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Chicago Eats!

30 Jul 20150726_105317

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

 

Everything’s Comin’ up Beverly

1 Mar beverly-ma-city sign

When I first moved out of the city of Boston it was to Salem, MA. The Love Muffin and I had a fantastic apartment right near the walking mall on Essex Street and The Wharf. But as time went on, we realized a house was in our future and decided to settle one town farther North in Beverly, MA. Beverly is great. It’s on the water (we have multiple beaches), there is a cute downtown, we are a stones throw from Boston (30 minute train ride into North Station) and we are still close to all of the things we fell in love with in Salem (ahem, 62 Restaurant).

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There is a great art scene downtown with Monserrat College of Arts, Cabot Cinema and the Larcom Theater. I know you’re thinking, Cdog, this is great and all but what does this have to do with food?? Well, I’m getting there. The food scene in Beverly has changed for the better since we moved here five years ago. Don’t get me wrong, there are some amazing Beverly restaurants that have been around for a long time (you hear me, Nick’s Roast Beef, Super Sub, Anmol). However, in the last two years there have been some AMAZING places open up. These aren’t just fancy shmancy sit down restaurants (although there are some of those too).

Cabot Cinema

Are you looking for a hip (really good) hot dog stand? Beverly has it. 
Looking at you, Scotty Dog. This place is a Saturday lunch must (my recommendation: CFO Dog)

Are you looking for authentic Naples-style pizza? Beverly has it. 
Prides Piccola Napoletana is more than just your run of the mill pizza place. They have a special wood-fired pizza oven. Just one of four in the world, made in Naples, Italy (this is in Beverly guys!!!).

Are you looking for barrel-aged homemade cocktails, plus local eats? Beverly has it. 
Barrel House was one of the first restaurants that was new on Cabot Street a few years ago and they continue to turn out amazing food and drinks. And don’t think you can just walk in, this place is booked almost nightly. Whether you’re having one of their barrel aged cocktails (to.die.for.) or snacking on their version of poutine or eggs and bacon, coming to Barrel House won’t disappoint.

Are you looking for Mexican food? Beverly has it.
La Victoria Taqueria is the little sister to (now closed…cries) Celito Lindo. La Victoria serves up tasty tacos, quesadillas and (the hard to find in this next of the woods) tortas. The Love Muffin and I frequent this place and Miss C loves their black beans (beans beans beans).

This is just the tip of the iceberg, folks.

We have a disgustingly great coffee roasting company, Atomic Cafe Coffee Roasters and Cafe Gusto serves up coffee, gelato and Italian pastries (yes please!).

And not for nothing, but some of Salem’s finest have found out about the hidden gem of the North Shore. Funky gift shop Roost & Company is building out their second location in Beverly, set to open in the spring. And popular Salem burger joint, A&B Burger is trying to move their operation from Salem to Beverly. By Summer 2015, our downtown scene will be even better!

Cabot Street - Beverly, MA

So long story longer, if you’re in the Boston area and haven’t visited Beverly…what are you waiting for?

See you on Cabot Street!

~Cdog

Review: Ribelle Brookline

17 Jul Sesame Buns

I have heard about Ribelle for some time now, but just haven’t had an opportunity to get to Brookline, until now. Stud Muffin and I joined my sister (@amkline) and our bro-in-law for a night out. While driving around looking for a parking space, we were able to avoid all of the rain, and as we were eating dinner, were treated to a nice sunset.

Now onto the food. We started off with an amazing glass of pinot noir, but it was a glass of white wine, and it was amazing. I would go back just for a bottle of it. Stud Muffin had a cocktail, which I am pretty sure added a good amount of hair to his already hairified chest. We perused the menu and thought about doing the 5-course pasta tasting menu, but opted to just get a bunch of dishes and share them all.

 

We started off with Sicilian Semolina Bread with caponata and pinenuts; Sesame Buns with panelle, calabrian chili mayo and arugula;  Broccoli with fontina, onion and pistachio; and Quail with kohlrabi, maitake, squid ink breadcrumbs. My favorite starter was the Sesame bun and the semolina bread. The sesame bun was like a slider and had a fritter of sorts in the middle, but what made this dish was the chili mayo. I am a fan of aiolis and spiced up mayos… Fisher you can stop barfing now. The Semolina Bread was served with caponata, which was a vegetable, eggplant mixture and it was served with amazing garlic bread.

 

Our main meals were: Rigatoni with octopus, fennel, smoked tomato; Lamb Neck with green chili, favas, hazelnuts; and 2 dishes of Pappardelle with bolognese, kale, pork rinds. The boys took good care of the Lamb Neck and Rigatoni and my sister and I handled the Papparadelle, though we did share a bit. I was told the Lamb Neck was really delicious, cooked well and had really good flavors. Stud Muffin said the rigatoni was more smokey than any other flavor and was expecting it to be more seafood-y with the octopus. He still ate all of it, so it must have been good, but not sure he would get the same thing again. The Pappardelle was delicious. I wanted to eat the entire thing, but I couldn’t. The healthy portion of pasta was cooked perfectly and the bolognese was to die for. I have had this type of dish at 62 in Salem and I have always said it is the best around, but this one at Ribelle may rival it. I would like to do a taste test.

