A Christmas Eve Reveillon

November 15th, 2014

Wednesday December 24, we continue our tradition of offering a Creole Reveillon dinner in the true spirit of New Orleans holiday dining. Through most of the 19th century, Reveillons were held in the homes of the French Quarter’s Creole population, when churchgoers would arrive home after midnight mass famished, ready to break the pre-communion fast. As you might imagine, in the homes of the food & drink-obsessed Creoles of the French Quarter, these dinners came to be many hours long, featuring course after course of unabashed decadence meant at once to celebrate the holiday, as well as break the fast in spectacular fashion, as New Orleanians have always been wont to do.

During the 20th century as the restaurant business developed in the emerging dining capital of the South, the finer restaurants in New Orleans began offering Reveillon menus themselves. After World War II particularly, as the demographics of the Quarter changed in addition to changing mores regarding Catholic Church canon and changing habits among churchgoers, the Reveillon tradition died, only to be revived over the last several years by the city’s white-hot restaurant scene. Dozens of restaurants there now offer Reveillon menus. Our humble dinner at Big Jones seeks to extend that tradition, to give a portrait of a beautiful time and place in New Orleans’ culinary history, to serve the many Louisiana expats who now call Chicago home, and to share our love of Southern hospitality with you in a uniquely seasonal way.

Please join us for a very special evening. Reservations are very highly recommended, it will sell out in advance. Reservations can be made by calling 773-275-5725.

Christmas Eve  December 24, 201 4-9pm

Table d’hôte, choose one per course

 

First

 

Oyster and Carolina Gold Rice Perlau
House Vintage 2012 Country Ham, Watermelon Molasses

 

Crispy Duck Liver
American Chestnut Grits, Stewed Gizzards, Huckleberry Bounce

 

Butternut Squash Bisque

Cajun Coush Coush, Homemade Quince Honey

 

Bread Service, Sweetmeats

 

Home-baked Red Fife Wheat and Black Walnut Sourdough
House Cultured Butter, Satsuma Conserves, Preserved Peaches in Bourbon

 

Second

 

Genesis Growers Beets Three Ways

Buttermilk Puree, Frisee, Lemon Marmalade, Celery Salt Croutons

 

Living Water Farms Butter Lettuce

Green Goddess, Hook’s Blue Cheese, Crispy House-cured Bacon

 

Entrée

 

Heritage American Buff Goose Gumbo
House-made Chaurice Meatballs, Steamed Arkansas Delta Rice

 

Creamed Venison Pie
Nichols Farm Celery Root, Rutabaga, Horseradish

 

Stuffed Rushing Waters Trout, Crawfish Boudin

Hook’s Cheddar Cauliflower Puree, Roasted Brussels Sprouts and Pearl Onions

Anson Mills Black Barley Purloo
Speckled Butterbeans, Roasted Black Trumpet Mushrooms, Three Sisters Garden Pea Greens and Brown Butter-Fried Pecans

Dessert

 

A Traditional Doberge Cake of Chocolate, Lemon, Caramel

 

Rum & Nutmeg Bread Pudding

Oatmeal Raisin Cookie Crumble, Vanilla Bean Ice Cream

 

Warm Cranberry and Bone Marrow Pudding Pie

Whipped Kilgus Farmstead Cream

 

Forty-nine dollars per person, ttenty per person under age twelve

Venison pie from last year's Reveillon. Game pies are an old Creole standby.

Venison pie from last year’s Reveillon. Game pies are an old Creole standby.

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November’s Whiskey of the Month: Russell’s Reserve Rye

November 15th, 2014

November’s Whiskey of the Month hails from the environs of Lawrenceburg, Kentucky and the legendary Wild Turkey Distillery. The legendary distillery has operated since right after the Civil War, when it opened as the Ripy Bros. Distillery, and was one of the unlucky ones unable to operate during prohibition. Immediately following the repeal of the 18th Amendment, the distillery got back to work and was soon renamed Wild Turkey Distillery, which has been under the watchful eye of Jim Russell since 1954.

Russell’s Reserve Rye is a project of Jimmy Russell and his son Eddie, who together have some 90 years experience making whiskey. The mash bill is the same as for Wild Turkey Rye, an 81-proof gem, however the distillation method leaves more water from the original mash in the white dog, meaning less fresh water is needed to cut it to the specified 90 proof when it is bottled. True to form of the elite whiskeys that have emerged over the last generation in Kentucky, Russell’s Reserve Rye is aged in the center of the center floors of the best rickhouse.

Russell’s Reserve Rye sports rich aromas of sweet almonds, English toffee, and classic herbaceous rye spice, giving way to a palate which still shows a hefty rye flavor, along with Chinese fivespice, caramel, and black tea. The long finish is refined and toasty, reminiscent of a bread bakery late in morning.

Russell's Reserve Rye

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Two videos to share

November 10th, 2014

We wanted to share a couple recent special videos with everyone.

We were thrilled to have Big Jones on Check, Please! last week on Chicago’s WTTW! We were completely impressed with the work done by the whole crew, and we truly enjoyed the day we spent with them.

Video for the episode we’re on — Season 14, Episode 4

The Check, Please! page on the WTTW site

 

Also last week, Paul showed how to make the perfect omelette in this video with Chicago Magazine.  Paul makes a Bayou Teche Omelette, which is one of our brunch favorites.

