A few weeks back as I tumbled down the rabbit hole of the Interwebs, I came across this lovely comic by Sarah Becan—a mouthwatering cross-section of the Portuguese Chicken at Logan Square’s Fat Rice.
Turns out Becan is a longtime Logan Square resident, charting her foodie adventures with a colorful, comic-based blog called I Think You’re Sauceome. I sat down with Sarah to talk about food, Sauceome and the inspiration behind it all.
KL: What’s the story behind Sauceome? How did it all begin?
SB: Sauceome started out as a weightloss program. I figured if I made a food diary and became a little bit more conscious of what I was eating and why I was eating it … that I would gain a little more control over that part of my life.
It led me to examine all of these weird emotional and psychological issues I had wrapped up in self-worth and my appearance and how I present myself to other people. I ended up exercising a lot of demons. So many of these thoughts were insurmountable in my brain, but when I put them on paper and put them on the internet, I realized after doing that how stupid it really was. And in the end, I realized food was something I was legitimately interested in, not just as the fat girl.
KL: What’s your go-to media for comics?
SB: I start with pen and ink and then add in colors digitally.
KL: Tell me about your work with Yusho.
SB: I ended up doing about three comics about Yusho in the first couple of months after they opened. Their food is delicious and so beautifully plated. It’s so much fun to draw. After the first one, the woman who was helping them with marketing and PR reached out to me and said they loved it and wanted a print. I made a print for them and I believe it’s still framed, hanging in their kitchen.
Then a couple months later, their design guys reached out saying Yusho was looking to do some kind of art-based project in the neighborhood. And Yusho was so much its own project. I wanted to convey the warm, almost handmade feel of the interior there, so I decided to go with watercolors.
(Sarah provides illustrations for Yusho’s email newsletter, which you can sign up for right here.)
KL: Have you landed any other projects from your work with Sauceome?
SB: Yeah, actually after I published a piece on the Portuguese Chicken at Fat Rice, the chef called me and said they’d been wanting to do an art project, specifically a comic.
I had to clear that with Matthias [Merges, owner of Yusho] first because they are both Asian street food inspired restaurants. Matthias and Yusho are OK with it, and the projects are completely different. With Fat Rice, I’m doing posters and T-shirts. They’ll be a lot more kitschy, with bolder colors.
KL: What are your favorite places to eat in Logan Square?
SB: Rocking Horse’s food is definitely a step above your average bar food. Wasabi’s Ramen is out of this world. And Reno is such a nice addition. It’s nice to have bagels in the neighborhood.
The great thing about the Chicago food scene—something especially evident in Logan Square—is that we have this abundance of restaurants with amazing food and beautiful ingredients, all responsibly sourced. They put them together in this really amazing, creative and groundbreaking way, but it’s not that expensive and it’s not that pretentious. You can go to Longman & Eagle in jeans and they don’t care. But they have a Michelin star.
You don’t realize how special it is to the Chicago food scene until you go elsewhere and try to eat at a Michelin restaurant, and have people look down their noses at how you’re dressed. The combination of amazingly creative food and a lack of pretension is amazing and one of the things that made me fall in love with Chicago.