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Mike Sula travels downstate to the Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie, where the U.S. Forest Service is recruiting volunteers to help weed out the invasive weed garlic mustard, which threatens indigenous plants like toothwort, spring beauty, and trillium. It’s pernicious—but edible, with a mild garlic flavor that can be put to use in salads, pesto, or even a cocktail, as Sable head bartender Mike Ryan finds in our new drinks feature Cocktail Challenge. You’ll find more recipes for garlic mustard from forager, chef, and caterer Iliana Regan on our relaunched blog, the Bleader.
In Key Ingredient, Mexique chef-owner Carlos Gaytan takes dried shrimp and makes “coffee and doughnuts,” i.e., shrimp consomme and shrimp beignets with Parmesan and white truffle oil, served with saffron foam and tuile “spoons.” Next up is Doug Sohn of Hot Doug’s, working with chicken feet. “They’re really good,” says Gaytan.
In Transformations, Sula reviews Cafe des Architectes, where Tru vet Greg Biggers stepped in as chef after Martial Noguier departed to open Bistronomic. The ambitious seasonal menu features combinations like a veloute of ramps and green garlic poured over lemon verbena sorbet and served with a maple-flavored cracker or seared foie gras with black pepper financiers, blackberry jam, and braised pear. Service remains superior, as do desserts under pastry chef Meg Galus, also a Tru vet.
Scraps, our new news feature, reports on Defaced Barware, the line of handcrafted bar implements made by Pete Gugni, beverage director and GM of the Bedford, the Wicker Park barstaurant that Mark Steuer’s opening in Wicker Park on Friday. Plus: an encouraging Department of Transportation hire, alfresco dining at the venerable deli and grocery JP Graziano, and a bake sale and raffle at the Butcher & Larder benefitting Share Our Strength, a nonprofit dedicated to ending child hunger.