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Steve Zaransky aka stevez

Steve Zaransky aka stevez
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  • Steve Zaransky aka stevez

    Post #1 - July 8th, 2019, 4:39 pm
    Post #1 - July 8th, 2019, 4:39 pm Post #1 - July 8th, 2019, 4:39 pm
    Dear LTH,

    It is with great sadness that I deliver the news that our friend Steve Zaransky passed away earlier today after a courageous bout with lymphoma. Steve was a tremendous person with a great spirit, an encyclopedic, historical knowledge of Chicago and its food scene, and an immaculate palate. He'd forgotten more than most of us will ever know about the establishments that have occupied Chicagoland over the past 6+ decades.

    Steve cared deeply about LTH and its community. There was never a time when he wouldn't willingly offer his time, effort and money to make LTH a better place. His contributions here are vast, so much so that they are effectively immeasurable. It's just about impossible to separate Steve's DNA from LTH's. He did more for the site than most of us will ever know. As recently as a few days ago, from his hospital bed, he was helping with some behind-the-scenes issues . . . and thanking me for breaking up the monotony of his day by asking for his assistance. That's just the kind of person he was.

    He was an important and prolific contributor in the early days of the site, giving it life and infusing it with his unmitigated, well-informed opinions and inimitable, no-bs personality. Not long after that he was instrumental in the formation of the GNR program and its ongoing operations. He spent hours of his personal time thanklessly maintaining the site and completing technical tasks behind the scenes. Later, as a co-owner of the site, he continued in that role and also helped finance LTH's operations, with the sole goal of making sure that it continued to be here for all of us. And after his role as an owner ended, his dedication to the site never wavered.

    More than anything else, though, he was our friend, my friend. It still hasn't sunk in that he's no longer here. It's strange to think about him never posting here again, never breaking bread with him again. He will be missed. As Gary mentioned to me earlier today, he made us better people. He certainly made me a better person. For that and just being able to call Steve a friend, I will be forever grateful.

    =R=
    There are many things that are legal that are not a great idea --Nick Shabazz

    Every human interaction is an opportunity for disappointment --RS

    There's a horse loose in a hospital --JM

    That don't impress me much --Shania Twain
  • Post #2 - July 8th, 2019, 5:32 pm
    Post #2 - July 8th, 2019, 5:32 pm Post #2 - July 8th, 2019, 5:32 pm
    So we need to do some kind of remembrance, maybe some kind of eat-a-thon, toast him with egg rolls and beef sandwiches.
    What is patriotism, but the love of good things we ate in our childhood?
    -- Lin Yutang
  • Post #3 - July 8th, 2019, 5:48 pm
    Post #3 - July 8th, 2019, 5:48 pm Post #3 - July 8th, 2019, 5:48 pm
    Very sorry to hear. My condolences to all his good friends on this site.

    Thank you for sharing when it's the last thing you wish you had to do.
  • Post #4 - July 8th, 2019, 6:13 pm
    Post #4 - July 8th, 2019, 6:13 pm Post #4 - July 8th, 2019, 6:13 pm
    Steve was pure motivating joy as a collaborator, and they just don't mint the coinage of kindness in his Z-sized denomination anymore. I'll third the sentiment that I'm better for knowing him: outlook and writing and tolerance. Puerto Vallarta is part of my life really because of his posts; one of the beautiful mysteries of one's digital footprints is how they can usher virtual strangers onto the same pilgrimage. I shall not look upon his like again.
  • Post #5 - July 8th, 2019, 6:16 pm
    Post #5 - July 8th, 2019, 6:16 pm Post #5 - July 8th, 2019, 6:16 pm
    There’s so much to say but, for many of us, it’s going to take some time to get our thoughts together. I’ll just share this quick story for now.

    I moved to Valpo about 5 months ago but get back to the city every few weeks or so. A lot of those trips have involved bringing Steve food to various rehab facilities and hospitals over the past few months.

