New Orleans Inspiration: Ginger Beer Pork Cheeks with Basil Apricot Ginger Sauce

Ginger beer pork cheeks with apricot ginger basil sauceNew Orleans. How can a chef or home cook not draw inspiration from the Crescent City? It’s a very unique culinary city and I really don’t think there’s any place on earth which compares to it for the vibrant and diverse food combinations you discover there. As well as all of the other outrageous stuff of course. There’s so much good food and in such varieties, oysters, beignets, creole, seafood, Cajun, French, Spanish, you can eat and eat and eat. If you’re in a bit of a creativity rut like I’ve been lately, New Orleans is just the ticket to get back on track. (more…)

A Really Cool Upcoming Event in Chicago: Tale of Two Chefs Pop-Up Restaurant, Bounty of Spring

Tale of Two Chefs - The Chef Julius Russell Pop Up RestaurantIt’s rare that I get to write about an upcoming event since most of my event posts are post-event (har har har).  Well here’s a case where I can actually tell you about something coming up where I know exactly what to expect.  Coming up on May 18, 2013 is Chef Julius Russell’s next pop-up restaurant event focusing on the Bounty of Spring.  Having been to a couple of his other pop-ups (NOLA & Valentine’s Day) I can tell you it’s going to be a pretty delicious dinner. (more…)

Oink Edinburgh! Awesome Pork Sandwich in Edinburgh, Scotland

Postcard from abroad: There is one place Cheryl and I always stop in at whenever we travel to Edinburgh, Scotland.  Oink.  It’s a little shop on Victoria Street close to the Royal Mile and the Castle which serves up great roast pork sandwiches.  Once you get to Victoria Street just look for the big roast pig sitting in the window.  That’s how you’ll know you’ve found Oink. (more…)

A Chicago Pop-Up Restaurant Experience – Chef Julius Russell’s New Orleans Dinner

Pop-up restaurant?  What’s that?  A restaurant which pops-up somewhere of course.  Seriously though, a pop-up restaurant is when a chef takes over a space for a night, takes reservations, and has a dinner service for that night and the next day it’s gone.  The concept has been around for a while but I think it’s only really taken off in the USA in the past few years.  Last Saturday evening Cheryl and I had the pleasure of dining at Chef Julius Russell’s pop-up restaurant at Westminster Hot Dog’s West Loop location for a New Orleans Dinner.  It was a great event and well worth it! (more…)

Nhu Lan Bakery – Delicious Bánh Mi in Lincoln Square

With all of the summer recipes I’ve been posting I noticed it has been a while since I wrote something about a Chicago neighborhood eatery.  I think I may have said this before but being a real estate broker is great for exploring Chicago and uncovering little gems you normally wouldn’t know about.  And there are so many out there!  Up on Lawrence Avenue just west of Western in Lincoln Square sits a tiny little Vietnamese bakery called Nhu Lan, and they have some fantastic, out-of-this world delicious Bánh Mi sandwiches. (more…)

Southport and Irving Café-Bistro-Bar – Oh that Pork Chop!

For the past few months I’ve been keeping my eye on the northwest corner of Irving Park and Southport.  Each day as I’d drive through the intersection from the east (ha! there I’ve worked another compass point into this post) my eyes would glance over to look for signs the new restaurant under construction was ready for customers.  It was steadily progressing when one day, I received a message via Twitter, from Southport and Irving (4002 – 4004 North Southport Avenue) inviting me to a grand opening event, would I like to attend?  Um, yes please! (more…)

Lunching in the Loop: 3 Places You Should Try!

Cheryl works down inside the Loop, as do many Chicagoans.  Occasionally I have to leave the friendly confines of Wrigleyville and travel there for meetings or showings.  In a couple of weeks I have to venture south for some continuing education classes (ah real estate license requirements!) and I find myself looking forward to having lunch with Cheryl.  The question, as always when lunching with her is: where to eat? (more…)

The Bad Apple – Nothing Bad About It!

Sitting on a corner of Lincoln Ave. between Irving Park and Montrose is a place called The Bad Apple.  I’d heard good things about it from some co-workers and since it’s just a few blocks away from my office on Damen, it’s perfect for a quick lunch.  The food is good, moderately priced, and they’ve got a huge beer list with lots of beers/ales/lambics/IPAs.  The majority of the beer offered is bottled but their draft list is large with at least a couple dozen to choose from.  And yeah that’s right, there’s nothing wrong with having a beer at lunch. (more…)

A Tale of Two Thai’s: Eater 38’s Tac Quick, and Indie Cafe

Tac Quick's Som Tum Thai - a spicy tower of papaya

Recently we’ve been to two extremely different Thai restaurants.  One is our neighborhood place here in Wrigleyville, Tac Quick (Eater 38), and the other is up in Edgewater, Indie Cafe.  Both are very good but very different dining experiences.  At one you’ll find some unique, authentic Thai dishes, the other is more mainstream.  Oh and both restaurants are BYOB!  Score. (more…)

Riccardo Trattoria

Riccardo Trattoria is one of the first restaurants Cheryl and I went to in Chicago.  She was doing her business school summer internship here and I came for a weeklong visit (my first trip ever to Chicago).  Knowing Chicago was a great culinary city I did some research.  I wanted to take her to a really nice place with good food.  She was living in Lincoln Park at the time so my research on Chicago Foodies turned up Riccardo Trattoria.  We went and have been huge fans of the restaurant ever since.  It’s our usual choice for birthdays, anniversaries, and special events.  We associate good times with it because the food is so damn good! (more…)