12.30.2016

Imperial Lamian


Ever since its opening last March, Imperial Lamian has been on my long (looooong!) list of restaurants to try. I spent months drooling over the highly Instagrammable baskets of rainbow xiao long bao and shedding a few tears of envy over photo after photo of steamy lamian. After feeling I was losing some major cred by being the last food blogger in the city to visit the first U.S. location of this Indonesian import, I finally(!!) made my way down to River North with Diana to indulge in a leisurely lunch filled with rainbow dumplings, noodles, and more.

Imperial Lamian features modern Chinese cuisine with dishes prepared by three Master Chefs... yes, three chefs! Chef Kok Lam Andy Foo, Chef Lim Kee Tiong, Chef Wang Hong Jun are each trained in their individual crafts (wok/plated offerings, dim sum and xiao long bao, and lamian respectively); the three work together to create a large array of authentic Chinese dishes. During our lunch, Diana and I had the chance to chat with Imperian Lamian's CEO Vincent Lawrence and he explained that each of the chefs have honed their individual techniques for a number of years in kitchens around the world.

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12.12.2016

Recent Foodie Finds (and a giveaway!)

Happy Monday! I hope everyone had a fab weekend. I spent Friday and Saturday out with friends (checking out the new brunch menus at the oh-so-adorable BOHO and Robert's Pizza Company) and then spent Sunday cuddling with Mario on the couch while binge-watching Insecure (best new show I've seen in a long time!). We had our first real snowstorm of the season, so it was the perfect day for staying in; as much as I enjoy exploring and eating my way through the city, nothing makes me happier this time of year than lazy, snowy days at home filled with cozy blankets, hot chocolate, and time with Mario.

We're just days from the end of the fall semester, so I've been in the thick of portfolios, conferences, and grading for the last few weeks. Last week it felt like it would never end, but now I can finally see the light... I'm so, so close to submitting final grades (yay!). As much as I enjoyed my students this semester, I am beyond ready be done with school so that I can officially switch into hardcore baking and shopping mode (starting with our annual visit to the Christkindlmarket).

Here are a few of my recent foodie finds (follow me on Instagram for even more!)...


OMG! Burger at Burger 21: this double-stacked burger with applewood-smoked bacon, a fried egg, and loads of cheddar cheese on a toasted brioche bun is most definitely worth its name! Diana's longtime friends opened the first Burger 21 Illinois location, so we took a little trip out to Orland Park with a few of our favorite foodie friends and spent a fab Sunday afternoon eating out way through their menu. Along with this beast of a burger, I also fell hard for their Spicy Thai Shrimp Burger with Sriracha aioli and sesame Thai slaw.
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12.02.2016

Asian Meatball Subs with Farm Rich Turkey Meatballs

Happy Friday! I am two weeks from the end of the semester and I have to say that I've never been so ready for a break. Between all of the end-of-semester conferences and grading craziness, Thanksgiving prep, cookie baking, restaurant visits, and holiday parties, I'm a tiny bit burned out. Of course, most of what I mentioned firmly falls into the fun category, but still. A girl just wants to have fun, but she also needs a solid eight (okay, more like nine) hours of sleep every night. #oldladyproblems

As much as I normally enjoy making meals from scratch during this time of year (especially after my summer cooking hiatus), I've been on a quest to simplify our weeknight dinners. Thanks to a combination of clashing work schedules and general over-scheduling, Mario and I are only at home together for dinner an average of three nights each week. Let's be real; I don't want to spend the bulk of the little time we do have together in the kitchen. I want to be in and out of there in less than thirty minutes (just enough time for Mario to watch his sports round-up show that I hate!); however, I also want good food with bold flavors that doesn't taste like I cut corners. Enter Farm Rich Meatballs.

Mario and I both love meatball subs, so as soon as the fine folks at Farm Rich offered me the opportunity to create a recipe using their products, I immediately knew I wanted to try my hand at an Asian-inspired version of a meatball sub. Keeping in mind my desire for quick meals, I also knew this was the perfect opportunity in which to create a sub recipe that is packed with flavor, but still not too complicated to assemble (thankfully, using the pre-made turkey meatballs eliminates the most time-consuming part!). With the heat from the Sriracha mayo balanced out by the sweetness of the hoisin sauce, this Asian Turkey Meatball Sub is perfect for anyone looking for a quick and easy recipe with a twist on traditional flavors.

