Tag Archives: food

Spiaggia food and wine pairings for Wine & Spirits magazine

Spiaggia Chicago for Wine and Spirits magazineSpiaggia Chicago for Wine and Spirits magazineSpiaggia Chicago for Wine and Spirits magazineSpiaggia Chef Chris MarchinoSpiaggia Chicago for Wine and Spirits magazineSpiaggia Chicago for Wine and Spirits magazineSpiaggia Sommelier and Beverage Director Rachel LoweSpiaggia Chicago for Wine and Spirits magazine

Last January I had the delicious pleasure of photographing food and wine pairings at renown Spiaggia restaurant on North Michigan Avenue for Wine & Spirits magazine. Since its inception, Spiaggia has garnered a smorgasbord of awards for its food, wine selection, and chefs, including James Beard awards and a Michelin star. In addition to the food and wine pairings, I photographed the interior space, Chef Chris Marchino, and Sommelier and Beverage Director Rachel Lowe.

Cameron’s Steakhouse, a cut above

photocrati gallery

Chicago has always been known as a city where you can find an abundance of great steaks, but don’t think meat lovers are in any way deprived should they be outside the Windy City. If you are ever in the Detroit area, you might want to head toward the upscale neighborhood of Birmingham and check out Cameron’s Steakhouse.  I was there on assignment recently and I found it hard to concentrate on my work with all the incredible food to indulge in.  The fresh oysters, fine wine, succulent salmon, and of course steaks galore.  Cameron’s is an old-school, classy steak joint, the kind of place you might expect Frank Sinatra and the Rat Pack to have their own private booth.  I don’t often tell clients that I will “work for food”, but after this job I was thinking of reconsidering that policy.

 

 

Jim Beam Drinks

Over the course of three days in June, I had the pleasure of photographing 98 Jim Beam drinks for the Jim Beam web site.  Some of these drink recipes were pretty incredible–drinks for every occasion, mood and season.  All photos were taken at the Barrelhouse Flat bar in Lincoln Park. Cheers.

Chicago Urban Farms

Iron Street FarmDaily tours at Iron Street Farm, Chicago urban farmDaily tours at Iron Street Farm, ChicagoIron Street Farm, Chicago urban farmComposting at Iron Street Farm, Chicago urban farmFish production at Iron Street Farm, Chicago urban farmIron Street Farm, Chicago urban farmComposting area at Iron Street Farm, Chicago urban farmHoney production at Iron Street Farm, Chicago urban farmThe Plant, Chicago urban farm in Back of the Yards areaThe Plant, Chicago urban farmArea under construction at The Plant Hydroponic growing at The PlantTilapia production tanks at The Plant Vegetables at The Plant, Chicago urban farmVegetable production at The Plant, Chicago urban farm

Urban farm, it almost sounds like an oxymoron, but trust me, it isn’t. These farms are sprouting up (no pun intended) all over Chicago and other urban areas, and represent an efficient way to re-purpose under-utilized warehouse space in the city, often in economically distressed areas. Plus, they offer a tremendous opportunity for small-scale organic farmers to ply their trade in a supportive and mega-green environment.

I recently had the occasion to photograph two such urban farms: The Plant and Iron Street Farm. The former calls itself “a net-zero energy vertical farm and food business operation” whose purpose is to “promote closed-loop food production and sustainable economic development through education and research.” Now that’s a mouthful (no pun intended). And the later is a “seven-acre site on Chicago’s south side that produces local, healthy, and sustainable food year-round with a focus on serving, training, and engaging vulnerable populations.” Urban farms produce a wide range of products including cheese, vegetables, mushrooms, honey, beer, compost, and even fish. I suspect when we sang “Old McDonald had a farm” this wasn’t exactly the type of farm we were referring to.

 

Chicago Christkindlmarket, a Holiday Tradition

Christkindlmarket in Chicago's Daley Plaza at Christmas Christkindlmarket in Chicago's Daley Plaza at Christmas Christkindlmarket in Chicago's Daley Plaza at Christmas Christkindlmarket in Chicago's Daley Plaza at Christmas Christkindlmarket in Chicago's Daley Plaza at Christmas Christkindlmarket in Chicago's Daley Plaza at Christmas Christkindlmarket in Chicago's Daley Plaza at Christmas Christkindlmarket in Chicago's Daley Plaza at Christmas Christkindlmarket in Chicago's Daley Plaza at Christmas Christkindlmarket in Chicago's Daley Plaza at Christmas Christkindlmarket in Chicago's Daley Plaza at Christmas Christkindlmarket in Chicago's Daley Plaza at Christmas Christkindlmarket in Chicago's Daley Plaza at Christmas Christkindlmarket in Chicago's Daley Plaza at Christmas Christkindlmarket in Chicago's Daley Plaza at Christmas
For those who rarely venture into the Loop during the holiday season, these photos are for you.  Since 1997, the city has been sponsoring Christkindlmarket in Daley Plaza.  This outdoor market which features German crafts, jewelry, clothing, toys and lots of food attracts over a half million people from Thanksgiving to Christmas Eve.  Inspired by the Christkindlesmarkt in Nuremberg, Germany, which began in 1545, the Chicago version stays true to its European roots.  In fact, most of the vendors actually travel from Germany to work the booths, or at least are German-speaking.  Appropriate winter food is also available, including wurst, sauerkraut, potato pancakes, lots of pastries, and German beer and traditional “Glühwein”, a hot spiced wine that is served around the holidays.  The market closes on Christmas eve, so there is still time to investigate this Chicago and European tradition.

 

Food Safety

Recently had a two-day shoot for the American Dietetic Association to illustrate various aspects of food safety.  Models, make-up, food stylist, nice locations–it all added up to a fun and stress-free photo shoot.  I also learned some important lessons about proper food preparation and storage: don’t store eggs in the egg compartment in the fridge; don‘t turn fried chicken with your fingers; and don’t eat pork sushi.

Traditional Flavors of Amish Country

Fresh-baked pies, Country Lane Bakery in MiddleburyHomemade Amish apple butter Fresh-baked pie and bread, Country Lane Bakery in MiddleburyTraditional Amish horse and buggyWashing clothes the old-fashioned wayPaying for food on the honor systemSucculent ripe tomatoes at the Dutch Country MarketBees making Amish honeyShopping for peaches at Shipshewana Farmers Market
Just two hours–and 200 years–from Chicago in NE Indiana is Amish Country. Anchored by the towns of Shipshewana, Goshen and Nappanee, this area is home to a religious sect that disavows modern conveniences and other trappings of life in the 21st century.  Lines of buggies dot the country roads, women in long dresses and colorful bonnets shop at local markets, and men sporting beards and black coats are commonplace.  Last month I was sent to this region to document some of the culinary traditions of the Amish for ADA Times, the publication of the American Dietetic Association.  Traveling to farmers markets, retail stores, farm stands, and small farms down isolated back roads, I discovered a vast assortment of tasty baked goods, succulent fruits and vegetables, cheese factories, and jars of homemade pickles, apple butter and cherry salsa.  The Amish may not have their MTV, but they are prepared when the munchies come-a-calling.