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.
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, 1840 N. Damen
Ah, yeah, I wish I was posting from Japan as well…sigh. My older brother sent me this On the Table shot of breakfast at the Toyoko Inn in Asakusa, Japan. It’s comprised of rice balls, miso soup, pasta salad, meatballs and sticky rice. I love the composition of the food, and I’d love to know what’s in those sushi rolls, but the tray might be the best part of all! My next trip will not be taking me to Japan, but to Brooklyn for an artisanal tour of everything from coffee to chocolate..watch for the posts..
You know how sometimes the universe continues to put things in your path, as if it’s feeling compelled to drop simple hints about where your next journey should lead? Yeah, well I feel that way about Glazed and Infused Doughnuts. First they start showing up on an almost weekly basis at work. Then after a recent heat-lamp warmed patio lunch at Big Star, our party gleefully stumbled over to the Francesca’s Forno location for dessert. And then again, the Fulton Market location served as the perfect sweet topper for brunch at Publican this weekend. Is it that Glazed and Infused is simply taking over the town? Or am I subconsciously seeking out the crème brûlée, vanilla bean and red velvet varieties. Whether it’s fate or fatness, they’re freaking delicious. Glazed and Infused
There’s really never a bad time to dig your spoon/chopsticks/face into a bowl of udon noodles at BellyQ, but over-cast, rainy, when-the-hell-is-spring-getting-here-already weeks are especially ideal. This heaping bowl of goodness (house noodles, pulled pork, cilantro, pork dumplings, bok choy) is also great for the pre-sick, hungover or simply those in the mood for a seriously delicious bowl of Korean noodle soup. BellyQ, 1400 W. Randolph
So I know I’m late to the game, but I’ll admit my blogging has been taken over by my instagramming. If you’ve read this blog at all since I started it in 2008, you know that I love taking photos almost as much as I love writing and eating…from tabletops to heaping desserts and perfect salads. That is why I’ve taken to instagram because I can make said food shots look even better then they tasted. But if you follow me (elizabites_Chi) you will see all kinds of shots, like this one of an old-school recipe from my grandma for “good” Passover Cake. I framed this as a gift for my mom, and we marveled at how in the hell you go through almost a dozen eggs to pull this off…(but she did and I remember it being awesome). Passover is long past, but I love stumbling upon this card, stains, typos and all..
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.
1) Goddess and Grocer red velvet cupcakes. I have always had a weak spot for red velvet, well anything, but the cupcakes here have some sort of hypnotic hold on me.
2). Magnolia Bakery cupcakes, too, but mostly it’s the banana pudding here that rocks my world, as well as the old-school bakery vibe, flourless chocolate cake and more.
3). Speaking of banana pudding, I’m also currently in love with the banana pudding dessert at Fat Rice. I can’t explain its deliciousness, just get it.
4). Key lime pie at Shaw’s. Their two-bite desserts are the perfect guilt-free indulgence.
5). Chocolate chess pie at Hoosier Mama..holy yum.
6). Crème brûlée doughnut from Glazed and Infused. Imagine the crackly shell of crème brûlée over a vanilla doughnut with creamy vanilla curd on the inside. It’s completely redic.
7). The mocha panna cotta from Balena, a explosion of chocolate, banana, hazelnut crunch and brownie.
8). Asparagus flan at Macku…sounds gross, is truly divine. An oldie but a goodie.
9). Sea salt brownie bites at Trader Joe’s. OK, sea salt/chocolate anything.
10). 75% dark chocolate bars of any brand, kind or shape.
Share in the comments what sweet treat you’ll be sharing with your boo, or indulging in solo…
I’m so so glad that Mason jar presentations are still alive and well, from house pickles to chocolate mousse. I recently spotted one at GT Fish & Oyster, used to serve the creamy, soul-warming clam chowder that at lunch comes with a half a lobster roll or tuna blt sandwich and a mound of slaw.
GT Fish & Oyster, 531 N. Wells.