For dessert, we tried the olive oil ice cream and the chocolate cake. I was intrigued by the olive oil ice cream, but only took a few bites. The olive oil was a little over powering. The chocolate cake was delicious.

The atmosphere was cool and hip. The menus were clipped to cut outs from wine boxes. There is also a long farm-style table in the middle where several parties sat together, with the bar on one side and then other tables on the periphery. All in all, it was a great experience and I would definitely recommend this to try out.

If you are interested in following them on social channels check them out @RibelleBKline on Twitter, @RibelleBKline on Instagram, Ribelle Facebook and G+. Beware: their posts will make you hungry. 

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.

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Cool Event Alert: HopChef Beer and Food Pairing Competition

8 Apr 89

I’m all about the puns and well, I’m all about the beer and food too. So, this seems like a perfect event. I’m sad I won’t be able to go, as it it will be a few days before Stud Muffin and I get married, and I’m sure I’ll be a ball of stress. Wait a second, maybe I should go and drink some beer to unwind.

Anywho – here are the deets if you are looking for some good food from some local chefs and for some good beer from Ommegang.

From the press release:

Brewery Ommegang will host its expanded third annual HopChef Competition on Wednesday, May 21 from 7-10 p.m. at the Cyclorama at the Boston Center for the Arts. The event will bring together Boston’s beer-forward chefs under one roof to pair dishes with Ommegang’s Belgian-style ales and compete for the title of Boston HopChef 2014. Tickets, which are now on-sale at http://hopchef2014.ticketleap.com/boston/, are the only way to take part in the HopChef action and experience samplings of each chef’s delectable dishes and a selection of Ommegang ales. 89

A lineup of six chefs from leading, local restaurants has been hand-selected to participate:

Kyle Stamps – Coda Bar & Kitchen
Julie Cutting – Cure (Portsmouth)
Johnny Sheehan – New World Tavern
Alex Jenkins –Foundry on Elm
Brian Reyalt –Franklin Cafe
Jeff Howe –Teatro

Each chef will create one dish showcasing their imaginative beer and food pairing skills. The dishes, each developed to pair with a specific Ommegang beer, will be served to a panel of judges and attendees to taste and score. The Boston judging panel includes StarChef.com’s Will Blunt, Craigie on Main Chef Tony Maws and Brewbound.com Editor Chris Furnari, with more to be announced shortly.

The HopChef winner from Boston will be invited to the Grand Finale to compete against winners from Miami, Denver, San Francisco and Philadelphia at Ommegang’s annual “Belgium Comes to Cooperstown” festival on Aug. 9, 2014. The 2014 Grand Prize winner will receive a spotlight position on the SAVEURTastemakers™ chef advisory board, a spotlight in SAVEUR Magazine & StarChefs.com editorial, a showcase with Brewery Ommegang at the StarChefs.com International Chefs Congress and a showcase station with Brewery Ommegang at the SAVEUR Summer BBQ, both in New York.

Olives in Charlestown to be Replaced

28 Aug

Todd English’s Olives has had a long history of issues. You can read more about those here. As a result, Olives in Charlestown has officially closed and has been for months. However, rumors are starting to swirl about what will take its spot. Some have said a hotel, some expect another restaurant. According to the comments in this Charlestown Patch post, Mario Batali took a look recently and apparently just bailed on a restaurant in Fort Point. Will Batali open something amazing in the old Olives space? Let’s hope someone does, if not him. It is prime realty and while we have some good eats in The Town, another option would be welcome.

What do you think would be a good option for this spot?

 

 

[Photo: Myspace]

Brunch. It’s What I Love.

9 Nov

I love a good brunch. Sometimes, I would much rather go to a good brunch than a nice dinner. I think it’s because I can have both sweet & savory! I mean give me some pancakes, bacon and put a fork in me, I’m done.

Over the past few years of living in Boston, I have come across some pretty fantastic brunch joints. So here goes a list of my faves and why I love them so:

The Neighborhood in Union Square- Why I love it: It is small, but it is mighty (and cheap). The food is quality and it is just a good breakfast. Favorite meal: Bacon and cheese omelet, toast and homefries

S&S in Inman Square – Why I love it: Great food, fun people (fun in that sarcastic, Masshole type of way), cheap prices, good mimosas… Favorite meal: Stuffed Croissant – Hot croissant filled with scrambled eggs served with home fries and fresh fruit

Masa in South End or Woburn – Why I love it: Fantastic food, great drinks, and they also have a great deal for brunch – $7.95 for two dish meal. You can also order off of a fuller menu, but the food is good no matter what menu you choose to go with.

Biltmore Grill in Newton- Why I love it: 3 words: chicken and waffles. Really, that is all I really need to say about this one. It’s a great atmosphere and has some really fun monthly events. I have yet to get to one of those, but it’s on the list of things to do.

What are your favorite brunch spots in Boston? I obviously haven’t been to all of them, so I would love any and all suggestions!

-kteb

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