Meat Picks | 11.30.12

Thank You !

One of the best things about the holiday season is how the spirit of giving illuminates within us. Such was the case when the Amercian Culinary Federation (ACF) brought a crew of helping hands to the 52nd Annual Thanksgiving Feast at La Rabida Children’s Hospital in Chicago.

Each year La Rabida’s rehab gym is elegantly decorated for the event by a faithful group of church volunteers. ACF Chefs and industry members brought turkeys and all the trimmings to cook and serve the feast. Over 100 patients and their families were treated to Thanksgiving dinner last week.

La Rabida has been serving Chicago families since 1896, providing care to children with lifelong medical conditions regardless of their family’s ability to pay. The Hospital serves 9,000 children annually who require primary and specialty care to address complex and challenging medical conditions. Read about the children and how you can help here.

Holiday Tips from Tony Dee

We asked Executive Corporate Chef, Tony Dee, from Eddie Merlot’s, for some quick holiday entertaining tips. To our surprise, his biggest message was, “keep it simple”.

Stick to finger foods. No cakes, but cookies, brownies and bars. People should be able to “snack and graze easily with a drink in one hand and a cookie in another. Stick to finger foods and make what you know during the Holidays – it’s not the time to try out exotic flavors or challenging dishes. There’s nothing wrong with making the basics, short ribs, ham. I do exactly that, I’ll make a nice ham with a beautiful glaze.”

Does he have a secret for perfect mashed potatoes?

Tony says, “He’s bad”, because when he makes mashed potatoes he sticks with a 2:1 ratio: 2 parts potatoes to 1 part (unsalted) butter, “…it’s like velvet”. Adding only salt and white pepper, he uses his Kitchen Aid and emphasizes the potatoes need to be whipped immediately after draining but for no longer than it takes to blend in the butter and spices.

Top 100 + 1

Time Out Chicago’s 100 Best Things We Ate and Drank in 2012 list just came out.

In the entrée category, Embeya’s “big dinosaur ribs” are described as something that hits, “every gustatory pleasure point via a crisp top layer of fat, sumptuous pork and a sticky, sweet and spicy tamarind-garlic glaze”. The mouthwatering Fat Beef Burger, “topped with onion jam and chorizo shoved between two halves of a juice-soaking pretzel bun”, at Bread & Wine, is just one of the burgers that made the cut.

The last entry on this ever extensive fast food to foo-foo dish list is the 101st reader picked favorite: Chicken and Waffles at Longman & Eagle. Who doesn’t like the magic of salt and sweet?

Happy Holidays!

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From the desk of John Cecala Twitter  @ Buedel Fine Meats  Facebook  Buedel Fan Page

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Chef Michael Garbin | It’s All about the 5 P’s

In an industry where longevity is an oxymoron and staffing is revolving door notorious, Executive Chef Michael Garbin, CEC, AAC, ACE, HGT, celebrated his double decade tenure at the Union League Club of Chicago this year.

Heralded by numerous awards, including induction into the Honorable Order of the Golden Toque, Chef Garbin’s career is richly steeped in an unwavering dedication to the culinary arts and education.

He has had but one Thanksgiving off in twenty years, has a scholarship fund in his name and is quick to shrug off any mention of “writing a book”. We sat down with Chef Garbin to pay homage to his work and share his insights.

Having served dignitaries and celebrities, what VIP event made you the most nervous in your career?

CMG: Prior to coming to Chicago, the most pressure I ever felt was a Mobil 5 Star weekend long event. Absolutely everything had to be perfect. We worked from 5 a.m. to 11 p.m. each day, it was the highest anxiety I’ve ever felt. That is an example of where everything is heightened; you have to plan for what could, what might…if…you have to anticipate everything. I was extremely relieved when it was over.

Did you ever consider opening your own restaurant?

CMG: I never wanted to. I didn’t want to have to worry about what happens…if the toilet didn’t work. I didn’t want to have to be a plumber too.

