Madhur Jaffrey, an actress, a writer, and a cook, is a true Renaissance woman. Born in Delhi, India, she moved to the UK to study acting. While there, she pined for an authentic home cooked Indian meal. While growing up she never really cooked, so she wrote her mother asking for cooking advice and recipes. The letters they exhanged launched the ship that now constitutes hundreds of articles, many critically acclaimed cookbooks, and a few cooking shows. Jaffrey has a new memoir out called Climbing the Mango Trees, about her childhood in India. It’s a rich and vivid romp of the senses and last week while she was in Chicago we caught up via a phonecall. Advertisements
There’s often an inverse proportion between the dinginess of a restaurant and the quality of the food. Moon’s Sandwich Shop, 16 S. Western, with its faded sign, rickety accordion style security bars and patchwork brickwork, confirms this rule.
As a kid, dim sum always seemed like ambrosia for the erudite. Growing up, it was a vague magical Chinese food term that conjured professorial characters bedecked in corduroy, or socially liberal urbanites living in Herman Miller mid-century-style-furnished salons receiving spa-like facials from steaming noodle bowls. Little did I know that the humble egg roll on which I’d gorged a thousand times in my suburban Detroit blue-collar youth was the most basic form of this ancient pleasure.
Steve Chiappetti made his bones at Mango, Grapes, and Rhapsody. He was really one of Chicago’s first celebrity chefs. In 2000, he closed all of his restaurants and took some time off to raise his kids, pursue photography, work on a book, and start a bakery with his wife. He returned in 2003 with Café Le Coq in Oak Park, where his sweetbreads in a vanilla and Moroccan BBQ sauce were one of my favorite dishes in 2003. Now, Chiappetti’s breathing new life into Viand (155 E. Ontario St.; 312-255-8505), an American bistro that he’s patterning after Mango. In this podcast we touch on life before and after the break, what it’s like to cook for movie stars and their dogs, and the famous Chicago based family business, Chiappetti Veal and Lamb.
Henry Johnson and the Organ Express jazz band were poppin like the bubbles in the hundreds of champagne glasses at the grand opening party of Pops for Champagne at 601 N. State St. Thursday night.