<![CDATA[NBC Chicago - Chicago Food and Drink, Nightlife, Bars, and Restaurants]]> Copyright 2014 http://www.nbcchicago.com/the-scene/food-drink http://media.nbcbayarea.com/designimages/5-Chicago-Blue.png NBC Chicago http://www.nbcchicago.com en-us Sat, 26 Jul 2014 06:18:21 -0500 Sat, 26 Jul 2014 06:18:21 -0500 NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Wayne's Weekend: Giant Family-Sized Burger]]> Thu, 03 Jul 2014 20:46:36 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/161*120/AvacadoBurger.JPG

It’s a big holiday weekend and I thought a fun way to celebrate would be with a big family sized burger large enough to serve four.  The homemade poppy seed bun is also oversized and big enough to hold the 1 1/2 pound patty and a anything else you want to pile on top.  I built my big burger with a number of tasty toppings , but feel free to customize yours any way you like.  Because of the burger’s size, a vegetable grilling basket is an efficient way to get the patty to the grill and flip it without worrying about it falling apart.

serves 4-6


1 1/2 lb Ground Sirloin, about 90% lean
1 cu Finely Minced Onion
3 tbl Finely Minced Jalapeño Pepper
1 1/2 tbl Wayne’s Beef Grilling Spice Mix (recipe below)
1 Large Burger Bun (recipe below)
Optional Equipment: 8” Cake Pan, Wax Paper, Flat Rectangular Vegetable Grilling Basket, Instant Read Thermometer

Condiments and Toppings (all optional)

Green Leaf Lettuce
1 lg Tomato, sliced
Dill Pickle Slices
5 slices Mild Cheddar Cheese
Fresh Basil Leaves
1 Avocado, peeled, pitted and mashed


Prepare your grill and spray the grilling basked with cooking spray.  Combine ground sirloin, onion, jalapeño and grilling spice mix in a large bowl and mix well.  Place a sheet of wax paper into the cake pan.  Transfer ground sirloin into pan.  Spread mixture out to a uniform size but create a “donut hole” in the center, about 1 1/2” in diameter (to help patty cook more evenly and quickly).   Lay one side of the grilling basket over the pan and carefully flip both over.  Remove pan and wax paper.  Close vegetable basket and place on the grill.  Grill on one side for about 5-7 minutes and then flip the basket.  Grill the second side for an additional 5-7 minutes or until internal temperature reaches 160 degrees F (as recommended by the USDA).  An instant read thermometer is very useful in determining internal temperature of grilled food.

Remove patty from grill and add cheese.  Let patty rest for about 5 minutes.  To assemble burger, slice large bun in half and place the bottom on a serving platter.  Spread mustard on bottom.  Arrange lettuce on the bun and top with ketchup.  Add meat patty, followed basil, tomato slices and avocado.  Cover with the top of the bun.  Serve by slicing the burger into wedges.

makes 1 bun about 8” in diameter

Yeast Starter

2 1/4 tsp Yeast
1 tbl Brown Sugar
2 tbl All-Purpose Flour
1/3 cu Warm Water - about 105-110 degrees F
1 tbl Olive Oil

Bread Mix

2 cu All-Purpose Flour
3/4 cu Wheat Flour
1 tsp Salt
1 lg Egg, room temperature, whisked
2/3 cup Warm Water - about 105 degrees F
2 tsp Olive Oil


1 tbl Butter, melted
1/2 tsp Poppy seeds


Mix yeast with the brown sugar and 2 tablespoons of flour in small bowl.  Add 1/3 cup of the warm water and stir to combine.  Let the mixture activate for 10 minutes and then stir in 1 tablespoon of olive oil.  Separately, mix remaining all-purpose flour, wheat flour and salt in a large bowl.  Stir in egg, water and yeast mixture.  Mix thoroughly and transfer to a lightly floured board.  Knead for 10 minutes, working a little more flour into the dough, if necessary, until it is elastic and no longer sticky. Pour the 2 teaspoons of olive oil in a large bowl. Place dough in bowl and turn to coat all surfaces. Cover to rise for 1 1/2 hours until doubled in bulk.  Punch down and roll into a ball.  Place dough in a lightly floured 8” cake pan.  Let it rise for an additional 1 to 1 1/2 hours. 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Brush the exposed surface of the dough with the butter and sprinkle poppy seeds on top. Bake for about 25-30 minutes or until light golden brown and sounds hollow when you thump it.  Cool completely before slicing and using for your big burger.


Beef Grilling Spice Mix


2 tsp Paprika

2 tsp Black Pepper

1 tsp Red Pepper Flakes

2 tsp Salt

1 1/2 tsp Onion Powder

1 1/2 tsp Brown Sugar

2 tsp Sage

1 tsp Celery Seed

1 1/2 tsp Chili Powder

2 tsp Rosemary

1 1/2  tsp Tarragon
2 tsp Parsley


Mix ingredients together and either grind in spice grinder or in a mortar and pestle.  Store in an airtight container.

If you have any comments or questions, please send me an email at wayne@waynesweekend.com or follow me on Facebook or Twitter.

Photo Credit: Wayne Johnson]]>
<![CDATA[How to Make Korean BBQ]]> Tue, 24 Jun 2014 13:29:40 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/WMAQ_000000007733132_1200x675_288002115631.jpg Award-winning Chef Bill Kim joins NBC Chicago's LeeAnn Trotter for a quick example of how to make your summer bbq new and sizzling.]]> <![CDATA[Wayne's Weekend: Mango Carrot Coconut Soup]]> Thu, 29 May 2014 14:35:14 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/160*120/MangoCarrotCoconutSoup.JPG

Now that warm weather has arrived, we are finally firing up our grills and smokers and loading them up with ribs, chicken, brisket, fish and burgers.  To help you with your next meal, I’ve created a set of four grilling spices and a barbecue sauce that’ll add a little extra kick to whatever’s on your menu.  You’ll find the link to the recipes below.  I usually double or triple the recipes so I have enough to last a good part of the season and to portion out in smaller bottles for friends.  They make great gifts. 

Because these recipes add quite a bit of spicy flavor to anything you’re grilling, this mango carrot coconut soup is the perfect first course.  The sweet tartness is a nice contrast to the smokey grilled flavors of your main course.  It ’s also a perky palate cleanser if you’ve had appetizers before starting your meal.  Also, because the soup can be made early in the day or the day before, it’s worry free once your guests arrive.

Mango Coconut Carrot Soup
makes 6 cups


1 1/2 tbl Ginger, finely minced
3 lg Carrots, shredded, yielding about 1 1/2 cups packed
4 lg Mangos, peeled sliced and chopped, seed discarded, about 2 1/2 - 3 lbs
1 cu Fresh Orange Juice
1 cu Coconut Milk
1/2 tsp Tumeric
Juice of 2 Limes
1 cu Shredded Coconut


Place ginger in a heat proof bowl and set aside.  Place carrots in a small pot.  Add 3 cups of water just to cover and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes.  Turn off heat and carefully pour 1/2 cup of the hot liquid over ginger.  Strain carrots and discard remaining liquid.  Allow carrots and ginger water to cool. 

Take about 1/2 of one mango and make a small dice. Toss in 1/4 of the lime juice and set aside.  Put remaining mango in a blender.  Add cooled carrots, ginger and water, orange juice, coconut milk, cumin and remaining lime juice.  Puree ingredients until fully blended, about 1-2 minutes.  Remove from blender and refrigerate for at least 2 hours before serving.

Meanwhile, place shredded coconut in a dry saucepan over medium high heat.  Constantly stir with a wooden spoon until coconut begins to brown.  Watch carefully.  Coconut will burn very soon after browning.  As soon as coconut lightly toasted, remove form heat and transfer to wax paper or a paper towel to cool. 

To serve, pour soup in chilled bowls or glasses and top with a bit of diced mango and coconut.

Additional Resources

Wayne’s Grilling Spices & BBQ Sauce Recipes

If you have any comments or questions, please send me an email at wayne@waynesweekend.com or follow me on Facebook or Twitter.

Photo Credit: Wayne Johnson]]>
<![CDATA[Wayne's Weekend: Family Friendly Summer Drinks]]> Thu, 15 May 2014 13:26:43 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/160*120/WWGlasswareAndContainers.jpg

A great start to outdoor entertaining as warmer weather returns is a cool refreshing drink.  Since many summer parties include both children and adults, I thought I share some family friendly non-alcoholic ideas that everyone can enjoy.  All three of these drinks use lots of fresh fruit and two start off with a batch of homemade infused simple syrups.  They’re all easy to prepare and will be a welcome refresher this summer season.

The NBC5 Smoothie
8 servings


3 Nectarines
2 Bananas
1 cu Coconut Milk
2 Naval Oranges
1 cu Water
3 cu Ice


Fill a blender with 3 cups of ice.  Slice the nectarines and discard the seeds.  Add the slices to the blender.  Peel and slice the bananas and add to the blender.  Slice the top and bottom off of one of the oranges.  Set the orange upright and slice the sides off the orange.  Cut the oranges segments away from the pith and add to blender.  Add coconut milk and water.  Blend until smooth.  Pour into tall glasses.  Slice second orange and garnish glasses.

Ginger Strawberry Splash
8 Servings


1 1/2 cu Ginger Simple Syrup (1 1/2 cu water, 1 1/2 cu sugar, 2 tbl fresh ginger, peeled and chopped)
1 1/2 cu Strawberries, chopped
4 cu Orange Juice
2 cu Limeade
24oz Ginger Beer
Additional Strawberries for garnish


To make the simple syrup, place water, sugar and ginger in a pot.  Bring to a boil and stir to dissolve sugar.  Once water reaches a boil, remove from heat and allow to cool.  Refrigerate until cold.  Strain ginger from simple syrup before using.

