Friday, May 30, 2008

DIY Kebab Party

While reading June's issue of Food & Wine magazine, I came across an article by Tina Ujlaki that suggests hosting a DIY Kebab party this summer. Well, Tina, I plan on doing just that! Sounds like a fabulous idea that allows people to prepare their own food to order and makes cooking fun for all ages. I can just see my 6 year old nephew piecing his together with a big grin on his face.

Tina suggests three different menus: Asian, Mexican and Mediterranean. I think most of you can guess that Mexican is my first pick. So, here is the great line up for the Mexican DIY Kebab party that I will throw once I get to California next week.

Mexican Kebabs
Portions will depend on the amount of guests that you plan to have. Cube and portion out skewer-ready sizes and create an assembly line to mix and match. Don't forget to soak your skewers otherwise they will catch on fire!

Yellow and red bell pepper
Red onion
Cherry tomatoes
Pickled jalapenos

Tina also suggests serving with a Chipotle-Citrus Mayonnaise

1/2 cup mayonnaise
3 chipotles in adobo, finely chopped
1 tablespoon fresh orange juice
1 teaspoon fresh lime juice
3/4 teaspoon minced fresh oregano
1 tablespoon minced red onion
1 tablespoon minced cilantro
In a small bowl, combine all of the ingredients and mix well. Season the sauce with salt.


Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Chicago's Stephanie Izard

There is no question that Stephanie Izard is one of the best contenders in this season’s Top Chef. Unlike Casey from last season that got better as the challenges wore on, Stephanie’s been consistent from the very beginning and kept a great attitude. (Can someone please tell me why the Hell Lisa is still on the show? Ugh.)

Watch Top Chef tonight on Bravo and root for Chi-town’s Stephanie. Could this be the year that a female chef finally wins?

Repeat Offender: Moroccan-spiced lamb burgers with beet, red onion, and orange salsa

It was never my intention to post the same recipe on the blog twice but I can't seem to get this one out of my head and I am scared that if I don't share it with you again that you'll miss out. You see, this is the mother of all burgers in my opinion and people LOVE it. It's colorful, flavorful and down-right redonkulous. Can't wait to whip these up for my family next week when I finally get to Napa for the summer.

Moroccan-spiced lamb burgers with beet, red onion, and orange salsa

I add more cilantro and jalapeno to my mixture and leave the olives out. Olives and I can't seem to get along...

2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon honey
2 beets, boiled, peeled, cut into 1/3-inch cubes
1 large orange, peel and pith cut away, flesh cut into 1/3-inch cubes
1 cup chopped red onion
1/4 cup chopped pitted green Greek olives

1 large shallot, minced
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
1 jalapeño chile, seeded, minced
1 garlic clove, minced
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
3/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1 3/4 pounds ground lamb
Nonstick vegetable oil spray

4 large cracked-wheat hamburger buns, split horizontally1 1/3 cups thinly sliced Bibb lettuceMayonnaise

PreparationFor salsa: Whisk first 3 ingredients in medium bowl to blend. Mix in next 4 ingredients. Season salsa to taste with salt and pepper.Do ahead: Can be made 8 hours ahead. Cover and chill.

For burgers: Stir shallot, cilantro, jalapeño, garlic, salt, black pepper, paprika, and cumin in large bowl to blend. Add lamb and mix gently to combine. Shape mixture into four 1/2-inch-thick patties. Arrange on small baking sheet. Do ahead: Can be made 8 hours ahead. Cover and chill.Spray grill rack with nonstick spray and prepare barbecue (medium-high heat). Grill buns, cut side down, until golden, about 2 minutes; transfer to work surface. Place lettuce and large spoonful of salsa on each bun bottom. Grill burgers until slightly charred and cooked to desired doneness, about 4 minutes per side for medium-rare. Place 1 burger on each bun. Top each with mayonnaise and bun top. Serve with remaining salsa.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Spicy Cold Sesame Noodles

The recipe I promised last week:

These are SO good, some of the best I've had. I used sake instead of rice wine vinegar, and used thick spaghetti instead of angel hair (i like a little more heft to my sesame noodles) and served it with the Korean Short Ribs. Yum, yum, and more yum. By Tyler Florence. Oh, and these are great for summer BBQ or potlucks, since they're served cold, but they're also tasty warm, too.

