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Chicago Eats!

30 Jul

Last weekend I was in Chicago for a girl’s weekend with a few friends from college. It was my first time in Chicago and I was excited to check out the city. I had heard that there was a great culinary scene, but I’m one of those, “don’t believe it until I see it/try it.”

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On Friday night, we made reservations for a new rooftop scene called Cindy’s. It is at the top of the Chicago Athletic Club Hotel, which also has a Shake Shack, and is right across from Millennium Park. Make reservations! There was a LONG line to get upstairs, and we were able to walk to the front of the line and go straight up. VIP. We still had to wait for a table, but at least we were upstairs. Naturally we headed to the bar. The cocktail list is fun, cleverly named drinks. Examples: A Kick in the Daisy, Western Cape, Excelsior. We decided to try The Old Fashioned. Yes, it is an old man drink and yes, we liked it. The bartender was rude, but he made a good drink. We headed to the patio to enjoy our drink, take in the views and wait on our table. You are able to see all of Millennium Park and it was a perfect night to hang out. In the distance, there was even a fireworks show to keep us entertained.

Dish on the food: the items on the menu are meant to be shared, and are called platters for a reason. We started off with the Burrata (broccoli rabe, cherry tomato, spicy salami,aged balsamic, ciabatta). It was sinful. I love a good mozzarella and this was fantastic. There was a smokey flavor from the broccoli rabe and salami that really added an extra layer of flavor. As my friend said, “This tastes like I’m eating a cigarette, but surprisingly in a good way.”

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For our second dish, we had the Great Lakes Fish Fry (lake superior walleye, anti-hero batter, tide water cole slaw, hand cut fries, tatar sauce). It is hard to mess up fried fish, but these fish sticks were really good. They were not too heavily battered and it was super flaky, white meat. The tartar sauce was awesome and I could not stop eating the french fries.

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We were sent the Blueberry cobbler from the table next to us. They apparently frequent the restaurant and told us we had to try it, so they bought it for us, which was nice. They were not wrong. I don’t like blueberry desserts all that much, but this thing was delicious and I have never seen anything like it. When I think of Blueberry Cobbler, I think of mashed up blueberries in piecrust. But this was a piecrust, filled with whole blueberries and served warm with a big scoop of roasted vanilla ice cream. Part of me wants to go back to Chicago for that dessert and to try the Milk Stout Nitro Chocolate Cake.

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Bellies: Full and satisfied

On Saturday we explored the city – Millennium Park, the Riverwalk, the beach, we did an architectural tour, which I would highly recommend!

On Saturday night, we headed out for some pizza pie. Now, one would think that while in Chicago, you get deep dish. At least that is what I thought, BUT we went to this great joint called Parlor Pizza Bar, which served thinner crust pizza.

Once again, highly enjoyable food. We started off with one of the most amazing appetizers I have tasted and that is saying a lot because appetizers are my MO. It was Kale and Artichoke dip. It was served at the perfect temperature and it was just damn good. I will definitely go back for this when I return to Chicago.

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For pizza’s we had Abe Forman’s Fave Pie and the #BLT, #LOL, #OMG, #WTF. You had me at #BLT. It was definitely my favorite out of the two.

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Yep, that’s shredded lettuce. It is a BLT pizza!

The beer selection was also quiet expansive and delicious. A lot of local brews.

Bellies: Full and Content.

After stuffing our faces, we headed to Bub City, a country-western bar. Remember, I was with one girl from the mid-west, one from South Carolina, so they like their country music. A band from Nashville was playing and they were actually decent. But that was where we ended our night.

Sunday morning, we were on the hunt for a great brunch spot. We were going to go to this place called Au Cheval, but when we got there at 9:40 (it opened at 10), there was already a line about 30 people deep. Apparently, they have a superb cheese burger. Even though I don’t eat burgers, we probably should have waited in line and checked it out. Next time.

We were hungover and needed grub. We walked down to the other end of the block and stumbled upon Little Goat, the diner child of Girl & The Goat across the street. I had heard about Little Goat and how good it was so I was psyched. #OMG.

I got the Parathas Burrito (indian flatbread. sunny side eggs. avocado-bean salad. chili pepper sauce. sheep’s milk cheddar). Obviously, not your average burrito, but I was perfectly ok with it. First, the flatbread had a sweetness to it that offset the savory taste of the rest of the dish. I am not one for lettuce on my meal when it isn’t a salad or a sandwich, but everything on this plate worked so well together. Second, the flatbread was placed on top of the eggs after it was cooked and so when you cut into it, the eggs broke and it was heaven. I wanted to finish the dish so bad, but it was just too damn big. So good though. The dish on the right is the “This little piggy went to China” (sesame cheddar biscuit. sunny eggs. szechuan pork sausage. chili garlic chive sauce. blackberries). The pork sausage was the perfect amount of spicy. The cheddar biscuit and egg worked so well together and the blackberries added the perfect ending with a sweet, bitter bite.

