Category Archives: ..and more

Peninsula 10th Anniversary

Chicago picked the right week to finally warm up. Not only did NoMi in the Park Hyatt kick off the post-Memorial Day week with a swank party for their reopening and redesign, but the Peninsula celebrated 10 years last night with a blow-out celebration throughout the hotel. From steamed bao, dumplings and spring rolls in Shanghai Terrace to a sushi and raw bar station on the Terrace and a caviar (oy, not kidding!) bar that we couldn’t really tear ourselves from, there was fabulous food everywhere we looked
… just a few highlights from the never-ending eats…

The Pen celebrates 10


Alaskan King Crab with trout roe


The spread at the caviar bar


More caviar for the tasting


The dessert spread begins


Double-stacked doughnuts


Fruit macaroons

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Test post

Discovered the nifty wordpress iphone app today! Giving it a try and photographing the killer pumpkin chocolate chip cookies I whipped up today.

20110507-043738.jpg

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Elizabites, AOL and other shout-out-age

It’s not easy to pick ONE favorite restaurant, brunch spot and date place in Chicago, but when AOL City’s Best wanted to profile the blog (yay!), I had to figure it out. A fun little Q & A, I was honored to be featured! Also this week, my foodie friend Kristain of passportdelicious.com blogged about our delish meal at Leopold a few weeks back. My photos didn’t turn out quite as well as hers, and I failed to order the cassoulet, but I did give a shout to the chocolate mousse on a previous visit. A former London dweller, Kristian is in the UK this week, catching all kinds of first-hand royal wedding hoopla, watch her international blog for what she’s eating across the pond too.

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Co-op Hot Sauce

My first dining experience at BYOB restaurant, Treat, in Logan Square was also officially my last. The laid-back restaurant shut its doors this past weekend after five successful years of serving up a Indian-inspired, global menu of dishes like chicken tikka masala, panko-crusted crabcakes, scallops and fall-off-the-bone Mint Creek Farm lamb chop to the neighborhood. I loved it.. I mean, where had it been all my life? More specifically the last five years when I never knew it was there. Alas, I did get to enjoy one of their last nights of dinner service with friends, when I was also introduced to another hidden local gem, Co-Op Hot Sauce. Seated next to me at the group table was the founder and hot-sauce “doctor” Mike Bancroft, who plunked down a bottle of original sauce when he sat down. While I have marveled at famous hot sauce collections before, I’ve never been a keep-the-fridge-stocked-with-Tabasco type, but I had to give the original, locally made, smoky formula a try, especially when a platter of golden, glistening fried calamari came to the table just waiting for a dousing. Turns out Co-Op was already used in a number of Treat recipes, but it was the smoky, dense and not too-spicy dipping sauce the calamari craved. Besides the original, Co-Op offers habañero spicy green or red jalapeño and other boldly flavored rubs and sauces made with ingredients grown in kid-run gardens on the West Side. And with proceeds going to help youth arts and community service initiatives in and around Humboldt Park, there’s no reason not to pick a bottle or three online, or watch for Co-Op at Whole Foods and Farmer’s Markets this summer.

Co-op hot sauce

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Jack Archer

Looking to dine locally in Chicago and beyond? Here’s a recent round-up of seasonal, locally focused faves I put together a few weeks back for sharp new fashion/pop/politics/music/lifestyle online magazine JackArcher.com.

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Ah, elotes…

Elotes at Num Pang, NYC


I found my new summer snack. Elotes, or grilled corn on the cob served on the streets in Mexico and slathered with condiments from butter to sour cream and salt. They had a Cambodian twist, but I fell in love with the grilled corn on the cob at Num Pang, a Union Square sandwich shop I’ve gushed over before. They serve theirs with chili mayo, coconut flakes, chili powder and a lime wedge. Then just this past weekend..

Elotes at Juicy

Elotes came into my life again, this time in Chicago at Juicy. Owner Chris Dunstatter was grilling some up for the holiday, and was kind enough to send us a sample, generously slathered with butter and chili powder. It was an awesome way to start the Memorial Day weekend..and a snack that hopefully makes their permanent menu. Num Pang, 21 E. 12th St. NYC; Juicy, 694 N. Milwaukee Ave., Chicago

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Sea salt brownies at Trader Joe’s

Sea salt brownies at Trader Joe's

I’m not sure if was “sea salt” or the word “brownie” that caught my eye first when I spotted this plastic container of salty-sweet goodness at Trader Joe’s, but when put together these words justified my hypnotically tossing one in the cart. Seriously, French sea salt brownies? It’s brilliance only thought up by one of my favorite grocery stores. And the best part is that they are brownie “petites,” which, in theory, increases your chances of a whole box lasting more than a week. Sure, pastry chefs have combined sweet and salty combinations for a while, but there’s usually something cold involved (salted peanut gelato, etc.), but it’s rare to find a classic, straight-up fudge brownie sprinkled with the perfect amount of sea salt, that you can take on the go, and eat, um petitely…yeah or like five at once. For my past Trader Joe-nsing, click here, here and here.

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Filed under ..and more, I like to eats, random spottings