12 ounces angel hair pasta
3 tablespoons dark sesame oil
2 tablespoons peanut oil
1-inch piece fresh ginger, minced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon red chili paste, such as sambal
1 lime, juiced
2 tablespoons brown sugar (seriously, mine was hard as a ROCK, so i had to chop off a chunk, and let it dissolve in the sauce before adding the peanut butter.)
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
3 tablespoons rice vinegar
3 tablespoons soy sauce
6 tablespoons hot water
1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds
2 green onions, thinly sliced on the diagonal (yeah, right. you know i just chopped mine up.)
Fresh chopped cilantro leaves, for garnish

Cook the noodles in large pot of boiling unsalted water over medium heat until barely tender and still firm. Drain immediately and rinse with cold water until cold. Drain the noodles really well and transfer to a wide bowl; toss with the sesame oil so they don't stick together. Chill.

In a blender (Why dirty the blender? I'm lazy, and I don't have a dishwasher. I just used a whisk) combine the peanut oil, ginger, garlic, chili paste, lime juice, brown sugar, peanut butter, vinegar, soy sauce, and hot water. Blend. Toss the noodles with the peanut sauce until well coated. Serve at room temperature or chilled; garnish with the sesame seeds, green onions, and cilantro.

Melted Cheese Casserole with Mexican sausage and roasted chiles

In between all the BBQ action from over the holiday weekend, I have been pounding my fair share of Mexican food. One of my favorite dishes to order and to make at home is Melted Cheese Casserole with Mexican sausage and roasted chiles (in Spanish this translates to
Queso Fundido con chorizo y rajas)

Celebrity chef Rick Bayless specializes in Mexican food and he just so happens to be from Chicago. His restaurants, Frontera Grill and Tompolobampo, are always packed and quite tasty. Oh yeah, he's also a James Beard award winner...6 times over. Here's a recipe I found online created by the man himself.

The chorizo-poblano mixture can be made a day ahead, covered and refrigerated; warm it in your baking vessel before stirring in the cheese and baking. Queso fundido doesn't hold well, so don't put it in the oven until everyone is ready to make tacos.

Serves 6
2 fresh poblano chiles
4 ounces (1/2 cup) Mexican chorizo sausage, casing removed if there is one, store bought or homemade
1 medium white onion, sliced
12 corn tortillas, the fresher the better (store-bought are okay, though homemade will really shine here)
8 ounces Chihuahua or other Mexican melting cheese such as quesadilla or asadero (lacking Mexican cheese, queso fundido is delicious made with everything from Monterey jack to mild cheddar), shredded (you’ll have about 2 cups)
About a teaspoon or so of crumbled dried oregano, preferably Mexican

Roasting the poblano chiles. Roast the poblanos on an open flame or on a baking sheet 4 inches below a very hot broiler, turning regularly until the skin is evenly blistered and blackened, about 5 minutes for an open flame, about 10 minutes for the broiler. Be careful not to char the flesh—only the skin. Cover with a kitchen towel and let stand for 5 minutes. Rub off the blackened skin, then pull or cut out the stems and the seed pods. Tear the chiles open and quickly rinse to remove stray seeds and most bits of skin. Cut into 1/4-inch-wide strips about 2 inches long.

The chorizo-poblano mixture. Heat the oven to 350-degrees. In a medium-size skillet (preferably non-stick), cook the chorizo over medium heat, stirring to break up any clumps, until half-cooked, about 5 minutes. (As the chorizo heats, it should render enough fat to cook the meat; if the mixture seems dry, add a little oil.) Add the onion and cook, stirring frequently, until the onion is richly golden and the chorizo done, about 10 minutes. (If the mixture looks very oily, drain.) Stir in the poblano strips, taste and season with salt if you think the mixture needs some. Transfer the mixture to a 9- or 10-inch shallow baking dish, Mexican cazuela or pie plate.

Finishing the queso fundido. Very lightly dampen a clean kitchen towel. Check the tortillas to make sure none are stuck together. Wrap them in the towel, then in foil, sealing the edges tightly. Place in the oven and set the timer for 7 minutes.

When the timer goes off, stir the cheese into the warm chorizo mixture. Set in the oven alongside the tortillas and bake until the cheese is just melted but has not begun to separate or look greasy, about 5 more minutes. Sprinkle with the crumbled oregano and serve without a moment's hesitation, accompanied by the warm tortillas.

