Ayun Halliday

This week I speak with Ayun Halliday, a saucy, hip New York City mama. She’s written a food memoir called Dirty Sugar Cookies, which is a wry romp chronicling Halliday’s path from fussy childhood eater with a “pinched” sense of culinary adventure, to wanderlusting adult chomping on Bahn Mi in Vietnam and Mangosteens in Thailand, and then karmically back to her current role as a mother of her picky eating daughter, Inky. It’s a great read for frustrated parents, gourmands, and even the pickiest of eaters. In this podcast, we talk about great Bahn Mi in New York, raising picky eaters, ramen noodles, the hazards of writing food memoirs, and more.   Advertisements


The Last Meal on Earth

Deep fried foie gras. Deep fried foie gras. Deep fried foie gras. Two weeks after eating at in Montreal, this is the phrase that still flutters in the back of my consciousness. I can’t get it out of my head. Yeah, sure they deep fry everything nowadays, Snickers bars, Twinkies, pizza, and tacos, but who the hell is foolhardy enough to deep fry something like fattened duck liver? That’s like deep frying pure fat.

Hot Bagels and Polish Jokes

Historically, the Polish have not fared well at the hand of comedians. We rate somewhere above blondes and just below the Irish as a mocked collective. As a first generation Pole, I regularly suffered jokes and challenges to my intellect. I often responded that Copernicus, Chopin, and Marie Curie were Polish, and that any nation that spawned such cultural icons must have something going for it.

Smoke This

I’ve spent a lot of time waiting in line for food. Last year it was 3.5 hours for life changing oysters and softshell crab at Uglesich’s in New Orleans, and just last week it was a half hour at Hot Doug’s in Chicago seeking French fries poached in duck fat.

I Dream of Poutine

T-Rex poutine at La Banquise. America is the land of the obese, the home of McDonald’s, purveyor of deep fried Twinkies, inventor of Buffalo wings, mass consumer of pizza, and yet we still cede our title of supreme imperial culinary hedonism to Canada by not adopting poutine, a cholesterol bomb of French fries topped with cheese curds and gravy.

Taking You Down to Chinatown

This article first appeared in the Chicago Journal  The Kung Pao chicken at Spring World I will be watching you and if I find that you are trying to corrupt my first born child, I will bring you down, baby. I will bring you down to Chinatown! Robert Deniro – Meet the Parents What if a wrathful Robert DeNiro dropped you off in Chinatown? Wandering among fiery-tongued dragons, slithery eels, and under dark awnings written in strange Mandarin hanzi, would you become disoriented, collapse in a dusty back alley, and fall prey to a band of opium den operators?

Alpana Singh

This week, we catch up with Master Sommelier Alpana Singh. Singh is the director of wine and spirits for Chicago’s Lettuce Entertain you restaurant group in Chicago. She’s also the host of Check Please, Chicago’s popular PBS restaurant review show. At 26, Singh was the youngest person ever to garner the Master Sommelier title. There are only 120 Master Sommeliers in the world, and only 13 women have earned the distinction in North America. The MS diploma exam includes a blind tasting of 6 wines, for which the sommelier must name the grape varietal, country of origin, district of origin, and vintage. This is certainly a monumental task, even for the most distinguished palate.

Bari Bada Bing

This article first appeared in the Chicago Journal Bari’s prosciuttio and mozzarella If Tony Soprano dropped by looking for a good sandwich, I’d take him to Bari Foods.