The Most Italian Pizza Outside of Italy & New Spring Pies
After attending the Slow Food Terra Madre conference as a delegate in Turin, Italy in 2009, Chicago chef Jared Van Camp made it his mission to create the most Italian pizza outside of Italy.
According to Van Camp: "The Associazione Verace Pizza Napoletana states that you must abide by certain 'rules' to have your restaurant or pizzeria certified by the organization. Of these rules, one states that you must use 'proper ingredients, preferably from Italy'. In Italy, specifically Naples, the ingredients happen to come from very close proximity. It is our contention that in order to preserve this culinary heritage of Neapolitan pizza, we should do everything we can to source those ingredients as locally as possible."
When Van Camp launched Nellcôte on West Randolph in 2012, he went to extreme lengths to fill a void in the Chicago food scene by becoming the first chef in the country to mill his own superfine double zero flour with local heritage wheat sourced from regional farmers, fresh and in-house daily. Just recently Van Camp purchased 10 acres of heritage wheat from Breslin in Illinois. Van Camp also purchased one ton of tomatoes from Amish tomato farmers outside of Arthur, Illinois, 175 miles away. Otherwise known as Amish paste tomatoes, which are certified by Slow Food US Ark of Taste as a sustainably produced ingredient tied to a specific culture, these are the best tomatoes for making sauce. One farmer grows Van Camp's tomatoes, another cryovaks and freezes them at their peak and another non-Amish farmer drives them to Chicago for use. True to form, Van Camp's deal with the Amish farmer for this product was very antiquated, done on a handshake rather than a contract.
Now, after being recognized for this extreme sourcing effort by being named one of the "Best New Italian Restaurants in the US" by Food & Wine in April 2013, and receiving numerous accolades from various Chicago publications---Van Camp is proud to release two new pizza stunners for spring, as well as an all-new collection of seasonal pastas and dishes crafted from scratch. New spring menu below.
local asparagus & burrata pistachio, chili flake, shaved red onion 19
black truffle & d.o.p. taleggio illinois ramps, pickled rhubarb 25
english pea agnolotti smoked guanciale, roasted red grapes, pea shoots 15
tagliatelle illinois ramp pesto, snow peas, pecorino romano, marcona almons 17
NEW SPRING MENU ITEMS:
local asparagus salad soft-boiled hen egg, greens, walnut vinaigrette 9
roasted & pickled cauliflower salad parmigiano, pistachio 9
rabbit loin & sausage bacon, spring vegetable ragoût, rhubarb mostarda 14
soft shell crab basmati rice, hazelnuts, romesco, mojo de ajo 14
wood-grilled chicken morels, peas, pecorino, almonds, natural jus 17
organic salmon local asparagus, radish, sorrel-walnut sauce 24
ABOUT NELLCOTE: Nellcôte is a $2.9 million dollar restaurant & nightlife concept by leading hospitality group, Element Collective. Nellcôte presents innovations from nationally renowned Executive Chef Jared Van Camp (2011 Rising Star Chef, Starchefs; "12 to Watch in 2012" Restaurant Hospitality Magazine; "Best New Chef in Chicago, 2010" TimeOut) that have yet to be executed by even the finest dining destinations in the country. With a custom made 9-by-11ft stone mill, Nellcôte was the first restaurant in the US to mill its own flour in house daily. Van Camp crafts an “obsessively house made” and locally focused bill of fare, which consists of Neapolitan-style pies crisped to perfection in a wood burning oven imported from Italy, over a dozen fresh-from-scratch-daily pastas made using strictly local heritage wheat and a fresh pasta extruder, as well as a variety of meat and seafood dishes. For more information, please visit www.nellcoterestaurant.com
Posted 05/10/13 - Share this entry
New Spring Cocktail Menu
Launching April 15th in time for patio season, OTS will introduce new handcrafted artisanal punches, a fresh new take on the classics, and some 'bite-sized' cocktail options such as the Piggy Back, crafted with house made bacon consommé.
This spring and summer, forget the overworked mimosas and the bland gin and tonics, Element Collective's head bartender, Tim Williams announces a new seasonal cocktail menu at Old Town Social…..and it packs a serious punch. The gorgeous mason jars of ladled goodness, renowned for being equally as delicious as they are aesthetically appealing, go hand-in-hand with OTS' unique house made credo and extreme and ambitious commitment to sourcing local fresh ingredients. Historically, punch (which is often also served in bowls) are as old as the Republic and one of the most basic forms of communal libations around. These days, Williams is taking the social cocktails to new heights at OTS with their Gin Elderflower & Prosecco Punch, the Vodka, Orgeat & Mint Punch, and the Whiskey, Cherry & Earl Grey Punch bowl among other craft cocktail offerings. The results? As complex and surprising as any dish on the menu--perfect for patio season.