Copyright 2000, Rick Bayless, Mexico One Plate At A Time, Scribner

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

My Beloved Big Bowl

My time in Chicago is coming to an end and I am expecting to gain about 20 pounds in the next 10 days trying to squeeze in every restaurant, dish and cocktail that I love before I go. Avec will surely be a stop, as will Shaw's, the Crepe Palace, my dive Mexican joint Angelas, and today's stop, Big Bowl. Ahh, Big Bowl. How I love their peanut sauce.

I have been a loyal patron of Big Bowl since it opened it's doors. I even waited tables there for a summer when I was still in college. Over the years, many of my favorite dishes have come and gone but the peanut sauce has always remained. Thank goodness!

There is no question that I love Thai food and that eventually I will travel that part of the globe and eat my way through it. According to the definition in Wikipedia, Thai Cuisine is known for its balance of five fundamental flavors in each dish or the overall meal - hot (spicy), sour, sweet, salty and bitter. The flavors are there indeed, but what I love about the food is its textures and its lightness. Much like sushi, you can pound a huge Thai dinner but still walk away without having to unbuckle your belt.

Bruce Cost and Matt McMillin wrote the restaurant's cookbook and I highly suggest you get your hands on it. The recipes are complex but worth a shot. If you dine there, don't miss out on the summer rolls. They are my favorite.


Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Bacon Brings People Together

I admit, I couldn't let this moment go undocumented. As most frequent "Bacon" visitors know, Chuck Shaw and Missy have each contributed a mountain of culinary input to this blog. However, what many don't know is that a mutual friendship was formed further supporting the notion that food really does "bring people together." I am happy to state that as a consequence of my graduation brunch, Missy and Chuck were (finally) able to meet in person. Thank you both for making Sunday a special day for me and my family and to all contributors who have fueled my growing obsession with food and expanding waistline.


Monday, May 19, 2008


to Bonnie and Marvin for an unbelievably delicious brunch, which I'll let Liz post about, and thanks to Liz and the Shaws for a tasty seafood extravaganza, and thanks to Catherine for tasty brews at B.L.U.E.S., and thanks to Drew for being a smarty pants and making us all proud. Yesterday was a delicious day.

Celebration @ North Pond- Part 3

Chocolate-coffee-banana mousse cake, caramelized bananas, chocolate tuile, chocolate sorbet White chocolate cheesecake, shortbread crust, early season cherry compote


Celebration @ North Pond- Part 2

Grilled black pepper hanger steak, roasted farro, asparagus, balsamic glaze, crisp shallots
Prosciutto-comte cheese panini sandwich, fingerling potato chips, watercress-apple salad ( I had this and it was good but the bread was tough. You could recreate this easily at home. Much like a croque monsieur)


Korean Short Ribs

Made these last week with some sesame noodles I'll write about later. These are great for summer because they're really, really quick on the grill, and it's kinda hard to mess up short ribs. Oh, and cause they're freaking delicious.

sweet soy-grilled short ribs

Steven Raichlen, via epicurious. photo from bon appetit

Prep: At least 1 hour for marinating the ribs

Servings: Theoretically, this makes 4 servings, but when I sent S. to the butcher, apparently he was feeling really hungry cause he came back with twice as many ribs as I needed, so I doubled the marinade, and I think then it actually was 4 servings. 3 pounds of short ribs is mostly bone.

Ribbing: This calls for cross cut flanken short ribs, which means they're cut um, across the bone, not parallel to them. I get mine from Peoria Packing Company.*
Grilling: I put WAY too many coals on the fire, so my grill was blazing hot, which meant I really had to move these around a lot so they didn't burn, but the marinade really does turn into a tasty, charry crust.

1 cup sugar
3/4 cup Chinese oyster sauce
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup sake, Chinese rice wine, or dry sherry (i used sake cause I had some that someone had given me as a gift. )
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 piece (1 inch) peeled fresh ginger, minced (is it just me, or is ginger the most annoying thing EVER to grate or mince? There must be a trick I'm missing, or nobody would ever use the stuff)
2 scallions, white parts minced, green parts thinly sliced
About 3 pounds bone-in individual beef short ribs, cut crosswise into 1/2-inch-wide pieces (I think you could have them cut much thicker. I had mine cross cut to this size and they were kinda wimpy)

1. Place the sugar, oyster sauce, soy sauce, sake, garlic, ginger, and scallion whites in a large, nonreactive mixing bowl and whisk to mix. Stir in the short ribs. Cover the bowl and let the ribs marinate in the refrigerator for 1 to 2 hours.

