In efforts to clear out our inventory, we’re having a sale. All shirts in the webShop will be marked down to $14, so anyone that’s been waiting to grab a “Chicago Fixed” tee, nows the time.
It’s not uncommon for a person to keep a hidden treasure a secret all to themselves. But in the case of Clandestino, I will gladly forgo my insider status and share this super cool underground supper club with the readers of this blog. Chef Efrain Cuevas is the mastermind behind the operation, so instead of fumbling words to explain what Clandestino is, read the mini-interview below.
smeeze: What is Clandestino and why was it created?
Efrain: Clandestino is a community dining project, a series of traveling dinner parties focused on sustainability, slow food practices, and community. It’s based on the underground supper club called The Ghetto Gourmet, which I worked with in Oakland, CA. It was created to provide an alternative to the fine dining restaurant that was accessible to anyone, not pretentious, and way more fun. Anyone could come and cook, eat, and help out in the kitchen. Clandestino is my interpretation of the original supper club, but tailored for diners and foodies in the city of Chicago.
smeeze: What was your inspiration to become a chef?
Efrain: Cooking started out as a hobby while I was in college, then later became an obsession. While I was working as a civil engineer in California, I was turned off by the whole engineering field and the corporate culture. I decided to turn my passion for food into my life’s work, and I knew I wanted to do this as soon as possible.
smeeze: Is there a certain appeal to keeping the supper club underground versus open to the public?
Efrain: There is definitely an appeal to the underground nature of the supper club, but once the word gets out, and it always does, then things have to be adjusted. I still keep the locations secret and reveal them a couple days before the event, but since I am also trying to grow my business, I have to make the experience more accessible to the general public.
smeeze: And lastly, random but not useless, Cubs or Sox fan?
Efrain: Sox! Although I’m currently a northsider, I lived in Bridgeport and Pilsen my first year in Chicago and loved it. Plus I can BBQ in the parking lot at the Sox games. Can’t do that at Wrigley.
During my weekend stay over out East, I had a chance to eat some really good food, and I do mean really good food. But there was one thing I absolutely had to try, and that my friends was the New York style pizza. So I did a little research, (I mean Google search) and explored, making my stops at a couple of fan favorites. Brooklyn’s Grimaldis and East Village’s Artichoke – along with many other “bargain basement” type pizzerias on the corners of every street. Coming from Chicago, we take great pride in our pizzeria and any true Chicagoan will definitively tell you that our pizza is “by far, the best pizza in the WORLD”. So the basis of my journey, really, was to make peace with this claim that I’ve been indiscreetly contributing to. So which is better you ask? Ill just say, Giordanos stuffed pizza.
However, I will make another grand claim and say that New York has some of the best Deli’s in the world. Yea I said it. And the basis of this claim is located on the Lower East Side of New York – Kat’z Deli.
The exterior, nothing you’d expect.
Their famous Pastrami Sandwich, not quite what I expected either. I didn’t know meat could actually melt in your mouth.
Paired up with some baked beans.
And wedge fries.
And some pickles, it makes one great meal.
This kinda sums it up.
Late last week I visited New York City, and unfortunately for me, I arrived just in time for one of their dreaded summer heat waves. You see, 95 degrees doesn’t sound like much, but when you combine that with humidity levels enough to make a camel sweat, oh it’s just disgusting. I was in desperate need of something to safeguard and replenish my body and found it in the form of a beverage at the local bodega just down the street. Inside the urban oasis I searched for something that was new to me, something that I couldn’t get back at home. I stepped up to the counter with this, “Organic Raw Kombucha”. I Paid $4.99 for it along with a couple thousand disappointed taste buds. I hope it was as good for my body as it was hard to drink.
But this post is actually about my trip to the MET (Metropolitan Museum of Art) and not an endorsement for Kombucha. So anyhow, I walked down the narrow staircase of my friends Brooklyn apartment and headed towards the MTA Station.
During these heat waves, the subway tunnels are much like a dry sauna at your local health club. Maybe that’s why New Yorkers have a stigma of being rude. Actually, my experience with New Yorkers was quite different, for the most part at least. Everyone The Majority of people I encountered were engaging and polite.
So back to the MET, inside are a number of Art Collections spanning across 5,000 years of Art History. Unfortunately, I didn’t get a chance to catch all of them since the place was so big. But I still found my time in there inspiring, minding the transformation of art across 5,000 years. Some believe art is dead, while others believe it’s alive and well. I certainly agree with the latter. Below are some pictures I documented during my brief visit.
This piece is from the Egyptian Art collection. This particular dog statue reminded me of our mascot, Ziggy.
I believe this was also from the Egyptian Art section, I forget. One of the remaining pieces that made up a figurine of some sort.
Some pretty cool helms worn back in the day. Dated from the 1400′s – 1500′s
This helm represents the head of the Nemean Lion, whose pelt was worn as a headdress and cloak by the mythological hero Hercules. The attention to details in this piece was mind blowing.
You had to have been pretty bad ass to wear this one.
Hey look, its the Starbucks chick siren.
Other European statues.
I really liked this stained glass piece. The colors from a few steps back look a lot like the colors you’d find out of a Pantone book with halftones throughout. And the definition of each character provided by the black outlines accentuate the formal mood in this piece.
The closest I got to seeing the Statue of Liberty.
Art pieces from the Modern Arts section. Most pieces in this section were oil on canvass.
I noticed a pattern with many of the descriptions posted on the side of each piece. Many of these artists led a very non-conventional way of life. Lets just say most of them engaged in all sorts of risque social activities.
Probably my favorite piece from my visit.
Really liked this one too…
Oh and this one too..