Bellies: so full. So content.

All in all, my weekend in Chicago was well spent eating. I can’t wait to go back and try out all of the ones we weren’t able to try and to add some more to the list. Have recommendations? Drop ’em in the comments.

Stay hungry,

kteb

 

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National Donut Day!

3 Jun

PSA: June 5 is National Donut Day!

Dunkin Donuts is giving a free donut with a purchase of a beverage, so you know where Cdog and I will be on Friday. My favorite donut is the chocolate glazed. Boring, maybe. Delicious, absolutely.

If you are in the South, Krispy Kreme is giving away a free donut – no purchase necessary. If you can’t get a free donut on Friday, here are some local donuts to check out.

Union Square Donuts

maple+bacon

Image from Union Square Donuts website

62 Restaurant in Salem has a donut bar on Sundays

Kanes Donuts in Saugus & Boston

Fun fact: National Donut Day was instituted in 1938 to commemorate Salvation Army workers who surprised soldiers with donut deliveries.

The diet can start tomorrow.

What’s your favorite?

National Grilled Cheese Month

23 Apr

April is National Grilled Cheese Month! I love grilled cheese. Add bacon and we have a serious situation on our hands. The other day in our cafeteria I ordered a grilled cheese with bacon and the guy next to me looked at me like I was 1. a genius and 2. like I had 10 heads. He said, “Did you just order a grilled cheese with bacon?” To him I said, “You’ve never had bacon on your grilled cheese? You should try it, it is life-changing.” He agreed that anything with bacon is infinitely better, and we went our separate ways. I am pretty sure he probably came back the next day and ordered a grilled cheese with bacon.

Image from All Recipes

Image from All Recipes

Anwyays, if you are looking for a few ways to up your grilled cheese game, check out some that I’ve tried in the past:

And if you are in the Boston area, or if you visit Boston, I implore you to seek out Roxy’s Grilled Cheese Food Truck.

Image from Roxy's Grilled Cheese

Image from Roxy’s Grilled Cheese

Keeping Austin Weird!

13 Mar

In October, I visited Austin for the first time. (Thanks to Matt and Ciri for getting married.) I loved it! It was just weird enough not to completely weird me out. I loved the food. I loved the heat. I loved the humidity.

The food. All we did while we were there was eat. Well, and celebrated a Holy Matrimony, but we still did a lot of eating… and dancing. This lovely plate of goodness below is from Juan in a Million. Once again, I love puns. This plate is simple – eggs, cheese, onion and bacon. Wrap it up in a tortilla and you have yourself a brepast burrito. And they give you two tortillas, but ask if you’d like more. Loved it! And finished it!

Don Juan – Eggs. Cheese. Bacon. Onion. Eat.

When we arrived the first day, we had a nice lunch with an old friend (friend for a long time, friend isn’t old) at Elizabeth Street Cafe – where Vietnamese cafe meets French bakery. We started with a french loaf of bread and a few different jams, and JAM it was good! I had the Kaffir Lime Fried Chicken Bahn Mi. It was fantastic. I thought the lime would be too much, but it was just enough, just a little hint. Stud Muffin had a big ole bowl of Pho. He ate it all and slurped it to the end! The wedding was held at the Pecan Grove, which is owned by Salt Lick BBQ, so we had some fantastic Texas BBQ for dinner. I ate so much that I had to dance it off. (pictures at end) I am so glad we got to experience Austin with such an awesome crew. We will definitely be back.

Give me them ribs. (Lisa Woods Photography)

Give me them ribs. (Lisa Woods Photography)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

An event that I have always wanted to attend is SXSW! It always seems like such an overwhelming experience, but so fun as well! One day, I will attend. Suaza Tequila sent over a few recipes for some SXSW-themed cocktails. I thought they sounded pretty good and wanted to share.

Keep Austin WeirdKeep Austin Weird

¾ part tamarind concentrate
2 parts Sauza® Blue Silver 100% Agave Tequila
1 ¼ parts freshly squeezed lime juice
½ part simple syrup
½ part freshly squeezed lemon juice
¼ part DeKuyper® Triple Sec
ice
1 stick cinnamon ( for garnish)
For the rim

1 tsp sugar
1 tsp kosher salt
½ tsp cayenne
½  tsp ground cinnamon
2 tbsp freshly squeezed lime juice
Preparation: Mix sugar, salt, cayenne, and cinnamon in a small bowl, then pour onto a saucer. Pour 2 tablespoons lime juice onto a second saucer. Turn serving glass (martini glass or old fashioned) in lime juice to coat the outer rim. Then spin glass in cayenne mixture, rotating slowly to coat.