Place 1 1/2 cups of chilled simple syrup and strawberries in a blender and blend thoroughly.  Strain and pour liquid into a pitcher.  Add orange juice and limeade.  Refrigerate for at least an hour.  To serve, pour mixture over ice in a tall glass, top with about 2 ounces of ginger beer and stir.  Garnish with a strawberry wedged onto the rim of the glass.

Non Alcoholic White Sangria
8 servings


2 cu Light Lemon Simple Syrup (1 1/2 cu water, 1 cu sugar, juice and zest of one lemon)
4 cu White Grape Juice
2 cu Apple Juice
1 lg Naval Orange, thinly sliced
1 lg Lemon, thinly sliced
2 lg Limes, thinly sliced
1 Pear, chopped
1 Granny Smith Apple, chopped
1 cu Green Grapes, sliced
8-12 Pitted Cherries with stems
12-18oz Chilled Diet Ginger Ale


To make the simple syrup, place water, sugar, lemon juice and lemon zest in a pot.  Bring to a boil and stir to dissolve sugar.  Once water reaches a boil, remove from heat and allow to cool.  Refrigerate until cold.  Strain zest from simple syrup before using.

Pour 2 cups of chilled simple syrup, grape juice and apple juice into a large pitcher.  Set aside 4 orange, 4 lemon and 4 lime slices.  Add remaining slices to thie pitcher.  Add pear, apple and half of the grapes. Stir and refrigerate for at least an hour.  Slice remaining orange, lemon and lime slices in half for garnish.  To serve, place one of each half slice, a few grapes and cherry into individual glasses with ice.  Add ginger ale to pitcher.  Stir and pour over glasses.

If you have any comments or questions, please send me an email at wayne@waynesweekend.com or follow me on Facebook or Twitter.

Photo Credit: Wayne Johnson]]>
<![CDATA[Wayne's Weekend: Appetizer Trio For Outdoor Entertaining]]> Wed, 07 May 2014 13:42:22 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/160*120/WWBaconCheddarJalapenoBiscuits.jpg

The best way to start an evening of entertaining with family or friend is with great drinks and an assortment of tasty "nibbly bits", simple appetizers that are full of flavor but easy to make. With outdoor entertaining just about here, this trio is a nice combination of flavors and perfect on platters for your balcony or patio. Elements for each of these recipes can be made in advance so you're not scrambling around the kitchen when your guests arrive.

Mini Jalapeño, Bacon and Cheese Bites


9 oz Bacon, cooked through but not too crispy, then drained on paper towels
2 cu All Purpose Flour
1/2 cu Whole Wheat Flour
1/2 tsp Salt
3 tsp Baking Powder
1/2 tsp Baking Soda
3 tbl Cold Butter, grated through a box grater, then kept chilled in the refrigerator
1 lg Jalapeño, seeded and finely diced
3/4 cu Shredded Cheddar Cheese
1 1/2 cu Buttermilk
1 cu Panko Bread Crumbs, in a bowl
3 tbl Additional Butter, melted in a small container


Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.  Finely chop bacon and set aside.  Mix together flours, salt, baking powder and baking soda.  Add chilled butter and quickly mix with your hands until butter is incorporated and mixture resembles coarse meal.  Add bacon, jalapeño and cheese.  Add buttermilk and mix until everything is just combined.  Scoop out 1 tablespoon sized portions onto a work surface.  Shape each into a ball and then roll in the bread crumbs to coat.  Set coated ball on a baking sheet and space it about 2” away from other balls. You’ll need two baking sheets.  Once you’ve formed and coated all of the balls, pour a tiny bit of butter on top of each.  Bake for about 12 minutes or until lightly golden.  Remove from oven and pour a bit more of remaining butter on top of each ball.  Cool a bit before serving.



1 Baguette
2 large Garlic Cloves, peeled and cut in half
1/4 cu Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 lb  Plum Tomatoes, about 6 medium
5-6 Fresh Basil Leaves, chiffonade
1/2 tsp Kosher Salt
1/4 tsp Black Pepper
1 tsp Balsamic Vinegar


Preheat broiler or a grill.  Slice baguette at an extreme angle to create as much surface area as possible. Place slices on a baking sheet (or directly on your grill rack).  Broil or grill until first surface is golden brown.  Flip slices and brown the other side.  Remove from heat and rub one surface with garlic.  Lightly brush the same surface with olive oil.  Set aside.  

Separately, cut off the stem end of tomatoes and then slice in half.  With a spoon or your fingers, remove and discard the seeds.  Chop tomatoes into a small dice and place in a large bowl.  Add remaining olive oil, basil leaves, salt and balsamic vinegar.  Toss to combine, taste for seasoning and adjust to your preference.  Cover with plastic until ready to use.

Arrange bruschetta slices on a serving platter and spoon tomatoes mixture on top using a slotted spoon.

Smoked Turkey Deviled Eggs

1 dozen lg Eggs
3 oz Smoked Turkey
2 tbl Minced Shallots
1/4 cu Light Mayonnaise
2 tbl Dijon Mustard
1/4 tsp Salt
1/4 tsp Black Pepper
1 tbl Fresly Grated Parmesan Cheese
1 tbl Flat Leaf Parsley, chopped
1 tsp Chili Powder


Place eggs in a large pot.  Fill with room temperature water to cover eggs by about an inch.  Place pot over high heat and bring water to a boil.  As soon as water starts to boil, remove from heat and cover pot.  Let stand for 15 minutes.  Remove top and rinse eggs in tap water to cool.  Once fully cool, peel eggs.  Slice eggs in half and place yolks in a bowl.  Place egg halves in a container and cover with plastic wrap until ready to serve.

Separately, place smoked turkey and shallots in a food processor.  Process until smoothed into a paste.  Stop food processor and add yolks, mayonnaise, mustard, salt, and pepper.  Process until fully blended and smooth.  Add a bit more mayonnaise if you’d like a smoother consistency.  Transfer mixture to a sealable plastic bag and remove as much air as possible.  

Arrange egg halves on a serving platter.  Make a small cut into one of the corners of the sealable bag.  Squeeze mixture into egg halves.  Sprinkle parsley, parmesan cheese and chili powder on top of each egg and serve.

If you have any comments or questions, please send me an email at wayne@waynesweekend.com or follow me on facebook or Twitter.

Photo Credit: Wayne Johnson]]>
<![CDATA[Wayne's Weekend: Chicken And Dumplings]]> Thu, 01 May 2014 14:01:25 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/160*120/WWChickenDumplings.JPG

One of my favorite dishes growing up was my mom’s chicken and dumplings.  This very southern dish is usually a one pot meal that is somewhere between a chicken soup and a chicken stew with large flour based dumplings floating on top.  I decided to take my mom’s recipe and give it a new look.  This version has virtually the same ingredients but it’s presented more as a layered dish and is assembled just before serving.  It is rich, tasty, and still makes me think of mom every time I make it.

Chicken and Dumplings
serves 6-8


Chicken and Stock

1 lg Onion, roughly chopped
2 Celery Stalks, roughly chopped
2 lg Carrots, roughly chopped
4 cloves Garlic, peeled and smashed
1 tsp Salt
1 tsp Pepper
3-4 Rosemary Stalks
2 Bay Leaves
3-4 Oregano Stems
1 whole chicken, cut up, about 4 lbs
2 Bouillon Cubes
14 cu Water


2 cu All Purpose Flour
1 tsp Baking Powder
1/2 tso Baking Soda
1/4 tsp Salt
2 tbl cold butter
1 cu buttermilk
1/4 cu Chicken Stock
2 tbl Flat Leaf Parsley, chopped


1 cu All Purpose Flour
1/4 cu Cold Butter, cut into small pieces
6 cu Chicken Stock
1/4 tsp Pepper


4-6 lg Carrots, sliced
1 tbl Butter

Garnish (optional)

Additional Chopped Parsley
Black Pepper


Place all of the chicken and stock ingredients into a large stockpot and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer for 40 minutes.  Remove chicken pieces and return stock to a high simmer.  Simmer for 30 minutes to reduce by about 1/4.  Remove from heat, allow to cool, then strain and reserve the stock.  You should have at least 8 cups of stock.  Discard stock vegetables and herbs.  Once chicken has cooled, remove and discard the skin.  Pull chicken from the bones with a fork or your hands, tearing large pieces into smaller ones.  Place in a large casserole, cover with aluminum and set aside.

To make the dumplings, pour about 2 cups of stock into the bottom of a pot large enough for a steamer basket.  Bring to a low simmer.  Mix together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.  Cut butter into flour and mix with your hands until mixture resembles coarse meal.  Add buttermilk, chicken stock and parsley and mix thoroughly.  Using two large spoons, shape dough into 12 oval shaped dumplings by scooping out dough with one spoon and using the other to shape and scoop it onto a lightly oiled steamer tray.  Steam the dumplings in two or three batches by placing a few dumplings in a single or double tiered steamer basket.  Insert the basket into the pot, cover and steam for 15 minutes.  Remove and place the steamed dumplings in the casserole with the chicken and cover until ready to use.  Repeat with remaining dough.

To make the gravy, melt butter in a large saucepan over medium heat.  Add flour and stir together for about 4 minutes.  Whisk in Chicken stock.  Simmer and stir until gravy thickens, about 10 minutes.  Season with pepper.  If grave is too thick, thin with additional chicken stock.

