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Out and about in Chi Town

My review of Fort Willow: Big Bites, bold flavors, amazing memories

Have you ever been to a restaurant which has a tree made from wooden slats and a swing inside? I have, and I’m here to reveal some of its secrets 😉 Indeed, somewhere in this amazing city of ours there is a charming little dining spot which fits the above description – a place whose quiet ambiance and whimsical decor remind you of childhood, innocence, and endless dreaming. The name of the restaurant is Fort Willow, its location is an unassuming section on Elston Avenue, and its cosmopolitan menu makes up a sophisticated journey through flavors. Do you want to travel back in time and around the world, savoring global flavors while joyfully reminding yourself that life is precious and memories are a cherished part of it? If you do, then Fort Willow is your place to be.

I visited Fort Willow at opening time one Friday afternoon. Keep Reading

Five things I learned from Chef Rick Bayless at Macy’s latest cooking class

With Chef Rick Bayless at Macy’s kids cooking class
Photo credit: Brittany Sepulveda

Whenever you get an invitation to attend a Macy’s Culinary Council cooking class, you’d better say yes! Especially if the class is scheduled during Macy’s Flower Show and involves Chef Rick Bayless, a culinary expert with a deep understanding of Mexican cuisine and a passion for storytelling. As a big fan of Chef Bayless, I was excited to get the invitation to attend his latest kids cooking class – and equally excited to get the chance to interview him for my blog. I could not have asked for a better time and place: with Easter right around the corner, Macy’s on State Street was in bloom (literally!), and the explosion of floral colors and scents was truly intoxicating ๐Ÿ™‚ Keep Reading

My review of Square Roots Kitchen: when food geeks meet fast casual!

Tucked away on S Halsted Street, in an area burgeoning with stores and restaurants in the heart of West Loop, lies a new dining spot that has got Chicagoans talking. The name of the place is Square Roots Kitchen, the style is fast casual, and the food is wholesome. The restaurant sells salads, wraps and bowls that can be customized to suit one’s lifestyle and dietary needs, bringing health-conscious consumers face-to-face with cutting-edge technology in an ambiance which is both comfortable and minimalist. Did the West Loop need yet another restaurant? Having visited Square Roots Kitchen (SRK), having sampled their food and understood their unique approach, my answer is a resounding “yes” ๐Ÿ™‚

I went to SRK one cold winter evening. It was one of those evenings when I would have gladly stayed home, tucked into bed and indulging in a cup of hot cocoa – as you know, frigid weather has never been my friend. Keep Reading

Valentine’s Day restaurant menu roundup: Eat, drink, and be merry with your loved one!

Forget the snow storm, the cold and the impossible commute, and think positive thoughts about the week ahead: Valentine’s Day is coming up, and that’s a great reason for celebration! In a city that’s home to some of the world’s best restaurants, we’re spoilt for choice when it comes to spending Valentine’s Day in high culinary style. DH and I will have to work late next Wednesday, which means we will postpone the celebration until Saturday. We don’t know where we’ll be going, but the good thing is there are plenty of choices, all mentioned below. Read on – and plan your magical moments with your loved one ๐Ÿ™‚

A famous romantic spot on the Chicago dining scene, Geja’s Cafe is planning the most elaborate Valentineโ€™s celebration in its 53-year history.

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My review of the new Colectivo Coffee location in Logan Square: in every coffee there’s a story!

Have you ever wondered who grows the coffee you enjoy every morning? The liquid gold that wakes us up and caresses our senses with tons of fresh aromas has a story – and oftentimes we forget all about it. Thankfully, things are about to change. A Milwaukee-based coffee company aims to stand out from the crowd by telling amazing stories about their coffee producers as well as selling their delicious coffee. The name of the company is Colectivo Coffee, and they have recently opened a cafรฉ in Chicago’s Logan Square neighborhood. Does coffee need stories? Having listened to Colectivo’s reps and having tried the coffee they sell, my answer to this question is a resounding yes!

I visited the new Colectivo Coffee location (their second in Chicagoland) one late December afternoon with my friend Marina. The wind was piercingly cold, and as we parked and crossed the grainy, salt-covered street, we were both looking for a respite from the frigid weather. Once we entered the new Colectivo coffee shop, everything fell into place – for me, forever the warmth-seeker, anyway ๐Ÿ™‚ Keep Reading

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 ๐Ÿ™‚

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!ย 

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 ๐Ÿ™‚ Keep Reading