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Quick Bites

By Chuck Sudo in Food on Feb 14, 2008 3:00PM

Jesus, have things been busy lately, highlighted by the re-opening of Schwa last night. The Tribune recapped everything we've already read about the events surrounding Michael Carlson and company in recent months, from the killer dinner he prepared for Trotter, Adria, Blumenthal, and a host of culinary Illuminati; to closing Schwa the next day, then going into deep hiding to recharge and re-energize, and coming back.

Phil Vettel and Monica Eng try to dig deeper, but getting information from the closely guarded Carlson proved to be a chore; he didn't expound much more to TOC's Heather Shouse when that magazine ran an exclusive on Schwa's re-opening, and Shouse and Carlson are friends.

Here are some other newsworthy things this past week:


  • Campagnola owner Steve Schwartz's latest venture, Union Pizza, opened Tuesday at 1245 Chicago Avenue in Evanston (847-475-2400). Dish scribes Pollack and Ruby announced Schwartz's latest venture last month as being named Wild Geese. We placed a call into Schwartz yesterday, who said there was "no big reason" for the change in name. "We're still going to be serving the same menu," he said. That menu includes pizzas baked in a wood-fired oven ("nothing special - they're just pizzas") and small plate noshes in a funky, comfortable setting. The Grolsch on draft we spied at the bar was mitigated by some nice bottled beer selections, including Allagash White Ale. We were hoping Union would be open for lunch, but Schwartz said that, for now, he's sticking to dinner service.

  • Also opening a new restaurant are the Deleece team of John Handler, Lynne Wallack, and Josh Hansen. Plans are underway for an April opening of their latest venture, Shochu, at 3313 N. Clark (which formerly housed Mexican-themed Platiyo. Wallack calls Shochu an "Americanized Asian lounge" named after the Japanese alcoholic beverage. The kitchen will also stay open until 1 a.m., which we're totally down with.

  • Friends don't let friends drink cocktails called slutty bulls (or crunk punch, for that matter). Food writers, especially the really good ones, should know better.

  • From Dish, Dion Antic is bastardizing the hot dog stand. Antic opens his Rockstar Dogs at 801 N. Ashland, 312-421-2364) on March 6th. Antic told Dish that he wants to bring a "nightclub atmosphere" to the hot dog stand, making it "edgy." So he's installed a stripper pole. From 10 p.m. to closing, customers who dance for their dog get it for free (an interesting take on the term "making it rain"). An "edgy" hot dog stand is walking into Jimmy's Red Hots after dark and seeing fry cooks with firearms strapped to their waists. We have half a mind to haul a busload of obese men over and do our best to put a dent in Rockstar's P&L margin.

  • Finally, Viet Bistro and Lounge bar chef/sommelier Rashed Islam has concocted a creative way for those of you risking frostbite to get your smoke on to reconsider donning and doffing your coat. Islam has crafted a nicotini that can be ordered sweet (with chocolate espresso-infused liquor) or savory. The latter is served straight up with a tobacco liquor: vodka and gin infused with other aromatics. It costs a hearty $12, but curious drinkers can get a free sample (1345 W. Devon).