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Opposite, Galdones Photogr aphy; Above, Christopher Hopkins / Al amy Stock Photo; Right, Galdones Photogr aphy near & far Grueneberg wove her Germanic heritage into dishes such as stuffed cabbage in a porcini mushroom bolognese sauce. Near Monteverde in the West Loop, I en- joyed the restaurant Bad Hunter so much I went back again (a rarity in my efforts to visit as many food locations as possible). This place reminded me of home in California because of its vegetable-centric (but not vegetarian) menu of inspired, shareable plates. Some favorite dishes included buttered English peas that were decadently covered with Camem- bert, smoked onion marmalade and horserad- ish. Plump butter dumplings with charred fava beans, cucumber kimchi and seaweed were just as creative and tasty. I also enjoyed a juicy merguez sausage. Dessert was savory, earthy and sweet, and included a piece of coffee-roasted carrot cake that arrived warm with smoked sorghum ice cream melting over it and a sorghum-pecan cracker jack adding a playful crunch. Later, I traveled north to Chicago’s Avondale neighborhood to visit another Season 9 Top Chef contestant, Beverly Kim, who, along with Monteverde Restaurant & Pastificio, above left, is run by James Beard Award–winning chef Sarah Grueneberg, below. Cloud Gate, above, is an iconic sculpture in Chicago’s Millennium Park. her husband, John Clark (both JBFA nominees this year), own Parachute restaurant. Korean- American cuisine is a category of food I’ve loved for some time. So, I was curious how this always-busy restaurant would compare with other top spots nationally. From the meltingly good baked potato bing bread, to the aspara- gus in smoked eel cream, to the pork and mung bean pancake in pineapple butter and black garlic, Parachute delivered the hits, confirming its reputation as one of the country’s great modern Korean-American restaurants. Augus t 2017 A l a sk a B e yon d ABM 08.17 Near_Chicago.indd 97 97 7/19/17 6:05 AM