What happened to Chicago? When did this meat-obsessed, stock-yard city become so obsessed with vegetables? Not to be outdone, Dave Beran, the executive chef at Next, crafted a 23-course vegan menu for the summer.
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By now, I hope you know the drill with Next, Grant Achatz and Dave Beran's West Loop restaurant, which not only changes its menu every four months, but also its complete focus. On Wednesday, the restaurant flipped again, with a new menu called The Hunt. I was lucky enough to get tickets to opening night.
Since the Kyoto menu took over at neighboring Next in mid-September, The Aviary has taken part in the occasion by presenting select styles of housemade ramen to supplement its regular menu of small bites. It was with fluctuating levels of wonderment, eager anticipation, and suspicion that I sat down to try them all.
The only official mention of the bar on The Aviary's website mentions that you need an invitation. But there is another way. Turns out, to experience The Office and all its seductive charms you don't need to slip the waiters money, learn some strange handshake, or name drop. All you have to do is ask nicely.
Ever wanted to know what a chef with three Michelin stars keeps in his kitchen? Sure, he claims to have "every spice you could ever imagine," but he also has room in the fridge for some quintessentially American condiments.
It's no real surprise that Mayor Rahm Emanuel tops Chicago Magazine's list of the 100 Most Powerful Chicagoans, but we were surprised to see that so many people in the food world made the cut.
Admittedly, we don't spend a lot of time here talking about what's coming up with Next. Unless, of course, a burger happens to be involved. But this is just so...cool.
Never before has an evening at a cocktail bar been such a theatrical experience. My expectations were high after hearing the hype surrounding Aviary, the recently-opened hotspot of chef Grant Achatz and business partner Nick Kokonas (other projects include Alinea and Next). Visions of smoke, mirrors, and white-coats working in laboratories floated through my head...It turns out I wasn't that far off.
Alinea chef Grant Achatz wouldn't have any ole gin and tonic at his soon-to-open experimental cocktail bar Aviary. He'd do one up with Anchor's junipero gin, yellow chartreuse, and cucumber alginate encapsulation, a fancy name for those cucumber bubble tea balls—and there are 100 in this glass! Imagine making 200 of those drinks a night. That's 20,000 balls, people!
Last night Alinea chef Grant Achatz announced on Twitter (just as the James Beard Foundation Awards were kicking off) that he and business partner Nick Kokonas will be opening a new restaurant project in the fall called Next and a bar (without bartenders) called Aviary. The experimental menus will rotate by season, with each one focusing on a different era and setting, like Paris 1912 and Hong Kong 2036.