July 2013 | chicago foodie girl

7.25.2013

Recipe: Cîroc Vodka Lemonades

Welcome back to Thirsty Thursday, aka my favorite day of the week! :-)

As I've mentioned a million times over the last year & a half, I'm definitely not the biggest fan of summer (mostly because I'm a humidity wimp), but even I have to admit that there are a few fantastic things about summer that the other seasons just cannot touch. This is the time of year in which the city is at its best: the days are filled with long walks along the shoreline, gorgeous sunrises over a glittering Lake Michigan, awesome street festivals, free outdoor concerts, and fun BBQs/picnics with friends. Of course, we can't forget the most important and delicious part of the season... the amazing fruity cocktails! :-)

Last week, Mario and I were invited to visit 25 Degrees in order to check out their new line of Cîroc Vodka Lemonades. To me, vodka + lemonade = the quintessential summer drink, so it should be of no surprise that I was thrilled to have the opportunity to sample a drink (or two... or maybe even three).
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7.17.2013

Taste of Chicago 2013

The 33rd annual Taste of Chicago took place last week. I went to the Taste the first three years I lived here & then one random year when my friend from London was visiting and wanted to go; I've intentionally avoided it ever since. Why would a foodie avoid the city's biggest food festival of the year? Well, after the novelty wore off, I realized that between the horrendous crowds (particularly the slow-moving suburbanites who loooove using their SUV-sized strollers as weapons), the lack of variety (approximately 90% of vendors offer stereotypical Midwestern cuisine: fried/greasy/breaded/swimming in gravy), and the inevitable heat/humidity, it really wasn't all that fun. I made a conscious decision to end my relationship with the Taste and that was that... until this year.

The city just had to get slick and add a new! shiny! feature to the Taste. Food trucks. Oh yes. Food trucks, aka my kryptonite. As has been well documented here, I love a good food truck - everything seems to taste so much better when served out of a cute little truck! As soon as I learned the news of the food truck addition, I knew my anti-Taste stance would have to come to an end. I rallied the troops (well, really just my favorite fellow food truck lover) and made a plan. After thoroughly analyzing the food truck section and our schedules (we're both hardcore nerdy planner people), we decided to brave the Wednesday evening fun crowd (i.e. scads of overexcited teenagers).

The food truck/concert area 
While the city did decide to allow food trucks to participate, they were confined to a small area (the easternmost part of the festival - far away from all other vendors) and heavily restricted. They were only allowed to start selling an hour before each of the nightly concerts (as opposed to the other vendors, which were available all day/night). Unfortunately, the city still hasn't fully embraced the food truck craze (WTF, Chicago?!). Obviously, I'm glad the trucks were included in this year's festival, but the setup was kind of a bummer.

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7.03.2013

Suburban Eats: Silverland Bakery

I was recently contacted by Silverland Bakery to see if I would be interested in sampling and reviewing some of their products. I will admit that I do get contacted quite often about reviews and I've had to learn to become picky about what I say yes to, as I don't want to end up in a situation where I have to promote a product I wouldn't otherwise buy/use/eat. However, in this case, I took one look at their website and sent back an email with an emphatic "hell, yes!!" (in a much more professional tone, of course). :-)

Silverland Bakery is a small mother and daughter-run company, with an amazing selection of offerings including brownies, blondies, cookies, fruit bars, and raw bars; this includes several gluten-free, vegan, sugar-free products. Bonus: all of their ingredients are non-GMO and preservative & trans-fat free. Not only are they an awesome independent bakery that offers high-quality products, but also founder Athena Uslander established a community foundation to enhance the lives and self-esteem of women and girls in need. A pro-woman company that offers handcrafted baked goods and gives back to the community? To me, that is the epitome of small business goodness.


Silverland sent me a complimentary package of twelve dessert bars, along with a giant White Chocolate Blueberry Cookie (one of their newest products). Holy motherload of desserts! I took the tray to a get-together with friends and quartered each bar so that we could all try a little of each (click photo to enlarge for maximum foodie porn!). We all loved each of the bars and had a hard time deciding on our favorites - personally, I was torn between the Siberian Bearclaw, the Salted Caramel Brownie, and the Raspberry Crumble Bar.
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