Serious Eats: Chicago
Meet and Eat: Amy Cavanaugh
Editor's Note: Amy Cavanaugh joined our crew a few months ago, helping us devour everything at Hot Doug's and writing about a few sandwiches. But she's found her niche interviewing local chefs about where they like to eat. This morning, she wrote about Justin Large's favorite restaurants around the West Loop. Now it's time to learn a little more about what she actually likes.
Guilty pleasures? Hot dogs, cheese fries, and Coca-Cola.
Describe your perfect meal. My perfect meal is a long dinner with great friends that starts early and ends late. We'd have simple foods like oysters, roast chicken, and Brussels sprouts, excellent beers throughout, and whiskey to end.
What food won't you eat? I have an aversion to watermelon—this sounds ridiculous, but it's just too watery. Besides that, I will never understand people's passion for bananas or peanut butter.
Favorite food person? I don't watch food shows, and I like food writers concerned with politics and culture. I like Frank Bruni, Fuchsia Dunlop, Ruth Reichl, Mark Kurlansky. I keep a passage Calvin Trillin wrote for The New Yorker about cooking scallops taped above my desk to inspire me to tell stories with my writing.
When did you first realize you were a serious eater? I can't really pinpoint a moment—I've always been an enthusiastic eater, but I think it was when I moved to D.C. after college that I really thought about what I was eating and began cooking.
What do your family and friends think of your food obsessions? The majority of people in my life take food and drink seriously, whether it's cooking, making cocktails, brewing beer, or dining out. Basically the test for whether we're going to be friends is if you're comfortable with us eating off each other's plates.
Favorite food sites or blogs? I mostly read food magazines—Bon Appétit, Food & Wine, Lucky Peach—and I also like Smitten Kitchen.
Everyone has a go-to person they call for restaurant recommendations. Who's yours? I don't usually have to ask for recommendations—my friends are very forthcoming about places they love, so I keep a running list of their suggestions.
What is your favorite meal of the day and where do you get it? Breakfast. I wake up every morning completely ravenous and can't wait to start eating. I almost always eat at home, though I love a leisurely breakfast out (Bakin' and Eggs, Over Easy, and Matto Fornaio, this great little Italian bakery near my house, are favorites). French press coffee is a given, and most days I eat granola with milk and berries, or Greek yogurt with honey and almonds. On days when I have more time, I'll have an almond croissant, huevos rancheros, or pancakes.
Do you ever cook? What's the best dish you make? I love to cook and bake and do both whenever I can. I make very good pizza and a mean apple cake—though if you ask my dad, he'd tell you it's my deviled eggs.