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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

 

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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Happy New Year from The Eats!

2 Jan

What a year 2013 was! Cdog had a little bambino, I’ve been planning a wedding, and so many other great things happened along the way! I know I don’t speak for myself when I say we are so blessed with such wonderful friends and family and we are so grateful for your continued support!

I know 2014 will be a fantastic year and can’t wait to see what else it brings!

We love you all! Oh and my resolution is to eat more, drink more, blog more and be merrier!

Happy New Year from Cdog and Me!

 

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P.S. I was in SC for the holiday and I ate so much good (bad for me) food! Chick-fil-A, Zaxby’s, Southern Mexican (Mi Rancho), southern wings, my mom’s cookies, my mom and dad’s cooking! I may have gained a few lbs but it was totally worth it!

Bon Voyage… with Top Chef

21 Aug

You may know how much Cdog and I love Top Chef. We also love the water and vacation, wait what does that have to do with Top Chef? Well, we just found out that Top Chef is taking the next season to the seas. Yep, that’s right, April 11-15, 2013, Top Chef is loading up a Celebrity Cruise Ship and filming part of the next season. What’s awesome about this, normal people like you and me can take part and sail away with awesome people like, Hubert Keller, Tim Love, Jennifer Carroll, Tiffany Derry, Chris Hanmer, Michael Isabella, Spike Mendelsohn, Hosea Rosenberg, Angelo Sosa and Casey Thompson.

I love this idea because it provides a chance for regular old folk to join in on the fun. I’m sure there will be plenty of staging on the ship, but not like the show where I feel like more is scripted and staged.

If I didn’t already have a vacation planned during this time, I would totally be  booking my stateroom.

Here is the press release about the opportunity (from Eater.com):

FANS OF BRAVO MEDIA’S “TOP CHEF” INVITED TO SET SAIL ON LUXURIOUS CULINARY JOURNEY

Inaugural “Top Chef: The Cruise” on Celebrity Constellation to
feature show’s judges and chefs in series of interactive events

NEW YORK, August 14, 2012 The most sought-after “reservations” in town for April 2013 will not be on land, but rather will be at sea, with the launch of the first-ever “Top Chef: The Cruise,” aboard the modern, luxurious Celebrity Constellation. The announcement was made today by Bravo Media, Celebrity Cruises, Magical Elves and Rose Tours, and offers fans of the Emmy-winning “Top Chef” reality competition series the chance to spend quality time with the show’s judges and chefs, making this a one-of-a-kind culinary vacation experience.

Hosted by two of “Top Chef’s” most beloved stars, Tom Collicchio and Gail Simmons, and featuring past “chef’testants,” the April 11-15, 2013 cruise will sail roundtrip from Miami, Florida, with stops in Key West, Florida and Cozumel, Mexico. During the voyage, guests will have the opportunity to savor events such as interactive “Quickfire” cooking challenges, culinary demonstrations, question-and-answer sessions, Top Chef menus and more. Guests also will enjoy Celebrity’s own award-winning culinary offerings, with cuisine created by a James Beard-featured chef, and inimitable, personalized service.

“The incredibly engaged fans of Bravo’s Top Chef are in for a one-of-a-kind and personal opportunity with Top Chef: The Cruise,” said Ellen Stone, Senior Vice President, Marketing, Bravo. “With complete access to talented former chef’testants and our amazing judges, Tom Colicchio and Gail Simmons, fans will experience and taste the Top Chef culinary feats firsthand!”

Joining Colicchio and Simmons are chefs from past seasons of “Top Chef,” “Top Chef Masters” and “Top Chef Just Desserts,” including Hubert Keller, Tim Love, Jennifer Carroll, Tiffany Derry, Chris Hanmer, Michael Isabella, Spike Mendelsohn, Hosea Rosenberg, Angelo Sosa and Casey Thompson. Additional chefs to be announced shortly.