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11.16.2016

Tangerine Gin Fizz #MixedWithTrop

While I've most definitely been an avid participant in cocktail hour and an enthusiastic supporter of day drinking for as long as I can remember, it's only within the last year or so that I've really gotten into mixing my own cocktails at home. Yes, this is despite the fact that we've had a fully stocked liquor cabinet since Mario and I moved into our current place six years ago (and yes, that liquor cabinet has practically doubled in size since then). As much as I've always loved drinking cocktails, I was just really, really lazy about making them. However, thanks to the influence of my fancy mixologist friends, a switch flipped in me around this time last year, and I am now officially a cocktail-mixing wizard! (Okay, maybe wizard is a bit of an exaggeration... let's go with neophyte cocktail genie).
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10.10.2016

Chicago Gourmet 2016



Chicago Gourmet: we came, we saw, we conquered ate and drank ourselves into a massive coma (as per usual!). The ninth annual festival (aka the biggest and most spectacular culinary event of the year) took place in Millennium Park the last weekend of September, and for the fourth year in a row, Diana and I were lucky to join over 200 of our favorite chefs, mixologists, and vitners, along with over 13,000 of our food-lovin' friends for a trip to culinary nirvana! Here's a bit of what we ate during our day of fabulous foodie fun...


Prosciutto-Butter Toast topped with dill from Monteverde (one of my new favorite restaurants and one of my favorite bites of the entire festival!)

Ceviche with scallops, shrimp, rocoto-aji Amarillo and leche de tigre from Tanta

Chilled Autumn Soup with ginger, apple, pumpkin, crème fraîche, and smoked salmon from Kinmont



Duck-Fat Hot Dog from The Duck Inn

Beef Tartare potato chip from Swift & Sons

Sliders from Hopsmith Tavern

Prime Rib Crostini from Rosebud Steakhouse



Tuna Pate from Autre Monde Cafe

Buffalo Mozzarella three ways from Coda di Volpe

Blue Velvet Coconut Donuts from Stan’s Donuts

Spiced Apple Cake & RumChata Gelato from Siena Tavern

Pumpkin Pecan Gelato from the Gelato World Tour

Disclosure: I received a complimentary media pass to facilitate this post. Review and all opinions are my own. 
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10.03.2016

Recent Foodie Finds

Happy Monday! I hope everyone had a fab weekend and a great start to the week! After the intensity of the first few weeks of the new semester, I feel like I've finally hit my stride. We're well into the meat of the material and I finally know all of my students' names (I have to admit that it's getting more and more difficult to learn 120 or so names every semester #oldladyproblems); I've also finally settled into my new workout schedule at my new gym (I'm back to jumping around like a fool at zumba), along with my new class schedule (I'm still working my way through a second master's degree).

I can't even tell how happy I am to say hello to October, aka my favorite month of the year *and* the start of my favorite stretch of the year (October-December). It's also the beginning of what my friends and I refer to as The Eating Season, starting with weeks filled with pumpkin, apple, and maple everything, then shifting into our favorite Thanksgiving foods, and finally ending with a month o' peppermint goodies. Soooo much goodness! Along with the usual fall awesomeness plans, which always include a visit or two to a favorite pumpkin farm/apple orchard, I also have an upcoming girlie/foodie trip this month - Diana and I are headed up to Toronto for a mini vacation. While I've been to Canada before (I grew up in Michigan, not too far from the Port Huron crossing), it has been years since I've been there. I've also never been to Toronto, so I am super excited to explore (and eat my way through) the city!

Here are a few of my recent foodie finds (follow me on Instagram for even more!)...


Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Polar Pizza from Baskin-Robbins: chocolate chip cookie crust with Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Ice Cream, topped with cookie dough pieces, rainbow sprinkles, and drizzled with a marshmallow topping. Baskin-Robbins recently announced they were partnering with DoorDash to offer delivery service in Chicago. I was one of the lucky ones who was offered an opportunity to test the service... an ice cream pizza covered in cookie dough delivered to my door in under an hour?! Um, okay, twist my arm. ;-)
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9.15.2016

Coffee Rubbed Lamb Burger with Bloody Mary Aioli


After a summer filled with restaurant leftovers, takeout, salads, and microwaveable meals, (we have a tiny apartment with no AC, so the stove sees very little action during the hot weather months), I've been itching to get back into kitchen and actually cook something. Fortuitously, just as the weather took a slight turn toward fall, the fine folks at Superior Farms (aka the nation's largest lamb producer) reached out to see if I would be interested in trying my hand at creating a recipe with their products. That was just the push I needed to dust off the sad stovetop, pull out the neglected chopping board and measuring spoons, and get to cooking!

