*Turkey salad at Publican Quality Meats (and an elizabites update…)

Still turkey’d out from the holiday? I personally don’t think it’s possible. It could be the day after Thanksgiving and I still crave the turkey salad at Publican Quality Meats. Yes, I know slabs, links and slices of juicy meat beckon from the cases when you walk in, but this lighter option on the menu blew me away the first time I had it in the spring with fiddlehead ferns, and just a week ago with mustard greens. The vegetables change seasonally, but the base is leafy greens, roasted vegetables, feta, avocado, green harissa, and sliced, smoked turkey. Instead of a just a few strips, it’s a serious mound, more than you would expect on a salad, but perfect for soaking up the tangy green harissa sauce and mixing in with the greens. Plus, the smokey, thick slices complement the bite of the mustard greens and feta and pick up the notes of roast carrots. Can’t avoid the beef, pork belly or lamb sausage at PMQ, at least start with the salad…you won’t be sorry. PMQ, 825 W. Fulton Market
*This asterisk refers to a new post, and a post is something I have been neglecting to lavish you with lately, dear readers. I started this blog in 2008, and posted nearly everyday for years until my actual job, freelance work and life got in the way (naturally). To balance everything out and keep you all salivating, you can expect one post a week, every Wednesday, mostly a mini review about the best thing I ate all week…read, eat, enjoy. Liz

Leave a comment

Filed under great for date, I like to eats, quick lunch

My current pumpkin obsessions

Including the obvious, I get pretty obsessed with all things pumpkin this time of year, from roasting and salting the seeds scraped from a freshly carved Jack-o-latern, to sinking my teeth into the pumpkin sticky buns at Floriole Bakery (go soon, before they’re gone!). Floriole is also flaunting a pumpkin layer cake with cream cheese, and I noticed these adorable pumpkin hot cakes at Nookies Too. For pumpkin ales, I am still thinking about the Southern Tier Brewing Company Pumpking Ale I had at Tiny Lounge last fall… I am on the hunt for more pumpkin-laden goodies…any suggestions?

Pumpkin layered cake at Floriole


Pumpkin hot cakes at Nookies Too

Leave a comment

Filed under Best bite

Seafood pancake at Belly Q

Before I had the seafood pancake at Belly Q, Bill Kim’s new Korean BBQ spot in the old 160 Blue space, I had this one at Cho Sun OK, a more traditional Korean BBQ spot up in Lincoln Square. The salty, savory, seafood-laden pancake topped with bits of green onion, calamari and juicy seafood was forever ingrained on my tastebuds, and I haven’t been able to not order it if I see one on a menu. So it was to my delight that Belly Q offers their own version right out of the wood-burning oven, topped with calamari and sashimi and served with black vinegar, sesame soy sauce. The oven lends a nice crisp to the edges, while the rest of the pancake remains fluffy, not-too-greasy and just as tasty as the first one I tried. Belly Q, 1400 W. Randolph Street

Leave a comment

Filed under great for date

Carriage House for Cocktails…and Everything Else

Low Country Gin Gimlet at Carriage House


Much like the words “avocado,” “cilantro” and “truffle oil,” the word “celery” on a menu makes my mouth water. Actually, only when spotted on a cocktail menu. Celery is stalking cocktails all over town, showing up in infusions, bitters and garnishes..and not just serving as spoon for a Bloody Mary. The latest I saw was at Carriage House in Wicker Park, where the Low Country Gin Gimlet has gin, sweet pearl-onion dry vermouth (also, yum) and celery bitters. I love the way the ingredient keeps sweetness at bay, and adds a bit of bite and savory-ness. But don’t stop at the cocktails at Carriage House. The modern low-country Southern restaurant is probably my favorite right now, with crispy, crunchy fried chicken thighs smothered in local and served with house sweet potato hot sauce, the low-country boil bubbling over with shrimp, clams, sausage, red potatoes and grilled lemons and the mushroom, truffle and egg with grits and oyster mushrooms were all serious standouts..and we didn’t even get to dig into shrimp and grits, pork and beans or the buttermilk marinated rib-eye. This is modern southern food, and the type that’s not so smothered with gravy and heavy sauces that they take center stage on the plate…you can taste the juiciness of the chicken, the sour of the house pickles and sweet meat of the Carolina shrimp. Besides the cocktails and the menu, I love the vibe in the room which is packed, not huge, and miraculously not so loud you have to yell over your fried green tomatoes. 1612 W. Division Street