“There’s no better setting for ‘Top Chef: The Cruise’ than a Celebrity Cruises ship, because of the complexity of our culinary operation, the quality of our food offerings and the variety of our dining concepts,” said Dondra Ritzenthaler, Senior Vice President, Sales, Celebrity Cruises. “We offer an update on the luxury vacation, so not only is food a standout aspect of what we offer, but so are modern, of-the-moment experiences and the chance for guests to explore what they’re passionate about – just like what they get by watching ‘Top Chef.”

Staterooms go on sale on August 16, 2012, at 12 pm EST at http://www.topchefthecruise.com. Additional information can also be found at the site.

 

If you love Top Chef and have an open week to go on a cruise, you should and then write a guest post for us!

-Kteb

A roadtrip to Wisconsin in food pictures

2 Sep

As promised, I tried my best to document all of the amazing yummy goodness that was our Wisco trip. Check out all of the photos below!

Our first real stop was in Niagara, Canada. Neither of us had ever been there before and it was beautiful. Of course we had to have a Canadian beer sampler at lunch as we overlooked the falls…duh

Canadian beer sampler eh!

So there is a big lag in pictures between this one and two days later. Let’s just say the wedding was a BLAST and none of those photos are appropriate for this blog. However we did make a trip to Milwaukee’s Irish Fest on the lakefront and I found this amazing area where they were roasting meat. I was so tempted to just jump the rope!

Pig roasting on a spit at Irish Fest Milwaukee

Roasting Chicken - Kteb would have died for this

Our 2nd wedding anniversary was kicked off with a stop at the Wollersheim Winery in Prarie Du Sac, Wi.

Wollersheim Winery

Standing in front of a wine cave from the late 1800s

Next we were off to New Glarus – basically for one reason only…the New Glarus Brewing Co. Big thanks to Randy and Randy on their staff for making us feel so welcome.

New Glarus Brewing Co. WE LOVE YOU!

New Glarus Belgian Red (made with WI Door County Cherries)

Drink Indigenous!

Wisconsin meat & cheese plate - RIDIC (all locally made with WI ingredients)

To give you context for this meal – it was our 2 year anniversary and we were eating at a traditional Swiss restaurant in New Glarus, WI…read on…

Sauerbraten with Red Cabbage - my fab dinner

Spatzle & Roesti - dying for these

Piccata Schnitzel - The Love Muffin's dinner

Who doesn't love chocolate fondue?

Stevens Point, WI – the place of my birth and the home to many of my family members. We had an amazing lunch and dinner with both sets of my Grandparents and decided to cap the night off at our favorite local restaurant: Christian’s Bistro.

Local cheese board at Christian's Bistro (it kills me how there is so much good cheese in Wisconsin)

Central Waters Brewing Co. Local and Yummy!

After Stevens Point we hit up Green Bay, along with a Lambeau Field Tour! I was like a 12 year old all over again…

Titletown Brewing Co. in Green Bay

Sorry I didn’t get a pic of our beers or the sandwiches we ate. I had a buffalo burger and The Love Muffin had elk…you know you’re in Wisconsin when…

Then we were onto our next stop. The Inn at Cedar Crossing in Sturgeon Bay, WI (Door County).

Duck, garlic spinach, sour cream mashed potatoes - my last dinner on vaca

The Love Muffin's dinner - shrimp, pasta in a basil cream sauce with truffle oil

Chocolate hazelnut mousse cake - I DIED

Cinnamon bun and tea for breakfast

Chocolate chip scone - homemade duh

We had such an amazing time in Wisconsin but it was time to get back. Hurricane Irene was a-comin’ and we wanted to get back before our power went out and/or we were flooded. So on the road we went. And our last stop before home…Buffalo, NY. Wings at Duff’s!

Oh just some wings in Buffalo, nbd

As you can see we ate and drank our way through our trip, but did you expect any different? We made it home before the majority of the storm and lucky for us, we never lost power and didn’t have any flooding. Now we’re looking forward to our next culinary vacation – Tuscany in November.

