A Squared: The Tastemaker Top 10 with Mark of An Epicurean in the Windy City

Thursday, April 3, 2014

The Tastemaker Top 10 with Mark of An Epicurean in the Windy City

The Tastemaker Top 10 is a collection of 10 questions asked by me and answered by some of my favorite bloggers. Here they will tell you a little bit about themselves, their blogs, and of course, their favorite foods and restaurants. Today we're talking to Mark, author of An Epicurean in the Windy City, a super interesting blog about food, dining, and his experiences working in high end restaurants around the world. He's also a co-founder (with Lauren from last week's post!) of Cinq: A Chicago Food, Wine, & Social Club and my go to guy for all wine-related questions.

Name: Mark, the Windy City Epicurean

Blog: An Epicurean in the Windy City

Location: Chicago, IL

Now, tell us about your...

1. Favorite meal, food, or cuisine: 
Ugh. That's like asking what is your favorite movie! Ha! My favorite meal to eat? Pizza? Anything with pork? Pancakes? Ha! My favorite food to make would right now would have to be homemade pizza. I make the sauce, pizza dough, and even my own sausage from scratch.

2. Least favorite meal, food, or cuisine:
Again, just like #1! Im not really a fan of the food from Iceland. Lot's of fermented fish and such. Ew. Also, I am generally not a fan of anything goat or lamb related. Most of my close friends know this about me.

3. Favorite restaurant in your city:
Favorite restaurant in Chicago RIGHT NOW is Bavette's Bar & Boeuf. I just love everything about it. Favorite restaurant of all time in Chicago would have to be Avec or Longman & Eagle. Sure, Alinea is great. I've been there twice. But I tend to "favorite" restaurants that I can go back to over and over again. Someday I'll be able to go to Alinea over and over again!

4. Favorite restaurant outside of your city:
That's easy. While living and working in the Napa Valley in the late 90's, Bouchon in Yountville was the place to go. They were open til 4am at that time and everyone who worked in restaurants would go there after work to eat and drink wine. It was a mecca not only for foodies in the area, but for all the restaurant industry workers as well. Not to mention that you could get the best Croque Madame with Frites and amazing wine at 3am!
5. Favorite food memory. Again, that is easy. Eating at El Bulli back in 2009 while I was living and working in Spain. 36 courses of amazing food and wine, over the span of 5 hours. And then we got to sit and talk with Ferran Adria afterwards and drink wine with the staff. Amazing experience. Simply the best of my life. 

6. Favorite guilty pleasure food: Ha. Good one! McDonald's Big Mac. I hate to admit it, but it is my favorite. Luckily for me and my health, it happens only once every few months!

7. Favorite ingredient (something you love to cook with, or something you see on a menu and know you have to order): Great question! Ingredient that I love to cook with would have to be pork or truffles. Now, I can't cook with truffles all the time, but truffle oil/salt/butter/honey - YUM. At restaurants, I will order anything that has FOIE GRAS on it.

8. Favorite recipe: Is it bad to say that I don't ever cook from recipes? Sometimes I will reference something, but mostly because I want to make sure I am staying true to the dish. But, because of my cooking background (I cooked professionally for the first 10 years of my career before switching to wine and service) I can pretty much cook anything without a recipe. I can just go to a grocery store and pick ingredients and make something fantastic. Just ask Lauren Folkmann, Katherine Shindoll, Laura Nash or Kit Graham - they have experienced my cooking!

9. Favorite kitchen tool, utensil, product, etc.: Automatic dishwasher, or other people to wash my dirty dishes :)

10. Favorite thing about blogging: Favorite thing about blogging? For me, it's been all the great people and friends that I have made with blogging. I never expected to start Cinq Food Wine + Social Club, meet great people like yourself, and network the way I have as a result of blogging. It has been a very pleasant surprise, and I absolutely love it. I just wish I had more time to blog!

BONUS! He answered 11 for you! 
11. Five favorite blogs/blogs that A Squared readers should know about:
1. www.thekittchen.com by Kit Graham (great original recipes and all-american girl Kit)
2. www. paytington.com by Katharine Shindoll (her website redesign is great!)
3. www.lionandmaven.com by Lauren Folkmann (her website redesign is great as well!)
4. www.notbeforemytea.com by Nicole Clark (one of the funniest blogs out there. Hilarious!)
5. www.windycitybloggercollective.com (a great collective by some great bloggers and ladies in Chicago) 

Thanks so much for your thoughts, Mark!

Do you have a blogger that you'd recommend to be featured on the Tastemaker Top 10? Or are you a blogger that would like to participate? Email me at aasquaredblog@gmail.com and let me know!

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