Meanwhile, sauté carrots in butter in a saucepan over medium heat for about 7-10 minutes.

To assemble individual servings, place one or two dumplings in a bowl, top with portion of chicken and carrots.  Spoon gravy over the top and garnish with a bit of parsley and a pinch of pepper.

If you have any comments or questions, please send me an email at wayne@waynesweekend.com or follow me on Facebook or Twitter.

Photo Credit: Wayne Johnson]]>
<![CDATA[Baconfest 2014 Features All Things Swine]]> Fri, 25 Apr 2014 06:38:54 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/180*120/Baconfest_2012_46.jpg

Ladies and gentlemen, start your salivary glands.

The 2014 edition of Baconfest kicks off Friday at the UIC Form on the University of Illinois at Chicago campus.

More than 160 chefs will be available through Sunday for the sixth annual event that offers fest-goers the opportunity to dine on succulent swine.

An estimated 8,000 pounds of bacon will get cooked up for the sold-out event.

Tickets for the 2012 fest sold out in three hours. The 2013 edition sold out in just 41 minutes.

A donation of all the proceeds from ticket sales, raffles and donations goes to local food charities. Since 2009, Baconfest has raised more than $85,000, organizers said.


Photo Credit: Marcus Riley ]]>
<![CDATA[Wayne's Weekend: A Trio Of Salsas]]> Thu, 24 Apr 2014 13:06:28 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/160*120/WWSalsaTrio.JPG

As temperatures slowly start to rise, it’s time to start thinking about outdoor entertaining.  I recently spent an unusually warm afternoon at my friend Joey Chiappetta’s and we sat on the deck and enjoyed a casual nosh of chips and salsas.  Two of the salsas Joey made were a charred tomatillo and a black bean chipotle.  He was happy to share the recipes, so I decided to add one to the mix that contrasted the spiciness of his.  Mine, which is a tomato tequila version, includes a bit of brown sugar for some sweetness.  All three compliment each other and should be served with a few different types chips to add to the variety. 

Tomato Tequila Salsa

3 lb Roma Tomatoes       
1 med White Onion, diced
1 lg Jalapeño, stem removed, split and seeded
4 cloves Garlic, smashed peeled and diced
1 tbl Brown Sugar
2 tbl Tequila
1 tsp Ground Cumin
1/2 tsp Chili Powder
1/2 tsp Pepper
1 tsp Salt        
3 tbl Fresh Lime Juice
1/4 cup Fresh Cilantro, chopped


Bring a large pot of water to a boil.  Score an “X” on the bottom end of each tomato.  Place tomatoes in the boiling water, a few at a time, for 30-40 seconds.  Remove and allow to cool.  Peel the skin off of the tomatoes.  Discard skin.  Finely chop 1-2 of the tomatoes to yield 1 cup.  Set aside.  Roughly chop the remaining tomatoes and place in a food processor.  Reserve about 1/2 cup of the diced onions and place the remainder in the food processor along with the jalapeño and garlic.  Pulse the processor until ingredients are well blended but still a bit chunky.  Transfer to a large pot and add sugar, tequila, cumin, chili powder, pepper and salt.  Bring to a boil then immediately turn down to a low simmer.  Cover and simmer for 30 minutes.  Remove from heat, transfer to a bowl and cool completely.  Add reserved tomatoes, onions, lime juice and cilantro.  Chill, check for seasoning and serving with tortilla chips.

Charred Tomatillo Salsa
courtesy of Joey Chiappetta


2lb Tomatillos, husks discarded, then washed and dry tomatillos
1 med White Onion, large dice
2 cloves Garlic, peeled, left whole
1 Jalapeño Pepper, stem removed
1/2 Serrano Pepper, stem removed
1tbl Vegetable Oil
1/2 tsp Salt
1/4 tsp Pepper

Finishing Items:
1 tbl fresh Lime Juice
1/4 cu White Onion, small dice
1/4 cu Cilantro, chopped


Preheat broiler on high heat.  Place rack in the top 1/3 position of the oven.  Place tomatillos, onion, garlic, jalapeño & serrano on a sheet tray.  Drizzle with oil and mix together to coat all ingredients.  Season with salt and pepper.  Place under the broiler and let the ingredients char, about 5 minutes.  Flip the ingredients and char on the other side, about another 4-5 minutes.  You don't want the ingredients completely blackened, but you do want some decent color on them.  After broiling, split pepper and remove seeds if you don’t want the extra heat.  Then, puree all ingredients in a blender or food processor.  Place in a bowl to cool.

Once cooled, add fresh lime juice, onion & cilantro to the mixture.  If the salsa is too thick, it's okay to add some water to get it to a proper consistency.  Chill, check for seasoning and serve with tortilla chips.

Chipotle Black Bean Dip
courtesy of Joey Chiappetta


1 med White Onion, medium dice
2 cloves of Garlic, Minced
1 can Tomato Paste, 6oz size
2 cans Black Beans, 14oz size, rinsed and drained
2 Dried Chipotle Peppers
1/4 cu White Vinegar
1tbl Vegetable Oil
1/2 tsp Salt
1/4 tsp Pepper


Cut off the stems of the chipotle peppers and break them open.  Remove the seeds if you want to reduce the heat of this salsa.  Place the peppers in a small bowl and cover with water for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, sweat the onion and garlic in the vegetable oil for 5-8 minutes over medium heat.  Add tomato paste and cook for 2 more minutes.  Add black beans, vinegar, salt and peppers.  Add chipotle peppers and their soaking water.  Fill the pot with enough additional water to just cover the beans.  Simmer for 20 minutes.  Puree in blender or food processor.  Chill, check for seasoning and serve with tortilla chips.

Thanks again to Joey Chiappetta for sharing his recipes.  They are great.  If you have any comments or questions, please send me an email at wayne@waynesweekend.com or follow me on Facebook or Twitter.

Photo Credit: Wayne Johnson]]>
<![CDATA[Wayne's Weekend: Dining Out For Life On April 24, 2014]]> Thu, 17 Apr 2014 13:33:29 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/187*120/DiningOutForLifeCardsAll.jpg

Next Thursday, April 24, 2014, over 3,000 restaurants nationwide will be donating a portion of their proceeds to HIV/AIDS related organizations.  It’s called Dining Out For Life and, since 1991, millions of dollars have been raised to support men, women and children impacted by HIV/AIDS.  Last year over 300,000 individuals supported Dining Out For Life simply by having a meal at a participating restaurant.  This year, there are over 55 restaurants participating and proceeds will be going to Edge Alliance, an organization dedicated to providing a healthy and stable environment for the individuals and communities impacted by HIV/AIDS.  You’ll find more information on their website at EdgeAlliance.org.  Below is a list of participating restaurants in Chicagoland.  You can get additional information about Dining Out For Life and these restaurants at DiningOutForLife.com.

  • 312 Chicago
  • Acre
  • Ann Sather Restaurant
  • Anna Maria Pasteria
  • Anteprima
  • Atwood Cafe
  • Avenue Tavern
  • Azzurra
  • The Bagel Restaurant and Deli
  • Bar Pastoral
  • Big Jones
  • Bistro Campagne
  • Bistronomic
  • Bite Cafe
  • Bluegrass
  • Bountiful Eatery
  • Broadway Cellars
  • Browntrout
  • Carnivale
  • The Chicago Diner - Lakeview
  • The Chicago Diner - Logan Square
  • Club Lucky
  • Crew Bar & Grill
  • Cucina Paradiso
  • Francesca's Bryn Mawr
  • Giordano's - Belmont
  • Giordano's - Jackson
  • Halsted's Bar & Grill
  • Hamburger Mary's
  • HB Home Bistro
  • Jack's on Halsted
  • Lady Gregory's
  • Las Mananitas
  • Longman & Eagle
  • Mia Francesca
  • Nookies Edgewater
  • Ombra
  • Pasteur Restaurant
  • Sable Kitchen & Bar
  • Salpicon
  • The Signature Room At the 95th
  • Silver Cloud
  • Sola
  • Southwater Kitchen
  • Spacca Napoli
  • Spritz Burger
  • Swirlz Cupcakes
  • Table Fifty-Two
  • Taverna 750
  • Uncommon Ground
  • Vivere
  • Wilde Bar & Restaurant
  • Wishbone Restaurant
  • Wood

Special thanks to Signature Room at the 95th, Club Lucky, Anteprima, Big Jones and Spacca Napoli for sending a few tasty samples from their menus to NBC Chicago for this segment.

If you have any comments or questions, please send me an email at wayne@waynesweekend.com or follow me on Facebook or Twitter.

Photo Credit: Wayne Johnson]]>
<![CDATA[Zagat Names Chicago's "30 Under 30" Culinary "Superstars"]]> Mon, 31 Mar 2014 11:45:45 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/fork+generic.jpg

Zagat has released its third annual "Chicago 30 Under 30" list of the city’s top "up-and-coming culinary industry superstars" under the age of 30.

This year's list of honorees includes a cheesemonger, chicken expert, brewer and a sausage maker.

"This year, we ventured further," Zagat writes in its blog, "to find honorees who are not only preparing incredible food and drinks in some of the city’s top restaurants and bars, but are also growing the produce and crafting the spirits that make eating out possible in the first place."

The list is below. For a map of the restaurants, click here.

