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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 cafΓ© 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 πŸ™‚ 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 πŸ™‚

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!Β 

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 πŸ™‚ 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 πŸ™‚

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

My Angelo’s Wine Bar dining experience: I went to Rome and back!

I watched La Dolce Vita a few nights after dining at Angelo’s Wine Bar. I’d felt like in a dream at Angelo’s, and now I wanted to go back, to be in Rome again, following in the footsteps of Marcello and Sylvia as they wandered through a city that was as mysterious as it was opulent. Being a guest at Angelo’s truly felt like being in Rome. Far from the skyscrapers of the city, in a neighborhood where style and comfort meet, here I was, savoring every moment of one of the most beautiful nights I’d ever experienced. Why face the crowds, the impossible parking and the stress downtown when you can enjoy quality food in your own neighborhood? Oh, what a gorgeous night – and what a gorgeous restaurant πŸ™‚

My high expectations were surpassed the minute I set foot in Angelo’s Wine Bar in Albany Park. Once you get past the newly added 700-sq ft outdoor patio and into the restaurant, you enter a tastefully decorated sharp and sleek interior, which puts you in a good mood. You expect excellent dishes to match such interior design – and the eclectic menu created by executive chef Julia Helton is the perfect match. Keep Reading

Hard Rock Cafe Test Kitchen menu review: heaps of Chicago inspiration, loads of delicious food!

The folks over at Hard Rock Cafe surely work hard to please! They want to know what music you like, the first live concert you went to, and what you make of their dishes – and they want your feedback delivered raw, spontaneously, and straight to their faces. I definitely like this no-nonsense approach: what’s better than an honest opinion, delivered on the spot? I like the approach – and I like the HRC food even more 😉

I recently got the chance to taste several dishes from theΒ Hard Rock Cafe Chicago Test Kitchen menu, which showcases HRC’s commitment to locally inspired and responsibly sourced ingredients. It was an amazing night, filled with good jokes, great food, and karaoke performances – and here’s my review of this experience. Keep Reading

My review of Forno Rosso Pizzeria: pizza or panuozzo? I’ll have both, thank you! :-)

Give me tasty Italian food, and I’ll love you forever – this seems to be my foodie life’s motto. Indeed, nothing gets me more excited than the opportunity to spend time enjoying the delights of Italian cuisine – panini and beyond 😉 – while out and about in our beautiful city. Splendid in its rusticity and profound in its flavors, Italian cuisine is a work in progress to me: I enjoy learning about it, I enjoy tasting it, and I never miss an opportunity to learn and to taste even more.

I recently got an invitation to try the food at the Forno Rosso restaurant in the West Loop, and the invitation mentioned something about panuozzi, a form of street food which comes from the Campania region of Italy. A panuozzo (plural: panuozzi) is made by using pizza dough to make a type of panino, which is then filled with various ingredients and is baked in the wood-burning pizza oven. As a big panini lover and self-confessed foodie, I was intrigued by the concept and definitely wanted to give it a try, and this is why I accepted the invitation and took my friend Marina along to experience Italian dishes made the authentic Neapolitan way.

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