As you can see, Reed and I are unleashing a brand new monster called TRACKS & SNACKS, where I infiltrate the lives of super snackers and music lovers alike to find out what tracks they’re feelin’ lately and what kinda snacks they’ve been puttin’ away. In other words, just dissecting what kind of important life decisions people are making these days. No big deal. So keep reading if you’re searching for new sounds or if you’re just experiencing some serious hunger pangs.
First up on the chopping block is Chicago-native, HOR-cohort, DJ, producer, AND blogger, Dani Deahl. Not only does she maintain her own massive kingdom over at DaniDeahl.com, but 2012 has seen the explosion of her infamous video for her single, “Diplo Hates You” (which features Maryland dude Oh Snap! — big ups!). She is one tough broad so I know she’s eatin’ well and rockin’ some of the best beats.
1. Datsik & Bare – King Kong – Lucky Date Remix
2. John Dahlback – One Last Ride (Felix Cartal Remix)
3. Scooter & Lavelle Feat. Sue Cho – Beats Inside My Head – Minero Remix
4. Sandro Silva & Oliver Twizt – Gladiator (Sandro Silva Remix)
5. Jordy Dazz – OMG
6. Kanye West – Mercy (LeDoom feat. Vegas Banger Remix)
7. Sleigh Bells – Demons (Diplo Remix)
8. Baauer – Yaow
9. RL Grime – Trap on Acid
10. Flosstradamus – Lana’s Theme
I had to make all three food spots rooted in Chicago – I’m a Chicago girl to the bone and love my city like no other. Plus, there’s two things we do really well, party outdoors in the Summer, and produce restaurants with amazing, gut-bursting food. Honestly, it was hard to pick only three, but here we are. If you’re ever in Chicago maybe you can get Dani’s Tracks & Snacks tour of Chicago…or maybe Beats & Treats so Reed doesn’t get mad.
We ALL knew Baconfest was going to be included here. Baconfest is a magical day in Chicago that happens every Spring at the UIC Pavillion. Dozens of the top restaurants in Chicago (like Girl & The Goat and 694 Wine Bar) craft bacon-centric bites and your ticket gives you free access to ALL OF IT, including the bacon-infused cocktails. I’ve had everything from bacon sushi to bacon and maple ice cream to bacon-infused whiskey…you get the point. It’s like crossing a river of fire while riding a winged unicorn and being fully aware of the awesomeness of the moment. Some tips for Baconfest:
1) Sign up for the mailing list. This will ensure you get notified of the ticket sales first. When the tickets do go on sale, be like a 13 year old girl waiting for Bieber tickets and buy within the first five minutes…that shit will sell out within the hour.
2) You DON’T have to eat everything on your plate at every station. In fact, if you do, you might get the meat sweats and think you’re having a stroke. I’ve included a pic of people post-Baconfest as proof. Try nibbles of everything, then go back to the stations you loved and punish those plates.
3) Make sure you bring people who love bacon as much as you do. Seriously, if you bring your salad-eating girlfriend or if you eat ANYTHING before going and then complain about being full, I will hunt you down and punch you in the throat.
2. Red Door
Red Door is a new restaurant in Chicago, but it’s becoming one of my favorites, for multiple reasons. The ‘globally inspired pub food’ includes a poutine with seared cheese curds and a slightly curried gravy, Korean-style kalbi short ribs over a bed of kim chi and a lemongrass chicken thigh with grilled green onions. I could seriously eat that poutine every day of the week, it’s that good. The desserts are wickedly inventive too, including ice creams flavored with blackberry thyme, white pepper and curry.
The place itself is just as much a reason to go – the inside is decked out in reclaimed barn wood and Edison bulbs and the outside is a massive patio party seating over 100 with communal tables, strands of lights criss-crossing overhead and it’s pretty much hidden from the street so you feel like you’re not in the middle of the city. This patio has won awards for a reason, and Chicagoans love any excuse to party outside once it’s above 55.
It’s great because as fancy as the menu sounds, it’s really a low-key place to get your grub on and hang out. I mean, this is the place that had a dunk tank and hog roast for Memorial Day. Oh, I almost forgot to mention…their burger has bacon jam on it. Bacon jam.
If you ever get to eat at Schwa in your lifetime, consider yourself lucky. This place is a legend in Chicago – it’s one of the five hardest to get into in the country, has been called one of GRANT ACHATZ’s favorite places to eat, and in 2007, the chef Michael Carlson spontaneously closed the restaurant the day after cooking Charlie Trotter’s birthday dinner because of the stress. They re-opened four months later and no one held it against them, because it’s fucking Schwa.
The food is playful, imaginative, and unlike some upper-crust flight of fancy places that serve up multiple courses of foam, this is food you can sink your teeth into. House made tagliatelle with braised veal heart, huckleberry and truffle, a quail egg ravioli you slurp in one bite where the pasta is perfectly al dente and the egg still liquid on the inside, a seared foie gras crusted with bits of brioche and apricot pit…you get the idea.
Just as amazing as the food is the staff and the atmosphere. I have to clarify here because Schwa actually HASN’T gotten higher ratings from critics because of the service. That’s because the food speaks for itself, and you’re there on the chef’s terms, not the other way around. The last time I went they were blasting an Atmosphere album, the chef sent us shots of whiskey with pickle backs, the waiter drank out of a bottle of champagne with us and they asked if we wanted to go drinking with them afterwards. Whatever, critics can go throw themselves off a cliff – that was a damn good time.