Summer’s Best Sparkling Wines

Summer and sparkling wine are the perfect pair. Our experts recommend their favorites


Vincent Satkoff, Wine Director/Owner

Argyle Brut NV Oregon “Bouquet of pear, apple and white peaches, crisp and well-balanced with a long finish. $55

NV Egly-Ouriet Pere et Fils Brut Tradition Grand Cru Champagne “Combines richness and minerality, ideal solo or with grilled seafood. Hints of spice and smoke on the brilliant finish.” $130

Chicago Offers a Range of Authentic Mexican food by Steve Dolinsky

For many people, “Cinco de Mayo” is a time to celebrate.


 Except in Mexico. ABC7’s food reporter says while the day is notable, it’s not the all-day and all-night party it has become in the U.S. and as he reports, Chicago’s “authentic” Mexican dining scene extends well beyond River North.


The tortillas are a dead giveaway. Just the fact that the kitchen is using pure corn masa dough to make each one, is a sign that they put more emphasis on the food than on the cerveza at Salpicón – which has been making regional Mexican food in Old Town the past 17 years. On Cinco de Mayo, they don’t change their strategy one bit.


“We don’t really do anything special, but we are extremely busy because everybody wants to celebrate, and have like cervezas and have like Victorias, Tequila and get drunk. But actually what we do at Salpicón, is a real authentic Mexican food, like we do every day,” said Priscila Satkoff, the chef and owner of Salpicón.


Like a mole negro, as deep and dark as warm leather, blanketing grilled chicken and flecked with sesame seeds. Even enchiladas – a dish that’s been bastardized by Tex-Mex kitchens – gets careful attention: those warm tortillas envelop baked walleye that’s been marinated in achiote and annatto seeds.. baked in banana leaves. They’re topped with a little bit of roasted tomatillo cream sauce, mixed with cilantro, then rolled up and topped with a bit more of the sauce, along with queso fresco and red onions.


“People can understand more that Mexico has a range of different ingredients and different regions,” she said.


Of course, there are margaritas aplenty here – you can choose from dozens of premium tequilas – and desserts are simple, yet elegant, like creamy rich flan hidden beneath a sugar dome.


“People know more what real Mexican food is. So, which is extremely good an I’m very, very happy because finally people can understand that Mexican food has another level,” said Satkoff.


So, this may come as a surprise to some people but Cinco de Mayo is not a major Mexican holiday; Independence day in September is. Although, any excuse to eat authentic regional Mexican food is just fine with me.


1252 N. Wells St.
(312) 988-7811

Eat this!

Salpicón’s mango and pear tart: When chef Priscila Satkoff decided to get serious about dessert, she didn’t just mess around with her mother and grandmother’s authentic Mexican recipes, she enrolled in the French Pastry School of Kennedy-King College. And shortly after her venerable Salpicón opened 17 years ago, she added the tarta de pera y mango to the menu. “I tried changing this occasionally, but my customers won’t let me,” Satkoff says. No surprise there, with the wonderful sweet pastry crust, crumbly almond topping, fresh fruit filling and exquisite dollop of house-made cajeta (goat’s milk caramel) ice cream. She garnishes it with dehydrated paper-thin slices of mango or pear for crunch and a wonderfully silky mango coulis made of pure mango with a touch of simple syrup. “I grew up watching my grandmother make a version of this, and now I apply some of my techniques to it,” she says. And the best-kept secret? You can find the recipe in her 2008 The Salpicón Cookbook. Salpicón, 1252 N. Wells St., 312-988-7811.


—Laura Levy Shatkin, special to the Tribune