ML - Michigan Avenue

Michigan Avenue - 2015 - Issue 8 - Winter - Sandra Lee

Michigan Avenue - Niche Media - Michigan Avenue magazine is a luxury lifestyle magazine centered around Chicago’s finest people, events, fashion, health & beauty, fine dining & more!

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photography by Cindy Kurman (ixCateCo grill); ellen Silverman (Chang) Latin Lovers A trio of exotic concepts hAs Windy city gourmAnds doing the sAlsA. by elaine glusac Chicago has long had a taste for Latin American cuisine (t hank you, R ick Bayless), but t he category is exploding this season with new res- taurants that channel favors from Huatulco to Havana, including these tres: Palatine, Illinois native Belinda Chang started her celebrated career as a sommelier at Charlie Trotter's before restaurateur Danny Meyer lured her to New York with The Modern. Eight years and a James Beard Award later, she's back in Chicago as the wine director of Gold Coast newcomer Maple & Ash (8 W. Maple St., 312-944-8888; "The city is so exciting right now," gushes Chang, who directs several wine stewards at the restaurant and wheels a cart flled with antique corkscrews, sabers, tongs, and other cork-extracting devices. "I was sup- posed to go to medical school and broke my parents' hearts, so this operating table is a lot of fun." Chang subscribes to seasonal drinking. "Winter is richer and riper and more alcohol," she says. Current favorites include amarones from Italy's Veneto, Rudd cabernets from Napa Valley, and a lush Château Pegau Côtes-du-Rhône Rouge—and for New Year's Eve, any Nebuchadnezzar of Champagne. Says Chang, "You've got to build the biceps up and go two-handed. If not four." homecoming queen stAr sommelier Belinda Chang returns from neW york to heAd up the Wine progrAm At mAple & Ash. by elaine glusac The resTauranT: Latinicity. The model: Think Latin American food, Eataly-style. who's who: Mexico City- born chef Richard Sandoval, whose empire ranges from Qatar to Washington, DC. The neighborhood: The Loop's Block 37, giving you a reason to leave Zara for the third foor. The scope: Market-style food stalls pegged to Latin America, Portugal, and Spain, plus a culinary center for global cooking classes. The inspiraTion: "I want to recreate the spirited togetherness I felt as a child when I joined my grandmother in the kitchen and gathered around her large table with family to enjoy lively feasts prepared from scratch," says chef Sandoval. The deTails: 108 N. State St., Third Fl., 312-795-4444; The resTauranT: Ixcateco Grill. The neighborhood: Albany Park. The TalenT: Topolobampo veteran—and mole master—Anselmo Ramirez, assisted by none other than his mother, Maria, heading the homemade tortilla station. The sTory: After 14 years cooking under chef Rick Bayless, Ramirez breaks out with his frst solo effort, a Mexican BYOB warmed by a wood grill and a familial staff. signaTure dish: Two-dozen ingredients, including chiles, chocolate, and nuts, go into the mole. Try it on roast chicken with mashed potatoes. The slow number: It takes more than 24 hours to make mole. The deTails: 3402 W. Montrose Ave., 773-539-5887; The resTauranT: The Flamingo Rum Club. The renown: Cuba immigrates to Chicago courtesy of veteran restaurateur Phil Stefani. The buzz: A slice of vintage old Havana rafts into River North, complete with gold leaf ceilings, ceramic tiles, and fve-nights-weekly live music. The inspiraTion: Cuba circa the 1950s, described by Cabaret Quarterly magazine as "a mistress of pleasure. The lush and opulent goddess of delights!" The order: A rum drink, of course. Candidates include rum-based coladas, Cuba Libres, and mojitos, claro! The deTails: 601 N. Wells St.; ma left: Latinicity, chef Richard Sandoval's Latin-American answer to Eataly, offers up tempting fare like the Mexican DF Dog in addition to cooking classes. above: Ensalada at Ixcateco Grill, chef Anselmo Ramirez's familial, Southern Mexican BYOB. TASTE CuiScene 94

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