For many years, work always came first. But then at some point, I wanted to achieve more balance. When I came to the Union League, my son was five years old. Over time I was able to go see his football games in high school and college. I have an amazing boss and a great staff – we support each other.

Rick Bayless, Jimmy Bannos and other chefs get asked to do a lot more public events than me because I work in a private club. However, at the Union League Club we have our foundations and other special events that support our commitment to community and country which is the motto of the ULC.

Some of your staff have been with you almost as long as you’ve been here. Why do you think that is?

CMG:  A couple of them have been here even longer than I. These people have evolved as long term quality members of our staff that can be counted on to meet our preparation standards with minimal direction. I have also left personal events to come in to help with a shift when I know we’re short-handed. If one of us needs something, we all pitch in.

When someone interviews for a job here, they come in and do a little work with us, so we can see if they’ll be a good fit. If my team feels they lacked enthusiasm for any task given to them, we usually don’t hire that person.

Having a great culinary team allows the guest to experience more when it comes to dining in the same location, different flavors, different presentations, different experiences, every time they dine.

The 5 P’s

Chef Garbin is equally devoted to education. He is on the ACF Certification Commission, an Accredited Certification Examiner and Trainer and President of the ACF Windy City Professional Culinarians. Garbin believes sharing his knowledge and that of his teams’ with young culinarians helps make them successful.

What is the best advice you can give to culinary arts students and new chefs?

CMG: It’s all about the ‘5 P’s’: Proper Planning Prevents Poor Performance – I learned it when I first started. Know what your customers like – not what you like.

What does it take to be a great chef today?

CMG: Education, certification and networking. Culinary school is just the beginning; it is the first step to become a culinarian.

Being a chef is so much bigger today; we can use tools for exposure, knowledge, and recognition. It wasn’t until 1974 or 5 that the Federal Government first made the recognition shift for chefs, from servant position to culinary professional.

Food shows, etc. have helped to bring the profession to the forefront but, young people have to realize it’s not at all like it is on TV. Some culinary students don’t understand they have to establish their ground game.

What do you mean exactly by, ‘ground game’?

CMG: You learn one way. You have to learn what the chef wants, how they want things done. You do this over and over again [learn one way] to build your expertise. This is how you develop your own personal technique and tastes to build your knowledge and ultimately apply for ACF certification to demonstrate your hard work.

Find the right environments to learn. Whoever you cook for, what you do and don’t do is why it’s so important.

What else do young chefs need to know?

I believe in the opportunity to train and educate my team to doing things a new way and making the effort to always make money for the bottom line. If I find a product or recipe that hits the mark, I carry it with me forward.

You also have to be honest with your local purveyors. Your food suppliers will take care of you, and you must treat them in kind. You can’t go from one vendor to another just because something is 10 cents a pound cheaper. Talk to them; what do they know? They can help you find alternatives to use.

Young culinarians need to be exposed to these kinds of things. They need to find a chef who’ll mentor them.

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From the desk of John Cecala Twitter  @ Buedel Fine Meats  Facebook  Buedel Fan Page

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‘Tis the Season to be Braising

When the weather begins turning colder, at least here in the Midwest, we stow away our back yard barbeque grills before winter rolls in. It’s a change that signifies many things – warmer clothes, winter sports and the start of Braising Season!

Professional Chefs already know the culinary delights of braising meats. Here’s a primer for the rest of us, and some potential new ideas for your menu.

The  4-1-1

Braising is a slow cooking method that combines moisture and heat to break down connective tissue and collagen which makes the meat soft and tender. When combined with your favorite mixture of stock, spices and rubs, the end result is a delicious hearty meal that will warm up your winter. Braised meats are comfort food.

Any type of meat can be braised: beef, pork, veal and lamb – even poultry can be braised. Meat is best braised with tougher and bone-in cuts.

