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How Small Grocers are Banding Together to Change Food Retail for the Good

Civil Eats

This story was also picked up by NPR affiliate Bay Area Bites.  At a time when the food retail business is controlled by a handful a large chains, independent grocers are few and far between. But that’s only part of what makes Sam Mogannam, founder of San Francisco’s Bi-Rite, a unicorn.

This story was also picked up by NPR affiliate Bay Area Bites

At a time when the food retail business is controlled by a handful a large chains, independent grocers are few and far between. But that’s only part of what makes Sam Mogannam, founder of San Francisco’s Bi-Rite, a unicorn.


Where to Escape in Elkhart Lake

West Suburban Living Magazine

Growing up in Glen Ellyn, I spent every summer as I do now, driving three hours north into Sheboygan County for life on the lake. For nearly 60 years my family — first my grandparents, then my parents and I — have called Elkhart Lake a second home. Even though I’ve since traveled the world, some of the best sunsets I’ve seen have been here, in the land of clear starry nights and Sunday morning sailboat races.

Growing up in Glen Ellyn, I spent every summer as I do now, driving three hours north into Sheboygan County for life on the lake. For nearly 60 years my family — first my grandparents, then my parents and I — have called Elkhart Lake a second home.

Even though I’ve since traveled the world, some of the best sunsets I’ve seen have been here, in the land of clear starry nights and Sunday morning sailboat races.


Where Chefs Like to Eat 2.JPG

Where chefs like to eat Italian food in Chicago.


What it's really like to go dog sledding.

What it's really like to go dog sledding.


  How "Mr. Chocolate" handles Valentine's Day. 

 

How "Mr. Chocolate" handles Valentine's Day. 


  The bearded man quietly navigates the dimly lighted Hinterland restaurant to the corner table where my boyfriend and I sit. It's like the star of "Walker, Texas Ranger" has just appeared in this gastropub. "Does anyone ever ask you if you look like Chuck Norris?" I ask. "Every day," says Dan Van Rite, Hinterland's three-­time James Beard ­nominated chef. 

 

The bearded man quietly navigates the dimly lighted Hinterland restaurant to the corner table where my boyfriend and I sit. It's like the star of "Walker, Texas Ranger" has just appeared in this gastropub. "Does anyone ever ask you if you look like Chuck Norris?" I ask. "Every day," says Dan Van Rite, Hinterland's three-­time James Beard ­nominated chef. 


  Since the days of bootlegging and Al Capone, Chicagoans have always liked their spirits and beer. Chicago has been right on trend, its craft breweries popping up as the movement has exploded across the country. There were 2,483 in 2013, up from 2,347 in 2012 and 1,521 in 2006 according to the Brewers Association.

 

Since the days of bootlegging and Al Capone, Chicagoans have always liked their spirits and beer. Chicago has been right on trend, its craft breweries popping up as the movement has exploded across the country. There were 2,483 in 2013, up from 2,347 in 2012 and 1,521 in 2006 according to the Brewers Association.


Tips for the cruise season.

Tips for the cruise season.


The Culture Club

RESTAURANTS & INSTITUTIONS 

The economic chill gripping much of foodservice—bringing less-ambitious forecasts for new-unit openings and sales growth—has so far skirted at least one corner of the industry. Proving that little luxuries can thrive even when basic necessities are scrutinized, the frozen-yogurt segment is expanding inward from the coasts and keeping warm the industry’s entrepreneurial spirit. This really is frozen yogurt’s second expansion wave. 

The economic chill gripping much of foodservice—bringing less-ambitious forecasts for new-unit openings and sales growth—has so far skirted at least one corner of the industry. Proving that little luxuries can thrive even when basic necessities are scrutinized, the frozen-yogurt segment is expanding inward from the coasts and keeping warm the industry’s entrepreneurial spirit.

This really is frozen yogurt’s second expansion wave. 


Napa Valley, Wisconsin

MILWAUKEE MAGAZINE

  From the parking lot, the lemon-colored ornamental building with scalloped windows and arched walkways looks more like a mosque rising out of the Wisconsin farmland than a winery. But a short walk to the main entrance of Parallel 44 Vineyard & Winery reveals a Tuscan-styled patio overlooking nine breathtaking acres of vineyard – a little Napa Valley among the cornfields of Kewaunee, Wis.

 

From the parking lot, the lemon-colored ornamental building with scalloped windows and arched walkways looks more like a mosque rising out of the Wisconsin farmland than a winery.

But a short walk to the main entrance of Parallel 44 Vineyard & Winery reveals a Tuscan-styled patio overlooking nine breathtaking acres of vineyard – a little Napa Valley among the cornfields of Kewaunee, Wis.


6 Travel Trends in the Caribbean Market

American Express Open Forum

It’s a balmy 80-degrees on a late January day in Montego Bay, Jamaica. I’m sitting in the open air lobby patio of the famous Round Hill Hotel overlooking the Caribbean Sea. During my stay in a private 6-bedroom villa, I had the chance to mingle with an Austrian ambassador and his wife, and a French woman and her husband of more than 50- years who escaped Paris days before the Nazis took over the city during WWII. This is where the rich and famous come to relax. 