2. Set up the grill for direct grilling and preheat to high.

3. When ready to cook, brush and oil the grill grate. (yeah, naturally, i forgot this step) Place the short ribs on the grate and grill until sizzling and darkly browned on the outside and cooked to taste, 3 to 4 minutes per side for medium. Be careful, because the sugary glaze is gonna make the fire flare up, so you really want to watch them.

4. Transfer the ribs to a platter or plates, sprinkle the scallion greens on top, and enjoy your meat-ing.
*Totally random tangent: This place is so awesome. First of all, it's basically a giant meat locker. You walk in and there's just huge metal tables full of meat. Their quality is great, and the prices are unreal. I got 16 pounds (!) of short ribs for a New Years feast with 13 people, and I think it cost me, like, $15. You can get a ribeye for like, $3. Oh, and if you happen to be looking for a 3 foot square sheet of tripe or half a pigs head, they have that too. Make sure you wear a coat, cause it's freezing in there. It's at 1300 W. Lake, at Lake and Elizabeth.


Celebration @ North Pond- Part 1

We had a wonderful celebration brunch for my boyfriend's law school graduation this weekend. We love North Pond and the food and view of the city did not disappoint. Here are photos of the first course menu items...
Poached farm egg, crisp taragna polenta, stout bratwurst medallions, mustard cream, mizuna (both my dad and I had this and LOVED it)
Creamless sweet onion veloute soup, warm peekytoe crab salad, english peas
Cirtus french toast, glazed baby back rib, strawberry-rhubard compote, spiced pecans, cream


Friday, May 16, 2008

Crab Cakes with Creamy Caper Sauce

Whenever I go to Shaw's Crab House for lunch, I always get the crab cake and caesar salad combo. I love crab cakes, especially when they are drenched in lemon juice. Here's a recipe from Epicurious so you can make some for yourself at home.

Crab Cakes with Creamy Caper Sauce

1 cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup drained capers, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
1/2 cup chopped fresh chives

Crab Cakes
1 1/2 pounds crabmeat
1 cup plus 2 1/2 cups fresh breadcrumbs
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
1/4 cup spicy brown mustard
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1 large egg, beaten to blend
2 teaspoons Old Bay seasoning
1/2 cup or more vegetable oil (for frying)
Preparationfor caper sauce: Whisk all ingredients in medium bowl. (Can be made 2 days ahead. Cover and refrigerate.)

For crab cakes: Combine crabmeat, 1 cup breadcrumbs, and next five ingredients in large bowl. Spread 2 1/2 cups breadcrumbs on rimmed baking sheet. Using 1/4-cup capacity ice-cream scoop, form crab mixture into 24 small balls. Flatten slightly. Coat crab cakes in breadcrumbs, transfer to another baking sheet. Cover and refrigerate at least 2 hours and up to 1 day.
Heat 1/2 cup oil in heavy large skillet over medium-high heat. Working in batches, fry crab cakes until brown, adding more oil to skillet as needed, about 4 minutes per side. Transfer 2 crab cakes to each of 12 plates. Serve, passing caper sauce alongside.


Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Chicago's 'Best' Rotisserie Chicken

One of the great things about starting this blog has been some of the people that I have met. People that are just as passionate (if not more) as I am about food, wine, cooking, dining and entertaining. Two of my favorite new friends are brothers and we email each other all the time. I have begged them both to post but email is easier to send along and faster. So, I thought I'd post a recent recommendation for Chicago's 'Best' Rotisserie Chicken so you can get a little taste of our foodie friendship...

"did i send you the info on semiramis? if not, get the rotisserie chicken to go. honestly, i know it is a blah dish, but it came highly recommended from a wine distributor friend of mine. i finally went there, and it was something special. little, byob spot with insane rotisserie and keftah. rotisserie chicken: Semiramis on 4639 N. Kedzie. seriously, this was one of the best rotisserie chickens ever. if you get it to go they wrap it up in a huge piece of pita (lavash) like a little chicken in a blanket. if you get it there then it's on a bed of hummus. keftah sandwich's are insane. restaurant is byob, and a nice little place. if you order the chicken after 7:30ish they will be out of it!!"