  • Sieger Bayer, 27, Chef de Cuisine at Leghorn Fried Chicken
  • Bryan Bland, 29, Head Cheesemonger at Bar Pastoral
  • Lisa Bonjour, 29, Pastry Chef at mk The Restaurant
  • Joe and Mac Boumaroun, 29 and 27, Owners at 25 Degrees Restaurant
  • Brendan Blume and Matthew Ritchey, 26 and 29, Co-Owner and Co-Owner/Head Brewer at Begyle Brewing, Co.
  • Simon Davies, 24, Chef de Cuisine at Alinea
  • Zaida Mikayla Dedolph, 26, Retail Manager at Intelligentsia Coffee Old Town
  • Elana Green, 27, Director of Operations at Land & Sea Dept
  • Tim Havidic, 24, Executive Chef at iNG
  • Adam Hebert, 26, Owner and Managing Partner at The Radler
  • Kelly Helgesen, 28, Pastry Chef at Lula Cafe
  • Courtney Joseph, 27, Pastry Chef at Takashi and Slurping Turtle
  • Gregory Laketek, 28, Owner and Salumiere at West Loop Salumi
  • Jacqlyn Lancaster and Jeremy Leven, 28 and 29, Managing Partner and Chef/Partner at Tuesday Night Dinner and Border Oak
  • Wade Hall McElroy, 28, Managing Partner at Sportsman's Club
  • Kevin McMullen, 27, Executive Chef at The Brixton
  • Micah Melton, 28, Chef de Cuisine (Cocktails) at The Aviary
  • Dave and Megan Miller, 29 and 25, Co-Owner and Co-Owner/Pastry Chef at Bang Bang Pie Shop
  • Kate Purvis, 28, Market & Sales Manager and Volunteer Coordinator at Plant Chicago NFP and Entrepreneur at The Salty Prawn
  • Alex Renshaw, 29, Beverage Director at DrumBar and Menin Hospitality
  • Dan Salls, 26, Owner and Chef at The Salsa Truck & The Garage
  • Anna Shovers, 28, Pastry Chef at The Publican and Publican Quality Meats
  • Jenny Solberg, 26, Co-Owner and Operator at Rhine Hall Distillery
  • Erin Stanley, 27, Sausage Maker at The Butcher & Larder
  • Edward Sura, 29, Chef de Cuisine at Perennial Virant
  • Christopher Teixeira, 26, Executive Pastry Chef at Homestead on the Roof, Berkshire Room and West Town Bakery
  • Jennifer Tietz, 29, Wine Director at Tru Restaurant
  • Aaryn Thompson, 29, Bartender at Big Star
  • Michael Trow, 29, Assistant General Manager, Beverage Director and Spiritual Advisor at River Roast
  • Greg Wade, 25, Head Baker at Little Goat
<![CDATA[Company Makes Coffee With A Purpose]]> Mon, 17 Mar 2014 23:42:19 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/180*120/Aspire+CoffeeWorks.png Aspire, a non-profit that helps children and adults with developmental disabilities, has partnered with Metropolis Coffee Company to make coffee that Makes a Difference. Aspire CoffeeWorks can be bought online, at Whole Foods and select coffee shops. Art Norman reports.]]> <![CDATA[Yelp Unveils Top 100 Places To Eat in United States]]> Fri, 28 Feb 2014 14:38:09 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/ALINEA_722x406_2225179709.jpg

Yelp this week unveiled a list of the top 100 places to eat in the United States based on data from reviews across the site.

Among the "must-try spots," Illinois snagged three positions on the list with offerings ranging from a high-end hotspot to a buzz-worthy hot dog stand to a chain steakhouse in the suburbs.

Grant Achatz's award-winning Alinea ranked seventh, followed by Hot Doug's at No. 27 and the Downers Grove location of Chama Gaucha Brazilian Steakhouse at No. 37.

The rest of the list was just diverse. How did Yelp compile it?

"We dug in to our wealth of rich data to see what the numbers told us about which places Yelpers really love," the team explains on Yelp's blog. "Engineers on Yelp’s data mining team used a technique based on the Wilson Score to compile a list of highly rated places to eat. This method takes into account both star rating and number of reviews to reveal which spots not only have top notch ratings, but also which are most popular in the Yelp community."
Here's a look at the top 25:

1. Da Poke Shack, Kailua-Kona, HI
2. Paseo, Seattle, WA
3. Oklahoma Joe’s Barbecue, Kansas City, KS
4. The Cinnamon Snail, New York, NY
5. Porto's Bakery, Burbank, CA
6. Dametra Cafe, Carmel by the Sea, CA
7. Alinea, Chicago, IL
8. Franklin Barbecue, Austin, TX
9. Gary Danko, San Francisco, CA
10. Joe’s Falafel, Los Angeles, CA
11. Sushi Izakaya Gaku, Honolulu, HI
12. Biker Jim’s Gourmet Dogs, Denver, CO
13. Oscar’s Mexican Seafood, San Diego, CA
14. Coop’s West Texas Barbeque, Lemon Grove, CA
15. Tacos El Gordo, Chula Vista, CA
16. Cheese Board Pizza, Berkeley, CA
17. Ricky’s Fish Tacos, Los Angeles, CA
18. Ono Seafood, Honolulu, HI
19. Bogart’s Smoke House, Saint Louis, MO
20. Bakery Nouveau, Seattle, WA
21. Baguette Cafe, Las Vegas, NV
22. Eleven Madison Park, New York, NY
23. T-Deli, San Diego, CA
24. Built to Grill, Portland, OR
25. Alforon, San Diego, CA

For the full list, click here.

<![CDATA["World's Largest" Ketchup Home Eyes Brat Record]]> Thu, 23 Jan 2014 12:20:53 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/Bratwurst.jpg

Belleville doesn't expect to be hotdogging it when the southwestern Illinois community celebrates its bicentennial. That's because this 200th birthday blowout is all about the brat.

In a region already sporting what's billed as the "World's Largest Ketchup Bottle," the Belleville News-Democrat reports Belleville hopes to set a Guinness world record for the longest grilled bratwurst.

Organizers say volunteers will cook a 200-foot brat during Oktoberfest weekend in September in the city's downtown.

Teresa Hessel of the celebration's organizing committee says the brat can't break if it's to set a record, and talks are in the works about building a grill big enough to cook the giant sausage.

Organizers are awaiting word about whether any such record exists or if Belleville will go for one in a new category.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[McDonald's Plans Third Drive-Thru Window]]> Fri, 15 Nov 2013 14:39:42 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/mcdonalds+sex+assault+arrest.jpg

McDonald's Corp. will add a third drive-thru window to some of its restaurants in an effort to increase speed and efficiency for customers, and minimize complaints about slow service.

The new addition will serve as a second pick-up window, The Chicago Tribune reported via Bloomberg. Currently, drivers order their food at the first window and drive to the second for pick up. Often, however, the order isn't ready in time and drivers are asked to pull into a parking space or designated waiting area. 

McDonald's spokeswoman Lisa McComb said the proposed new window allows customers to pull forward if their order isn't immediately ready. In turn, McComb said they will be able to serve more customers quickly.

The new window is a welcome addition for disgruntled customers, according to the Tribune. Many believe a larger menu makes orders more difficult to put together while slowing down the restaurant's overall service.

McDonald's completes drive-thru orders in 189 seconds on average. This is slower than restaurants like Taco Bell and Wendy's, which take 158 seconds and 134 seconds, respectively.

<![CDATA[7 Chicago Pizzas Make List of Best 101 Pies]]> Tue, 22 Oct 2013 15:57:58 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/180*120/Lou+Malnati%27s+Deep+Dish.jpg

In a new list of the 101 best pizzas in America, seven Chicago spots got its slice of the pie.

Not bad, considering TripAdvisor reviewers snubbed Windy City 'za altogether this summer.

Editors at food-and-drink website The Daily Meal asked 46 panelists to narrow down the best pizzas from a list of more than 400 from across the country. Thirty came from New York state and 12 from California.

Chicago's highest honor went to Spacca Napoli's Bufalina at No. 23 thanks to its "unique take on Neapolitan-style pizza." Lou Malnati's Chicago Classic pizza snagged the city's second showing on the list at a rather low No. 37.

"Does it say something that the first Chicago deep-dish pizzeria on this list of the 101 best pizzas in America ranks number 37?" the site points out. "Sounds like a question a New Yorker would ask. Maybe because deep-dish pizza isn’t actually pizza, but a casserole?"

Hmm ...

Gino’s East ranks No. 40 thanks to its cheese deep-dish 'za, Pizzeria Uno comes in at No. 51 and Falco's Pizza & Pasta's thin-crust sausage hangs in there at No. 61.

The Daily Meal tips its hat to "stuffed pizza" with a No. 78 ranking for Giordano's Pizza.

"Whether or not you believe anything this thick is served in Italy and claimed there to be Italian, there are now some 40 locations in Chicago (and three in Florida) serving this version of stuffed pizza."

Last but not least, Vito & Nick’s sausage pie ranks at No. 79.

As for No. 1? That honor went to Frank Pepe’s in New Haven, Conn.

Photo Credit: Lou Malnati's ]]>
<![CDATA[Fox & Obel Declares Bankruptcy]]> Fri, 20 Sep 2013 10:59:42 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/fox-and-obel.jpg

Chicago grocery institution Fox & Obel filed for bankruptcy on Thursday. Reportedly, the company owes the IRS around $382,000, food supplier Sysco $345,000 and is also in debt to its management company for $257,000.

The store, at 401 E. Illinois St., has had its share of troubles stretching far, far back — and its glory days of 2005, when Oprah named its oatmeal cookie dough as one of her “favorite things,” are obviously quite a distant memory.

