta tossed in tomato juice — not a marinara or bolognese — but straight-up tomato juice from a can. It’s a dish mostly associated with poor families, but Toronto-based genealogist Wanda Sinclair, 61, says she’s been eating it since she was a kid and now makes it whenever she babysits for her grandniece and nephew.
“My mother got us on it, and I see on Facebook that my relatives have made it. It seemed our grandmother made it too. My maternal grandmother is Scottish but my maternal grandfather’s mother is French-Canadian and his father was born in Quebec. His family dates back to the 1600s there. You boil the macaroni, strain it, put it back in the pan, pour in tomato juice, then heat it up. I can add ground meat on top or a hard cheese like cheddar and then I put it in the oven. I don’t like anything with sauce but I’ll eat spaghetti with tomato juice. ”
North Indian Rajma (red kidney bean curry)
The GTA has a range of Indian restaurants highlighting the country’s vast culinary offerings be it region specific, fine-dining or street-food focused as well as a mix of old and new recipes reinterpreted by a new generation of cooks. But rajma is one dish Ryerson University journalism student Dhriti Gupta, 18, says she seldom sees at restaurants. It’s a red kidney bean curry with roots in northern India.
“I was born in New Delhi and that’s where my mom and dad grew up and my family still lives. Since then, because of my dad’s job as a chartered accountant we’ve moved to Houston, San Francisco, Calgary, Edmonton, back to Calgary and then Toronto. But no matter where we moved, rajma was always my staple. It’s hard to pinpoint exactly why I like it, but something about it is very nostalgic and I never had any rajma as good as my mom’s. She uses cardamom, cilantro and cumin, which is a common spice makeup but I noticed she also puts cinnamon in it. It’s a north Indian food where a lot of dishes are really rich and creamy, the food of the royals. I’m not sure why it didn’t catch on in restaurants because there are a lot of similar dishes like dhal makhani. Maybe rajma wasn’t fancy enough. I guess in North America it’s like a chili because of the red kidney beans and it’s slow-cooked in a tomato base. My mom actually once entered her rajma in a chili cooking competition and won!”
Chinese Steamed Three Eggs (savoury egg custard with salted duck egg and thousand-year egg)
Almost every Chinese family will have some form of a savoury steamed egg dish: egg whisked with a bit of water then mixed with anything including ground pork and pickled greens before it’s steamed in a little dish. Torontonian Jonathan Chant, 35, says his mom makes a version popular with many Chinese households that uses three types of egg: regular eggs as a base then topped with salted duck eggs and thousand-year eggs — eggs preserved in an alkaline mixture.
“My parents immigrated from Hong Kong separately and I was the first child born in Toronto. When I was 3, we moved to Thunder Bay, then Leamington and then back to Toronto for university. Growing up in Thunder Bay, we didn’t have access to as many Chinese restaurants as in Toronto so most of the Chinese food I ate was made by my mom. At school I definitely got my share of teasing even from my so-called friends about my lunches but for whatever reason I always thought the hot lunches she made were better than the sandwiches they ate. One of my favourite dishes is the steamed eggs. My mom mixes ground pork and chicken eggs then pours them into a dish. She then places a whole salted duck egg yolk right in the middle. Finally, she spreads diced thousand-year eggs around the salted duck egg yolk before steaming it. The Jell-O-like softness of the ground meat and steamed eggs combined with the taste of the thousand-year old egg is what draws me to it. This dish is good on its own, or mixed with rice and a bit of soy sauce. I might have it once a year now when I see my parents. My mom thought that restaurants probably don’t make it because the steaming process might take too long, and it’s not something you can make ahead of time.”
Bengali Pork Sausage (Indian-spiced sausages)
Pork isn’t a popular ingredient in the Indian subcontinent but in the city of Kolkata located in the state of West Bengal, the famous Entally Market is known for its Anglo-Indian offerings such as pork sausages that cater to the local Catholics (this was where Mother Teresa spent most of her life). You probably won’t see pork sausages in most Indian and Bangladeshi restaurants in the GTA, but for Brampton resident Henry Gomes, 26, it’s been a family favourite for generations.
“I was born in Dubai but my dad was born in Kolkata and my mom was born in Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh. Ethnically we’re Bengali but we’re also Catholic and consume pork. We moved to Canada in 1996 and my Uncle Luke thought it would be fun to take up making the sausages in the summer when the mint came up in the back garden. We first used this hand-crank machine but now we have a KitchenAid mixer with the sausage attachment to make things easier. My parents and I alternate between grinding the fresh pork; making the spice mixture that includes onion, garlic, ginger, green chilies, nutmeg, cloves and fresh mint; feeding the machine and stuffing the casings, which we get from an Italian butcher shop. To prepare them, you simply poach them in simmering water, followed by a quick fry in a skillet along with some parboiled potatoes. They’re served alongside rice and daal (as are most Bengali dishes). A spicy mango achar (pickle) is a good condiment to serve with them, though I usually reach for a bottle of Frank’s Red Hot Sauce while my sister prefers ketchup. The sausages are really delicious, but that’s only half the appeal. During our annual sausage-making day, I can’t help but think of my late Uncle Luke who revived the tradition in our family. They’re a unique way to connect with my identity as a Bengali-Catholic with roots in both India and Bangladesh, who currently lives in a suburb of a city often called Hogtown!”
Karon Liu is the Star’s food writer and is based in Toronto. Follow him on Twitter: @karonliu

