I did a stint as a guest writer at Chicagoist and wrote a couple of pieces. Most might be kind of boring if you don't live in Chicago, but there are a couple that are of more general interest.
Just a few years ago you’d be lucky to find a single cider on a bar menu, and it was pretty much guaranteed to be too sweet, but these days great cider is everywhere. Here are some reasons why this is the time to get excited about cider and try some of the great new options available.
The wide variety of apples and yeasts from which to choose, differences in aging time and barrel types, and the option to mix with adjuncts like other fruit, mean that cider is a beverage with true diversity. Thistly Cross Whiskey Cask was a crowd favorite, with a pronounced apple taste underlined by a smokiness it accumulated during its temporary confinement in Scottish whiskey casks. Sarasola Sagardotegi from the Basque region of Spain, an earthy cider almost as sour as vinegar, was a little more polarizing. Rutzen emphasized that apple is not always a taste you find in cider and Sarasola Sagardotegi certainly didn’t taste like apples, but kombucha and sour beer enthusiasts will probably enjoy its funky tart flavors.
This isn’t trivial localism- concerns about the environmental impact of imported farmed shrimp and imperiled wild shrimp stocks are spurring people to look towards sources they can verify themselves. This is the case even in Louisiana. Last time I visited family in Lafayette, which is in the heart of Cajun country, I found many of the newer restaurants run by younger chefs there, such as the fantastic Bread & Circus Provisions serving little or no seafood. In the wake of overfishing and the BP oil spill disaster, local seafood is getting harder to source there, and more expensive. You now have to examine menus carefully for the words “Louisiana seafood” no matter how close you are to the Gulf.