Monday, May 12, 2008


When I think summer and BBQ, I think coleslaw. Even though it is yet to get warm in Arctic Chicago, I have been grilling at home on my stove top grill pan and serving coleslaw on the side. It's refreshing, cold and crunchy and the best accompaniment to the bold flavors of BBQ. Store bought is good, too and it runs pretty cheap. My butcher makes a great coleslaw but I often make my own for larger parties. There are a lot of different recipes for coleslaw so feel free to play around and tweak the recipe to your liking. This is just a classic base recipe to get you started.

1/2 head cabbage small
1 each carrot small
1 tablespoon fresh parsley finely chopped
2 each scallions (optional) finely chopped
1 each celery seed sprinkling, light
1 each salt sprinkling, to taste
1 each black pepper grindings, to taste
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
3 tablespoons mayonnaise
2 tablespoons half and half

Remove outer leaves of cabbage, core, and shred in 1/8 to 1/4 inch wide shreds with knife.

Peel and trim carrot. Grate on coarse side of grater. Combine with cabbage.

Sprinkle celery seed, salt, black pepper, and granulated sugar over cabbage mixture, tossing with fork to combine.

Sprinkle vinegar over mixture and toss again to mix.

Add mayonnaise and toss to mix.

Add half and half and toss to mix.

Turn slaw into covered storage container and refrigerate at least an hour or up to six hours before serving.


Sunday, May 11, 2008

A Tribute to Le Gruyere

Costco fruits and cheeses have been an enjoyable part of my diet lately, and I have particularly appreciated the hard cheeses from Gruyere, Switzerland. I was surprised to learn that this versatile cheese has won so many awards for quality. In fact, there are those who think it is the world's best cheese.

This is just my singing the praises of Gruyere which can be found at Costco, but especially Le Gruyere Premier Cru which I have discovered at Convito Italiano in the Plaza Del Lago. The following is from Wikipedia of all places, but I think it's an OK source here. The weak Dollar vs the Euro has made them a little dear now though.

How to use Gruyère

Gruyère is generally known as one of the finest cheeses for baking, having a distinctive but not overpowering taste. In quiche, Gruyère adds savoriness without overshadowing the other ingredients. It is a good melting cheese [1], so particularly suited for fondues, along with Vacherin and Emmental. It is also traditionally used in French onion soup, as well as in Croque Monsieur, a classic French toasted ham and cheese sandwich. It is a fine table cheese, and when grated, it is often used with salads and pastas. It is used, grated, atop Le Tourin, a type of garlic soup from France which is served on dried bread.

Le Gruyère Premier Cru

Le Gruyère Premier Cru is a special variety, produced and matured exclusively in the canton of Fribourg and matured for 14 months in humid caves with a humidity of 95% and a temperature of 13.5° Celsius
It is the only cheese that has won the title of best cheese of the world at the World Cheese Awards in London three times: in 1992, 2002 and 2005. (The Independent England, 16 March 2005)


Friday, May 9, 2008


I am so excited to share with everyone that I am moving home to Napa Valley for the summer. You can expect A LOT more posts about food and wine and I will try to cook almost everyday. After 7 years in advertising and marketing, I have decided to go back to my roots and follow my passion of food and wine. This summer, I am shooting to work in a tasting room and spend quality time with my family. In September, Drew and I will be moving to San Francisco full-time. If anybody has any great ideas for me please let me know! This blog is going to get so much better so just wait a couple weeks.

P.S. Drew and i are going to our fav, Bistro Campagne tonight...

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Cinco de Mayo Celebration

Friday night we had our friends over for a casual (hence paper plates) Mexican dinner in celebration of Cinco de Mayo tomorrow. You don't need a holiday to make Mexican food. In fact, we cook it all the time. I've never met someone that doesn't like it. Seriously, what's not to like?

I love chorizo. I mean really love it. It's always in my fridge and it winds up in breakfast almost every weekend. So I always make my tacos with 1 part ground beef and 1 part chorizo. My secret ingredient (well, not secret anymore) is Sriracha sauce. Sriracha is a spicy chili sauce that is often found in specialty markets in the thai/asian food section. I add a little at the very end and it gives the mixture some kick and really brings out the chorizo flavor while not overpowering it. I also strain the meat before I add the sauce because chorizo is very oily and it helps keep the taco light, crispy and not messy. These tacos are damn good and the citrus side salad isn't too shabby either.