The debt to various companies is one issue altogether, but the fact of the matter is that the culture and upscale grocery landscape has changed tremendously since F&O first opened its doors in summer 2001. The novelty of organic foods, extensive wine selections, and in-store cafés in a supermarket are much more commonplace today in 2013. Trader Joe's and Whole Foods are but two examples of a bigger trend happening nationwide. There’s Mariano’s, which proudly advertises in its aisles the sheer variety of produce it stocks and also has a pianist setting the tone when people walk in. And an oyster bar.

As those other stores were gaining traction, Fox & Obel became known for having prices on par with Whole Foods, but not much else to distinguish it. Which, I suppose, is a long way of saying that just because you were once popular doesn’t mean you always will be. And, although people are bemoaning how lousy the economy is or was, one trend running concurrently with it is how people are not skimping on luxury indulgences. Maybe it’s a form of denial happening in the population, who knows, but it’s a fact. And what better way to indulge and luxuriate than with a $9 pink lady apple?

Well, the better way seems to be do so at places that indulge that mentality further themselves.

Here’s hoping Fox & Obel can turn things around, though. Like Groupon to the tech scene, it’s no stretch to say Fox & Obel helped prime Chicago for bigger things in its sector.

David Wolinsky is a freelance writer and a lifelong Chicagoan. In addition to currently serving as IFC’s comedy, film, and TV blogger, he's also a comedy-writing instructor for Second City and an adjunct professor in DePaul’s College of Computing and Digital Media. He was the Chicago city editor for The Onion A.V. Club where he provided in-depth daily coverage of this city's bustling arts/entertainment scene for half a decade. His first career aspirations were to be a game-show host.

Photo Credit: elstopfoodhunt.wordpress.com ]]>
<![CDATA[Serving Up A Tradition of Quality]]> Wed, 18 Sep 2013 11:18:56 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/WMAQ_000000004150358_722x406_48491587915.jpg The Turano Baking Company has been making bread in Chicago since 1962. This year they will have the honor of being the official bread supplier for hottest foodie fest in the city-Chicago Gourmet. Art Norman visits the bakery to find out their receipe for success.]]> <![CDATA[Top 10 List Snubs Chicago-Style Pizza]]> Wed, 07 Aug 2013 13:48:20 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/163*120/Chicago+Style+Pizza.png

Chicago takes a certain amount of pride in its pizza, and though "best of" lists should be taken with a grain of salt, we're used to seeing ourselves among top 'za competition.

Frankly, that's where we should be -- right?

Apparently the reviewers of TripAdvisor don't agree.

The travel site on Wednesday announced the top 10 pizza cities in the country, according to travelers who use the site, and Chicago wasn't on the list.

The city's stuffed pizza was beaten by San Diego, deemed No. 1 for its "authentic tastes of Italy just miles from the Mexican border."

One traveler commented San Diego's pizza is "as good as being home in New York.”

Unfortunately, though, New York came in No. 4, after Las Vegas and Boston.

The other towns that beat out Chicago? Seattle, Austin, San Francisco, Indianapolis, Philadelphia and Phoenix.

According to TripAdvisor, Phoenix dwellers can enjoy "scrumptious slices of airy, bubbling crust and savory cheese, paired with the perfect amount of fresh tomato sauce."

Perhaps the reviewer is in need of a trip to Chicago.

Full list:

1. San Diego, California
2. Las Vegas, Nevada
3. Boston, Massachusetts
4. New York City, New York
5. Seattle, Washington
6. Austin, Texas
7. San Francisco, California
8. Indianapolis, Indiana
9. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
10. Phoenix, Arizona


<![CDATA[Wayne's Weekend: Showstopper 7-Layer Salad]]> Thu, 18 Jul 2013 13:40:59 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/160*120/WWMasonJar.jpg Wayne shows you how to make a individual salads worth showing off at your next picnic.]]> <![CDATA[2013 Taste of Chicago]]> Mon, 15 Jul 2013 08:57:37 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/tasteofchicago22.jpg Chicago's famous Taste of Chicago Festival begins for the 33rd year. ]]> <![CDATA[Taste of Chicago: What To Expect]]> Wed, 10 Jul 2013 08:13:35 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/WMAQ_000000003641779_722x406_36684355650.jpg NBC 5's Lauren Petty talks with Sam Toia, the president of the Illinois Restaurant Association. He shares with us a selection of foods and tells Lauren what to expect at this year's festival - including food trucks and three course meals by some of Chicago's most famous chefs.]]> <![CDATA[Wayne's Weekend: Make a Patriotic Dessert]]> Fri, 05 Jul 2013 10:00:57 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/160*120/WWStrawberryShortcake.jpg Wayne shows you how to make a dessert representing the red, white and blue of Old Glory.]]> <![CDATA[Wayne's Weekend: Patriotic Strawberry Shortcake]]> Fri, 05 Jul 2013 10:05:11 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/160*120/WWStrawberryShortcake.jpg

I always enjoy creating a colorful red, white and blue dessert for patriotic holidays like Memorial Day, Labor Day and Independence day.  This year I thought I'd bring some additional color to a traditional strawberry shortcake.  Adding blueberries to the strawberries and whipped cream not only completes the patriotic color scheme, it also adds a new burst of flavor to an already tasty dessert.  I make sweet buttermilk biscuits in my recipe and I was given the idea of shredding the butter from one of my Facebook friends.  This idea is a great way to keep the butter cold and makes it easier to blend it into the flour mixture.

Patriotic Strawberry Shortcake
serves 6-8 and is a great dessert for backyard picnics


Strawberry Sauce

1lb Fresh Strawberries, hulled and roughly chopped
1/2 cu Sugar
1 tbl Lemon Juice
1/2 cu Water


1/2 cu Cold Unsalted Butter
2 cu All-Purpose Flour
2 tbl Granulated Sugar
2 1/2 tsp Baking Powder
1 tsp Baking Soda
1/2 tsp Salt
1 lg Egg
3/4 Cold Buttermilk Milk
Additional flour for rolling the biscuits

Whipped Cream

2 cu Cold Whipping Cream
1/2 cu Powdered Sugar
1 tsp Vanilla Extract

Berries and Mint

1 lb Strawberries, washed and sliced
1 cu Blueberries, washed
Fresh Mint Leaves, optional, for garnish


Early in the day, make the sauce by putting the chopped strawberries and water into a blender.  Blend until smooth and transfer to a medium saucepan.  Add sugar and bring mixture to a boil over medium high heat.  Boil for 5 minutes and then reduce the heat to a simmer for an additional 5-10 minutes until mixture thickens a bit.  Remove from heat and strain though a fine mesh strainer.  Add lemon juice and refrigerate until cold.

To make the biscuits, use a box grater to grate the butter into a bowl.  Place the grated butter in the freezer for 15 minutes.  Meanwhile, preheat oven to 400 degrees F. 

Sift together flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a large bowl.  Add chilled butter and cut it into the flour with a pastry cutter until mixture resembles coarse meal.  If you don't have a pasty cutter, use your hands to blend butter into the flour mixture.  But, work as quickly as possible so that you're not warming the butter too much with your hands. 

Whisk egg into the buttermilk until fully blended.  Make a well in the middle of the flour mixture and pour egg mixture into it.  Fold and stir with a spatula until ingredients are just combined.  Don't over mix the dough.  Transfer onto a floured board and gently shape the dough into a circle about 1" thick.  Add a bit of flour if it's too wet, but don't overwork it.  Using a 3" cutter, cut rounds from the dough and place them on a lined baking (lined with either a silicon baking pad or parchment paper).  Reshape any extra dough and cut more rounds.  This should yield 6-8 biscuits.  Bake for 15-17 minutes or until golden brown.  Remove from oven and allow to cool.

Separately, whip cream until soft peaks form.  Add powdered sugar and vanilla and continue to whip until stiff peaks form.  Transfer cream to a pasty bag or a large disposable bag with a small slit cut into one of the corners.

To serve, slice a biscuit in half.  Spoon a bit of strawberry sauce on the bottom half.  Pipe a bit of cream over the sauce and top with slices of strawberries.  Pipe a bit more cream over the strawberries and place the top of the biscuit over it.  Pipe a bit of cream on the top and add some blueberries and mint.  Drizzle a bit of sauce over the whole dessert and serve.

If you have any comments or questions, please send me an email at wayne@waynesweekend.com or follow me on Facebook or Twitter.

Photo Credit: Wayne Johnson]]>
<![CDATA[Wayne's Weekend: Make a Refreshing Summer Drink]]> Thu, 27 Jun 2013 12:49:21 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/160*120/WWSummerDrinksPimms.jpg Wayne shows you how to make a drink able to please family-friendly or adult-only crowds.]]> <![CDATA[Wayne's Weekend: Last-Minute Dinner Party Ideas]]> Thu, 20 Jun 2013 13:14:31 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/160*120/WWLastMinute.jpg Wayne shows you how to whip up a meal for guests who just stop by out of the blue.]]> <![CDATA[City Announces Taste of Chicago Food Trucks]]> Wed, 19 Jun 2013 06:54:23 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/the+salsa+truck.jpg

Ahead of the 33rd annual Taste of Chicago, running July 10 to July 14 in Grant Park, the city announced the 14 food trucks participating in the food fest.

“Taste of Chicago was created to showcase the city’s culinary scene and food trucks are now a vibrant part of that scene,” Mayor Rahm Emanuel said. “It’s only natural that the trucks join in on the premier food event of summer. We are excited that Taste continues to evolve.”

