Mike Sula reviews the Aviary, the Fulton Market lounge cum restaurant next to Next. Working under partners Grant Achatz and Nick Kokonas, executive chef Craig Schoettler has devised a menu of eye-popping cocktails like the Blueberry, a porthole-shaped vessel filled with a rye-based liquid in which bob fruits and botanicals. (A few of the YouTube videos of his test runs are here, here, and here.) In addition to the drinks there’s a concise menu of small bites like tempura-fried crab coquettes and corn-pudding-loaded chowder balls.
In Key Ingredient In Fine Spirits chef Marianne Sundquist makes a rich ragout out of pork cheeks she seared in rendered pancetta fat, slow braised, and served with ricotta gnocchi. Pork cheeks are “underused,” she says, which is too bad because “it’s really inexpensive, and I think something magical happens when it’s braised.” Next up is Abra Berens of Bare Knuckle Farm in Northport, Michigan, working with yinzen silver needle white tea, a favorite of Sundquist’s.
Martha Bayne writes about the neighborhood food councils that are popping up, among them groups in Logan Square, on the north lakefront, and on the near northwest side. Food policy is one of the planks in new mayor Rahm Emanuel’s ambitious platform, and activists are hoping to have a stake in shaping the local food system, addressing issues such as food trucks, food deserts, and urban farming.