— What better time to continue sampling the culinary delights of Chicago, President-elect Barack Obama’s hometown, than on the heels of his landslide victory?
As well as sampling these gastronomic offerings, if you happen to be in Chicago at this time you can also get tickets to see what is hailed as America’s best opera: “Porgy and Bess,” with music by George Gershwin. The opera was conceived as an American folk opera and debuted in 1935 with an entire cast of classically trained African-American singers portraying life on Catfish Row in Charleston, S.C., in the 1920s — based on the novel “Porgy,” by Dubose Heyward and his wife Dorothy. At the time of its debut, the opera was seen as radical, both for its cast and also for the inclusion of jazz and blues in the score — and was to be Gershwin’s only opera.
This week’s tasty recipe for short ribs with adzuki beans and jasmine rice was "stolen" from Carol Wallack, chef and owner of Sola — so named because Wallack loves the sun and the surf. Opening Sola in the midst of a chilly Chicago winter, she hoped to impart the sense of warmth, friendliness and fun that she gleans from her favorite beaches.
About the chef: A "surfer girl from California," Wallack found her calling while at the beach. "I met a girl who was a chef for the original Spago," she recalls. "Two weeks later, I found myself working for her." Carol's love of food led to her role as sous chef at Camelions restaurant in Los Angeles and then as a private chef for the Hollywood set, including James Garner and Jack Nicholson. She left Los Angeles for Chicago to open the acclaimed restaurant Deleece, which she ran and operated for years before opening Sola. While Chicago's Lincoln Avenue may not be on the beach, Wallack's oasis Sola features fresh, bold flavors of the sea with Hawaiian and Asian influences in a classic contemporary setting — the kind of restaurant she would want to dine in herself.
3868 N. Lincoln Avenue
Chicago, IL 60613