Thursday, October 1, 2015

Odyssey offers two pre-marathon pasta cruises

It's almost that time again - time for the annual Bank of America Chicago Marathon. On Saturday, October 10th Odyssey will host two lunch cruises leaving from Navy Pier for Bank of America Chicago Marathon participants, friends and family. This fuel and conquer cruise will feature a very special pasta menu developed by Odyssey’s executive chef! Guests will enjoy entertainment, and sightseeing and skyline views! 

Here's a look at what you'll find on the menu:

Pasta Lunch Cruise Menu

Salad Sampler
Assorted Field Greens
Displayed with your choice of Chopped European Cucumbers, Grape Tomatoes, Cheddar Cheese, Bacon Bits and Seasoned Croutons, with Ranch and Italian Dressing

Caprese Pasta
Fresh Mozzarella, Grape Tomatoes, tossed with Petite Pasta Tubes, Fresh Basil and Honey Mustard Dressing
Pasta Primavera
Imported Penne tossed with Tomato Basil Sauce and Roasted Vegetables
Pasta Station
3 Color Cheese Tortellini & Imported Rigatoni Noodles displayed with choice of Vodka Cream Sauce, Spicy Tomato & Pesto Sauce with a side of Parmesano Reggiano Cheese & Toasted Garlic Bread

Assorted Freshly Baked Rolls

Assortment of Freshly Baked Cookies, Brownies and Seasonal Fruit

Saturday, October 10th:
Early Pasta Lunch Cruise
·         Board: 11:00 am | Cruise: 11:30 am - 1:30 pm
·         Price: from $40.44 per adult | $20.22 per child (age 3-12)
·         Guests can make reservations by calling 866.305.2469 or book online here
Afternoon Pasta Lunch Cruise
·         Board: 2:30 pm | Cruise: 3:00 pm - 5:00 pm
·         Price: from $40.44 per adult | $20.22 per child (age 3-12)
·         Guests can make reservations by calling 866.305.2469 or book online here

Celebrate Mr. Submarine's 40th Anniversary With 99-Cent Sub

Who doesn't love a good sandwich? Mr. Submarine has now been whipping up sandwiches that everyone loves for 40 years now. To celebrate, they're offering their customers a 6-inch Classic Italian sub for just 99 cents while supplies last on Monday, October 5.

It's been a while since I've visited Mr. Submarine, but the South Holland location was a regular on my rotation of pregnancy cravings, where I'd stop in often for a roast beef or turkey sub.

Happy Birthday to a Chicago sandwich staple, Mr. Submarine! Just print the coupon below or pull it up on your phone for the cashier to get you discount.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Enjoy Surf and Turf Special at Roy's Restaurant with Giveaway

Looking for a dining experience that feels more like a getaway? Roy's Restaurant will have you kicking back as if you were enjoying your meal on a Hawaiian Island. The atmosphere and "aloha" spirit combined with bold flavors and an exotic menu makes for a winning spot to dine out.

Known for its unique an creative menu and outstanding hospitality, Roy's Restaurant delivers an escape inspired by Chef Roy Yamaguchi's Japanese roots and native Hawaiian cuisine. His first restaurant opened in Honolulu in 1988 and Roy's has grown to now have 20 locations in the continental U.S., six more in Hawaii, one in Guam and one in Okinawa.

For a limited time, Roy’s Restaurant will be offering the Surf & Turf two-course meal.

The Filet and Lobster menu is $32.95 and includes:

·         Appetizer: Lobster Potstickers with Spicy Japanese Togarashi Miso Butter Sauce, prepared with Ginger, Garlic and Thai Basil

·         Entrée: Charred Filet Mignon with a Coriander Chimichurri Sauce and Ginger Glazed Lobster Tail

The special offer runs through October 15.

Chicago Foodie Sisters is offering a $50 gift card giveaway, courtesy of Roy's Restaurant, so that you can enjoy the Surf & Turf special. Enter below:

a Rafflecopter giveaway 

For more on Roy's, visit

Saturday, September 26, 2015

My introduction to ollie bollen

So, you guys....

I was finally introduced to ollie bollen. What a yummy little Dutch Treat!

I've been hearing about it for years as there's a big Dutch community where I live. Among Chicago's many neighborhoods is Roseland, once a spot where many immigrants settled when they came from the Netherlands. Later, Roseland peeps began moving south and east in large numbers to the suburbs of South Holland and Lansing. Both communities still have a heavy concentration of Dutch residents. Many Dutch families have moved even father east into Indiana, but still have kids attending school in the area or attend one of the many churches here.

Yesterday I had an assignment for a newspaper that I do writing an photography for to go shoot photos at at fall festival at the Lansing Christian School. The event was HUGE, with games and inflatables and food and more outside. Then inside were several more spots with food, a movie room room and other rooms with activities for kids, face painting, two silent auctions and a big live auction. One room inside was the "dessert" room, where you could buy cupcakes, pie and apple, pumpkin or cherry slices - and ollie bollen. There were big tables full of nothing but ollie bollen. And it sells like crazy. All the homemade ones that were made that morning would all be sold out by night's end, I was told.

