—Chicago’s chef Carlos Gaytan, who pushed Mexique to Michelin-star status from 2013-2015, has opened a restaurant in his native Mexico. It’s called Ha and located in the Hotel Xcaret Mexico, about an hour from Cancún, reported the Tribune. The paper provides a profile on Gaytan’s second brick-and-mortar-spot. Gaytan is credited as the first Mexican chef with a Michelin-starred restaurant.
—Five months after taking the job, Scott Sax is out as executive chef at Ada Street, DMK Restaurant Group’s spot off Elston near Lincoln Park. Sax was the restaurant’s third chef since it opened in 2012. Sax had replaced Joanna Stachon who has since landed at Pub Royale, the Anglo-Indian spot in Wicker Park. A DMK spokeswoman confirmed Sax’s departure put didn’t provide context behind the move or how Ada Street has replaced him. Sax wasn’t immediately reached for comment. Sax, who worked for chef Edward Kim at Mott Street and Ruxbin in West Town, infused Latin-American and South-American flavors to Ada Street’s menu. Opening chef Zoë Schorr left the restaurant in August 2015 and has since opened Split-Rail in West Town.
—After dressing up as Moe’s Tavern from The Simpsons, Replay Lincoln Park delves deeper for nostalgia with another pop-up blending together several pop-culture elements for its “12 Nights of Christmas” theme that currently runs through December 19 at the arcade bar, 2833 N. Sheffield Avenue. The theme brings in the monsters from Gremlins, the 1984 comic fantasy, Will Ferrell’s character, “Buddy,” from 2003’s Elf, and uses Home Alone, Die Hard, and Charlie Brown references. There’s also special hot cocktails, and other festive drinks.
—Mott Street chef/owner Edward Kim shared a few tips on what customers can do to help keep restaurants open. The city has seen several high-quality restaurants, including Kim’s Ruxbin, close in 2017 and the chef provided a few tips to Time Out Chicago. Kim wags his finger at Instagram-obssessed customers. The extra social media exposure is fine, but meaningful interaction with staff helps keep restaurants alive. Also, keep old favorites in the dining rotation instead of just flocking to new openings.
—Hewn, Evanston’s artisan bakery in the suburbs, will release a cookbook next year. It’s called Hewn Heritage Baking from co-owner Ellen King with an assist from local food writer extraordinaire Amelia Levin. Readers will learn about heritage wheat, stone-milled flour and how to bake pastries and bread. Levin is excited about the book, which is going through the first round of edits: “I truly think this book is the first of its kind in that just as we have all been obsessed with local tomatoes and knowing our produce and meat farmers. Now we’re taking a hard look at wheat and flour and where that comes from and how it’s produced. This book will include information on how to find freshly milled flour using sustainably grown, heritage wheat varieties and recipes for baking with that flour to create some of the best bread and pastries you have had in your life!” Look for the book in fall 2018 from Chronicle Books.