David Hammond, a corporate communications consultant and food journalist living in Oak Park, Illinois, is a founder and moderator of LTHForum.com, the 8,500 member Chicago-based culinary chat site. David is a regular contributor of restaurant reviews and food-related articles for Chicago Tribune, Chicago Sun-Times, TimeOut Chicago, Local Beet, and Chicago Reader, which published his seven-part guide to regional Mexican food in the city. He has also contributed food writing to blogs such as the Local Beet and Grubstreet Chicago. With his friend Michael Gebert (creator of Sky Full of Bacon video podcasts), he hosted a cable documentary on Hispanic chow at Chicago's Maxwell Street Market,and has just completed working on a video about Taste of Melrose Park. A returning guest on WLS and WGN AM radio, David produces the "Soundbites" series on the James Beard-nominated Eight Forty-Eight (Chicago Public Radio, WBEZ, 91.5FM); these radio pieces examine how Chicago chefs use sound in their kitchens; listen here: http://tiny.cc/QpCTA. David was featured on "Good Morning, America," "Chicago, Tonight," and Nippon TV when he developed recipes for preparing seasonal cicadas, which invaded Chicagoland during the spring of 2007. More information, including writing samples and bug-cooking videos, can be found at www.dchammond.com.
Carnivore opened late last summer, and we've been there a few times to pick up meat and fish. The boys at Carnivore now also offer lunch. Stopping in for a sandwich is a good way to sample their hand-crafted wurst.
This past St. Patrick's Day, we had the worst corned beef. Ever. What we had was a grass-fed uncured corned beef. It was more expensive than our usual corned beef, and not nearly as red or as fatty-looking. Or as tasty.
Oak Parker Paul Pasulka has written a play called "Gruoch, or Lady Macbeth," which is going into its final performances this coming weekend, Thursday through Saturday, at The Charnel House, a former funeral home converted to a theater space. It's the perfect venue for a play inspired by one of Shakespeare's darkest dramas.
The Good Food Festival and Conference takes place annually, every springtime, and it brings together Midwestern farmers, food and beverage producers, chefs and eaters to celebrate and better understand the incredible range of good stuff we have to eat and drink in this part of the world. This past weekend the three-day GFFC took place, as it has for years, at UIC Forum. Oak Park was well represented.
Madison Park Kitchen reminds me of what restaurants used to be, before The Food Network and celebrity chefs; it's a meeting place for locals, where the food is solid, not meant to be challenging, as comforting as a familiar face, with indelible charm.