These little doughnut-like pastries are traditionally made with raisins and coated with sugar. I got a half-dozen with and a half-dozen without.  I'm glad I finally got to try out these treats, made with love by the Dutch ladies of the school and area churches. I look forward to having them again.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Visit Grand Luxe Cafe on National Pecan Cookie Day

I'll bet you didn't know that National Pecan Cookie Day is coming up on Monday, September 21Grand Lux Cafe, the area’s restaurant offering internationally inspired cuisine served in an elegant but relaxed setting, has a delicious Chocolate Chip Pecan Cookie that is baked in the restaurant fresh daily. It's the perfect spot to celebrate. Stop by to try out their specialty cookies.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Celebrate Oktoberfest with Berghoff

It's that time of year again! Oktoberfest! Berghoff's celebration is underway. It continues today and Friday. The Chicago Foodie Sisters recently got invited to sample some of the Oktoberfest offerings served at this fun annual gathering at the corner of Adams and Dearborn.

We sampled a few of the menu items paired with varieties of Berghoff beer.  The Quinoa & Grilled Vegetable Salad was paired with Hop Forward Pilsner. The Bavarian Pretzel with an amazing beer cheese sauce came with the original lager. The bratwurst was phenomenal with their housemade kraut and Dusseldorf mustard paired with Okberfest. The Deutsch Schweine Goulash (pork stew) was paired with Berghoff's very first IPA. For dessert the apple strudel was served with a Rooter Float made with their version of hard root beer, called "Rowdy Rootbeer." That little scoop of vanilla ice cream on top made it heaven in a glass. :)

Be sure to stop by there and try out some of these tastes of Oktoberfest. You can also order them in the restaurant until October 31.

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Last chance for Crabfest

I'm a big seafood lover and so is hubby, so this past week we made a date to get to Red Lobster to hit Crabfest. There are several limited time menu items available for Crabfest from traditional crab legs to a fabulous crab-topped salmon that I ordered.

We started off with Crispy Shrimp Lettuce Wraps. Loved, loved, loved the soy ginger sauce (but had to remove the jalapeños (too much kick for me.) :)

The casaer salad had freshly shaved parmesan, which is always a lovely touch.

And one of the best parts of a visit to Red Lobster is always those awesome cheddar biscuits! 

Hubby went with the Ultimate Feats - Tender Maine lobster tail, steamed North American snow crab legs, the signature garlic shrimp scampi and Walt’s Favorite Shrimp. It's a great sampling of the best on the menu. I, of course, had to sample and the crab and lobster are simply melt-in-your-mouth delicious.

I went for a Crabfest special - a grilled salmon with a fabulous lobster sauce that was amazing. It also came with two of their wonderful crab cakes and I opted for mashed potatoes and steamed broccoli for my sides.

Although I was completely stuffed, we managed a few bites of this beautiful Chocolate Wave dessert, which was a super moist cake covered in mini chocolate chips and drenched in chocolate syrup with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Superb finish to the meal.

We visited the location in Munster, Indiana, which is just a few minutes across the Illinois border. (Foodies will know it as the home of Three Floyds Brewery.)  As always, the food is a huge factor in the experience, but it's the service that completes it. Shout out to our server, Grace, and super pleasant manager, Carl, for being so great. 

Crabfest is over Tuesday when the next promotion rolls in, so get over for a taste of Crabfest before it's done!

Friday, September 4, 2015

Skillets: Highland, IN

I first heard about Skillets in Highland earlier this year. I'm someone who could eat breakfast for any meal of the day and love a hearty meal with eggs and meat and toast. I'd been wanting to get over there to try it out. So, now that the kids are all back in school, hubby have had free time a couple mornings a week to run our errands and have a little daytime date on his days off. So, I finally put Skillets on the itinerary and got over there.

I looked over the menu for a few minutes, but how can you go to a place called "Skillets" and not order a skillet? :) That's been a frequent choice for breakfast over the past year. I love Hobo Skillets or meaty ones - with lots of veggies, potatoes and big chunks of sausage, ham, bacon or all three.

Hubby selected a Southwest Skillet with chicken breast, chorizo, onions, red and green peppers, potatoes, cheddar cheese topped with eggs and an order of pancakes. He was pleased.

I prefer my breakfast on the milder side and went with the Hobo Skillet with two eggs (scrambled), ham, bacon, sausage, tomatoes, and sauteed veggies with cheese and hash browns topped with sausage gravy. Very yummy! I opted for a side of whole wheat toast with mine.

They've got all the breakfast classics - pancakes, waffles, crepes, omelets, French toast, breakfast sandwiches, as well as a nice selection of lunch entrees and sandwiches.

They're open for breakfast and lunch - from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m.


