David Syrek, Special to Tribune Newspapers
July 13, 2011
The celebrity New York chef travels the world to discover its most exotic dishes. You can catch him on the Travel Channel's
"No Reservations," now in its seventh season. Here he offers his view of the Midwest's culinary landscape.
Q: On "No Reservations," you travel the world in search of great food. How does the Midwest hold up?
A: Chicago has been on the cutting edge for some time, but I think that Minneapolis is getting better and better.
Q: And where to eat?
A: Piccolo. (Minneapolis chef) Doug Flicker is doing some great things.
Q: Favorite Chicago spot for food?
A: Any place run by Paul Kahan: Blackbird, avec, The Publican, Big Star.
Q: Where in the Midwest -- other than Chicago -- would you recommend for having a great weekend getaway?
A: I have a ferocious love for Cleveland, but I'd love to go to (Northern) Michigan. If it's good enough for Mario Batali, it's good enough for me.
Q: What's the new ''hot spot'' in the world right now for travel?
A: Uruguay. The food is really good. It's undervisited and very beautiful.
Q: How do you avoid getting sick when traveling so much and eating such daring foods?
A: I eat where the locals eat. If the food stall is crowded with locals, that's a good sign. I avoid eating at chain hotels.
Q: Your favorite summer drink?
A: A Negroni. The perfect warm-weather drink -- enjoyed in moderation. But use a high-end gin. It's a perfect cocktail before and after dinner.
Q: What current food trends are you over?
A: I enjoy a good burger as much as anyone, but I think we have enough boutique burgers. We have a lot of great chefs who need to move past the burger.
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