"When designing the new cocktail menu, we wanted to put a new spin on the old classics, which are recognizable by name, slightly updated in flavors and approach, but most importantly mirror chef Jared Van Camp's hyper-local approach to food," says Williams. For more information or to speak with Williams, please contact me directly.
ABOUT OLD TOWN SOCIAL: Serving exceptional food and drinks within uniquely designed settings, Old Town Social is open Monday through Friday from 5pm-2am; Saturday 11am-3am, and Sunday from 11am-2am. For more information please visit www.oldtownsocial.com or call 312-266-2277.
Posted 04/17/13 - Share this entry
Hearty's New Spring Menu!
Well, the snow has melted and the annual Chicago hibernation is coming to an end. What better way to celebrate the end of winter with the onset of Spring!
Come in to HEARTY and check out our new Spring inspired dinner and cocktail menus with seasonally appropriate dishes and locally sourced ingredients.
On Wednesday nights for this season we are offering Unlimited Mussels and Fries for only $12! That's right, unlimited buckets of Prince Edward Island mussels with housecut fries and homemade garlic aioli for $12.
As if that wasn't enough, we here at HEARTY know how much everyone loves our fried chicken so we decided to do a Fried Chicken Basket with housecut fries and homemade coleslaw for only $10 a person every single Thursdaty night!
So what are you waiting for? Make a reservation for you and yours at HEARTY now!
Posted 04/16/13 - Share this entry
Now Featuring a Three Course Lunch Prix Fixe Menu!
We are very excited to announce our new $22 Three Course Prix Fixe Lunch Menu!
On this ever-changing seasonal menu, you are able to choose from appetizers such as Heirloom Squash Cannelloni with Jerusalem Artichokes, silky Butternut Squash Soup or Beet and Arugula Salad. For your entree, you'll have a choice of delicious items like Pork Shank Risotto, North African Tagine of Chicken Thighs or House-Made "Laquered" Bacon BLT. And because no excellent meal is complete without a dessert to send you on your way, our menu features beautiful desserts like Chocolate Pave with Pinot Noir Ice Cream, our NAHA Sundae with Porter Beer Ice Cream or a delicate Almond Daquoise with Lemon Sorbet.
Naha is open for lunch Monday through Friday, 11:30am to 2:30pm. Call or book online for reservations. We look forward to seeing you!
Posted 03/29/13 - Share this entry
Big Jones announces late fall dessert menu
We are pleased to announce our latest seasonal dessert menu, planned for the late autumn period of Thanksgiving through the holidays. Executive chef/co-owner and pastry chef Paul Fehribach draws on favorite Southern ingredients from sweet potatoes to peanuts and cider, plus dusts off long-lost favorites such as ermine frosting and cider pie, together with newer creations and combinations such as the sweet potato & chocolate pot de creme, to offer a menu that is both creative & new while adhering to historic cooking traditions for which he has become known.
Offerings include Appalachian Cider Pie, ca. 1960, Carrot Cake with ermine frosting, Sweet Potato & Chocolate Pot de Creme, Bourbon Raisin Bread Pudding, and a Warm Peanut Cake. Also available is a daily tasting of the day's homemade ice creams and sorbets, of which there are always at least five. The ice cream sampling offers a choice of three.
Planned for release soon is the addition of an update on traditional banana pudding, one of the most time-honored and delicious of Southern desserts.
Desserts are affered at every service, brunch, lunch, and dinner, seven days a week.
Posted 11/27/12 - Share this entry
Floriole Holiday 2012 Menu Available Now!
Our Holiday menu is now available online! This year's menu features breakfast treats, breads, sides, appetizers, and an all-new selection of bûches de noël. We've got you covered for everything but the Roast Beast. Orders to be picked up before Christmas are due Wednesday, December 19 by 5pm.
You can also order for New Year's Eve. Any orders to be picked up the 31st need to be in by Thursday, December 27 at 5pm.
Posted 11/21/12 - Share this entry
Family meal returns with Gullah home cooking
Our latest Family Meal is already on the menu, and we're excited to bring back this Big Jones tradition for what we hope will be a lasting and ongoing series on the menu. Family Meal is a special dinner series offered Monday through Thursday evenings from 5-9 p.m. At a special value price point, we set your table with multiple dishes in the style of a home-cooked meal. Each Family Meal will represent a home cooking tradition of a different place and time in Southern history, beginning with the current Family Meal set on the Carolina Sea Islands, ca. 1970.
Titled A Bit of Gullah Home Cooking ca. 1970, the latest Family Meal is inspired by the writings of Sally Ann Robinson, who grew up on Daufiski Island in the 1960's and is now a cookbook author, and Pat Conroy. the author of the memoirs The Water Is Wide about the time he spent teaching on Daufuskie Island in 1969, when Sally Robinson was one of his students. Dishes and recipes are taken from Robinson's and Conroy's cookbooks plus inspirations from Conroy's memoirs.
