Thursday, March 31, 2011



guess who got a little cheaper on us. that's right, grahamwich! our boy, graham elliot has made some changes. starting from the standard of all sandwiches priced at $10 to now ranging from $7 - $10 of which 6 of those are new to the menu! additionally, while the large $5 serving size is still around for the side options, now there is a $3 portion size available. i don't know how they are doing this but word on the street is that more seating is available which is great because it can get easily crowded during the lunch rush. catering and delivery is now being offered which is big especially for those interested in ordering for their corporate office events.

i blogged about them here weeks ago. the experience was quite impressing but with all these upgrades, i'm certainly planning my next visit much sooner than later.

menu goes into effect april 1st. i doubt it but i can't help to think if this whole revamp is an april fools joke! hope not.

celebrity cooks




Wow these ladies' are on the move...and have moved right into the kitchen! All books available via amazon.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

what i had to drink wednesday: starbucks


officially addicted: starbucks iced coffee with milk, sweetened. i had no idea that starbucks actually sweetens your drink by request. is this a new service or am i just absolutely out of the loop? this will probably be one of my favorite drinks for the summer! by the way, i'm still getting used to the new logo in the store, on the cup, etc. i kinda like/miss the old logo already.

see some facts you may or may not know about starbucks click here

what will be your go to drink this summer?

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

trader day tuesday


all i have to say is that when you're at trader's you should give this a try. very tender & juicy filet of sole with wholesome butter beans and sauteed spinach. i had this for lunch and it was seasoned absolutely perfect. it also unbelievably held me throughout the afternoon. buy it.

Monday, March 28, 2011

monday madness

carrot souffle2

relax from all of what the beginning of the week can bring by making this carrot souffle recipe:

1 1/2 pounds peeled carrots (about 9 medium)
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
1/3 cup high-gluten or bread flour
4 eggs
1/2 cup (1 stick) melted margarine or butter
1 tablespoon confectioners' sugar

Steam carrots until extra soft, about 30 minutes in a steamer basket set over boiling water. (You may do this in a microwave, placing the whole carrots in a covered container with about 1/4 cup water; cook on high about 10 minutes, or as your microwave instructions dictate.) Drain well.

While the carrots are still warm, transfer to large bowl of an electric mixer and add granulated sugar, baking powder, vanilla and flour. Beat slowly until carrots mash, then increase speed to medium and beat 3 minutes, or until very smooth.

With the mixer on low, add the eggs one at a time, beating after each addition. Gradually add the melted margarine.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 1 1/2-quart casserole or a deep, 9-inch round pan lightly with vegetable oil. Spoon in the carrot mixture. (The mixture will rise, so pan should not be more than half full.)

Bake about 1 1/2 hours, or until the top is a light golden brown. Sprinkle lightly with confectioners' sugar and serve immediately. (The souffle will fall after being taken out of the oven)

carrot piece1

now go make you a batch double the recipe if you can and let me know how fantastic you love this! I kidd you not..this side dish right here is LIFE CHANGING!!

Saturday, March 26, 2011

all about anderson

andersonville sign

welcome to andersonville. come as I take you through a day filled with food, fun, and shopping!


first stop: brunch at big jones. my homegirl knew what she was ordering when we walked through the doors; however, indecisive me thought i had it all figured out from looking at the menu the nite before. there were plenty of surprises that didn't make the cut that were featured on the restaurant menu versus the menu online. decisions, decisions i say.


after finally choosing what i was going to brunch out on, we placed our orders. as we were awaiting our entrees, we were greeted with a plate of powdery, complimentary, beignets. yesssss, complimentary! who does that, right?! i'm here to tell you big jones does. it's their 'bread basket.' normally, they are all you can stand to eat, but we found out the hard way that you really are allotted 1 plate. specifically when they are slammed. blaaaaah

2011-03-26_11-42-22_195 enters the main course. j ordered her fave- eggs new orleans. boasting with poached eggs, crab cakes, popovers, bearnaise sauce, and green pepper hashbrowns. i was able to sample and i gotta say, what a nice balance of textures. i assumed that the egg would be too runny as they were poached which could cause eventual sogginess. not the case at all. it was just pure deliciousness!