2040 45th St, 

Highland, IN

(219) 924-7604

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Dolce Italian Now Open in Godfrey Hotel

I had the opportunity to check out the Godrey Hotel's new restaurant, Dolce Italian, this past week as I planned a lunch date with some special ladies. My cousin, who is also a writer and blogger was in town with my aunt and with her daughter who works in communications and was in town for a conference. They all live in the Springfield area and it was so nice to have a chance to sit down and enjoy some time with my cousin and my aunt, whom I haven't seen in a couple years, and to enjoy a fabulous meal with this lovely setting as our meeting spot.

The new eatery opened in May in the award-winning luxury lifestyle Godfrey Hotel that also offers 221 rooms and suites and the 110 Urban Roofscape, the largest hotel rooftop dining and event space in Chicago. It also boasts a boutique spa and state-of-the-art fitness facilities.

LDV Hospitality’s Dolce Italian was named America’s “Best New Restaurant” in the first season of Bravo’s culinary competition series Best New Restaurant. With 16 restaurants competing from New York, L.A., Miami and Austin, Dolce Italian came out as the winner and earned an impressive feature in Bon Appétit, a featured spot at America’s number one global food festival, Vegas Uncork’d by Bon Appétit 2015, and $100,000. There are now locations in Miami, Atlanta and Chicago.

We each started off with a glass of prosecco and some lovely crusty Italian bread.

They had prepared some of their signature dishes for us to sample, including this Tuna Tartare with yellowfin tuna, seared fennel, avocado, romesco and mandarin, topped with microgreens and served with some crispy zucchini chips. It was one of those culinary works of art with such an amazing presentation that you hate to ruin the beauty by taking a bite. But my all means, dig in. Your taste buds will be thrilled with this great blast of flavor.

We also sampled the Watermelon Salad, which included watermelon, heirloom tomatoes, fresh mint and pumpkin seeds with just a tiny bit of goat cheese. Watermelon salads such as this one have become a favorite seasonal salad of mine. I've often had it with grilled watermelon, which is amazing. This watermelon didn't appear grilled, but it was ripe and juicy and paired so well with the sweet yellow heirloom tomatoes. This is the kind of salad I could eat for every meal and never tire of it. It's the ideal summer salad - super refreshing! 

The final dish they had prepared for us was the Tartufata Pizza. Again..a culinary art piece that you hate to disturb. Takes pizza to a whole new level. I prefer thin, crispy crust (I know, what kind of Chicagoan doesn't go for the deep dish first?) and this just might have been the best crust I've ever experienced. Now I've never been to Italy...but, I imagine this is probably a pretty authentic crust, but even prettier.

Now about the pizza, it contains one of my favorite ingredients and one that's trending in the foodie world, truffle oil. Truffle oil seems to be one of those love 'em or hate 'em foods with a strong, pungent aroma and taste that can be a turn off to those who haven't had it before, but I'm smitten with it. The spicy salami gave it a bit of a kick.

Ok, any sane person would have stopped after those goodies, but the pastas sounded wonderful, so we ordered a couple dishes to share. One was the Fettuccine Al Pesto with gulf shrimp. While fettuccine noodles are often served with a heavy, but delicious, cream sauce, this dish goes lighter by replacing that sauce with basil pesto...and boy, what a winner it is! This is an ideal lunchtime dish when you want something a little more substantial than a salad, but that still doesn't feel so heavy. And as with everything else we tried, the presentation was exquisite.

We also tried the Pappardelle Alla Bolognese with braised pork, beef and veal ragu. For those who love a meaty sauce with their pasta, this will fit the bill. Sprinkle on some fresh parmesan and you've got a perfect pasta dish to please.

With tiramisu, one of my all-time favorite desserts, as a dessert selection, I just couldn't pass it up. I don't drink coffee, but adore tiramisu - I know, I know, doesn't quite make sense. This version was particularly fluffy and we each enjoyed a couple bites to end our meal. 

Dolce Italian is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner in the chic dining room with plenty of sunny views of the bustling Chicago street. The dinner menu includes some of the items we tried as well as an expanded entree list with halibut, salmon, veal, steak and rack of lamb. To view a full menu, click here.

After lunch we were off to shop at Water Tower Place, fueled by our fantastic meal and great conversation.

127 W Huron at LaSalle
Chicago, IL 60654

Friday, August 21, 2015

Summer Veggie Soup with Brown Rice

It's that time of year where the garden is bursting with fresh veggies and my son picked a bunch this week, so I figured I'd use some in soup. While soup is traditionally a cold-weather dish, I always enjoy some late summer/early fall pots that fill the house with fabulous smells that have been missing for months.

10 cups water
7 chicken boullion cubes

Spices to taste:
Seasoned Salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Garlic Salt

Veggies, diced:
10 - 12 baby carrots
1/2 red bell pepper
1/2 orange bell pepper
1/2 green bell pepper
1 large yellow heirloom tomato
1 large red tomato

I also added one can of seasoned stewed tomatoes just for the extra juice.

1 frozen package brown rice (I get mine at Trader Joe's)

Put water and bullion cubes in large pot. Dissolve boullion in boiling water. Add spices and diced veggies. Simmer for about 45 minutes, until veggies are soft. Prepare rice in microwave as directed. Add to pot and simmer another 10 minutes or so.