After several years running a successful catering business, Chef Whitney Flood decided to open a brick-and-mortar restaurant for their locally-sourced cuisine. Flood's approach to food is anything goes - as long as its in season, affordable and delicious. As in the kitchen, the cocktail program also follows the seasons. Chat Chow caught up with Whitney to talk about what he's been up to in their new Culver City eatery.
It seems 50 Eggs Restaurant Group can do no wrong. The gustatory geniuses behind South Beach successes Yardbird and Khong River House have taken their winning recipe to Coral Gables. Enter Swine Southern Table & Bar, your next downhome dining favorite.
Chat Chow TV talked bacon and bourbon with Swine bar manager, Robert Ferrera.
Swine’s cocktail program focuses heavily on its own on-site barrel-aged rums and ryes.
“We’re actually creating our own original cocktails here,” explains Ferrera. “We have a full-sized Buffalo Trace barrel and right now we’ve got Cabajisco, a nice, beautiful, white spirit; Dolin Blanc Vermouth, so as that changes, it’s going to fortify and change; and Mandarine Napoleon, an orange based cognac liqueur.”
Prefer your spirits a little lighter? Not to fret, there’s something for everyone on this drink menu. Expect local, just-ripe ingredients from Homestead and creative applications (a glass misted with Mezcal for a hint of smokiness, in-house Swine bitters). And of course it all complements the sink-your-teeth-into-it fare.
Although Swine shares some food inspiration from Yardbird (you’ll find the succulent Shrimp & Grits on both menus), Ferrera describes Swine as Yardbird’s tougher, younger brother. Chalk that up to Swine’s competition-winning rib rub, massive smoker in the kitchen, and wood-burning grill. Try the fall-off-the-bone Memphis Smoked Ribs, or gather a group and go to town on a whole hog, communal-table style.
Now, while your mouth waters, watch the video above to figure out why fat washing makes rye tipples tastier (it’s a good thing, we swear) and find a new reason to drink rum (as if you needed one).
Don’t confuse low-country cuisine with anything subpar. Chef Mark Steuer is serving up a comforting, modern Southern menu in his Carriage House in Wicker Park.
Chat Chow TV pulled up a stool next to the chef to talk updated Southern cooking, white wine pairings and ham.
“I grew up in Charleston, South Carolina, so it’s called the low country,” explains Steuer. “It’s kind of what we based this restaurant off of. It’s called the low country because it’s actually below sea level. So the thing I think is different about the food there is there’s lots of French and Spanish influence, lots of seafood.”
For authenticity’s sake, the feel-good food gets flown in from South Carolina about three times a week, like the grits, corn meal and the shrimp, fish and clams. Trust us, it makes a difference.
Must-try menu items include the cornbread and shrimp and grits. The sticky-sweet cornbread recipe took about two weeks to perfect, and is served with preserved apples and smoked foie gras butter.
“And the shrimp and grits is […] one of the first things I ever learned how to cook,” says Steuer. “Ours, we get our grits from Geechie Boy Mills in South Carolina and then it’s Georgia white prawns with homemade Tasso ham and we call it a hunter gravy. It’s basically mushrooms and shrimp stock and pork stock and chicken stock, kind of reduced down until it’s a really, really savory, kind of brothy sauce on top.”
Nothing low about that. Watch the video above to learn what low-country cocktail will go best with your shrimp and grits (hint: it hails from a really old recipe book from Charleston).
Pair a famous building with a longstanding culinary history and you’ll get Yamashiro, perched at the height of both Los Angeles’s hillside and restaurant celebrity.
Chat Chow TV pulled up next to Executive Chef Brock Kleweno (and the koi fish) to discuss what makes Yamashiro’s innovative fusion fare a mainstay in Los Angeles’s globally renowned cuisine.
"Well, what we’re really trying to do here is make the food very much LA and California-driven with an Asian inspiration, not specifically Japanese,” explains Chef Kleweno. “So we get our inspirations from all over. There's a little bit of Latino inspiration in there, lot of Japanese, obviously. There's some other Asian influences, but really, the 'mish-mash' of what LA is."
Yamashiro’s yummy tastes range from Charred Albacore Sashimi (with a little Tomatillo and Ponzu salsa, serrano chilis, and fried shallots) to Kurobuta Pork Carnitas (a Japanese pig in hoisin and star anise on top of scallion-risotto cake).
The succulent sashimi isn’t the only thing that’ll take your breath away. In this historical building, you’ll dine against panoramic views of the City of Angels and traditional furnishings.
“It’s about 100 years old,” says Kleweno of the building. “It was built by the Bernheimer brothers to house their antiques. They built it based on a replica of a structure in Kyoto, Japan, and they brought a lot of the pieces with them over from Japan.”
“It was one of the first structures in LA. It really defines the Los Angeles scene both culturally and food-wise."
Watch the video above to find out what exciting guest chef is making an appearance to help Chef Kleweno whip up his favorite ceviche dish, and hear details about Yamashiro’s upcoming farmer’s market (expect a new menu, local vendors and even fun food trucks).
A step inside Takashi, the brainchild of world-renowned Chef Takashi Yagihashi, and you’ll quickly realize that you’re not in Tokyo anymore, Toto.
Chat Chow TV sat down with the long-standing favorite (and a Bravo TV Top Chef Masters contender) at his eponymous restaurant in Chicago’s popular Bucktown.
Chef Takashi has come full circle in his career, the culmination of which has led to the creation of this untraditional Japanese eatery.
The chef’s foray into cooking started as a tale of necessity, helping out in the kitchen and washing dishes to make ends meet. After a move to Tokyo, Takashi realized he didn’t want to put out his culinary flame.
Gathering skills as he went, Takashi trained in Tokyo and arrived in Chicago after he jumped on an opportunity to open two Japanese restaurants. “Then somehow I stayed,” Takashi recalls. And that’s when things got interesting. “I changed my direction. I had been cooking Japanese food but I changed to French cooking. So since then, I’ve been cooking, I think, more than 20 years I’ve been cooking French food.”
It was this delicious change of direction that turned industry heads. Takashi was recognized for his innovative Japanese-French inventions with a coveted James Beard Award during his tenure at Tribute in Detroit.
His Chicago establishment ventures back to Takashi’s Japanese roots. Its unique appeal stems from the Japanese tasting menu, referred to as Kaiseki. Expect customary dishes with uncustomary ingredients, like the Japanese steamed egg custard with seared foie gras, Matsutake mushroom and shrimp.
Watch the video above to see what makes Takashi’s succulent twist on Japanese so award winning (and why he’s just a delightful chef in general). Kampai!