Oscar frontrunner The Revenant might have been difficult to stomach, but the silver screen’s enduring finger food—popcorn—will always sit well with theatergoers. Ahead of the 88th Academy Awards, fulfill your fix with these local vendors. Order a helping as you catch the red carpet at bars/restos around town or make some of the recipes at home. Lights, camera, snack-tion!
Yet another way to celebrate Chicago’s revered rasher, the Logan Square brewpub reboots the classic kernels under a canopy of parmesan, sage, and—what else?—bacon with their bacon fat popcorn.2323 N. Milwaukee Ave., 773-227-2739
Garrett is the Leonardo DiCaprio of popcorn—a perennial favorite with lines out the door to catch its latest effort, and an enduring force against crops of up-and-comers. The Windy City staple’s cheesecorn will leave you with a brilliant, cheddary finger-film akin to holding a newly bronzed Oscar statuette. 625 N. Michigan Ave., 312-944-2630
Irving Park’s farm-to-table concept sates our sweet tooth with gluten-free, house-made salted caramel popcorn panna cotta, sourcing its Iroquois white corn from Livingston County’s Spence Farm (see the DIY recipe below). 3734 W. Irving Park Rd., 773-866-5266
The Lakeview gastropub’s hopcorn soup substitutes Saltines for hops-infused popcorn—a.k.a. hopcorn—as the floating garnish atop a hearty medley of cheddar, beer, and other accoutrements (see the DIY recipe below). 3001 N. Ashland Ave., 773-248-0990
Bread & Wine’s Caramel Popcorn Panna Cotta (serving 4 quarts)
1 cup popcorn 1 teaspoon baking soda 1 pound butter 2 cups brown sugar 1 ½ cups corn syrup 1 teaspoon salt 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Cook popcorn in a heavy bottomed pan and spread on a sheet pan. Bring remaining ingredients in a pot to a simmer, but don’t allow it to boil. Combine immediately with popcorn and cook in an oven at 350 F for an hour, taking intervals and mixing until well coated. Transfer into a large bowl, stirring frequently, and toss until completely dry.
1/2 cup popcorn 4 quarts heavy cream 600 grams sugar 14 gelatin (sheets)
Cook popcorn in heavy bottomed pot and reserve. Bring heavy cream and sugar to a boil, stirring frequently to dissolve the sugar. Add popcorn to liquid and let cool, strain through chinois, (discard popcorn) and bring back to a boil. Bloom gelatin in cold water and combine it with liquid until dissolved. Pour into desired container and cool until firm.
Beef & Barley’s Chef Cecil Rodriguez’s Hopcorn Soup
Melt butter and add flour to a medium saucepan. Cook for 1 minute while stirring. Add beer and stock and reduce by 1/3. Add milk and cream; bring to simmer. Add cheeses; stir until smooth. Strain to get out any cheese lumps or lumps from the roux. Garnish with hopcorn and a drizzle of paprika oil.
Add a few tablespoons of salt to coffee grinder with 1 or 2 hop pellets and pulse it a few times until the salt is a bit finer and has a green tinge from the hops. Toss popcorn in a little veg oil and season with hop salt.
Heat oil to about 120° and add smoked paprika. Let sit until cool. Strain through a fine mesh strainer lined with a coffee filter.