Add tamarind concentrate, tequila, lime juice, simple syrup, lemon juice, and Cointreau to mixing glass. Fill with ice and shake well, about 30 seconds. Strain into serving glass. Garnish with cinnamon stick if desired.

*We used tamarind concentrate, which comes as a thick liquid in a plastic jar. If you can only find tamarind blocks, don’t worry. Submerge an inch or so of the block in a few tablespoons of hot water for fifteen minutes. Mash to loosen, and discard any seeds or undissolved solids.

The AustiniteThe Austinite

1 ½ parts Sauza® Blue Silver 100% Agave Tequila
½ parts orange liqueur
2 parts Passion Fruit Jam
2 parts Club Soda
½ part Agave
1 part lime juice
Lime wedge(for garnish)
Chili-salt to rim
Preparation: In a shaker filled with ice combine all ingredients and shake vigorously. Strain into a glass filled with ice and prepared with a chili-salt rim. Garnish with a lime wedge.

Southwest Sunset Margarita

2 parts Sauza® Blue Reposado TequilaSouthwest Sunset Margarita
2 parts orange juice
2 dashes grenadine
Lemon wedge for garnish
Preparation: In a glass filled with ice, stir together orange juice and tequila. Pour the two dashes of grenadine down the side so that it settles to the bottom of the glass. Garnish with a lemon wedge. Enjoy!

And if you don’t have all the fixings for these drinks, just pour some tequila in a glass and drink!

 

 

Single Ladies Dance Off with the Groom.  (Lisa Woods Photography)

Single Ladies Dance Off with the Groom. (Lisa Woods Photography)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Maybe Michael Jackson?

Maybe Michael Jackson? (Lisa Woods Photography)

Legal Oysteria in Charlestown: Review

21 Jul

After Olives made its grand departure from Charlestown, we were interested to see what would become of the space. It is a great location and a place like Olives was needed in the area. We were excited to hear that Legal Sea Foods was going to be opening up an oysteria in the space and would be serving Italian seafood. After months of renovation, Legal Oysteria officially opened on Wednesday, July 16, 2014.

wpid-20140717_180941.jpgStud Muffin and I decided to check it out on Friday night for dinner. We were warmly greeted by several hostesses and we put our name in for a table. There was about a 30 minute wait, which was fine as we wanted to get a drink. Instead of getting a buzzer to tell us when our table was ready, we gave them our cell phone number and they text us when it was ready. I haven’t seen that in Boston yet, but thought that was a cool feature.

For drinks, I got a class of Sauvignon Blanc and SM got a Jack’s Abbey beer. As we waited for our table and enjoyed our drinks, we also enjoyed some people watching. We noticed that there were almost as many employees in the restaurant as there were patrons. I know it is likely because it was only the third day of being open, but it was a bit overwhelming and it just made it seem a lot more crowded than it needed to be. The bar was packed with people grabbing a drink after work and every table was full. We sat down to dinner within 20 to 25 minutes of putting in our name.

The menu has some great options for seafood lovers and those not so keen. It is broken up into Apps, Small Plates, Salads and Soups, Entrees and Sides (entrees are served a la carte). We decided to try some of the small plates including the Salt Cod Crostini (delicious, though very salty), Chickpea & Shrimp Fritters (with a spicy, bacon aoili dipping sauce – this was my favorite) & Ricotta Fritters (these were little fried balls of ricotta cheese served with a spicy honey dipping sauce. It was sinful, we saved them for dessert they were so delicious). We also shared a Sopressata pizza, which was stracciatella, banana peppers, spicy red sauce.

All in all, we had a good experience. The server was cheery, knowledgeable and attentive. The atmosphere was good, still as loud as Olives was, but the fist-pumping music he used to play is no longer blaring. We are glad to see a new neighborhood restaurant and we’ll definitely be back. They have valet parking available, but there is typically plenty of two-hour parking spots available around the neighborhood.

Follow Legal Sea Foods on Twitter, Facebook & Instagram.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Upcoming Events! (That I can’t attend)

17 May

There are so many great things happening while Stud Muffin and I are on our Honeymoon. I’m not complaining because we will be on an amazing trip, but I hate to miss out on awesome events in Boston!

So, if you don’t have plans for May 31 or June 7, or even if you do and you want a good excuse to cancel your other plans… check out these upcoming events.

