Lark in Boystown review: Get your taste buds ready for brunch this Labor Day weekend!

“Mirror, mirror on the wall,/ What’s the prettiest place for brunch of all?” It’s Labor Day weekend, and we’re expecting warm weather, good vibes, and excellent food all-around. If you’re looking for something special to do over the next couple of days, then why not do brunch? I’ve always found brunch to be a perfect occasion to reconnect with family, enjoy good food, and relax after a crazy busy week. If you’re like me and looking at brunch as a special occasion, then I encourage you to visit Lark in Boystown, and you will not be disappointed.

Tucked in a vibrant neighborhood, Lark combines artistic flair with entrepreneurial spirit. Keep Reading

Culinary Fight Club Final Plate competition: cutting-edge pork dishes, elegant desserts – and so much heart!

Apple fritter with charred blueberry compote – the dessert made for the public by Chef Ryan Rondeno at Culinary Fight Club The Final Plate

It was noisy, as usual. There were heat, sweat and smoke all over the miniature grills they were expertly maneuvering. Ever so often, one chef’s hands would shake, as if hit by a cold breeze. And yet, there was no breeze in sight, just pure human emotion and plenty of adrenaline rush. Hands and hearts were trembling because at stake was the title of 2018 Culinary Fight Club Grand Champion. Not anyone could do it, and these chefs were the best: there had been twenty at the start, and only four of them were now nearing the finish line.

I’m no stranger to Culinary Fight Club competitions (check out my reviews here, here and here), and as such I am familiar with their format and supportive of their mission to reward culinary excellence and to feed the hungry. Nothing compares to seeing culinary competitions unfold in front of you – the tension, the sweat, the drama, it’s all so intense. Pressure? Check! Surprises? Check! Delicious food? Of course! πŸ™‚ Keep Reading

How to keep cool in the summer: Have a shake, have a gazpacho!

Looking for ways to keep cool and refreshed in the sweltering heat? I hear you! After much hesitation, the hot weather has come to Chicago bringing with it sweat, dehydration and thirst – a lot of thirst! I am a city girl who loves hot weather and summer in general, yet even I sometimes find it hard to cool down and to keep myself hydrated in the humid Chicago weather. Thankfully, the restaurant scene in our beautiful city offers plenty of options which quench your thirst and cool your appetite – and I have recently explored a few of them. Here’s the summary of a delightful afternoon I spent exploring the culinary world downtown – complete with pics, glorious pics πŸ™‚

I first stopped by Zoup! to check out the latest additions to their summer menu (you can read my previous review of Zoup! here). Keep Reading

Grilled veggie panino: back to my first love!

I haven’t posted a panino recipe in awhile, but now I’m back with a vengeance πŸ™‚ This panino screams summer, sun, warm weather and clean eating – and I just love it for that matter! The freshness of the grilled veggies, with just a touch of charred flavor, works beautifully with the dill and sour cream, and makes up for a surprisingly light combo. I asked DH to grill the veggies for this panino on one of the hottest days of the summer, and he agreed reluctantly. Later on though, he realized the hard work – and the sweat! – had been well worth it. Keep Reading

My review of Chef Stuart O’Keeffe’s cooking class: I had lunch with a Food Network star!

Chef Stuart O’Keeffe at Macy’s State St

It’s hot outside and you don’t want to eat – and you also can’t for the life of you remember any notable Irish dish other than corned beef and cabbage. And yet, Chef Stuart O’Keeffe manages to pull you into his world of flavors, and you decide that eating on a sweltering hot day is not such a bad idea, after all. Chef O’Keeffe’s food pays tribute to his Irish upbringing, yet it is cosmopolitan in its scope and versatile in its approach. Just like his personality and on-stage presence, his food is vibrant and bubbly, in the best possible way πŸ™‚

I met Chef Stuart O’Keeffe at a cooking demo at Macy’s State St in downtown Chicago one hot summer day. My previous Macy’s Culinary Council cooking class had been amazing, and I was looking forward to yet another exquisite culinary experience. Keep Reading

Aloha pepper and purple potato salad: spicing up your lunch, vegetarian style!

This salad has everything you want from a summer dish. It’s light yet satisfying thanks to the addition of purple potato carbs. It’s flavor-packed, and its explosion of fresh aromatic herbs will make your belly and your soul happy. It looks deliciously gorgeous on the plate. Last but not least, it contains lesser used ingredients which are sure to stir up curiosity. Aloha peppers have stolen my heart – and I know they’ll steal yours too πŸ™‚ Keep Reading