Category Archives: ..and more

Cooking on WGN News!

Well, I was a bundle of nerves, but had a blast doing this demo live of Chef Haidar Karoum’s (of Estadio in Washington, DC) torrijas WGN for Plate’s upcoming Spain issue. I loove me some French toast, especially when soaked in cinnamon, cloves, star anise and sherry! Click the link below to watch the segment, and tell me you don’t even notice the bread breaking…haha
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http://wgntv.com/2013/07/29/lunchbreak-chef-haidar-karoums-torrijas/

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En Hakkore

The En Hakkore sign

The En Hakkore sign


My first experience with En Hakkore, a new Korean restaurant in Bucktown, was straight from a styrofoam box. My friend had gotten carry-out from there and invited me to help her dig into the bibimbap bowl bursting with colorful, fresh vegetables, a rainbow of roe, and juicy bulgogi. Not only was I happy that I no longer had to schlep up to Cho Sun Ok for an authentic taste of Korean BBQ, but I couldn’t wait to go and see for myself what brilliant kitchen whipped up this healthy bowl of vegetables. I gathered some friends expecting a cramped, sit-down spot filled with grease-covered grills, vents and surly servers, but En Hakkore is quite the opposite. It’s an order-at-the-counter kind of place, no booze, with a somewhat limited, but delicious menu of bibimbap, pork belly paninis, sushi rolls and the most ridiculous taco you’ve ever had.
But first the bowls. Literally bursting with over a dozen vegetables (think romaine, cabbage, cilantro, carrots, peppers, and more) serve as the base, while rice, hard-boiled eggs small mountains of tobiko, and a choice of Korean BBQ or pork spiced up with Korean hot sauce are just a few options.
A bevy of color in every bowl

A bevy of color in every bowl


The bowls were fresh, light and very easily sharable (3 of us couldn’t finish 2 bowls!), but the paratha tacos took my heart. I am not the first to gush, but these are so worth the praise. Grilled Indian flatbread wraps around juicy pieces of Korean beef, scallions, cilantro, pickled daikon, lettuce, Korean chile paste and spicy mayo, which pulls all the flavor together. There are plenty of delicious tacos around town, but the sweet, dense-but-bubbly flat bread takes these tacos into obsession mode.
En Hakkore tacos

En Hakkore tacos


En Hakkore, 1840 N. Damen

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Schooled in croissants at Baker & Nosh

Croissants made by moi

Croissants made by moi


I used to be a croissant junkie. I had to give it up when, well, having them for breakfast made me want to take a nap by 10AM, and frankly I couldn’t find any decent ones around town. So when I was invited to do a croissant baking class at Baker & Nosh in Uptown, I jumped at the chance not only because it’s always been a mystery to me how one achieves the perfectly flaky, buttery texture of the French delicacy, and it had been so damn long since I’d had one, I was ready to dive in and learn. The adorable cafe and bakery started offering bread and croissant classes on Monday and Tuesday evenings last year, with pastry chef/owner Bill Millholland leading the buttery, doughy foray into perfectly golden croissants, baguettes and more. Four-to-six students gather around a large wooden table in the back of the cafe, and immediately jump into into mixing and rolling of the dough and butter (an entire, um, pound per batch), in multiple steps that involve rolling, folding, rolling again, flour dusting, folding, rolling, folding repeat. Feeling and rolling the dough gave my laptop-weary fingers a nice respite, even though I learned that my rolling pin maneuvering left little to be desired. Eventually we learned to cut, twist the dough into plain croissants, jam-filled, and used the scraps for pain au chocolat and cinnamon twists. Brushed with a little egg wash, Bill throws them in the oven and monitors the baking until a batch of a dozen golden flaky beauties emerge and are packaged up for you to wow your family or office, or hoard for yourself. Baker & Nosh, 1303 Wilson Ave.

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Culture fro-yo

Out of all the street trucks roaming around the city, I think I have randomly seen the new Culture truck the most lately. And it’s a good thing because I miss Berry Chill something terrible and I am so glad the tangy, citrus-y fro-yo is back with the same yogurt chip, crushed Oreo, carob chip-topped loveliness. So it’s not as good as holding court on State Street, but at least this truck makes its rounds. Speaking of food trucks, I feel like I spot a new one every day (I saw the tamale guy’s today!), but does anyone remember Fan Si Pan spring rolls that used to occupy the Hoosier Mama space on Chicago Avenue? I would follow the shit out of it if they ever returned on four wheels to doll out fresh spring rolls, honeydew-melon juices and Vietnamese bahn mi..

