Thursday, August 25, 2016

Olympics May Be Over, But Get Taste of Brazil at FOGO de CHAO

After weeks of being wrapped up in the excitement, the competition, the drama of the Olympic Summer Games in Rio, finish off the month with a visit to Brazilian Steakhouse FOGO de CHAO where you can feel like you're dining in Rio.

If you've never experienced dining at a FOGO de CHAO location, it's an absolute feast for all of the senses and a must for any foodie. With meats cooked in the Brazilian charraso tradition, you'll be treated with numerous freshly prepared selections brought out and sliced at your table - any one you want and as much as you want.

While the meats take center stage, the fabulous cocktail menu, huge selection of items on the Market Table and Brazilian sides and bread along with dessert offerings make it a meal that you won't soon forget. Linger and visit while you enjoy as much as you can that is served up by an extremely friendly, swift and professional staff.

If you happen to be on the email list, you'll get some great offers in your inbox. So, be sure to sign up. Currently, there's an email offer for a $39 Best of Brazil Dinner through August 28. The three-course dinner includes meats, market table and side dishes with bread. Included are a selection of fire-roasted meats - Picanha (Sirloin), Alcatra (Top Sirloin), Fraldinha (Bottom Sirloin), Cordeiro (Leg of Lamb), Linguiça (Pork Sausage), Costela de Porco (Pork Ribs), Lombo (Pork), and Frango (Chicken.) However, you must show the email for the special pricing.

For those who aren't big meat eaters, there's an option of having the Market Table only. Lunch and brunch meals are also offered at a lower price.

In Chicagoland, there are three locations - one in Rosemont, one in Chicago and the newest area location in Naperville. For more information on locations, menus and what the charraso experience is all about, visit fogodechao.com

.

Friday, August 19, 2016

Try Schmacon - the beefy alternative to bacon - at Schmaltz Deli

Bacon is one of our most beloved American foods and those who don't eat pork in their diet or are looking for a leaner version no longer have to miss out. Schmacon™ is a whole-muscle beef produced with a proprietary spice blend that is being regarded as “Beef’s Answer to Bacon™. With less calories, fat and sodium than traditional pork, the natural, smoked and seasoned beef product can be used as a bacon substitute in breakfast meals, side dishes or on sandwiches.

Chicago Foodie Sisters were invited out to Schmaltz Deli in Naperville to try out some of the sandwiches on their menu that include Schmacon. Inventor and Schmaltz Deli Chef Howard Bender has a few favorite sandwiches on the menu that include Schmacon™ and they are pretty awesome. We tried out several of them at the deli, where you can also purchase packages of Schmacon™ to cook at home. (We received a sample pack and made some Schmacon™burgers the following day.) It's also available at select Jewel Osco locations and Fresh Thyme Farmers Market.


On the menu at Schmaltz are:

·         Schmacon™ Lettuce Tomato: Schmacon™, sun-ripened tomatoes, lettuce and low-fat tomato basil mayonnaise on toasted tomato basil bread.
·         Schmacon™ Philly: Warm roast beef and Schmacon™ with grilled onions, sweet red peppers and melted American cheese on a hero roll.
·         Nohemi’s Hero: Turkey and Schmacon™ with Provolone cheese, lettuce, tomato, red onion, guacamole and spicy Chipotle mayo on a hero roll.
·         Jalapeno Dog: Schmaltz-brand all-beef dog topped with Schmacon™, grilled onions and jalapeño peppers with melted American cheese on a hot dog bun.
·         Chicken Club: Sliced chicken breast with Schmacon™, guacamole, lettuce and tomatoes on three slices of toasted wheat bread.
·         Schmacon™ Schmookies: Homemade triple chocolate cookies topped with Schmacon™.

You can also add Schmacon™ to any of the other sandwiches on their menu. 

My favorite was the Chicken Club because, well, guacamole and Schmacon™ together are just an outstanding combination. The Schmacon™ serving was quite generous and the sandwiches there are always piled high. The Schmacon™ Philly was also a big winner combined with lean, hot roast beef and grilled onions and sweet red peppers.

The Schmacon™ Philly
Look at the size of this Chicken Club!
A classic SMT - Schmacon™, Lettuce and Tomato
The Nohemi's Hero
Chicken Club
Schmacon is for sale in the refrigerated case at Schmaltz Deli in Naperville.
Interior of Schmaltz Deli in Naperville. If you haven't been there, it's definitely a place to put on your foodie bucket list!
  For more information, please visit schmacon.com.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Krispy Kreme to open in November in Homewood

Those of you who have been longing for those warm, glazed, gooey treats known as Krispy Kreme doughnuts,, will be happy to know that the doughnut chain will be making its return to Chicagoland in November in the south suburb of Homewood.