Before and during evening concerts at the Petrillo Music Shell, attendees can purchase food from trucks parked just east of the lawn at the pavilion. The mayor's office said food trucks will start serving an hour before each concert and serve for the duration of the show.

Trucks will serve three or four regular-size portions and two "taste" portions and will accept the same food and beverage tickets as other Taste booths.

Here's a list of food trucks and corresponding concerts:

July 10, fun.
Bombay Wraps
Taquero Fusion
The Fat Shallot
The Jerk
Royal Cupcakes and Bakes
Beavers Coffee and Donuts

July 11, Robin Thicke
Taquero Fusion
Pork Chop
The Fat Shallot
Royal Cupcakes and Bakes
Beavers Coffee and Donuts

July 12, Robert Plant presents the Sensational Space Shifters
Bombay Wraps
The Salsa Truck
JB Alberto Pizza
Pork Chop
The Jerk
Chicago Cupcake
Ice Cubed

July 13, Jill Scott

Bombay Wraps
The Salsa Truck
JB Alberto Pizza
Pork Chop
Chicago Cupcake
Ice Cubed

July 14, Neon Trees

Taquero Fusion
JB Alberto Pizza
The Fat Shallot
The Jerk
Chicago Cupcake
Ice Cubed

The city said concert tickets for Robin Thicke and Neon Trees are still available for $25 at tasteofchicago.us. Lawn seating is free.

<![CDATA[2013 Taste of Chicago Restaurants, Food Trucks]]> Mon, 08 Jul 2013 09:51:03 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/180*120/Taste-couple-2012.jpg

Ahead of the 33rd annual Taste of Chicago, running July 10 to July 14 in Grant Park, the city announced the 35 restaurants and 14 food trucks participating in the food fest.

“Taste of Chicago is a great long-standing tradition of summer in the city,” Mayor Rahm Emanuel said. “As our culinary reputation has grown on the national stage, this event continues to reflect the vibrant and diverse restaurant community of Chicago with old favorites and new, exciting worldwide cuisines."

Strips of 12 food and beverage tickets will be available for $8. Each restaurant will offer signature items as well as "taste" portions costing $2.50 or less.

Before and during evening concerts at the Petrillo Music Shell, attendees can purchase food from trucks parked just east of the lawn at the pavilion. The mayor's office said food trucks will start serving an hour before each concert and serve for the duration of the show.

Trucks will serve three or four regular-size portions and two "taste" portions and will accept the same food and beverage tickets as other Taste booths.

Here's the list of restaurants:

Abbey Pub & Restaurant
3420 W. Grace St.

Bacino’s of Lincoln Park
2204 N. Lincoln Ave.

Beat Kitchen
2100 W. Belmont Ave.

Billy Goat Inn
1535 W. Madison St.

BJ’s Market & Bakery
8734 S. Stony Island Ave.

Bobak Sausage Co.
5725 S. Archer Ave.

Bombay Spice Grill & Wine
450 N. Clark St.

Caffe Gelato
2034 W. Division St.

Carbon Live Fire Mexican Grill
300 W. 26th St.

Churro Factory
3755 W. Armitage St.

Connie’s Pizza
2371 S. Archer Ave.

Cubby Bear Lounge, Ltd.
1059 W. Addison St.

Chicagoland Locations

Eli’s Cheesecake
6701 W. Forest Preserve Dr.

Flip Crepes
131 N. Clinton. St., Suite 12

Franco’s Ristorante
300 W. 31st St.

The Fudge Pot
1532 N. Wells St.

Gold Coast Dogs
225 S. Canal St.

4623 N. Broadway St.

Kasia’s Deli
2101 W. Chicago Ave.

Lao Ma La Chinese Restaurant
2017 S. Wells St.

Lou Malnati’s Pizzeria
805 S. State St.

The Noodle Vietnamese
2336 S. Wentworth Ave.

Oak Street Beach Café
5700 S. Cicero Ave.

O’Briens Restaurant
1528 N. Wells St.

Original Rainbow Cone
9233 S. Western Ave.

Pazzo’s Cucina Italiana
23 E. Jackson St.

Ricobene’s on 26th St.
252 W. 26th St.

Robinson’s No. 1 Ribs
201 N. Clark St.

The Smoke Daddy
1804 W. Division St.

Star of Siam
11 E. Illinois St.

1014 W. Taylor St.

Tutto Italiano
501 S. Wells St.

Vee-Vee’s African Restaurant
6232 N. Broadway St.

Wishbone Restaurant
1001 W. Washington Blvd.

Here's a list of food trucks and corresponding concerts:

July 10, fun.
Bombay Wraps
Taquero Fusion
The Fat Shallot
The Jerk
Royal Cupcakes and Bakes
Beavers Coffee and Donuts

July 11, Robin Thicke
Taquero Fusion
Pork Chop
The Fat Shallot
Royal Cupcakes and Bakes
Beavers Coffee and Donuts

July 12, Robert Plant presents the Sensational Space Shifters
Bombay Wraps
The Salsa Truck
JB Alberto Pizza
Pork Chop
The Jerk
Chicago Cupcake
Ice Cubed

July 13, Jill Scott

Bombay Wraps
The Salsa Truck
JB Alberto Pizza
Pork Chop
Chicago Cupcake
Ice Cubed

July 14, Neon Trees

Taquero Fusion
JB Alberto Pizza
The Fat Shallot
The Jerk
Chicago Cupcake
Ice Cubed

<![CDATA[Why Prices for Roses, Vegetables, and Fish Could Go Up]]> Thu, 30 May 2013 13:30:01 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/WMAQ_000000003372569_722x406_31823939761.jpg Ecuador's ambassador is in Chicago to promote trade with her country. If the U.S. lets the trade agreement expire, we could pay more for everyday items.]]> <![CDATA[Wayne's Weekend: Get Ready for Movies in the Park]]> Thu, 30 May 2013 12:44:27 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/160*120/WWMoviesInThePark.JPG Wayne shows you how to get ready to go and watch a movie outdoors.]]> <![CDATA[Wayne's Weekend: Movies In The Park]]> Thu, 30 May 2013 12:46:28 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/160*120/WWMoviesInThePark.JPG

Now that summer is here, it's time for Movies In The Park.  More and more organizations are sponsoring outdoor movie nights and the evenings are a fun and inexpensive way to spend time under the stars with family and friends.  To make the experience as enjoyable as possible, I've put together a little checklist of ideas, tips and suggestions.  With a little advanced planning, you can be comfortable, well fed and even dry if mother nature decides to rain on your feature film.

The Basics

This is my list of the basics to have on hand.  You want to be comfortable in the park and these items are all easy and portable.  Some of the unique items, like lawn drink holders, can be found at housewares or specialty stores and I've listed where I purchased them at the end of this article.

  • Quilt or Blanket - The grass might be damp or dry areas might be dusty
  • Plastic Ground Cover - A painter's plastic drop cloth under your quilt keeps it clean
  • Umbrella - If you're bringing an umbrella, set up near the side of the crowd so you don't block anyone's view, but it's useful if there's a light mist and you want to stay and enjoy the movie
  • Plastic Trash Bags - Clean up after yourselves
  • Ravinia Table - Totally portable, disassembles and fits in a tote bag
  • Flashlight - For finding things you've dropped on the ground after the movie's over
  • Tote Bag - Oversized tote bags will just make it easy to get everything there easily
  • Folding Chairs or Beach Chairs - portable, easy to pack and carry
  • Lawn Drink Holders - These have spikes on the bottom so they hold your drink with no fear of tipping over
  • Butane Burner - great for making S'mores
  • Plastic Cups, Platters and Bowls - Avoid bringing glass to the park
  • Food Net - Keep food away from the bugs
  • Bug Repellant - Because bugs seem to like Movies In The Park, too
  • Paper Towels - Rather than napkins, just have a roll of paper towels
  • Moist Towelettes - Kids and adults are messy

The Food

Here are some easy food suggestions. This isn't a night out at Ravinia where you might get a little fancy.  It's a casual night in the park and, for the most part, it's fun to have the type of snacks that you might enjoy at a movie theater.

  • Ice Chest - For ice and beverages.  If you can get one with wheels it makes the trip to the park easier
  • Bottled Water - For both drinking and easy clean up
  • Battery Powered Blender - Nice little extra for making smoothies, but be sure not to use it during the movie because of the sound
  • Popcorn - A movie staple, pop a few bags and keep them in airtight containers to maintain freshness
  • Theater Style Candy - Nice way to recreate create the true movie experience
  • Thermos For Hot Dogs - Boil your hotdogs at home and then put fresh hot water and the dogs in a wide mouth thermos.
  • Hotdog Buns and Condiments
  • S'mores - Chocolate, marshmallows and graham crackers (if you bring along the butane burner)
  • Fresh Fruit - An easy snack: apples, grapes, bananas, etc. 
  • Chips/Salsa - Another easy snack to enjoy


  • Plastic Drop Cloth - can be purchased in any home center paint department
  • Beach Chairs - beach chairs fold down and fit in a tote bag and are available at home center stores, drug stores and sporting good stores
  • Lawn Drink Holders and Ravinia Table - purchased at Crate & Barrel
  • Battery Powered Blender - The Margaritaville Frozen Drink Machine - available online
  • Butane Burner - Northwestern Cutlery
  • Plastic Bowls and Serving Plates - Walgreens

If you have any comments or questions, please send me an email at wayne@waynesweekend.com or follow me on Facebook or Twitter.