Rule of thumb: Fattier is better for braising, where leaner is worse. If a cut is served as a steak on the menu, it’s probably not the best meat for braising.

Best Cuts to Braise

The best cuts for braising are the locomotive muscles from the animal; they are the muscles that are most moved by the animal.  Think: Shoulder, Tail, Cheeks, Ribs (Short), Shank, Feet. These muscles are fattier with more connective tissue that is rich in collagen. When slowly cooked to about 185°F, the intramuscular fat and collagen break down and melt, tenderizing the meat and making it more flavorful and juicy.

The best cuts for braising are:

Beef – Chuck, Brisket, Top Round Roast, Bottom Round Roast, Short Ribs, Cheeks, Shanks (Osso Bucco), Ox Tails

Veal – Shanks (Osso Bucco), Neck, Chuck (shoulder), Round, Short Ribs, Breast

Pork – Blade Roast, Picnic Roast, Shanks, Cheeks

Lamb – Shanks, Shoulder, Arm, Chuck

Cost Wise & Plate Beautiful

Braised meats are also an economical menu choice. They are typically indicative to less costly cuts, yet plate rich and hearty – the perfect marriage. Go for the “wow” factor and try having your bone-in meats “French Cut” to expose the bone; the affect makes for a beautiful plate presentation.

My favorite cuts for braising are beef short ribs. Buedel Fine Meats fabricates a variety of beef short ribs from traditional 3-bone short ribs to Tomahawk Cut single or double bone-in short ribs. Boneless short ribs can also be rolled & tied before braising for a unique plate presentation.

Enjoy the Braising Season, before you know it we’ll be breaking out the grills again.

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Meat Picks | 11.15.12

Michelin Mayhem

The prestigious Michelin Guide Chicago Restaurants 2013 came out yesterday. Much ado is being made over changes to the list and the fact that Chicago has less stars now than when the first Chicago guide came out in 2011. (See the Michelin history here.)

We prefer to look at it this way: Chicago is part of the global elite, a recognized Michelin city amidst a massive food-scape of competition. How cool is that?

If you haven’t seen this year’s star wrap up, here it is: 3 Stars – Alinea  2 Stars – Graham Elliot and L2O  1 Star – Acadia, Blackbird, Boka, Everest, Goosefoot, Longman & Eagle, Mexique, Moto, NAHA, Schwa, Sepia, Sixteen, Spiaggia, Takashi, Topolobampo and Tru. Both, L20 and Graham Elliot, moved up from 1 to 2 Star ratings this year.

Major congrats to the recipients; you all rock!

Expand Your Brand

LEYE is already the king of brands when it comes to restaurant multiplicity. Richly based in the notion that the key to success is surrounding yourself with great people, LEYE is testing their latest working partnership with online grocery retailer, Peapod, for home delivery of their brand.

How?

Taking an innovative and high tech approach, the concept is currently being tested at commuter platforms using large billboard menus and QR codes for mobile iPhone, iPad and Android phone orders. Shoppers can virtually scan what they want to buy on the billboards for next day delivery.

Get the Peapod Mobile app free here and test it out for yourself with this first time buyers’ coupon code for $20 off using: LEYEBEST.

Turkey Hits List

Did you know the first Thanksgiving took place in 1621 over a three day festival to celebrate the Pilgrims’ harvest and that the main entrée was venison and not turkey? Or, that the holiday wasn’t celebrated again for several hundred years thereafter?

Interestingly enough, Thanksgiving as we know it, did not permanently become an official American holiday until FDR signed it into law in 1941. For more Thanksgiving factoids, check out the reads and videos on History.com.

Last, but not least, the list you’ve all been waiting for: TOC’s 2012 Thanksgiving Guide. Here you’ll find Black Wednesday deals, Dine In and Carry Out Thanksgiving spreads and Black Friday specials.

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!

