Super Supper Club
Does the name Brian Bordainick ring a bell? If it doesn’t resonate now, it will soon. Bordainick pioneered a “social dining experiment” in New Orleans, which in just two short years, is about to become a conceptual hospitality phenom of national proportions.
Dinner Lab is an event centric dining club where “a group of interesting strangers” (sewn together by annual membership fees) gather at surprise locations (diners don’t know where they’re going till 24 hours before) “to share cuisine crafted by up-and-coming chefs from all over the country.” The concept blossomed from New Orleans, to Austin, Nashville, New York and LA, and is now targeted to open soon in Atlanta, Chicago, DC, Miami and San Francisco.
For young chefs, Dinner Lab is a dream come true, giving them a stage to “tell a story through a menu”, outside their employers’ kitchens. According to the company website, there are 300 Windy City membership lots open. Here’s the link to the Chicago application page.
New Season, Great Host
After all the hoopla surrounding the search for a new host, and “900 applicants” later, the new season of Check,Please! finally got off the ground earlier this month.
Catherine De Orio is absolutely charming as the new host and does an eloquent job of navigating guest reviewers as demonstrated on the recent Benny’s Chophouse segment. Two of the three guests raved about their Chophouse experience, (citing meat, service, and ambiance, as some of the key factors that make Benny’s pure “magic”), while the third was fixated on talking about baked potatoes. The ever smiling De Orio artfully suggested the guest move on to discussing the most important course – entrees.
Did you know the State of Illinois is one of the largest harvesters and processors of pumpkins? That a local artisan recently appeared on the Food Network’s Halloween Wars carving pumpkins? Or, that if you Google “pumpkin meat recipes” (seriously) no less than 18,300,000 hits return in .39 seconds? (There’s a recipe for meat-stuffed baked pumpkin from Country Living.com that looks especially good.)
No matter how you carve it, pumpkins are a big deal – for decorations, as food and even in beer. (Check out TOC’s top pumpkin brew picks here.) You may also be interested in knowing that, not only, is Illinois one of the biggest pumpkin producers, but arguably in the top slot among the first five pumpkin growing states including California, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Indiana.