Photo Credit: Wayne Johnson]]>
<![CDATA[Wayne's Weekend: Make Red, White & Blue Drinks]]> Thu, 23 May 2013 12:49:36 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/160*120/WWPatrioticDrinks.jpg Wayne shows you how to celebrate Memorial Day with patriotic drinks.]]> <![CDATA[Green, Organic Foods Prominent at Resto Show]]> Tue, 21 May 2013 17:28:20 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/WMAQ_000000003311890_722x406_30987843980.jpg The 2013 National Restaurant Association Show is bigger than in years past, with 60,000 attendees and 2,000 exhibitors. LeeAnn Trotter reports.]]> <![CDATA[Wayne's Weekend: Make an Easy Summer Party Spread]]> Fri, 17 May 2013 09:56:29 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/160*120/WWSmokedBeefSliders.jpg Wayne shows you how to make tasty sandwiches sure to impress your guests.]]> <![CDATA[Master Butcher's Grilling Guide]]> Sun, 12 May 2013 08:39:19 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/grillingsat0511_11140410_722x406_29945411875.jpg Before you fire up that grill, check out these grilling tips from Master Butcher and owner of Zier's Prime Meats and Poultry, Dave Zier.]]> <![CDATA[Wayne's Weekend: Try Fresh Risotto Recipe]]> Thu, 09 May 2013 13:34:13 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/160*120/WWRissotoHero.jpg Wayne shows you how to make a summer risotto using mushrooms, asparagus, saffron and Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese.]]> <![CDATA[Popular Empanadas Food Truck Owners Expand Business]]> Thu, 09 May 2013 10:00:17 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/5411+empanadas.JPG

What does 5411 Empanadas stand for, besides tasty stuffed pockets served from a popular, 2-year-old Chicago food truck? 

"It's the international dialing code for Buenos Aires, Argentina," owner Nicolas Ibarzabal said. "That is where I am from, and that is where the empanada style we make [originates]. We make them the Argentinian way."

That means baked, not fried with a dough that is just a little bit thinner than others.

"I like the baked option rather than the fried," Ibarzabal said. "It is a little healthier and it is tastier."

Like many trucks in the city, 5411's offerings are made at a brick-and-mortar kitchen. Until last July, food trucks could not cook on board and only a few trucks recently were given permits to do so.

"We have our stand-alone store," manager Ricardo “Ric” Perez said. "We bake fresh daily, from oven at the store to this hotbox directly to the customer."

A tour of Chicago's food trucks wouldn't be complete without a stop for empanadas at 5411, but be prepared to wait in line. The truck did so well last summer that the owners opened a restaurant on Clark Street to get through the winter. Now sales are warming up with the temperature.

"We maybe have been doing it the longest," Ibarzabal said. "I think we have a unique product that you cannot find very easy, so I think that is our edge."

Their edge has become more widespread. A second storefront is in the works, and the owners started an empanadas delivery and catering company.

Ibarzabal credits their success to fans, Twitter followers and a growing food truck community.

"The best thing is every day, as soon as we stop, there are people already waiting for us," he said. "When we are leaving the shop, we tweet, 'Hey, we are on our way, we will be there 15 minutes.' It's impressive."

Photo Credit: NBCChicago.com]]>
<![CDATA[Couple Meets, Marries, Opens Chicago Food Truck]]> Wed, 08 May 2013 11:32:54 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/kye+food+truck+fat+shallot.JPG

For one Chicago couple, first came love, then came marriage, then came grilling pulled pork on a food truck.

The Fat Shallot is one of the city's newest mobile eateries, and the duo behind the food truck has a whole lotta love for each other and good eating.

Sam Barron and Sarah Weitz went to the same high school and same college, but it wasn't until they bonded over butter that things really started heating up.

"We discussed the importance of butter," Barron said, "and thought, 'Oh, this could really be something.'"

Weitz is a dietician and Barron brings the culinary chops to the relationship thanks to stints in kitchens in New Orleans and at Chicago's Everest and the revamped Pump Room.

"The idea to be able to work together and be together versus him coming home from his job at 2 in the morning, this way we could be together," Weitz said. "Sam could be creative and cook whatever he wants to and we work for ourselves."

They were married in June and now they're in business, and their gourmet sandwich truck just got the OK from the city to hit the road. Their menu includes pulled pork, salami and grilled cheese sandwiches, as well as sides such as tarragon slaw and roasted potato salad.

"Our whole concept is big hearty sandwiches," Barron said.

"I always get upset with a sandwich if I am still hungry later even if it tasted good," he said.

The truck's name is a play on one of Chicago's nicknames, The Big Onion, and though the shallot has a more subtle taste and vibe, there is nothing subtle about some of the homemade remoulades served off the truck.

<![CDATA[Stockbroker Quits Job, Opens Food Truck]]> Tue, 07 May 2013 11:15:08 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/daniella+salsa+truck.JPG

When it comes to heat, Dan Salls is one chef who knows how to stand it in the kitchen.

Salls quit his day job less than a year ago as a financial adviser to take his amateur cooking skills on the road and open The Salsa Truck, the first licensed mobile food preparer in Chicago.

"When I left my job we were in my apartment every night with culinary textbooks," Salls said. "This is how you make mayonnaise, this is how you bake bread. So we really started from the ground up because we wanted to cook with purpose." 

The Salsa Truck provides more than the name implies, though the menu certainly spotlights salsa. Various tacos and quesadillas, as well as soup, rice, beans and chips, are all offered curb-side.

It's the authentic kind of food Salls imagined making, and though he hopes to expand the menu, this is the cuisine he always had in mind.

"We knew we had to do something special," Salls said. "We didn't want to be the food truck that went out there and started doing twists. We try to keep it as authentic as possible."

"We do everything from scratch. Nothing comes from a can."

The food truck has been Salls' foot in the door. He plans to open his own brick-and-mortar restaurant, The Garage, in the next few weeks. The restaurant offers a sort of lunch-counter atmosphere, and he plans to let other food trucks serve some of their items on his menu.

When asked if his food business is worth leaving his job for, Salls doesn't hesitate.

"We are out here every day living our dream and making people happy, so what's wrong with that."


Photo Credit: NBCChicago.com]]>
<![CDATA[Giordano's Launches Brand New Food Truck]]> Mon, 06 May 2013 11:57:56 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/giordanos-truck.jpg

A Chicago favorite is going mobile.

Giordano’s will begin satisfying Chicago’s craving for on-the-go stuffed pizza by hitting the streets Monday with a brand new food truck.

The Chicago-based pizzeria created its 41st restaurant by building a custom food truck, designed by Executive Chef Russell Bry. The truck took over a year to create and features a state-of-the-art kitchen and refrigerator to store pre-made pizzas.

"With over 40 years in business we have simplified everything and built it for speed," Bry said. "This is all about bringing our famous Giordano's experience to the street, on-the-go, very fast."

The food truck's menu keeps things simple, offering three different pizza toppings and salad.

The truck will be all over the city this summer, making several appearances at Park District events, and the truck can also be rented for parties or special events.

Food Truck Week continues on NBC 5 News Today on Tuesday when Daniella Guzman takes a look at the Salsa Truck.

<![CDATA[Wayne's Weekend: Tres Leches Cake for Cinco de Mayo]]> Thu, 02 May 2013 16:41:19 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/160*120/WW+tres+leches+cake+photo.JPG Wayne shows you how to make a Tres Leches cake to celebrate Cinco de Mayo.]]> <![CDATA[Chicago's Alinea Tumbles on World's Best List]]> Mon, 29 Apr 2013 21:09:52 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/Alinea-Class-Photo+2.jpg

It's still the best restaurant in Chicago, according to Restaurant magazine, but Alinea this year isn't a top 10 finisher across the globe.

With Chef Grant Achatz at the helm, Alinea on Monday was ranked No. 15 -- down from last year's 7th place -- in the annual "World’s 50 Best Restaurants" awards announced in London. Alinea had been in the top 10 since 2009

The top spot on the list went to El Celler de Can Roca, in Girona, Spain, which supplanted Noma in Copenhagen, Denmark.

The U.S. restaurants recognized this year were:

#5 Eleven Madison Park, in New York City
#11 Per Se, in New York City
#15 Alinea, in Chicago
#19 Le Bernardin, in New York City
#29 Daniel, in New York City
#47 The French Laundry, in Yountville, CA

The Top 10:

  • El Celler de Can Roca, Girona, Spain
  • Noma, Copenhagen, Denmark
  • Osteria Francescana, Modena, Italy
  • Mugaritz, San Sebastian, Spain
  • Eleven Madison Park, New York, United States
  • D.O.M., Sao Paulo, Brazil
  • Dinner by Heston Blumenthal, London, Britain
  • Arzak, San Sebastian, Spain
  • Steirereck, Vienna, Austria
  • Vendome, Bergisch Gladbach, Germany

The complete list was published to the website of the ranking's sponsor, S. Pellegrino.

<![CDATA[Wayne's Weekend: Enjoy Gluten-Free Dessert]]> Thu, 25 Apr 2013 18:42:21 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/160*120/WWGlutenFreeAppleRamekin.jpg Wayne remixes an apple crumb recipe to make it gluten-free.]]> <![CDATA[Wayne's Weekend: Dining Out for Life]]> Thu, 18 Apr 2013 15:47:01 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/160*120/WWDiningOutForLife2013F.jpg Wayne shows you how you can help support a good cause just by eating.]]> <![CDATA[Wayne's Weekend: Support A Worthy Charity Simply Be Eating]]> Thu, 18 Apr 2013 15:49:16 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/160*120/WWDiningOutForLife2013F.jpg

On Thursday, April 25, 2013 over 3,000 restaurants nationwide will participate in "Dining Out For Life", a charity event whose proceeds support a number of HIV/AIDS related charities.  These participating restaurants donate a portion of their profits on that day, so the more folks that dine out at one of the restaurants, the larger the charitable donation.  The Chicagoland beneficiary of Dining Out For Life is EdgeAlliance, a non-profit organization which assists its members in developing and operating quality housing and providing life enriching services to vulnerable individuals and families, including those impacted by HIV/AIDS.  To find out more about EdgeAlliance, check out their website at www.edgealliance.com.

