Quick Beijing Duck Legs

I actually have an appointment to eat Beijing duck on Monday, which makes it kind of absurd that tonight I was struck by the desire to replicate a quick version at home, but matters of the palate, just as matters of the heart, don’t always make much sense. Anyways, I made a trip to Richwell Market (1835 S. Canal) picked up some Beijing style pancakes for a couple of bucks and a bunch of scallions for $.49, then headed over to Fox and Obel for four 8 oz duck legs ($14). I was pretty psyched with what turned out. The photo above is my actual plate. Recipe follows: Advertisements

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A Jewel of a Falafel

Diamonds may be a girl’s best friend, but for this hungry reviewer, nothing puts a glint in this serious eater’s eye like roast meat on a spit. I know because this afternoon I ignored a pharaoh’s ransom of gold and diamonds and ran straight for a rotating sizzling hunk of golden chicken schwarma. Never having worked downtown, what I don’t know about Chicago Loop lunch could fill a handful of blog entries, and so I had to rely on my best friend Aamir, a regular Windy City skyscraper denizen, when we met for lunch today. Aamir is so discriminating and enthusiastic an eater that I’m pretty sure he’s the only non-pork eating person in the world that I’d still trust with the responsibility of feeding me well. Aamir guided me through the dreary drizzle of a day, under the rusty girders of the elevated train tracks, and shuttled me in to the Jewelers Mall, a co-operative of jewelers hawking rows upon rows of anything that gleams. The shiniest thing though is the Oasis Café, a tiny lunch counter in the back of the mall. If you ever saw the episode of Anthony Bourdain’s No Reservations where he goes to a café by the Rungis…

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Marcus Samuelsson

If, as restaurant lore suggests, many chefs come from the ranks of artists, bandits and miscellaneous misfits, then Marcus Samuelsson, executive chef of C-House (166 E. Superiorr) and Marc Burger at Macy’s on State is, by comparison, a prince. The youngest chef to receive three stars from the New York Times, he’s also an entrepreneur, a TV personality, a cookbook author and a tireless ambassador for Swedish and African culinary and cultural heritage. He’s as much an intellectual as he is a master culinary craftsman. More importantly, those of you who read my burger round-up a few weeks ago know he also makes a mean grilled patty. Samuelsson was in town last week to work on some new dishes at C-House and I caught up with him to see what’s on his mind. Enjoy.  

Consider the Oyster

The Kung Pao chicken at Spring World Much to my chagrin, the idea of the starving artist is not a mythology. I wish it were, but while there may be no better time in human history to be a writer, at least in terms of outlets for expression, it’s also one of the worst times to try to make a living at the form. Unfortunately, another myth of artistry rings true, and that’s that I don’t have much choice in the matter. More than a couple of days without indulging in the act of writing may be like a day without heroin for a dependant junkie. When so many days pass without an act of creativity, I panic, a sense of worthlessness descends and the bile rises.

Breaking Down the Bristol

Imitation may be the sincerest form of flattery, but ripping someone off is just a recipe for bad karma. With that in mind, The Bristol, Bucktown’s new Midwestern-inspired trattoria, might be headed for some bad vibes. I’m not saying this just because The Bristol has a chalkboard menu. Gil Langlois’ Lincoln Square restaurant Chalkboard has, yep, chalkboard menus. Tufano’s Vernon Park Tap and half the red sauce joints in Little Italy have them, and before desktop publishing, so did every little bistro. It’s also not because The Bristol has a communal table; so did my grandmother’s house and Avec.

Randy Zweiban

Everyone knows drummers are different, and Randy Zweiban, former cymbal sockin’ chef of the upcoming Province, is no exception. He’s no Food Network driven flash-in-the-pan blowing through job after job. Zweiban’s a serial monogamist who spent 7 years working with Norman Van Aken in Miami and a decade at Nacional 27. Now he’s about to debut Province, a Spanish and Latin influenced American cuisine based restaurant. In this podcast interview, Zweiban talks about his days gigging at CBGB’s, noshing in New York City, and opening a restaurant at the “worst time in 150 years”. Enjoy.

Burger Battle

Not since Karl Marx and Martin Luther have manifestos been so hot. Though these days, the protesting masses aren’t quite the blood-spattered, frothy-mouthed rabble they once were. Rather, like blogs, the green movement and plastic bracelets etched with catchphrases, i.e. anything that was once relevant or cool, corporations have also co-opted the yearning declaration for their marketing purposes.