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From the desk of John Cecala  Twitter @ Buedel Fine Meats  Facebook Buedel Fan Page

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Is Your Self-Made Ground Beef Safe? | How to Manage Risk with In-House Ground Beef

Ground beef is versatile, delicious, relatively inexpensive and probably the most popular of all beef options. It’s a staple ingredient on just about every restaurant menu by way of meatloaf, meatballs, sauces, appetizers, hamburgers and more.

Many restaurants make their own in-house ground beef using trimmings created from cutting their own steaks and/or boxed beef primal cuts. This is also common practice in grocery stores and butcher shops. If you opt to do the same, how can you tell if your ground beef is really safe?

Bacteria 101 

People in the meat business live by this credo: Life begins at 40. 40°F is the critical temperature at which bacteria start to grow on meat.

Bacteria occur naturally everywhere around us in our environment. There are beneficial bacteria, and harmful bacteria. You’ve probably heard of probiotics, which contain beneficial types of bacteria. Much has been positively written about the so called “good” bacteria synonymous to yogurt and other like food products in recent years.

When working with ground beef there are two harmful types of bacteria of concern: Spoilage and Pathogenic.

Spoilage Bacteria are generally not harmful to humans. These are the types of bacteria that cause food to deteriorate creating bad odor, color or texture.  Many of us know that when meat smells foul we probably shouldn’t eat it. The good thing about Spoilage bacteria is it gives us detectable warning.

Pathogenic Bacteria are killers; they are very harmful to humans. These types of bacteria cause food-borne illness and cannot be seen or smelled: E. coli O157:H7, Salmonella, Campylobacter Jejuni, Listeria Monocytogenes, and Staphylococcus Aureus. Pathogenic bacteria are often thought upon as “hidden” killers because you can’t see, smell or taste them; they give us no detectable warning signs.

Pathogen Prevention in the Food Service Industry

Ground beef production in the Foodservice Industry is done under State or USDA Inspection. Wholesale ground beef producers must take measures to reduce both spoilage and pathogenic bacteria risks associated with ground beef to ensure public safety. Industry standards are strictly adhered to and some producers will electively incorporate additional safety measures to the established guidelines.

The safety process at Buedel Fine Meats begins with all ground beef raw material undergoing N=60 sampling, an elective but robust testing process in accordance with the Beef Industry Food Safety Council’s suggested Best Practices for ground beef which includes a laboratory Certificate of Analysis. We also voluntarily employ the use of a Pathogen Intervention System for boxed beef primal cuts to further increase food safety and conduct all ground beef production in a dedicated processing room kept under 40°F.

How Good is Pathogen Prevention in Restaurant Kitchens?

Unfortunately, pathogen bacterial prevention is challenging in restaurants for a variety of reasons. Many restaurants grind their own ground beef in back of the house kitchens. Often times grinding is taking place in temperatures way over 40°F because of the close proximity to ovens, grills and fryers being used.

A high risk of cross-contamination can also occur in restaurants cramped for space where fish, chicken, pork and beef prep are sometimes  done in the same area, on the same table, and possibly with the same knives. Sometimes meat is stored in the same cooler as dairy and produce and the door is continually opening throughout the day increasing the cooler temperature to over 40°F.  Many times meat is stored near the cooler door where the highest variation of temperature occurs.

All of these critical control points introduce pathogenic risk to a restaurant operation, but they are the types of risks that can be monitored and controlled with smart care. Conversely, there are also other risks which are harder to control when making in-house ground beef from steak trimmings or boxed beef.

It is important for restaurants to know that boxed beef is not pathogen tested at the packing plant. Deadly pathogens such as, E. coli O157:H7, Salmonella, and Campylobacter Jejuni, if present, may exist on the exterior surface of the meat with no warning signs.

The only sure fire way for restaurants to kill these bacteria without pathogenic intervention, is to cook the meat to at least 160°F (well done). There is some flexibility with steaks and roasts where only the exterior surfaces need to reach 160°F, which still allows for the insides to be cooked to rare or medium.