Taco's Shaw Style
Makes 4 servings

1/2 pound chorizo
1/2 pound ground beef
1 sweet onion
1 1/2 tablespoons cumin
1 1/2 tablespoons Sriracha hot chili sauce
salt and pepper
8-12 Hard taco shells
Shredded cheese (pre-shreded from store works great)
Romaine lettuce, washed and chopped
Sour cream for serving

Add onion, beef and chorizo to a pan and cook on medium heat, about 8 minutes, Quickly put mixture in a strainer and strain oil. Wipe pan and add mixture back to pan on same temperature. Put taco shells on cookie sheets and warm at 300 degrees for 4 minutes. Add cumin and Sriracha sauce. Stir to coat.

Spoon meet mixture on tacos and layer with cheese and chopped lettuce. Serve sour cream on the side.

Shaw's Citrus Fiesta Salad
3/4 cup corn, drained and rinsed
3/4 cup black beans, drained and rinsed
3/4 cup jicama, peeled and chopped
1 bunch of cilantro, minced
1 lemon, juice
1 lime, juice
3/4 cup halved cherry tomatoes
salt and pepper
1 avocado, cubed
1 jalapeno, seeds removed and diced

Mix all ingredients in a bowl. Add lemon and lime juice. Toss to coat. Place in fridge for 20 minutes. Serve cold over romaine lettuce leaf. Season with salt and pepper. Some people eat as a wrap or eat like a salad.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Fennel and Potato Gratin

This is a very light and healthy way to cook potatoes and they are surprisingly flavorful. I have made them three times now in the last couple of weeks and find that it is a foolproof recipe. Fennel is in season right now in California, a little earlier than normal. If you drive to Stinson Beach, you will find it growing wild on Highway One. The last time I made it, we pulled over and harvested some fennel right outside the Stinson Beach Fire Station.

Fennel & Potato Gratin

5 garlic cloves
1.5 lbs of fennel stocks and base - sliced thinly, some leafage is okay to use as well for texture, but don't use too much of it because it tends to wilt
4 tablespoons of olive oil (add more if you'd like, but this seemed to be enough for me)
1.5 lbs or so bag of red potatoes or fingerling potatoes, sliced thinly
Salt & Pepper

Sautee the garlic and fennel in the olive oil, salt and pepper until softened, about 4-5 minutes on medium/low heat. Add the thinly sliced potatoes and increase the heat to brown the potatoes a little bit. Put all of this into a glass pan and bake at 400 degree for 20 minutes covered in tin foil. If you want it crispier, take off the tin foil and bake it for 3-4 minutes longer, but you don't want it to dry out too much. I've been making this with roasted chicken and they really compliment each other. Roasted chicken with a little bit of these potatoes makes the perfect bite! Light, fresh and delicious!


If you do not like brussell sprouts, you need to go to SPQR and try their fried version of this dreaded veggie. You will be a born again Brussell Sprout Eater, a convert, a devoted fan. These chopped up miniature cabbages are the talk of the town and rightly so. SPQR is a new Roman Italian Restaurant on Fillmore. Check it out if you are in the foggy city, and sit at the bar - they don't take reservations and the wait for a table can be more than an hour.


Friday, May 2, 2008

Food & Wine's Go List

Check out the 2008 'Go List' from Food & Wine magazine. Way to go Chicago and San Fran!