May 30 & May 31 – times vary – American Craft Beer Fest  – According to EventBrite invite, “The 7th annual American Craft Beer Fest (ACBF) is the east coast’s largest celebration of American craft beer hosted at the Seaport World Trade Center Boston by BeerAdvocate & Harpoon Brewery. The 2-day fest will feature 3-session and 640+ craft beers from 140+ American brewers.”

Saturday, May 31 starting at 5 pmWink & Nod in the South End is celebrating Ardbeg Day (I had to look this up to be honest) by opening a bottle of Ardbeg Galileo, a 12-year old single malt that was ranked best in the world. This will only be served on this day and at midnight, it will be closed and saved until next year’s Ardbeg Day. So if you are into exclusives, hand over $11 and sip it down straight or in a cocktail!

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June 1 2 – 6 PMCREATE – The Waterfront Gallery & Harbor Walk at Fairmont Battery Wharf

CREATE sounds like an awesome event. I have never heard of it before, but apparently this is the 3rd year! So here is the description, “Chef Louis DiBiccari will showcase some of Boston’s brightest rising art, culinary and mixology stars in Boston. Chefs and bartenders will be paired with visual artists to create a dish and drink that corresponds, interacts or interprets the art. There will be six art/food/drink stations set up. Art will vary, may be 2D or 3D, and may be interactive (live). Guests are encouraged to peruse and purchase at their leisure— seeing, sipping and tasting a trifecta of Bostonian culture. Outside of the winery, tunes from Moe Pope and DJ TJ Connelly keep the energy amped.

Participating Artists:
· Ind!v!duals
· Karen Jerzk
· Mark Sebastiano
· Moe Pope
· And more to come….

Participating Chefs:
· Jade Taylor, Bondir
· Alex Crab, Asta
· Scott Jones , Menton
· Jason Cheek , Merrill and Co
· Monica Glass , Clio
· Meg Ward, Coppa

Participating Bartenders:
· Emma Hollander, Trina’s Starlite Lounge
· Palmer Matthews , Drink
· Daren Swisher, JM Curley
· Steve Schnelwar, 80 Thoreau
· Sabrina Kershaw, The Franklin Cafe
· Tyler Wang, Audubon

Tickets are $35

June 7 2:30 – 5 PM – Landmark Center parking structure – Bacon & Beer Festival

I mean it is bacon and beer. What more could you ask for? I have yet to go to this event. BUT that is not surprising because the thing sells out in 45 seconds. YES – THAT IS WHAT I SAID! 45 SECONDS! If you got a ticket, good on you. Tell us how it is.

Bacon&Beer14-BOS-web

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mooo… The Restaurant

24 Oct

For Stud Muffin’s birthday last night, we dined with the cows at Mooo. Just kidding, there were no cows, well except for those that were on the customer’s plates. Even though I’m not a consumer of the cow, Stud Muffin is and I wanted to treat him to a scrumptious dinner. Mooo is located in Beacon Hill near the State House.

We had an earlier reservation, so it wasn’t too crowded when we got there, but by the time we left, the place was full. We sat towards the back at a table for two, with chairs that were a little Alice in Wonderland-esque, and I loved them.

I started off with a cocktail that was cidery and cinnomany and delicious and SM had a Booker’s on the rocks. I really wanted to order the $14,000 bottle of champagne that was on the menu, but SM wouldn’t let me. We thought about ordering an appetizer, but opted out, but they sounded delicious. Thank goodness we didn’t because we were brought rolls that were served in a mini cast-iron skillet with sea salt on top and butter. SO GOOD. For my entree I had the scallops on a sweet potato mashed puree with mushrooms. I was a proud member of the clean-plate club. SM had a 18 oz Rib-eye with the Mooo sauce, but he said his steak was so good that he didn’t even need the sauce. We also had to order some veggies (to feel healthy) and I HAD to have the crispy tots… can I just say one word, UNBELIEVABLE! It was basically fried bacon mashed potatoes. I can’t even start to explain how amazing those things were. I am 100% certain that we will go back at some point just for those tots! I LOVE TOTS.

Here’s the birthday boy with his entree… he’s very happy and excited to dig in!

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We were so full that we couldn’t even stomach dessert, however for his birthday our waiter brought over a ‘Happy Birthday’ in chocolate on a plate with two chocolate covered marshmallows with a candle for SM to blow out. It was very nice of them.

Overall, we had a great experience and we absolutely recommend this place to anyone who is looking for a good steak in Boston.

We give Mooo, 5 out of 5 Mooos!

Check out Mooo on Twitter, it’s some great food porn.

 

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