Dishes served include cornbread with crackling and homemade wild blackberry jelly, fried catfish, hushpuppies, christmas butterbeans cooked in pork neck gravy, collard greens, parsnips, creamy grits seasoned with bacon grease, and carrot cake with traditional boiled milk icing. The cost is twenty-two dollars per person excluding tax and gratuity.
The Gullah are decendants of slaves from the Carolina Lowcountry, where they developed their own language, culture, and customs in relative isolation from emancipation until Federal programs sought to bring schools, roads, and bridges to the area. Throughout their history from Colonial and Antebellum periods through reconstruction and the modern day, Gullah cooking has been monumentally influential in what is known today as Lowcountry Cuisine.
Posted 11/12/12 - Share this entry
Late Fall Menu is on the Table
We're excited about our Late Fall Menu.
We're using interesting ingredients that are from various parts of the Mediterranian basin, such as freekeh, which is a toasted green wheat from North Africa, and black lemon, which is a preserved lemon that gives an earthiness to food. While these ingredients are not typical to Sicilian food, Sicily was colonized by people from these regions, and the ingredients they introduced - and that we use in our cooking - are well-complimented by these.
We've switched up our fritto misto to include local smelt. We have a beautiful crudo with laughing bird shrimp, citrus and fennel, and a grilled octopus with preserved lemon and saffron aioli.
Our salads have changed with the seasons and include roasted beets with creamy advocado and a coriander vinaigrette, and a garden salad of mesclun that is simply paired with garlic chapons - which are toasted sourdough toast slathered with a decadent roasted garlic puree.
In the pasta department, we've added a soup made from farro and cicerchie, which are wild garbanzo beans from the north of Italy, topped with a black lemon salsa. Our housemade pastas have produce that's in season, such as butternut squash, brussels sprouts and wild mushrooms, plus orange, as a hint of the season to come.
The main courses are in line with the season that is turning colder - flat iron steak with grana padana rosti, braised short ribs with lemon freekeh, preserved black lemon and a spanish influenced (another of Sicily's invaders) pistachio picada.
Posted 11/07/12 - Share this entry
Big Jones launches new lunch menu
We are pleased to announce our new fall lunch menu, which includes expanded sandwich offerings in addition to our signature Boarding House Lunch. New items include Creole fried clams, a fried chicken liver po' boy and shrimp po' boy, and a turkey hot brown, ca. 1926, a tribute to the Brown Hotel original from Louisville, KY featuring turkey leg confit, crispy house-cured bacon, and mornay sauce on whole grain bread, all baked to golden perfection.
Entrees include our signature shrimp & grits, roasted hen of the woods mushrooms with creamy antebellum grits and thyme butter, and Farmhouse chicken and dumplings, ca 1920 based on Executive chef/owner Paul Fehribach's generations-old family recipe.
A full selection of our house-made charcuterie is on offer, from Cajun boudin rouge, tasso, and andouille to liver pudding and head cheese inspired by Edna Lewis, everything accompanied by a dizzying array of pickles all made in-house.
The Boarding House Lunch, ca. 1933 celebrates a year on our menu this week, and includes a new dessert: carrot cake with homemade butter roux icing, a sweet and creamy delicacy that was once the most popular white icing in the South before being supplanted by boxed mixes and canned icings. It's a great opportunity to taste to real roots of American cooking.
Lunch is offered Monday-Friday from 11 am until 4 p.m. Reservations are not required, but can be made by calling the restaurant at 773-275-5725
Posted 11/07/12 - Share this entry
New Fall Menu
Autumn is here in Chicago, and with it comes a new menu at HB Home Bistro. Chef de Cuisine Victor Morenz follows in Joncarl Lachman's legacy of earthy braises, hearty stews, and cozy comfort food, matching the ambiance of our intimate candle-lit dining room. Back by popular demand is our braised Duroc pork shank, served with apple sauce, a bracing german-style potato salad, and velvety cranberry/mustard demi glace. We have converted our smoked chicken entree, a staple of spring and summer, into a sandwich; two house-smoked chicken thighs nestled between an onion ciabatta roll slathered with almond butter, fig jam, and topped with a shaved brussel sprout salad. Brand new to the menu is our duck and turnips dish; pan seared Maple Leaf Farms duck breast, buttered baby turnips, acorn squash puree, and spaetzle, all topped with a maple/orange/chile pan sauce. These are just a sampling of our many new appetizers, entrees, and salads(not to mention our nightly, seasonal specials). We invite you to come spend a chilly autumn evening with us at our "Home".....you bring the wine!
Posted 10/25/12 - Share this entry