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September 2011 Archives

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[Magnolia Bakery's inviting interior. | Courtesy Magnolia Bakery]

Three glucose level-raising items in one:

The famous Magnolia Bakery opens at 10 a.m. Saturday in Block 37 on State Street. The New York bakery (now a chain) is oddly late to the party in Chicago, considering it, for better or worse, was the one who turned the cupcake into the tender, unstoppable beast it is. Crumbs, another New Yorker, was up and running in January and is expanding faster than Matt Damon a la 'The Informant' -- five Chicago stores by the end of the year; Sprinkles, from Los Angeles, opened here last summer. And then there's all those cupcake trucks. Just so you know: Magnolia sells more than just cupcakes. Remember muffins? And brownies? Ever heard of banana pudding? It will sell those, too.

Table Fifty-Two, Art Smith's civilized Southern eatery at 52 W. Elm, will be operating a walk-up sweet stand. Saturday mornings in October. Pastry chef CeCe Campise will offer just two sweets from 8 to 11 a.m. on the restaurant's front porch: jam-filled doughnuts ($3) and hummingbird cupcakes ($4). Coffee will be a buck. (Oh, by the way, Magnolia also does a hummingbird cupcake.) Let's hear it for the walk-up -- not to be confused with the pop-up.

Digressing from cupcakes, the Sweet Spot Macarons truck, which got our attention a few weeks back, is holding its launch party from 8 to 10 p.m. Oct. 6 at the Burlington Bar, 3425 W. Fullerton. A nice, quirky touch: $1 PBRs with the purchase of a macaron ($1.50 a piece, or 3-pack for $4.50). "What doesn't go well with $1 PBR?" said owner Galit Greenfield, rather rhetorically, in an e-mail. Due to Yom Kippur that weekend, Greenfield says she will officially hit the streets on Oct. 10.

Planning on tackling the sprawling Chicago Gourmet food and wine festival this weekend with handout map in hand? How quaint!

The fourth annual fest, which runs Saturday and Sunday in Millenium Park, is offering another option for those who don't fancy themselves quite so old school: a free iPhone and iPad app.

The app makes available the full schedule of seminars and book signings and which chefs are cooking in which pavilions, with accompanying maps. Users can track the fest's live Twitter and Facebook feeds. Niftiest (or most stalkerish, depending on how you see it) of all, the app includes a Friend Finder so you can easily locate other app-using 'friends' in the crowd.

Download the app here.

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The next season of Bravo's "Top Chef" is thick with Chicago talent. Six of the 29 competing chefs -- Heather Terhune (right) of Sable Kitchen & Bar, Spiaggia's Sarah Grueneberg, Chuy Valencia of Chilam Balam, moto's Richie Farina and Chris Jones and Beverly Kim of Aria -- call the Windy City home.

The Nov. 2 premiere will dovetail nicely, as it always does, with the finale of "Top Chef: Just Desserts," on which the Bristol's Amanda Rockman has thus far been rocking things out.

Stephanie Izard, she of that restaurant you may have heard of called Girl and the Goat, still claims the title of the only female "Top Chef" winner (and the only one from Chicago, if you don't count Rick Bayless, who won the first "Top Chef Masters" and is adding "thespian" to his resume.) Whether Izard will have company in these other hometown chefs remains to be seen, but they've all got the chops. Set your TiVo.

[Heather Terhune knows something, and she's not telling. | photo by Al Podgorski~Sun-Times]

Last call at Avenues Sept. 3

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Saturday is the last day of Avenues in the Peninsula, in its current incarnation.

Chef Curtis Duffy, who led the restaurant to two Michelin stars last year, announced in August he was leaving to open his own restaurant in the city. Sept. 3 will be his final dinner service, after which the hotel will close the restaurant to figure out "a concept change and re-branding process," a press release issued Friday said -- though the space will be made available for private events, and for a series of wine dinners hosted by wine director Michael Muser (which sounds like fun; Muser's a character whose title belies his general puckishness). The search for Duffy's replacement is under way.


[Duffy back in the day. | photo by Jean Lachat~Sun-Times]

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Janet Rausa Fuller

Sun-Times Food editor Janet Rausa Fuller is always thinking about her next meal.

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This page is an archive of entries from September 2011 listed from newest to oldest.

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