Summer Wines! Extra Footage from Alpana Singh

We thought we’d post some extra footage from our interview with Alpana Singh of The Boarding House. Continue reading

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Eat + Drink This : Episode 4, The Local Chicago Blue Cheese Fondue Chips

You know what sounds awesome after a long day of work? Having a beer or cocktail outside, watching people walk by, and snacking on something that just kicks ass.

I’d like to give a suggestion if you’re looking to scratch that same itch.

You’ve got to check out The Local Chicago who recently opened their patio in the Streeterville/Gold Coast area and now has alfresco dining until midnight.

We recently had the chance to hang out with Chef Travis Strickland and get a behind-the-scenes demonstration of him making The Local Chicago’s Blue Cheese Fondue Chips (check out our video).

My reaction after seeing the finished product – “Damn, this looks good.”

My reaction after having a bite – “Damn, this tastes good.” Continue reading

Eat + Drink This : Episode 3, Wine with Alpana Singh

We don’t discriminate around here at Beer Snack Blog.

We celebrate all foods and beverages – not just beer and not just snacks.

It is in that spirit that we reached out to Alpana Singh, Master Sommelier and proprietor of The Boarding House, to tell us a little bit about wine and her new restaurant in Chicago’s Gold Coast.

Not going to lie, sipping wines w/Alpana on a random weekday afternoon is fun.

First and foremost, she’s a fun person to be around. She makes you feel at ease, like you’ve known each other for years. Before we started shooting we talked about vacations (or lack there of), the stresses of running a restaurant, dinners out with friends, and fighting off that last winter cold.

And she knows her shit. Continue reading

How to Best Spend $4.95 on a Friday

Pequods

I can’t figure out why I haven’t heard of any lunch specials in years? When I lived in St. Louis for college, I remember a ton of places having awesomely discounted food that would compete with McDonald’s on price, but with a much better product.

Is it because I’m out of college and have a little more disposable income, so I’m not looking? Is it the city that I live in that’s the problem – Chicago, are you holding out on me?

Honestly, if you have the answer let me know. Also, if you have heard of an awesome lunch special, please share the wealth.

I recently had the pleasure of having an awesome afternoon, courtesy of Pequod’s Pizza and their lunch special. We’ll get to that in a second. Continue reading

WBEZ Keep it Comin’, Saloon Style!

Old Town Painting

I’m a dork.

I know it.

I indulge in it.

I’ve enjoyed public radio since I was about 20.

National Public Radio and its local affiliate stations produce amazing shows that have greater depth than many sound-bite ridden news programs you get through the old boob tube, paper or electronic news outlets.

Over the past couple of months, I’ve found myself delivering our beer snacks to stores and bars during the afternoon and listening to an amazing show called Afternoon Shift with Rick Kogan on WBEZ. It’s been around for several months now, and if you haven’t caught it, I’d highly recommend it.

Despite living in Chicago for over ten years, I lack the knowledge that many native Chicagoans inherently possess.  The combination of in-depth coverage and deep Chicago knowledge is why Rick Kogan’s show has me smitten.

There seems to be this underworld of Chicago knowledge that can only be tapped into if you’ve lived here your entire life; if you have roots that run deep in these neighborhoods, you have access to it. I’ve met a few people that can channel this knowledge and help impart wisdom onto us non-natives.

Rick Kogan is one such individual. Continue reading

Eat & Drink This: Episode 2, Half Acre Beer Company

I love beer.

One of the first local beers I ever had that was brewed in the Chicagoland area was Daisy Cutter by Half Acre Beer Company.

Half Acre was the first “craft brewery” I toured, which happened a number of years ago. The tour helped solidify my appreciation for small breweries and the work it takes to create artisanal products.

Since that tour, I’ve interacted with the people at Half Acre a fair amount. Not only do I enjoy their beer, but also I respect them as a small business.

I’m also fascinated by people’s stories. I was fortunate enough to sit down with Gabriel Magliaro, President and Owner of Half Acre Beer Company to discuss how he ended up founding and running one of Chicago’s favorite breweries. Continue reading

Oh Little Goat, Can You Live up to the Hype?

Little Goat Burrito

Little Goat’s Parathas Burrito

I’m always skeptical of hype. Most people I know are skeptical of hype. Occasionally I give in and usually get burned.

