From the food editor: 'Food Truck Extravaganza' and Don Mauer
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No need to race all over the suburbs trying to catch up with your favorite food trucks: They'll all be in one place on Saturday.
From 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Oct. 26, 14 food trucks will gather in the west parking lot at Schaumburg Boomers Stadium, 1999 Springinsguth Road, Schaumburg, for an event being billed as the inaugural "Truckin' Around -- Food Truck Extravaganza."
Guests will be able to nosh from the likes of Babycakes, Beyond Borders, Brand BBQ, Bridgeport Pasty, Calle Wagon, Chicago Cupcake, Chicago Pizza Boss, Gia Via Sweets, La Adelita, Mariani's Gelato Italiano, Stixx Grille, Tamale Spaceship, Toasty Cheese and Windy City Patty Wagon. Each truck will offer sample and full-sized portions so attendees can maximize the tasting experience.
Besides the food, the event will feature a kids' costume contest that kicks off at 5 p.m. Prizes will be awarded.
Also on tap are fall-themed games, entertainment and cooking demonstrations from chef Paul Guerrero of Cooking Skills Academy in Itasca.
Organizers hope to make this a monthly event in the spring.
Pie in your eye: You'd have to be living under a rock to not know that October is National Pizza Month.
At Aurelio's Pizza, they've been planning for this month since the summer. In June, the 54-year-old pizzeria (that started in Homewood) asked each of its franchise owners (there are 40 eateries in six states) to come up with a specialty pizza. After tasting nearly 40 pizzas they settled on six to highlight at their eateries.
Among those chosen were Chicken Bacon Ranch Pizza developed by Mike Kulikowski at the Oak Brook Terrace spot and Cheeseburger Pizza, cooked up by, coincidentally, Mike's son Dylan Kulikowski at the Naperville location. Mike said chefs were challenged to use ingredients already in the store.
Ground beef and cheddar cheese on a pizza is nothing new, but Dylan's version swaps out the chain's signature sweet sauce for ketchup and mustard and is topped with chopped onion and pickles.
The Chicken Bacon Ranch Pizza, featured this month along with a Chicken Fajita version, includes ranch dressing, bacon and diced chicken.
Aurelio's president Joseph Aurelio said the specialty pizza that sells the best (others in the running are Spicy Italian, Spinach Genoa Salami and Mac and Cheese) will be added to the menu.
Aurelio's also has eateries in Addison, Downers Grove, LaGrange, Geneva and Woodridge.
At Tuscany restaurants (Wheeling, Oak Brook and Chicago), they're letting diners have a chance to get a signature pie on the menu.
Through the end of the month, Tuscany invited cooks to "pitch your pie." The original pizza should include sauce, cheese and toppings and can be submitted on the Tuscany Facebook page. The first 100 people to post a pie will receive a $10 restaurant gift card.
Then get your friends to vote (one vote per day).
Preliminary voting ends Oct. 30 and the top five vote-getters will go before a panel of chefs from the Phil Stefani Signature Restaurant group.
The winning pizza will be featured through the month of November at all three Tuscany Restaurant locations. The creator of the winning pizza receives $100 redeemable at any location.
Happy anniversary: A big shout out to Don Mauer who has been writing Lean and Lovin' for 21 years. Yep, for more than two decades Don has been sharing lean recipes and helping us sort out fact from fiction on the latest weight loss and maintenance trends.
"I absolutely love writing this column and sharing my recipes and I would not still be here without you, the readers," Don says. "From the bottom of my heart, thank you for opening up the Wednesday Food section."
No, Don. Thank you.
La cuisine Française: Learn some of the secrets to French cooking from author Patricia Wells at 7 p.m. Monday, Oct. 28, at Anderson's Bookshop in Naperville.
Wells, a Wisconsin native who became a world recognized expert and instructor in French cuisine, will read from and sign copies of her latest book "The French Kitchen."
Anderson's Bookshop is at 123 W. Jefferson Ave. in Naperville, (630) 355-2665.
• Contact Food Editor Deborah Pankey at firstname.lastname@example.org. Be her friend at Facebook.com/DebPankey.DailyHerald or follow her on Instagram, Pinterest or Twitter @PankeysPlate.
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