Krispy Kreme officials announced today that the new store at 17815 S. Halsted will mark he first of eight planned shops coming to the area as Krispy Kreme re-enters the Chicagoland market after a seven year absence. Two more shops are slated to open in 2017 in the area.

The global retailer of the signature Original Glazed Doughnut, coffee and other sweet treats broke ground Monday on the new location, which will feature a new rebranded design and inviting atmosphere for relaxing over coffee and doughnuts. It will also have a drive-thru.

"With such an active and supportive community, Homewood offers the perfect environment for Krispy Kreme to relaunch in the area," said Carlos Larcada, President of Chicagoland Restaurants LLC in a press release. "We're eager to turn the Hot Lightback on in Chicagoland."

Krispy Kreme classics have won over sweet-toothed fans since 1937, when they first opened in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. The new look and branding promises to make Krispy Kreme the new neighborhood doughnut destination in Homewood and its other upcoming locations in the Chicago area. A total of eight Cook County locations are planned by 2020. A new app can be followed for updates and alerts, got to www.hotlightapp.com.  For more information on Krispy Kreme, visit www.KrispyKreme.com.


Thursday, August 11, 2016

The Fine Cheese Co.'s Quince English Fruits for Cheese

On a recent visit to an awesome new deli and gourmet shop in Griffith, Indiana, called Charcuterie, the owner, Skip, pointed out a few of their unique products. One he recommended was a fruit spread from the The Fine Cheese Co. in the UK. This spread is made with quince, which from what I learned via Google, is an ancient fruit that grown on trees in Turkey and southeast Asia that is similar to an apple or pear. It definitely makes for a delicious spread, perfect on top of a soft cheese on these little toasty bites that I also got there that come from France.

The spreads are also available online at fine cheese.co.uk where you'll also find other delicious varieties, including cherry, fig, gooseberry and damson.


Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Goodies For a Grown-up Picnic


I recently put up a post with some of my picks for a kid picnic. Here's a few ideas for a picnic for the parents or the rest of the adults out there. :) Summer is full of opportunities for picnicking - at an outdoor concert or a visit to a local park or beach. Charcuterie boards are the way to go these days, so pack a board and a knife and slice up some of your favorite meats and cheeses to enjoy for a meal in the outdoors. Here's a few ideas from Chicago Foodie Sisters of what to pack in that perfect picnic basket.

1) Viki's granola - This wholesome snack is great with a handful of fresh berries or nuts.

2) Trois Petits Cochons - pate, sausage, mini peppers and petit toast. Have a little upscale bit of protein instead of a boring sandwich. Among their products are air dried sausage and pates, including a chicken and duck fois gras, pork and chicken liver mousse and duck rilettes. The Saucisson Sec sausage, made from an old-school French recipe was a hit on our picnic. The Petits Poivrons (sweet mini peppers) are designed for charcuterie board in mind - a nice little bite to add to your meats, cheese and fruit.

3) Cheese - to accompany the sausage and crackers. I had some Gouda on hand, one of my variety cheese varieties.

4) Flat bread crackers from Drier's Meat Market in Three Oaks, Michigan. I love these. They have lots of seeds and lots of crunch and are great for spreading things on or dipping.

5) Pitted Olives from Gaea. Olive lovers will enjoy these small snack packs to include in the grown-up picnic.

6) Nuts. I had a mix of macadamia, cashew and pecans. Bring some plastic bags or a bowl to mix the nuts with some granola and fruit for a nice little homemade trail mix.

7) Fresh berries - I had some freshly picked blueberries from a visit to a U-pick in Northwest Indiana. And I also had some raspberries from our own backyard. Fresh is the best. :)

8) Don't forget the beverages - like pink moscato or a nice light Belgian ale. Leffe is one of my favorites. :)



***Disclosure: The Viki's Granola, Trios Petites Cochon products and Gaea Olives were provided. I was not compensated for this post. All opinions are 100% my own.

Simple Stir Fry

On a recent summer afternoon, with a fridge full of some fresh veggies and some chicken breast in the freezer, I decided to throw together a quick meal. I'm really not much into sauces that usually come in Asian dishes. The brown and white sauces that often soak the entrees at some of my favorite Chinese spots often turn me off to the dishes. I like them simpler where I can taste the veggies rather than a heavy sauce. This stir fry had nothing more than a little olive oil to sauté the veggies and some pepper.

