July 2012 | chicago foodie girl


Chicago Eats: Bleeding Heart Bakery

I fell madly in love with Bleeding Heart Bakery shortly after they opened their first storefront back in 2004. Who could not love a bakery that not only served punk rock pastries made with organic & local ingredients, but also amazing punk rock pastries at that?

Over the years, Bleeding Heart opened several more storefronts and also became a bit famous, thanks to their win on Extreme Cakes. Throughout it all, while they continued to serve delicious food (their cake balls & whoopie pies will ruin all others for you!), they were unfortunately also plagued with a series of bad business decisions and major issues with their staff (apparently, the punk rock attitude doesn't go over so well in the workplace). Sadly, they announced on Friday that they are shutting down their one remaining store - yes, the one that just opened a few months ago!



Deep-Fried Cookie Dough

It all started in the mid-90s when that crazy dude in Scotland decided to serve his customers a deep-fried Mars bar as a joke... little did he know that he would start a deep-fried trend that would move beyond the basic candy bar and expand to some seemingly unthinkable combinations (deep-fried Kool-Aid balls!?).



Travel Guide: Bristol Renaissance Faire

As I'm sure you've all figured out by now, I am a total nerd... I have a serious love for the written word, I constantly quote Heathers, and I'm a sucker for a good Ren Faire. While I typically don't go in costume, it's only because my hatred of spending a long day soaked in sweat (as it's always hot as hell whenever I go to the Faire) outweighs my desire to walk around in a corset and heavy dress. However, I do usually don some random plumage and I always bring plenty of cleavage. :-)

I joined Barb and her family for our first trek of the summer up to the Faire two weeks ago and it was as awesome as always. One of the cool things about the Bristol Ren Faire, in particular, is that although it's only open for about two months during the summer, the buildings are all permanent and many of the amazingly talented artists live above their shops. You can tell that owners put an incredible amount of time and effort into both their shops and the merchandise. There are so many intricately detailed handmade items for sale, ranging from titanium chainmail bras to mini marshmallow catapults (so much fun!) - I've amassed quite a stunning jewelry collection over the years.

Of course, the Ren Faire isn't just about costumes and shopping - there's also the fairies, the shows, and (arguably the most important part) the food!


Recipe: Avocado, Apple & Brie Sandwich

Happy Monday! I don't know about you, but it was sooo hard to drag myself into work this morning. The combination of an incredibly busy week, along with too much indulgent food over the weekend and the return of the extreme heat has left me feeling extra tired and blah. Thankfully, that craziness pretty much all consisted of fun stuff (well, minus the small altercation I had with an insane driver on Monday that left me sans passenger side mirror & the day that was filled with painful dental work) - Barb and I sang our hearts out at an amazing Fiona Apple concert; Mario and I had a delicious meal at La Gondola and attended a late night play; and I met up with a friend from high school (I hadn't seen him in 17 years!) for a fun night of conversation and Ethiopian.

The return of the extreme heat has also led to the return of my mini-cooking hiatus, so I've busted out all of my favorite no-cook (or microwave only) recipes once again. Today's Meatless Monday dish is a simple recipe that highlights my two favorite fruits: avocados and apples. This is right up there with my other favorite sandwich (I go back and forth between which is my favorite, but really, they're both totally delicious) - it's flavorful, easy to assemble, and perfect for those hot weather days in which you don't want to turn on the oven. :-)

Avocado, Apple & Brie Sandwich
Makes 1 serving

1/2 avocado
4 small slices of Brie
1/2 sliced apple (I usually use Granny Smith or Jazz)
2 slices of whole grain bread (a softer bread works best)
1 tsp balsamic vinegar
Romaine lettuce

1. Toast the bread slices and then drizzle with balsamic vinegar.

2. Mash the avocado onto one of the bread slices.

3. Layer the Brie and apple slices on top of the avocado and top with the lettuce. 


Tuesday Lunchtime Poll: Raisins

I hate raisins. I think they are one of the most horrid things you can eat - it doesn't matter if they're freshly plumped, buried in baked goods, or straight out of the box. They are ALL disgusting. They don't taste like the sweet delicious grape, nor do they taste like wine... they're just chewy balls of ickiness.

