Purveyor Close-Up: Rain Crow Ranch

This week, I want to take you behind the scenes into our kitchen to discuss one of our favorite purveyors—Rain Crow Ranch, a great family-owned farm in southern Missouri. Rain Crow supplies all our beef, and it is 100% grass-fed, free-range, and hormone & antibiotic-free.

The taste and quality of the beef is exceptional, but we also appreciate that all of their animals are treated humanely. It really comes through in the product. The cattle are born, raised and finished on open grass pastures, and the family is truly passionate about providing the healthiest, safest and highest quality beef possible.

I like to use the beef for our City Winery Sliders because it tastes like a real no fuss, no muss burger. An order of our sliders includes three mini all-beef burgers, served with lettuce and tomato on pretzel rolls. I don’t add a lot of fancy ingredients to the burgers and like that the natural beef flavors can stand on their own. On our new spring menu, we will be offering the sliders on a light brioche bun.

Another popular menu item made with Rain Crow beef is our Braised Short Rib. The short ribs are braised in red wine and stock at a low temperature in the oven for close to six hours. They are served over creamy rosemary scented polenta and topped with a tangy tomato chutney. It’s an elegant, delicious dish.

These are two of our most popular items, thanks to Rain Crow Ranch. The sliders are a big hit with kids, too, and are great for sharing and even hearty enough to be an entree. Even if you are a vegetarian, this meat will make you wish you weren’t! I’m exaggerating, but you are missing out if you haven’t tried these menu items!

- Chef Andres Barrera

You Can Go Home Again…and I’m Happy to Be Back!

Welcome to our weekly food column. We will be writing a new post each week with the latest on our menu, specials, food and wine pairings, our chefs and more at City Winery Chicago!

For the first installment of our weekly food column, I want to take a moment to introduce myself and tell you how thrilled I am to be here at City Winery Chicago!

I’m a Chicago boy who took a great detour working at some wonderful establishments in NYC, including City Winery New York, but now I’ve come full circle by returning to Chicago to be your executive chef at City Winery Chicago.

My passion for food and cooking started as a young boy growing up in Marquette Park on the South Side. I was inspired by the great chefs I watched on television, such as Jeff Smith, Martin Yan and Julia Child (I was also intrigued by Jack Tripper from Three’s Company and the Swedish Chef!). I learned the basics from my mother, grandmothers and aunts, cooking with them from the time I was 10 years old. My love of food and cooking continued to evolve as I attended Le Cordon Bleu here in Chicago, where I studied classical French and Italian cuisine. I then moved to NYC, where I learned precise cooking and perfect plating techniques at the renowned Capital restaurant, worked slinging pizzas at the famed Franny’s in Brooklyn, then headed up the kitchen at City Winery New York.

I’m now happy to bring all of these experiences to the menu at City Winery Chicago. I love the challenge of creating a menu inspired by the wine producing regions of the world while also making food designed around our customers, many of whom are here to enjoy music or to dine in the bar with friends. I love creating sharable plates that are delicious and delight guests. A personal favorite of mine on the menu is our seared scallops with a carrot puree and bacon chutney. Another dish I am really excited about is an item we currently are developing for our spring menu called faux marrow. Conceived by my executive sous chef Kevin Coulter, this play on bone marrow is a vegetarian dish made from a variety of hand-foraged mushrooms we source from a great local purveyor. Be sure to come in later this spring to check it out!

I look forward to serving you and hope you enjoy your dining experience at City Winery Chicago!

Coming Soon to the West Loop! – David Wilcox, Catie Curtis, Martha Wainwright, Nicholas Tremulis Orchestra

Welcome to our weekly music column straight from the West Loop and into your homes. We will be writing a new post each week to give everyone information on upcoming shows, special events, and even sneak peeks of shows not yet announced at the City Winery Chicago!

For our first post, we are highlighting some great acts coming up this week at our beautiful concert venue on Randolph St. This Friday, March 22nd, we will have the one-two folk punch of David Wilcox and Catie Curtis. David Wilcox is an incredibly creative singer/songwriter who has been playing and recording music for over 20 years. He has been lauded by artists (such as k.d. lang) and critics (such as Rolling Stone and the New York Times) for his poetic lyrics and expressive guitar work. In 2008, he and Bob Dylan both received the same songwriter award from Acoustic Guitar magazine. Pretty great company I’d say. Combine that with who the New Yorker calls a “folk-rock goddess” in Catie Curtis, and you’ve got a great night of music! Curtis has had music featured on Grey’s Anatomy, toured and recorded with country star Mary Chapin Carpenter, and has played for President Obama…TWICE! You know that President Obama has good taste in music, so anyone he would invite back has got to have something special.
Speaking of something special, we have Martha Wainwright coming Sunday March 24th. There’s no better musical family pedigree than the Wainwrights. From a Grammy Award winning father, Loudon Wainwright III, to Juno Award winning mother Kate McGarrigle, Martha and her brother Rufus have some great genes with which to work. Martha Wainwright has been recording albums since the late 90s, receiving praise from SPIN magazine, The Guardian, and the BBC. She also has star studded guest lists on her albums including Pete Townsend (The Who), Rufus Wainwright, her mother Kate, Garth Hudson (The Band), and Nels Cline (Wilco), to name a few. Wainwright’s voice will fill our intimate venue, and Sunday’s show is sure to be a fantastic experience with one of the premiere performers from one of the greatest musical families.
Rounding out our week of great music will be our dear friends, and City Winery Chicago vets, The Nicholas Tremulis Orchestra (NTO). They will be back for a second preview of their newest rockin’ album For The Baby Doll on Tuesday, March 26th. NTO have been making rock and blues music for nearly 25 years, while also playing with the likes of Billy Corgan, Keith Richards, Ronnie Spector, and Ian Hunter. Each night they come to City Winery, they blow the roof off the place. The last show they played here back in February was a packed house of dancin’ and sweatin’, and you can’t miss it this time because they’ll be joined by Springsteen favorite Willie Nile. That’s right. The Boss has hand picked Willie Nile to play with the E-Street Band, and we’ll have him on our stage. Enticed?
All information for tickets and show times can be found at www.citywinery.com/chicago, by calling our box office at 312.RED.WINE (312.733.9463), or emailing chicagoconcierge@citywinery.com.