When I sat down to think about how I wanted to use their products, I realized that most of my experience cooking lamb had been limited to special occasion dishes. Determined to change that, I decided the perfect way to incorporate lamb into my repertoire was with lamb burger... even better, a brunch-themed lamb burger as a nod to my favorite meal of the day. As I discovered during my recipe testing process, lamb burgers are just as simple to cook as any other type of burger, but the meat is definitely more bold and flavorful. Paired with a smoked Gouda and some spicy Bloody Mary aioli, this recipe is sure to convert you to the world of lamb, as it is one baaaaad-ass brunch burger!

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8.23.2016

Recent Foodie Finds

Happy Tuesday! I hope everyone had a fab start to the week! On one hand, I can't believe it's already almost the end of August - it feels like only a few weeks ago I was saying goodbye to my spring semester students, and now today, I'm meeting all of my fall semester students. On the other hand, while I'm sad to say bid adieu to my days of leisure (and another summer of foodie fun), I am ready to shift into fall, aka the best season. For someone who's more of a cool weather person, this exceptionally hot and humid summer has been unbearable. I know there's still at least a month of summer weather, if not more, but I am so ready for pumpkins, honey crisp apples, bonfires, gorgeous colors, and all of the other goodness that fall brings. 

As with many of you, I was glued to the Olympic games during the final two weeks of my summer break. I wasn't much into the Olympics until a few iterations ago - now, despite any reservations concerning political issues, I just cannot get enough! As always, gymnastics, swimming, and track & field dominated my TV screen, but I also spent a fair amount of time with sailing, rhythmic dancing, wrestling, volleyball, and water polo. Also, although I slowed down quite a bit (the Olympics came at the perfect time for me!) in preparation for the new school year, I did manage to squeeze in a few end-of-summer foodie activities, including a visit to the Hello Kitty Cafe Truck during its only Midwest stop; for a mega Hello Kitty fan, that was a dream come true (and yes, there will be a blog post covering all of the HK goodness very soon!).

Here are a few of my recent foodie finds (follow me on Instagram for even more!)...



Vanilla Milkshake Layered with Dark Chocolate, Cherry Coulis, Lemon Curd and Espresso Whipped Cream at Blue Door Kitchen. This amazingly delicious milkshake (seriously, it was one of the best shakes I've ever had in my entire life!) is part of the Shakespeare 400 Chicago, a yearlong festival celebrating the 400th anniversary of the Bard’s death. Through December, 38 of Chicago’s top chefs are creating Shakespeare-inspired dishes in a nod to the legacy of the great playwright and as part of a program called Culinary Complete Works. Of course, as an English professor and foodie, this program is right up my alley! I've been to two of the restaurants to sample their Shakespeare-inspired dishes and already have plans to visit several more next month.

The shake at Blue Door Kitchen was inspired by the descent into madness of King Lear: the layers represent Lear dividing his kingdom up among his daughters, while the choice of chocolate and coffee make a historical nod to the fact that these exotic ingredients were first introduced to Europeans during Shakespeare’s day.
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8.17.2016

RuYi at Potawatomi Hotel & Casino


As I've mentioned numerous times over the years, I have a soft spot for Wisconsin. I spent my undergraduate years there and during that time, I learned to appreciate the slower pace, the expanses of golden fields, the quirky sayings, and its inhabitants unabashed love for dairy products. I seriously considered staying there post-college (in either Milwaukee or Madison), but the lure of living in Chicago eventually won out. Realistically, I'm glad I didn't end up there for a variety for reasons, but I do still have mad love for the land of cheese.