Leave a comment

Filed under Best bite, great for date

On the table: Shanghai Terrace


8 plates, 8 glasses, 8 napkins, 8 chopstick holders, 8 sets black chopsticks, flowers, three votives.
And now a “on the table” close-up on the elegant silver chopstick holders (which are way cooler and less obvious then those fumbly rocks)
Shanghai Terrace, The Peninsula Hotel, 108 E. Superior

Leave a comment

Filed under great for date

Mystery corks

These wine corks hang in the window of what Chicago restaurant? Guess for a chance to guest blog.

2 Comments

Filed under great for date

Antique Taco

Mason jars, cloth napkins, vintage drums, even the font of the menu on the wall and other rustic touches set the scene


Even after 6 days on a serious taco binge in Mexico over Memorial Day weekend, I was dying to get to Antique Taco in Wicker Park. I had heard good things, but was honestly expecting a Big Star off-shoot, but discovered a gem of a taco cafe that was more quaint, rustic and seasonal than taqueria roadhouse. Don’t get me wrong, I loooove me some Big Star when I’m in the mood for some cerveza with my pork belly and summer crowds. But Antique Taco offered a different, and equally as delicious experience. Let start with the tacos. One look at the menu and my eyes darted to “garlicky kale,” “pickled escabeche” and “cilantro cream” in the market mushroom, so I knew I had to have it. These ingredients along with local mushrooms were stuffed inside a fresh, soft tortilla, each bite delivering all of my favorite flavors and bursts of lush green and pink. A fresh lemon wedge for the squeezing just added to the beauty of these generously sized dish.

Market mushroom taco


Garlic-soaked or not, I could eat kale everyday, but I need something crispy to balance it out. Our other taco was the crispy fish with smoked cabbage, scallions and sriracha tarter sauce. Light tempura battered whitefish was the perfect canvas for the smoky cabbage and spicy tartar sauce, again all wrapped up in a fresh flour tortilla.

Crispy fish taco


Coming off my Mexico trip, I had to do the tacos, but you won’t miss the tortillas if you get the taco salad served in a cardboard blueberry carton. With a crunchy and colorful array of kale, spicy peanuts, queso fresco, cranberries, corn chips, sesame, pomegranate vinaigrette, it’s almost too pretty to eat.

Antique taco salad


Pork carnitas, a toasted tortilla soup, chili cheese curds and habanero popcorn on the menu mean multiple visits are in order to basically try, well everything, and I didn’t even get to the horchata milkshake or are you kidding me Mexican chocolate and marshmallow pop tart, but the perfect summer quencher (and something we sipped all over Mexico) are the agua frescas made with seasonal pureed fruit, simple syrup and lemon juice…available with or without vodka. OK, I’ll stop, just go.
Antique Taco, 1360 N. Milwaukee Ave.

Watermelon agua fresca

2 Comments

Filed under great for date, I like to eats, new restaurants, quick lunch

Vosges bar love

I have always majorly hearted Vosges chocolate, and love when I happen upon the purple and white haven of confectionary genius in various airports and cities around the country. As if the chocolate wasn’t good enough, they go ahead and add things like bacon, chipotle chilies and organic pumpkin seeds to their bars, truffles and hot chocolate mixes that are almost too pretty to eat. But my favorite combo thus far was recently spotted at Goddess and Grocer; Rogue Ale and Chocolate Stout Beer with alderwood smoked salt, burnt sugar caramel and dark chocolate. Holy Ch-rist, it might be all of my favorite flavors wrapped up in dark chocolate bar..a campfire s’mores on steroids. The neighboring blood orange caramel didn’t look too shabby either..but nothing is more intoxicating that smokey-chocolately-salty dark chocolate. I was rushing out when I spotted it and didn’t have a chance to pick one up, but like a perfectly fitting dress or pair of shoes that haunts me after one look, I keep thinking about it and know I must have it. Watch for a full review…

Easily inhalable

1 Comment

Filed under Foodie gift alert, random spottings