Friday, February 26, 2010

Chicago Chef Week


Today at work a co-worker of mine (Jessica) shared her dining experience at Boka, which she had thru Chicago Restaurant week. I was slightly disappointed that my reservations at The Penninsula's Lobby wouldn't be honored this Sunday (don't ask), and rather than try one of the more favored restaurants we instead went to Brazzaz. Restaurant week was a bit of a bummer for me. However, Jessica really got me excited when she shared the list of restaurants who are participating in Chicago Chef Week. What's this you say? Another week of prix-fixe menus that my salary and my stomach can look forward to! Thus far reservations have been made for Boka and Blackbird. I've been dying to go back to Blackbird for some time now! I will keep you posted.

If you are able to grab a copy of Crain's Chicago Business magazine a full four pages are dedicated to highlighting Chicago's "Best Restaurants for Business". Here they discuss how fixed-price menus have helped bring in more business at many of Chicago's fine restaurants. It's true, the economy has caused many to cut down on eating out so why wouldn't restaurateurs want this option. For example Blackbird offers a 22$ prix fixe lunch, which includes all apps and entrees. Cafe des Architects offers a superb 22$ four-course bento box-style lunch. And many fine restaurants like Seasons Lounge, The Purple Pig, Sepia, and The Signature Room at the 95th (Hancock) have lowered the cost of their entrees. 

This goes to show you can eat out on a budget. 
Bon Apetite!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010


A blog about food could not be complete without a tribute to one of the most amazing dishes of all time- Pho. This tasty bowl of beef, noodles and veggies is a Vietnamese dish that I first discovered in an unexpected restaurant in Buffalo (Le Metro). Since moving to Chicago I've tried a few places but none compare to Sushi 28 on Clark north of Diversey.  Don't let this Lincoln Park location fool you. It might not seem as authentic as the row of Pho joints on Argyle street in Uptown, but it's quaint decor and incredibly friendly owners make you feel at right at home. This sunday (after a hang-over from the night before) we took my sister for her first pho experience.
The tutorial on eating pho begins with the sauces: Sriracha sauce (a spicy red chili hot sauce found in many Asian/Thai restaurants) and Hoisin sauce ( a brown-ish Chinese dipping sauce). Be kind to yourself and don't overdo the Sriracha , a rookie mistake.
Then comes the plate of vegetables: bean sprouts, basil , jalapeƱos, and limes. Mmm.
I usually order the beef , and there are many types but don't be scared it's all amazing! If you're a Pho novice the chicken is a safe bet. Once your steaming bowl of meat and noodles comes out the fun begins- mixing in all the veggies and sauces as you see fit. 

The mixing is my favorite part. Something about the anticipation of the first bite, while being able to customize my bowl. My inner foodie is having a heart attack over here. If you've never tried Pho get over to Sushi 28 or any of the amazing Pho spots in Uptown. This is a hangover-Sunday must.  
Please remember to cite this blog if using my photos 

Sushi 28 Cafe on Urbanspoon


So over the weekend Warren and I decided to check out Brazzaz- the Brazilian steakhouse. It was one of the restaurants you could choose from on Chicago Restaurant week. For a week and a half restaurant week lets you choose from a list of prix fixe menus. I walk by this place frequently and have always wanted to give it a try. The bottom line is this- the waiters bring out skewers of different types of meat, and it's  unlimited!! I must admit I'm not meat obsessed - but who doesn't love a nice bloody steak once in awhile?

Walking into this place was a trip- heaven for the average obese American. We weren't seated until an hour after our reservations, but that didn't seem to bother us (the tasty mojito and marg helped). The waiter came by to explain the process and pointed us towards the unlimited salad bar. This included ahi tuna, sushi, veggies, cheeses, salami and an olive bar. After a plate to get us started we eagerly flipped our coins to "yes, please", bring on the meat!! It was pure gluttony. Filet Mignon, lamb, pork chops, house special, t-bone, etc. The Argentinian merlot I choose to wash this down with turned to two, and the jeans unbuttoned. Ugh. Towards the end of our 2 hour dinning experience Warren and I sat dumbfounded and dizzy. Too much meat.
As indulgent and tasty as it was, I don't think I'll be back... for awhile anyways.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Food Therapy

A slight deviation from trying something new... having something on stand-by when a rough day calls for it. 

After a long day at work- listening to client's and their problems (i.e: I'm depressed, anxious, bi-polar, and possibly suicidal) nothing hits the spot like a sexy little burrito to come home to. Chipotle. Mmm.  Note: the Chipotle at the corner of Madison and Wells has buy-one get-one burritos on occasion. My sister (who frequents this little Mexican chain almost bi-monthly) surprised me with a veggie (with all the fixins) after work. The guacamole is so heavenly. I find myself scooping it out with my finger, while still wearing pearls and stilettos after a long day of madness. Why does Chiptole always make my day seem less miserable?

For all of you back home in Buffalo- a recently opened Chipotle awaits you on Niagara Falls Blvd. Hurry!

To come... Chicago Restaurant week. Reservations made.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Korean meets Latin?

Last night Sanaz and I had sister date night at Belly Shack (Directions). Seriously, this place is to die for. This is the second time I've been here, and as I remember it last- amazing! This is a BYOB Korean-Latin fusion- communal dining dream. I ordered the special - Korean BBQ beef with curry mayo in a plantain sandwich. Mine came with the most amazing side (above). She ordered the Korean BBQ koji with ssam paste. FYI: ssam jang is a soybean paste used in Korean cooking. We also ordered the roasted squash with maple syrup and pho spices. Mmm. Topped off with a nice Sauvignon Blanc we purchased at Whole Foods prior = most amazing dinner ever. My somewhat embarrassing moment however was asking chef, and owner Bill Kim what the tasty little thingies were in my side dish? -Asian Pears. I must buy some now.

Go Here Now! 

The city

Ok so I'm not exactly a foodie, I didn't know what kimchi was until recently, I like to eat but I can go for a pizza roll if I'm too lazy. I'm no Bourdain. And compared to my sister and my boyfriend who are food fanatics, I got nothing on them. So 'why this blog' you say? Food is art. And my love of photography is a hobby that I've always wanted to do something with. So why not combine both loves to chronicle the experience of food.  Food to me is all about the experience. Nothing beats sitting at home at my mom's kitchen island feasting on homemade Persian food with the smell of saffron in the air. Experimenting with my own home cooking at home with Sanaz (the sister) or finding a nice dive with Warren (the boyfriend). The memories I have about food usually stand out the most when I recall who I was sharing it with. Food is best shared. And the setting comes secondary. Over the last few years I've been to almost every type of restaurant and tried every type of cuisine. And there's still so much to explore! The experience of food involves others, the setting and the amazing enjoyment you get while at the table. This blog will chronicle the adventures of a pseudo-foodie to try the newest, next, best thing. Drop me a line of some suggestions and I'd be happy to break bread with you. Enjoy!