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David Lissner
for restaurants

Size matters! Be the big man at the wienie roast with this Chicago hot dog

You no longer need to be embarrassed by your puny hot dog, you can have the biggest wiener at the cookout! Gorilla Tango Novelty Meats, a strange new sideline for the folks behind Chicago’s Gorilla Tango Theatre, introduces the Big Hot Dog, a 16-inch-long, 4-inch-diameter, 7-pound wienie. No ordinary Chicago-style dog, this frankenfurter is made […]

The unique Chicago tamale, a tuneful mystery

  Christmas is tamale time. Local food blogger Titus Ruscitti recently put together an excellent round-up of where to get these holiday favorites. The handmade, steamed-in-cornhusks, Mexican masa treats he writes about, though, have little to do with the year-round hot-dog-stand staple most Chicagoans think of as “tamales.” Chicago tamales — machine extruded, paper-wrapped, cornmeal […]

Happy Thanksgiving!

All of us at Dining Chicago wish you a delicious holiday, a Thanksgiving full of joy, good things to eat and turkey carols.   We ♥ Thanksgiving!    

Eat this! Cranberries, more than a Thanksgiving condiment

What it is: A small, hard, tart, oval, red berry, Vaccinium macrocarpon, a relative of the blueberry. Where it comes from: Native to North America, cranberries were introduced to the Pilgrims by Native Americans and are thought to have been served at the first Thanksgiving in 1621. Early settlers dubbed them “crane berries” after the […]

Night out: Kvell with Don Byron and the music of Mickey Katz

The early show is already sold out, bubelehs, so sign up quick so you shouldn’t miss the late show: Don Byron: The Music of Mickey Katz at 9:30 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 14, at the Museum of Contemporary Art Theater in Streeterville. Tickets are $20. A great African-American jazz musician channeling one of the finest Yiddish […]

Eat this! Guacamole, a singing sauce, on its day

What it is: Guacamole is a thick, zesty, Mexican paste of avocados, typically mashed with tomatoes, onions, chilies and spices. The stuff is so popular that, according to the people who make up such things, it’s celebrated on two U.S. “national” holidays, Sept. 16 and Nov. 14, and even has its own song:   Rhett […]

Could you eat nothing but pizza for a month?

UPDATE: After all, Scharoff didn’t eat pizza the day after winning his bet — being too stuffed from tailgating at the Bears game, and he didn’t profit from his winnings: In an act of generosity, the two men decided to donate the $2,000 stakes to the Northern Illinois Food Bank. Congratulations, Pizza Boy! Could you […]

Fabulous coming-of-age classics: ‘The Fantasticks’ and ‘Treasure Island’

    UPDATE: ‘Treasure Island’ extended through Nov. 15.   I expected to write two completely separate reviews of Porchlight Music Theatre’s “The Fantasticks” and Lifelife Theatre’s “Treasure Island.” I found such engaging parallels, though, that I’m going to tell you about them together. “The Fantasticks,” of course, is a revival of Tom Jones and […]

National Waffle Week:
No reason to waffle over chicken and waffles

  Do you like waffles? It’s National Waffle Week! What’s your favorite waffle topping? Maple syrup? Fruit? Whipped cream? Step beyond your waffle comfort zone with Chef John Ayaleanos’ savory waffle creations at Birch River Grill in Arlington Heights. Through end of the week Ayaleanos offers wild game chili over a cornmeal Belgium waffle ($9) […]

How to join Chicago’s new cocktail culture

Mixology has come a long way since the days when pouring rum into Coke and garnishing it with a lime was considered a fancy cocktail. Chicago “bar chefs” will teach you how to mix a mean modern drink in these classes: Brasserie Jo, River North, “Summer Spirits,” Tuesday Aug. 18, $1.01. Beverage Director Erin Phillips […]