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Recently in Food Detective Category

Eaters, meet our new Food Detective columnist, David Hammond. images.jpeg

You likely already know him from our Food pages -- or if you've ever heard his "Soundbites" series on WBEZ-FM (91.5), perused the culinary chat site LTHForum.com, where he is a moderator, or hung around his pal Mike Gebert's Sky Full of Bacon site. (Tip: If you're at a chef-y, foodie event, and you see a salt-n-peppered guy wearing a hat -- a fedora, maybe, or sometimes a backwards Kangol -- and smiling, that's your guy.)

Today, Hammond puts his tongue at risk in the name of research - namely, in the name of the ghost pepper, a k a naga or bhut jolokia. He survived.

Good timing. On Nov. 11, Jake Melnick's Corner Tap at 41 E. Superior welcomes mohawked pro eater and native son Patrick Bertoletti and other gluttons for punishment for a Major League Eating event -- its XXX Wing Eating contest. Jake Melnick's wings are made with the ghost pepper and another hottie, the red savina.

Next week, Hammond investigates Munster cheese.

There are certain inalienable truths about this year's Lollapalooza:

*By day's end those Chicago Transit Authority air conditioned "cooling buses" are going to be chillier than any of those "tall boys" o' beer you're lining up for.

*The laws of supply and demand dictates that there are flasks on the market that look just like Blackberries. (Though someone should have advised the young hipster pingponging off other concertgoers on the way to Green Day not to alternately drink and scream out how she loaded the booze in to her nifty find. Unless the point is to draw the attention of security. As far as I could tell, she lucked out this time.)

*Graham Elliot, local chef to a U.S. president, has assembled a lovely lineup of local eateries serving up some fine trendy food (pork belly, anyone?) but an unscientific polls show concertgoers love their hot dogs and pizza...

Foodapalooza

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If you don't know by now, the real side show at Lollapalooza is the food. Chef and Presidential feeder Graham Elliot was put in charge of the Grant Park music festival's "Chow Town" after wowing Lollapalooza founder last year Perry Farrell when he cooked backstage for him. Dude's had a big week after President Obama and his pals stopped in Wednesday at Elliot's River North eatery "Graham Elliot" to celebrate the commander-in-chief's 49th birthday.

I perused the food stalls, took recommendations from staffers at some of the eateries and here's what's rocked as we hit the half-way mark of the three-day music fest....


Dine out enough and you can get a sense of whether a true team is working to deliver your food. But until I talked with Chef Dan Tucker at Sushisamba Rio I didn't realize that praise for a wonderful duck toban yaki may not echo to the back of the house.

That's why he and other chefs at some of Chicago's higher-end restaurants have made a point of sending food, including some nice Potbelly's sandwiches, to the back of the house as a "thank you" for their hard work. Now the Publican is making it easy for everyday folks like you and me offer a toast to the chefs and other kitchen staff. That's right, you can send a six-pack of beer to the kitchen for making sweetbreads -- mmm thymus glands -- that your grandparents from Luxembourg loved so much.

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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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