oh behold, the fish and grits. now these are not just your typical fish and grits. what we have here is rushing water trout battered in a coat of golden brown cornmeal perfection, cheddar cheese grits, scrambled eggs, and a buttery cornbread biscuit filled with corn kernals. it was just a matter of time when we made our way down to what would be the clear visual of our clean plates.


after chatting for a while, and letting our food settle, we decided to walk it off a bit by perusing through town. we made our way into a thrift store:


there were treasures in every angle of this place. the owner shared with me that they had been open for 16 years. i'm not even sure what the name of this store is. i did pick up a very classic, can have forever, piece of outerwear. all that will have to be in explained in another post.


next up we made a stop at the middle eastern grocery store. look at all the fresh baklava spilling off the shelves! well, not exactly spilling, but there's just a ton to choose from here including chocolate covered baklava. they also had plenty of fresh kalamata olives, and pita bread on sale by the pound.


what's a saturday without having something sweet?! eventually, we made our way back into the city and we of course, had to make a pit stop at sweet mandy b's. have you ever been? if not, you need to stop reading this and head there. now. i mean as soon as you walk into this whimsical space of a bakery, you are hypnotized by what seems to be the smell of fresh sugar, caramel, and homemade cake batter. instead of buying the entire inventory of baked goods, j ended up with a few snickerdoodle and chocolate chip cookies. i ended up with a caramel apple piece of cake and a red velvet cupcake to save for later.


take 2: here it is up, close, and personal just in case you couldn't see how good this actually looked in the first place ;-)


are you still there or did you head to andersonville or to the bakery? i wouldn't blame you one bit. but as you can see, this area is perfect for dining and shopping. there's some outdoor benches you can take advantage of during the summer months if you just want to sip on your fave coffee drink and people watch. if you go to big jones, you'll have to let me know how you liked it. if you try another restaurant around, please do share your opinion in the comments. until next time, cheers.

Friday, March 25, 2011

it's fried day

-david lebovitz is in town. did anyone go to his book(s) signing at the allegro hotel this past thursday evening?
-magnolia bakery is coming to chicago! they plan on opening in block 37 this coming june. now we can reminisce and role play scenes from sex and the city with our homegirls while noshing on cupcakes.
-it's almost april and it's still cold in chicago. can someone explain why this is so?
-heading to andersonville this weekend. highlights to come..
-bulls win- wooohooo! as if you didn't know this already...they are currently ranked #1 in the eastern conference. also, playoff tickets went on sale thursday. and now they're almost sold out. womp.

what do you have planned this weekend?

Thursday, March 24, 2011

top places to eat near 5 shopping centers in chicago


orland square mall: hamada of japan, portillo's, & cooper's hawk
-hamada of japan is not as close to orland square as the other listed suggestions; however, it's in the vicinity and worth the drive. like most habachi grills, they have those hours where they are closed between lunch/dinner. so be sure to call ahead for reservations.
-cooper's hawk has an excellent wine list. the food doesn't disappoint either. go here after you've done your shopping. you'll leave feeling quite relaxed and ready to go home to put your feet up.

oakbrook mall: mcdonald's (note: this is the freshest mcdonald's ever. across the street from thier corporate offices probably explains that)

-labriola has excellent bread of course. anything on the menu including the pizza are hard to pass up. the desserts are amaze. don't leave without a cup of their homemade gelato. mmm mmm good.
-sweet tomatoes is an all you can eat salad buffet. it's always fresh, consistent, and they keep the spread served up and ready for you to come back for seconds. they promote coupons so be sure to sign up on the site or check your local paper.

water tower center: bandera & grand lux cafe
-if you've eaten at houston's and loved it, you'll definitely like bandera. this place is basically houston's with the name bandera slapped on the front door. same ambiance, spinach dip, and luscious desserts.
-owned by the same company as the cheesecake factory, grand lux cafe is coming at you with a long list of drink selections, pages of entrees to choose, and desserts you should order 30 minutes in advance. appetizer to try is the asian nachos. get the beignets or the molten chocolate will not fail you. promise.