It’s a balmy 80-degrees on a late January day in Montego Bay, Jamaica. I’m sitting in the open air lobby patio of the famous Round Hill Hotel overlooking the Caribbean Sea. During my stay in a private 6-bedroom villa, I had the chance to mingle with an Austrian ambassador and his wife, and a French woman and her husband of more than 50- years who escaped Paris days before the Nazis took over the city during WWII. This is where the rich and famous come to relax. 


Where to find the best chocolate tours while traveling.

Where to find the best chocolate tours while traveling.


  Where Chicagoans like to eat in this foodie city.

 

Where Chicagoans like to eat in this foodie city.


  How one man found the perfect place to eat in Chicago. David Friedman just wanted to go out to lunch. “For many, many years there hasn’t been anywhere downtown to eat kosher food,” says Friedman. Even Shallots Bistro in Lincoln Park, the city’s only kosher fine-dining restaurant, had moved to Skokie in 2004. “I’ve been in a position so many times where I wanted to meet with somebody, and they want to meet during lunch. There are only so many excuses you can use for not being able to meet during lunch.” 

 

How one man found the perfect place to eat in Chicago.

David Friedman just wanted to go out to lunch.

“For many, many years there hasn’t been anywhere downtown to eat kosher food,” says Friedman. Even Shallots Bistro in Lincoln Park, the city’s only kosher fine-dining restaurant, had moved to Skokie in 2004.

“I’ve been in a position so many times where I wanted to meet with somebody, and they want to meet during lunch. There are only so many excuses you can use for not being able to meet during lunch.” 


  Where Chicago chefs find inspiration for the holidays.

 

Where Chicago chefs find inspiration for the holidays.

We love all things Italian—including, of course, olive oil. Unfortunately, according to the American Olive Oil Producers Association, as much as 75 percent of the extra virgin olive oil that is imported from Italy to the United States is unpure. The Italian Mafia is to blame: the Mob takes pure olive oil and cuts it with cheaper oils, then sells it at the higher price and pockets the extra cash. 

We love all things Italian—including, of course, olive oil.

Unfortunately, according to the American Olive Oil Producers Association, as much as 75 percent of the extra virgin olive oil that is imported from Italy to the United States is unpure. The Italian Mafia is to blame: the Mob takes pure olive oil and cuts it with cheaper oils, then sells it at the higher price and pockets the extra cash. 


TURIN, ITALY -- For most foodies, it doesn't get much better than coffee and chocolate. In Italy, one of the best places to go for such a decadent mix is Torino. Located in the Piedmonte region known for its Barolo and Barbaresco wines, Turin is a northern Italian city with a decidedly French influence thanks to the House of Savoy, which ruled Italy from 1861 until 1946.  

TURIN, ITALY -- For most foodies, it doesn't get much better than coffee and chocolate. In Italy, one of the best places to go for such a decadent mix is Torino.

Located in the Piedmonte region known for its Barolo and Barbaresco wines, Turin is a northern Italian city with a decidedly French influence thanks to the House of Savoy, which ruled Italy from 1861 until 1946.

 


Planning to come to Chicago with your family?  If you have kids under 16, here's what you need to know.

Planning to come to Chicago with your family?  If you have kids under 16, here's what you need to know.


Traveling with kids can be difficult. Finding the right hotel can make all the difference. Don't let the idea of a family vacation time intimidate you. It's important for the entire family to have fun, especially the parents. To make things easier, many hotels offer welcome bags to help keep kids entertained or offer discounts to local museums. More importantly, every family-friendly Chicago hotel on this list, except for Hotel Lincoln–which is near Lake Michigan and North Avenue Beach–has a pool to help tire the kids out. 

Traveling with kids can be difficult. Finding the right hotel can make all the difference. Don't let the idea of a family vacation time intimidate you. It's important for the entire family to have fun, especially the parents.

To make things easier, many hotels offer welcome bags to help keep kids entertained or offer discounts to local museums. More importantly, every family-friendly Chicago hotel on this list, except for Hotel Lincoln–which is near Lake Michigan and North Avenue Beach–has a pool to help tire the kids out. 


  Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel just couldn't resist. As nationally recognized chefs and restaurateurs patiently waited at The Publican restaurant in Chicago's West Loop neighborhood to hear who made the final list of nominees for the 2014 James Beard Foundation Awards, Emanuel decided to joke. "I am a middle child," he said. "I used to joke, we wrote a book called War or Peace and you could do either one of them. I say that only because New York usually hosts the stars of the culinary industry, but here in Chicago we produce them."

 

Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel just couldn't resist. As nationally recognized chefs and restaurateurs patiently waited at The Publican restaurant in Chicago's West Loop neighborhood to hear who made the final list of nominees for the 2014 James Beard Foundation Awards, Emanuel decided to joke.

"I am a middle child," he said. "I used to joke, we wrote a book called War or Peace and you could do either one of them. I say that only because New York usually hosts the stars of the culinary industry, but here in Chicago we produce them."