Craigie Street Bistrot
Hamersley’s Bistro
La Verdad Taqueria
Myers + Chang
No. 9 Park
O Ya
Custom House
Frontera Grill Web Exclusive
The Gage
Sepia Web Exclusive
Table Fifty-Two
12th Avenue Grill
Alan Wong’s
Chef Mavro
Uncle’s Fish Market & Grill
B&B Ristorante
Las Vegas
Bubbles Bar at Guy Savoy
Las Vegas
Payard Patisserie and Bistro
Las Vegas
Simon at Palms Place
Las Vegas
Las Vegas
Strip House
Las Vegas
Wing Lei
Las Vegas
Los Angeles
Los Angeles
Los Angeles
Comme Ça
Los Angeles
Los Angeles
The Hungry Cat
Los Angeles
Jin Patisserie Web Exclusive
Los Angeles
La Terza
Los Angeles
Osteria Mozza
Los Angeles
Los Angeles
Los Angeles
Los Angeles
V-Vinbar at Valentino
Los Angeles
Hiro's Yakko-San
Islas Canarias
The Mahogany Grille
Michael’s Genuine Food & Drink
Palme d’Or
Bazaar Web Exclusive
Cosmo Web Exclusive
Kitchen Galerie
Les Cons Servent
Liverpool House
Wilensky’s Light Lunch Web Exclusive
Napa Valley
Napa Valley
Napa Valley
New Orleans
New Orleans
New Orleans
New Orleans
New Orleans
Parkway Bakery & Tavern
New Orleans
New Orleans
Rio Mar
New Orleans
New York
Café Boulud
New York
New York
New York
Gramercy Tavern
New York
Jean Georges
New York
New York
New York
Market Table
New York
New York
New York
Tía Pol
New York
Andreoli Italian Grocer Web Exclusive
Phoenix / Scottsdale
Pizzeria Bianco
Phoenix / Scottsdale
Phoenix / Scottsdale
Radio Milano Web Exclusive
Phoenix / Scottsdale
Phoenix / Scottsdale
Sea Saw
Phoenix / Scottsdale
Stax Burger Bistro
Phoenix / Scottsdale
Yasu Sushi Bistro
Phoenix / Scottsdale
Puerto Rico
El Toro Salao
Puerto Rico
San Francisco
The Alembic
San Francisco
San Francisco
San Francisco
Hog Island Oyster Company
San Francisco
J Lounge at Jardinière
San Francisco
San Francisco
San Francisco
San Francisco
San Francisco
Zuni Café
San Francisco
C5 Restaurant Lounge
Colborne Lane
Vertical Web Exclusive
Aurora Bistro
Blue Water Cafe and Raw Bar
Italian Kitchen Web Exclusive
Legendary Noodle
Yew Restaurant and Bar Web Exclusive


Oh my god, I'm back.

I know, it's been a long time. I've been hiding out post break-up. You know how it goes. But I have now found myself a new dinner partner, and have resumed eating my way through the city, and I wanted to tell you guys about these two tasty restaurants we've been to lately. We'll go with the better one first.

First off is Sola, of "dale from top chef used to work here" fame. It's technically on Byron, just west of Lincoln. It's contemporary american with an asian/hawaiian tilt, and they have a really great beer list. Our waitress might have been the cutest thing ever, too. We started with the Tuna poke, which was hawaiian big eye with avocado, sushi rice, soy syrup, and wasabi oil. It was ridiculously good, it's very reminiscent of the tuna tartare at Naha, if you've been there. But watch out for the stripes of wasabi oil on the plate if you don't like spice, I thought S. was going to die. I had the fish special, which for the life of me i can't remember what it was, most likely halibut, since that's my favorite. I do remember I basically inhaled it. S. had the flatiron steak with grilled asparagus, baked mushrooms, leeks, and sake miso bordelaise. It was fantastic, too. Overall, the place is adorable, the service and the food was great, and I'd totally go back. You should too.

Up next is Chalkboard in Lincoln Square. I'm having a bit of a Lincoln Square fetish lately, and I actually wanted to go to Tallulah, which is new up there, but they were booked. Luckily Chalkboard had a cancellation. It's a tiny little space, with a rotating seasonal menu which our server literally read word for word to us. Um, dude? It's all written on those big ass chalkboards on the wall. Get me a glass of wine and shut the hell up. (To be fair, he was really nice. Just a little over-exuberent.) We started with psycho-server's reccomendation of the seared dry pack scallops with sugar cured kalamata olives, vanilla bean "mayo", pumpkin oil, sage and roasted walnuts. Oh, my god. Maybe he was excited about the menu for a reason, cause these were insane. For dinner, I had the duck cassoulet. The confit of thigh, chorizo, white bean, and mushroom on the bottom was so, so, so good. The roasted breast on the top was tasty but it was a little rare for me, and I usually like things barely dead. S. had the special of Kobe London Broil with shiitake purée and baby vegetables, which was really good, but he was still hungry afterwards. But this is someone who could most likely eat a small horse, so that's not really a judge of portion size. I was perfectly full. All in all, it was a really tasty meal, and a super cute space. I hear they have a really good brunch, too, which I'd like to try, but I'm probably not dying to go back for dinner. It's only okay.
Off to Avec tomorrow night, which you've already heard of from Liz. See you all later.