In one pan I added a little water and put the frozen chicken breast strips to warm them while the veggies cooked.

In a second pan, I added a little olive oil along with fresh red, green and orange peppers, sugar snap peas and broccoli. I didn't sauté them long since I like a little crunch and left it at that. I put it over a scoop of rice for a nice fresh, clean meal.


Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Media Morel Dinner at Eagle Ridge Resort


I shared a bit on this trip on my travel blog, but wanted to share it here on the food blog as well. I was invited out in the spring to Eagle Ridge Resort in Galena for the 3rd annual Morel Media Hunt. Morel hunting is something I had never done before, so it was a fun new experience for me. We stayed in a rental house on the lovely resort in this peaceful town that attracts golfers and shoppers and history lovers  and antique hunters and those who appreciate bustling, but charming main streets with quaint shops and unique architecture.






The highlight of our visit was our hunt in the woods for these delectable and short-lived mushrooms, but we were also treated to some phenomenal food while we were there. The culinary team went all out in planning the Morel Media Dinner that we enjoyed the evening we arrived. They did a phenomenal job of incorporating the morels into each course of a fantastic gourmet meal. Other ingredients foraged from the area were also featured in the meal, like one of the most delicious desserts I've ever had - a wild violet sorbet.

Our hunt took us out into the woods into a secret spot on the grounds where the chefs led us through and informed us on what to look for. I quickly determined that I never would have made it in pioneer times when I had to forage for my food. I only spotted two during the hunt. But I did bring them home and used them to make a delicious sauce for some chicken.

Galena is a delightful area for a getaway and foodies will be in heaven at the Eagle Ridge Resort and Spa's restaurant, the Woodlands Restaurant and Lounge, where you can enjoy fresh, seasonal fare on the breakfast, brunch or dinner menu. They also feature weekly specials, which currently include such dishes as Ramps Pancetta Prawns, Spring Lamb Pappardelle and Macadamia Crusted Scallops. For more info on the resort, visit eagleridge.com.

Monday, August 8, 2016

Minerva Dairy Flavored Butters

I recently got a nice package from Minerva Dairy of flavored butters to try out. From a 5th generation family owned Ohio farm, the butters come from pasture-raised cows that are hormone and antibiotic free.

I've been really enjoying the creamy, flavored butters - that are perfect on a roll or bread, but also pair well with other dishes. The maple syrup butter is delicious on pancakes and waffles and the garlic herb is great to add to some fresh veggies in a foil packet on the grill. The pumpkin spice is perfect on a warm wheat dinner roll. Visit the website MinervaDairy.com to check out their products and place an online order to try them out yourself.


***Discolure: I was provided with free product for the purpose of a review. I was not compensated for this post. All opinions are my own.

Friday, July 29, 2016

Hop over to Homewood for the first Homewood Hopfest

Some brew fest fun is coming to south-suburban Homewood. Brewfest Partners, the folks who have brought you the Valpo Brewfest and Valpo Beer Rally, the Munster Ale Fest, the Great Lakes Brew Fest, the Border War Beer Fest, several beer cruises out of Navy Pier and more are launching a new event in Homewood. Tickets are still available - $65 for VIP and and $40 for general admission with designated driver admissions also available. The event includes live entertainment and food available for purchase. Find more info at homewoodhopfest.com. Here's a look at the line-up of brewers:

List of Brewers

  • 3 Sheeps Brewing

  • 350 Brewing Company

  • Ale Syndicate Brewers

  • Arcade Brewery

  • Baderbrau Brewing

  • Banging Gavel Brews

  • Black Belt Brewery

  • Blue Island Beer Company

  • Blue Nose Brewery

  • Brickstone Brewery

  • Crazy Mountain

  • Evil Horse

  • Firestone Walker

  • Flossmoor Station Brewing Company

  • Half Acre Beer Company

  • Lagunitas Brewing Company

  • McKenzies Hard Cider

  • Noon Whistle Brewing

  • One Trick Pony Brewery

  • Pollyanna Brewing Company

  • Revolution Brewing

  • Slapshot Brewing

  • Sprecher Brewing Company

  • Twisted Hippo

  • Urban Legend Brewing Company

  • Vice District Brewing

  • Wild Blossom Meadery

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Red Mango

A place that my kids have come to love (introduced by their aunt and uncle) is Red Mango. If we're heading to one of the stores nearby, we sometimes stop for them to get a treat. It's one of those build-your-own and pay-by-the-weight places. There are toppings and sprinkles galore. While they pile on the toppings, I usually sample a taste or two - the Lucky Taro was one of the flavors on our last stop and it was really yummy!