Fro-yo on wheels

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Peeled Juice Bar

The real Peeled


I’ve never experienced juice bar cravings until I went to Peeled. And I have a feeling those cravings are going to be kicking in especially hard later this week after I’m two or three boozy days into the Tales of the Cocktail conference in New Orleans. I love fresh fruit and vegetable juices, but sometimes find it hard to justify the cost for the small portions at some juice bars around town, and frankly can’t deal with Jamba Juice’s orange and purple sugar explosion in a cup (OK, I haven’t stepped foot in a Jamba for years, but I picture 15 different kinds of sugary sweet OJ). But when I tried Peeled post-workout one day, I knew it would be become a regular spot. What I love most about the place, besides the raw, made to order juices, are the drink combinations themselves, pink Himalayan sea salt and avocado tone down kale, parsley and other greens in the Green Day Live (embarrassing to order, but fresh, healthy and energy-inducing), and you can hardly taste the kale in the Rapper’s Delight, with mango, almond butter, coconut milk, agave and cinnamon. I also love the Berry Bonds if you’re not in a greens mood; berries, bananas, coconut water and blue-green algae. I have yet to try the Greenpeace with mango, cucumber, coconut water, cilantro and lime, or all of the breakfast smoothies, which are spiked with things like flax meal, hemp protein powder and raw oats. Of course they have simple juices (like beet, apple and ginger), booster shots (a convincing friend got me to pound a “Status Update” shot with ginger, lemon, chlorophyll, wheatgrass and a dash of cayenne and I actually could’ve had a whole glass), and a popular juice cleanse. I will say that each labor-intensive drink can take a while, so don’t go if you’re in a rush, and be aware that the closest parking spot seems to be right outside of Joe’s on Weed around the corner, but it’s all more than worth it for healthy goodness served straight-up. Peeled, 1571 N. Sheffield Ave.

Inside Peeled


Wheatgrass, if you are so inclined


The Berry Bonds

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Searching for….pickles in pouches?

In about a month, this caloric little food blog will turn 3. I got to hand it to wordpress for offering up all kinds of interesting stats along the way, from blog hits to incoming links, and sometimes, the most fun of all…the random search terms that led people here. I can’t really judge the person who googled “pickle in a pouch” or “clear jello” as those very topics were covered in some capacity on my blog. But it’s still fun to see how they found me…more from the search engine stats…

A surprising number of people are very curious about the calories in Molly’s Cupcakes. They were out of luck when the came upon this, but I mean..at this level of decadence, what’s an extra ass cheek?

People wanted to find out more about tiny Japanese food toys, dining pods and whipped cream logs (no idea)..and an unexpectedly high number of google searchers wanted to know how long it took to make a Peep. I mean, has anyone really attempted this? Holla back and tell me if you have!

The most searched term (besides the blog name-ranging from eliza bites to elizabytes) was Hot Doug’s..the least? Jello moulds (sadly, 5 people spelled it that way).

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Dose Market

When I first heard of the idea of the Dose Market, a monthly European-style market of local fashion and foodie finds, I thought of the Brooklyn Flea and other NYC markets I’ve been lucky enough to stumble upon. I looove covering local artisan confectioners, roasters, chocolatiers, jam, syrup and preserves gurus, tea companies and other tiny companies started by one or two people that simply had to find a way to jar, can or serve up their culinary passion, and I’m all for getting them together in one place (get your next Dose July 10). I couldn’t wait to check out the yesterday’s kick-off event, where companies like Rare Tea Cellar, Truffle Truffle, Rare Bird Preserves, Sofia Vintage, Seedling Fruit, Chicago Honey Co-Op, Suitor, Sprout, Blis, and dozens of others took to a table with their wares…from which I scored a jar of Rare Bird preserves and bottle of Blis Tahitian vanilla maple syrup (try it drizzed over strawberries and chocolate ice cream)..a few pics of other favorites spotted below…Dose Market, River East Arts Center, 435 E. Illinois

Truffle Truffle's I love Chicago truffles made with Half Acre beer, Metropolis coffee and Spice house spices


Rare Tea Cellar


Snookelfritz ice cream by pastry chef extraordinaire, Nancy Silver


Toscano to sample from Old Town Social


Rare Bird Preserves


Sprout Home city gardening haven


Sno Jo Syrups and a kick-ass Japanese sno-cone maker


Blis syrups

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