Posted inMusic

Cynthia Plaster Caster broke the mold

Kind. Funny. Genuine. A sweetheart, an artist, a legend. If the true sign of a life well lived is a tidal wave of emotional tributes when you die, then Cynthia Albritton—better known to the whole wide world as Cynthia Plaster Caster—lived a very good life. So much so that writing about her after her passing—she […]

Posted inFood & Drink

Simone’s, Abuelo’s Mexican Grill, and ten more restaurants in Pilsen and Little Village

Abuelo’s Mexican Grill | $ Brothers Angel and Hugo Gomez have transformed a grungy storefront across from the Damen Pink Line stop into a sparkling sandwich shop wallpapered with Latin American record jackets and National Geographic covers. Sopes, tacos, burritos and tortas are well conceived and delicious, demonstrating fine attention to detail. The chorizo sope […]

Posted inFood & Drink

Three Aces, Antico, Sable, and five more restaurants with new outdoor seating

Antico | Wicker Park/Bucktown | $$$ Tucked into what used to be an antique store just off Armitage in Bucktown, the aptly named Antico is by all appearances a typical neighborhood restaurant. Yet the unassuming facade masks a crack staff and kitchen under the direction of server Trinna Schramm, a former expediter at Alinea, and chef-owner […]

Posted inFood & Drink

Next, Ing, Haymarket Pub & Brewery, and other Fulton Market restaurants

Carnivale | $$$ We started with the ceviche tasting at this theatrical pan-Latin offering from Jerry Kleiner; our favorites were the scallop, flavored with coconut curry and basil oil, and the crab, glazed in habanero jelly and served in a tomato, mango, and horseradish sauce. The main courses we tried were homey: rum-glazed pork shoulder […]

Posted inFood & Drink

With food policy a plank in Rahm Emanuel’s new platform, neighborhood food councils are starting to organize

When neighborhood politics threatened to derail the Logan Square Farmers’ Market earlier this month, more than 100 people showed up at City Hall in protest. The issues at stake—which involved allegations of improper activity on one side and abuses of aldermanic power on the other— were, frankly, murky. But as the worry and outrage spread […]

Posted inFood & Drink

Cheese, Please: Spots with a fine selection

Avec | West Loop | $$$ At first, sitting on a bench between strangers in this cedar-lined, saunalike room makes me feel a little apprehensive, like I’m wrapped in naught but a sweaty towel. But as the wine flows and the evening grows long, everyone’s gabbing like pals, offering around bits of robust cheese or […]

Posted inFood & Drink

Eight spots for spring

Strictly Seasonal Search the Reader‘s online database of more than 4,300 Chicago-area restaurants—and add your own review—at Browntrout | North Center | $$$ The most unfortunate name, Browntrout (see, in fact commemorates a simply prepared rod-and-reel-caught fish that sustained chef Sean Sanders and his wife while they honeymooned in remote New Zealand. Sanders, […]