    A couple of weeks ago, I was coming in to run 100 errands and thought for a second that I might not have time to do a food run but I texted him anyway, asking the perfunctory “do you need anything?” He responded back in about 29 seconds—Tempesta Market, Ben Franklin, extra turkey—thanks. In between the early a.m. request and the lunch stop, he was transferred back to the hospital but he still wanted that sandwich and he got it. I ate mine (my first trip to Tempesta) in the car while finishing my errands. It was wonderful. So was Steve.
    "Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit; wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad." Miles Kington
  • Post #6 - July 8th, 2019, 6:58 pm
    Post #6 - July 8th, 2019, 6:58 pm Post #6 - July 8th, 2019, 6:58 pm
    This is sad news indeed. I almost can't recall an LTH event without Steve -- and can't imagine future events without him. I am however glad that this site is available as an archive of his insights and knowledge. A fitting memorial.
    "All great change in America begins at the dinner table." Ronald Reagan

    http://midwestmaize.wordpress.com
  • Post #7 - July 8th, 2019, 8:39 pm
    Post #7 - July 8th, 2019, 8:39 pm Post #7 - July 8th, 2019, 8:39 pm
    I am very sad that it's this news that causes me to post after so long (life having made participating in LTH too much of a challenge.)

    Steve was a special friend to me - I always got the sense from him that he believed in me in whatever way I was contributing, and also that he was there for me if anything went wrong. He made me a more confident writer and participant, qualities that have been formative in my life outside LTH.

    I loved the time we spent working on the GNRs together, whether it was wiping down dusty picture frames to put the certificates in, or to seeing his justifiable pride in the photo posters he put together. He worked very hard to make sure the awards and award ceremony was special for the restaurants.

    Thank you for letting us know of his passing; please extend my condolences to his wife and family.
  • Post #8 - July 8th, 2019, 8:48 pm
    Post #8 - July 8th, 2019, 8:48 pm Post #8 - July 8th, 2019, 8:48 pm
    Devastating news.

    One of the greats.

    Please share any memorial service information.
  • Post #9 - July 8th, 2019, 9:01 pm
    Post #9 - July 8th, 2019, 9:01 pm Post #9 - July 8th, 2019, 9:01 pm
    Such sad news!
    I knew he wasn’t well but didn’t know the extent.
    He was such a great guy, and an LTH “original “
    Steve turned us on to Giacomo’s Italian restaurant where we have enjoyed many great meals!
    When we first went, Frank asked how did I know if it would be any good- I said it was a SteveZ rec!

    The funny thing is Frank knew Steve from the video world...

    Please pass along our sympathy to his family and post memorial info when it is available.
    Sad day.
    "If you reject the food, ignore the customs, fear the religion and avoid the people, you might better stay home."
    ~James Michener
  • Post #10 - July 8th, 2019, 9:06 pm
    Post #10 - July 8th, 2019, 9:06 pm Post #10 - July 8th, 2019, 9:06 pm
    I’m very sad to hear this. I always enjoyed talking to Steve and sharing a meal together.
    My deepest condolences to his family.
  • Post #11 - July 8th, 2019, 9:19 pm
    Post #11 - July 8th, 2019, 9:19 pm Post #11 - July 8th, 2019, 9:19 pm
    Very sad news. He will be missed mightily.
  • Post #12 - July 8th, 2019, 10:16 pm
    Post #12 - July 8th, 2019, 10:16 pm Post #12 - July 8th, 2019, 10:16 pm
    I wasn't ready for this.

    I just wasn't.

    I still have food in my freezer from him.

    He encouraged me during my current rabbit hole of bread baking throughout.

    I am just drying my eyes and swallowing my heart.