While I have a long list of must-visit spots in Wisconsin, Milwaukee is still one of my all-time favorite stops. Along with the beautiful lakefront area (which is never quite as crowded as it is in Chicago), there's also a gorgeous top-notch art museum, long months filled with nonstop festivals and concerts, and a burgeoning food scene. While the city does have its own unique vibe, it feels a bit reminiscent of the Chicago of yesteryear with its mix of new developments and old school charm. After our trip to Potawatomi Hotel & Casino for the Woodford Reserve dinner last year, Diana and I have been itching to get back to Milwaukee to explore more of the food scene, so of course, the moment the good folks at Potawatomi invited us back to check out their newly expanded Asian restaurant RuYi, we immediately cleared our schedules, jumped into Big Red, and headed up to Wisconsin for a foodie-filled weekend.







RuYi (derived from a term meaning "as you wish" in ancient China) has long been a popular option in Milwaukee for authentic Japanese, Chinese, Korean, and Thai favorites, thanks to Chef Tony Ho. A veteran of the Grand Hyatt Hotel in Tokyo, Chef Ho created a menu that appeals to a wide variety of tastes (playing into the concept of food "as you wish"). The restaurant recently expanded to include a sushi bar and Ho played a pivotal role in ensuring the quality of the sushi is at the highest level possible. The fish is flown in twice a week from a trusted proprietor in Japan and prepped in a specially designed walk-in cooler - it's 36 hours from sea to sushi, which is a phenomenal turnaround for the Midwest.

Diana and I arrived at Potawatomi early afternoon, flung our bags in our room, and immediately headed downstairs to RuYi for our sushi extravaganza (living the sushi lovers dream!). We were greeted by Chef Ho with a gorgeous assortment of nigiri. Every piece was so fresh and so perfectly assembled - this platter really set the bar high! The standouts included the buttery Escolar (super white tuna), the bold Unagi (freshwater eel), and the delicate Tai (red snapper).







So much deliciousness!

Next we moved on to the RuYi Specialty Roll: spicy salmon, tempura crunch, avocado, yellow tail, tuna, and tobiko with spicy mayo. We both fell hard for this spicy roll, thanks to the combination of a few of our favorite cuts of fish paired with the buttery avocado and crunchy tempura pieces.

Plus, how perfectly photogenic was this roll?!

Then we sampled another of their signature offerings, the Fire Keeper's Roll: spicy salmon, jalapeno, tuna, super white tuna, salmon, avocado, spicy mayo, and tempura crunch. Again, we both really enjoyed this roll, as it had a great combination of flavors and textures, along with just the right amount of heat from the spicy salmon, mayo, and jalapeno. We were also super impressed that both rolls contained a decent amount of fish - RuYi uses very little filler in their rolls, letting the fish take the starring role.


Check out this fun video that shows how they construct the Fire Keeper's Roll... I'd be happy to welcome them into my house for a daily reenactment. ;-)

Our third and final specialty roll of the afternoon was the Lovers Roll: scallop, spicy tuna, cooked shrimp, avocado, and mango sauce. The road to my heart is paved with scallops and avocado, and Diana's route also includes a healthy dose of mango, so it felt as though this roll was custom made just for us. 

We both triple heart loved this cutesy delicious roll!


Finally, Chef Ho brought out this amazing Sashimi & Sushi Platter. Again, as with all of the rolls, everything on this platter was perfectly fresh and came in such a gorgeous arrangement - talk about a showstopper! When it comes to sushi in the Midwest, RuYi is right up there with the best of them; the quality of the fish, the presentation, and the excellent service combine for an outstanding experience.




As with our last visit, Diana and I both loved everything about our stay at Potawatomi - the food, drinks, and hospitality were completely on point (we even managed to win a little at the casino!) and we can't wait to go back for another round. Seeing as its only and hour and a half drive from the city, there's no excuse not to head up to Milwaukee to explore more of the Midwestern foodie scene... and when you do, make sure you plan to stop for some fantastic sushi at RuYi.  

You can try all of this deliciousness and more at Potawatomi Hotel & Casino: 1611 W. Canal St., Milwaukee, WI.

Ruyi Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato
 Disclosure: I received  complimentary services to facilitate this post. Review and all opinions are my own. 

