All posts by chicagok2

Wow!

I haven’t updated this since new year’s 2015!?!? 

Is it possible to make a mid-year New Years resolution? Well, I’m going to do just that…. And try to post once a week from now until the end of the year…

Does this count for this week?

Advertisements

Happy New Year!

New Year – new recipes. I was inspired by some things on a cooking show this morning and decided to make some homemade granola. I actually adapted the recipe from one I found in a cookbook and I think the results are great – though it makes a TON of granola!

Toasted pecans, almonds along with oats, apricots and golden and regular raisins made for a great mixture!  Held together with two kinds of honey…yum!  Great as a topping for ice cream (as shown), yogurt, etc.

I realize that granola isn’t super healthy, but I’m guessing this version is better than buying a big old box of it at the store, so let’s see how long it lasts!

Copyright, 2015. Diary of a Reformed Food Wimp.

Big bowl of granola!Granola and Ice Cream

Food Chronicles….!

I am terrible…I have all sorts of delicious things to share, but I’ve been so preoccupied with other stuff…work, crappy tv, random holiday 5ks…that I haven’t updated anything!

Shame on me.

I don’t really know where to begin.  I suppose as good a post as any can be about my few (quite a few actually) recent visits to the new Lagunitas in Chicago.

Let me first suggest that if you visit, go by car…you can travel by public transportation, but it’s a bit of a walk and Lagunitas has a great parking lot.  It’s also right next door to CineSpace, so you may see something filming when you’re there!  Fun fact….the filming guys had to vacate the spot that the brewery is in due to the train tracks nearby – they made the cameras shake which apparently is a detriment to filming.

I have visited quite a few breweries – large and small and even in Germany.  However, I really feel like this Lagunitas is one of the best in terms of overall atmosphere.

I haven’t actually taken the tour (though I’ve tagged along for a few feet of the tour where they walk nearby the ‘balcony’ seating area).  It seems informative and as this is a brewery that will double in size once they get their new equipment up and running, it’s a pretty neat sight.

I was lucky enough during my first visit to get a nice table in the corner where we got to cozy up to some great food, atmosphere and a few tastes of delicious beer.  Their beer is good, but their food stands up to it.  Mussels were a standout as was the Hogunitas (similar to a Cuban sandwich) as well as the pate plate.  Everything was delicious and fresh and honestly, some of the best brewery food I’ve ever had.  Having tried a sandwich at another brewery that consisted of suspect chicken that I’m pretty sure came from one of those plastic containers at the grocery store, this was a breath of fresh air.

The mussels are supposedly an appetizer, but they’re huge.  Also, super flavorful and fresh.  They’d stand up to any great mussels in the city.  Both the Hogunitas and chicken sandwich are amazing and the pate is wonderful as well (so good that on another visit, my mom took home another order to my dad).

Service is really friendly.  If you have to ask 100 questions of the bartender about different beers, I don’t think they’d be upset.  I asked plenty about the beer and various varieties and they happily answered all of the questions.

As to the beer…there’s something for everyone in my opinion. Light beer, dark beer and varieties in between, it’s worth doing small tastes to determine what you like.

Stay a while and they also have live music!  If only they were open later in the evening, I think it would be a great dinner spot.  As it is, go early or it gets busy and be prepared to possibly share a communal table.

One nice thing…Lagunitas shares their space for charity events during the week in order to give back to the community.  Good beer, food and doing good!? This is a great company and a great spot.

On the way to the Tap Room!
On the way to the Tap Room!

IMG_3487

Party Space
Party Space

Cake!

So….I usually pride myself on my baking abilities.  However, for some reason, I’m currently stressed out about cake.  Who gets stressed out about cake?!?!  I know…it’s silly, but on the quest to make the perfect birthday cake, I have definitely eaten my fair share of chocolate chips this week.

For the first attempt, I elected to make a chocolate chocolate raspberry frosted cake (yes, that’s two ‘chocolates’ on purpose)… It’s an amazing recipe  and for some reason, I’m now unable to find it online (but I will and will post it)…It includes sour cream, cake mix, tons of chocolate chips (two packages for the cake and frosting!) and   all sorts of other goodies.  But, even with all of the added ingredients, it was still a super easy cake to make – one bowl and into the pans.