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A Celebration of Thanksgiving

October 6th, 2014

Of all the holidays we work in the hospitality business, Thanksgiving is a special one that we look forward to each year. It’s a chance for us to share our hospitality on an important family holiday, but even more significantly for us, we can share our gifts with you on this most symbolic of days – our wondrous network of family farms, our passion and commitment for traditional cooking in the most intimate way, straight from the ground to our kitchen to your table. Speaking for myself as a chef, from my earliest memories the simple idea of that first harvest feast in Plymouth in 1621 was the most supreme inspiration – families and friends and complete strangers from different parts of the world coming together to make the best they could from what the land and sea had to offer. It’s such a simple idea, with such grand possibilities.

I can say with confidence that few restaurants will offer a menu of such abundance made in the traditional way. Perhaps I don’t say this often enough but I like to think that eating at Big Jones is much like eating was in my great-great grandparents’ farm kitchen in that old farmstead on the Buffalo Trace – we may be all dressed up for the modern day in a world-class city, but when it comes down to it, we’re just cooking good, pure, honest food as it always was – grown and raised by friends and family, and processed and cooked in small batches, here at home, with our own hands. If you’re not cooking at home this Thanksgiving, please join us for a seat at our table. We’d love to share our traditions with you.

Reservations are now being accepted. The day will be booked well in advance, so please call as soon as you can make plans. 773-275-5725

A Celebration of Thanksgiving

Relishes

Kentucky Beer Cheese, Heirloom Radishes, Olives, House Pickles: Preserved Quine, Stolzfus Watermelon Rind, Genesis Cucumbers, Sour Gherkins

Bread Service

Home-baked Salt Rising Bread with Sweet Cream Butter
and Homemade Wild Elderberry Jelly

choice of Soup

Navy Pea Soup with Potato Knefles, Pearl Onions, and Crispy Sage

Cajun Beef and Collard Green Gumbo with Crackling and Delta Rice

Benne Oyster Stew with Tasso, Garlic Toast, and Frisee Salad

choice of Entrée

Deep-fried Turkey with Onion Sage Dressing, Giblet Gravy, Cranberry Sauce

Cornbread-stuffed Rushing Waters Trout with Speckled Butterbeans and Bacon

Sauerkraut and Rutabaga Pie with Horseradish Cream

Tidewater Crab Cakes with Acorn Squash Puree and Curry Sauce

vegetables, served family-style

Cast Iron-Charred Brussels Sprouts with Shallots, Stewed Green Beans with Mushrooms, Sugarcane-glazed sweet potatoes

choice of Dessert

Coconut Cream Cake with Bitter Chocolate Sauce & Satsuma Conserves

Bourbon Bread Pudding with Cinnamon Streusel, Homemade Apple Butter,
and Vanilla Bean Ice Cream

Sweet Potato Pie with Spiced Pecan Granola & Cinnamon Ice Cream

 

Forty-nine dollars per person, twenty per person under age twelve

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Stagg, Jr. is our October Whiskey of the Month!

October 6th, 2014

STAGGjr_0This month, we travel back to Frankfort, Kentucky to one of our absolute favorite distilleries in the world, Buffalo Trace, for a taste of one of the most powerful whiskey releases of the year.

Stagg, Jr. is drawn from barrels aged 8-9 years and bottled uncut, and unfiltered. This brings it in at around 128 proof (a little lower than the 140+ of George T. Stagg, which is aged 14-15 years) and huge body like only master distiller Harlen Wheatley can coax from grains and a barrel. The mash bill is high-rye so spice is prevalent, a welcome characteristic in such a potent spirit.

Master Distiller Harlen Wheatley describes the taste as “rich, sweet, chocolate and brown sugar flavors mingled in perfect balance with a bold, rye spiciness. The boundless finish lingers with hints of cherries, cloves and smokiness.”

Master Distiller Harlen Wheatley describes that taste as, “rich, sweet, chocolate and brown sugar flavors mingled in perfect balance with a bold, rye spiciness. The boundless finish lingers with hints of cherries, cloves and smokiness.” – See more at: http://drinkwire.liquor.com/post/stagg-jr-bourbon-review#.
Master Distiller Harlen Wheatley describes that taste as, “rich, sweet, chocolate and brown sugar flavors mingled in perfect balance with a bold, rye spiciness. The boundless finish lingers with hints of cherries, cloves and smokiness.” – See more at: http://drinkwire.liquor.com/post/stagg-jr-bourbon-review#.
Master Distiller Harlen Wheatley describes that taste as, “rich, sweet, chocolate and brown sugar flavors mingled in perfect balance with a bold, rye spiciness. The boundless finish lingers with hints of cherries, cloves and smokiness.” – See more at: http://drinkwire.liquor.com/post/stagg-jr-bourbon-review#.

Bring your Bourbon Society passport in for a complimentary pour anytime during October!

***

It’s free to join the Big Jones Bourbon Society, just ask your server or bartender to sign up on your next visit. You’ll receive a passport to forty of our more than sixty whiskeys. On each visit, members are welcome to one complimentary pour of the Whiskey of the Month (WOM) which will usually (but not always) be a straight Kentucky bourbon whiskey. Big Jones Bourbon Society members will also receive invitations to members-only events such as whiskey tastings and whiskey socials.

Of course you’re welcome to enjoy any whiskey on our list at any time. We’ll mark off your passport as you taste each of the forty whiskeys, and once you’ve tasted them all, you will earn the distinction of Master Taster, and win tickets for two to a one-of-a-kind all-out whiskey dinner. As the ranks of Master Tasters grows, we will host a series of dinners for Master Tasters.

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