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8.04.2016

Brunch at Artango Bar & Steakhouse


Ever since our first visit to Artango Bar & Steakhouse (formerly known as Artango Bistro) last year, Mario and I have considered ourselves to be major fans of the sexy Argentinian spot. During the beginning of 2015, we had both been dealing with some particularly stressful situations at work and the gross late winter weather seemed unrelenting; thanks to a combination of exhaustion from the persistent stress and the offensive slushy ick permeating the city, we fell into a pattern of flopping on the couch, ordering takeout, and completely zoning out at the end of every day. After a few month of the same old, same old, we finally got sick of ourselves, so we peeled our butts off of the couch and made our way over to Artango for a change of pace. That night we ended up falling hard for the restaurant's romantic atmosphere, beautiful one-of-a-kind décor, and the delicious South American cuisine... and it has been a place that we've returned to over and over ever since (thankfully, we're now both in much better places with our jobs - getting tenure definitely tends to help!).

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8.01.2016

Smack Shack

For years, the seafood scene in Chicago was downright lacking; there were a few fine dining restaurants and scads of greasy fried fish joints, but that was about it. Whenever people would ask me for seafood restaurant recommendations, I really could only think of a handful of places that I both truly liked and thought were worth the cost. It was a sad state of fishy affairs. Thankfully, the seafood scene has done a complete 180 in the last few years. It seems like practically every month there's a new seafood joint popping up - from tiny seafood boils serving seriously spicy Cajun food to food trucks serving drool-worthy lobster rolls to even more fine dining options, there are multiple high-quality spots in practically every neighborhood. And now finally (finally!), we have our very own Smack Shack.

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7.25.2016

Bastille Day Celebrations

I'm lucky to live in a city in which numerous international holidays are wholeheartedly embraced and celebrated. During my time in Chicago, I've had the opportunity to explore the many traditions of the people who make up this city through various restaurants and neighborhood festivals; just in the past year alone, I've taken part in celebrations for the Mid-Autumn Festival, Chinese New Year, Diwali, Dia de los Muertos, and my favorite, Bastille Day. As you know by now, I absolutely love French cuisine (and really, French culture as a whole), thanks to its simple preparation methods and robust flavors, as well as the artful and often delicate ways in which the dishes are presented. The French are truly masters at creating dishes that are both beautiful and delicious; as I've learned over the years, that skill is truly no small feat.

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7.14.2016

Café des Architectes

Happy Bastille Day! I've been obsessed with French cuisine ever since I was in high school, thanks to my food-loving French teacher Monsieur Llama (let's not talk about how many years ago that was... yikes!). As a reward for surviving the hours and hours we spent conjugating verb tenses each semester, M. Llama would set aside a chunk of time to explore the cultural aspects of France; there were movies, music, and politics, but most of our time was focused on food. He had a never-ending stash of food photos from his trips abroad and would often lovingly describe dish after dish as we all drooled on our desks. Other times he would assign us cooking homework, in which we all had to make simple French dishes and serve them to the rest of the class (I once made a really sad French flan tart with my cooking partner). The best times were when he gave us small treats he either made or brought back from his trips - I remember how excited I felt about this food that was all so incredibly different (to a Midwestern suburbanite who subsided on mostly cereal and mac & cheese) and how I couldn't wait until the day in which I could travel to France and explore the cuisine for myself (and practice my terrible French during a chance encounter with a lovely single French boy).

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6.29.2016

Replay Andersonvile

As much as I enjoy exploring other parts of the city and discovering new-to-me-restaurants in neighborhoods previously unknown, I have to say that I always feel an extra tinge of excitement when new establishments open in my own 'hood. I've lived on the north side of the city the entire time I've been here and I've seen some major changes in the dining scene in this area during the last 17 years (I can't believe I've been in Chicago that long!); while the neighborhood has said good-bye to a few long-time favorites, we've also ushered in some fantastic new additions.