To support Dining Out For Life, simply pick one of the over 75 participating restaurants and go eat. That's all you have to do.  The restaurant does the rest.  The atmosphere at many of these restaurants is usually one filled with large groups, lots of energy, and, obviously, great food.  Put together your own group and make a reservation today!  It's always an enjoyable time and, simply by dining out, you're helping to provide support to a very worthy cause.  Here's a complete list of all participating restaurants, including during what part of the day each is participating, and a link to the Dining Out For Life site if you'd like additional information.

312 Chicago (312) 696-2420 Any Meal

Acre (773) 334-7600 Dinner

Andies Restaurant (773) 784-8616 Dinner

Angelina Ristorante (773) 935-5933 Dinner

Ann Sather Restaurant (773) 348-2378 Breakfast, Lunch

Anna Maria Pasteria (773) 506-2662 Dinner

Anteprima (773) 506-9990 Dinner

Atwood Cafe (312) 368-1900 Any Meal

Avenue Tavern (773) 975-7000 Dinner

The Bagel Restaurant and Deli
(773) 477-0300 Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Baker & Nosh (773) 989-7393 Any Meal

Big Jones (773) 275-5725 Lunch, Dinner

Bistro Campagne (773) 271-6100 Dinner

Bistronomic (312) 944-8400 Lunch, Dinner

Bite Cafe (773) 395-2483 Breakfast, Dinner

Blokes & Birds (773) 472-5252 Dinner

Bluegrass (847) 831-0595 Lunch, Dinner

Bountiful Eatery (773) 687-9811 Lunch, Dinner

Brasserie 54 by LM (773) 334-9463 Dinner

Broadway Cellars (773) 944-1208 Dinner

Browntrout (773) 472-4111Any Meal

Burke's Public House (779) 441-109 Dinner

Carnivale (312) 850-3827 Lunch, Dinner

The Chicago Diner - Lakeview
(773) 935-6696 Lunch, Dinner

The Chicago Diner - Logan Square
(773) 252-3211Lunch, Dinner

Club Lucky (773) 227-2300 Lunch, Dinner

Crew Bar & Grill (773) 784-2739 Lunch, Dinner

Cucina Paradiso (708) 848-3434 Dinner

Deleece Restaurant (773) 325-1710 Dinner

DS Tequila Co. (773) 697-9127 Dinner

The Edge (773) 929-0724 Dinner

Ethiopian Diamond Restaurant
(773) 338-6100 Dinner

Francesca's Bryn Mawr (773) 506-9261 Lunch, Dinner

Giordano's - Belmont (773) 327-1200 Lunch, Dinner

Giordano's - Jackson (312) 583-9400 Lunch, Dinner

Halsted's Bar & Grill (773) 348-9696 Dinner

Hamburger Mary's
(773) 784-6969 Dinner

HB Home Bistro
(773) 661-0299 Dinner

(773) 868-9866 Dinner

Horizon Cafe (773) 883-1565 Dinner

Jack's on Halsted (773) 244-9191 Dinner

Kilwins - Hyde Park (773) 675-6731 Any Meal

Kilwins - Old Town (312) 654-1962 Any Meal

Kit Kat Lounge & Supper Club (773) 525-1111 Dinner

La Grande Vie (312) 643-1111 Any Meal

Lady Gregory's (773) 271-5050 Dinner

Las Mananitas (773) 528-2109 Lunch, Dinner

Longman & Eagle (773) 276-7110 Dinner

Magnolia Cafe (773) 728-8785 Dinner

Mayne Stage (773) 381-4559 Dinner

Melrose Restaurant (773) 935-3300 Any Meal

Mia Francesca (773) 287-3310 Dinner

Nookies Edgewater (773) 516-4188 Dinner

Nookies Tree - Lakeview (773) 248-9888 Dinner

Ombra (773) 506-8600 Dinner

Pasteur Restaurant (773) 728-4800 Lunch, Dinner

Razon (773) 880-9115 Dinner

Sable Kitchen & Bar (312) 755-9704 Any Meal

Salpicon (312) 988-7811 Dinner

The Signature Room At the 95th (312) 280-0453 Any Meal

Silver Cloud (773) 489-6212 Lunch, Dinner

Sola (773) 327-3868 Dinner

Southwater Kitchen (312) 236-9300 Any Meal

Spacca Napoli (773) 878-2420 Lunch, Dinner

Stella's Diner (773) 472-9040 Lunch, Dinner

Swirlz Cupcakes (773) 404-2253 Any Meal

Tapas Gitana Chicago (773) 296-6046 Dinner

Tarantino's (773) 871-2929 Dinner

Taverna 750 (773) 904-7466 Dinner

Uncommon Ground (773) 465-9801 Dinner

Via Veneto (773) 267-0888 Lunch, Dinner

Vincent (773) 334-7168 Dinner

Vivere (312) 332-4040 Lunch, Dinner

Waffles (773) 281-8440 Breakfast, Brunch

Wilde Bar & Restaurant (773) 244-0404 Dinner

Wishbone Restaurant (312) 850-2663 Dinner

Wood (773) 935-9663 Any Meal


If you have any comments or questions, please send me an email at wayne@waynesweekend.com or follow me on Facebook or Twitter.

<![CDATA[Wayne's Weekend: Create a Hot Dog Caddy & Lazy Susan]]> Thu, 11 Apr 2013 13:49:57 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/160*120/WWLazySusan.jpg Wayne shows you how to build a caddy for hot dogs and Lazy Susan for condiments.]]> <![CDATA[Superdawg Voted Top Dog In America]]> Thu, 04 Apr 2013 21:27:03 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/180*120/Superdawg.png Esquire magazine has named Superdawg to be "The Most Life Changing Hot Dog in America"]]> <![CDATA[Wayne's Weekend: Taste of Spring in a Bowl]]> Thu, 04 Apr 2013 18:34:48 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/160*120/WWPastaPrimavera.jpg Wayne shows you how to create a fresh pasta primavera dish.]]> <![CDATA[Wayne's Weekend: Pasta Primavera Captures The Flavors Of Spring]]> Thu, 04 Apr 2013 14:40:19 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/160*120/WWPastaPrimavera.jpg

This time of year I think we are all anxious for spring temperatures to make their debut.  Warmer weather stirs thoughts of dining outside, farmers' markets and fresh produce.  And, even though we still have a few weeks to go before temperatures are comfortably above the 40s, I thought it would be fun to coax warm weathers' arrival with a dish loaded with bright and colorful fresh vegetables.  Pasta primavera, which is an American idea created in the 1970s in New York, is quick and easy to prepare.  The classic dish originated with a rich cream sauce.  But, my version is a bit different in that it uses a relatively light beurre blanc, or lemon butter, sauce.  i think this verison enhances the flavor of the vegetables a bit more without being too heavy. 

Pasta Primavera
serves 4-6


2 tbl Shallots, minced
1/3 cu White Wine
1/3 cu White Wine Vinegar
5 tbl Butter
1/2 lg Fresh Lemon
1 lb Pasta, farfalle or  your choice
1 tbl Olive Oil
1 1/4 lb Fresh Vegetable Combination
    - Broccoli Crowns, broken into bite sized pieces
    - Carrots, cut into 1" matchsticks
    - Red Pepper, seeded and julienned
    - Orange Pepper, seeded and julienned
    - Asparagus, cut in 1" pieces
1 cu Grape Tomatoes, sliced in half
Salt & Pepper
Parmiggiano Reggiano


For my pasta primavera, I use approximately 1 1/4 pound of fresh vegetables for sautéing for 1 pound of pasta, plus 1 cup of  freshly sliced grape tomatoes.  Try varying the recipe using whatever combination of vegetables that you like.

Start by making a light beurre blanc (lemon butter sauce):  Put shallots, white wine and white wine vinegar In a large saucepan over medium high heat.  Bring to a boil and cook down until almost all of the liquid is gone, about 5 minutes.  Remove from heat and whisk in butter, one tablespoon at a time, until each is fully melted, before adding more.  Continue until all the butter is fully incorporated.  Squeeze the juice from the lemon into the sauce, whisk until smooth, and then strain the mixture into a bowl and set aside.

Start preparing pasta according to package directions.   Your goal is to have the pasta ready just as you finish sautéing the the  vegetables.

Reheat the saucepan over medium heat and add olive oil.  Add carrots and asparagus pieces (except the tips) and sauté for about 2 minutes.  Add broccoli, red peppers and orange peppers and continue to sauté for an additional 2 minutes.  Add asparagus tips and toss all ingredients for 2 more minutes until vegetables are tender.  Season with salt and pepper and turn off heat.

Strain the hot pasta and add it to the vegetables.  Add tomatoes.  Pour butter sauce over pasta.  Toss ingredients thoroughly and serve with shaved parmiggiano reggiano.

If you have any comments or questions, please send me an email at wayne@waynesweekend.com or follow me on Facebook or Twitter.

Photo Credit: Wayne Johnson]]>