Jose Gonzalez is bringing Old World Cuba to Chicago. He’s just made a few modern, rum-infused tweaks.
Located in Logan Square, the unassuming façade of Gonzalez’s Paladar Restaurant & Rum Bar blends in with the up-and-coming neighborhood’s hip personality. But venture inside, and it’s easy to see that the eatery is steeped in a rich heritage.
“‘Paladar’ is a noun, it means ‘palate’,” explains Gonzalez, the next generation of restaurateurs in his family’s long lineage. “What I was going for is what’s happening in Cuba right now. People are taking their homes and converting it into restaurants. They’re making their dining rooms into restaurants and they’re called ‘paladares.’ That’s what I was trying to do here. I brought that warmth, feeling, that passion that I saw growing up with my parents cooking.”
Split into a cozy dining room and a contemporary rum bar (featuring 45 types of rum), Paladar is outfitted in family pictures and vintage chandeliers. Expect hearty Havana-inspired dishes like whole red snapper flanked by full-plate portions of traditional Cuban sides: white rice, sweet plantains and black beans.
Chat Chow TV spoke to Gonzalez (over fresh-fruit mojitos, of course) about his 46-year-old, fall-off-the-bone oxtail recipe, what makes Paladar’s black beans deliciously different from the rest and how rum should really be enjoyed (watch the video above for his expert tasting techniques).
Gonzalez hopes his vision has created a comfortable experience. “I want people to feel like they’re walking into my house and they’re sitting in my dining room.”
The Pubbelly boys are back at it again. In this episode of Chat Chow, we sit with PB Steak Executive Chef, Jose Mendin.
This time they are branching out to include beef to their empire. A steakhouse with a difference. “PB Steak is a small-plate joint where you come in with your friends and have a variety of dishes. It’s not going be your steakhouse with bibb lettuce, new york strip and Creme brûlée. Steaks are meant to be shared. And we have extensive raw bar w/ different oysters, crudos, lobster, king crab, stone crab and more. We want you go to home and wonder ‘What happened to me’?”
PB Steak is their 5th concept was built together as a team for the locals in the area. Joining Mendin are two female leads – Ashley Dean shaking up some killer cocktails. Mendin’s favorites are The Roquette and Chef’s Old Fashioned. And Maria Orantes, pastry chef who has been baking it up for all Pubbelly restaurants with desserts such as the PB&J Panna Cotta, Cinnamon Bun Bread Pudding and Jose’s favorite – Apple Pie.
And they aren’t’ stopping there, they already have a another project in the works. Watch the video above to learn more about PB Steak and what’s to come.
From the owners of Miami Beach's southern-style eatery Yardbird comes Khong River House in Miami Beach.
The inspiration for Khong River House emanates from founder John Kunkel’s passion for the celebrated foods prepared in the rural villages and city markets of Thailand, which he became enamored with while living and traveling extensively through its northern provinces.
Chat Chow talks to Executive Chef Piyarat Potha Arreeratn (known as Chef Bee) who hails from the small town of Ban Sankhohiang in the Chiang Rai region. The cultures from Myanmar, Laos, Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam and other surrounding countries are the influence behind Khong River House's Northern Thai cuisine.
"Everybody has sticky rice," says Chef Bee. "But we serve Burmese Sticky Rise that is soaked overnight with turmeric and salt. So its nice and yellow. The next day it is steamed with flash-fried garlic. The smell and aroma is beautiful."
A Thai temple in Homestead, Florida is importing all the produce, giving a new meaning to farm-to-table. Even the decor at Khong River House is authentic with license plates and a tin roof. The restaurant was even blessed by Thai Monks. "Traditional Thai people want somebody with a beautiful mind, beautiful heart, someone superior to give you a blessing."
Watch the video to learn about Chef Bee's favorite dishes including Curry Boat Noodles, Pork Belly Curry and the eponymous "Killer Bee" cocktail.
Combining a Rockwellian aesthetic and a “Leave it to Beaver” charm and sensibility, Acme Bakery & Coffee’s “farmstead Americana” essence hearkens back to a wholesome era with an irresistible homey charm that is at once inviting and comfortable.
Acme Bakery & Coffee is an artisanal bakery and café catering to Miami’s Biscayne/Mid-town/Design-District residents with a selection of fresh, artisan breads, handmade pastries, cakes, tarts and home-made candies combined with a limited-menu served in a casual sit-down environment.
Chef Robert Luna grew up in LAʼs Boyle Heights area where his mother cooked at local restaurants. Following high school, Luna attended Tri-Tech Culinary School and soon after he launched his career cooking for discriminating Angelenos. First, he landed the gig of executive chef at the popular Spanish-inspired tapas restaurant Cobras and Matadors. He currently helms Malo and the newly opened Mas Malo in downtown LA. Located in a 9,500-square-ft foot historic building, Chef Luna has taken on his most ambitious project to date.
Malo's menu is impeccably prepared using solely fresh ingredients and a whole lot of love. We believe in great recipes, balance, and most importantly, consistency. Our kitchen’s ground beef and pickle tacos, burnt habanero crema salsa, and the bar staff’s no-compromise margaritas have been blogged about, mimicked, and consumed in enormous quantities from the day we first rolled them out. Since opening the original location in 2003, we’ve built Malo into a favorite Silver Lake dining destination with signature dishes including our made-to-order “chuey” chips, Mexican prepared corn, Shrimp Fundito, Ensenada Bacon Wrapped Shrimp, and braised chicken hard shell tacos.