    As folks back home would say, he's sweet like sugar.
    Ava-"If you get down and out, just get in the kitchen and bake a cake."- Jean Strickland

    Horto In Urbs- Falling in love with Urban Vegetable Gardening
  • Post #13 - July 9th, 2019, 12:14 am
    Post #13 - July 9th, 2019, 12:14 am Post #13 - July 9th, 2019, 12:14 am
    There will be a memorial service for our friend Tues July 16 @ the Chicago Jewish Funeral Home in Skokie. More info to follow. In the meantime, there's a stevez size hole in my heart.
    "In pursuit of joys untasted"
    from Giuseppe Verdi's La Traviata
  • Post #14 - July 9th, 2019, 5:49 am
    Post #14 - July 9th, 2019, 5:49 am Post #14 - July 9th, 2019, 5:49 am
    Thanks for sharing the info. Am glad to have long ago shared food with SteveZ - he was always so genuinely excited about food and sharing. Condolences to his family and hope, know that there will be lots of memories to celebrate.
  • Post #15 - July 9th, 2019, 6:25 am
    Post #15 - July 9th, 2019, 6:25 am Post #15 - July 9th, 2019, 6:25 am
    I'm saddened by this news. Deepest condolences to his family, friends, and all of us who were graced by his warm smile.

    In my early days at the forum, when I was green and self conscious about posting, at every turn, it seemed like Steve was there to disagree with me. And as I came out of my LTH shell and encountered Steve IRL, I was shy about approaching someone with such strong opinions who seemed to come from a different walk of life and generation.

    And then we were seated across from each other at an In-On Thai dinner. Not only did we agree on many, many things we both enjoyed eating, Steve was totally engaged with getting to know me. And we laughed out loud all night. We were buds from then on.

    Steve embodied the most remarkable aspect of this website, its ability to bring people from seemingly different backgrounds together to break bread, find common ground, and share a laugh or two.
  • Post #16 - July 9th, 2019, 8:21 am
    Post #16 - July 9th, 2019, 8:21 am Post #16 - July 9th, 2019, 8:21 am
    Jefe wrote:Steve embodied the most remarkable aspect of this website, its ability to bring people from seemingly different backgrounds together to break bread, find common ground, and share a laugh or two.


    Well put Eric. Steve truly was an exemplar of what LTH is really about. Bringing people together. He will be missed. RIP
  • Post #17 - July 9th, 2019, 8:39 am
    Post #17 - July 9th, 2019, 8:39 am Post #17 - July 9th, 2019, 8:39 am
    Kind, funny, generous, passionate (about food, LTH, the Chow Poodle), helpful...so many words to describe Steve. I am grateful for having the opportunity to know him.
    -Mary
  • Post #18 - July 9th, 2019, 11:36 am
    Post #18 - July 9th, 2019, 11:36 am Post #18 - July 9th, 2019, 11:36 am
    Steve's basic menschiness came out in everything he wrote here.
    Pithy quote here.
  • Post #19 - July 9th, 2019, 11:42 am
    Post #19 - July 9th, 2019, 11:42 am Post #19 - July 9th, 2019, 11:42 am
    It comes as a surprise to even me that I’ve known Steve for around 30 years. I met him at a conference of audio-visual (<-- old timey term) professionals in the late 80s, and then I did some writing for him in the late 90s. As I recall, the script I wrote for Steve was for a video about drug usage; no, it was not a how-to but rather a public awareness video about drugs (some of which will soon be legal) in the workplace.

    I can’t help but notice that one trait of Steve’s that has gone rather unnoticed in this thread is his wicked sense of humor. I don’t mean evil or mean, but rather…arch, cheeky, kind of cynical. For example, when I had one of my first pieces published about Mexican food in the Reader, circa 2007, Steve or Chow Poodle had a copy of the paper at a party at Gary’s house; I remember there was a goat pictured next to the headline, and Chow Poodle asked me to sign the article for her. I was chuffed at the recognition, and then Steve suggested, “Why don’t you sign it so it looks like your name is coming out of the goat’s ass?"