Ground beef and burgers are quite a different story and a much greater risk. If deadly pathogens are present on the exterior surface of meat being used they will get mixed up and mixed in during the grinding process. If the ground beef or burgers then are not cooked to 160° (well done) completely through, then the possibility for customer illness occurs when pathogens are present giving you liability exposure.

How many of you or your customers order burgers well done? How many of us like our burgers a little pink on the inside? How many people do you know like to order their burgers “mooing”?

Best Practices for Safer Ground Beef

While sickness and death from pathogens such as E. coli O157:H7 do not run rampant, they do occur. Keeping liability exposure to a minimum is a priority for all of us.

Here’s a checklist you can employ to reduce risk exposure and increase food safety:

  Record Accurate Information
Keep a log by vendor, including vendor establishment number pack dates, receive dates, raw material type, time used, quantity used, and any other plant-specific identification information provided. If there is an incident, your log will be helpful to trace back to the source and potentially reduce your liability.

 Store Raw Materials Properly
Place fresh beef raw material into cold storage and keep it’s temperature under 40°F.

 Employ Good Manufacturing Practices
Grind beef in an environment under 40°F. Train personnel on disease control, hygiene, and so forth. Instill sanitary operation procedures for general maintenance, cleaning, sanitizing, pest control and cross-contamination prevention.

  Use Pathogen Inhibitors                                                                                      There are USDA approved natural acid spray interventions you can use with a hand sprayer on meat prior to grinding. These sprays typically kill 99.9% of pathogens upon contact significantly reducing bacterial risks.

 Store Finished Products Correctly
Always keep fresh ground beef stored under 40°F, freeze if possible. Date stamp finished products by production date. Fresh ground beef is safest only for a few days if not vacuum sealed.

Rule of Thumb

Better safe than sorry is the way to go; grind your own beef with food safety in mind. Use best practice measures to reduce the risk of illness and liability from toxic pathogens.

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From the desk of  John Cecala  Twitter @Buedel Fine Meats  Facebook  Buedel Fan Page

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Meat Picks | 11.8.12

Restaurant Relief

Nation Restaurant News shared several stories this week about what restaurants in the storm center did to help in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. One in particular caught our attention:

The Margaritas Mexican Restaurant group shared their locations’ electricity and warmth and served food to emergency workers and storm victims. MMR’s newest restaurant in Lansdale, Pa., which had only opened a few days before Sandy hit, reopened Tuesday night [Nov. 1st] and gave away 1,200 free tacos to community members. The restaurant also delivered tacos to relief workers assessing damage around the area. The effort was advertised solely through word of mouth and social media.

Two lessons we can learn: Grass root efforts really do work and don’t ever doubt the power of social media or word of mouth again…

Dinner-for-donations and impromptu concert fundraisers, are just some of the things restaurants on the east coast have been doing to support Sandy relief efforts. Locally, Fish Bar, DMK, Ada St., Wormhole Coffee, and Market House On The Square in Lake Forest, all ran a variety of donation raising events to support the cause this week. On Saturday, November 17th, Shaw’s Crab House & Tokio Pub in Schaumburg will be holding a charity drive for relief efforts. Tickets are just $35 and available now.

The nationwide outpour of donations to the Red Cross now total over $100 million. Here are 8 other organizations you can also donate to for help.

Kustomer Kudos

Much has been written about, “the new modern Asian restaurant in the West Loop”, Embeya. Everyone knows opening a new restaurant ain’t no easy thang but reviews by Chicago Eater, Yelp, Red Eye, Open Table, Urban Daddy and TOC are all favorable. Congratulations, we wish you many years of success!

Bistrot Zinc recently scored a major hit with The Daily Dish by a self proclaimed (and unsolicited) foodie. That’s huge in our book of reviews, especially for well established eateries like BZ. Kudos!