For me, it’s usually with a new movie that “you’ve gotta see” or a restaurant that “is the most amazing new restaurant”.  The last time I gave into hype regarding a restaurant, I left the place pissed off (see Integrity, In Four Acts of Food & Wine – and I still won’t name the place).

So, when a friend of mine tells me that the dinner he had at Little Goat Diner was “amaze-balls” – his words, not mine – I’m skeptical. I’ve heard many people in person and in the land of social media say how great the new restaurant is, which only made me more skeptical.

Little Goat is the new brainchild of Stephanie Izard. You’ve probably heard of her from Top Chef fame and if you’re lucky, you’ve dined at her other restaurant, Girl & the Goat. Continue reading

Do We Crave Foods or Memories?

bobtailI don’t crave ice cream. Let’s start there.

Last Saturday, the wifey and I thought we’d grab a quick glass of wine and some snacks at a newly opened bar by our house.

I was in the mood for a big red wine. Luckily, this intimate bar focuses on wine, charcuterie, cheese, and has a smattering of carefully selected craft beer and a couple signature cocktails.

Apparently, everyone else wanted to do the same thing, at the same bar, at the same time. It was going to be at least a 30-minute wait to get a seat at the bar or a table.

Instead of waiting, we decided to go to another bar that had no wait, where we could get some dinner. There was a good chance we would return to our original spot afterwards for a late-night glass of wine.

At the pub, I put down some mediocre fish and chips with a cab/shiraz blend. Not the greatest pairing, but damnit I wanted some red wine.

Like many places, this Chicago pub had no real personality and could have just as easily been in Pittsburg. It wasn’t bad, but I would honestly forget the place ever existed if I hadn’t written this blog post.

Continue reading

9 Questions with Jim Koch, brewer and founder of Samuel Adams

We’re so excited about our most recent interview with Jim Koch – founder of Boston Beer Company, brewer of Samuel Adams, and father of the American Craft Beer movement.

Quick history lesson – our country used to have many, many breweries that eventually faded away.

What else faded away? The types of beer they brewed.

What replaced them was a fairly homogenous, watered down beer, produced by large breweries.

Why do we call Jim Koch the father of the American Craft Beer movement? During the mid-1980’s, when imported beers were almost the only beer you could get outside of a macro-brew, Jim made and sold craft beer. Continue reading

The 5 Most Important Thanksgiving Questions,…Ever

You must try Mindy’s burger – fresh ground beef, organic bacon and aged cheddar with a fried egg

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. For me, there is no pretense. No presents. Less family drama.

Our family has always focused on what’s important – food & family.

Everyone brings something to the gathering – food, wine, whatever. We also have a bizarre tradition of having to bring an “entertainment” – a loosely defined category of anything that will well, “entertain.”

I entitled this blog post The 5 Most Important Thanksgiving Questions,…Ever. The title was originally meant as a joke because the questions are basic and are in no way life defining. The funny thing is, the more I thought about this holiday and what it meant to me, the more appropriate were the questions. Maybe they are the most important Turkey Day questions ever?

I’m a huge fan of the people we interviewed for this posting. Being new to this whole “interview thing”, it was hard to contain my excitement when we were able to hear what Mindy Segal of Mindy’s Hot Chocolate, Pete Crowley of Haymarket Pub & Brewery and Joe Campagna of Chicago Food Snob were doing this Thanksgiving. If I were to eat and drink like anyone on this upcoming holiday, it’s these people.

Mindyat40Mindy Segal is known for her amazing pastries & heads up the restaurant Mindy’s Hot Chocolate in Chicago. James Beard Award? Check – Winner of the 2012 James Beard Award for Outstanding Pastry. Nominated by the James Beard Foundation 2007-2011 for Outstanding Pastry Chef in the country. Segal won the Jean Banchet award for Best Celebrity Pastry chef in Chicago, Chicago Magazine’s Pastry Chef of the Year and for two consecutive years the Time Out Chicago’s Eat Out Awards for Best Pastry Chef. Don’t be misled by all of these accolades – Mindy is not one-dimensional. The burger at Hot Chocolate can easily stand up against, if not beat any burger in this meat-loving city called Chicago. Trust me.

BSB: What are you doing for Thanksgiving this year? Continue reading