New York City's Evan Levine has always been a "huge hockey fan," rooting for the New York Rangers and watching the college football games of his alma mater, Northwestern. For his job with Citibank, Levine typically travels two to three days a week all over the country, spending 85-100 days a year on the road. It's not always easy to find a place to watch a Rangers game. 

New York City's Evan Levine has always been a "huge hockey fan," rooting for the New York Rangers and watching the college football games of his alma mater, Northwestern.

For his job with Citibank, Levine typically travels two to three days a week all over the country, spending 85-100 days a year on the road. It's not always easy to find a place to watch a Rangers game. 


A multimedia piece about what life is like on the Amtrak California Zephyr and why people ride it.

A multimedia piece about what life is like on the Amtrak California Zephyr and why people ride it.

The AAA Living story included audio interviews with passengers who were riding the California Zephyr.

The AAA Living story included audio interviews with passengers who were riding the California Zephyr.


Pair Master

MICHIGAN AVENUE MAGAZINE

Boutique wine store owner  Don Sritong brings his expertise to the restaurant world.

Boutique wine store owner  Don Sritong brings his expertise to the restaurant world.


What really makes The Bristol's well-known chef tick.


  I’m not a fear factor kind of gal. Sure, I’ve been dogsledding in Alaska, and diving and zip-lining in various parts of the world. But the thought of bungee jumping or skydiving terrifies me. Nor have I ever harbored a desire to be like the Travel Channel’s Andrew Zimmern, the host of Bizarre Foods, who eats things like blood pudding and rotten shark. That’s why I’m utterly shocked to find myself on the verge of eating a cricket. 

 

I’m not a fear factor kind of gal. Sure, I’ve been dogsledding in Alaska, and diving and zip-lining in various parts of the world. But the thought of bungee jumping or skydiving terrifies me. Nor have I ever harbored a desire to be like the Travel Channel’s Andrew Zimmern, the host of Bizarre Foods, who eats things like blood pudding and rotten shark. That’s why I’m utterly shocked to find myself on the verge of eating a cricket. 


Seafood with Soul

PLATE MAGAZINE

  For people who love Cajun and Creole food, the holy trinity is a culinary journey paved with onions, bell peppers and celery. But just as important—and possibly as much of a spiritual experience—are the iconic seafood dishes, from downhome to elegant, that make the most of Gulf seafood and illustrate the many cultural footprints on these cuisines. 

 

For people who love Cajun and Creole food, the holy trinity is a culinary journey paved with onions, bell peppers and celery. But just as important—and possibly as much of a spiritual experience—are the iconic seafood dishes, from downhome to elegant, that make the most of Gulf seafood and illustrate the many cultural footprints on these cuisines. 


Mangia!

CHICAGO TRIBUNE

  There is something about gathering together on a cold winter's night. What better way to gather friends and loved ones than around a dinner table talking and drinking for hours while eating delicious homemade ravioli?  Made right, the dough is light and thin, not thick and chewy. It is filled with spinach, sausage and cheese, covered in a rich marinara sauce that marinated for hours, even days, with meatballs that add juicy flavors and make one's heart want to sing.

 

There is something about gathering together on a cold winter's night. What better way to gather friends and loved ones than around a dinner table talking and drinking for hours while eating delicious homemade ravioli? 

Made right, the dough is light and thin, not thick and chewy. It is filled with spinach, sausage and cheese, covered in a rich marinara sauce that marinated for hours, even days, with meatballs that add juicy flavors and make one's heart want to sing.


  What the Girl and the Goat's chef really thinks about cooking and living in Chicago.

 

What the Girl and the Goat's chef really thinks about cooking and living in Chicago.


  Where to eat cheaply in Chicago.

 

Where to eat cheaply in Chicago.


Water, Or Whine?

Chicago Magazine

Last year, Americans spent $15 billion on bottled water. Turns out, the joke’s on us: Not only are top sellers Aquafina and Dasani just bottled public water, but the wasteful plastic packaging will still be lingering in the year 3000. But do water snobs have a valid argument that private water tastes better than tap? Chicago asked four sommeliers to blindly taste, then rank,seven waters—five private labels, plus tap water from Chicago and Elmhurst. Sniffing, smelling, and occasionally swirling, they recalibrated their palates, then rated them best to worst.

Last year, Americans spent $15 billion on bottled water. Turns out, the joke’s on us: Not only are top sellers Aquafina and Dasani just bottled public water, but the wasteful plastic packaging will still be lingering in the year 3000. But do water snobs have a valid argument that private water tastes better than tap? Chicago asked four sommeliers to blindly taste, then rank,seven waters—five private labels, plus tap water from Chicago and Elmhurst. Sniffing, smelling, and occasionally swirling, they recalibrated their palates, then rated them best to worst.


Some of the best chocolate cafes.

Some of the best chocolate cafes.


  Where to go for train-themed restaurants in Chicago.

 

Where to go for train-themed restaurants in Chicago.