The frosting was a bit of fun as I had to heat it and then plop it in my mixer to whip together.  Thankfully, no chocolate ended up on the floor or on me!

So, Dad’s birthday cake was made – and well liked by all…except mom who always thinks everything is too sweet…

So, in an effort to make a less sweet frosting, I am recreating the cake and trying to make a chocolate ganache…

So, cream and semi-sweet chocolate chips and I have been having a chat today…. I hand mixed it all together and it’s going to sit and rest for a bit as I made it ahead.  Keep your fingers crossed folks – I need to serve this to a whole group on Wednesday and am really hoping my first attempt at this frosting will work!  (not to worry – extra raspberry ingredients exist just in case!).

It’s the week of birthdays!  yay!

Copyright 2014 Diary of a Reformed Food Wimp.

 

And that’s why I love Boston…

So, my frequent Boston visits are coming to an end as my sister gets ready to pack it up and ship off to San Diego (they’ve gotta have good food there, too?! Right?).

As this past weekend was my last visit for a while, I over indulged in lobster rolls and seafood chowder. Sure, I know, you can get this stuff in Chicago, but I assure you, the seafood is fresher and prices way less out on the east coast (though oysters at a farmers market in the hot sun?!?! I don’t think so!)

Nevertheless, here’s a brief synopsis of my Boston diet…

Oysters (yes, raw folks…) – my favorite spot closed but the Atlantic Fish Co has really fresh oysters with little needed to accompany.

Lobster rolls (James Hook is still my go-to and I love their note to yelpers to give them a pass for their ‘shack’ location!!). Tons of lobster in the ‘regular’ size – and a better bun. Skip the large size and get two smaller ones if necessary. Little mayo needed. Also, stay away from the live ones in the tanks – they’re feisty!

Roast beef sandwiches (totally weird until you realize the Roast Beast is the best sandwich…ever). Try one of their 10+ sauces. I skipped the ghost pepper one.

Beer tour to wash it down (Sam Adams or Harpoon – either is fun but I seem to have a weakness for the gift shop at Sam Adams for some reason.)

Topped off with Green Monster Mint ice cream.

So, now I should probably go on a real diet, but alas, I can’t help that I love food. So, that means lots of running in my future to make up for it. Thankfully, the New Balance factory store is also on Boston, so I can take care of this as well.

Happy Eating!!

Copyright Diary of a Reformed Food Wimp, 2014.

20140609-144104-52864216.jpg

20140609-144103-52863360.jpg

20140609-144105-52865962.jpg

20140609-144105-52865025.jpg

20140609-144106-52866853.jpg

20140609-144107-52867952.jpg

20140609-144102-52862362.jpg

Food and Wine Fest…

So, I’m a bit out of order here as I plan to upload many comments about various trips I’ve taken recently. I’ve had more oysters in the past month than some will have in a lifetime…but this is not an oyster post…

This is an Atlanta Food and Wine Festival post. I have been in Atlanta for the past week for work, eating and visiting all sorts of spots – from grocery store lunches to fancy country club dinners. All were good (yes, even the grocery store!), but I have to say that I haven’t seen a wine fest like this.

First of all, it’s not a ‘wine’ fest per se…it’s what I would call an alcohol fest. There were vendors of all sorts –
from beer to bourbon and back again. I tried Chilean wines, Georgia beers and French aperitifs. Additionally, there were food samplers to rival any sample station….seafood, yep…scallops and lobster risotto. Indian food, BBQ, desserts (bourbon infused chocolates – wow!). Samplers were generous as were the beverage pours. We even got to keep our various wine and beer glasses which resulted in a colleague calling me a ‘hobo’ after I shuffled to the gate with a bag of empty wine and beer glasses which may or may not smell of booze (no judgement – I’m just supplementing my glassware collection).