    Like Santander, we also traveled at Steve’s suggestion to Puerto Vallarta, a place he and Chow Poodle went, I believe, every year, and that we enjoyed, too. And like Steve, I, too, am duck’s bitch.

    I’m saddened by Steve’s passing but warmed by the recognition he is receiving from a community that benefited greatly from his many and varied contributions.
    “Nobody exists on purpose. Nobody belongs anywhere. Everybody’s gonna die. Come watch TV?”
  • Post #20 - July 9th, 2019, 11:50 am
    Post #20 - July 9th, 2019, 11:50 am Post #20 - July 9th, 2019, 11:50 am
    Steve Zaransky was a wonderful person, smart, even tempered, observant. He made everyone who had the good fortune to come in contact with him better, especially me. The one and only time I saw Steve angry was at Lao Beijing first week open and they did not have duck as promised. We went to BBQ King and he smoothed out. Don’t get between Steve Z and duck. He will be missed. Condolences to his family, many (many) friends and wife, The Chowpoodle.
    Last edited by G Wiv on July 9th, 2019, 12:13 pm, edited 1 time in total.
    One minute to Wapner.
    Raymond Babbitt

    Low & Slow
  • Post #21 - July 9th, 2019, 12:11 pm
    Post #21 - July 9th, 2019, 12:11 pm Post #21 - July 9th, 2019, 12:11 pm
    As more recent joiners to the LTH family, Coops (Peter Cooper) and I had the pleasure of sitting with SteveZ at the holiday dinner a few years ago at Anteprima. He was welcoming, gracious and VERY knowledgeable about every single plate that was placed on our table. Even though he clearly knew everyone in LTH in that room, he made us feel just as important and welcome to be part of the festive spirit. I will never forget that feeling. Also, last year at one of Pairs4Life birthday celebrations, SteveZ mentioned it was his birthday season as well and his favourite cake was the one his mother used to make him. Yellow cake with Chocolate Frosting. I told him I should make him that and deliver it to him. I regret that I did not do so.
    Rest in Peace dear SteveZ. May your memory be for a blessing.
    "A party without cake is really just a meeting" ~ Julia Child
    "There are only four great arts: music, painting, sculpture, and ornamental pastry." ~ Julia Child
    "Build a Longer Table, NOT a Wall..."
  • Post #22 - July 9th, 2019, 12:22 pm
    Post #22 - July 9th, 2019, 12:22 pm Post #22 - July 9th, 2019, 12:22 pm
    I was fortunate to have met Steve twice. Once when I presented Barnaby's of Northbrook their GNR award (along with Ronnie Suburban in attendance) and once when I was at Edzo's and he happened to be sitting next to me. He gave me most of his order of Old Fries that he wasn't going to finish (but I was glad to accept!). He was like everyone said - a sweet guy who lived for every great meal as we all do.
  • Post #23 - July 9th, 2019, 12:30 pm
    Post #23 - July 9th, 2019, 12:30 pm Post #23 - July 9th, 2019, 12:30 pm
    I haven't been as much of a regular here in the last few months, but Cabbagehead and I have been worrying about Steve since Cabbagehead ran into the Chow Poodle and Steve some months ago. He was a lovely man, invariably kind to us, and I always trusted his palate completely. He was also a very funny man; he once picked up on my joke that Honey 1 would work for eating out during Passover if you skipped the white bread with a PM painting a picture of Robert Adams offering matzoh with the tip/link combo.

    We have lost other beloved members of this community, but Steve's death truly changes it forever.

    May his memory be a blessing.
  • Post #24 - July 9th, 2019, 12:36 pm
    Post #24 - July 9th, 2019, 12:36 pm Post #24 - July 9th, 2019, 12:36 pm
    Jazzfood wrote:There will be a memorial service for our friend Tues July 16 @ the Chicago Jewish Funeral Home in Skokie. More info to follow. In the meantime, there's a stevez size hole in my heart.

