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Laura's Picks, Rachel's Picks, Annie's Picks, Priya's Picks

An innovative podcast website for foodies. For those of you new to the podcasting medium, it is to broadcast radio what the web is to commerical publishing. If you're interested, you can find out more at places like podcastalley.com, podcastingnews.com, and ipodder.org. The show itself is an MP3 distributed through the EatFeed website but also through the podcast directories and the special programs called "aggregators" that podcast listeners use to get their favorites.

Laura's Picks

The website of the Food Network. It has a large database of recipes, and my luck with them has been good. Its glossary feature is also useful for quickly looking up unfamiliar ingredients.

The New York Times Dining and Wine page. A nice resource, but some of the trendy ingredients are nearly impossible to obtain in the Midwest.

The L.A. Times Food section. This is my favorite newspaper food section in the nation. Interesting, reliable recipes that are well within reach of real people.

The Chicago Tribune Good Eating section. The Chicago Tribune has a nice, but not stellar, food section. It's main advantage is that it's local. Its restaurant reviews are good, and it has a complete directory of local Farmers Markets.

The website of the Spice House, a spice retailer in the Old Town Neighborhood in Chicago. Why it's worth looking at: if you want to know where to get a spice or spice blend in Chicago, this is the best place.


Rachel's Picks

Find all the recipes from your favorite Food Network shows, as well as chef bios and interesting food facts and other links.

The ultimate food website. This site is a compilation of various cooking magazines and has a great recipe database as well as endless pages of cooking tips.

This site gives pretty good and up to date reviews of Chicago area restaurants and events.

Have you ever found yourself in the middle of making your favorite cake recipe at 3 in the morning when, suddenly, you realize that you used up all of the corn starch in last night's gravy masterpiece? The grocery store has long been closed and your neighbors would not appreciate you soliciting their pantry at such an ungodly hour. The solution: substitutions! Both of these links will take you to fairly extensive listings of interesting baking substitutions, among other things.

This website has a good hodgepodge of recipes from kasha knishes to pumpernickel bagels and all the way back around to good old chocolate chip cookies. For the true chef at heart, this is a fun website to browse on a cold, cloudy day.

Food for thought, literally. This website, although having little to do with food, is home to a great source of information regarding food labeling-something which is always important to take note of. It includes the more basic and mundane descriptions of "serving size," as well as the FDA specifications regarding common labeling phrases, such as "reduced calorie" and "healthy."

This is the official website of the Vegetarian Times magazine. Despite popular belief, you do not have to be a vegetarian to enjoy delicious meat-free fare. Often times, people are scared off by weird ingredients such as "agar-agar" or "tofu" (yuck!), however with a little bit of google research (and perhaps a check of the ingredient substitutions page) all of these recipes are easily "conventionalized." Just because a recipe calls for soy-cheese doesn't mean you have to use it. However, it's always good to have a good resume of recipe knowledge and know-how when cooking for the pickiest of your friends. If you like the recipes offered, you can sign up to receive weekly e-mails of fabulous recipes. Go ahead, give it a try!


Annie's Picks

Rhonda Parkinson is surprisingly thorough in her exploration of Chinese food in this about.com feature. The recipes are authentic and cater to both visitors who are familiar with cooking Chinese food and those who haven't dabbled in the area. What really takes the cake is the unnecessary, but welcoming history and culture she introduces in conjunction with the recipes. About.com also features Italian food (in, fittingly, italianfood.about.com), Southern food (in southernfood.about.com), etc. I'd like to say they are just as authentic as the Chinese food site, but I can't really vouch for them.

Helen Chen's Chinese Home Cooking
Okay, so this isn't really a link, but this is a great cookbook I picked up at my local library-- I just had to include it. There's an introduction starting with a list of common ingredients and spices found in a Chinese household with drawings, the Chinese characters of the names, the English names, and the Pinyin (the Romanization of Chinese characters into English). Drawings and explanations of Chinese cookware follow her spiel about ingredients. My favorite is her in depth tutorial of cutting and cooking techniques. (Not to mention the quality of the recipes themselves.) It's great! I have a slight caveat though: her mother was the founder of Joyce Chen Products (cookware) and she likes to endorse her products in the cookware part of the introduction. It's sort of a disconcerting advertisement, but I guess she's entitled to it.


Priya's Picks

Green City Market
It's a farmer's market held for a little over half the year, where the farmers are all focused on environmental sustainability. There are great fruit vendors at the market, too. You can also get excellent eggs (the kind with deep orange yolks and intense, rich flavor).

Hyde Park farmer's market
the best tomatoes in the city.

Pastoral Artisan (cheese)
Taste (wine shop and bar in Wicker Park)
The Spice House

Bars and Coffeehouses
Bars: The Hop Leaf (Belgian beer), The Map Room, Quenchers, The Pub (Hyde Park's best beer selection), Piece (and pizza!)
Coffeehouses: Intelligentsia, Cafe Ballou, Gourmand, Kopi Cafe,The Bourgeois Pig, Filter, Cafe Jumping Bean, and (Hyde Park's own) Istria Cafe.

Lula Cafe (brunch), Pizza D.O.C., Restaurant El Tinajon (Guatemalan), Ed's Potsticker House, Queen of Sheba Cafe (Ethiopian), and Earwax Cafe.

Ice Cream
Margie's Candies and The Penguin

the smart way to view the city, Slow Food Guide to Chicago, Angelic Organics