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6.20.2016

Recent Foodie Finds

Happy Monday! I hope everyone is having a fantastic start to the summer! I have officially been on semester break for just over a month now and needless to say, I've enjoyed every moment of it. As with last summer, I've said yes to as many opportunities as possible (as I mostly hibernate during the school year) and I've been rewarded with some really fantastic experiences, including visits to just over twenty new-to-me restaurants, last minute tickets to Beyoncé's Formation world tour show, an invite to join a fab cookbook club (more about this later!), a day at the park with my favorite guy and my favorite team, and mini road trips to Pittsburgh, Michigan, and Milwaukee. #lifedoesnotsuck

Amidst all of the eating and traveling, I've obviously not spent much time writing; however, I have been hard at work behind the scenes of the blog. That's right, I finally did it: a total redesign (yes, you should absolutely click on that link and check out the brand spankin' new home page, as well as the lovely new post layout features). It took weeks of blood, sweat, and tears (okay, maybe the process was sans blood and tears, but there was definitely a sheen of frustrated perspiration when it came to getting my beautiful new photo grid to function correctly);  however, it is finally done and I am so, so happy with the new look!

Here are a few of my recent foodie finds (follow me on Instagram for even more!)...

 Salted Caramel Mocha Frozen Hot Chocolate at Cocoa + Co. I was recently introduced to this adorable chocolate café/shop in Old Town and fell in love with their amazing range of chocolates, delicious café treats, and knowledgeable staff (owner Kim Hack knows more about chocolate than anyone I've ever met!). One of my favorite treats from their current menu is this rich sipping chocolate - it's a smooth, complex chocolate drink just teeming with salty caramel.

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5.03.2016

Porkchop

If you follow Diana on Instagram, you've probably already realized that she is the BBQ queen - she is always down for BBQ and loves introducing her friends and followers to new spots. While I've always enjoyed BBQ, I never had a high appreciation for it until Diana started dragging me along on her BBQ forays (I swear she's worked her way through at least 3/4 of the vast number of BBQ joints in the Chicago-area!). Through our various visits, I've grown to really appreciate the intricacies of various rubs and sauces (I'm currently all about Carolina mustard sauce), and have even developed preferences for the type of wood used to smoke the meat (maple, apple, and mesquite are my favorites). So of course, when the good folks at Porkchop invited me to stop by to check a few brunch favorites, I knew there was no better person to accompany me on my meaty mission than the BBQ queen herself.

Described as an "urban interpretation of a Southern backwoods experience," Porkchop offers diners a low-key and unpretentious environment with a menu filled with all sorts of Southern comfort food (including mac & cheese, fried pickles, fried okra, and seafood etoufee). Of course, the star of the show is its wide range of BBQ options, including a variety of ribs, sliders, brisket, burnt ends, and pulled pork. Not to be completely outdone by the meat, you'll also find up to 40 varieties of whiskey and a host of hearty bourbon cocktails.

This fun (and possibly lethal ;-)) curtain of saws separates the main dining area from the semi-private large party table.
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4.18.2016

Rojo Gusano

Happy spring! Yes, I realize spring technically started almost a month ago; however, it was still very much winter in these parts up until recently. Finally, the trees have sprouted tiny buds, the dreaded s-word (yes, that would be snow) hasn't been uttered in almost two weeks, and there's a telltale whiff of the new season (wet pavement, grass, and dirt) in the air. While fall is my favorite season, I have to say that I really cannot get enough of these gorgeous early spring days! Along with basking in the lovely weather and celebrating the birthday boy (yay, Mario!), I also spent the weekend exploring some new-to-us restaurants with Diana, including much lauded Rojo Gusano.

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4.04.2016

Appellation Wine Bar & Restaurant

When I heard the news last year that Pastoral was opening not only a cheese shop, but also an adjacent wine bar/restaurant in my 'hood, I immediately began planning for the day in which I could roll out of bed and spend a leisurely morning munching my way through all sorts of cheesy deliciousness. Already being a bona fide fan of the renowned shop and a connoisseur of all things cheese (from mild, creamy goat cheeses to pungent blues, I'm always down for cheese!), I had high expectations for the newest location. While the shop and restaurant opened to great fanfare at the end of the year, it wasn't until a few months ago in which they finally kicked off their brunch service. Of course, the moment the words "new brunch menu" floated my way via email, I knew it was finally time to live out my cheese-filled brunchy daydreams at Appellation.
 

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3.31.2016

GreenRiver

*Tap, tap, tap* Is this thing on? Ahem. I'm finally poking my head out after an almost two-month blogging hiatus. I really didn't plan to vanish and while I don't want spend much time blogging about not blogging, I didn't want to completely pretend like it hasn't been forever since you last heard a peep out of me.

