My review of Vapiano Magnificent Mile: Come for pizza, stay for more!

Somewhere on E Ontario St, in the heart of the Magnificent Mile, lies a new dining destination for those who need to grab a bite in-between shopping sprees this holiday season. The name of the restaurant is Vapiano, the ambiance is casual, and the food is fresh: give me a slice of their pizza, and I’m a happy camper! Recently I was invited to the grand opening of this new location (the second Vapiano location in downtown Chicago), and this is a review of my experience. It was a party which started early in the evening and ended around midnight, and we celebrated with balloons, red ribbons and lots of bubbly – and of course, plenty of food to go around 🙂

Vapiano is an international chain of restaurants which offers made-to-order Italian food in a relaxed atmosphere. Keep Reading

My review of Prairie Grass Cafe: I fell in love with a dreamy hollandaise sauce :-)

“How am I going to eat this?,” I thought to myself while starring at the gorgeous plate of food in front of me. I was at Prairie Grass Cafe in the Chicago suburb of Northbrook with my friend Marina, and I was trying hard to convince myself that I should start eating. As any mom knows, first trimester morning sickness makes you crave anything but food. With my first pregnancy, things were a lot easier: I used to feel sick in the morning, but then the nausea went away. With this second pregnancy, the situation is different: I feel sick pretty much all day long, and find it hard to eat anything else besides toast and crackers. Still, what I had in front of me at the table was different from toast – and a million times better. As soon as my lips touched the velvety hollandaise sauce, fresh and light like a Shakespearean summer night dream, I forgot about morning sickness, and my heart started smiling. Great food always makes me so happy! 

One of the most popular weekend brunch spots on the North Shore, Prairie Grass Cafe is well-known for both its delicious dishes and its commitment to sustainability, and Marina and I had been invited to try out some of its most famous brunch options. I said yes to their invitation, fell in love with their eggs Benedict – and the rest was history 🙂 Keep Reading

CLOSED My Zoup! review and giveaway: Have a soup – or two, or three! :-)

Update: This giveaway is closed.

There’s nothing better to warm you up on a cold fall day than a bowl of soup. Piping hot and enticing, it is a bowl of heaven to those of us who are in need of nourishment and comfort. Caressing aromas fill up the air, great flavor expectations fuel up the appetites – all in all, it is the perfect setting for gourmands and gourmets alike. I am not a fan of soup in the summer, but during the cold season, soup becomes my usual go-to-lunch and dinner option. Give me a delicious soup and a glass of milk, and they’ll keep me warm and thankful forever 🙂

As a big fan of fall soup flavors, I couldn’t be happier when I was contacted by Zoup! recently to taste some of their soups and bread boules and to host a giveaway. Zoup! is a chain of fast-casual eateries that offers twelve fresh soups daily as well as salads and sandwiches. Customer top soup picks include chicken potpie, lobster bisque and vegetarian split pea, but you can find your own favorite by sampling the soups before you order. You can have your soup served in a bowl or in a bread boule – as a matter of fact, Zoup! is renowned for their sourdough boules, which are brushed with extra virgin olive oil, topped with savory seasonings, and then toasted. To celebrate the arrival of the cold season, Zoup! is offering three special bread boules: Italian herb, olive oil & sea salt and parmesan garlic. Keep Reading

Happy 10th anniversary, Chicago Gourmet!

If you’re a foodie, look no further than to Chicago Gourmet to satisfy your appetite for great food&drink and awesome entertainment. Indeed, no other festival compares to Chicago Gourmet when it comes to variety, quality and craftsmanship. I recently spent an amazing Sunday at this food fest trying delicious food, attending engaging chef demos and meeting old friends. It was hot, humid, but all the more exciting: where else do you get the chance to learn so much and to meet so many? 🙂

Bon Appétit presents Chicago Gourmet celebrated its tenth anniversary in Millennium Park at the end of September. The packed schedule featured an array of cooking demos, wine & cocktail seminars, book signings, and amazing tastings from the best food and beverage spots in the country and beyond. Keep Reading

Chef inside the Box review: fully cooked delicious dinners ready in minutes!

I just love Thursdays. Why? Because Thursdays are cooking days! Utensils on hand and spice rack at the ready, every Thursday morning I go into the kitchen and labor for hours, and this enchanted day passes by quickly, like in a dream. Still, with the schedule being as busy as ever, finding time to spend with friends & family or to research very particular recipe ideas can be a luxury: week after week is spent doing projects for work and cooking “standard” food, with very little else to report. Wouldn’t it be great if I got more time to do the things that matter to me the most?

Thankfully, there are dinner solutions for the busy professionals out there. No more worrying over what to cook for dinner, no more scheduling conflicts, no more missed opportunities to free up time for your own personal/family projects! Salvation has a name: Chef Inside the Box 😉 Launched in August 2017, Chef Inside the Box claim to offer “the most affordable meal kits in Chicagoland” and want to save their clients time in the kitchen so they can get back to doing the things they love. I was recently contacted by Chef Inside the Box, who offered to send me a set of 4 meals of my choice to review. Always in need of free time, I said yes, of course 🙂 Keep Reading

CLOSED GH Cretors review and giveaway: Back to school I go – to snack in style!

Update: This giveaway is closed.

Fall is here, and so are many beautiful things: pumpkin patches, canning and baking sessions, amber-colored trees – and school, glorious school 🙂 Gone are the days of summer and the luxurious long break I loved so much. It’s fall, I’m back into the classroom to teach several demanding classes, and I need quality food to keep me going. I know from experience that popcorn is one of the best options to have on hand to appease hunger pangs in-between school sessions. Filling, tasty and nutritious, popcorn has been one of my favorite snack options in recent years. While it keeps me satisfied for hours, it also brings back beautiful childhood memories. I just love to go back in time and to remember those many evenings I spent popping corn with my parents, in the kitchen of our tiny apartment. Those were some really happy days!

Enter G.H. Cretors Popped Corn for the perfect school snack 😉 I had seen this brand on shelves at my local healthy food grocery store, but I wasn’t really familiar with its products until earlier this year, when I attended the Sweets&Snacks Expo (you can check out my review here), talked to their reps and sampled lots of their popcorn, which I thought was amazing. This is why I was very excited when I was contacted recently to review their products and to host a giveaway for my readers. Keep Reading