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Mar 12, 2000 03:57 PM


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Years ago, when Gene Siskel was still alive, and he and Ebert were on PBS, they did an episode explaining how they critiqued movies. One of Siskel's rituals was to go to his favorite popcorn store and have them mix up a half and half of caramel and cheese popcorn. Sounds disgusting, but God did it look good. I remember the caramel was a gooey mess that had to be stirred into the popcorn. He mentioned the Popcorn store in a Playboy interview once, but I lost the issue (Get married, and your Playboy collection is the first to go). Does anyone know the name of the Popcorn store and does it still exist, and is the quality still as good as Siskel raved? Or was it ever that good? I'm not going to Chicago anytime soon, but only Chowhounds would understand my curiousity.

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    Patrick Thompson

    You're looking for Garrett's Popcorn Shops. There are several locations in Chicago (670 North Michigan was my usual source for a fix). The stuff is addictive, but take plenty of napkins or you'll have orange goo from the cheese-flavored or grease from the caramel all over your pants.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Patrick Thompson

      Thank you for the info. I've filed it safely away, in case I make a trip to Chicago.


    2. Siskel seemed to be obsessed with popcorn. When I lived in Chicago in 1975, he used to rail on his review segment on WBBM about the awful fake butter on popcorn. The head of concessions at a local theater chain, claimed that his customers preferred the fake stuff, and challenged Siskel to a live blind taste testing.

      Siskel took the bait and a live tasting was arranged for the evening news. You guessed it. Siskel preferred the fake stuff every time.

      7 Replies
      1. re: Dave Feldman

        I remember in their Playboy interview Ebert gave his recipe for popping popcorn. He said use a cast iron skillet, and pop the corn in melted butter. Anybody who's ever tried that would get the worst results. Even clarified butter burns before it can reach to a temperture where it can pop corn.

        Also remember of their Playboy interview, Siskel saying of Ebert: He'll eat anything slower than him.


        1. re: Pete Feliz

          Cow ghee worked for this purpose, when I had a stove-top popper (a cheap shaker thing). But pouring on browned butter afterwards, with salt of course, is much more satisfying.

          1. re: jen kalb

            Puleeez - no one answered the poor hungry fella's question. And the answer is: Garetts Popcorn. There are serveral locations in the Loop. For a truly delicous and greasy experience you can't beat the 1/2 & 1/2, which is a mixture of half cheese/half carmel corn. Yumminess.

            1. re: bryan

              Actually Bryan, someone did answer my question. But you definitely confirmed that answer. Thanx


              1. re: bryan
                Beth Johnston

                I have been looking for information on Garett's popcorn on the web but can't find their web site. Do you know what it is? I am intersted in opening one of their stores if I can find out some more information. Let me know, thanks.

                1. re: bryan

                  How can I order from Garetts?