~cdog

On the road again

18 Aug

Hi folks! I wanted to give you a quick update before I fell off the face of the earth again. Tomorrow morning the Love Muffin and I are road tripping it to Wisconsin. Yes, you read that right – ROAD TRIP! We’ve decided to take the northern route and cross the boarder near Niagara Falls. The trip should take around 20 hours plus the usual stops for food and gas (and the occasional bathroom break). Wish us luck on our journey – hopefully we won’t kill each other – this is the longest we’ve ever spent together in the car (eeek!).

While we’re in Wisconsin we’ve got some great stuff planned. I will try and document as much food and drink as I can to bring you an update after we return next weekend. But to give you an idea of what we have lined up here are a few things:

1. Wedding – reception is a pig roast – nuff said.

2. Milwaukee Irish Fest – Irish music, beer, dancing, dogs – what could be better? (It’s seriously such a blast – you have to check it out!)

3. New Glarus Brewing Co. – Spotted Cow…need I say more?

4. Wollersheim Winery – don’t knock Wisconsin wine until you’ve tried it, okay!?

5. Christian’s Bistro – disgustingly good food in the middle of the State. (Don’t just take my word for it – see what the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel had to say)

6. Titletown Brewing Co. – a visit to Wisconsin wouldn’t be complete without visiting Mecca aka Green Bay. We’re planning to check out this fun brewpub in between a Lambeau Field stadium tour and me stalking Aaron Rodgers (don’t ya know!).

That is just a small taste of what we may actually taste. We’ll just have to see where the road takes us and what we find along the way.

Happy Trails!

~cdog

 

P.S. I’ll most likely be Tweeting our adventures from the road – you can follow me here.

a philly 4th o’ july

11 Jul

i knew it was going to be a great trip to philly when michaelpg sent me an email with a list of ideas for activities – the majority of them involving food.

we started off the wonderful weekend with a wonderful brunch at honey’s sit n’eat in the northern liberties. not only do they have great, southern-style menus, their website has sections labeled, “who we is” and “where we is.” did i write that  copy? if i did and don’t know it, they can pay me in challah french toast and those homemade biscuits. anywho,  i thoroughly enjoyed embarrassing both stud muffin and michaelpg by taking pictures of their food.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

from there we meandered our way through the city, walking by the chocolate works – an apartment complex, yep that’s right. there are so many great little restaurants that have so much character. i feel like there is a lot of that missing in boston restaurants. there are some that i love and crave, but sometimes i feel there is a very corporate feel or aspiration for a lot of restaurants here.

enough about that. i bought a new pair of shoes, michaelpg bought a hat. we then made our way to the touristy areas of philly. we saw the bell (through the window). we took a pic with ben (franklin, that is), we dodged tourists and taxis. along our trek we found the greatest store called cookie confidential. four words: bacon.chocolate.chip.cookie. what else? cheesesteak cookie and oatmeal raisin bacon cookies and chocolate chip cookies and lots of awesome little cookie creations. we hung out with the owner and i talked bacon with her. i mean, it was only natural.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

i was then mesmerized by all this art work by isaiah zagar. i seriously could not get enough. it’s not food, but it’s art and they are one  in the same to me.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

and then we rocky’d…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

and then we planked… but before we planked we went to a stephen starr restaurant (who apparently owns every restaurant in philadelphia) called el vez where we had a big ole bowl of guacamole. it was delicious. we also helped ourselves to some delicious margaritas.

planking on a plank

 

 

 

 

 

plank chair

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

we also went to the most hipster place on the face of the earth. if you are interested in a great hipster dance party, go here.

we had a great culinary venture through philly. we saw some fireworks from michaelpg’s amazing roofdeck. a very special thank you to michaelpg for being such a wonderful host and a special thanks to my stud muffin for being such a great travel buddy!

here are a few of my favorite pics from the weekend:

jail cell at eastern state penitentiary

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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