Basically, I was feeling a combination of overwhelmed, burned out, and uninspired... I was in a major writing slump, and despite what I recommend to my students, I simply didn't feel like working through it. That is, until I crossed the threshold of the fabulous GreenRiver. Yes, it's true - one amazing meal at GreenRiver was all it took to break my (self-imposed and slightly petulant) silence. This lovely spot with sweeping views of the city, chic vibe, and seriously drool-worthy food is, in a nutshell, a hella fantastic spot. Everything from the decor to the atmosphere to the drink menu to the food is just ridiculously on point. No wonder I finally got my inspiration back, right?!


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2.02.2016

Recent Foodie Finds

Happy Tuesday! I hope everyone had a fab weekend and a great start to the week! After the intensity of the first two weeks of the new semester, I was really looking forward to a weekend of fun. I put in some quality time with my DVR on Friday (current obsession: GGTD) and then spent the rest of the weekend indulging in some much-needed girl time: a fabulous brunch at Appellation (one of the newest restaurants in my 'hood) with Ashley on Saturday and an equally fantastic lunch with my Instagrammer foodie crew at Little Bad Wolf on Sunday. Finally, Mario and I settled in with 12 million of our closest friends to close out the weekend with a little Grease: Live! (although there were issues, as a theatre major/former theatre teacher/musical lover, I have to say I love that live musical theatre is finally getting its due on national TV).

Here are a few of my recent foodie finds (follow me on Instagram for even more!)...

Candied Bacon Caramel Corn from Chunky Pig. I feel like it was a no-brainer that I would absolutely love this because I am all about the salty/sweet snack combination; plus, as we all know, bacon most definitely makes everything better! This fab small batch popcorn is handcrafted in the San Francisco Bay Area using top-shelf ingredients such as Niman Ranch nitrate-fee bacon, pure Vermont maple syrup, and Cordillera Single-Origin Columbian Dark Chocolate.

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1.25.2016

Girls Night In with Turducken

After the holiday craziness has finally died down and before the stress/planning frenzy of the new year kicks in (new semester! birthdays! more holidays!), Diana and I traditionally designate a welcome-to-the-new-year girls night out (aka a night in which we get drunk, eat way too much, make a ridiculous number of inappropriate jokes, and then laugh almost nonstop because we're obviously the most hilarious people ever). Typically, our shenanigans take place at one of our favorite restaurants (and yes, the servers really do love us), but this year, we decided to make it a girls night in complete with movies and cooking at Diana's fab new condo.

Now to some, spending time in a kitchen may not sound like much of an exciting girls night, but Diana and I do greatly enjoy our joint cooking adventures (plus, we're hilarious when we're together, remember?!), especially when they involve copious amounts of alcohol and meat... *enter the Turducken*. Yes, the Turducken: aka a turkey stuffed with duck stuffed with chicken. The moment the fine folks at Echelon Foods contacted me to see if I would be interested in sampling one of their newest versions of their Turducken Premium Roast, I knew that our girls night in would be the perfect opportunity for this legendary triple stuffed meat extravaganza!

We kicked off our epic night in with a round of spicy Micheladas, courtesy of our friend Margaret over at Ketch on Fire. How fantastic are these glasses?!

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1.19.2016

Firefly Kitchen

Happy Tuesday! I hope everyone had a fab weekend. Today is the official start of the new semester, which is always equal parts exciting, chaotic, and nerve-racking, even for those of us in front of the classroom (after 13+ years in education, I still get a mean case of the first day jitters!). While I've spent most of the last few weeks focused on prepping for the new semester and completing my own homework (I'm already a week into the first class of my new degree program), I did manage to squeeze in a final few activities during my break, including a trip to the northern 'burbs for a leisurely brunch at a new-ish restaurant with fellow foodie, Meghan.


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1.12.2016

Travelle Kitchen + Bar


Situated along the Chicago River on the second floor of the stunning Langham Hotel, Travelle Kitchen + Bar offers diners a contemporary seasonally-inspired menu in a chic, comfortable environment. I've long been a fan of the gorgeous luxury hotel (I mean, how can you not love a place with such an amazing ceiling installation?!) and although I've managed to run into Chef Tim Graham at numerous events over the years (and indulge in his mouthwatering white gazpacho), I hadn't ever actually dined at Travelle... until now!

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