ShoWest is a four-day party that film studios throw for theater owners each year, and one of the highlights is the snack samples on the convention floor, such as flavored popcorn, Dippin’ Dots and other things you might eat while fumbling with your 3-D glasses at Avatar.
This year’s show, in mid-March at Paris and Bally’s, didn’t have anything terribly different, I’m sorry to report. The only thing noteworthy was what wasn’t there: the perennial star of the show, Chicago’s Eisenberg hot dog, was instead represented by a brochure.
It seems that someone objected to the usual long lines at the vendor booth, so the company wasn’t allowed to cook them this year. I guess I’ll just have to go to South Point Casino to eat one. Its cinema is home to what is America’s juiciest, best movie theater hot dog.
One more culinary note from ShoWest: Look for butters and trans fats—especially those made with palm oil—to be phased out of theater popcorn. Public awareness about trans fats is on the rise, and everyone is being more careful about their health these days.
The world’s most famous chef, Joël Robuchon, recently taught me a technique for making a fried egg. It’s so simple a 6-year-old can do it. Crack an egg in a saucer and slide it into a hot pan greased with butter. The yolk will remain intact. When it begins to bubble, slather the top with more melted butter and sprinkle it with a touch of sea salt. Don’t tell your cardiologist.
Daddy Mac’s was my big surprise of the week. Tucked into an office complex at 2920 N. Green Valley Parkway, it is a little hard to spot. But the food is worth the effort. It’s cooked by a Chicago transplant, Michael Hunn, who worked in various chophouses in the Midwest. You might be tempted to call this “pub food” until you take a closer look. Hunn can flat out cook.
This is a dark, clubby spot with live music. There’s a late-night menu served until 2 a.m., as well as a full lunch and dinner menu. Terrific soups are made fresh daily, including an amazingly good Hobo Chili. The Caesar salad has fresh lettuce and the correct tang.
Hunn is the only chef in town I know who makes hot-dog sliders: three mini wieners from Chicago on undersized buns, one with kraut, a second with that Hobo Chili, and the third a classic Chicago dog, with sport peppers, celery salt and all. That dish alone merits a visit.
Among a riot of other good dishes are delicious pastas, stuffed pork, Buffalo wings, a proper Cuban sandwich and the hard-to-resist Daddy Mac shrimp, lightly battered on a bed of homemade slaw under a blanket of spicy pink rémoulade sauce. As if that weren’t enough, Hunn makes one of the best carrot cakes in town.