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In Key Ingredient Matt Troost of Three Aces does his best with dende oil, the challenge John Manion (of just-opened La Sirena Clandestina) assigned him "just to fuck with [him] a little bit." The reddish-orange oil is a staple in Brazilian and West African cooking, but Troost tried mixing it up with traditional Italian ingredients, making a risotto with king crab, Calabrian chiles, and dende oil and coconut milk in place of butter or cream. His verdict: "I'm going to leave the Brazilian food up to John." Next up is Chris Curren of Stout Barrel House & Galley, working with ghost peppers.
Highlights from the Bleader include Rob Levitt's own account of the trip to Bare Knuckle Farm, Mike Sula on Wicker Park's new Covo Gyro, Julia Thiel on DavidsTea, and Gwynned Stuart on the lunch specials at Honey 1 Barbeque.