It’s a pricey visit, but was quite entertaining. It would be hard to complain about the food or drink, but we also got all sorts of various samples…whiskey stones (I don’t like whiskey, but if these stones keep soda cold, I’m in!), condensation avoiders (my name for a disk used in your car cupholder to take care of that pesky condensation….), photobooth pics with Coca Cola and other vendors, the list goes on.

Definitely fun and we all still made it to the airport in time! Forget about that pesky glassware clanking as I walk to my pickup…ps the security ladies laughed as the glasses went through the xray! They must also love this stuff!

Copyright Diary of a Reformed Food Wimp, 2014.

Work meetings….

Now, I’m not one to blog about work meetings and I’m certainly not going to do so now…

However, I will say that this steak sandwich may be the tastiest thing ever! Yesterday, I didn’t eat all day due to racing back and forth to meetings and finally found food at 9pm! Today, I had to resort to a cappuccino at breakfast and then a Cliff bar at lunch (not bad, but not lunch). All of this really poor eating was due to back to back work meetings.

So, I just had to blog about the fact that this sandwich is amazing! Is it amazing because I’m hungry or because it’s good? Who knows, but the medium steak with a spicy line sauce, tomato, lettuce and dried veggies and fruit (wow – first time I’ve seen this!!) is so good I was almost going to lick the plate (and I most certainly did lick my fingers…don’t tell!). When all that remained were a few dried ‘chips’ and some leftover pieces of bread, the waiter asked if I was ‘still fighting’ (working on my dinner)…yes, yes I am. If only I could make this sandwich! I’d be so happy!

The lighting doesn’t do it justice!

20140513-204846.jpg

Copyright, Diary of a Reformed Food Wimp, 2014.

Let’s Talk Airplane Food

Ok, I admit, I’m a lucky girl and usually get to fly business class to Europe. My last trip was no exception.

While my latest airline selection wasn’t the absolute best, I have to admit that it definitely wasn’t too shabby…champagne upon entry?! Sign me up! Cocktails and warm mixed nuts!? Yes, please!

Airline food has taken on new life with famous chefs partnering with various airlines to make airplane food ‘gourmet’ (some definitely succeed better than others…gross, greasy fish is not gourmet United…just letting you know…).

On my last flight, I have to admit that while the movie selection was dismal (I have 100 movies and they all suck?!? What?!!!), the food was great. Steak with delicious veggies, a cheese platter, various options of ice cream sundae! Whoooohoooooo. I know it doesn’t sound amazing but being stuck on an airplane for 9+ hours definitively calls for good food. Now, lady across the aisle…you don’t have to order ALL of the desserts and quit giving me the evil eye for drinking on the plane!

Copyright, Diary of a Reformed Food Wimp, 2014

20140424-180734.jpg

20140424-180755.jpg

Adventures in Germany and Switzerland

Wow!  A week away for work and lots of food consumed!

Traveling in to Munich, I was planning on visiting my usual spots since I can be a creature of habit at times (especially when overly jetlagged and having had a 5 hour layover part way through the trip!). In any case, I did exactly what I was NOT supposed to do when I arrived at my hotel…took a nap…

However,  an hour or so of a nap and I was ready to go.  Having left Chicago with negative temps, I was thrilled to find 50s in Munich!  Everyone was out and about in the city walking and having fun, and I was right there with them (plus emailing for work on my iphone….fun fun).

First stop – Viktualienmarkt – one of my favorite markets in Europe.  A sight to behold – flowers, food, wine, beer, sausage.  You want it, they have it.  It was also really fun because they had tons of Easter items out (cute little floral arrangements that I could unfortunately not take home were my favorites).  Of course, I couldn’t make a stop without having a beer and some sausage!  As it was after noon, I skipped the traditional white (weisswurst) for a regular (red) sausage on a bun with mustard (I know…how Chicago of me!).  Couple that with a light Weiss bier (2.6% alcohol – perfect for lunch!) and I was all set!

The rest of the afternoon was spent working and getting ready for my first night of work dinners.  More to come on that, but here are some great pictures of spring in Munich!

Copyright Diary of a Reformed Food Wimp, 2014.

Lunch!
Lunch!

Munich Viktulienmarkt market 2 market 1