Friday, October 30, 2015

Enjoy a treat at Morton's on Halloween

This is too good not to share. Looking for a grown-up treat on Halloween? How about this fabulous three-course meal at Morton's The Steakhouse? It includes a choice of starter, an entree with side and a dessert for just $35. In addition, The Steakhouse will be offering an extended power hour with Bar Bites only from 5 p.m. - close. For the three-course special, guests can choose from the following:

Starter (choice of):
Caesar Salad
Morton’s Salad
Cup of Baked Five-Onion Soup

Entrée (choice of):
6 oz. Filet Mignon
Honey-Chili Glazed Salmon
Chicken Bianco

Accompaniment (choice of):
Chicago Style Horseradish Mashed Potatoes
Sautéed Broccoli Florets

Dessert (choice of):
Double Chocolate Mousse
Key Lime Pie


Thursday, October 29, 2015

The Chili Kickoff Cook-off for Make-A-Wish


This past weekend I had the fun opportunity to be a judge in a chili competition. The event, held at McQ's Sports Bar and Dome in Bolingbrook, was to raise funds for the Make-A-Wish Foundation. The fundraiser started as a backyard Oktoberfest celebration organized by Matt Schnell. Eventually it outgrew his yard and evolved into a serious chili cook-off. Now in its 3rd year, it was moved a second time as it once again outgrew its venue. The event included 22 chili recipes mostly from restaurants in the west and southwest suburbs.

This was my second time judging a chili cook-off and the first time I judged 11. This was twice that many, so we really had a hard job ahead of us, especially because there were so many good ones. Several of them were made with brisket. A couple included bacon. One was a whole hog white bean chili. Another had duck. A couple had some nice garnish (loved the one with grated smoked gouda on top) or were served with cornbread or croutons. There was a chicken chili that was more like a chicken tortilla soup. One came with a lovely little pretzel roll. There were a lot of different versions and it was fun to try out such a diverse range of concoctions.





I had the pleasure of sitting on the celebrity judging panel with a great bunch that included Carmen DeFalco from ESPN 1000 Radio's Carmen and Jurko show, Doug Sohn of Hot Doug's, former Chicago Bears players Jason McKie and Adrian Peterson, restaurateur Lee Ann Whippen (who has appeared on the Food Network) and Rob Bomberek who was the winner of Tailgate Warriors with Guy Fieri on the Food Network. Elliot Bambrough from Chicago's Best TV was a judge and also served as emcee. I'm a fan of his show and it was fun chatting with him about food and restaurants and dogs. ;)





The afternoon brought in a good crowd and over $50,000 toward the cause of granting wishes to sick kids. Schnell said that he does this each year because he has been blessed to have healthy kids and wanted to do something to help families that aren't as fortunate. A big hats off to him! I was lucky to be a part of it and had a blast and it was great knowing what a great cause it benefits. Keep it in mind next October and bookmark ChiliKickoffCookoff.com.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Milanesa with friends


So, through a board that I sit on for a local non-profit organization, we met Leo and Maria. We spent three full days hanging out with Leo and his son at a local fest that the organization puts on each year. And following the fest, he invited us over for dinner.

When we got there, Maria was in the kitchen cooking a dish I hadn't had before - milanesa. It's a thin breaded meat that's pan fried. She served it with tortillas, refried beans, potatoes and a cucumber and tomato salad. It reminded me a little of one of my very favorite foods - weiner schnitzel, which is a German version of breaded pork.

I love trying out new ethnic foods and while I'd heard of this before, I wasn't sure exactly what it was and hadn't tried it. I've since stopped at a local Mexican store, Three Roosters, at Maria's recommendation, and bought milanesa to make at home. It didn't turn out quite as good as Maria's. I'll have to put in a little more practice because I really liked it and can see it being a regular meal in the dinner rotation.. :)


We also did some beer tasting (and tequila tasting) while we were there. :) They were wonderful hosts.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

2016 Chicago Michelin Bib Gourmands announced

The sixth edition of the MICHELIN Guide of Bib Gourmands in Chicago is out and this exciting list that covers 24 different types of cuisine includes some great newcomers. Earning the designation of Bib Gourmand is quite an accomplishment. While the esteemed international MICHELIN Guide remains the top of the top, the list of Bib Gourmands are the best of the more affordable eateries all over the city, according to Michelin inspectors.

Ten newcomers join the list where anonymous food inspectors have based their ratings on restaurants that serve two courses and a glass of wine or dessert for $40 or less (without tax and gratuity.) Take a look at the full list and see if any of your favorites made the list. I see some of mine did!


Chicago MICHELIN Guide 2016
Bib Gourmands


Restaurant
Area
New
Angry Crab (The)
Andersonville, Edgewater & Uptown
N
Arami
Bucktown & Wicker Park

A10
Chinatown & South

Au Cheval
West Loop

Avec
West Loop

Balena
Lincoln Park & Old Town

Beatrix
River North

bellyQ
West Loop

Belly Shack
Bucktown & Wicker Park

Bohemian House
River North
N
Carriage House
Bucktown & Wicker Park

Ceres' Table
Lakeview & Wrigleyville

Chilam Balam
Lakeview & Wrigleyville

County
Pilsen, University Village & Bridgeport

Cumin
Bucktown & Wicker Park

Dawson (The)
Bucktown & Wicker Park

DeCOLORES
Pilsen, University Village & Bridgeport

Dove's Luncheonette
Bucktown & Wicker Park
N
Duck Inn (The)
Pilsen, University Village & Bridgeport
N
Fat Rice
Humboldt Park & Logan Square

Frontera Grill
River North

Gilt Bar
River North

Girl & The Goat
West Loop

Green Zebra
Bucktown & Wicker Park

GT Fish & Oyster
River North

Han 202
Pilsen, University Village & Bridgeport

Herb
Andersonville, Edgewater & Uptown

Hopleaf
Andersonville, Edgewater & Uptown

Jaipur
West Loop

Jam
Humboldt Park & Logan Square

Jin Thai
Andersonville, Edgewater & Uptown

Kai Zan
Humboldt Park & Logan Square

Lao Sze Chuan
Chinatown & South

Luella's Southern Kitchen
Andersonville, Edgewater & Uptown
N
Lula Cafe
Humboldt Park & Logan Square

Mana Food Bar
Bucktown & Wicker Park

Maude's Liquor Bar
West Loop

mfk.
Lincoln Park & Old Town
N
MingHin
Chinatown & South
N
Mott St.
Bucktown & Wicker Park

Nana
Pilsen, University Village & Bridgeport

Publican (The)
West Loop

Pump Room
Gold Coast

Purple Pig (The)
Streeterville

Riccardo Trattoria
Lincoln Park & Old Town

Sabri Nihari
Andersonville, Edgewater & Uptown
N
Slurping Turtle
River North

Smoque BBQ
Humboldt Park & Logan Square

Sol de Mexico
Humboldt Park & Logan Square

Spacca Napoli
Andersonville, Edgewater & Uptown

Sushi Dokku
West Loop

Table, Donkey and Stick
Humboldt Park & Logan Square

TAC Quick
Lakeview & Wrigleyville

TWO
Bucktown & Wicker Park

Untitled Supper Club
River North

Via Lima
Lakeview & Wrigleyville
N
Wood
Lakeview & Wrigleyville

Yusho
Humboldt Park & Logan Square
N

Dessert at Bohemian House.