900 north michigan: goddess & grocer
-goddess & grocer is certainly a god in itself. the wraps are superb. if you're a veggie lover or want to become one, then you want to be sure to order the garden goddess wrap. there's something about those beets...they are either marinated or sun-dried. the bread, salads, fruit,, their everything- it's all spectacular. you will not go wrong with whatever you decide to order here. again, it's that good. thank me later.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

what i wish i could eat wednesday: di fara pizza

Di Fara's Regular pie--15 seconds from destiny

i have had this place on my radar since it first crossed my path while watching hit show the best thing i ever ate on the food network like months ago. woweee is all i kept saying as i kept myself from drooling over the tv while watching owner dom demarco create the perfect pie from start to finish. i think what got me was the fresh sliced basil and the drizzle of olive oil atop the finished product. open since 1965, new yorkers call it the best pizza hands down in the city. and i believe 'em. i mean the picture alone should be edible already! it's pizza paradise for crying out loud. the pie master, dom, uses some of the finest imported ingredients and him and his family are not stopping anytime soon. a matter of fact, they are spreading the melty cheese love out west opening this summer in good ole' las vegas. so the next time you're near brooklyn or slotting the machines in vegas, check them out.

di fara pizza
1424 avenue j
brooklyn, 11230

toasted marshmallow shake


recipe by chef spike mendelsohn
  • 1 bag jumbo marshmallows
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1 Tbsp. sour cream
  • 2 cups creamy vanilla ice cream

On a medium-size cookie sheet, place 1/2 bag of marshmallows in a row. Place under your burner in the oven for 2 to 3 minutes, until completely charred. Take out of oven and let cool. Repeat this step but only let the marshmallows toast, so they are slightly burnt. Take out of oven and let cool. In a blender, pour milk, sour cream, ice cream and charred marshmallows. Mix for 5 minutes. Pour in a large glass and top with 2 to 3 toasted marshmallows.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

chick-fil-a takes chicago


i am obsessed with chick-fil-a. i previously blogged here and here when they were opening their doors in the suburbs and in the downtown area of chicago. now i have even better news. i have the address to that downtown location! it's 30 e. chicago avenue. as mentioned a while back, they will be located near water tower place and they are gearing up to open their doors in may. so it's practically april and may will be here before you know it. chicago will totally be eating more chicken and i absolutely can not wait...get excited!!

peanut butter cup

who knew this:


could become this:


with just 2 ingredients...yes, 2! picky palate is a genius...go here for the simple recipe!

trader day tuesday


look at this! all the faves at trader joe's found on a list and not throughout their aisles. that's a good idea actually- have a aisle dedicated to the best selling, highly favored items. makes me wonder would all the rest of the items throughout the store go stale. it would seem no one would shop the rest of the store because, well, everyone wants the best. and highly favored. then again, there are some pretty great runner up products, (i.e., simply the best trail mix, cinnamon sugar pita chips, lentil chips, mango tea, and the bourbon vanilla extract to name a few) and believe it or not, i'd find it kinda hard to just shop the favorite of all favorites aisle. what is your most favored favorite product at trader joe's? did it make the list?

Monday, March 21, 2011

chgo chef week


yes, it kicked off on sunday. this means a 3 course lunch for 22 and a 3 course dinner at 33. menus are prix fixe for both courses. there's a nice list of participants this year including sushisamba, big star, avec, hot chocolate, and big jones. go here to see the full shebang.





what's a weekend without a little mickey d's and red velvet cupcakes. oh, and say hello to spring for me! it was supposedly official yesterday. we'll see how she warms up to the midwest in the coming weeks. notice how i said 'she'...yes, spring is a girl...that's why she's so moody..cold one day, warm the next..then raining for a full week. um. yeah.

Friday, March 18, 2011

french fried day


happy friday! today kicks off the weekend when i eat whatever i want up until sunday early evening. i think this is a great way to balance off a week of eating healthy (or at least trying to) and being able to cheat for 2 days. i call it the 5/2 plan. how many of you out there do the same? come on...i know you're out there and like myself, you just don't give a darn. admit it. life's short so eat dessert first. with that said, here's some direction on where to channel that "i don't give a care it's the weekend and i can eat the whole world if i wanted to" energy:

head over to eat and take note of the 38 essential restaurants for 2011. you could eat at one of the selected locations this weekend and so on.

