Michelin guides


* It's Michelin Day: have at the buffet of opinions. As usual, my favorite restaurants (Feed, Lula, Taqueria Traspasada #2) were off their radar. Kevin Pang talks with a reviewer about how the sausage is made and why Chicago's experimental young Next didn't make the cut.

* For reference: Jeff Ruby on last year's list and the Yelp fracas.

* New Sun-Times critic Michael Nagrant has been hilarious on the Michelins today.

* Not everyone's a huge fan: our own Jeff Ruby and Penny Pollack had dueling opinions of the restaurant's Thai menu. Ruby: it's a party. Pollack: it's more like work.

* On the same day but unrelated to the Michelins, The Feast Chicago's Carly Fisher really captured the local scene (the Doughnut Vault got no Michelin love, either).

* Say what you will about Next, the local restaurant that really pioneered changing your entire menu and concept periodically with zero continuity is Hyde Park's Orly's/Jalapeno's/Orly's/&c. Not sure what it is now or whether it remains open. If you haven't heard of it… that's because you haven't lived in Hyde Park, Chicago's DMZ of cuisine. If you ever find yourself burned out by Chicago food culture, I recommend moving there.

* Speaking of concepts that come and go with seemingly no rhyme or reason: "A Conspiracy of Hogs: The McRib as Arbitrage."

The theory that the McRib’s elusiveness is a direct result of the vagaries of the cash price for hog meat in the States is simple: in this thinking, the product is only introduced when pork prices are low enough to ensure McDonald’s can turn a profit on the product. The theory is especially convincing given the McRib's status as the only non-breakfast fast food pork item: why wouldn't there be a pork sandwich in every chain, if it were profitable?

This is a concept I turned up in researching my history of the McRib, actually.

* Speaking of real meat masquerading as fake meat, get ready for in vitro/cultured meat: "a real animal flesh product, just one that has never been part of a complete, living animal." Where we're going, we don't need McRibs.

* Overturning Iowa's "arcane and intrusive" law banning infused spirits and bitters seems like a good cause.


Photograph: yannick_vernet (CC by 2.0)