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Nothing which I do not like but nothing I can appreciate , I feel more mechincal than human. Queuing for breakfast is too much of a ask pn a busy day specially when so many chairs are empty but closed. Wifi asking for 10 sgd to access media youtube etc.. sounds really cheap hence I have not opted. With price ~300 SGD definately not worth with limited facility , limited food menu and sadly time bound. Rooms are small though nice and clean toilet doies not have bathtub which is another big off for us
Breakfast should have more from item from indian cuisine or whatever they cook should be tasty and authentic indian.
Stayed in February 2019

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With Indian food in general, there is a world of difference in taste depending on the recipe and how familiar the cook is with the cuisine

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Malaysian Culture Essay

Malaysia has a multi-ethnic, multicultural, and multilingual society. The original culture of the area stemmed from indigenous tribes that inhabited it, along with the Malays who later moved there. Substantial influence exists from Chinese and Indian culture, go out back to when foreign trade began. Other cultural influences include the Persian, Arabic, and British cultures. Due to the structure of the government, coupled with the social contract theory, there has been token(prenominal) cultural assimilation of ethnic minorities. Traditional Malaysian wile was in the main centred around the areas of carving, weaving, and silversmithing.181 Traditional art ranges from hand-woven baskets from rural areas to the silverwork of the Malay courts.Common artworks include ornamental kris, beetle nut sets, and woven batik and songket fabrics. Indigenous eastern hemisphere Malaysians are known for their wooden masks.94 Each ethnic group make distinct performing arts, with little overlap b etween them. However, Malay art does show some North Indian influence due to the historical influence of India. Traditional Malay music and performing arts front to put one across originated in the Kelantan-Pattani region with influences from India, China, Thailand and Indonesia. The music is based around rhythm section instruments, the most important of which is the gendang (drum).There are at least 14 types of traditional drums. Drums and other traditional percussion instruments and are often make from natural materials. Music is traditionally used for storytelling, celebrating life-cycle events, and occasions such as a harvest. It was once used as a form of long-distance communication.183 In East Malaysia, gong-based musical ensembles such as agung and kulintang are usually used in ceremonies such as funerals and weddings. These ensembles are also ballpark in neighbouring regions such as in the southern Philippines, Kalimantan in Indonesia, and Brunei.Malaysias cuisine ref lects the multi-ethnic makeup of its population.186 Many cultures from within the country and from surround regions have greatly influenced the cuisine. Much of the influence comes from the Malay, Chinese, Indian, Thai, Javanese, and Sumatran cultures,94 largely due to the country being part of the ancient spice route.187 The cuisine is genuinely similar to that of Singapore and Brunei,107 and also bears resemblance to Filipino cuisine.94 The different states have varied dishes,107 and often the food in Malaysia is different from the original dishes.142

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The Early Bird, Kings Heath

Search for: The Early Bird, Kings Heath
If I look back to the early days of this blog I can clearly see the areas that improved the most in this city. Four years ago we had the Michelin stars, the high-end and low-end Indian restaurants, the street food resurgence, and the cheap eats in China Town. We never had the burger joints, the sushi bars, the craft beer pubs that take grub seriously, or many places to go for breakfast. Seriously, the last point is a big one. If breakfast really is the most important meal of the day, we have neglected it to the point that the authorities should have got involved. There were a couple of coffee shops in the city centre doing a very average job and receiving far more praise than they deserved, whilst the best happened to be found in a pub in Harborne and a delicatessen in Moseley. How times have changed. We have an abundance of choice now; an assortment of cuisines and cultures delivering great food in every area. I have my favourites and you probably already have yours. Mine may be different to yours and that is perfectly fine, you are allowed to be wrong sometimes. It’s why I have the awards and you don’t.
Whatever your position on this subject may be, please add The Early Bird to your lists of ‘must visits’ with immediate effect. I could, but won’t, harp on about how they turn yesterday’s leftover produce into some of today’s cakes, and how sustainability and zero-waste is at the forefront of what they do. Instead I’ll focus on the dishes we ate, which puts it straight to the top of those within walking distance of my gaff. A bacon bap is a good starting point given the effort it demonstrates. The meat has been marinated in ginger beer and fried so that the thick ribbons of fat have browned and turned crispy. The brioche bun is delicate, with a little sweet chilli jam that has little in the way of heat but plenty of sweetness. It is British in notion though conjures up the use of sweetness, texture, and spice of Hong Kong side streets. At less than a fiver I can see this becoming a regular fixture in my life. Another brunch dish has sourdough with scrambled eggs, chorizo, peppers, and almonds. The eggs could do with a little more salt, but that aside it’s another example of taking a familar dish and tweaking it to add contrast and bite.
Whatever you order, do not attempt to leave without ordering the french toast made from yesterdays cinnamon roll. It’s sweet and unrelenting and naughty, but so very good. The toast is stodgy in the best possible way, with charred orange, mascarpone, and a pecan praline so dangerously addictive they could sell it for forty pound a gram. I end up sharing it against my will and very nearly order another. Instead I go to the cake counter and order a rhubarb and custard brioche to takeaway. Later that evening we cut it in half to reveal a set custard encased in what I think is yesterday’s brioche. There is a hint of orange blossom that works with the rhubarb. It’s rather brilliant.
The bill for all of this with two good coffees is less than thirty pound, and that could be shaved by a third if you’re half as greedy as we are. We both really enjoyed it, agreeing that right here is our new local go-to. Some places feel like they’re trying too hard, pushing ingredients on to plates because trend dictates they do so. Not here. The Early Bird is completely at ease with itself, putting flavour and technique ahead of everything else. Exactly my kind of place.
8/10
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