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Phil Vettel Marks 25 Years as Tribune Dining Critic; avec Taking Group Resos in November; More

Plus, Vera's new coffee and tea "cafe" and Formento's to serve timpano.

Marc Much

THE CRITICSMarking 25 years as the Chicago Tribune restaurant critic this month, Phil Vettel writes about his beginning days, giving himself a little criticism on his first review (it "was a little raw") and detailing how slow reader reaction was then compared to today. At the time, Rick Bayless' Topolobampo was still weeks from opening and the fine dining scene looked a lot different than it does today. There's also a funny bit where he describes the almost magical ways he would swipe restaurant menus. [Tribune]

WEST LOOPBeginning Monday, November 3, large groups (8 people max) can reserve a table at avec and partake in their new family-style meals. Available Mondays Sundays through Thursdays at 5:30 and 9:30 PM, the cost is $65 $55 per person and wine pairings can be purchased separately. Call 312-377-2002 to make your reservation. [EaterWire]

WEST LOOPIntent on bringing the same focus to coffee and tea that they do with wine, Vera will take on a café feeling during daytime hours beginning early November. Featuring different coffee roasters as well as loose leaf teas Monday through Friday, 7:00 AM until 2:00 PM, they will also serve various pastries. If you want a little spike in your coffee or tea, they'll have amaro, vermouth, sherry and mescal pairings to go with them. Additionally, the restaurant will offer a "library lab" of cookbooks and food and drink periodicals for guests to peruse while drinking. [EaterWire]

WEST LOOPFormento's, the upcoming old school, red sauce Italian joint from the folks behind The Bristol and Balena, will be serving something special: timpano. Glorified in the Stanley Tucci film Big Night, timpano is a massive pasta creation that Formento's chef Tony Quartaro will fill with lasagna sheets, whipped ricotta in tubed pasta, spinach and shallots, a whole layer of coiled sausage, soft-boiled eggs and mozzarella. At thirteen pounds, the dish will weigh more than a newborn baby. Hungry yet? [DNAinfo]

RIVER NORTHLate-night doughnut seekers can now head to Glazed and Infused’s Hubbard Street location to try their new creations for the autumn season. Friday and Saturday nite owls can get their fix of white chocolate cranberry or seedling apple cider or the savory ham and cheddar doughnut from 8:00 PM until 2:00 AM. [EaterWire]


1023 W Lake Street, Chicago, IL Visit Website


615 West Randolph Street, Chicago, IL 60661 (312) 377-2002 Visit Website