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In Omnivorous Mike Sula profiles Violette Adrien of Chez Violette, a new restaurant in West Rogers Park that's one of few in the city to offer Haitian food. Adrien, who trained at Kendall College, made her name with her pâtés, flaky turnovers much beloved by her countrymen—"If you don't have it at parties it is not Haitian," she says.
Sula also reviews Grahamwich, Graham Elliot’s faddish new cash-only River North sandwich shop, finding that though the celeb chef's put his distinctive touch on archetypes such as the banh mi, Reuben, and grilled cheese, that’s not such a good thing. Neither are sporks.
In Key Ingredient Mike Sheerin, the longtime Blackbird chef who’s currently serving as a consulting chef for Three Floyds Brewpub in Munster, Indiana, takes on dried guaje seeds, which he put to use by grinding them and using them as an accent in smoked whitefish with bamboo rice, beets in guaje-seed streusel, and curry Dijon. Next up is his brother Patrick, executive chef at the Signature Room, working with hops pellets. "Anytime I get a chance to call him out, I do," says Mike.
In our news feature Morsels comes word of another food truck, 5411 Empanadas, the mobile incarnation of a year-and-a-half-old catering and delivery service run by three native Argentines. They hope to be rolling by Valentine's Day. Also: upcoming book signings at the Butcher & Larder; the status of the Trencherman, Mike Sheerin’s restaurant in progress; the fund-raiser and wine tasting D'Vine Affair; and more.
In the listings are ten more recent openings, among them Taylor Street’s Dough Boys and Sabor Express; Logan Square's D'Noche, the swankier Latin night-time version of Cafe con Leche; and Wicker Park/Bucktown’s the Bento Box, chef Rick Spiros’s small but sleek pan-Asian spot, which is offering a special pre-Valentine’s Day dim sum brunch on February 13; there's more info here.