running errands this weekend? no problem! chase the hunger away by hauling down a food truck. there's the empanada truck, the mac-n-cheese truck, cupcakes, meatball sandwiches...i'm telling you- it's not about the ice cream being sold out of a truck these days. the list goes on and on and so can the line!

how about perfecting your crepe flipping skills? the chopping block is offering classes beginning next month; however, you may register now.

stop reading my blog right now and head over to the donut vault for the next 2 days and have yourself a couple of these bad boys. i won't tell anyone. as hard as you've worked this week, you deserve it.

have a fab weekend, y'all!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

random acts of foodisms

snowstorm breakfast
peninsula cookies

peninsula lunch


mexican salad
asian nachos


i was going through my camera earlier and thought i'd create a random post of eats that obviously were delicious and unfortunately forgotten about. you can tell that i have a love for hot chocolate & chai with whipped cream and nutmeg on top. heck, i can't help it..i have a sweet tooth. i've even developed an immense love for prosciutto. i mean where have you been all of my life and why have i always rejected you?? anyway, those weissella gingerbread cookies had a cake like texture and were just ok- they did, however, taste better dipped a few times in the hot chocolate. the sliced avocados layered atop all that mexican fare- well, that is from big star. the pumpkin pancake and waffle mix is a must try. no, of course i haven't tried it yet so i'm reminding myself and you that you have to try this. and yes, i hear it's delicious. has anyone made any of martha's cupcakes from that recipe book? by the way, those chocolate chip cookies were fabulous. they were compliments from the peninsula hotel and all you had to add was milk, butter, and i believe one egg. so good. they are also responsible for those plates pictured right below the cookies- yes, with the brioche french toast, pastries, and fruit salad. following comes the sliced homemade deep dish pizza, with tomato soup, and fresh green salad. speaking of salad, that mexican salad is ultimately, beyond words fabulous. try it. dip with lime tortilla chips. umph, i think you'll like it. breakfast was made my yours truly during the 2011 25 inch snowstorm here in chicago. i even stamped my initial signature on that one via the mug.

there you have it. all my gone but not forgotten random eats detailed in random order. cheers.

green day

green day

i went and looked at green waterfalls today for st. patti's. anyone go get a shamrock shuffle shake from mcdonalds or starbucks?

Wednesday, March 16, 2011


isn't it lovely to live in a city that has a ton of food options? isn't it lovely to indulge in the change of seasons and look forward to the amazing fruit that you can eat for the next 5 months or so? i mean all i can think about and look forward to is having a big wedge of watermelon for dinner after a long days work. but isn't it lovely when you stumble upon a bakery which is ever so called but what else: lovely [a bake shop]. we're talking s'mores pie, buttermilk scones, fruit jams, and homemade breakfast buttery crossiants loaded with egg and cheese. i mean really! can you tell that i'm already in love?! as if i need another reason other than shopping to head over to wicker park. i am totally gonna pay for this but i just can't help loving the fact that my stomach is gonna love me even more. cheers.

1130 north milwaukee; chicago


i used to hate chicken pot pie growing up. vegetables were so not my favorite back then. but certainly over time, i've grown to accept that i must eat them..or pretend to. i definitely don't mind eating them in a buttery pastry shell filled with chicken, broth gravy, and melt in your mouth green peas, carrots, and potatoes. can you eat chicken pot pie all year round? i sure hope so. however, as i think about it..there aren't any rules. i can eat it all year round if i wanted. that's how much i'm enjoying this supreme comfort food delight right now. if you're in chicago, check out hoosier mama for a slice of heaven or order online nationwide at harry and david.

what i wanna eat wednesday: kristoffer's cafe & bakery

have you ever had tres leches cake- i.e. 3 milk cake? love, love, love this stuff! i know this place isn't the prettiest but who cares when they supposedly have the best tres leches cake in chicago. not only can you get dessert here but you can stop in and grab yourself a sandwich for lunch or whenever as well. their hot chocolate with whipped cream isn't short stopping either. not to mention they have free wi-fi here. but then again, that's pretty common these days, right? can't believe i haven't been here yet. i see many trips to the gym in my future.

kristoffer's cafe & bakery
1733 s. halsted, chicago

Tuesday, March 15, 2011