Haven’t these stories been written again and again since the 1970s? The institutional memory of magazines isn’t what it once was, or maybe all the editors who knew what kind of palate this city has have retired or passed on to the Italian beef stand in the sky; a September Gourmet piece on prime taquerias came with a condescending note that Chicago food was finally coming into its own! (Tell Kamehachi at 40, Charlie Trotter’s at 20 and Blackbird at 11.) Savorier is Saveur’s October issue, the first devoted entirely to a single city: Chicago’s grand “gustatory landscape.” Along with the foodie slick’s customary drool-inducing photography, the magazine’s a treat of neat pieces, starting with a sweet, short bio of Rich Melman, who’s been partnered in 130 restaurants in 65 years, written by former Playboy editor Jonathan Black. “We’re restaurateurs,” Melman says, “Not brain surgeons.” And how long has Melman not been doing brain surgery? Thirty-six years. All the news that’s fit to eat! Peter Sagal confesses to being part of Chicago’s foie gras underground; but why go on? The issue’s only five bucks: the plumpest amuse-bouche of the month.
Best of Chicago 2007