 I am of the firm belief that raisins should not be in anything. If there are raisins, the dish is automatically ruined - and don't tell me to just pick them out because the raisin essence never completely goes away (especially if they're warm - that's when they're at their peak of disgustingness). There are far too many crazy people in the world who think it's a good idea to add raisins to places where they don't belong (namely cookies, carrot cake, muffins, cinnamon bread, oatmeal, and trail mix). If the crazies want to eat those nasty little pellets on their own, then so be it, but don't ruin my food!



Recipe: Envy

I hope everyone had a fun Fourth! Raise your hand if you're one of the unlucky souls at work today who is hungover, dehydrated, and/or sleep deprived. Whew. My school is so quiet and empty (yes, we do have classes scheduled) and the people who are here (students and staff alike) all look a little rough around the edges (myself included). Mario & I had a low-key, but very fun holiday - really, it was just too bloody hot to do anything too strenuous! We spent the afternoon & evening with some friends, eating and drinking until we were about to burst. My favorite part of the meal was definitely the grilled salmon burgers topped with kimchi... and of course, the fruity frozen cocktails! :-)

In case you haven't heard (or seen via one of the thousands of Facebook photos of car thermometers), we're in the middle of a nasty heatwave. The city is hazy and stinky and everyone is moving at a much slower pace than usual. We all have that crazed look in our eyes - we know that if we walk any faster, we're going to end up in a puddle of sweat, but we also know that the faster we move, the sooner we get into the AC. Needless to say, the heat is also making everyone very cranky... Thirsty Thursday is definitely a must this week! 

I typically avoid drinks that resemble windshield wiper fluid, but after a friend in Indianapolis introduced me to this cocktail last summer, I've slightly modified my stance. Yes, it is bright blue and showy, but it's also damn good. If you're a fan of fruity cocktails, I highly recommend you give this a try!

Envy: Blue Curaçao Cocktail
1 1/2 oz. silver tequila (I use Don Julio Blanco)
2 oz pineapple juice
1/2 oz. Blue Curaçao
Cherry and/or lemon slice for garnish

1. Pour tequila into a glass and fill with ice.

2. Add pineapple juice and stir well.

3. Top with Blue Curacao and stir lightly.

4. Garnish with a cherry and/or lemon slice.



Recent Foodie Finds

Happy July! Wow, June really flew by... can you believe that we're rolling up on the 4th already?! Oy. June was crazy busy, but super fun - the month started with my last minute trip to Madison and ended with an unexpected ticket to Cirque Du Soleil (and there were so many birthdays & festivals in between!). My awesome friend, Jen, won a ticket package (complete with Cirque goodie bags for everyone!) and generously invited me to come along. It was my first Cirque show... and yes, it was amazing! I was even pulled out of the audience and forced into treated to a whirlwind wedding to Giovanni the clown (the little one on the left). ;-)

July is already shaping up to be just as fun with more birthday celebrations, a few backyard BBQs and visits to some awesome restaurants, and two amazing concerts (Fiona Apple and Seal/Macy Gray). I also have some very! exciting! life changing! news, but unfortunately, I can't say anything about it quite yet. Trust me - it's a very, very good thing. :-)

A few food highlights from June...

Open-Faced Omelet at BRAVO!: Turkey & avocado egg white omelet with housemade fire-roasted tomato relish, and feta, served with fresh fruit. I LOVED this omelet - in fact, I loved it so much that I had it twice in the same month (the restaurant is right next to the movie theater, so it's perfect for a brunch & movie date). I also made my own version of it at home yesterday. I don't know why I never thought to make an open-faced omelet before - it's so much better than the traditional version!
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