    Details here.

    =R=
    There are many things that are legal that are not a great idea --Nick Shabazz

    Every human interaction is an opportunity for disappointment --RS

    There's a horse loose in a hospital --JM

    That don't impress me much --Shania Twain
  • Post #25 - July 9th, 2019, 12:39 pm
    Post #25 - July 9th, 2019, 12:39 pm Post #25 - July 9th, 2019, 12:39 pm
    Condolences to Steve's family and all of you dear freinds of his who have shared your heart-felt sympathies. Unlike you, I didn't know him. But his personality came through loud and clear in his posts. I always appreciated Steve's knowledge. He provided a sense of connection.

    I just read this two days ago when reading about the LTH team:

    Steve Zaransky
    STEVEZ, SITE ADMIN, GNR COMMITTEE
    Steve grew up eating in restaurants of all kinds. His father was a hotelier, and he developed an early love of all things culinary from hanging around the kitchens and restaurants of his Dad’s properties. Besides that, his mother was – and still is – an excellent home cook. He’s been obsessed with eating and cooking food his entire life. One of his earliest food memories is sitting in front of his mom’s oven window, watching Pâte à Choux rise as if it were a TV show. One of the original members of LTH Forum, he is now the system administrator and one of the owners. As his “day job,” Steve owns a digital media production company and is an avid food photographer. Steve is a certified Kansas City Barbeque Society BBQ judge and lives on Chicago’s northwest side with his wife and smoker.
  • Post #26 - July 9th, 2019, 1:51 pm
    Post #26 - July 9th, 2019, 1:51 pm Post #26 - July 9th, 2019, 1:51 pm
    Very sad indeed. I remember Steve as an active and energetic LTH member involved in so many activities from the Beef-a-thons to organizing a fine Greek dinner at Periyali. He will be missed by all.

    My sincere condolences to his family and friends.
    Where there’s smoke, there may be salmon.
  • Post #27 - July 9th, 2019, 1:55 pm
    Post #27 - July 9th, 2019, 1:55 pm Post #27 - July 9th, 2019, 1:55 pm
    sad news indeed. thank you ronnie for sharing the news in such a heartfelt way. i believe there are only a special few who will get and deserve such a loving tribute.
  • Post #28 - July 9th, 2019, 5:35 pm
    Post #28 - July 9th, 2019, 5:35 pm Post #28 - July 9th, 2019, 5:35 pm
    I am so sorry to hear the news of Steve Zaransky aka stevez passing away. He was very active member and contributor to the community. His memory will live on through the various message threads on this site which hopefully will help or spark some interest in the subject discussed.
  • Post #29 - July 9th, 2019, 8:38 pm
    Post #29 - July 9th, 2019, 8:38 pm Post #29 - July 9th, 2019, 8:38 pm
    Steve had the last comment on the first thread I commented on back in July 2005. It happens to be relevant to this day.

    Steve was also one of the first LTH-er’s I met in person. He had such a welcoming spirit in person and was also able to convey that on-line. He was encouraging. I can think of a couple posts I made where he was the first or only reply. That means so much when you are just joining any community.

    His posts will be missed. My condolences to his wife, family, and friends.
  • Post #30 - July 9th, 2019, 10:23 pm
    Post #30 - July 9th, 2019, 10:23 pm Post #30 - July 9th, 2019, 10:23 pm
    I am deeply saddened to hear about Steve's passing. My deepest sympathy to his family and friends. I met Steve in the mid 70's when he was employed at Airways Rent-A-Car, his dad's car rental and leasing business in Skokie. He always supported Hot Dog University and Vienna Beef. I think it was Steve who termed the word "minimalistic dog." He was the salt of the earth and will truly be missed by those who knew and loved him.

    Mark Reitman
    Mark A Reitman, PhD
    Professor of Hot Dogs
    Hot Dog University/Vienna Beef

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