Spring is in bloom – or so it seems! The temperature might still be low, the sky might still be grey and the days might still seem short – and yet, the arrival of spring is *fact*, if you stop at Macy’s State Street in downtown Chicago. Go through the massive revolving doors, look up, take a deep breath, and you’re in Paradisios. Want to know more about this special place which features magic, color and wonder – and also terrific cocktails? Read on 😉
They say home is where the heart is – I say it’s where a good plate of food awaits you. It doesn’t have to be fancy, it doesn’t have to require hours of your time or endless trips to the grocery store – but it does have to feel authentic, and to be good enough for you to want to savor it with your family, and to cherish it in your thoughts forever. Home is where great memories are made, and that’s one of the best things about food: that it’s an excellent “memory maker.” Food is not just sustenance, but also human emotion – not just chemistry, but also love, or so I think.
To me, memory making is one of the greatest assets of the recipes featured in Martina McBride’s latest cookbook, Martina’s Kitchen Mix: My Recipe Playlist for Real Life. After a 4-year break, country music star Martina McBride returns to the food publishing world with a book that is not only gorgeous, but also inspiring. What to win a copy of her cookbook? Read on 🙂
You may remember how the story went after the birth of our daughter a few years ago: I took a long break from blogging and lived on grilled cheese sandwiches for months. History seems to be repeating now, following the birth of our son. I don’t have the time or the energy to cook – blame it on nighttime feeds, my son’s sleep disturbances, and overall poor physical shape. So yes, I have been absent from here and have been feeling guilty about all those posts “which could have been” 🙁
Living on sandwiches can be repetitively boring, but I believe I’ve found a way to avoid said boredom. There’s no reason why your sandwiches can’t be upgraded and thankfully, there are plenty of upgrade options on the market these days. For me, the saving grace has been (drum roll!) truffle fresh mozzarella.
A journey around the world? Sure – who wouldn’t? Every morning? Ermm, maybe not – but I would gladly have a specialty sandwich instead! For those of us who don’t get the chance to travel often, eating out in a multicultural hub like Chicago is the next best thing. We live in a city where virtual travel in a matter of minutes is possible thanks to an abundance of diverse dining spots, which feature a respect for ingrained cultural traditions coupled with a desire for thoughtful innovation. Such is Coffee Joint, the only Latvian coffee shop in Chicago, whose cosmopolitan interior design and delicious casual fare make up for an exciting breakfast or quick lunch destination. Readers, beware: pics of deliciousness to follow 😉
Tucked on a leafy section of Irving Park Rd, Coffee Joint is a hidden neighborhood gem.
How is it possible for 2018 to have flown by so fast? For starters, the past 12 months have been very busy for our family. Interviewing Chef Rick Bayless has been one of this year’s highlights. Of course, welcoming baby Alex has been the best highlight of all 🙂 Here’s hoping for a fab new year, filled with good health and plenty of great food! Before 2018 departs, however, it’s time to review one of the biggest food fests of the year: Bon Appétit presents Chicago Gourmet. This review is long overdue, but then again, so are all of my blog posts as of late. Blame it on baby Alex, I say 😉
In 2018, Chicago Gourmet organizers came up with the special theme Rock the Fork to highlight the organic connection between the Windy City and food and music, respectively. Nearly 250 restaurants and chefs served their dishes at various pavilions spread across Millennium Park, and members of the public experienced the sounds of various musical genres (ranging from blues and classical to international, pop, rock and more) while tasting their way through Chicago Gourmet’s myriad of flavors and cuisines.
This was the second time I attended Chicago Gourmet (you can read my review of the 2017 edition here), and my experience was very different from last year’s.
Wishing you all a wonderful end to the year. Merry Christmas and happy holidays! 🙂
If you’ve been following this blog for awhile, then you know I love to bake. I might be all about panini and quick lunches, but when it comes to baking, I commit to the process wholeheartedly – and for good reason. Whenever I bake my mind goes back in time, all the way to my childhood. Growing up, I would watch my mom and aunt scramble to find baking basics such as flour and sugar, improvise with the limited supplies they had, and finally work hard day and night to make baked good for their loved ones. With almost no baking ingredients on hand, these women somehow always managed to make cookies and cakes that had outstanding flavors. They were amazing! 🙂
Those days are long gone, and now I am lucky enough to have plenty of baking supplies to recreate my mom and my aunt’s recipes. The cake in the pic above comes straight from my mom’s recipe book. We usually make it with pitted sour cherries, but you can use other fruits when sour cherries are hard to find or not in season. For this post I decided to use blueberries – their fresh fruit flavor and natural color are simply unbeatable, in my opinion. Moist, buttery and delightfully light, this blueberry cake benefits from the addition of Nielsen-Massey Madagascar Bourbon Pure Vanilla Extract.