Last, but not least, our friends at the Saloon Steakhouse just got all shot up by the Mafia Hairdresser. Former mobster, turned novelist, hairdresser and social media guru Jon-David, gushed out one of the most heartfelt “best steakhouse” raves we’ve ever read at The Local Tourist. He even mentioned little ole us – thanks, MH!

 

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From the desk of  John Cecala  Twitter @Buedel Fine Meats  Facebook  Buedel Fan Page

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Trend | Why Local is Hot

Local, Natural, Pasture Raised and Humane are some of the hottest buzz words used these days by the media, chefs, purveyors and consumers. Few discussions about healthy eating, the environment and social responsibility take place without them.

The team at Buedel Fine Meats & Provisions spends a lot of time discussing these trends with customers – local, natural, pasture raised and humane – they are all mutually exclusive topics which overlap. In a recent post, we wrote about What Makes Meat “Natural”?, but what does ‘Local’ mean when it comes to all foods?

Locality vs. Reality

Speaking in a geographical sense, there is no standard definition of local. Some define local as a food source within 250 miles of your proximity. Others say a local food source is within a day’s drive away, and yet other schools of thought say it depends on the types of food and that local can also be “regional” – like blueberries from Michigan to Chicago. This can get confusing, to say the least.

The whole notion of “local”, when it comes to food, in reality is more about healthy eating, supporting family farmers, sustainable agriculture, humane animal treatment, care for the environment, and fresher food, than it is about the exact distance from a food source to your door.

Historical Look

Part of the post World War II economic boom in our country was within agriculture. There was money to be made by feeding the masses with livestock and seed farmed commodities both domestically and overseas.

Large companies such as Cargill were out to feed the world and industrial farming grew at the expense of the independent family farmer. By the 1960’s the rural economy began struggling and many independents were losing their farms.

“The American farmer is the only man in our economy who buys everything he buys at retail, sells everything he sells at wholesale, and pays the freight both ways.” – John F. Kennedy

The use of newly developed chemical pesticides, growth hormones and genetic modification science proliferated to increase yields and speed time to market and profit grew over time. Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFO) were developed to bring more livestock to market faster in order to, quite literally, feed the demands for food and financial profits for commodities traders and industrial farming companies.

The by-products of these industrialized farming methods were water and air pollution. Inorganic fertilizers deteriorate soil, toxic ground water runoff affects rivers and lakes, increases in green-house gasses affect air quality and ozone.

Many of these issues are regulated much better today than they had been in the past, but still exist.

How Local Re-Evolved

In the mid 1980’s forward thinking food retailers like Whole Foods and Wild Oats Market began to emerge touting natural foods which were “better for you” and the environment.

Farmer’s Markets in urban areas soon began to grow in popularity where small farmers brought their harvest into urban communities for direct purchase by the consumer. Their food was produced naturally; it was fresher, better tasting, and healthier for consumers. The urban platform also provided an income for small farmers.

Today’s Local

Better food retailers have steadily increased consumer awareness of the benefits of natural foods and demand for them across the board.  Many consumers today are willing to pay higher prices for these foods because of the health and socioeconomic benefits attached to them.

According to the National Restaurant Association’s What’s Hot in 2012 Survey, the top two hottest restaurant trends are: 1) Locally sourced meats and seafood. 2) Locally grown produce.

Why?

More of today’s consumers want to know where their food comes from and how healthy it is. Chefs and Restaurateurs want to meet the increasing demand for fresher and natural foods while supporting their local communities.

The locally sourced movement creates a symbiotic relationship between farmers, businesses and consumers, while helping the local economy and environment with transparency into the way the food was produced.

Local farmers that raise their crops without harmful toxins and practice livestock-pasture/seed-crop rotation each year are sustaining the environment. They have a market for their harvest with local buyers such as retailers, chef and restaurateurs.

Local retailers, chefs and restaurateurs get transparency from the local farmers into how these foods have been farmed. They purchase them for their freshness and healthfulness for the betterment of their local business thus helping the local Farmer and offering more to their customers.

Local consumers seeking the benefits of healthier, environmentally friendly food patronize these local retailers and restaurants helping the local businesses. It is through this continuing cycle of economics and demand where everyone benefits.

This is Local when it comes to food: Healthy Eating, Supporting Family Farmers, Sustainable Agriculture, Care for the Environment, Fresher food.

Local is Near and Far

Depending on where you live it may not be possible or desirable to have locally farmed foods. You may not find or desire locally farmed blueberries in Nebraska as much as you would in Michigan, nor seek or want locally farmed beef in Michigan as much as you would in Nebraska. However, in both cases you can support Family Farms and the ecosystem of local farming even though they may not be physically “local” to your own proximity.

For example, Niman Ranch, a cooperative of over 750 family farmers across the country, requires their family farmers to raise livestock without hormones or antibiotics using humane and sustainable farming practices. In return, Niman Ranch guarantees to purchase 100% of their herds allowing these small family farmers to maintain a living and preserve their farms for future generations.

Educated buyers understand the importance of local based alliances such as Niman. They get that while you may not be able to buy local lobster in Illinois, you can choose to purchase seafood from a purveyor who works with family fisheries.

By supporting “local” food producers we can enhance the social, economic and environmental interrelationships of a community. And that’s stellar.

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From the desk of  John Cecala  Twitter @Buedel Fine Meats  Facebook  Buedel Fan Page

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Meat Picks | 11.1.12

What the Falafel?

Time Out Chicago just ran a review on the, “Best Falafel Sandwich in the Loop”. Falafel always gets us thinking…  Fuh-lah-fuhl; fun word to say; fun thing to eat.

For those of you not in the know, Falafel is chick peas and/or fava beans mixed with spices, made into balls and deep fried. (Here’s an Epicurious recipe for it.) It can be served as an appetizer, sandwich, with salads and just about any way you want to have it.

If you’re like most people, the first time you ever heard about fava beans was when actor Anthony Hopkins uttered his spine tingling movie line, I ate his liver with some fava beans and a nice chianti, in Silence of the Lambs. (Gives you shivers just thinking about it, doesn’t it?)

Thought to have originated in Egypt, Falafel looks like a fritter, can be served as a meat alternative and is often referred to as, “street food”.

Make that, one (chick pea) Falafel to go, please!

Kustomer Kudos

There’s no guarantee when a restaurant is visited by Check, Please! the review will be  smashing, but that’s exactly how Oakbrook’s Antico Posto played out.

Antico’s ambiance, menu and consistent food quality, are just some of the high points reviewers raved over during last week’s season premiere episode. Congratulations, AP!

New Cookbook

Rick Bayless has a new cookbook out, FRONTERA  Margaritas, Guacamole and Snacks. FRONTERA, seventh in the iconic Chef’s library of Mexican cuisine cookbooks, marks the first time Bayless shares the most requested recipes from his restaurants in these categories.

With a focus on seasonal variations, the cookbook runs the gamut from cold-weather versions of guacamole to, “…even a recipe for how to prepare corn nuts from scratch”.

FRONTERA [excellent holiday and hostess gift] is due to ship in Mid-November for $24.95. Pre-order here.

Sunday in Paris

The Paris Club Chicago has added a second night to this Saturday’s sold out premiere of a new exclusive series of visits by French chefs to Chicago for this Sunday, November 4th.

PCC’s Executive Chef Alex Ageneau, will host a special dinner featuring the cuisine of world-acclaimed Chef Armand Arnal of Michelin-starred, La Chassagnette. Tickets for this Sunday’s event, beginning at 5:30 p.m. are available online now.

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From the desk of  John Cecala  Twitter @Buedel Fine Meats  Facebook  Buedel Fan Page

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